The Science of Parenting

Bring Out the Best | S.3 Ep. 12

October 22, 2020 Season 3 Episode 12
The Science of Parenting
Bring Out the Best | S.3 Ep. 12
Chapters
The Science of Parenting
Bring Out the Best | S.3 Ep. 12
Oct 22, 2020 Season 3 Episode 12

Work through your child’s moodiness (hello whiny toddler or aloof teen) by focusing on the positive through your words and actions.

Send us an email: [email protected]
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Show Notes Transcript

Work through your child’s moodiness (hello whiny toddler or aloof teen) by focusing on the positive through your words and actions.

Send us an email: [email protected]
Find us on Facebook or Twitter: @scienceofparent.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext

Mackenzie Johnson:

Hey, 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.

Lori Hayungs:

And I'm Lori Hayungs, parent of three. Yeah, one launched, one in college and one in high school, and I am a parenting educator as well. I feel so funny as we repeat, repeat. Anyway. So here we are today, right? We are looking at temperament still. We started earlier in August, and we are going all the way through November to talk about temperament and how it impacts your parenting.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That's just cuz there's so much good stuff to cover.

Lori Hayungs:

I'm gonna be very sad when we're done.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We'll talk about something else.

Lori Hayungs:

I'll be slipping it into everything that we do. All right, but first, we'd better remind you what temperament is and what temperament isn't. So we look at temperament as this foundation, temperament has always been there, it's been this foundation that we start life on. And we layer things like child development, growth, personality, who we grow up with, where we grow up, that gets all layered on top of our temperament. But it's always been there at the start. And so as we look at temperament, and that's really the foundation from which our child responds to everything in the world.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. Right at the core, right at the foundation from the beginning. And you might remember that we are basing our temperament episodes on the nine traits that were identified by Thomas and Chess. You know, there's also amazing temperament researchers like Jim Cameron and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente where they have been following kids' temperament profiles for over 30 years, and they've studied thousands of kids watching that profile over time. And basically what that research says is that everybody is getting all nine of these temperament traits. We've covered quite a few of them so far. Getting closer to being done.

Lori Hayungs:

Getting close.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And we've covered quite a few, but everybody's getting all of them. It's just a matter of if we got a lot of this trait or a little. And so again, we're going to be looking at that diving into one specific trait again today. But we want to remind you that you can find more of our temperament resources on our website scienceofparenting.org. If you have questions and want to go scope out one of those profiles and find some of the resources we mentioned in previous episodes. But for today's episode, we get to talk about mood.

Lori Hayungs:

We do and this is one of those tricky ones. But at the same time, as we talk about it, I think people are going to realize that you know the definition is, it is what it is. It's just yeah, a definition. And so as we look to define mood in the temperament world, it can be confusing. But again, essentially, it's just either positive or negative. And it's just that natural, inborn response. Okay, so we sometimes get kind of queasy about, oh, that word negative, but we're going to talk you through that. We're going to not be queasy about it. And so I like to define it with opposites. And that's the easiest way for me to share with parents and childcare providers and teachers as we talk about this trait. Think about it as opposites. So silly versus somber. Content versus discontent. Easy to soothe versus hard to soothe. So can you see the opposites here? It's just that natural bent that you view the world from? It's not bad or good. It just is. And think back to the nursery at the hospital. Okay, so no one taught those babies on day one to be easy to soothe or hard to soothe.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Man, my life would be easier if we could though, right? No, just temperament.

Lori Hayungs:

No choosing allowed. They just were base on their temperament that they got genetically. Okay. So how o you describe this trait in y ur own words?

Mackenzie Johnson:

So I also like to think of it as opposites. But another thing that I heard you say as we were getting ready for this episode is the word disposition. I'm like, that it's the natural. It's not right. It's not planned. It's not taught. It's just like it's the disposition. It's what that child or adult, where they naturally sit. And so I like to say, the words that come to mind for me are for a high mood child might be like cheery or chipper. And for a lower mood child, I actually tend to think of the word critical. Like I said, not in a negative way more like in the term of like, a critical eye, like noticing additional things. And our writer, Barb, was like, the critical eye would be able to check all the boxes, right, to see things the whole picture, versus maybe a high mood child might, or adult, might just see some of the positive.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes, and when you say that it makes me think of whimsey versus worrier. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Hold on. Don't go yet. Don't go yet. I want to talk more. We think of kids as being really silly. And I love that word whimsey of just like, you know, I think of pretend play and all those things. But that's not every kid. Some kids are the worrier, the sit back and I don't want to climb that tree, because I will fall and break my leg. And so I think understanding that there's nothing wrong with kids who have or adults who have that lower mood. I love that. Yes.

Lori Hayungs:

All right. So now we know what the definition is. Let's look at it on the temperament continuum. Do want to tell us about that?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So again, everybody got all nine traits. And so everybody has mood? Did they get a little? Or did they get a lot? And we know it is kind of tricky. You know, when we think about this word mood that we use regularly, we think of like, are you in a good mood or a bad mood? So everybody has their own typical range, but it comes down to that natural state, right? That foundational mood, that disposition? So can you give us an example, let's say of that lower end of mood?

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. So on the lower end of the continuum, we talk about it being more negative. And so this child, they might be more somber, more serious, more whiny, more worrisome, more analytical, and as they grow, they are going to be more evaluative of their responses. They're gonna think about things more deeply. Right? And their responses honestly, are directly related to their brain patterns. And, like, you know how much I like to talk about brains. Right, right? And I think about that as a way to say, it's not bad. It just is part of who we are when we aim down towards that negative mood on the continuum, a little bit more pessimistic, etc. Do you have a story about a negative mood of an individual.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, so I actually think of kind of on both ends of the continuum, I have a really good friend who her and her significant other tend to fall on opposite ends. She has always tended to be a igher mood, he tends to be a low r mood. And so even just unde standing that that's just a pa t of who he is. He's not being negative, or trying to be critic l or those things. But natural y, he can maybe see the worst case scenario, which als means that he's good at planni g ahead for it. You know, and o r significant other, ou know, sometimes it's even teasing of the hypochondriac, ut like that worrisome, and it's real, it's not a matter of bei g dramatic, as much as their br in can naturally, right th t foundation. And so those words of like worrier, critical a alytical. And so I think when we see this in kids, like I sai , sometimes we think what's wro g with them? Why can't they e happy-go-lucky. And there's othing wrong with them. They h ve a lower mood, and there's a tually a lot of strengths abo t it. It might not be what we na urally think of when we think o childhood.

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly. And I think it's really important for us at this juncture to remember, we can't just tell them to stop worrying. Just stop worrying. You know, as a child, I worried and I think and I look back and that negative mood part of me was always there. Like, I just worried. That's part of who I am. Alright, so on the other side of the spectrum is the more positive mood. This child is more content, maybe silly, smiley, more friendly. They're more pleasant to be around and they just generally seem more positive. Now, here's the deal. All right. That does not mean that they can't be cranky at some points in time, right. But the one thing about this is that our mood can also hide our true feelings. So if you're looking at a positive mood child, as an adult, sometimes we realize that we've just learned how to put on a happy face, even when we've felt down on the inside. So it's important to be sure to watch for that child who has a positive mood to make sure they're not masking how they really feel on the inside and keeping those doors of communication open.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And I think understanding that also can mean, we might be a safe place for our high mood child to melt, right, to not put on the happy face, I actually have an example, I tend to be pretty high mood, and I have an example. I used to be part of this organization when I was in high school, and I had had a really stressful day and all these things seem like they're going wrong. And I walk in with a smile on my face. And an adult pulled me aside and they're like, you know, it sounds like you had a really hard day. But man, you'd go through anything with a smile. I was like, oh, yeah, haha. And he's like, and that's a really dangerous game for you to always be playing. Oh, and I like fell apart for someone to call me so hard. I'm like, you are right. But I think one of the phrases I kind of heard you talk about was like, the difference in mood and emotion. So I have a high mood but it doesn't mean I don't get frustrated, it doesn't mean I don't feel disappointed. You know, any of those big feelings, I still have those big emotions, right. And of course, we know intensity plays into those, how strongly we feel them, but with moods specifically, my disposition is cheery, is positive, you know, is that sunny. And so as a high mood we have to watch for that in our kids. And that, yeah, sometimes our high mood kid falls apart for us, because they've been putting on the smile for everybody else. And that's exhausting.

