The Science of Parenting

Parenting in Stages | S.5 Ep. 1

April 08, 2021 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 5 Episode 1
The Science of Parenting
Parenting in Stages | S.5 Ep. 1
Show Notes Transcript

Whether you’re a new parent or in the middle of the teenage years, discover insights into their specific stage and what to expect next. Our new season covers the milestones from pre-child planning to early adulthood.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
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:

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 Korthals:

And I'm Lori Korthals, parent of three in three different life stages. One is launched, one is in college, and one is in high school. And I am also a parenting educator.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Kicking off season five today. We took a break between that last season and this season, it was much shorter break.

Lori Korthals:

It was but it was still a break.

Mackenzie Johnson:

But it was a break. But yeah, season five getting started here. Right?

Lori Korthals:

It is. And as we look at season five, I think we spent a little bit of time looking back over the last year. And can I just say a huge thank you to all of our listeners. We are in a place that we did not expect a year ago when we launched and, you know, it's been great. So thank you. We're going to be talking about different stages and milestones that children go through. But we're also going to talk about some stages that we as parents go through.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, so I mean, most of us have heard this term child development. But we're the science of parenting, right? We're gonna be talking about child development, and what we can expect of our kids and things at different stages. But we're here to talk about the parenting aspect of it, right? How do I parent infant, toddler, school-aged kids? And so we're going to be taking that spin, right, looking at the parenting aspect of development. We are, yeah, yeah. And one thing you're going to hear us say in just about every episode, is this reminder, which you've maybe heard before, but that kids grow at their own rates, right? So foundational to every episode we're going to offer related to this idea of developing kids and all that is this idea that even kids within the same family or even kids with the exact same birthday, right, they'd be the exact same age, same birthday, stuff at different times, right? So we just want to remind you as we think through these different stages, ages, developmental milestones, whatever, that each kid's gonna be different. Some might be early, some will be kind of right on time, and some will be a little later. And we're gonna give you some tips, right. We're gonna put you in some direction of some good resources in this episode, that can kind of help you navigate that, but always remembering that every kid's gonna be different.

Lori Korthals:

They are and you know, just a reminder about season three, we talked a lot about temperament. And temperament can also impact the length of time it takes for different milestones to happen. So when we look at milestones, we also need to look at temperament.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, no way we could let a season fly by on development without Lori being like, Okay, hold on. Right. Temperament, it's important. Yeah. So yes, as we look across these different ages and stages, we're gonna see our parenting journey.

Lori Korthals:

We are, and you know, both our research and our personal experiences tell us that, you know, parents are wondering what their children should be doing. And y'all are asking us all the time, what age should my child or could you tell me about my teenager? And so we're gonna, you know, it's kind of one of those you said, so we're gonna do seasons, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. This is a requested season basically.

Lori Korthals:

Let's do a requested season?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so the episodes this season are gonna look a little different. You know, normally, all of our episodes, we try to have information that's applicable across all ages and stages of kids. And this season's gonna be a little different than it would be like, hey, this one's about infants. Hey, this episode is for parents of teens. And we do hope that you see the value in kind of maybe catching some of the stages that earlier on you've maybe already, can I say survived? You've already survived. And then also, if you've maybe got younger kids, you're like, I don't know if I need to listen to other ones. But it gives you a heads up in terms of what you can look forward to. So we're going to cover the gamut and we hope you'll follow along with us. But for today, we're actually going to think just about our parenting journey along the way. And so we have this research by Ellen Galinsky that talks about the six stages that parents go through, these different kinds of steps along the way. So Lori, can you just walk us through really quickly the six stages, and then we'll dive in each one.

Lori Korthals:

I will. So this is great information from Ellen Galinsky. She talks about these six stages. And think about the ages of the child while I say their names, right. And these are the stages the parents go through. So first, we have this image making stage. And second, we come into this nurturing stage. And then we show up at the authority stage, to be brought into the interpretive stage. Our fifth stage then becomes this interdependent stage. And finally, we have this departure stage. So yeah, these six stages, and they correspond to the ages that our children are, but they really describe how we as parents might be feeling during those ages of our children.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, well, and they describe kind of what we're doing, right, what we're spending so much of our energy on. And so let's start with that first stage, that image making stage. And so this is really kind of before you have kids, or maybe when, you know, when you're expecting, or working on adopting, or whatever that case may be, but kind of the big thing we're working on is that we're considering what it means to be a parent. And thinking about and planning for the changes that it will take to kind of accommodate our lifestyle to being parents, you know, so that image making. Who will they be? Who will I be as a parent?

Lori Korthals:

Oh, I know, when I'm a parent, I'm gonna...

Mackenzie Johnson:

I'll be sure the only way I'm gonna is...

Lori Korthals:

Yeah, that won't happen when I'm a parent.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That is the slogan for me. And we laugh now, because probably all of our listeners are parents already. And so they can relate to the, yeah, I was sure that I would never be the one who, and here I am. Here I am. Yes. So image making, which sometimes we might forget to include that stage. But then we move into the stage that is associated with when we have infants, our sweet little babies, when we're in the nurturing stage. Fallen in love with this tiny little bundle of cuteness. And our big job and the big thing we're working on, right, is that nurturing. It's on building this bond between our baby and us and taking care of their needs, right? We spend so much energy taking care of their needs. In the middle of the night, all day around the clock, right? Infants need a lot, right? They need fed, they need changed, they need all of these things. And so our big job during this nurturing stage is to adapt to this new baby and to develop a relationship with them. We form this bond by nurturing their needs.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, I love what Barbara Dunn Swanson, our writer said. She said, they have arrived. Cue the big dramatic orchestra music, right? So then we get to stage three, which is the authority stage. So that infant has now become a toddler. The me mine, I do it, right. And we're trying to figure out how we as a parent can create rules, because we're going to keep those rules moving forward through preschool through elementary school. And so this authority making stage helps us figure out how to, you know, create boundaries and limits that keep our child safe. We're also really beginning to understand their temperament. And we might be shifting and tweaking and adapting things in their environment to create a good fit with their temperament and our temperament. And we might find times during these stages of authority that we might need support. We might need to tap out. We might we might need someone to help us create those limits and boundaries. And it's okay to ask for that support as we look at keeping our children safe while creating limits and boundaries.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Totally and I think the interesting thing as we think about that infancy and nurturing stage we're in as parents, and then you move into the authority stage. Really, it's once our kids get mobile that we really start to kind of hold them accountable for their behavior. And so then it is like, oh, I've spent all this time loving on you and loving on you, and I'm still gonna love on you, but like, and you cannot dump over that plant. You cannot run in the road. And you know, so we're still nurturing and now that they're mobile and a little more independent, rules and authority. Authority is a good word for it.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, right. And so then they've been learning our rules, learning our authority. They grow into this middle childhood age of later elementary school, maybe preteen, and what do they want to do with those rules, they'd like to reinterpret them because we have this interdependence with this interpretation with each other, right? So stage four is interpretive, where we begin to interpret their experiences outside of our home. Barb Dunn Swanson said they have new networks. They have networks of peers. They have networks in our neighborhoods. They have networks at schools. And so we have to help them interpret the experiences that they're having in all of these different networks. And so we're really taking the rules and the foundations that we've laid for them, and helping them begin to interpret those rules and foundations and values out in their new networks.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, I loved the interpretive word, too. And I think like, for when they're so little, they spend so much time in our bubble, in our four walls in our home. And then all of a sudden, they go out of the bubble, and they're with friends, and they learn something new. And then they come back to their safe bubble. And as parents we help them interpret, right? What do you hear? What that person said? What do you? And all those things we help them process totally, and understand the world as they come back to our safe bubble and then go back out. Yes, interpret. And then we as parents move into the interdependent stage. And so we're kind of renegotiating, right? These are kind of our teens or our adolescents. We start to renegotiate some of the power dynamics in our relationship with our kids, really, that we let our teen start to have more influence and more shared decision making. We know they're getting ready to go out into the world, not too long after this. And so we want to get them some practice in hopefully making decisions that, as parents, we think are pretty good ones. So that interdependence, right?

Lori Korthals:

I love that word picture, you know, and it's maybe the interlocking hands and the interlocking arms. And we're in this together. Yes, absolutely.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And then the sixth stage, which again, I feel like the endpoints, right, the first stage being image making, and the last stage being departure. They're not always the stages we think of, right, we think of when our kids are in our home with us. But stage six is that departure stage, right. So when our kids are into like early adulthood, sometimes we use the term emerging adults, but that, as parents, what we really do during this time is kind of reflect, right? We look at some of the, some might say successes and failures. We don't love that term in particular, because I feel like it kind of gives it good and bad, which is not a a thing we believe in, is good or bad parents. But during the departure stage, we do a lot of reflection. And we hope that you trust in your own parenting and yourself enough to know that we do the best we can, right, and even if we're like, hey, you know what, that was what I knew then. And so we did the best in that moment. So lots of reflection in that departure stage. Yes. And you're in that stage.

Lori Korthals:

I think that the key thing for me in this stage has been that once again, this is from Barb and visiting with her, was I gave every effort. I did the best I could with the information I knew at the time, and the confidence and the competency that we have during those stages, you know, we reflect on it and we have to be good grace givers of ourselves. Give ourselves grace for what we knew at the time, our circumstances at the time. And yes, I think that just being kind to ourselves as we reflect back.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely, and that we can give ourselves grace, hopefully, through every stage we were in, right? What it looked like to take care of that new baby or even that older baby. Yes. And versus when we were setting those limits and versus when we were helping them interpret the world and then how much independence did we give, you know, all of those stages? So as we think about these six stages that we go through as parents, you know, I'm sure you reflect like, okay, so I'm kind of in this one. And if you have multiple kids, you might be in this one and this one. We're working on a few things. Yes, several things. But then also we know that it's impacted by the age of our kids, right? We know that they're going through stages of development. And so that's something we're going to dive into a lot this season, right, we're going to keep this focus on how we parent kids of different ages. But we also know that one of the things we want to know as we go through these stages is how our kids develop. We want to know, when can we expect them to share, have self control? I mean, impulse control, that'd be cool. Can we get some of that around here? But when can we expect that? And so I mean, yeah, we've had parents ask us for this, like Lori said, and the research says, we know parents are looking for it. But there's some cool research on why it's valuable for us to have it,

Lori Korthals:

It is, and the research goes back quite a long right, Lori? ways. We have studies that are more than 40 years old. And the more recent studies that we looked at from Bartlett and colleagues. And basically ac oss the board, the research sho s that parents who understand t eir child's developmenta milestones, they're more likely to have age appropriate xpectations, which leads to hig er quality interactions and they then use more effecti e parenting strategies. nd so essentially, yes, parents want to know what their chil should be doing when, but actua ly, research shows that hen we do know that, we have h gher quality interactions and mo e effective parenting strategie . Doesn't everyone want that? Like, I really want my pare ting to be effective?

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I mean, it almost feels like it like okay, that's kind of like circular like, well, yeah, that's why I want to know, so I can have a better relationship with my kids. I'll say and actually, you know, it talks about those higher quality relationships and interactions, which actually goes right into kind of this third piece, as we talk about parenting and child development and things. There's this term, what you've maybe heard us say before, called an expectation gap. So that's when what we expect as parents, there's a gap between what we expect and what a child can realistically developmentally do. Now, when I say child, that includes infant to teen, right? And actually, emerging early adults.

Lori Korthals:

That brain doesn't quit growing until 25ish.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. But this idea of an expectation gap, zero to three uses this term, as well as other researchers, but that ability that our understanding of what our child can do and what we expect, meets their developmental abilities. And we know that when there is a gap, it can be frustrating for us as parents and for our kids.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. Say that part again.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. For us as parents, when there's an expectation gap between what our kids can do, and what we expect of them, that gap can create frustration for parents, and for kids, and children and children and children. Yes. And so that's part of what we hope this season, as we dive into these episodes this season, we hope that we can help reduce that. That we can give you some information, so that you can kind of reduce some of the frustration, look at my rhyme. We're going to give you information to reduce your frustration. So, but we do hope that we can help reduce some of that expectation gap for both of you, right, for both kids and parents.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. And I like to think of it this way, and I visualize it like a high jump bar. And do I have that high jump set too far for my child to jump over? That's the expectation I have. But are they physically, mentally, intellectually capable of jumping over that bar? I might need to lower it. So in these episodes this season, you're going to hear about common adventures and endeavors, challenges, tasks, skills, things that parents face as well as children. Sometimes we know that children have, we might even call them these rites of passage that children go through. I always think of, you know, cutting the hair incidences, you know. But what are their bodies and brains focused on at each age? And what do they look like in our everyday reality, from the infant rolling over to the preschooler sharing their stuff with a friend or the preteen telling their mother, you can not wear those skinny jeans anymore?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, so we are going to look into those like tasks and challenges and these episodes and our endeavors. I think that's a more positive word, right? Yes, they're endeavors. And we're gonna be looking at this term, developmental domains, which basically, we know my kids are growing and they learn how to walk. And my kids are growing and they learn how to jump, and then kick a ball, and then yada, yada. But we also know there's these other parts, right? Like, self control, or emotional or their social skills. And so these domains just kind of break up those skills and endeavors, adventures, tasks across the report. So we're gonna be talking about that, too. So think about our kids socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively. So there's gonna be lots of good stuff this season.

Lori Korthals:

T here will be which kind of brings us to well, for our own reality, what does that mean? It means we're gonna be able to share a lot of great resources with you. And here are just a few.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so like we said, this season we'll be looking at kids at different ages in different episodes. Looking at some of the common tasks, things we're working on with our kids at these stages, and the domains. So one of the questions we've been getting from people is related to red flags, like when should I be concerned. And so we're not going to be diving so much into that nitty gritty of if your child isn't doing this by this age. But there's a lot of great resources that help us do that. So we want to point you to those resources. And so the first one being the Just in Time parenting newsletters. These are free newsletters that are all about your kids' ages, stages, development, things you're working on, and they've got tips for you as parents on how you can support your child's development. They'll let you know like, hey, your 18 month old might be doing these things, or these things might be coming next. And so you can go to jitp.info, and you can sign up to receive these free. They can come to your email. They're super easy. I literally like get the link, and they're based on your kids' age. So you type in your child's birth date and it comes once a month during the first year and then from that age, from one year to age five, they come every other month. And so it's like, hey, your child is 18 months old today. Here's the link on information about them being an 18 month old. And then yeah, it's got great tips about like, hey, are you taking care of yourself? Alright, your child's probably working on some of these things around the dinner table. Here's a little information about it. And they're all research based. So yeah. Subscribe, totally free, and they come to your email right when you need them, just in time.

Lori Korthals:

And I love that this is not just for parents, but think about it. If grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, you know, teachers, they can have these newsletters sent to them as well. So they are super helpful.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, they're awesome. And so they'll give you some of those tips to look for. Another really good one that I actually recently learned about within the last few months as we were getting ready for this season is from the CDC, so from the Center for Disease Control. We know they do a lot of really great research based stuff. They have an app called the milestone tracker app. So I actually downloaded it on my phone. And it's really cool. It gives you a checklist, right? So my child is between 18 months and two years. And it's a checklist of, is your child doing this yet? Can you child stack this many blocks? Can your child say this many words? Can your child blank, blank blank? And you check them? Yes, sure. Not yet. And then the ones that you're like, oh, no, not yet, it'll remind you about a while later. And so over time, you have literally almost like a report card. And so if you're like, hey, we're still not meeting this one, and you start working on a little bit, or maybe you seek out some local support to help you right, maybe, you know, there's lots of great resources locally. And then maybe it brings you to the point of like, hey, you know what, this is time that I'm ready to be concerned about it. And so it does help you with those red flags. There's also lots of great tips and activities. There's like a little quick view, so you can do an overview and you can add multiple kids. So those are two really great ones for kind of checking those red flags. And just following along in your kids' development.

Lori Korthals:

Those are absolutely awesome. I just was literally thinking, oh gosh, if I'd only had that app when I had a toddler who I was concerned about with developmental, and I was an early childhood mom, right. I had the background. Okay, and so that's a whole different episode for a different day. Right. The next resource we want to share is our Science of Parenting website. It's full of great resource publications. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach also has pamphlets and newsletters called Ages and Stages. They've been updated with new resources and research. But when I didn't work for Iowa State, I used them in my other employment arena and I thought, oh my gosh, here they are. These are so great. Again, similar too Just in Time Parenting, but just a bit shorter and able to give you that really hands on pertinent information. And we also have some newsletters on parenting teens, Living With Your Teenager. And so check out our Science of Parenting website at www.scienceofparenting.org. And then, of course, should I mention, you know, obviously on there, they're gonna find information on Stop. Breathe. Talk., right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, so there's tons of great resources. And the cool thing about the ones that you're talking about Lori, is we call them publications is our formal word. But literally, it's like a sheet of paper that you can download and print off. That's like, hey, this is what my two year olds up to. Hey, this is what my three year old is up to. They're short and sweet, like a front and back page with lots of great tips.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. All right, season five, did we decide we were gonna allow our producer to come in on season five?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I don't think we discussed it.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I think I get the ultimate call on this one.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You control it. Yeah.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I push the buttons. So if I show up, I show up. You know?

Lori Korthals:

Yeah. That's true.

Mackenzie DeJong:

All right. I think this should be an easy question for you. But as we prepare to talk about each of these stages, I want to know what you right now think is the most difficult stage and which is the most fun stage. In your opinion. This is just your opinion, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

No research based.

Lori Korthals:

Your own reality.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yeah, exactly.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh boy, they're all good in their own ways.

