The Science of Parenting

Repairing & Rebuilding Relationships with Children | S.12 Ep.5

September 28, 2023 Season 12 Episode 5
The Science of Parenting
Repairing & Rebuilding Relationships with Children | S.12 Ep.5
Show Notes Transcript

Even with our best efforts, we will still sometimes do something that was hurtful to our child. In this season’s finale, our hosts share personal experiences and discuss research on the components of an apology and discuss a specific strategy for repairing parent-child relationships!

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Mackenzie Johnson:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast where we connect you with research-based information that fits your family. We'll talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks, and I'm a parenting educator.

Courtney Hammond:

And I'm Courtney Hammond. I am a mother of two and also in long term recovery.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, and so episode five today, the last of the season. How?

Courtney Hammond:

I don't know. Short.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I know, this is a short season, actually. And so it's gone really fast.

Courtney Hammond:

But I've loved every minute of it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Same, same, it's probably a good thing that not all of it's recorded, like when we're walking through it. It just gets wild. We're just having a good time, guys. We're having a lot of fun. Oh, and you know, today we do, we get to walk into our last episode, where we're talking about repairing and rebuilding relationships. So I mean, we're like, I'm like giggly almost in just that's the mood I'm in, but it's like, this is a serious subject. But I think I am just like, I'm excited to record another episode and talk through another one of these with you. And yeah, so I guess, like, let's just do it.

Courtney Hammond:

I'm excited to dig into this subject. I feel like this is where I'm at in my life. So it's like, this is like real time talk for me. It's not something that's past, it's not something that I have to really dig deep down for. This is my process. This is where I'm at in my process and my journey right now. So I'm excited.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love that. I love that. And you've said that to me. I don't remember if it was while we were recording or not. But you're like, oh, I'm excited for that one. Oh, I'm excited. And we're doing it, today we're doing it. Yeah, so well honestly, for this first, you know, as we usually do our research and reality stuff, actually, a few times this season, we've just kind of started with, okay, let's talk reality. And so not even gonna cite anything, just okay, this idea of rebuilding and repairing. You know, we've talked throughout this season on good enough parenting and things like that. And this idea of sometimes we have work to do to repair stuff and to rebuild our relationship with our kids. And so just like, there's going to be times when we haven't met their essential needs, whether those are emotional needs or physical needs or what those look like. And so regardless of where it lands and what we need to repair from, just how do we do that? Like, I don't know, what comes to mind for you, whether it's specific experiences or advice. When we think about repairing and rebuilding, what do you think of?

Courtney Hammond:

So for me, from my experience, and this is where I'm at, I'd say just being consistent, giving them a safe place, letting them have their emotional needs met without overbearing or being intrusive to those emotions and that space. Yeah, that's kind of just where I've had to start, you know. I'm not one of those people, you know, those moms that have like, hey, you have to talk to me because I'm your parent. You know, it's whenever you want to talk to me. You know, and I can, I'm a pretty good vibe person, especially when it comes to my daughter because we are somewhat close in age, and kind of grew up together. But I can feel when I've done something, or if something's really pressing on her that I may need to intervene with. I'll push the envelope, but I won't just rip it open. So I guess just respecting their space, respecting them as a human and their emotions and being consistent about it, you know, is the ultimate way to kind of gain trust and repair that relationship for me personally.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yeah. Well, I do, I hear that and, you know, examples and stories that you've shared, or, you know, I don't say on the air, but when we've been recording and just other times of that idea. I really hear the holding space, right, for their emotions or giving space, right? That you need space from me from this, and I do, I hear a lot of that in things that you've shared with us and so I think that's awesome. I actually went kind of, you know, when I was taking my notes, or I don't know, what do I think of rebuild and repair? I kind of went like the advisor or maybe it's the educator in me. But I'm like, let's talk about this, parents. But the things that came to mind for me were, I have three tidbits. One is that when it comes to the parent child relationship, even if you're an adult parent of now adult children, I think the ownership that comes with rebuilding lands on the parent regardless of the age of the child. You were the adult, you're adults, and are the adult. If they're an adult now or if they're literally not an adult because they're a child. And so I think that the rebuilding and repairing does land on us as parents to initiate and to quote unquote, be the bigger person. And so I think that that's an important part of rebuilding and repairing. And my second one was to hold emotional space for our kids. Look at that. And I think it's like, yeah, give them space. Yeah. But the idea of it, right, it's easier to say than it is to do. So often, there's this level of pride and shame and whether that comes from trauma, or, you know, just things in our personality or whatever, that it is hard to give up the power. We want to assert that power so often over our kids, especially if that's how we were raised, of like, no, hold on, don't walk away from me when I'm talking to you, kind of thing. And it can be really hard to reflect on that, and let that go. So yeah, what were you gonna say?

Courtney Hammond:

I think this ties into that good enough parenting that we did a few weeks ago, like, it's okay to not be super, super on top, helicopter parent in a time where your child's in distress or emotional, like some kind of turmoil, it's okay to just let them be able to process that. And then when they ask permission for you to come in, and help process through that, too, you know. Because when someone's always processing things for you, and they're always, you know, solution based and doing it for you, that child just kind of, you know, what happens now, now you're not here, you know. When in my case, I left, I got up and left, I left my daughter with nothing for a very young age. And then I had to become, this is where I'm gonna touch on the selfish thing, you know, my life is really selfish today. Not in a bad selfish way that people mainstream have made it seem, but I'm selfish when it comes to my recovery, my time, and my peace, and my sanity and what feeds me and in turn, you know, that's me. If I'm doing it for me, I have to do it for my children as well, especially the one who's been old enough and has this trauma. She's allowed to be selfish with her time and her emotions, and I'm okay with that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And yeah, and I think the line between selfish and self-care. And I genuinely believe that self-care is not selfish, right? Advocate for parents that we have to do those things. And that, especially when it comes to being in long term recovery from substance use that, you know, like you said, you have to prioritize that recovery above other things. And I was reading some articles in prep for this, you know, even blog posts from addiction counselors and things like that. And one quote that really stuck with me was a parent saying, I don't regret the things I did to get to recovery, like to get to a place where I was no longer using substances, because it got me here, right? And I'm alive, and I can be present with my kids or, you know, whatever that is. I don't regret that. But I do regret how some of those things hurt my kids. Like it was the choice I needed to make in that time. Yeah, and it was a hard choice, right? And it was less harmful, right, going back to harm reduction, it was less harmful than my active addiction was to my kids. But that doesn't mean that because it was the less harmful that it wasn't at all. And that was just really, I mean, almost makes you teary, honestly, just thinking about hard choices sometimes that we made the best choice we knew how in that moment. And even if we wouldn't change the choice, it doesn't mean that our child didn't have a hard time with it. I've shared this story previously on here that my daughter sometimes still talks about when her brother was born. And I was nursing him and so I would typically put him to bed because I was nursing and my husband would put her to bed. My son is, you know, it's almost three years later, three well, depending on when he started, four to three years later, and my daughter still talks about that sometimes, like you spend more time with him. And that was the choice we were making. It's what I had the capacity for at the time, was like, I can just nurse him and put him to bed. It's more work to nurse him, right. And that was what made sense for us. And it was hard and it hurt her. Like that feeling of like feeling. It's come up in other ways, sometimes for her, feeling forgotten. And again, it was not an active choice that I thought it was gonna hurt her. In fact, it didn't even really occur to me at the time that that was hard on her, which now I'm like, how did I not see that? But it's not how it's like, I don't know. And so that was, it's a thing that I'm still working on, like repairing and rebuilding from. Yeah. And so part of that, you know, going back this whole idea of emotional space is even though inside I'm like, I did the best I knew how, that isn't my daughter's problem, if I'm really honest. Like I can tell her that was the best I knew how to do but I still need to have that space for her to say, and it hurt me. Yeah, and it's hard for me. And so I think that's the emotional space is taking your defensiveness out of it, when we've done something that has hurt our kids, practicing that active listening, and yeah, letting them share if they want to. They might not even want to tell you about like, talk to you about it. Yeah. And so I do, I think those are important components of it. And then the other, the third tidbit that I wrote when I was thinking about when it comes to rebuilding, repairing, I think it's also letting our child have what it is they need. And so I think sometimes we want to like guess or prescribe what our child will likely need for us to rebuild or repair. And so I wrote a whole list actually. I was like, okay, what they need to move forward might be an apology, right? They might need apology from us. It might be that it needs space. It might be that they need just time, which is like time and space, like the amount of time to pass. It might be family therapy, right? It could be they just need, I actually don't want to talk about that thing. I'd rather just have positive time with you. That might be what they want right now. And it might be that they need you to demonstrate over time how something has changed or how it's not gonna happen again. So it's like, there's all these things that could be that your child might want. And so I just think, I mean, some of it could be the age of your child, their temperament, what the incident was, right? There's so many factors, but also being prepared that what you think, oh, well, I need to give them space. Your child might be like, no, I need you to spend time with me. Like, I need to be close to you. But you might be like, yeah, I'll give him a big hug. And they're like, nah, don't touch me.

Courtney Hammond:

Yeah. And that's okay. I mean, my daughter is 13 so she definitely has her voice. And I'm proud to say, I've maybe made her a little bit that way. But at least she knows that no is a complete sentence. No, period, you know, and I respect that. Hey, Lexi, you want to go with me? Or go to the mall? Nope. Okay. I offered.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You know, that wasn't what you wanted or needed in this moment. Well, and so thinking about this idea of repairing and rebuilding, one important component that often comes up is the idea of apologies, right? And so in previous episodes when we talked about the idea of repairing, we've often talked about on a small scale of like, I got angry with you in this moment. And then I'm apologizing, right? And so that might happen within the same day, or within a few hours. But yeah, repairing can also happen after like a bigger, right. And so an apology could be this like, quote unquote, smaller scale. There's these different levels of how intense the harm or how long it was going on, things like that. But I got kind of dorky about it. And I was like, so what does research say about apologies, like digging into the actual studies. And so I found this, it's like a model, I mean, kind of like a framework. I love those. The five parts of an apology. And it's actually from 1981. So I found something from Schlenker and Darby. And they highlight five components of an apology. So it's from way back, because it was really foundational. So people still reference it, but when they were first defining it in the research, here's the five parts. They say there's a statement of the apologetic intent, right? So like, I'm sorry, or I apologize, right? Second part is the expression of remorse or sadness or embarrassed, right? That there's an emotion like, I'm having a response to the fact that I did this thing and it hurt you, right, so there's an expression of emotion. Number three is that it offers to help the injured party or make some kind of restitution. And restitution is kind of making up for it. And so I sometimes will ask my kids, I used to be like, you need to say sorry. And I work really hard to say, how can we make it better? So sometimes an adult saying the words, I'm sorry, but sometimes it's like, I will help you put this thing back together. Right? Or I'm really sorry that I, like part one is like, I'm sorry that I blank. I feel so bad that I made you feel this way. Could I make up for it with blank, right? So there's an idea of, I want to do something about it. Okay, and then this number four, I actually had to Google to learn what this word means, self-castigation, and I was like, I don't know what that is. What is that? Basically, it's like taking responsibility. Ah, yeah, I had to look at what Google says, dictionary.com for me. But yeah, basically the self-castigation is like taking on the punishment, taking the blame. I see it as owning your stuff, right? Like I did, I yelled at you or I abandoned you or you know, whatever that thing is that you're repairing from. And so the like, yeah, taking ownership, I'm going to call number four, instead of that self-castigation, but I learned a new word today. And then number five is the direct attempts to obtain forgiveness. So asking the person, could you ever forgive me? Or, it's okay if you need time, right? But talking about that, like, that is the thing that you're hopefully seeking. Yeah. Okay, so there's five parts. But there were more. I wasn't done after five parts. Okay. Like she is a dork. Okay, but I thought this was a really important part of okay, there's two more parts. One, the authors, Schlenker and Darby, said that not all the components are used in all apologies. So it's not like a framework and that you must have these five parts. It's more of a mix and match kind of situation. And I thought this was really interesting. The more severe the issue or predicament, the more likely or more appropriate to use more components. Right. So like, if I step on your toes, I will probably not be like, I'm so sorry. I'm so embarrassed, right? Like, I'm trying to think of all five parts. The how can I make this up to you? Do you need an ice pack? This was all my fault. Do you forgive me? I guess that'd be like, all five parts. Right. And so that was like a minor infraction if you will, yeah. Oh, I'm sorry. Are you okay? Um, and that makes sense. Or on the more intense and of harm done, right, that it might include all five parts or four. So I thought that was really interesting, that smaller infraction, if you will, was like a simpler apology, versus something that's more extensive or in depth, there's a more in depth or extensive apology. I just thought that was like, that's logical, but I wouldn't have thought of it that way. Okay, and then one more, because I was really into this. And so one more thing was they were talking about of all the research around these different components, right, those five components of apologies, Combs and Holiday, so this was in 2008, they published something that said, the centerpiece of an apology is the component where you're acknowledging responsibility. Oh, yeah. And so it's like, when you look at the five components, a statement of apology, expressing your remorse, offering to make it better, accepting blame, and direct attempt to get forgiveness, the most important she'd be like, oh, mom, why didn't you take me shopping? And one, like the centerpiece of the apology, is acknowledging responsibility. And so regardless, I just thought that was interesting of okay, so might not use all five parts all the time. When it's more intense, or a more harmful I was like, well, because I was respecting, you know, I was just thing, we're more likely to use more pieces. And then on a smaller scale, what's likely most important, like what's at giving you space. I didn't know, you know. We vibe, me and her, the center, regardless of how intense it was, is that we've figured each other out. We're a whole vibe. acknowledging responsibility. It's so logical, but also insightful at the same time. Like that makes sense. And, wow,

Courtney Hammond:

So usually with an apology, you know, that makes so much sense. Yeah. Right. normally people don't even think about how true is the apology. Like when we apologize unnecessarily? Saying, oh, I'm sorry, or oh, I'm sorry, you did this so I actually had to go over here like now you're just reversing you know. Yeah, actually I was just in your way, I'm sorry. It's super simple yet super direct and I statements you know, like I was here. I caused this rather than, oh, well, someone over here did this and the dog was barking over there in the bush, so I decided to accidentally wreck my car. No, I wrecked my car, just say it, you know.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love an I statement, Courtney. That's a thing we do is I statements. I love it.

Courtney Hammond:

I've been diligent lately and I try to use I statements.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love it. I love it. Okay. But I do think as we think about this idea of apologies that you know, I said something earlier about how pride and shame sometimes get in the way and there is a level of vulnerability. And I don't know what word I want to use, like almost kind of lowering yourself, not in a putting yourself down kind of way, but in being willing to show up in a way that is not having it all together or being in charge. And for some of us that might be in direct conflict with how we feel like we should be as a parent. If you tend to have a more authoritarian parenting style, or if you were raised with someone with a more authoritative parenting or authoritarian, sorry, I don't remember which one I said the first time.

Courtney Hammond:

The authoritarian.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, thank you. I was like, what did I say? I don't know. They're similar, those words. So authoritarian, being typically more like power, asserting power and things, less responsive to the child's needs. Authoritative does assert power, but also with responsiveness to the child's needs. So that's the difference. And so yeah, if you were raised by someone that is more authoritarian, so focusing more on the power of it, you might not have seen this modeled for you. There's a lot of people who cannot even think of a time their parents ever apologized to them. And so this can be especially hard, like you might be, like you said, starting from scratch on apologizing to my kids. I don't know about that, that like my parents never did. And so I think that's something to reflect on, you know, as we think about whether a, quote unquote, minor infraction or something more harmful in the long term. Where do apologies fit for you? How hard is that for you? What's the work that you need to do to work towards getting there? Sometimes, you know, apologies can come in the form of, I'm sorry. Sometimes we make up for it in other ways but not ever accepting responsibility. You know, there's impact of that, I think, well, not I think. Actually, the next thing we're gonna talk about talks about that, you know. But I do think it's worth acknowledging that, again, easier said than done. For some of our listeners, right, oh, yeah, of course, I apologize to my kids. My parents apologized to me. For some people, this was so normal, what do they mean? There's other people like, unheard of, foreign. Yes. So it's alright, wherever you are, where you are on that. And just reflect on that, where do you want to be if your goal is to rebuild and repair relationships with your children? What feels like a good next step for you? And like, that's okay to be good enough.

