The Science of Parenting

Unspoken Aspects of Discipline | S.8 Ep.2

February 10, 2022 Season 8 Episode 2
The Science of Parenting
Unspoken Aspects of Discipline | S.8 Ep.2
Show Notes Transcript

Research tells us that there are influences on our discipline choices that are subtle and that sometimes go unrecognized. Take a moment to listen and reflect, and maybe have your own “a-ha” moment on what secretly impacts your choices.

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Lori Korthals:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast, where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. I'm Lori Korthals, parents of three in two different life stages. Two are launched and one is still in high school. And I'm a parenting educator.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks. And I'm a parenting educator. Today we'll talk about the realities of raising a family, and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. Hey, everybody, we're back. I almost said season two. Season eight, episode two.

Lori Korthals:

Episode two.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We're excited to be here. It's weird. I don't know how to start. I only know how to say the beginning.

Lori Korthals:

I know. Yes. So I'll just dive right in. Right. Okay. You heard some stuff from us already. So here we are live. Okay. So and we are in the great guidance and discipline debate. So we're gonna take a look at this topic of guiding our children from multiple perspectives this season. And we are really looking at this idea of there are so many ways to guide and develop and shape and mold our children, that there's just not just one right way, right? We say that, right? There's more than one great way, more than one way to raise great kids. There we go. So many words. But what we're using this season is the book. We're actually using a book called The Handbook of Parenting. Yeah, there's such a thing, voume five, okay. And it's edited by Mark Bornstein. And that's what we're using this whole season to really look at all of these ways to guide and shape our children. The great guidance and discipline debate.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. And so we're using that chapter by Dr. Jennifer Lansford focused on child discipline. So that we are citing a lot this week. Well, every week, there's a lot every week. Yes. And last week, we gave kind of our general introduction of, what are we talking about when we're talking about guidance and discipline? And, you know, that idea of really defining it as shaping behavior. And Barb gave us such a good reminder after we recorded last week. She's like, Yeah, you're shaping behavior, the kind you want them to have as adults. We're shaping their behavior of who they're going to be out in the world. Just like, yeah, yeah, that, that. Write it down so we say it next week, let's say it next time, but yeah, last week we really defined it. And we looked at those categories, right, different categories that discipline behaviors fall into, and we're just gonna keep on rolling with it.

Lori Korthals:

We are, we are. And really what we want to remember also is that some of these things are going to be tough for us as parents to recognize, especially this week, but really what we want is to share that positive spin with you on, this is the reality of parenting, but there's hope. There's hope.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so this week, we are looking at, you know, we're calling this episode, the unspoken aspects. What are those things that influence us that we maybe don't even realize related to how we interact and discipline our kids. So yeah, this unspoken.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, yes. All right. So tell us a little bit about some of the research. How about that?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Yes. So Lansford tells us that individual characteristics of both our kids and us as parents are going to predict the kinds of discipline that we use. And that sounds like Okay, sure. No, but that's actually a big deal. It is not, you know, so often it's like, well, if parents would just, you know, if parents would just. How many have you said that before? Oh, heard it said, but really, who our child is, the way they behave, and these factors we're gonna walk through in a second, they influence how we discipline as well. There are certain traits that increase our likelihood of being harsher, traits that we might define as more difficult. And so Lori, walk us through, let's break down. We'll do child and then we'll look at the parent traits. But what are some of these traits that make us more likely to be harsh with our children?

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. So again, remember that some of these, we might feel a pinch or a poke or a sting. And that's okay. Because recognizing what we do and don't want to do when it comes to parenting is super important. So hang with us. So sometimes we have things that children are experiencing, like conduct problems or attention problems or they're not being compliant. And that really impacts which discipline tool we pull out of our parenting toolbox. We also know that sometimes when it comes to temperament, children have more negative mood, just as parents do, right? Some of their temperaments are more spirited. Other times we might use the word more difficult. And we know that those specific temperaments, they take more parenting energy, right? Yeah, they just do. So those more spirited temperaments just take more. We also know that some children exhibit behaviors that are particularly stressful for parents, for some parents more than others, for particular parents over other parents. It's just the child's behavior that's creating the stress. Might not bother me, but it might totally bother Mackenzie. Yeah. And then the last aspect is if a child has a disability or a diverse ability. Sometimes those really impact which parenting tool we grab, and oftentimes, if a child has difficulty with communication, that, again, takes more parenting energy, and really can impact if we use harsh discipline, harsh punishment or not. So those things, they impact, and are more likely to see parents using harsher punishment.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, the literature like the research in the book, you know, talked about these traits, and these kids are more likely to experience even like abuse, or likely to experience harsh punishment. And, you know, there's a spectrum of discipline, and they are, they're just more likely to, and so as parents, you know, real talk for a second, right? Like, okay, yes, this is uncomfortable to hear. But I think it can also be an aha moment of Wait, this might be why I feel I have a harder time parenting this child than I do their sibling? Exactly, not because there's something wrong with me or that that one's my favorite. Or it might be that their temperament or their abilities, or their general behaviors align more easily with your natural parenting style, versus the other ones might require more. And so, you know, as you look at that list, what hits home for you, as a parent? Like, what are the traits that maybe are there that you're like, you know what, this is a factor?

Lori Korthals:

I definitely can pinpoint, especially early on in my parenting when I didn't know that my child had a diagnosable disability. And it was a specific disability with her communication. And so there were times that I knew that I was being more harsh than I wanted to be. I was overwhelmed and stressed, and the impact of her disability was really making me choose different types of parenting tools that I really wasn't using with my other child at that time. And I would become frustrated with myself because of it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Well, and yeah, it just it required different things of you.

Lori Korthals:

It did and the things I had used previously weren't working and I didn't understand why. That is frustrating.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. Yes. Well, and so I, you know, they talk about behaviors that are particularly stressful for the parent. So in my specific situation, I have anxiety. Which is actually something I've learned about throughout our podcasting. I've been on this journey of learning more about it, but it can make me very prone to being irritable, and getting overstimulated very easily. And as I said before, I have very lovely, loud children. They're loud. They're loud, as am I. I know exactly where they get it. You know, but so sometimes the behaviors like the whining, yelling, crying, and even happy yelling, sometimes those things are really stressful for me, and it's really hard for me to be clear headed. I mean, total honesty, last night we were getting ready to get supper together. We were eating leftovers so we're all just heating up this and that, pulling out of the fridge, whatever. My kids are screaming about the plates that they have they're fighting over. I don't want that one. And then my husband's trying to ask me, What are we heating up next? What are we? It was just a lot. And then yeah, my kids are just yelling like, Mom, we did it. And I just yelled, I yelled the word stop. Like everybody looked at me do that. I didn't mean to do that. But they also needed to stop. Um, but it was like, it was short, it was barky, because that particular behavior was a lot. And I was overstimulated. And so there are certain behaviors for our each unique situation we have as parents that come out as a factor.

Lori Korthals:

We do. Yeah. And we have this default like the factory reset. Okay, so we we engage that factory reset at times when we're stressed, when we're overwhelmed. And so it's so important for us to recognize and have an aha moment. Oh, factory reset is coming in, where does that factory reset come from? Okay, well, we're gonna talk about that next, right? I led us right into that, didn't I?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Sure did.

Lori Korthals:

So we're gonna kind of own up to what parents bring into this right now. This is a hard one, if we have to really take a look at our own factory reset. We do have certain traits that make us more likely to use harsh punishment, just based on the things that we know that we grew up with that are in our history. So we're gonna just take these one at a time and look at them and just as a place to go, Okay, that's where it comes from. Okay, and do I want that factory reset to come into play less often? And how can I make that happen?

Mackenzie Johnson:

All right. So the first one is, is what kind of discipline we experienced as kids. Like when we were children, the kind of discipline, you know, if we did experience corporal punishment, it increases our likelihood of using it with our kids. You know, it's interesting in my partnership with my husband, one of us experienced corporal punishment, and one of us didn't. And I remember, before we had kids talking about how we would approach that. But yes, if we experienced that, you're exactly right, Lori. Those default settings that we talked about last week, if I'm not careful, I will default to yelling, like I did last night, right? If I'm not intentional in that reflection, I have a higher likelihood that those are my default settings, because that's the way I was raised. Right. And so yelling stop was like, Yes, of course, I can't think. I'm gonna yell.

