The Science of Parenting

Renegotiating Rules | S.6 Ep.5

August 12, 2021 Season 6 Episode 5
The Science of Parenting
Renegotiating Rules | S.6 Ep.5
Show Notes Transcript

As our circumstances morph and change, so can our rules and expectations. The cohosts offer some tips for finding the balance between flexibility and consistency with rules during tough times!

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Mackenzie Johnson:

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

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 also a parenting educator. And today, here we are in season six. Midway through our season, past midway, and our episode today is on how rules can help us build resilience in tough times.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Sure is, and we've been talking about resilience all season, right? And parenting through tough times. We kind of defined it. And then we've been looking at some tools, right, some strategies. And we do, we really focused on that research-based information and the practical strategies we can use in our lives when things are tough. And we know that every family situation is different. All kinds of factors that contribute to our unique situations and the tough times we experience and how those are different, or even if they're similar tough times, but the way we experience them is different. So because we know that everybody is handling it in their own way, we really focused on those research based kind of universal broad strategies that can help us parent through whatever tough times come our way.

Lori Korthals:

We do. And the idea of parenting in tough times really comes down to how do I continue to be that parent that I want to be, especially when things are tough. And so in season four, we looked at the research based parenting model that encouraged us to be consistent and effective and active and attentive. And all of these strategies this season are going to come back to these concepts of parenting. We know everyone's parenting journey won't always be easy. But we do hope that we can fill your toolbox for those tough times.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, for sure. And so this feels a little silly to define. I mean, that's where I usually like to start in an episode. Rules, like come on, we know this word. But I did think it was interesting. So in this article we've kind of been looking at repeatedly through the season, from Prime, Wade, and Browne looking at parenting in the pandemic, they were talking about rules and how they change during the pandemic. But I liked how they broke it down. So they told us that rules might refer to unspoken, emotional and relational patterns that govern our interactions in our family. So to me, that was like the word that stood out was there are some unspoken patterns that help govern our interactions, like an implicit family rule that we don't talk about emotions, we're not gonna talk about conflict, shut down. Right? Well, that can be an unspoken. So there's unspoken rules, or there can be explicit ones. Like they said, it might literally refer to limits on the standards of behavior for purposes of family socialization, and also like, why haven't I said standards of behavior before? It's a cool sounding phrase.

Lori Korthals:

Right? Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Um, but yeah, so it can be unspoken, right? Implicit, or it might be the literal, right? The rules we tend to think of. Like the rule might refer to those limits on the standards of behavior. I like that. So unspoken or spoken.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah. So okay, well, then, what are some rules and expectations that you have for your family right now?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Um, well, one, I like that use of the word expectations. What are the rules? I don't know. I just prefer to say expectations. Okay. Anyway, some rules that our family has. I feel like the one I spend all day saying is, use nice touches, use gentle touches, because I have a toddler and a preschooler. So that's one rule. One is that this might be implicit. Maybe sometimes I say it out loud, but not yelling at each other. Like when we disagree, we can disagree but we need to talk nice. Maybe that's the real talk. But one that might be a little more specific to our family that I use as like the go to foundational rule for everything is, you're in charge of your body. And so that relates to other people are in charge of their own bodies. So we don't need to be telling people what they can and can't do with their body. We don't need to be commenting on other people's bodies. You need to ask someone before you hug them or touch them even in a nice way. And then also like, yeah, you can control your behavior. Yes, it might be hard, but you are in charge of your body. So that's a family rule that we use a lot. What about you? What are some of your family's rules?

Lori Korthals:

I think I know I've heard you remind Milly or your daughter, right? You're in charge of your own body, and she's in charge of hers, so it's okay that she chooses to do that in the play. I can vividly remember a conversation you were having with her.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. Like, that's okay. She's in charge of her body.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah. So I think that rules and expectations from my family right now. I mean, just in general, a big, general rule of thumb in our family is always we will respect. We will have respect for each other, we will have respect for others. That means you speak respectfully to them, your actions show respect, and not in a so formal kind of way. Like, like, respect your elders. Yeah, but just that idea of I will speak to you respectfully as an adult, and you will speak to me respectfully. We'll have respectful conversations. We won't lose our cool and, you know, be so out of control when we disagree that, you know, it's all about respect. Yeah. So yeah, I would say that is definitely my go to. And I know, I've talked about it before. So yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

When I think of like, there's some family rules that are non-negotiable. Yeah. And so that idea of respect, non-negotiable. The idea for me, yeah, like, no, you are in charge of your body. They are not in charge of it. I even sometimes tease my husband, I shouldn't even say tease, like scold probably, scold my co-parent of like, she's asking you to stop. You need to listen to her because she's in charge of her body, like even playful things like tickling, or, like carrying them up the steps. So we do, we remind each other as a family, that some of those rules are not negotiable. But I also think it's important to talk about some of those rules that are negotiable, right? Like some rules are situational. So I think I've mentioned before my younger sister lives with us. She's kind of transitioning into the adult world. And so on her way into that transition, she's living with us for a while. And I think of the, quote, unquote, rules or expectations when she first moved in. And now they look a little different. Like now, if you'd like to have somebody over, our current expectation is let us know before you'd like have your significant other over or ask a friend to come over? Confirm that with us. But yeah, that could be different in three months or after she moves out. So there are situational rules, too. Right?

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. That makes me think of, so my middle daughter's just transitioned home as well. You know, she's a working adult. I launched her, she's hanging out with us for a while. And sometimes she'll walk through the living room and out the door. And I'm like, well, where is she going? And so I'm thinking right now, her and I just need to have a conversation. You know, even though she may have told me hours ago what her plans were, hat just walking through the iving room and saying goodbye. 'm headed to this and such and uch a place, remember? I mean, hat's kind of situational, ight? Yes. Where before mayb I don't know, maybe she didn't have to, because I knew her s hedule because I was in charge o it. Yes. Now she's an emergin adult. And I don't know, er schedule changes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And so it's different. Yeah, there's that space for negotiation. Some things do not change. Yes. But some are going to be situational. For sure. Yes. So I do want to talk a little bit about the research about why rules are important. Now, I do think of sometimes the flippant response of, most people these days just had rules for their kids. And so I'm like, that is not where this is coming from. Correct. We do benefit from consistency and structure and our kids benefit from having appropriate expectations. Right. We talked about that in our parenting styles episodes. And season one that kids need our authoritative parenting style from Dr. Diana Bomber and says they need responsiveness and they need appropriate expectations. So this is a part of that effective parenting. But Dr. Lang, who's an Iowa State professor, who you heard us talk a lot about in season five, gave us access to her book online called Parenting in Diverse Contexts. And she gives us some insight on why rules are important. She says children and people of all ages, adults too, thrive in flexibly structured environments. For children, the sense of knowing what to expect typically elicits feelings of safety and security. And caregivers can help reduce feelings of chaos. By providing flexible, but consistent, I want to put that phrase in your head. We're gonna come back to that, flexible but consistent. And so she says three things we can do to be flexible and consistent to give security. We can offer flexible but consistent routines, flexible but consistent rules, and then I think the third one really goes right along with it. The third one is concrete and explicit directions with easy to understand expectations. I think the rules, right, we talked about routines last week. We're talking about rules this week. And right alongside that is this idea of concrete explicit directions with easy to understand expectations.

Lori Korthals:

And the key point being that those things reduce feelings of chaos in children. Yes, yes. Oh, if there was a way to reach our feelings of chaos, right. Yes. Boundaries? Yes. Oh, yes. Yeah. And then she also says that research shows that children's abilities to anticipate change, to use appropriate behaviors and develop independence are actually fostered by warm, safe, stable, nurturing, compassionate caregiving that happens on a consistent basis. So all of these things that we want, appropriate behaviors, developing independence. I mean, we can create that by having flexible structured rules, directions, expectations, and then this idea of consequences that can be responded to or applied every time in this warm, nurturing, consistent manner.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, and like pause, yeah. For those inevitable times when it's not every time. Yes, it's not every time that we're warm. Next week, we're going to talk about those.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, next week.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Next week, we're going to talk about those times when we didn't get it, quote, unquote, right. That we weren't warm and nurturing when we delivered it. But for now, for this week, we're going to talk about the value record. It's valuable to have those warm interactions with concrete, explicit, stable, safe, nurturing, caring, compassionate.

Lori Korthals:

All those words, yes. So okay, well, then, amongst all those words and phrases, what stands out to you about these thoughts on rules?

Mackenzie Johnson:

The thing that I feel like I pull from all of it is, which is actually something I've heard lots of other places, one being you. When you talk, I know you've really explored some of Rene Brown, who is a researcher on shame and vulnerability. She's got podcasts, books, all kinds of great stuff. But I've heard you quote something she says about clear is kind. That like being explicit and direct of what exactly we expect of our kids, is kind. It gives them security, it helps, right? It helps with those behaviors being the behaviors we desire, when we can say explicitly, this is what I want you to do. That clarity is a good thing. Like that helps us and our kids when it comes to rules and expectations.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. Like they can get in their head when you are clear, like oh. Oh, she wants me to do this. I can see it in my head. I have a memory of it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Well, and we even talk about that in our Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10 to 14, which is a face to face program that you can participate in, that was written and is coordinated by Iowa State University Extension. But we talk about making your position on certain substances and on risky behaviors and things like that, making them very clear with your teen. What exactly do we expect from you around this? And so being really clear is like that, that clear communication is kind. It is kind. What about you? What do you think of you know, we talked about a lot of the benefits, a lot of caring, consistent, nurturing, a lot of those words, as you hear all that, what like stands out for you about rules?

Lori Korthals:

Well, and I love Dr. Lang's book, especially the way that we utilize it across the ages and stages, and that makes me think of this idea of, okay, let's take my family rule of respect. I can take that rule and find a way to apply it, acknowledge that it has to happen and expect this rule across all types of environment. Same rule at home, same rule at relative's house, same rule at the park, same rule at the store. There isn't a place or time that I don't expect my children to speak respectfully to me. And vice versa. There isn't a time or place where I don't expect myself to speak respectfully to them.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, they can expect that of you.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah, absolutely. And so it's the same general rule across all of these environments. And it allows me to be nurturing and warm and consistent. So the environment is flexible, but there's still a structure and my children know, and have always known that. This is expected of me, and I'm very clear.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Yeah. So good. And I do, I think each of us have a different perspective on what are the non-negotiable rules in our home and in our family. But also like, yeah, every situation is different so it makes sense that we each do our own thing with that. There's not one set of family rules that everybody would be like, this is it. We all agree every every family in the world must agree to this. We know culture is a part of this, too. What are the non negotiables and things? Yeah, sure.

Lori Korthals:

And again, remember, I don't get it perfect. So next week, you're gonna hear me share one of those times I maybe wasn't warm and consistent, and how do I repair from there? But, you know, we understand that rules are important. How does this specifically relate to parenting in tough times? Yeah, well, Prime, Wade, and Browne use the pandemic as an example. And then what they did was they explained it this way. So as caregivers, we are simultaneously experiencing this pressure of what's happening in this tough time with renegotiating rules. So we have to renegotiate a rule because of what's happening in this tough time. So we've had to renegotiate some of our family rules in the last 18 months. And the idea is that it's possible some of that renegotiation might continue forward. Or we acknowledge that this is a different place in time, and we are going to go back to that rule.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, absolutely. And I think the thing that stands out for me from that about, we are both sometimes forced to renegotiate and it can be a strategy we choose. Yeah, so I almost feel like I need to sit in that in a pause for a minute, like, renegotiating rules is something that can feel really stressful to be forced to do. And it can be something we can choose to do. Okay, we can renegotiate, and I think of when circumstances change. New circumstances sometimes force us to change those expectations. You know, even in regular life, we talked that there are some non-negotiable rules like respect, but the specific rules of like, school aged kids and the rules they have to adhere to at lunchtime. Yes, you only get 15 minutes to eat, or even the rules at breakfast in our house versus at supper. Cuz sorry, you're probably not gonna see me at breakfast in my house. But so we do and even I think of the rules we adhere to in our living room as adults versus if we're at a friend's house. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna put my feet up on the couch at my house. Oh, yes, is that rule other places? But so we know we can allow for flexibility in our rules and our expectations, and that they can shift with our circumstances. And so this is like, hey, universal permission from The Science of Parenting team, that you're able to offer that grace and that flexibility. You're allowed to renegotiate during tough times when the circumstances change, whether permanently or temporarily. Absolutely, you can change your expectations and rules too. It's allowed.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. And I love that idea then of thinking about renegotiation as a strength. It's a strategy. It is a tool for your toolbox. Tuck that in there. Yes. It's okay. And you can tap into renegotiation as a tried and true tested research based strategy. You can.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. Okay. So what is a rule that you've renegotiated? We've been talking about the pandemic off and on, like, what is a rule that's been renegotiated in your home because of the pandemic or during the pandemic?

Lori Korthals:

So we shared in this episode with each other a little bit of our thoughts and ideas, and I was struggling to come up with a rule that was renegotiated because my children are older, right, during the pandemic. One was finishing her college and another one, you know, was working and then I realized that I kind of have this rule of when you want to go hang out with friends and drive and you're able to drive and you want to spend money that way, you need to have a way to make that money. So honestly, the rule in our house has been like when you want to spend money, that means you have to have a part time job as a teenager. And so that's like a rule. Even my special needs child. It was unspoken until it was challenged. I'm

Mackenzie Johnson:

Is it unspoken? like, no, that's a rule. You need to, so even my daughter with special needs, she did some volunteering. And so then I thought, oh, my goodness, we totally renegotiated that rule during the pandemic for my 16 year old. And that was essentially because, you know, she created a small circle, a small bubble of people that we were allowed to interact with, etc. and the safety measures at her job were compatible for a while. And then as the pandemic went on, the safety measures kind of became incompatible with what my family needed or desired. Yes, just based on our own family dynamics, health situations, etc. And so I had to renegotiate that idea of a part time job because it wasn't really working for what we wanted in terms of our own family, you know, health situation, et cetera. Yes, she didn't have to have a job. And, you know, I had to really come around to oh, gosh, she's breaking the rule that I made her sister adhere to. Oh, wait, is this gonna be family contentiousness years down the road when they're in their 30s? And 40s? Oh, yeah, remember, she didn't have to have a job. This is the one that'll keep coming up.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly. And we renegotiated and guess what, you know, now she has a job again. But we really had to look at what works for our family in this situation right now.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yeah. You did, you renegotiated to the circumstances at the time.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. For me, I think of the, actually, it's not even like, hmm, if I think about it's like, No, no, no, I know it. I know. In our house, it was definitely screentime for my preschool age child. And honestly, for my toddler, which when my daughter was a toddler and she's older, like I was like, screentime, no. I felt really strongly about that. And that's neither good nor bad, like here, nor there. We're not gonna add any shame or judgment to that. Um, but during the pandemic, and our four rounds of quarantine, where my coparent and I are both working in the home, yeah, we're both working from home, and no childcare and no school and we had this totally new set of circumstances. And yep, the reality was we needed a gap plan, like a family gap plan and screen time was it for our preschooler for a lot of the time. And so even before the pandemic, my daughter, I think I even shared it last episode, I think I've shared it a lot of times. My daughter will get herself up in the morning, get herself dressed, go downstairs, and she likes to eat some breakfast and grab some breakfast, and watch some TV. Which, you know, we have some parameters on we can continue to do this as long as these things continue to work. But that was not a pre-pandemic thing. Like that was not a thing that we did. And so we did, we shifted our expectations. Screentime was a tool that we used intentionally and currently use intentionally and yeah, it was like a, during the pandemic, that's what we needed to do to get by. And now we're kind of coming post pandemic, and it's staying around, like that flexibility that we've have. We renegotiated some of those things around screentime in our house, and it's like, you know what, and we can be okay with that. Like, if we feel it comes to a place that it's a problem for us. We can renegotiate again.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So this kind of brings us to our section we like to call your reality. It's like, alright, you told us about rules, why they're important, yada, yada. What are we gonna do about that? Yeah. So Dr. Diana Lang does tell us that specific warm, concrete, understandable directions and expectations do improve behavior, prevent dangerous situations, reduce frustration. Here for that. To reduce my frustrations. And that it can foster kids learning of appropriate behaviors. And, I underlined it in my script, it is most effective to tell our kids exactly what behaviors we desire. So that is my super concrete was like, What is the practical strategy about rules and renegotiating? We're going to be really clear and explicit about what we do want them to do.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. That's one of my favorite things to watch over the years, as you know, I've done parenting education is giving parents examples. And I think we should run through some examples of, you know, what the reality is sometimes we say, and then how can how can we flip that to be very clear and defined?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Can I be feisty?

Lori Korthals:

Okay, yes. You be the feisty one. All right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I mean, in the middle of a challenging moment before I've had the, I shouldn't say had the chance because I've had the chance, before I have taken the time to Stop. Breathe. Talk, yes. I might say something like, oh, no hitting, stop hitting. How can we flip that to what we do want?

Lori Korthals:

And I might flip that and I might say to the child, we need to use gentle touches. We need to use gentle touches with our hands. And let me be very clear and kind that we don't have to be syrupy. And, you know, we can be warm and direct. We don't have to say, Oh, I would love it if you would use gentle touches. No, right. You know, it's okay to say, I need you to use gentle touches. Yep. Clear is kind.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. All right. What about, I know you've talked about this before, stop it syndrome? Knock it off, right?

Lori Korthals:

Yes. Yes. Because what is it you want me to do? I have no idea what a stop it means? Well, actually, in this certain circumstance, it means I need you to have both feet on the floor. I need you to use your walking feet in the house and in the store. I need you to keep your hands in your pockets while we walk through the grocery store.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Sticks are not for banging on your brother's face.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly. Sticks sticks beong on the ground for the birds and the squirrels to use.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, that's what we do want. Yes. Oh, okay. Another one. This one makes me nervous because I can hear myself saying this. Like, don't talk like that. Or watch your mouth. Like, ah, yeah, I think of the backtalk. And the response can be like, hey, don't talk like that. And then as our kids explore swear words.

Lori Korthals:

Oh, yes. Yeah. I need you to speak respectfully for me, to me, and I will speak respectfully to you. If your child is younger, you might have to say, I'm going to need you to use a nicer tone. I'm going to need you to use a quieter voice when you speak to me. I'm gonna need to make sure that you're not yelling at me when you talk to me. Yes, those are the things that I might say. Oh, I would love it if you would say to mommy, help, please. Yes. What is it you want me to do?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I think of the story you tell about when one of your oldest, I think your oldest daughter was really young, with her shoes. Oh, yeah. Like falling apart. And now it's like, help, please. Like, yes, you can say like, you can model. Oh, I find myself doing it even to myself. Like, thank you, mommy. Like, we like tell them like this would be an appropriate thing to say. Oh, yeah. Okay, and another one. And that sometimes we can be prone to like a little bit of that sarcasm or a joke or a sideways, I say sideways sometimes, a sideways comment. It's like I'll say that instead of being direct, but like, better not miss curfew.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. Or okay, so there was definitely one that was passed around in my home just last evening. Well, it's right where you left it. Ah. Okay, so back to better not miss curfew. Um, I expect you in the door by 11. And see how clear that was? Like, that's not I expect you on the road by 11 headed towards home. It's I expect you in the door by 11. Yes. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So telling explicitly and it is, sometimes it's easier, like, well, I do want you to stop. Like, I don't want you to hit. I don't want you to jump on the couch. I don't want you like, it's true that I don't want to do that. But like, what do I want you to do? I want you to jump on the trampoline. I want you to be active outside rather than on the couch. What do I want? What would be an appropriate behavior? Absolutely. Okay. And then there's one more thing that I feel like as we've been walking through this that we haven't quite touched or haven't quite cleared up. And it's this idea. I told you to hang on to that phrase in brackets of flexible but consistent. Oh, yes. Okay, gotcha. And so I feel like sometimes the go to phrase is like, we need balance, right? Like, we need a balance of flexibility and consistency. It's like, okay, cool. How do I find that? But that's my question is like, what tips do you have for parents on when it comes to rules? Like, when do I need consistency and flexibility? Or how do these coexist when they feel like opposites? So do you have any tips? Do you have any tips for that?

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so I had a vision in my head, as you said that, balance and that was, you know, that balance scale shifting back and forth, back and forth. And I think that idea of it being perfectly stable and steady is just not, that's not reality, right? Oh, I don't think there is a perfect steady answer when it comes to consistent and flexibility. And I'm going to use a phrase that our producer Mackenzie DeJong said, as we were walking through this earlier, and she said, You tap into your biological archives. And what I was saying was, what is that balance? I oftentimes use my gut. And yes, I tap into my biological archives, because something is telling me this doesn't feel right, like adhering to this rule in a 100% rigid and consistent way in this particular situation doesn't feel right. I don't feel like I'm preserving the connection with my child in this instance. Yes. And I did share the story about how my 16 year old broke a rule and her consequence was that she was going to miss this ritual birthday of a friend. Yes. And it didn't feel right to me, but I really struggled with, how do I let her know that because she was late and didn't communicate, that was not appropriate, right? But we had just come out of strict lockdown to a more open space in the pandemic. And this, you know, friend's birthday, a 16th birthday, no less, was a place where all of a sudden you could come out of quarantine and be with people and you didn't have to be socially distanced. And so my gut said, my biological archive said, Lori, you've got to renegotiate this. And she'll still learn a lesson. So we renegotiated her consequence, she got to go to the birthday party. Her friends, actually, were the ones that came up with the brand new consequences. And I'll tell you what, she's not been late since. I get multiple texts throughout the night letting me know where she is and, you know, her expected arrival. And I preserved a connection and a relationship with her in a positive way because I listened to my gut. And I didn't make the balance. You know, the balance? What is that thing? I don't know. You know, it wasn't a scale thing. Maybe tipping. The balance scale thing was tipping more to one side than the other. But look at what it got me in the end, so much more communication.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, absolutely. And I think it's important to recognize so Kenzi brought that up. Because you're like, wow, my advice is really kind of the trust your gut. But that's not scientific. Wait, that is scientific instinct. There's a part of your brain that knows, right? We're wired for connection. We're wired for, you know, these things. And it's like, wait, but even if your brain doesn't know, she said, like, there's file folders and even if they're in archives, yes, they're way back in the back of the library there. But oh, yeah. I love that. Your gut, your gut knows. It does. Okay. So the thing is, I think about like, okay, flexibility, but consistency, flexibility, but consistency. So my thing is, you know, we talked about shifting circumstances, and that we can renegotiate. But my thing is like we can renegotiate our expectations and rules to meet the current needs. Yeah. And so I think that's where the flexibility piece comes in is like flexibility to our current needs or current circumstances or our producer, full good stuff today, also said the thing about like, sometimes what changes the circumstance, the change is that you know better now. You've learned more. I've previously shared a story about when my daughter would come home from childcare and she'd want a snack and some days, I'd be like, oh, yeah, you know, I haven't even thought about we're gonna have for supper, have a snack. And other days it was like four minutes away. Just no, no. No snacks. And how I like realized, right? The thing that changed was I realized, my kid is listening to her body that it's hungry. Mm hmm. So I can be flexible and that I can if, yep, even if that supper is in two minutes, you can have a snack. And you can even bring it to the table like, yes. But so sometimes what changes is what you know, know better do better. But as our circumstances change and our needs change, we can have flexibility there. But we can have consistency in enforcing, and enforcing is almost too strong a word that I'm thinking of but like, the way we communicate those expectations, and the way that we do what we say we're going to do. Yeah, so if I say like, you know what, this is the rule for right now. We're going to revisit this in a month. So for this month, this is the expectation, I can be consistent in that. And then it can be flexible and renegotiated in a month if it's not working. Absolutely. And so I think that balance comes in, flexibility and renegotiating, consistency and enforcement, communication. And then also knowing which rules and expectations are non negotiable for you. Right? You know, and some of those things can be based on past experiences, they can be based on family values. Like there's a whole host of things that what your non negotiables are and what mine are. We can say like, you know what, there is room to renegotiate this when our circumstances change, or, you know what, this one's sticking. The you're in charge of your body, and they're in charge of their body rule in our house isn't going nowhere. Yes. Okay, so now I think that brings us to Stop. Breathe. Talk.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, okay. So at this point in our episodes, we typically bring in our producer, Mackenzie DeJong, and she's still hanging out in the background there. But during season six, we knew that our writer, Barb Dunn Swanson, has a passion for all things about resilience. And so we've been asking her to come in to our episodes. And what happens typically is she gets on the screen, and I look at her and I say, hey, Barb, what are you thinking? What a good episode Oh, my goodness, I want to unpack so many great ideas based on what you've already shared. And the first one is that rules are a protective factor. Yes, at their foundation, they are a protective factor. And if you think about being an adult, and following rules for driving, or how to play soccer, rules for playing any of those board games we grew up playing. Rules are foundational. And so what we know is that sometimes the rule is created so that we stay safe. Maybe the rule's created to help us save resources or save money. You know, you talked, Lori, about your daughter having that job because maybe she wants to take the car and she's gonna have to buy some gas, right? And then you renegotiate it. So sometimes we're helping kids learn the value of saving money. And so we have a rule around something about that. Yeah, so you, you both have been talking about the value and the benefit of rules for families. But the bottom line for me as I think about rules, and getting our kids to the stage where they're launched, is what's the bottom line? And the bottom line is self discipline, isn't it? If I have the self discipline to follow the rule, as I'm growing up, and I'm watching my parents, and I'm listening for the communication that they give around what a rule means and what it's about, then I'm going to be more likely to be able to follow rules as I get older, and I go to school, and then I go to high school, and then I go to college, because from here on out, we gotta face it. Rules are everywhere. They are right? Yes. So that's what I'm thinking about, all those kinds of things. But the bottom line for me, those rules are protective factors to keep me safe, maybe even to keep me healthy. To help me save money. But you know, rules are good. Rules are okay. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, we can have those expectations. Yes. Save all that.

Lori Korthals:

You know, you talked about the ages too, because you know what, we don't need rules that are for older kids applied to younger kids. We have to be realistic in what those rules look like. Right? Yeah. And you talked a lot about that. So that's another really important piece that you know, you just gotta be thinking about ages and stages. Where are your children developmentally, and then apply those rules in meaningful ways so that they can comprehend what we're talking about. Going back to those Cs, we're still continuing to make a connection with our kids. Yes. But we're communicating why we're making the connection and why we put these rules into place. Yeah. So those are the things I'm thinking about today.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, I'll say and those seven Cs. Yeah, we didn't really touch on them yet. But like as we think about rules, and how they contribute to resilience and our seven Cs of resilience, which are confidence, competence, connection, character, contribution, coping and control, those seven Cs that help build resilience in our kids and us. Rules are a part of right? It's part of how they build their character, like you said, yes, that these are things I believe this is how I contribute to the world. This is like it will, I guess contribute is a deficiency, but you know, their character and their integrity, their moral, like their moral values that is associated with our family rules. And then yeah, that contribution when we allow them to negotiate and renegotiate with us, like, you know what, I know my curfew has always been this time or I know, this has always been the expectation. I'm wondering if we could change it. Like having a space where our kids can renegotiate also gives them that sense of I can contribute like, I have ideas, I am competent, like, yeah. All good. All right. Rules help us raise good kids.

Lori Korthals:

And there's more than one way to raise kids. Thankfully, thankfully, without shame and without judgment. There are more than one way, right. More than one way. Well, thanks for your thinking.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yes. Love having Barb come in. And you know what, we get to have her again next week, when we talk about repairing. So you heard us say in this episode something about being warm every time or being consistent or being these things and it's like, okay, sometimes it's hard to be those things. So what do we do when inevitably, we don't do what we intended. And so that pair is our R for building resilience next week. But again, we'll talk about that next week. So we will or today we got to talk about rules.

Lori Korthals:

We did. We did and the rules, you know, ideally, understanding that rules are super important, and they're also renegotiable.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Alright, that sums it up. I don't need to say anything. You got it.

Lori Korthals:

All right. All right. Well, thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast. Remember to subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. Watch the show on video each week and join us on Facebook and Twitter to see our content in your feed.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You sure can. 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.ext nsion.iastate.edu/diversity ext