Courtney Hammond:

So, no perfection?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Progress, not perfection, for sure. Okay, so I told you, we were going to talk about the next part. This is actually our strategy is the idea of rupture and repair. So this actually comes from the book, Parenting from the Inside Out by Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell. And so we've cited Dan Siegel stuff on the podcast quite a bit. He has several parenting books and he's just a really great parenting expert, looks at a lot of research and things. So that's his basic idea of rebuilding is talking about rupture and repair. And I loved that visual of thinking about, like incident or infraction, if you will, is like a rupture. I just love that of like, I think of like a fracture, like a break. And so it's like, there was a break in our connection for whatever that was. And yeah, it might have been like a long time, a short time, or whatever. And it just left thinking about as a rupture was about that. So they defined rupture as a disconnection or misunderstanding between a parent and a child. And so they explained that there's different kinds of ruptures. So they even, I love they use this example of limit setting ruptures, so if my child super wants to do something, I'm like, nope, that's not gonna work. And then my child's really mad about it. I was doing what I needed to do, right, I was keeping my child safe. It's not that I did something wrong but it was a disconnection, right? It's a disconnection between my child and I and so that's a form of rupture. And I was like, that's great. And so repairing in that case likely wouldn't be an apology. But it might just be doing something for positive connection. Yeah, that was really interesting, the different kinds. They also talked about that toxic ruptures are a thing, right? And that would be that involves intense emotional distress or long term experience to the child. And so again, we're like that spectrum of, quote unquote, minor infraction to major, or like minor harm to major, that they're all a form of rupture. I thought that was great. And then the other thing they talked about, which I thought was important to touch on, is that shame is bred when there is a toxic rupture that does not have repair. And I'm like, I almost like need to sit in that a little, right?

Courtney Hammond:

No, for sure. Or there's a rip in your favorite blanket, yeah, your

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, that shame. But shame is bred when there is a toxic rupture between a parent and child that never gets repaired. And so that brings shame for the child and you know, and honestly for probably for the parent too, and so, ah, that's heavy, right? Okay, I wasn't ready for that today. But I did like this idea of thinking of it as a rupture. And I also think because a rupture doesn't feel permanent in my mind, like that word in particular doesn't feel permanent. It's like, uh oh, this happened. I'm like, okay, I'm always picturing like, okay, this is a silly like magicians, like the jelly bean jar, you open the jelly bean jar and stuff pops out of it. I'm literally picturing or like a jack of the box, I guess would be another example that like, rupture, something pops out of it. And then you stuff it back in and not. Okay, that's not a very good image cuz you don't just want to stuff it in. But like you're repairing it, you're gonna put them back together. childhood blanket ripped it, someone tore it up on the playground. You know, take it to mom, what do you want her to do? Not aggressively, right. That's not the goal. But I do love that, right, like sewing it up, that we're repairing it. And so Throw it in the trash? You want her to sew it up. Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell talked about when we repair, that repair is actually an interactive process. And I had to really think about that. I was like, I think of repairing is like I'm coming to you and walking probably through some of those components of the apology. And like almost, honestly, kind of almost lecture style of, I'm gonna say this thing to you. And That's way better than my stuff it back in example. they're like, no, hold on. It's not just what's happening. You're not just saying sorry. You're not just trying to I'm just thinking of like, someone stuffing stuffing back repair, you're letting the child right, going back to emotional in a stuffed animal. And I'm like, Oh, no. Ow, ow. space. You're letting the child have their experience, and they're gonna share things back with you. And actually, it That's when it festers and just becomes trauma. wasn't that you did that, it was this other thing. And so that I thought it was a great point that was interactive. They also made a big point that parents need to be centered, like you need to be in a good place. And so they talked about, like, what do you need to do to take care of yourself so you're ready to show up when you repair in a mature, kind way? And they're like, do you need to go for a walk? And they didn't say this, but do you need to go to therapy? Do you need to process what happened? And I'm a big believer in therapy so that was not a sarcastic joke, genuinely talk with someone and process it. But I thought that was a really important part of in order to show up fully, presently, maturely. Not like getting into defending yourself. Yeah, that when you go to make that repair, that you can be fully present in that. And that also reminds me of some of the conversations we've had around recovery, that your recovery capital and things like that. And even your coping skills that you have as a parent, that you're prepared, that this might be hard for you, like it might be hard, it likely will be hard to hear from your child about how you were hurtful to them. And so being sure that you are in a place that you can show up maturely and that it will be hard and that you have a plan for coping with it. That is not the child's responsibility. So that was a really important point. Another thing they said about repairing is that you can't ignore the rupture and repair, so if you lost it, if you like flipped your lid, as we say. If you lost it on your kid, just coming back and oh, hey, how's it going? And like being chummy or trying for positive connection without ever saying anything when there has been a severe rupture, you can't ignore it. That doesn't repair, it doesn't actually move it forward. Yeah. Yeah. That's when the rupture becomes trauma.

Courtney Hammond:

And now we're damaged.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I don't like the word damaged.

Courtney Hammond:

I feel damaged because I'm in my own kind of like, yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're owning that word for yourself. You're not calling someone else that.

Courtney Hammond:

But I also embrace that word now. Like, my damage has made me such a good human being that like, I'm proud to say, yeah, I'm a little damaged, but it's what makes me

Mackenzie Johnson:

So, yeah, like that you've been through me. it. Absolutely. So yeah, I thought that was a really important point that we can't just ignore it. And yeah, that it festers to trauma. Great point. So then they do talk about apologies as a really important part of that repair. Right? So what you just kind of went through, they talked specifically about getting onto your child's level or getting in a child like your child's space, not in their bubble space, but like a space that they're comfortable, right? And getting to their level that you're stating what you're talking about with the repair like hey, you know, earlier I did this thing or, you know what, a few years ago, I still think about this sometimes like a few years ago when I did X. And so that you're coming to them sharing the intent, that you're listening to their thoughts or feelings without interrupting and without defending yourself.

Courtney Hammond:

Sitting on your hands method? That's what I call it. That's the active listening that I learned is feet are firmly on the ground, you know, sitting on my hands, I'm listening.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yep, and I'm letting you say things that I'm like, no, no, no, that wasn't it. Nope, we're not doing that. We're letting them. Sit on our hands. Love that.

Courtney Hammond:

And I've been, I've been sitting on my hands, I say sitting on my hands, like I've been doing. But ever since I was in the middle of my active addiction, I went to this parenting seminar for family treatment court. And we had to learn how to like literally sit on our hands and listen to our children, because we were repairing the relationship inside the court system. And ever since then, I've been like, alright, I'm going to sit on my hands, you just say what you need to say. And then, you know, Liam, he sits on his hands if he's still angry, like, we sit on our hands. So that way, we're not harming nobody, we're not giving off weird body language, sit on our hands.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Nice. I love that. I love that. And then the last part they talked about with apologies, they talked about console, and then connect after, right. So when you're bringing up this repair that your child may have hard feelings or strong feelings about it and so that you're providing comfort to them. Again, not in the way of defending yourself, but just like, this was really like, you're really sad about this or you're really hurt or just validating that and sitting with it and comforting them. And then that you're, you know, finding ways that connect, like finding ways to connect that are appropriate for you and the child. So those are things they talked about, but I love that idea of picturing it as like a rupture or repair, rupture and repair, we're gonna do both. If it ruptures and we're going to repair. I love that idea of thinking about those things and the whole genuine apology what it's like, what does an apology look like? And yeah, the new word that I learned that I already can't remember is self-castilation. Did I get that right? Like, is that right? Castigation. I don't know what a castilation is, I made that up. Self-castigation. Basically, we're gonna own our stuff. We're gonna take your sensibility. Like why do they have to call it that, that was hard for me to remember. Yeah. Oh, but okay, before we go to our Stop. Breathe. Talk. space, anything else that you wanted to share about, you know, rebuilding and repairing, rupturing, repairing, and like any other R words?

Courtney Hammond:

So I will share my experience. Like I said in the beginning of the podcast, I'm in this process as of like, as we speak right now. I feel like I'm going to be in this process for a while and I'm okay with that. There's a lot of damages, a lot of ruptures, and, you know, my biggest rupture for my daughter. I'm sure her rupture was when I left her completely. She was four years old, three or four, I was messed up. And I knew that at the time, the best harm reduction I could do was hand her over to my grandma and grandpa. It hurt her traumatically. But me being around her, probably, you know, and I've seen it and it was bad. Her seeing me like that was bad. So 10 years later, me being constantly in and out, being constantly making promises, not showing up, showing up messed up, you know, up until three and a half years ago, was a completely ignored rupture. And that's been something that I've swept under the rug. But I really started digging deep in myself when I got clean that like, hey, I'm going to, I'm going to help fix this. And I say help fix this because she's got to tell me how to help her. I can't just go in there and erase everything.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And like tell her, this is like look, I fixed it for you.

Courtney Hammond:

I'm clean, like, no, no, no, no. I thought it was that easy. But no, I feel like it's really important to put this on the table, because a lot of people are like, oh, man, I did that a couple years ago, or 10 years ago. And yeah, they'll never forgive me. And it's all lost, you know, and all hope is kind of, you know, out the window. But, you know, I'm a big believer as long as we show consistency and take ownership and help and hold that space, that someday it will work out. Me and Lexi, like I said just a little bit ago, we vibe, we talk about our trauma, we talk about what I've done to her openly in an open, you know, very open dialogue. She can get as angry or silly or as happy or as upset as she wants. And I just kind of take it. You know, I didn't give her the choice to take it when I was dishing it out. So now I choose. So I feel like there's always hope and I feel like this is the kind of real vital time in our repair, where she's becoming a young woman. She's not a child no more. And it's important for me to be able to model what I'm modeling in this podcast and what we're talking about, because it shows the interactive. It shows the center parent. It shows that I cannot be ignored because this is the effects, you know. And then the apology, my apology is in my everyday living amends, being there for her on softball days, making sure she has a sleepover, you know, once every couple of weekends, you know. Making sure that she can trust me, in order for this process, to trust the process is still working. Yeah. And that's just kind of my experience with it. I've had a lot of mess ups. Yeah, there's nothing I wouldn't do to fix that and take accountability for it today.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Courtney, that's so powerful. And, you know, I think that's also a really important thing we want to make sure we touch on to listeners. Yeah, one of the questions here is probably, but is it too late? Right. And so my kids are pretty young. And so even too late now is less than 10 years ago. But I even think of if you are an adult to your adult parent, you're parenting adults. You know, the power that can go into apologizing for something or repairing something even again, that could have been decades ago. That it's not too late. How did you say it earlier when we were talking about this idea?

Courtney Hammond:

Oh, the tree thing?

Mackenzie Johnson:

No, it wasn't the tree thing. You said something about when? Okay, I'm gonna think of it. I know I'm gonna think of it. That when we were talking about it's never too late. Oh, really, almost to let it go.

Courtney Hammond:

Yeah. So that was the tree thing. So like, yeah, you're on your life journey. You're driving along, and you're on this amazing, beautiful mountain trail. And every couple years, or every couple of feet or miles, you see the same spruce tree. And it's like, wow, I swear, I just passed that tree. I think I'm going in a circle here, like, but everything else looks kind of different. You know, you're, you're still confused. But when you let that trauma go or when it's repaired. When that rupture is now not ignored, and is in the middle of repairing that tree finally, like flies by and you're like, oh, rearview mirror, okay. And I know that tree is behind me now. And then you just keep going along, and you never see that spruce tree again. And if you do that, it's not so profound. You've moved on. You're no longer sitting here spinning your wheels, like why am I still here? Why am I still in this place? Why is it so new to me? Every time I see that tree, I had to notice it, you know. That's kind of the way I have to visually look at my trauma and ruptures and upsets and hard times and hardships, you know, like, visually seeing it on my journey, wherever this journey is going. But that those are all those things that just kind of stick out.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, and actually my brain is also like,

Courtney Hammond:

You definitely can't wash it. okay, now let's go back to your blanket example. Right? So if there's a rupture or if there's a tear, if that relationship is the blanket, the relationship between you and your child. And

Mackenzie Johnson:

But then, yeah, even 20 years later, with there's been ruptures, maybe some of them were addressed. And that blanket, stitching it up. Right, the benefit of stitching it up is still there, even though the child might still so they got sewn up, and some of them weren't like, it's still a remember the times when they put their foot through the hole, and it was cold, or it was whatever, that like there's repair there, right, that it can get better. And the whole idea of letting it blanket, right? Like, there's still a relationship, but go, you know, you were talking about how something festers into trauma. You know, there might still be trauma there, but that there's some complicated parts maybe or certain pain points, it's gonna sew up that hole a little more when we offered that repair, even if it's a long time later, and there could have been harm in the meantime before that repair happened. But that's right? Your child like goes to use the blanket and their foot going to be huge progress, typically. And now, it might not be like immediately huge progress, but yeah, right. And goes through the hole. that it's never too late.

Courtney Hammond:

Yeah. And you think about how much a child loves her blanket. I know sometimes Liam, you can't take him to daycare. You can't go to the gas station. You know, some kids are really attached to those. So just think about if you're attached to that parent, and they did that, like oh, no, like my blanky failed me. It's not keeping me warm anymore. That child offering up to you to fix that speaks volumes to your relationship and how important it should be and the priority should be to repair.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Look at all of our little visuals, all of our word pictures.

Courtney Hammond:

I have to, I literally have to visualize everything.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love it.

Courtney Hammond:

I mean, I'm just some kind of weirdo. No. I love it. If I'm literally having to analyze like, hey, what needs to take priority in my life? And what are those things that aren't. I think of like little woodland animals or like I don't know. It's just always been like that, like, I'm just on a journey. I have no clue where I'm going. But there's things that stick out.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're just living your life on this mountain trail. That sounds real cool to me. It's your visual mountain trail journey of life.

Courtney Hammond:

Yeah, so when I meditate, that's kind of like where I take myself to.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, I love that.

Courtney Hammond:

It's my space.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, no wonder that's the visual that came to you with the tree. That makes so much sense. All right, well, now it does bring us to our Stop. Breathe. Talk. space where we bring in our producer, Mackenzie DeJong, and she gets to ask us a question.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Hello, for one last time this season. Well, you can probably guess, Mackenzie, because it is the last episode of the season. What is one, and honestly, you had just such insightful comments, words are hard, insightful conversation there. I'm kind of like, oh, do I need to do more but this is more of a reflection on the season. What is one either big takeaway, one AHA, one hey, everybody, keep this in mind, one thing that you reflect on from this season, that stands out to you most?

Mackenzie Johnson:

There's so much good stuff. Do you have

Courtney Hammond:

I'm gonna say the resilience thing, man. My one, Courtney? mind was blown. Blown. And that's how misinformed somebody who lives, you know, lived with that kind of life. But I was. Literally, I'm 31 years old. I just found out what resilient really meant. And I've been the last four weeks, my eyes have just been through a whole new lens. A whole new lens.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. And so that was all the way back in episode one. Yeah, I would say for listeners in case they haven't listened to episode one yet. Okay. We talked about, we defined resilience. And then we had this really great conversation around Courtney's like, it's not just, it's not just a personal trait. It's not like you have resilience, or you don't. But it was, right? And that is a really important thing. Like, when I'm talking about it, I'm almost assuming people know that. And I'm so glad you brought it up and slowed us down. I had no clue. It's so important. Yeah. And that it's not a have it or don't.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Right, and then we could say, Courtney, you've been building resilience for years and years and years, girl. Yeah.

Courtney Hammond:

I thought you either did or you didn't. And I was like, okay, I don't, but I have a good personality. Like, she's so nice. I'm nice. And I'm funny. Like, I don't have to be resilient because I make up for it. That was my like, honestly, there was so many great moments in this season, though. Like, I am so grateful y'all. Like beyond grateful.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Honestly, I think for me, it's so many things that you shared were, one, I think showing up so authentically and vulnerably is so powerful. And so destigmatizing for topics we often don't talk about, especially in parenting. But I just think hearing a different perspective from my own is like such a powerful reminder. And that, yeah, everybody is going through it in a different way and it's not about my way being your way. I don't know, it just really, I feel, I'm trying to get to my point. Hearing about your perspectives and the way that you show up and these things, that it just really solidified to me why more than one way is so important. Yeah. And like yeah, honestly for me, even today as we were talking about authoritative versus authoritarian. And you're talking about how sometimes I parent from a place of guilt, you know. It's something you've said is like, sometimes I parent from a place of guilt because I have done harm to my kids. And that I could be even as much as I'm like, there's more than one way. Sometimes there was, you know, a part in the back of my mind of like, well don't be too permissive. Why would people be too permissive? And now I'm like, but I totally see how you could come from this place of like, but I did harm. So now I'm like, working so hard to not do anything that might harm them anymore, that it could end up being permissive. And so it's just like, there's no place for judgment. There's a million reasons why, but I just think like, I'm just so incredibly grateful for you sharing openly about your experiences, and I've learned so much from you.

Courtney Hammond:

I'm gonna have to have that in writing.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're like, will you document that please?

Mackenzie DeJong:

Transcript, closed captioning, so it technically will be in writing.

Courtney Hammond:

That's all I need.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, but yeah, thanks for the question, Kenz, because there's so much we covered this season. And there are a lot of great tidbits. But I'm like when I really think back about what I learned, my main takeaway, that's sticking

Mackenzie DeJong:

And you know, you said you did so much this with me. season, and we only did it in five episodes. Yes, it has been an incredible five weeks of navigating through all of this and just learning from one another. And I have gotten the honor of just sitting back and listening, basically. So thank you for being willing to share for both of you. But thank you also for answering my question one last time.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Courtney, you did it. You made it through all five episodes of Stop. Breathe. Talk. questions. Congratulations. We knew you were resilient.

Courtney Hammond:

I still, like I still have a really hard time believing I am. I mean, now I know the language and the meaning I'm like, yeah, but then I'm like, am I? I don't know. Some work to do there. Yeah, I have to uncondition, unlearn, myself and accept that I am. But I really, really appreciate you guys inviting me on here. Like super powerful, I love sharing.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And honestly, now that we've done this, right, for five episodes, I'm like, I can't picture it any other way. How else could we have possibly? This is how. I just said a minute ago, there's more than one way. There was not more than one way to record this way.

Mackenzie DeJong:

One way to record this season and this was it.

Courtney Hammond:

No, I really appreciate you guys for trusting, you know, for allowing me to trust you guys with the vulnerability piece. Like sometimes it just wasn't appreciated for me so or for me as in, no one else really appreciates it. But my share has lessened my pain. So yeah, it's like I've healed in five weeks more than I've healed in a long time.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay.

Courtney Hammond:

No, I promise you. I talked to Devin Ronald. This is like it. If this is what it's like. I can go to a therapy. I can talk to people but when I really start sharing my stuff, and people are like, yeah, that makes sense. I'm like, you know what? I'm not crazy. I was valid. It's just been a really good experience. And I really appreciate it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Thank you. Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, okay, now we have to like wrap up this episode. What? I'm supposed to move on after that.

Mackenzie DeJong:

More tears here.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Thank you, Kenzi. Bye. Goodness, girl. Well, we do, I would say, have a few things to wrap up for the season. But man, what a solid note to end on if we were ending there. But I'm so glad that it's been a positive experience for you because it has been obviously for us, too. So speaking of positive, my segue, positive language, right? Every episode, we've done some positive language towards the end. And so, you know, we've talked about parenting amid threats to safety. We've talked about good enough parenting and resilience and all this stuff, rebuilding relationships. And it just felt so, this episode, this theme really felt really important for us to land on. And so I'm just glad the last positive statement we're gonna share is this one. So even with my good intentions for parenting my children, I have made mistakes, and I will make mistakes in the future. And I have strategies for recognizing, repairing and rebuilding the relationship. So when we think about rebuilding and repairing, that we're progress over perfection, like you said, and that even though I have good intent, I have made mistakes. I will make other ones. And I have strategies, I have stuff I can do about that. It doesn't have to be a permanent, I don't want to say maybe scarring, I guess. There might be harm done and we can rebuild and repair in that relationship. So that was really powerful.

Courtney Hammond:

Love that. And I think when we say these positive, this one especially, I feel like it gives our kids a good direction. You know, nothing's ever really set in stone. It doesn't have to be, things happen. But everything can be repaired. And rebuilding is possible. You know, like I always say, my rock bottom was my strongest point because all skyscrapers were built in the bedrock. Oh, I love that! There you go with your word pictures. I know. And I just feel like that right here, this right here. I have made mistakes and I will make in the future. That's just giving somebody's permission to give grace. Like, some teenagers make mistakes, and they don't want to tell their parents and it ultimately leads down to this bad, bad consequences. And this is just giving us, you know, when we model this, our kids are like, okay, mom can make mistakes. So can I, and it's gonna be okay.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, one thing I've really tried to infuse into all of these little affirmations or whatever, is also this element of, what is within our control? Especially because as parents, often we're like, our time doesn't feel like our own and our energy doesn't feel like our own and all this stuff, that whether it's our kids or something else, you know, that demands for our time, and that we do have, there are things that are within our control. There are things that are within our choices. But also, especially when we think about parenting through challenges is what we've been talking about all season, that it can feel like so much is out of control, right? We talk about whether it's a natural disaster or active addiction, or family health, you know, a pandemic, right, that stuff can be out of our control. But I really tried in these affirmations to help us find what is within our control, right? So what can be within our control is our ability and willingness to work towards repair. And so all those language affirmations this season, but I do want to give us a little rundown in case you forgot, or in case you haven't listened, if you came in just for this episode. What else did we cover this season? Well, we talked about raising resilience. So one of my big takeaways from that episode and addition that are my remembering that resilience is not a personal trait. It's something that can be built and we do that by building our protective factors. But I loved also the takeaway of, even if we can't control that there is adversity, we can control how much support we offer to our kids. And that when it's adversity with support, it helps them be resilient. And I love that. In episode two, we talked about good enough parenting. Identifying what those essential things are, right, when everything else is like astray, amuck, crazy town, that we can identify, okay, sometimes we do have to lower the bar. Let's figure out what that looks like. And then number three was parenting amid threats to safety. We talked about harm reduction, right, that like, yep, ideally, there was no harm. But sometimes we just have to choose the less harmful of two difficult options. And that episode also had the hope framework of what we can do to help protect our kids. Number four was co-parenting, custody, and kinship care. My big takeaway from that one was just like, the child comes first, right, that we have strategies for positive communication, right? We talked through a lot of stuff, but that there's a lot of different situations. And that, across those that seems like the main priority is that our kids need to come first. And we need to have it not about you.

Courtney Hammond:

Yeah, not about you, not about you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And then of course, today, we were talking about repairing and rebuilding, talking a lot about holding that space, acknowledging what we've done, practicing apologies and things like that. So that's what it looks like, right, when we're parenting through these challenges, that there's missteps, that there's sometimes harm done, that we have strategies for apologizing. And so I do have a little summary that I wrote, as a final message on this season of like, as you listened and we talked about parenting through some really serious and scary challenges in some serious realities that I hope that you also could hear hope. Like, I hope that's what you, I hope that's what you heard was hope. But this idea that there is hope, even in really challenging circumstances, we can raise great kids, we can have positive relationships with them, that some things are not going to be totally within our control. And we can build support protective factors, have strategies for building those relationships with our kids. So our kids don't need a perfect parent. They need a parent who strives to show up, strives to meet their basic needs and practices good enough parenting. It's great when we can give them more and that's not always the reality we live in. That has like, as we think about what do we say I was like, what do we say as we wrap this up? I was like, I do want to give this message of sometimes it was heavy, right? We're talking about serious stuff. But that there's hope and that there's things that we can even if we can't control the situation, that there are things that are within our reach that we do have choice about that. We can work to protect our kids, even if it's not protecting them from everything we wish you could. And so that's just kind of the final takeaway I wanted to share this season. So like we've said, this is our last episode and so this is kind of your last chance, Courtney.

Courtney Hammond:

I don't know! Just like, you know, I said earlier during the Stop. Breathe. Talk. space is yeah, you know, I'm just grateful for the experience. Like if my story is heard by somebody, just one person, and they're like, you know what, I'm not alone, then I've already won. You know, like, I'm on the winning track to what I want to do, and that's to help people. I want to be the person that I needed. And I want to be the person to my kids that I needed. And not that I'm always going to show up in a white dress, like, you know, with everything, but at least I'm trying.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're showing up.

Courtney Hammond:

Showing up. And sometimes I'm not good at You haven't accomplished saying that word. But otherwise, yeah, showing up. So this is just one of those things where I had a goal I have accomplished. Geez. right. Right. Accomplished, terrible word. But it's just one of those things that like, I've worked really hard to be able to sit here and commit. Yes, if you would have met me three and a half years ago, no. So it's just me reflecting off my growth like yay. I can commit to things. I can do good things.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Did it. Yeah, did it. Well, and I want to thank you for that commitment. Because it is. I know, for listeners, it's like, yeah, there's like five episodes, you know, I'm sure it took some time. But there's a lot of coordination and planning and running things through and scheduling several people. And so it is a commitment. It really is. And so thank you for being willing to one, being willing to make that commitment, but two, also sticking with us when there were trouble, like troubles scheduling and things like this along the way. But then I mostly just want to again, I know I said earlier, but just your vulnerability in the authentic ways that you have shown up and been willing to share things with us and help destigmatize things that so often we don't. And I will admit, so often, I'm not thinking about, you know, as we think as I'm talking from my own perspective, and if that's not my lived experience, I don't want to say I'm forgetting about it, but it's not what I'm sharing about. And so I'm so grateful for the ways that you've reminded me of like the variety of experiences we have. And yeah, just like I said, the more than one way and so I am so grateful we got to do this season together. Like I said, there was no more than one way. There was one way to do it, and I'm so glad it was this way that we recorded this.

Courtney Hammond:

Well, thank you. Look, I'm blushing.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I know, she's blushing, she's blushing. So thank you so much, Courtney.

Courtney Hammond:

It gives me purpose. Like I'm just, you know, I will say this final thought. I was just a homeless addict in a small town that had nothing, not a car, not clothes, not a shower, not nothing, no food. And then here I am on this podcast, and being able to talk to you guys has given me a huge confidence boost. I can make friends. I do matter to people. What I say is important. And I would never, I mean, I never in a million years would have thought that I'd be like, hey, Mackenzie, she's one of my good friends. You know, like, look at her. It's amazing to me, I don't know, it's just surreal. I have to sit back, process it and be like, you know what, I'm doing good things. I'm not that person no more. She's gone. But she's, you know, she's made me who I am. And I thank her for it. But I'm glad I'm here.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, thank you for sharing that story of, yes, resilience, you know, and growth and all those things, for sharing it with all of us.

Courtney Hammond:

Oh, Mackenzie.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, then we'll wrap it up. And I'll say, I said thank you to you like eight times. And I feel like I should say more, but I'm going to call it there. But I will say thank you to our listeners for joining us on The Science of Parenting podcast and remember, yes, we're wrapping it up for this season. But you can keep up with us on social media, Facebook and Twitter@scienceofparent and so you can see our content in your feed to keep up with us between seasons.

Courtney Hammond:

And so come along as we tackle the ups and downs, ins and outs, and the research and reality around The Science of Parenting.

Mackenzie Johnson:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full nondiscrimination statement or accommodation inquiries go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext. This project was supported by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Substance Use via a sub award for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The contents of this episode are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of nor are they an endorsement by Iowa DHHS, SAMHSA, HHS or the US government.