Lori Korthals:

And I know, I definitely went to my default settings more because of my child's disability when I was frustrated with that. It was so much quicker to use that default setting of you know, stop that or just be frustrated.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, absolutely. Okay, then another one. And the description of it's technical, but basically, that when parents have a bias, they call it hostile attributions. Hmm. That sounds heavy. Hostile attributions in ambiguous situations. I said it fast. So that made it worse, probably. But it's this idea that if we have a high bias to assume that someone else's behavior is intentionally mean, malicious, naughty, you're doing this to push my buttons. If that is our thought process, like our natural bias tells us you're just being naughty, you're just wanting to get under my skin, you're doing this to manipulate me. You know, if we tend to have that thought process as our natural bias. And there are parents, some of us have it higher, and some of us have it lower. But if that is a natural bias for you, then that affects how you choose to discipline, right? If I feel like my child is having a hard time versus they're giving me a hard time, definitely influences how I want to choose to shape that behavior.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so the next one is similar to that, it's that adult thought process. Okay. So if the adult thought process is that the child's behavior is what's making me be harsh. So it's their fault. If the child did this first, it's their fault that I had to then impose this harsh punishment. And again, it can be a default, if it was always our fault as a child. And the reason the adults around us had to use harsh punishment was because we misbehaved. Yeah, you know, again, just that likelihood of pulling that harsh tool out because the adult thought process is, well, it's their fault. It's not mine. I'm the adult. The child did something wrong here. If they wouldn't have, kicked their sister then I wouldn't have had to yell at them. And so just that default of it's the child's fault. It's not mine.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And so of course that affects how we choose to shape their behavior. Absolutely. Yes. Okay, two more here. Okay. One and I found this one interesting because I think it ties back to the other ones. If we don't feel confident in our parenting, we're more likely to use harsh punishment. So if we don't feel confident in our ability to influence our kids' behavior by trying strategies like reasoning, emotion coaching, timeout, if we don't feel confident in those strategies, we default to harsher punishment because, frankly, it's easier. Yeah, right. I don't need a skill set to know how to do that, or as much of a skill set as it takes to slow down and reason and be proactive. And you know, that takes a lot more thought. And so if we don't feel confident in it, we might just not do it.

Lori Korthals:

And think about the support, like if we don't have that extra support. So kudos to everyone listening, because we're your support, like this is support for you. Good job. Alright, so the last one is kind of a big one, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. We talked about a child trait, if a child has traits that are particularly stressful for that parent, okay, well, then you could guess maybe the corresponding parent trait is, if a parent is living in high stress. Now, I want to honor that there's a variety of stress in your parenting experience. And so sometimes people are like, Well, I mean, take care of your stress. It's like, okay, yeah, that would be nice. But some of us have different levels of opportunities to address different levels of support, you know, even like health conditions that parents might have that can make stress. Living in poverty, you know, their co-parenting relationships, there's all these factors. And so it's not as simple as, Well, you better just take care of your stress. Yeah. Like we know it, that there's a level of privilege and opportunity involved in that. But that is a factor, when we are highly stressed, we're more likely to use that harsh punishment.

Lori Korthals:

So those are heavy, right, but recognizing that there are reasons behind what type of guidance and discipline we choose, we've got this natural default, right? We've got child characteristics, child traits, we have our own characteristics and traits, and they all come into play when it comes to which tools we pull out of the toolbox. And the important thing is just knowing, recognizing, oh, you know, I actually have this default. I remember that as a child, I didn't like that. And when I get stressed, I default to that. Yes. And then I spend a lot of time beating myself up over it. And that's what we don't want, we want you to recognize it. This next time, I'm gonna choose differently. I'm gonna choose this instead.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I'm gonna keep trying, I'm gonna keep trying, yes. I do think you make a great point of like, you're here and you're listening. And that is like a huge step forward to be willing to reflect on that. But I also think in addition to like, Good job, you're reflecting. It's also what an opportunity we have, what an opportunity we have as parents to change the direction that things have gone. Some of us have complicated relationships with our parents, you know, and so like, what an opportunity that you are willing to reflect, and you can choose something different, like so it's not all heavy. Like there's good news. And absolutely, you could choose a different way and how empowering for you and for your family. Like yeah, that's awesome.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so we do have one more. We had the child's traits, the parents' default. We have one more unspoken aspect, or unspoken influence, and that's culture. And so Lansford in the chapter tells us that our culture really influences what behaviors we view as desirable or undesirable. So it also can influence, our culture influences what we view as normal or acceptable. So culture is a big piece of that as well. Child traits, parent traits, and culture.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Okay. And I gotta get dorky for a

Lori Korthals:

I love history. Let's go for it. minute. Okay, so in this chapter, yes, Lansford talks about culture and how it influences what we view as acceptable, what's normal, what we even view as desired behavior from our kids, right? Like, Oh, that's good in our culture, versus Oh, don't behave that way. So those are all influences. And many of our listeners, and the two of us, yes, live in America. And so American culture, she outlined these bullets of time points in history that were significant to parenting. And I just couldn't not share. It was way too good of a history lesson. Even like for me, and so I got to tell other people, okay, all right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So we're gonna go 1920s, 1930s. Okay, this idea of behaviorism. So basically, like, you know, the whole dog slobbering when a bell rings kind of thing is behaviorism. But it's basically about punishments and rewards, okay. And in the 1920s, Watson was his name that was kind of the founder of this theory, was giving advice to parents based on this idea of, if I do this, you'll do that. And then that was built upon in the 1930s by Skinner who said, well, punishments and rewards. That's how you can parent. Use punishments to get your kids to stop stuff, and then use rewards when they do stuff you like.

Lori Korthals:

Because it works for pets. Yes, because it worked for our dogs.

Mackenzie Johnson:

But so that was in the 1920s and 30s. That was all we knew.

Lori Korthals:

All right, that was what we knew, all there was. That's all that we knew. We did the best we could with what we knew. Yes, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. 1957. This is the big one. Okay. Okay. In 1957, Sears, Macoby, and Levin released a book called Patterns of Child Rearing, and really detailed the discipline techniques of white European American families in the Boston area in the 1950s. But what it said, what they found in this big study, and that they published in their book was, okay, so when parents use more control, right, when parents try to control their child's behavior, that's actually not getting their kids to behave better.

Lori Korthals:

So more control and power wasn't getting the results. So they immediately went to social media in 1957 and told everyone about this, right? And it immediately impacted it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, sure. That would have been nice. Yeah, but I mean, yeah. 1957. So that book is published, huge turning point. It's the first time anyone's ever found and published this idea of like, Wait, like, trying to control our kids by corporal punishment and all this kind of stuff isn't actually making them behave better. So that's the first time it's come out and 1957. It's not like yeah, it's not like we hopped on social media and like, Hey, everybody, here's this cool thing to learn about. No, it takes a while for this kind of information, right, to spread out. And, you know, 20, 30, 10 years, it takes a while for that to come around. And even then, it's like, well, that might just be one thing. Right? That was like counterculture. Yeah. And so it was probably not super accepted.

Lori Korthals:

And parents were still doing the best they could with what they knew at the time. Right. Exactly. They still were doing the best they could with what they knew at the time, the tools they had. Okay. Oh, what? Okay, what's next?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, one more. Hold on. Okay. In the 1950s. I want the aha moment that I had. Okay, when we're talking about parenting and how parenting is transmitted, right? How parenting culture happens. The 1950s is not like so long ago in parenting. We're talking like, maybe one generation ago. For some of our listeners, you might be that generation. Right, like, so we're talking about, like, our parents were raised or for me, our parents were raised at a time when the only way to try to get your kids to behave was to try to control it. What we call the authoritarian, right? The idea of we're going to control their behavior.

Lori Korthals:

Right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That wasn't that long ago. No, it wasn't okay. Which leads right into in the 1960s, Diana Bomberin who we reference often, right. We talked about authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive, but basically, we promote that authoritative where we're offering appropriate expectations of our kids, right, holding them accountable for their behavior. And we offer warmth and work on meeting their needs and hearing what they have to say. That wasn't until the 1960s. One more, because I can't stop.

Lori Korthals:

Can't stop. Won't stop.

Mackenzie Johnson:

in 1989 was the first time so the United Nations put together I want to say, right, the United Nations Convention, they put together the rights of the child. And so they basically said, kids deserve to be protected from abuse, from exploitation. Kids have basic rights, like kids should have access to food, kids should have access to safety. Right. And this is the first time, 1989. Now, I will not tell you what was happening.

Lori Korthals:

I was in college, okay, learning about child development, learning that children have rights and yes, and deserve protection.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, at this point in history, most, not all, most of the countries involved in the United Nations have accepted some form of that. But that was, again, like 30 years ago. Yeah, thirty years ago was the first time, and they were like, hey, you know what? Kids should have these things. You know, so it is, it's just, it's wild to think about how that history. And yeah, again, when we're talking parenting, it passes through generations, so one generation ago, two generations ago. How this history shapes our culture, how it shapes our parents, our grandparents, and now us and our kids? Right? And so I did, I just thought that history lesson.

Lori Korthals:

And parents were doing the best they could with what they knew, right? And now we know different. Yes. And now we know different.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And that reminded me reading through this history, I just couldn't help but think, again, of your usual response when someone says something like, I was raised. My parents did that and I'm fine. I'm fine. I want you to tell that because I think that is so relevant to this.

Lori Korthals:

Okay. Yeah. So I at times my retort about, you know, this is how it was done, behavior rewards, or whatever. And I'm fine. Okay. So I might say something like, okay, that was what was known at the time. And now we know differently, we have different textbooks, we have different tools, we have different research. It's kind of like when you go to the doctor, you are ill, and you might be very ill. Or you might just have some small malady, right? But you say to the doctor, please help me get better, I want you to please help me get better. And your doctor says, Okay, great. I'm going to reach back for this textbook from the 1950s. And is that all right if I treat you with the methods that we had in the 1950s, and I might, you know, frown a little bit. I might put my eyebrows together and I might say, but you have this computer right next to you that you could literally go search the newest research from even later than 1989. Right, even later than the United Nations resolution. Like, could you actually please, you know, pull up the most recent information to treat my disease or my malady? Yeah, we know better doctor. So let's, let's do better. Let's use what we know now. And you can, you know, please put that textbook from 1950s back on your shelf? Yes, and that's science. That's what we want to do is fill your toolbox with the new research. And yes, parents did the best they could with what they had at the time. And now we know differently, and we know better or, and we know this now.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I think it's okay to say, You know what, there were some great things about this. And there were some things that weren't so great. And yes. And my parents were doing the best they knew how and my grandparents were doing the best they knew how, etc. And that's not what I want to do. Like, and I know more than they did. That's how science works.

Lori Korthals:

And I know now that my child with disabilities can stay home with me and go find a job and doesn't have to be put in an institution. Right? Yes, that would have not have been the case. And we can go forward.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes, we want to use the information that's available to us. And not that we always have to say, You know what, it's new science, we must do it. Yeah. But that it's like, this is new information, new science. I can take that in, I can decide what I want to do with that. It's gonna help me make an informed decision.

Lori Korthals:

I love that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So yes, it all shapes who we are and our culture. And yes, it all influences how we discipline, the way that our kids behave, and their natural temperament, the way that we as parents have our default settings and the way our culture shapes what we think is acceptable behavior, what kind of discipline we think is acceptable and what's normal, right? What is everybody else doing?

Lori Korthals:

What's everyone doing?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, it's all those things unspoken.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly. Okay, so there's one little additional piece and I'm guessing that this season, you might get a little bit of theory probably each week, so just a little a little theory. I'm gonna sneak it in here. Yeah, it totally fits. So Patterson, Capaldi, and Bank, they discussed this idea of coersion theory, and it's a useful framework. And I said the word framework, so I know that Mackenzie is gonna like this for it, you know? Yeah. So it helps kind of look at what we're doing in terms of children's behaviors and our behaviors and how they interact and impact and when we look at this, it's the parents and the child. Let's give an example right away. The parents and the child are in the store and the child asked for candy. The parent says, No. The child repeats the request more forcefully. The parent says no more forcefully, right? Okay, then a temper tantrum ensues. And the parent gives in and buys the candy to avoid the scene, right? Or the parent, you know, harshly scolds or threatens physical punishment so this child stops making the request. Coercion theory. Tell me more.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So the premise of this is that when things are stopped in the short term, even if it's by a behavior we don't like and then that behavior works. It coerce, right? That behavior gets like oh, okay, this is a good idea. This is a good idea, that works. Oh, it creates a very cycle of, so if that child throws the tantrum, things escalate. child throws a tantrum and we give in. Right? The classic parenting advice we get, right, don't give into the tantrum because it can tell them in their brain, this behavior is effective.

Lori Korthals:

Right? So the child in that instance, the child learned, hey, this works. I'm going to do it again. Right? Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. And then. But the same thing can happen to us as parents, that if I shout. When I yelled, stop last night, my kids stopped. Okay, my brain is like, hey, this works. Cool. So do that again, right? Whether it's a positive behavior, or, you know, they call it like, an aversive or like something that's not that helpful. If it works in the short term, we can get in these vicious cycles, coercive cycles, coercion theory of bad behavior starts reinforcing more bad behavior. Right.

Lori Korthals:

And we didn't actually teach the child what we wanted them to do.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Exactly. If I'm just yelling stop, I don't teach them if you disagree about your plate, what I think you should do. Right, when I yelled stop, that didn't do that. Yeah. And so I just yeah, this theory was really, like, fascinating to me. And that it's very similar to that behavior, reactions cycle that we reinforce and influence each other's behavior. But that idea that if this works in the short term, my brain is like, okay, yep, fine, that is useful, regardless of if it helps us meet our long term goals of like, well in the future, I don't want you to have this tantrum in the store. And that's hard.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, it is hard.

Mackenzie Johnson:

But that's theory, it makes sense. How does something even unintentionally, because of our default settings, maybe. And then it runs away? And it's like, well, this works.

Lori Korthals:

It works really well.

Mackenzie Johnson:

In the short term.

Lori Korthals:

It stopped in the short term but it didn't tell them what to do in the long term. Yes. So okay, well, last week, we gave a little activity, not homework, activity assignment. So this week, let's do the same thing. And I think that maybe we could suggest just looking for those cycles, right? Look for that cycle of, I yelled, and it worked. But I actually didn't tell them what I want them to do. Or look for the cycle of Ooh, that was my default, because I was stressed and overwhelmed. I gotta pick a different default. Is there something I can choose and know ahead of time? Okay, when I get stressed and overwhelmed, I'm going to grab this tool and use the tool that helps my child have more warmth, and have more input into that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, but yeah, and so for this week, we do that's okay. What's the strategy? You know, we always wrap up looking at that strategy. Look for these cycles, look for these influences these unspoken aspects. Look for where those are this week, and see if you hear any of these coming out that maybe you didn't recognize before.

Lori Korthals:

Just recognizing, just recognize them.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And so now, we get to move into what we call our Stop. Breathe. Talk. space, where we bring in our producer, Mackenzie DeJong. This is based on our flagship parenting strategy of stopping, breathing, and talking, and she gets to ask us an off the cuff question. She does. I'm nervous this week. I don't know why.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I'm kind of nervous, too. Because I have a question. And then as you're talking through, literally what you were just talking through, I'm kinda like, I don't know. But so well, you can tell me no, but I guess I'm kind of in the, okay then what, stage? So you gave the definition of this coersion theory and what it is. You mentioned the behavior reaction cycle, and maybe in the next coming podcast, we'll talk about that. And we've talked about it a little bit in the past, but can we maybe like, give an example of what in that instance, when we're recognizing that. Like, oh, okay, I recognize it. So then what? Just a quick example, or maybe an example of the behavior reaction cycle working well, sort of a deal. So that's kind of where I'm at. Okay. So what's next?

Mackenzie Johnson:

So I have one, okay. That was my example. When I was overwhelmed and stressed and just yelled to everybody in my family to stop like, and it was not like, okay, guys, let's stop. Okay, but so I did yell, stop. And in the short term, they did stop screaming, and my husband did stop talking to me. But recognizing, okay, that came from a place of overwhelm, and stress. And that's not actually helpful, right? Like, I need them to know what I need my kids to learn what to do, instead of screaming at each other and crying about this plate they're fighting over. I need my husband to know like, I feel really overwhelmed when it's really loud in here, and we're trying to get things done. And I can't talk with you right now. So I had to repair. Repair, which we've talked about, I mean, in season six, right? Oh, gosh. Okay, it's gonna get harder and harder.

Lori Korthals:

Google repair on our podcast.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I'm pretty sure in season six, we talked about it and resilience. I think that opportunity to like, Okay, once we got seated, and I was not a hot mess, you know. Like, I shouldn't yell. You guys were disagreeing about something. What were you disagreeing about? And so we talked through that and like, Okay, I'm sorry. What can we do next time? You know, but I had to get out of that moment. I mean, honestly, stop, breathe, talk. Like, I needed to take a moment, get regulated, and then coming back into it and like, Okay, what was happening? Why were we screaming? Why were we crying? Yeah, but I did have to own like, Okay, I shouldn't yell. That's not helpful either. And it didn't make any of us feel any better. Myself included. Yes. But so repairing is like, alright, if you recognize that some of these things have influenced you and do influence you then you might have to repair.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. So do you want me to share an example of the behavior reaction cycle working? Good that way? Okay. That gets me out of confession.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right? Oh.

Lori Korthals:

Next time, we'll have my oldest daughter pop in and see what she has to say. Right? So one thing I've shared before is the Trello story, right? So the behavior reaction cycle, and how I can make it work was my two year old. I won't tell the whole story, you can go back and look at that. Right? Okay. And so my two year old wanted to take a toy and and she was arguing with me at two years old about this toy going in. And the behavior reaction cycle says the child does something, parent responds, okay. The parent does something, the child responds. And it goes into circle responds, behaves, responds, behaves, responds, behaves. So what happens in that instance of, you know, the tantrum and the yelling, and the tantrum and the yelling, hopping out of the behavior cycle is when you take that moment to go, Oh, we're trapped in a cycle of negativity. I've got to stop the circle. I am the adult. I get to be the one to stop the circle. Okay, that's my role. I have one job, to stop the cycle, right? And so I can hop out with that stop, breathe, talk. I can hop out by repairing, I can hop out by, you know, literally just looking at the child and saying, Wow, you are really upset about this, aren't you? Okay, so pulling open that toolbox super quick, pull out all those sticky notes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And you can hop out of the circle by choosing not to go with your initial reaction. By separating your reaction from what you actually choose to say and do is another way to hop out of that circle.

Lori Korthals:

So you Stop. Breathe. Talk.

Mackenzie Johnson:

One of them and yeah, yeah, yeah,

Mackenzie DeJong:

So I am just gonna throw in. I looked it up really quickly while we were sitting here, it is season six, episode six, How To Repair.

Lori Korthals:

Nice. Way to go.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I saw you looking down and I figured.

Lori Korthals:

She's so quick. Awesome. Good question. I'm a little nervous about questions this season. I have to admit.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. I don't know why. It's so like, value based, right? Like what things? It's like, yeah, it's how we were raised, vulnerable. Our internal thoughts, vulnerable. Right. And so I do I think it feels a little bit trickier.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, yeah.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I'll do my best to not make it too vulnerable.

Lori Korthals:

Okay. Okay, good. All right.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I'll call Lori's oldest daughter and have her pop in. Yeah.

Lori Korthals:

I have a comment on that story.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, I love that. Thank you. Yes. Okay. And as you were talking about that, Lori, that behavior reaction cycle. Thinking about that coercion theory, right? Those coercion cycles we can get in also made me think, holy cow. So coercion theory is basically behavior reactions, but it's the downward spiral version. It is a downward spiral, like, my behavior is not helpful. And then my reaction translates directly to into behavior that's not helpful. My child is still having a hard time. It's the downward spiral version of the cycle.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. It is.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So that's what we're kind of looking at this week is this idea of like, what are those influences that are sometimes internal, sometimes unspoken, unnoticed? And so it's like, okay, let's bring some attention to them. We have the opportunity to reflect and I think there is some grace to give ourselves in learning these things of like, I didn't know this before now.

Lori Korthals:

I didn't know before now. I do now. Put the old textbook back on the shelf.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, right. Put that old version of this story. It's okay to say like, that's what I knew then. And I was doing the best I knew how, yes, and like, so I do, I think there's grace to give ourselves in these situations of realizing, holy cow. That's why I have a harder time with this particular child, or that's why I have a hard time with this particular behavior. And so I just think that there's a lot of grace to give ourselves and good news, but just to reflect and think about, okay, how am I going to look at these things and be intentional with what I want to do from here. And so exact traits from our kids, our default settings and the culture around us and the way we were raised is also a big factor.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. All right. So what is next? Oh, next, emotions. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. All right, we're gonna dive deep into the role that emotions have in our interactions with our child. Hang on. Emotions coming up. Bring the Kleenex, right? I don't know yet. All right. Thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast and remember to check out our blog posts written by our teammate, Barb Dunn Swanson, and then go along with each episode at the scienceofparenting.org.

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