Lori Korthals:

I literally remember people telling me as I was preparing to have my first child, every stage is going to be your favorite, every stage is going to be your favorite. And so with my oldest child, every stage she moved into was my favorite. And that still exists today. Because she's launched. Totally love it. I mean, I love it.

Mackenzie DeJong:

What's cooler than being a zookeeper?

Lori Korthals:

Yes, yes. But I do think that if, since I have a departure stage, right. If I look back, I think what I didn't recognize at the time was how much I struggled with my child that had developmental disabilities. And at that time, I didn't have all these resources at my fingertips. And so, as I reflect, I look back and I think, but what if I had known? But what if I hadn't missed? And so I think back about that stage, and I think that was a really challenging stage was the unknown of, am I missing something? Am I not? And so that probably has become why I'm so passionate about what we're doing here, which is sharing research based information. Totally. At parents' fingertips. Yeah, because I recognize those moments of but was I doing enough? Did I find enough? And again, I was that early childhood, educated mom and I still felt like I was missing things. So that's why I'm passionate about what we do. Right?

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yeah and those shoulds are hard, right? We've talked in these episodes about those shoulds and I think Lori for you, you've taken those shoulds and instead of, you don't always mull on them, but you think, how can I help others to do better as well?

Mackenzie Johnson:

It's hard for me because my kids are little so I've only experienced like half of these. So my kids, I would be in the nurturing stage. No, both of my kids would now be in the authority stage, wouldn't they? Yeah, the one being a little earlier, one still kind of freshly out of a nurturing stage. I'm enjoying the more independence and the skill building aspects. That's a fun thing of the stage that my daughter's in. And I do think the nurturing stage is great, and they're so sweet. And I love like even one of our friends who has like a really young child right, an infant, but I'm just like, oh, your little baby. And I love it, but also it takes a lot, right, our kids like, like we said, you're nurturing every need. We're in charge of all their needs. But I can't even say that it's not a favorite because they're so sweet and so portable. You pick them up and you take them places.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. That makes me chuckle. So is it fair for me to say that I got to experience a little bit of Mackenzie's authority stage because I got to spend some time with her oldest and I left those moments thinking, that was so awesome. We drew with chalk on the sidewalk. And, you know, I taught her what dust bunnies were. I was thinking, that stage was so cool. I remember that. And then I kept thinking, and I can also remember how tired I was and wow, what a great job Mackenzie was doing, because she just has handled all these stages with grace from my perspective. But yes, it was fabulous to spend time with her. She was delightful.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And I got all the pictures from it as well. And it looked like a lot of fun.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, it was fun to like, hey, look at these little worlds overlap. She brought up dust bunnies to me later which I told Lori about. She's like, Mom, have you heard of dust bunnies before? They're not rabbits. It killed me. But yeah, so every stage there's like some of the sweetest, sweetest parts. You almost sometimes forget about and then you go back and are like, ohhh.

Mackenzie DeJong:

In my family, I am known as the baby hog. So I haven't had any babies of my own but I love going and caring for other people's babies. When my nephew who is now not a baby at all, he's kind of a snot-nosed little toddler, almost a preschooler. But when he was little, I'd be like, oh, I'll just care for him. You guys go play with the older kids. Like I love them to death. But there's just about snuggling a baby that is so great. So my mom's like you, you hold the babies. I'll go play with the older kids. Teach them. Alright, I'll let you off. Hopefully that wasn't too difficult of a question.

Lori Korthals:

That was easy. Yeah, you're invited back through season five.

Mackenzie Johnson:

She runs everything and makes us look good, honestly. But she likes to come in and give us this little Stop. Breathe. Talk. space is what we like to call it. And so yeah, I guess we'll let her come in and make us kind of stop, take a breath and kind of talk through the topic of the week. And so she does pull up, she throws those questions to us off the cuff. And so that one wasn't so bad.

Lori Korthals:

That one wasn't so bad. And so yes, this season, we are going to keep looking at great information about each stage of our children's development.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, we're gonna look at these milestones that we go through alongside them as parents. And so next week, we're starting right out the gate with our little babies. Right. Infants is coming next week. So yeah, we're gonna talk about some of the tasks that are going on during this stage, what's happening with them across these different domains, and give you some tips for parenting those babies.

Lori Korthals:

We will. So thanks for joining us today at The Science of Parenting podcast. Remember that you can subscribe to our weekly audio podcasts on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. Watch us on video each week. Join us on Facebook or Twitter, and you can see our content in your feed.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, please do 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 hosted by Lori Korthals and 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 non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext