The Science of Parenting

Leaning into Relationships | S.6 Ep.3

July 29, 2021 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 6 Episode 3
The Science of Parenting
Leaning into Relationships | S.6 Ep.3
Show Notes Transcript

When things get tough, relationships can too. Luckily there are research-based strategies to help strengthen and preserve these connections!

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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 are going to 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 two different life stages. Two are launched and one is in high school, and I am a parenting educator. And today we are talking about the research and reality around relationships.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We share in our first two episodes of this season, we kind of defined this idea of resilience and parenting through tough times. And we're going to keep on that theme. But our next few episodes we look at, okay, what can we do specifically when things are tough. And so we're going to be talking about tough times and parenting through them. And so we know that that experience of what those tough times will be and how your family experiences them and responds to them is dependent on a multitude of factors like time, finances, energy, relationships, support, all different kinds of things. And so we want to focus on generally, what the research tells us, along with a little reality tossed in there. So we'll be looking at some research based strategies and ideas that we can parent through tough times.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. And when we think about parenting and tough times, it really just comes down to how do I continue to be the parent I want to be, even when things are tough. And we know that everyone's journey and parenting won't be easy. And you know, there are different levels of toughness, just like we talked about last week, that not everyone's tough equals the same thing. So we really just want to continue to fill your toolbox. So whatever the tough time is, we know that you can find some tools to work through it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And relationships, as we're going to talk about today, having relationships, having a positive relationship with your child. Those are all things we can kind of lean into when things are tough.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. And just one other side note on that is remember, there is more than one way to raise great kids. And there is more than one way to make it through tough times. Oh, for sure. Yeah, let's start with why are relationships so important when it comes to experiencing tough things. So I'm going to share a little bit of this study from Edith Chen and colleagues. And what they say is that emotionally significant, comforting relationships during childhood, are linked to better physiological and emotional, physical health, and all that health, all that health stuff, all the health, all the health. So having emotionally significant company and relationships improves and is significant and is important to the health of our children, as well as the health of ourselves as adults. And research actually shows the benefits and protective factors and we talked about those the last couple of weeks as well. That a relationship, a secure strong relationship, a positive relationship can really help build those buffers, build those protective factors so that when things get tough, we have a full toolbox of buffers.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, absolutely. And I've kind of got a side note research bullet here if that's okay. So we talk a lot about you know, of course, we're the Science of Parenting, we talk a lot about this parent child relationship. But there's actually really great research that I actually find as kind of a relief that talks about some of the other relationships that our kids have. So this is an article from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. And it has findings that provides strong evidence that strong positive relationships with parents, or family members, or teachers or school staff, or other caring adults can help protect adolescents from a range of poor health outcomes, and it promotes positive development. So this is good news for me as a parent, honestly, because obviously, I want to invest in my parent child relationship. I know that's a protective factor, right? Buffers from tough times can help create resilience. But the good news is, is I don't have to carry all of it, right? No, we can lean into these other relationships, right? Aunts, uncles, extended family, grandparents, friends, neighbors, coaches, teachers, all these other people having a positive relationship with our kids and these other adults, also a protective factor. Absolutely. Not just us as parents, so all kinds of relationships. Thank goodness, thanks. I gotta tell you, I do not have it together all the time. Most of the time, I do not have it together. Oh, man. So, you know, we talk about this variety of relationships and, you know, as you even think about, like your childhood and adolescence and teen years and growing up, like, you know, positive relationships with our parents, but who were some of the other adults in your life that you feel like you had like a meaningful or caring relationship with?

Lori Korthals:

Gosh, that's a great question. I think that when I think back to my childhood, so in my childhood, I spent a lot of time on my grandparents' farm, which meant that I was also around my aunts and uncles, and their community there. I remember the children in the faith community there that I would even go spend time with. Yes, at my grandparents and then I think as a teen and a young adult then definitely, our neighborhood. The parents of my friends in the neighborhood. So yeah, I would say grandparents, aunts, uncles, extended family, and then the people in my neighborhood. There's a song there. There's a song. I think it's Sesame Street.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, I mean, I definitely had like neighborhood kids. And I even think of like my friends' parents. You know, I think I said in a previous episode about like, we carpooled, and so those were adults that I saw all the time. But even beyond that, I think I had a lot of coaches growing up. I was really involved in softball, basketball, volleyball, you know, I did all this stuff. But the relationships I got to have with my coaches, and some of them being my friends' parents. I can even think of a story of one time I was kind of in a pickle, I had a flat tire. And I was supposed to be taking my younger siblings to school and I was late for school. My mom was out of town, my older siblings were out of town. And I remember like clicking through, because at that time we didn't scroll through, clicking through the contact list in my phone. And one of my friend's parents who had been a coach of mine. I was like, maybe they're like, I don't know, they'd be nice to me. And sure enough, they came through and kind of got me out and helped me navigate that as a 17 year old driver. So I do, I think there were a lot of people, coaches, friends' parents, and yeah, just people that were kind of around me. And as we talked about protective factors, and buffers, like, yes, those were people I felt invested in and were invested in me. Yeah. And that I had, you know, meaningful relationships with.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, I love that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. All kinds, right, like parents and whole village, right?

Lori Korthals:

So essentially, what those relationships do, and what research is telling us, is that they provide this buffer during tough times. And, you know, we do hope that for most relationships, that parents are providing that buffer, but we know and recognize that, you know what, for some kids that is going to be other adults in their lives. It is going to be the neighbor or the coach or the aunt, the uncle, the grandparent, and that's okay. That's really okay. Because it's about that strong, caring relationship that creates the buffer, regardless of who it is.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yes. And the more the merrier, right? The more positive relationships, the better. So yes, that's a great thing. And so here's the thing, right, keeping this in the context of tough times, you know, whether the pandemic or whatever else, whatever tough time I be, research does tell us that there can be a strain on relationships during these tough times. So it can be harder to have these positive interactions, you know, so for instance, Prime, Waite, and Brown looking specifically at the pandemic shared that the disruptions from the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic generate heightened levels of psychological distress for caregivers, impacting the quality of relationships among caregivers, so whether marital or co-parenting, and the relationship of parents and their kids. So you know, research really does tell us that when times are tough, relationships can be too, right that it can be hard to have th interactions you would normall want to when we're stressed an overwhelmed

Lori Korthals:

It can be and and I think that we can tend to back away from and hide because we don't want people to see that stress. We might feel insecure. Like we aren't doing our best and we want to hide that from other people. But it's not because you're a bad parent because, a, we don't use that word and we'll say that's not t. It's the stress that's mak ng things tough. And that' when it gets tougher to connec . But that's where we need to ac ually lean into those found tions, those seven C's t at we started to talk about ast year, we're going to brin those all back in again today nd the next couple weeks, but they're really our foundation f how do we create resilience. A d how do we increase that buffer when it gets tough. When we wa t to disconnect and know that we can't.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And yeah, we can acknowledge that our relationships are important and sometimes when we're stressed, it's harder. They're beneficial. And it's harder. Yes, you know, and I even think if we just look at the example of the pandemic. We had social distancing we needed to figure out. We needed to do things to protect our health. We maybe were figuring out a loss of a job situation or changing job situation, you know, working from home or getting resituated or needing to go to work, but you had to figure out how to do it safely. And all of that is a lot.

Lori Korthals:

A L O T, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

That's a lot. But then we add in the parenting aspect of it, right? Now we're enforcing our kids that were of appropriate age, we're enforcing mask wearing. We're figuring out virtual school or childcare challenges. Like there's all these other things that came with it. And yeah, and that's a lot like so yeah, totally understandable that our interactions maybe aren't as warm, right? Where we got stuff to do, we have stuff to figure out, like, let's go.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. And it just makes sense as to why we're not feeling as patient and why we're not feeling as connected and I even think about the first, you know, kind of social media posts at the earliest stages of the pandemic, and parents were sharing, oh, I'm gonna do this with my kids. And here's a great activity. And here's what our schedule is going to be. And I got this figured out and, you know, then there was like, radio silence. Nobody was sharing activities they were doing because all of a sudden, it was really a lot harder than we thought having our children at home and doing virtual schooling, and being so disconnected. And you said something while we were talking, and I wanted to share the hideout versus reach out? If you don't mind.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, yeah. So I guess honestly, that's just kind of a resilience thing for me. I shared previously I struggled with postpartum depression. And I really felt myself kind of hiding, hiding from people. I mean, even like my spouse, and my family members who wanted to help me, but feeling this instinct that when things were hard, I needed to hide how hard it was. And having been through it, having tried that out, that was not a great strategy for me. And so kind of my own little like mantra is when I feel things getting hard, I shouldn't hide out, I should reach out. Yes. And so if I can share that with other people that you don't need to, let's not hide that it's hard. I find that there are people that you're like, you know, it's not helpful for me to share this with you. It doesn't help me feel better. But find those people who do help you, right? You can lean into those relationships, who your kids can count on, like having those people reach out. Don't hide out when it's hard.

Lori Korthals:

I love that. Thank you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, yeah. So that is like my little mantra, I try to stick to. Okay, I can feel we're going down the rabbit hole like, no, no. Let's tell other people. Let's ask for help. Yes. So another really important thing to understand about parenting in tough times in relationships, is that the way things are affected is not linear. Okay, so we have this little list here. This is again, from that article from Prime about the pandemic, and they talked about the links between hardship or basically, you know, that tough times are happening, and caregiver wellbeing, and child wellbeing and family wellbeing, not a straight arrow, right? So it's not like, oh, the hard thing happens. And then the parent doesn't do well, which affects the child, which affects the family. That's not how it works. It's not aligned. So they talk about it as being a mutually reinforcing system, where the stress and disruptiveness in one domain beget or cause it in another. And so in other words, right, one piece is affecting another piece. And so maybe the child is having a hard time and that can be the tough time the family's going through, or the family experiences something hard, and then that affects parent, right? It's not just one way or the other. So it does, it's understandable that this kind of cycle can turn into harsher interactions, and less communication or poor communication strategies. And that affects our communication and our well being, our interactions, all of it.

Lori Korthals:

It does, it does and it's circular. So it's a cycle, cyclical and there's not just one person, place, or thing that is the cause. Like you said, it's not a straight line, there's like the circle, and essentially that circle and that cycle keeps happening. And we have lots of patience and maybe harsher communication than we want to, until we lean in and find the appropriate protective factor, find the buffer, and find a way to get out of that circle. And oftentimes, it is a relationship that we go to, to get that support to pull us out of that cycle and, and give us the resources and the strength. And the big deep breath, right? Then, poof, okay, I need to change the direction of this. And I can do this because this supportive person helped me see how to get out of this cycle and these things all feed each other. And that is why it is so important to lean on those relationships and the idea of connection as a way to build our resilience. And that's connection with parents and other adults. You know, so I remember a couple weeks ago, you were telling me you seem disconnected. And what was happening, right? I was yeah, you're right, I was transitioning my special needs child from ChildServe Children's Services to Adult Services. And I hadn't told anyone. And so this idea of connection, you became that appropriate buffer, that piece of resilience that said, Hey, Lori, plug back into us. We got you, we can get you through this. Right. So cool.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It is that don't hide out, reach out. And yeah, well, and because that connection is meaningful, it's good for all but healths. It's good for all the healths, all the healths, and the relationships. And so, yeah, as we're putting together this season, and it was like, okay, we need to kind of define this idea of resilience, and protective factors. And then I'm gonna notice that a lot of these are kind of R themed. I wanted all these Rs. Wow, that's right. But so this idea of, okay, a definition, and then all these tools. And so relationships are a tool. The relationship with our kids, right, we can lean into that, or lean in to relationships with others. That others can have those relationships with our kids as well. Yes. All help build resilience. Which brings us into this idea, we want to hone back in for our kind of reality here. Again this research reality overlap that's gonna happen, that's gonna give us this really cool, I think, strategy of like, Alright, in the middle of a tough time, I'm like, okay, I want to lean into this relationship with my child. What do my kids need from me? And so there's the study about how we can bolster this relationship. And they talk about, it's a 2017 study by Chen, Brody and Miller, and they outlined some of the key areas of importance for close family relationships.

Lori Korthals:

I love it, and you kind of geek out about it. And you know, the more I read it, and the more we talked about it, we just got done with season five, talking about the different developmental milestones and tasks and skills that happen in all of the ages and stages our children go through. Well, this study just segues us right into build resilience in each of those ages and stages. So we're just really going to talk about two. We're gonna talk about childhood and adolescence. But regardless of children's age, there's actually first three very key foundational factors that all children need when it comes to that strong parent child relationship. So no matter what the ages, childhood or adolescence, there is this need for an important relationship, the importance of that relationship. The relationship will always be the key factor or key foundation, regardless of the child's age, so that strong parent child interaction key, right. The second one is that, and I know parents of teenagers might say, I don't know Lori. Okay, here's the deal. Hear me out, regardless of your child's age. The second really important thing is that children are going to look to you, their parent, for their source of comfort. Even my young adults look to me for their source of comfort, even those teens who say, I don't need you. They look to you as their sign of comfort.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And it's true with my littles, too, right? Yes. Oh, I watched. Oh, this was so bad. My kids on the swing set, boom, my daughter ran right into my son. And what's he do? Stands up, turns around and runs to us. Right? Parents are a source of comfort for kids, whether they're little or whether they're your bigger kids.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly, yes. And then the third thing that will always be important in this parent child relationship, no matter the age of the child, is the fact that the parent will always kind of be the hall monitor or the crossing guard, like you're always going to care about their safety, their well being, knowing where they are, what their activities are. You just can't get away from it. I'm sorry. I actually do know, and I appreciate the cell phone location apps, right? Because I do know where my 24 and 21 year old are all the time. Now, they don't know that. But that's the third key thing that we are their source of external monitoring, regardless of their age, regardless of their age. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So kids of all ages still believe in the importance of that parent child relationship. They use parents as a source of comfort when things are hard. And we know that regardless of their age, parents are practicing that monitoring that's beneficial for our kids all ages, knowing where they're at, kind of what they're up to, in those childhood and teen years, for sure. Yes, but then there's these four factors that do change. So it's kind of this like spectrum we slide along. If I'm picturing you're sliding this along the little slider bar. Yeah. So we have four things that change between childhood and adolescence in terms of what our kids really benefit from in our relationships. So the first one, so we know that the parent child relationship is always important. And we see that as our kids get older, right, as they move into teens, they spend more time with their friends. Yeah, right. And so it's not that it's less important, it's just increasing importance of their friends. But we know that the warmth and the closeness with parents does not decline during adolescence. So in terms of what they need from us, our littles benefit more from proximity, from that physical closeness, right? We still snuggle in our house, we have little kids. And so like the snuggles, and we're in the same home a lot of the time, and all of those kinds of things of being physically close. But our teens benefit, while the physical closeness can still be good, they really need availability from us as parents. They need to know that when things are hard, or when I need someone to talk to, or whatever, that parents are available to them. So flexibility, or proximity, floats into availability.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, and I said even at midnight.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Go to the bed.

Lori Korthals:

So then the second thing that kind of changes as children grow, is this idea of conflict. And conflict ends up kind of changing its purpose as they grow. So as children are small, there's, you know, kind of the person in charge who's making the rules is the adult. And the conflict between the child and adult might be around things like it's time for bed, no, I'm not done playing. It's time for dinner. No, I don't want to put my Legos away. You know, so there's really just pushing boundaries in terms of that conflict. But as children grow, conflict actually serves a really important purpose. And that is to give children a chance to practice in a safe place, negotiation, to practice having conflict and getting out of it in a healthy way, to practice problem solving. And so as children grow, it's okay if you suddenly feel like you have more conflict with them, because it's serving a purpose. It's serving a purpose to help them learn and gain skills. And it is creating a stronger parent child relationship when you have good healthy conflict and can work through some of those things together in a positive way and show those problem solving skills in the home that they may need to use with their friends or significant others. Right? So, conflict solves different problems as children grow.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yeah. And I honestly think of, you know, sometimes that word conflict. I mean, sometimes it's like, oh, you know, like, oh, not conflict. But I do think it's really about like, two competing ideas. And so we're not talking about conflict in terms of like, a brawl, or, you know, like a screaming match. We're talking about like, okay, for a long time, this is what we've done as a family. And now my child is bringing in a competing idea that's different. No, we've always done it this way. And now my child says this, and, okay, that's conflict. It doesn't need to be a screaming match. But it's like, Okay, how are we going to navigate this? And that's a natural part of them getting more independence, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. And that really flows right into this one that I was cheating ahead on, this idea of consistency versus flexibility. And so when our kids are younger, you know, this idea of being consistent and trying to offer consistency through routines, being consistent in the way that we respond to their behaviors. And our kids really benefit from that security of knowing, I know what to expect from my parents. And that's still true into the teen years but we add this component of flexibility. Yeah, so in addition to being consistent in how we respond, and we know that the routine, like parents are less in charge of routines as kids get older. And so this idea of flexibility and considering, all right, well, maybe we'll do things a little different. Here they define it as the ability to adapt behaviors to adolescents, their changing needs, to negotiate evolving rules, and flexibility and how you agree to communicate and cooperate together. So consistency floats into flexibility with our teens.

Lori Korthals:

And if there was one thing I could say, as the parent of young adults and teenagers and having gone through that teenage stage is the idea of being flexible is so important. Not only are you modeling flexibility for that child, but you're also showing them that they might have some really important ideas and thoughts that you hadn't considered. So you're also, in a sense, boosting their self confidence and self esteem when you become flexible to their thoughts and ideas, and change your mind. It's not that you're giving up power. It's that you're acknowledging that they have something important to share and say.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, and I know so often, I think parents do worry about this idea of like, I'm the parent, like, I can't give up my power. And if you go back to season one, remember we had that episode on like authoritative versus authoritarian so I know that comes into play there. But really, I guess I kind of want to challenge our thinking, like, instead of being worried about, quote, unquote, giving away our power, what if it's about helping our teams gain some power, because when they walk out our door, to go to college, to move into their first place on their own, to wherever, you know, to the military, wherever they head, we'd rather them have gotten a chance to have some power, and some practice with us than going from zero to 100 of like, total freedom. I've never practiced any skills of responsible adults. And so I do, I think instead of worrying about giving it away to our teens, what if we're thinking about helping them find it? Exactly. And honestly, that's kind of like the fourth bullet that I know you're about to share.

Lori Korthals:

You know, because parents watch their child shift from this child who doesn't have a lot of power to this child who wants some more power? And that brings us into that idea of the hierarchy. What's the adult child hierarchy? And, you know, clearly as children are younger, the parent is in the higher end of that hierarchy, right? But as the child grows, are there ways that we can shift the child's rung on the ladder or the hierarchy? Yes, give them some shared decision making give them some shared power in our relationship, and allowing them the opportunity to practice that independence, like you said, not going from zero to 100. Right? Sharing in the processing and problem solving of the ideas and wow, think about how resilient they could become with the support of us right alongside them as they practice.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, absolutely. And there's the power, of course, like sharing it. And yeah, when I think of my toddler, or even like school age kids, they don't totally understand consequences or what's safe or unsafe or so yes, as a parent, it's my job to decide help decide those things on their behalf. No, I will not let you play in the street. Right. So there's the hierarchy that way, but okay, our teen has a sense of that, like, they can do a little more balancing of that risk. And so sharing some of that decision, that chance to practice it, for sure. Absolutely. Yeah. And so we know, right, so we saw three things that don't change regardless of the age of our kids. When we think about a close relationship with them, they still believe our relationship is important, they still come to us for support. And it's still our role to monitor whether they're a child or into the teen years, know where they're at, what they're up to. Yeah, but we do know there's things that do shift as they get older, right, we shift from proximity or physical closeness, over to being available. We find that conflict when they're younger is really not serving a huge purpose, but in the teen years, helps them find problem solving and independence. It does. We also look at that consistency, when they're little into flexibility. And then of course, the kind of hierarchy where it's our job to make the decisions and keep them safe into the shared decision making. So I love this model as a way to, you know, as we talk about relationships with our kids and with others, it's like, okay, when things are tough, thinking like, okay, I've got a school ager or school ager and a preschooler or I have a teen, like what do my kids need from me during this tough time? Okay, my younger kids, they need me to be physically close. There's not really a great purpose for conflict between us, I can be consistent. And when I need to, I will make the decisions that need to be made, versus our teens. It's like, alright, they can be a part of these decisions. I'll offer some flexibility. And I'll make sure they know I'm available. So I love these, like broken down this way, how can we create closer relationships? These things.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely, I think that Mackenzie DeJong, our producer, is going to create a graphic that shows it, right. Yeah, you might have seen it already. But if you're listening, feel free to jump into our blog so you can see that graphic of how these areas play out. Which kind of brings us into that Stop. Breathe. Talk. part of our podcast. And that's usually where we actually bring in Kenzie and say, Hey, Kenzie, toss us a question. Help us to take a moment, stop, take a breath, and really be intentional and purposeful about how we want to communicate. But here we are Episode Three, right? Yes, we put a little twist this season. And so we're going to bring in our writer, Barb Dunn Swanson. And I have been asking Barb because she's very interested in resilience and has been sharing amazing resources with us as we've prepped for this season. I've been saying, hey, Barb, what are you thinking?

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Well, I have enjoyed listening to this conversation around relationships. And you've really done a great job unpacking all of the ideas around why that parent child relationship is so critical. It is that foundation that we can jump from as we grow into adulthood, right? You have that foundation, and you get to springboard into adulthood. How do we get there, we get there step by step. And one of the things that I wanted to talk about in terms of relationships is who are the other people in a child's life that are meaningful relationships? You talked about how critical parents are in helping provide boundaries, setting limits, monitoring, being there for comfort. Well, there are other people that can do some of these same things. Let me give you a few examples. For kids that are in sporting events. They are a basketball team member there. They play softball, they play basketball. Those coaches are people who can do some monitoring can provide some feedback. Yes, that's important. How about kids that might enjoy band or theater? Or how about the kids that go to after school activities. Those early care educators provide monitoring and support and feedback. And how about the conversations they have with those young people? Yes, important. So let me give you a group that I'm especially proud of. It's our Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4H Youth Development Program. Because I believe that our 4H Youth Development Program is a program that is a protective factor. And when young people are in H, they have those connections to caring volunteer leaders. Let me tell you a little bit about the protective factors that you can gain if you're a 4H club member. The very first one that I think about is a safe place to belong. 4H clubs are safe places to belong for kids, and they're surrounded by other kids who are interested in some of the same things. They also have that caring adult that supports them to learn more about a project area. So they learn competence, they learn to master some of the things that they're interested in what whether it's nutrition, whether it's animal science, whether it's something like engineering, all the kinds of things that kids can learn in 4H, it's just astounding, it's wonderful. But guess what, it all comes down to those caring relationships that those 4H club leaders have with those kids. So that's just one example today of how significant and meaningful other people are in the life of a young person. Parents, they are the foundation and they're critical. But there are other people that are in our village, aren't there? Mackenzie Johnson, you said it best, you said let's lean in to those other relationships. So I'm encouraging everybody to lean into those coaches, lean into the music teacher, lean into the 4H club leader, lean into the Scouts. We've got kids that are in Scouts. Work alongside your after school teachers. All of those people are caring people that want the best for us. And they become some of the best protective factors we can get.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, well, and hearing you talk about all this village that surrounds us and our kids, you know, thinking back to those seven C's of resilience. Absolutely, relationships grow a connection. But yes, these other adults also can help with our kids' character. Right? That integrity, there's these positive role models for them that aren't just their parents, right, because parents can be annoying. These other people that they like and enjoy that can be positive character role models. And you mentioned the competency, all the C's, all the C's are in there, all the C's.

Barb Dunn Swanson:

Well, I just think that it's important for us to remember, Lori, you said it. We don't have to be the only one that we can reach out, look out. There are other people in our village that can provide support for us, and especially when we're dealing with tough times. Yes. Reach out. Don't hide out, reach out.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Oh, thanks, Barb. Yes. Oh, yes. And we do, the relationships are such an important part of getting through tough times. The people that we can lean on. The people that we can help our kids lean on. The relationship between our kids. All of that can help us get through tough times. We can.

Lori Korthals:

Thanks, Barb. Thank you. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Hello. So that is that's our little Stop. Breathe. Talk. space where we get to kind of slow down and think about the bigger picture of our topic of the day. So thanks, Barb, for coming on. And, man, but we covered a lot thinking about relationships, right? Like the value of relationships with all the healths.

Lori Korthals:

A lot, a lot.

Mackenzie Johnson:

A lot, a lot. However, we would spell. Yeah. But so there's value in those relationships, we looked at how relationships are impacted by those tough times, you know, talking about how we can lean. When things get tough, relationships can, too. But that's all the more reason we can lean into them. Like it's natural to feel frustration or harsher in our actions, in our interactions with our kids, but we can lean into them. We've got some great strategies for ways to build those close relationships based on what our kids need from us and at their different ages. And, yeah, we can build that resilience through that connection and those relationships.

Lori Korthals:

We can and we can tap into the village, like all the village people, right? Yes. So thank you. Next time we come together, we're going to talk about how routines and rituals can help us in tough times. And yes, we had a little bonus episode when the pandemic first started. And so I think that this will be a great way to come back around and say, okay, not only our routines and rituals important with the big tough times, but even in little tough times.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. The speed bumps. Not just the mountains, right? Yeah, yes. And it'll be a little different. Because before we had, like, we talked just about rituals or missing out on the big moment. And we talked about routines, they were separate. And this time, we're gonna put them together and see kind of how they intermingle in tough times, so we're gonna check it out. Awesome.

Lori Korthals:

So thank you for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast. Remember, subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. You can also watch our show weekly on Facebook, or you can join us on Twitter at scienceofparent.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, we know that you want to see our beautiful faces coming through your social media on a regular basis. So 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