Lori Hayungs:

It is exhausting. It is exhausting. And this is a great way for us to think about our child's mood and our own mood. So we think about, are they the same? Or are they different? And remember that temperament is genetic. And so it could be different from yours. And I honestly remember some of this first temperament teaching and learning that I did realizing and recognizing that I actually tend down towards that negative mood side. And if I look back, I can think about different times in my life where, yes, absolutely I was on that negative mood side. I already said I worried. I remember a relationship quiz we took said I was more pessimistic. And man, I was ticked about that. Yeah. And I just thought I wasn't accepting and honoring that there are times that I'm more thoughtful. I mean, you know me, I'm the person that has plans A through Z already figured out, right? Yeah, so if A doesn't work, we've got backup plan B. If B doesn't work, we've got that backup plan C.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And i think that comes partially from that ability to see those, like your negative mood allows you to see those worst case scenarios. So you know, like, if this doesn't work, here's Plan B, if this doesn't work, absolutely.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. And when I look at my children, I think of a story about a superbowl commercial and the four of us as a family at this point in time, were sitting on a couch and the wo members of my family that ave a positive mood, including y five year old at the time, ere watching Superbowl ommercials. And they're esigned to be funny, right? So ou're sitting on the couch atching the superbowl ommercial, myself and my middle hild were sitting in the iddle. The superbowl commercial appened, it happened to be here a businessman walked smack ab into a very clean plate lass window, boom, and he just rops to the floor. Yeah, the wo positive mood people in my amily bust out laughing. My ive year old falls to the floor n a giggling fit. And myself nd my middle daughter, we sit toically on the couch, looking t each other thinking that asn't that funny. That's a eally good example of different oods in different households.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And I tend to have a pretty high mood. Another one of those more extreme traits. I tend to have pretty high mood. I've noticed my older child tends to have a pretty high mood. I'm still kind of figuring out with my littlest, right now he's one and I'm not totally sure. I think he's probably a little more of the middle ground, which we know a lot of people are, right, fa l in that middle of the continuu . And my husband tends to be I think he's kind of moderate, ut definitely lower than I am. So but how do we create that g odness of fit even whether i 's similar or different? And I t ink you know, we're going to g t into some of those s rategies in the your reality s ction, but we do want to look f rst at how does this mood play out across these different ages, right? We know that in certain stages, we might consider a certain trait to be an asset an in other stages, we might fe l like it's kind of a liabili y and something we need to wat h out for. So can you walk s through a little bit of the e kind of different ages? And h w mood might play ou

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah. So I think that, especially when we look at infancy and as first time parents or second or third time parents, we think about that infant and we think, oh, you know, content and smiley, and the easy going asset, asset asset, right. And I think that, yes, so wouldn't that be great if all infants who are involved in this social emotional response to adults were more content and easy to soothe, but there's this part of infants that aren't and I think it's really important to recognize that they are so worth smiling and cuddling and holding and having that same face that you have, you know, glued on when you're looking at your smiley, content, and easy to soothe infant, think about your face. And I want you to try to put that same face on even if your infant is not easy to soothe and not content and and show them that same amount of compassion and acceptance and love. Absolutely. It's so hard to have a negative mood infant and it really hurt. Like it literally just hurts my inside sometimes thinking about how hard that is. So toddlers.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Hold on. So as infants, I remember one of the profiles I completed for my kids, right, has this trait of soothability? Is mood a part of that? So like how easy it is to soothe an infant? Is that kind of a part of the soothability?

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah, part of the soothability, also the, you know, the ability to adapt and help them adapt to types of things.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So that's more than one, mood is a part of it, but not the whole tree. Okay, sorry.

Lori Hayungs:

That's alright. When we look at toddlers, and we think about them moving into that idea of independence, and I want to do it my way, and you think about the independent toddler who's enjoying, you know, learning new things, or the independent toddler who, is like, you do it, I'm scared. I'm worried about trying these new independent things. Again, you know, as adults, we see the bigger picture. They don't. And so when it comes to mood, it's really important for us again, to accept whatever it is their mood is at and recognize that it's just their natural bent, their natural tendency.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think that, earlier you said the word whiny for negative mood. And I think, you know, a lot of times when we teach parent education or early childhood, you know, Child Development things, that is a hard behavior for a lot of people. And I think low mood can have a lot to do with that, especially kind of in this toddler age where they're working on so much. And it's hard to learn all these things all the time. I'm learning to walk and I'm learning to talk and you expect things of me and there's rules.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. And now you're asking me to feed myself and put my own shoe on and put my own coat on. And yeah, like all these things. Alright, so let's look at the preschooler. They're starting to be in some of their first formal education places and their first play groups. And as you think about the negative mood versus the positive mood child, we think about the idea that the positive mood child probably fits into more playgroups easily. They're easier to get along with, where the negative mood child, they might be hesitant to join some of the playgroups. And frankly, sometimes because they are checking the boxes, they just might actually be more challenging as a friend, because they might be telling you, well, that's not where the blocks go. You didn't make that color the right color. And so that's part of their mood is to be critical and to see things in an evaluative type of way. And so that might be hard sometimes when you're in some of those first social settings.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I think of like those three and four year olds, figuring all those things out in this new environment with new friends and a teacher and all these people and like, taking all of that in and then in their low mood being able to see, I mean, what I would say is the worst case scenario, right? And oh, we can't do that this way. And this is not how this goes and yeah, I can see that low mood playing out. I also want to use the word contemplative. They're considering so much of it.

Lori Hayungs:

They are. And so then think about the mood when we get to the formal education, elementary school, middle school, high school. And again, those positive opportunities to be in social groups and to be the friend that just everyone gets along with. But we think about, you know, it's easy to be taken advantage of when you have a positive mood, and people just think you're always going to go along with it. You talked about, you know, masking. Well, I'm just always happy and, you know, not being assertive, because you're just gonna be positive about it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And be friendly about it.

Lori Hayungs:

Be friendly about it. Yes. And then a negative mood again, they might, you know, they might challenge a teacher if the teacher isn't explaining it correctly. Or maybe they have an error, or, you know, they you just might be that friend that is honest about how that shirt does look on you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That critical eye, they've got it.

Lori Hayungs:

They've got it. So again, as we grow and learn about our temperament and our children's temperament, it just becomes that space for us to think about. Okay, so as a parent, what tips and tricks and techniques do I need to teach my child because of the mood, their natural mood and how they look at the world?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And that really does bring us right to that goodness of fit, right? We've talked about that in basically every episode, that you know it's about learning to respond to their temperament, to their natural mood, you know, that we can support their natural tendencies, and help them build the skills they need to navigate the world successfully. So as parents, right, we're the adults. So even though we have our own temperament, maybe it clashes, maybe it fits well, it is our job to help them learn to respond to the world. And that can mean for us that were accommodating and understanding and anticipating so yeah, a lot to do with goodness of fit. So with that mood in particular.

Lori Hayungs:

it is. And one of the things I think that we have started to do along the way here in these trait deep dive discussions, is think about, you know, what's wonderful. So what's wonderful about the positive mood? What's wonderful about the negative mood? When you think about what's wonderful about mood and its continuum, what do you think?

Mackenzie Johnson:

So I think of some of my friends, and even my colleagues who have low mood, and I would see a wonderful thing about having a colleague with a low mood is I think you're great at anticipating things because you do with that lower mood and that more negative critical eye, you're able to see things that I gloss over as like, oh, it's fine. So that is a risk of my time. But I appreciate that, you know, maybe that kid that has a low mood is less likely to maybe take those kind of risky things because they could see the worst case scenario, but what would you say is wonderful about low mood?

Lori Hayungs:

So it was a hard one for me to accept for a long time. And I remember when I took a temperament profile, and we were scoring it by hand. And this was kind of my first dive into what is this thing called temperament. And my mood didn't, you know, it's not all the way on the end of the continuum but it's towards that negative direction. And I thought, well, I must have scored this wrong. I don't do math well. I must have scored this wrong. And then I thought about that pessimist test that I took earlier. And I thought about being a worrier as a kid, and I thought, wait a second, this can't be true. I don't want this to be true. And then I had to go, okay, well, so what's wonderful about it? I do have backup plans. I do think through things. I do. Yes, I'm highly adaptable and highly active. Yes. But at the core of my being before I've jumped and changed, I've probably figured out already what the worst case scenario is and I'm okay with that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Mm hmm. And I think a difference between you and I, I am maybe more apt to jump and not have thought through every single worst case. Like we're both pretty highly adaptable. Yes, we're more apt to have thought through that worst case scenario. And I'm like, it's gonna be good. We're gonna do this. And that is again, a risk of high mood because I do I appreciate that trait about you. I do think that's a wonderful thing.

Lori Hayungs:

Thank you. One thing I read as we were going through things was that it's really important we'll probably get to this in the strategy just but it is important to remind those of us who are negative mood to to appreciate and look for gratitude. So thanks, I appreciate that. What's wonderful about the positive mood?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I guess I would say the ability to see the bright side That's kind of what I naturally, you know, it's kind of that more optimistic. And like you said, I mean, it feels a little self serving to say the word likable, but you know, easy to get along with most people and that kind of thing. So those are positive things. And so as I think about that in my own child, you know, that's something I can appreciate is the chipper, easy to get along with kind of attitude. What would you say is wonderful about a high mood?

Lori Hayungs:

I think that what I most wanted, and the reason that I felt so unsure of why I wanted to be all the way over in the positive, because that's what I saw was, oh, it's wonderful to, to look at something and not immediately start to think about, well, what's the worst case scenario, like, that's wonderful to just be so able to look at it and go, that's gonna be okay. It's gonna be. And again, like I said, like, I can do that. But what you don't know in the background is that I have immediately, very spontaneously and quickly processed through everything else first.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, I even think of with my co-parent, some of when we go to make decisions together, I tend to be the optimist of like, okay, and this and this, and these things will be wonderful. And my co-parent tends to be the realist of like, okay, and, you know, and and? That's a wonderful trait. I would probably get into some trouble if my partner didn't have more realism than I do. Yeah, yeah. Oh, so you know, there are so many wonderful things about both sides of this temperament continuum. And, you know, being right along that middle, when it comes to this trait of mood. You know, so we do, we think about strategies. We like to share this research and reality with you around these traits and across all of our podcasts, share the research and reality, and we want to bring it back to your reality. So as a parent, as a listener, or viewer, we know that your reality looks different than each of us and what your child's temperament or children's right, it might vary when all those things come together. But we'd like to bring it back to your reality and the strategies you can use now that you maybe have a little more understanding of mood. So Lori, since you are a little bit more of an expert on a little bit lower mood, do you want to share some strategies we've come across for that?

Lori Hayungs:

I will. So one of the things that we've been able to do as we've been diving into temperament is talk with different researchers. So these specific tips come from Rona Runner who wrote a book called Is That Me Yelling? And from Mary Sheedy Kurcinko who wrote Raising Your Spirited Child. And so I'm going to focus on the negative mood tips and tricks that we need to kind of teach our children because of essentially what we gave them remember? So this particular child is going to need help understanding their disposition and how to learn to be positive and tactful. We are well aware of different things that happen and the tact of what we're responding to. We need to share with them examples. We need to have conversations and just be real about things that we say and how it sounds. That's something that I definitely do with my middle daughter is when you say it this way, people may hear it this way. And as she's grown, she's needed to learn, I can't be so blunt because I want my message to be this instead of this.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So I think that word tact is a really, yes, you can see things with a critical eye. So helping to teach them about being tactful, and how they maybe share that information with other people. Yeah. Great strategy.

Lori Hayungs:

And you're still appreciative of what they got. It's not that you're telling them don't be this way. That's not it, because this is their nature. It's how can we work with what's in your nature. And so the other thing I was mentioning was helping them to learn how to practice gratitude, and being grateful and that their feelings are valid and valued. But how can we practice gratitude and find that grace and enjoyment in the things that we do have. And a really important part of that piece is helping them use words and sharing words with them to notice what's going well. Sharing and really having conversations and connecting with them.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And so I think if they're seeing worst case scenario, you know, with the low mood and natural worrier, like, okay, some of the things that are going well. That practice of like, okay, yep, we're worried that this might happen on picture day but these are the things that are already going well.

Lori Hayungs:

And you lead right into the fourth strategy which is to work together to celebrate small successes. You've got to celebrate those small successes because they have already thought about the big picture. And they are already 10 steps ahead of you thinking about now what does the big picture look like? So you've got to back them up and celebrate the small successes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, I think of, you know, sometimes a common experience for maybe someone with a low mood, gift receiving. When they receive a gift, one is the natural gratitude, you know, that it may not be as high as it is for other people. Not that they don't appreciate it. But the expression of like, oh, oh, I should tell you. And so I think it kind of comes back to that word anticipate, right? Temperament shows a pattern and so you can anticipate. So with low mood, it might be a combination of teaching that child with a low mood, okay, when someone gives you a gift, you open it, you look at them, you smile, and you tell them thank you. And so that's part of teaching that tact, using your words, putting all those pieces together that it's like, okay, I need to anticipate. Your natural low mood means that might not come to you easily so I need to teach you the process.

Lori Hayungs:

I love it. Yeah. All right. What about the other side?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So as I think about high mood, I would say sometimes being the optimist, I, as a child in my high, my high mood child, one of the strategies is to kind of help them heed caution is kind of how I want to say it. But yeah, the optimist might jump in pretty easily to something because well, it's gonna go well, and so helping you know, if a low mood child can see that worst case scenario pretty easily, high mood child might not so much. So that is an important strategy for those kids. Right? It can seem happy go lucky and we don't need to worry about their mood. But it's like, okay, so we need to think through potential consequences of things and help them develop that skill. And then the other thing that I would say for a high mood child, you know, I shared my example with that adult who said, you'd smile through anything. Watching for that in our high mood kids. You know, there's this term masking, where, you know, you're putting on that happy face for everybody. And so watching for that in your high mood child who you know, will put on that happy face even when they're natural, you know, because their mood is high but their emotions might not feel good at that time. Right? They might be frustrated, disappointed, angry, any of those things. And so that means providing a safe space for them. So when people say, and I have said it myself, like, my child does not act like this for other people. Why are they doing this to me? Okay, I'm doing it to me. I'm a safe space and so she doesn't need to put on that big happy smile for me. She knows I'll love her either way. And so yes, for other people, she might put on the big happy smile, and she gets in the car and she is exhausted from that masking, right, that being that chipper and that friendly and those things. So that's strategies I would say for high mood is help them, you know, think through scenarios and think about consequences, as well as watching for that masking and giving them a safe space to feel.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Okay, so let's see how we do today. Well, we're gonna bring in our producer Kenzie, and this is where she gets to pull in a question based on our topic of the day. And you know, just give us this moment to stop, take a breath and, you know, think about the topic in a different way possibly. So come on in Kenz.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Hello! You're not a face we usually see. I'm so excited. Hi everybody. I want to say hello. I am Barb Dunn Swanson. And I'm part of the Science of Parenting team as well. And I'm a parenting educator and today, we wanted to put you all in the mood. And we thought we would do that by having me come in and just talk a little bit about my question for you. Okay.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love seeing your face on here so much.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

I'm happy to join you. I enjoy listening to you so much. I learn something every time that we get together. And I think about parents who really want their children to be happy and joyful. And that's what they want. They want their children to have positive experiences all day long. And then how do we help parents have reasonable expectations when their mood might be on the lower end? How can we talk to parents so that they might celebrate the opposite end even when it isn't high all the time? I wonder if we could talk about that for a minute? Yes, yeah. Yay.

Lori Hayungs:

Okay, I'll start. So having a child that has a more negative mood, I remember thinking, and I still do, sometimes I would try to explain away her actions or her behaviors to others and explain that, well, she really meant to say, you know, because when she was younger, she wasn't as tactful and I just remember thinking as a parent, I need to protect her from her negative mood. And I didn't always appreciate it. And so there is that risk of explaining it away. And then explaining it away in front of the child, and having the child take on the idea that whatever I am isn't right, or whatever I am isn't good enough. And so this idea of expectations, really letting your child know that it is okay for you to feel this way. Now, in this situation, we're going to say things like this. And as they get older, we can explain more and more. But that idea of what can we expect and anticipating what can we expect in this situation. I can anticipate that in this situation, my daughter, her mood is going to be negative. She did not like to be the center of attention when it came to gift giving. And so if someone gave her this really extravagant, amazing, wonderful gift, I mean, she might tuck her face into my chest and hide and so there was that part of me that thought, I have to explain away why she looks like she's not grateful for this wonderful, extravagant, magnificent gift. Yeah, but that negative mood is just different. And later on, she might talk and talk and talk and talk and talk about this wonderful, magnificent extravagant gift, right? So just the expectations has to do with understanding and still appreciating and anticipating.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Thank you, that's a good way to look at it, thank you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I would say, as a parent with a pretty high mood, I might be disappointed. If we're really honest, that I think of the joy and the experiences with my high, you know, I think of myself. I'm a little selfish there, you know, like, oh, I just want you to have these great, wonderful, extravagant, you know, those feelings. I associate those things with being positive and that's a good thing in childhood. And so there might be a reality, if you're a high mood parent with a low mood child, there can be that process of a little bit of grief. And it's okay to give yourself space to have those feelings. And at the same time, find wonderful things about your child. And so that low mood, we want to maximize their potential even if it's different potential than ours. There's great things about that low mood, and so we can maybe feel a little disappointed, and give ourselves personal space for that, and honor their mood and help them find the positive in it.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Thank you. You know, as we've talked about these traits, you know, the thing I've been saying is, it's all about the gift. We all come into the world with our gifts, and our traits are our gift to the world. So thank you for helping me think through that a little bit and maybe how I can do some explaining when maybe someone comes across more lower on the spectrum of mood, how I can leave space for them to have those feelings and yet allow myself to understand that we're all different and that we're all coming into it with our own gifts. So thank you very much for letting me join your time today. It was great. This was the best surprise.

Lori Hayungs:

I know. I'm thinking, okay, so she just happened to have the navy blue background. So she just happened to...they're so tricky.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love it. I love it. Thanks for coming on here with us. It's so good to see your face here on the podcast. You give us so much good insight to share with people by being our writer. We love having you on.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Thank you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Thanks, Barb. So yes, Barb is sharing with us a little Stop. Breathe. Talk. question today. That was a surprise for us.

Lori Hayungs:

That was great.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It does. It gives us that chance to stop. Right? We talked about that technique in parenting, stopping, recognizing our own feelings and emotions, right, that can be associated with it. Take a breath, get reregulated, and then to speak with intention. And so we like to take that little pause as we think about this trait, stopping and recognizing the feeling. And so Barbara has a great question today, to think about that mood continuum. Love that.

Lori Hayungs:

So thanks for joining us today on the Science of Parenting podcast and remember to subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. And you can watch us on Facebook on our video feed every week and even every once in a while, we'll let you join us live where we can take your comments and questions.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely, so please come along with us as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality all around the Science of Parenting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is a research based education program hosted by Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to [email protected] and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This program is brought to you by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full nondiscrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext.