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February 21, 2024 43 mins

Dr. Aliza Pressman is a developmental psychologist and a savior for the parents who follow her work at the Mount Sinai Parenting Center and listen to her popular podcast, “Raising Good Humans.” Martha interviews her at the 92nd St Y about her new book, “The 5 Principles of Parenting,” which breaks down the science behind child development into just a few simple rules. Why is “perfect” parenting actually harmful? What is the best way to manage anger outbursts? Listen here for Dr. Pressman’s advice on how to raise good humans and feel good about the process.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
I think we all need to just embrace the fact
that perfect is harmful and the imperfect is actually better.
And so if you are a perfectionist and you're like,
well I want to get this perfect, then you best
make mistakes in front of your kids.

Speaker 2 (00:18):
So we're all very interconnected here. You sure are. Now
I also have to.

Speaker 3 (00:22):
Can I say this, I'm not billed.

Speaker 2 (00:26):
I almost was Alisa's step grandmother. That'd be a step
gree Can you imagine my daughter almost well I don't
know how close it was, but they almost married her
father and I would have been her step grandmother. Oh
my gosh. And it is crazy. But it is really
nice to see that you have grown up and that

you are now a PhD and a very accomplished writer
and an amazing doctor. And you have helped so so
many people with seedlings and the other things that you
do for people. And thank you so much.

Speaker 3 (00:58):
Thank you for being very excited for this.

Speaker 2 (01:01):
Well it's for me. It's terrific to be back here
at the ninety second Street, New York. Why And tonight,
as I said, we're talking to doctor Lisa Prisman about
her new book just out today. She appeared on the
Today Show this morning, and the book on Amazon is
number twenty in the bestseller list, which is amazing. Congratulations.
The brother's entitle the Five Principles of Parenting. We're also

recording our conversation tonight to post on my podcast, the
Martha Podcast on iHeart.

Speaker 3 (01:31):

Speaker 2 (01:31):
I've known Elisa as a parent and as a parenting
expert for a long time. She is a developmental psychologist
and the co founder of Seedlingks Group and the Mount
Sinai Parenting Center, and she hosts the popular podcast Raising
Good Humans. That's another kind of coincidence. You and I
both work at Mount Sinai. I have the Martha Stewart
Center for a Living for geriatric medicine, and you are

dealing with children. Yeah, just different, that's right, different age groups.
And by the way, Raising Good Humans has over twenty
million downloads. So we're here because we're afraid that we
have or will screw up our children. But doctor Eli's
imprisonment is here to help all of us. So, Eliza,

have we screwed up our kids? Okay? Or are we
in the process of doing so?

Speaker 1 (02:19):
No, we are not in the process of doing so,
but we do need to take a beat and realize
that it's not as hard, the science is not as
hard and complicated and precious about raising our kids.

Speaker 3 (02:32):
But in the process of.

Speaker 1 (02:33):
Holding on so tight and trying to make everything so perfect,
we might actually be doing our kids and ourselves a disservice.

Speaker 2 (02:41):

Speaker 3 (02:42):
Okay, so the science.

Speaker 1 (02:44):
Tells us there are five principles. Now, obviously I've curated
the science and it's very robust, decades long. This is
not my science. This is the science of child development
and human development.

Speaker 3 (02:55):
So there are five.

Speaker 1 (02:55):
Principles relationship, reflection, regulation, rules, and repair. And when you
can adhere to those more often than not, you really
can do everything possible to not screw up your kids.
And if we let ourselves have a little space to
make mistakes in front of our kids, they realize that
humans are making mistakes, were fallible, We make repairs, and

we move on. So a lot of this is about
letting go of clinging to the perfect parenting and recognizing
that that's actually getting in our way.

Speaker 2 (03:27):
Well from doctor Spock, which I think I grew up
on and my mom had six kids, I grew up
in doctors and Mom was so great. She she just
went for it. But she was a teacher too. She
sort of had the essentials to struggling with a only child.
That's what I did an only child. But now to

mommy bloggers, and there's a plethora of pirateing advice up there.
What sits your book A part?

Speaker 1 (03:56):
I would say, at first, there are incredible researchers, there,
incredible psychologists, scientists.

Speaker 3 (04:02):
I have wonderful colleagues.

Speaker 1 (04:03):
I just wanted to put them all under one roof
and kind of clear away the noise. So I would
say this book clears away the noise, gets down to
what really matters. And then there's a whole part of
the book that's about coming to terms with what your
values are and what you care about. So I'm not
telling anybody what is important to them. That's on every
individual and every family. And then ideally, the second half

of the book just shows you how to put it
into practice and the ways that we all kind of
understand are happening from birth through adolescence.

Speaker 2 (04:30):
I went to a party the other night for the book,
and every young famous mother was there at the party,
all relying on doctor Eliza. And I think it's really
fabulous though, because people really do appreciate the advice you give,
it's not so complicated, but it is very sensible. And
how does your book really help parents rely less on

parenting advice and more on common sense.

Speaker 1 (04:54):
I think by distilling the science and saying, here's what
really matters. It's five principles, and that's what's in our
control as parents, Like we can't control our kids, we
can't control other people, as hard as that is to realize,
but we can control ourselves. So making sure that you
control yourself in these ways, you pay attention to the

relationships that you have, You reflect on your experience being
parented and how that informed maybe how you interact in
the world. And then you regulate so that you can
kind of have control over your emotions in a way
not to remove them, but just say I'm intentional about
my emotions. I'm going to be able to make choices
about my parenting that are intentional, and that you have

rules because rules matter.

Speaker 3 (05:38):
We need boundaries, We need.

Speaker 1 (05:39):
To set limits in the context of having a close relationship.
And then when we screw up, did you say screwing
up kids?

Speaker 3 (05:46):
So when we screw up, we make repairs.

Speaker 1 (05:48):
And it's not that it's like that for everything, even though,
of course in the book, I go through all the
different challenges that are pretty typical because I know that
it's hard to say, like, well, how does that translate
in every moments? But I think over time, ideally you're
getting fluent in this and it's quite easy. What's not
easy is the emotional stuff that happens and the feelings

that we have because we're human.

Speaker 2 (06:10):
So in this world of such frequent divorce, separation, all
kinds of stuff. I mean, you've gone through that your
two lovely daughters. How do you explain all of that
to the kids.

Speaker 1 (06:21):
So there are two things that I like to say
that just remind us that the feelings themselves of hard
events are not the problem. So I like to say
all feelings are welcome, all behaviors are not. So you're
allowed to have feelings, including being really upset that your
parents are getting divorced. The key is that you are
safe to share those feelings with your parents, and that

you have somebody who will just be there with you
through the feelings, not fix the feelings, not try to
change the world around them so that they don't have
to go through the hard times, but kind of give
them the tools dress them for the weather that they're experiencing.
So in the context of divorce, the kinds of stressors
that come at us, like divorce, like death, like war,

like pandemics, they can.

Speaker 2 (07:05):
Be through everything everything experience right this minute.

Speaker 1 (07:09):
Absolutely those can be, when piled on or individually, just
highly stressful to the point of toxic stress, and that
can over decades create health outcomes. We don't want mental
illness and physical illness that we don't want, but when
you have one loving and supportive caregiver and it only
takes one, then you can move those stressors from being

categorized from toxic to tolerable, and that builds resilience.

Speaker 3 (07:34):
So we want that.

Speaker 1 (07:35):
And that is the thing that that when everybody's worried
they're screwing up, whether it's because of divorce or because
of the pandemic, or because of some other issue, the
question is can I be there in a close relationship
through all the things that are messy, And if you can,
you're not screwing up your kids. I mean, they might
end up in therapy, but that's not a bad thing.

Speaker 2 (07:54):
Well, your background is in developmental psychology. What does that
mean exactly?

Speaker 1 (07:58):
It means that I look get change over time and
how we come to be who we are, which is
different than, for example, clinical psychology, where you're looking at
psychopathology kind of what's going wrong. I'm not looking at
what's going wrong. I mean I might, but mostly I'm
looking at how did we get here and what in
the environment can we shift to support thriving.

Speaker 2 (08:19):
So the true kids in your family, you're also a
daughter of a divorced couple. Sure, am yeah, And was
that difficult for you?

Speaker 1 (08:27):
I mean, I will say this research in my field.
There's a saying research is mesearch.

Speaker 3 (08:33):
Yeah, so I think there is. It's not a coincidence
that I went into this field.

Speaker 1 (08:37):
I think having a colorful, wacky I'm trying to think
of the right words, but having.

Speaker 2 (08:43):
Kind of you can say anything. I know your father
very well.

Speaker 3 (08:47):
It's not you I'm worried about.

Speaker 1 (08:48):
But I think having those early experiences probably made me
quite curious, like how do we get to be who
we are and how.

Speaker 3 (08:57):
How do we bounce back?

Speaker 1 (08:58):
So my parents got divorced when I was eighteen months old.
I don't remember. I don't remember parents together. Oh so
I'm sure my nervous system remembers that experience of that separation,
but I certainly don't have conscious memory of it.

Speaker 2 (09:12):
But was this your goal to study this all along
through college and beyond.

Speaker 3 (09:18):

Speaker 1 (09:18):
I failed psyche in college because I didn't understand freshman fall.
This is not flattering, but I didn't understand freshman fall
that you to drop a course, you have to go
to registration and.

Speaker 3 (09:30):
Tell them that you dropped a course.

Speaker 1 (09:32):
So that was my that did not get received well
by my parents, and so I never looked at psychology
again until after I finished college and I kind of
took a range of psych courses, and when I took
developmental psychology, I just fell in love with this idea
that we can understand who we are today by looking
at our early experiences.

Speaker 2 (09:54):
You're also certified in parent management training. What does that mean?

Speaker 3 (09:59):
It's the worst name.

Speaker 1 (10:00):
It's a training program that they have at the Ell
Child Study Center that is very much behavior oriented.

Speaker 3 (10:05):
So you give positive feedback for.

Speaker 1 (10:08):
Behavior you want to see, and you give either no
feedback or occasionally obviously have to intervene for behaviors you
don't want to see. It's not something that I pull
out of my hat very often. But if somebody's really struggling,
and their goal is compliance, like caring that your child
is behaving versus maybe trying.

Speaker 3 (10:27):
To understand the root of the behavior.

Speaker 1 (10:29):
If somebody says, look, I don't care why it's happening,
I just wanted to stop, then I would pull that
out of the hat and say, okay, there is an option.

Speaker 2 (10:36):
Well, you're so lucky because you started your practice in
a time when universal kind of correspondence was so good.
I mean, we have Instagram, yet, we have TikTok, we
have texting and emails. It makes it so much easier
to communicate. So how have you found that?

Speaker 1 (10:53):
I think what there was something that happened with something
combining social media, the pandemic, and just all the things
that have happened in the past that made communicating so easy.

Speaker 3 (11:03):
I think a great thing is that when it's working, it.

Speaker 1 (11:06):
Brings parents together that need support. And unfortunately, the bad
part of it is there's this inundation of content and
it's not.

Speaker 3 (11:15):
Really vetted and you don't really know who to trust
or what to trust.

Speaker 1 (11:18):
And it's not dissimilar to what's going on in the
news or anything else.

Speaker 2 (11:31):
Back to parenting itself, why is perfect parenting the enemy
of good parenting.

Speaker 1 (11:39):
Now when you say that, which I do say that
in the book.

Speaker 2 (11:41):
I thought I was such a good parent, but I
was such a bad parent in retrospect. And I'm here.
I'm here for some therapy here too. This is important
for me.

Speaker 3 (11:50):
Well, let me ask you a question.

Speaker 2 (11:52):
Not with the grandchildren. Grandchildren are great.

Speaker 1 (11:54):
That's the I think that's another first of all, nobody
cares about the kids once they have grandkids anyway, Right.

Speaker 3 (12:01):
So you work on that relationship.

Speaker 1 (12:03):
And I think reflecting on what you feel like didn't
go well in your experience being parented and then what
happened in your experience as a mother will change your
relationship with your grandchildren.

Speaker 2 (12:16):
Yeah. Well, your book is so helpful actually, and I
do wish it had been there instead of doctor Spock
fifty six years ago. It would have been a helpful book.
And how do the new households affect parenting? I mean
there are two male households or two female households. There's
divorced and undivorced, and I mean there's so many different
kinds of households. Does it make it more difficult? Does

it make it less difficult? At this party? I mean
there was every kind of household right at the party
that you had last week.

Speaker 1 (12:43):
Yeah, so we have looked at this and the key
is you really only need one caregiver. Okay, it doesn't
matter what their gender. Is one caregiver where you feel
really loved and safe and seen and connected. Great if
you have two, if you of more people in your life,
but you need one. And when you're missing that one,

you can even seek that out, you know as you
get older in a coach or a teacher or an aunt,
but or aunt depending. And so it really the thing
that we worry about is, you know, I'm divorced, I'm
a single parent, i'm a single sex household, you know,
all the different things that don't feel traditional. But that's

not actually impacting kids. What impacts kids is the relationship.
And that's the thing that we have to focus on.
And we try to focus on the things. And I remember,
like I didn't want to get divorced, even though it
was the right thing for our family, because.

Speaker 3 (13:36):
I thought that's not good for kids.

Speaker 1 (13:38):
But when you really peel back the research, the problem
is it's not the actual divorce. It's issues with finance,
it's issues with the co parents, not getting along and
having tension, putting the kids in between. Like, the issue
isn't the actual single parent household.

Speaker 2 (13:53):
What are the most common dilemmas that you hear from
parents or a parent or because you probably have lot,
how many single parents do you have a lot?

Speaker 1 (14:01):
Probably I have fewer single parents, but I do have
single parents. But I will say I usually don't have
both parents contacting me.

Speaker 3 (14:09):
It's usually one parent one.

Speaker 1 (14:10):
Yeah, and then maybe they tell the other parents, and
I don't know that they deliver the message accurately.

Speaker 3 (14:16):
I feel like sometimes it's just like that's what Elsa said.

Speaker 1 (14:19):
But I think the biggest pain point for parents right
now is balancing how to have a close relationship with
also having boundaries and rules that are helping them.

Speaker 3 (14:31):
Be members of society.

Speaker 1 (14:32):
And so the discomfort in that, like seeing your child
uncomfortable is really hard for people.

Speaker 3 (14:38):
Which makes sense. It's hard, but when we fix everything
and make it easy.

Speaker 1 (14:43):
We don't give them the opportunity to know that feelings
that are the challenges are survivable.

Speaker 2 (14:48):
And what kind of lessons can grandparents learn from your book?

Speaker 1 (14:52):
Well, the same lessons is that your relationship is what's important.
That when you pause and don't just react, and you
really listen to what this human needs. I actually think
one cool thing for grandparents is to really take the
opportunity because you're not in the same The tension is

not the same as when you're a parent and you're like,
it's all on me, So you can enjoy these children
in a different kind of way. And you can also say, like,
let me get to know you. I'm not going to
turn you into the person that I want you to be.
I'm going to get to know who you are, so
you can be the person you are. And because I
know you obviously are garden I mean, who's better at gardening?
It's not dissimilar in the sense that there are different

kinds of plants, there are different kinds of flowers, they
need different care. And it's the same thing with children
and their temperament. Some children need a different kind of
care than others. So even just paying attention to your
two different grandchildren, do they come into this world just
sort of with a different way of being and responding?
Is one more sensitive than the other one? Does one

get more upset?

Speaker 2 (15:57):
Easily? Pay you attention? Right? Yeah, So the first half
your book lays out your five principles, the five RS
of parenting. It sounds like the five d's of going
public on death dementia. You know, they're terrible, the five d's.
I had to write that. You have to write them
in your perspectus when you're going public. Oh my gosh, Yes,
it's horrible. But let's let's talk through. Let's talk through

the five rs carefully. Relationships.

Speaker 1 (16:22):
Okay, figuring out how you connect is really key. So
do you ever think about, like, how do you best
connect with the kids, the grand kids.

Speaker 2 (16:32):
Let's let's do the grand Yeah, let's do the ranchildren.
Now you have to really just distinguish and pay attention
to what they are.

Speaker 1 (16:37):
I think, do you notice when you feel.

Speaker 2 (16:41):
Going to turn this into a therapy?

Speaker 1 (16:42):
So tell me a little bit about the experience being connected.
You don't need to do that, but I'm curious. I
think it's just something to think about. What what helps
you connect? What makes you feel like, oh I like
being here, I feel connected.

Speaker 2 (16:55):
Well, give me there's something that they wouldn't get otherwise,
like four seats a nixed game with the Celtics. You know,
if I can do that, if I can deliver that
to the kid there and with his friends. You can
invite friends to come along, then all is well for
a moment, for a moment, remember that grandparents and parents too.

I mean, it really does help, actually, but it's not
about the gift so much. It's about the experience of
the gift.

Speaker 1 (17:21):
Yeah, that's one way that you find that you can
kind of draw them in and laugh together and enjoy
each other, right.

Speaker 2 (17:26):
And that really does help. And not forcing them to
do things because they don't want to be forced. Children
do not want to be forced to do things.

Speaker 1 (17:32):
I mean, it depends because if it's something they should
be doing, like a service to others, going to school,
taking the dishes to the sink and putting them in
the dishwasher, being kind to someone, you know, that's a
moment where they might not want to, but it's not
a choice, that's one of your rules, Whereas there are
a lot of things where dragging them unnecessarily doesn't build
the connection. And I think being comfortable that sometimes it's

a have to and sometimes it's not, and deciding that's
your values, Like I wouldn't be able to decide what
is a have to.

Speaker 2 (17:59):
For you as a grandparent. I don't like to be
pushing you have to. Yeah, I don't want to be
a have to.

Speaker 1 (18:04):
That's actually good advice for grandparents. Maybe for grandparents that
have to is not super helpful.

Speaker 2 (18:09):

Speaker 1 (18:10):
So reflection, I think is a very unsung hero of
these principles because it really just requires taking a breath
and thinking about what you want, what your goals are,
what your intentions are, and what your past experiences were.
So if there's something in your childhood that you didn't
really make sense of, it's going to come out in

your relationships. So reflection is hard. A lot of people
just want to skip it.

Speaker 3 (18:37):
Do you ever, do you know what I mean?

Speaker 1 (18:39):
Like really thinking about how you know, what was your
life like when you were a kid, it was great,
and so what if it was great? Were you trying
to replicate that experience? Were you wondering why that wasn't happening?

Speaker 2 (18:53):
It was very different being having six kids running around
a house, yeah, and not very much money and one
child running around a house with more money and more opportunities,
more travel, more excitement. But my life was so exciting.
It was so nice with six kids right there, Fron, Yeah,
it was more fun or more inclusive. I think instead

of exclusive So reflection. What about regulation is that rules? No,
that's not R rules.

Speaker 3 (19:20):
You have to regulate.

Speaker 1 (19:21):
So when your children, because a lot of people say,
how do I get my child to have self regulation?

Speaker 3 (19:26):
And self regulation is just kind of your.

Speaker 1 (19:28):
Capacity to have intentional behaviors, intentional emotions, your goal oriented.
You're not just using your primitive brain and being reactive
all the time.

Speaker 3 (19:40):
You're not flying off the handle at.

Speaker 1 (19:41):
The barista for messing up, because you can take a
moment and say, is that going to serve me or
anybody else around me? Probably not, And so if you
struggle with that, it's something to work on so that
your kids can learn from borrowing your nervous system. That's
called coregulation. But if you haven't figured out how to
regulate yourself, it's hard for the kids to learn. It's
also highly associated with the positive outcomes that we think about,

so it's actually more predictive than IQ of academic success
and rules.

Speaker 3 (20:11):
Okay, rules are.

Speaker 1 (20:12):
Just an R word for boundaries and setting limits. So
the boundaries are what's interpersonal between us, and limits should
be done by the parents. Yeah, if it's not done
if you're just in a close relationship.

Speaker 3 (20:23):
But you have no rules, it doesn't.

Speaker 2 (20:25):
Feel safe and repair when other things go wrong, except
what happens.

Speaker 1 (20:29):
Yeah, when there's a disconnection, it's bringing you back to
being connected. And that's going to happen all the time.
We never always connected. So just believing and showing your
kids that we come back and we're steady and sometimes
we're having a moment where we're disconnected, but then we
come back together. And I think that's one that helps
us not feel like things are perfect, which is there

is something to that because so many things that you
do have to be perfect.

Speaker 3 (20:53):
Or they would not they just wouldn't work as well well.
But this is not.

Speaker 1 (20:59):
The relationships can't be and so they have to be
able to come back to connection.

Speaker 2 (21:02):
Well, which leads if if I guess to repair, if
you have trouble with that, it leads to resilience. Now
is resilience important?

Speaker 1 (21:10):
I mean, I think the key is that these I
chose five principles that are very highly linked with resilience.
And resilience is like you you can bounce back in
the face of setbacks and adversity and you know, deep
stress and trauma. So resilience is super important. It's not
something that you just have as a quality. It's something

you need to have support for. And there's also life
circumstances that make it harder.

Speaker 2 (21:39):
But when a parent gets sick, yeah and so and
you have to you have to have resilience. You have
to put on a good face or whatever you have
to do to make your children not feel uncomfortable right.

Speaker 1 (21:50):
Or let them know that that feeling of discomfort is
okay and it makes sense, and you'll be there to
talk to them about it and hold them through it.

Speaker 3 (21:57):
But that you're not trying to pretend it to doesn't exist.

Speaker 2 (22:01):
As a grandlaw I entertain the friends of my grandchildren.
I try to do that on a regular basis, and
so I find some kids are just so great in summer,
not so great, but they're so pleasant and so caring
and so nice to their friends and and that kind
of that kind of camaraderie with you with their peers

is so delightful.

Speaker 1 (22:24):
A lot of things are developed because you're you can
have a temperament like I. You know, you might bend
a little bit more thoughtful, but usually you also have
someone modeling that for you and having that expectation, and
over time you get a feedback loop that that feels good,
because it does feel good, and and so there's there's
better connection. But there are some kids, of course, I mean,

sometimes you just come out and you're just a certain way.

Speaker 2 (22:49):
But for the most part we can help watch Fargo.
I've never seen such rotten children as an Fargo. Usually
have you ever had to deal with anything that bad?

Speaker 1 (23:03):
Typically, if a child is developing, they go through phases.
So sometimes you go through a rotten phase, but with
loving support and with your parents believing, like, look, your
behavior is rotten, but you are not rotten. That's important
because you don't want to name, you don't want to
call out and shame who a person is. You might
say their behavior is unacceptable, but their core is acceptable.

And I think that's the difference between kids who can
realize they can do better and kids who are like
I guess I'm you know, I guess I'm terrible.

Speaker 2 (23:33):
So what I get from the book when I having
read it is that over the overreaching goal is to
really build resiliency in a human being. And so those
hallmarks are a resilient child or.

Speaker 1 (23:48):
Was it well, I mean it's a bounce back ability, okact,
you know when you have a setback, can you come
back from it?

Speaker 2 (23:54):

Speaker 1 (23:55):
That doesn't mean you're not going to have trouble, that
it's not going to hurt, that you're not going to
feel hard feeling. It just means like you can weather
the storms. There are skills we can build in our
kids that are very much resilience. Building gratitude, autonomy, motivation, empathy,
and self regulation. Those are skills that are very much

linked with resilience bouncing back.

Speaker 2 (24:20):
So that's a skill, not a quality of.

Speaker 1 (24:22):
Oh so some people, sure, there are dandelions that just
came out of the womb and they just are like,
I don't need anything but a tiny bit of sunlight,
water and spoil it.

Speaker 3 (24:30):
I'm growing anywhere.

Speaker 1 (24:31):
But for the most part, if you're not a dandelion,
your resilience comes from building these skills, and you have
to exercise the muscles to get those skills.

Speaker 2 (24:40):
The second half of your book gives examples of how
to apply the five principles to any common parenting situation.
So you talk about tempest versus crisis.

Speaker 1 (24:51):
From every parent that I've talked to and being a
parent from birth through adolescence, what are each of the
points where somebody comes to me and says, like, this
is really hard, and it's so often the same thing,
and it's just finding out we're not alone. This is
happening for a lot of us, and there are ways
to respond. It doesn't mean you're going to get the

outcome that you're looking for in that moment. It really
is a long game. I would think of this as
a marathon.

Speaker 2 (25:25):
We have questions from the audience. Yes, I want to
answer some of these, Doctor Elisa. When my kids test
me by not putting coat on, I ignore it. But
if we've got to go, I end up losing my temper.
Any chips, Rice and Brooklyn.

Speaker 3 (25:42):
How old are the kids?

Speaker 2 (25:43):
I think I'm six years old and four years old.
That's pretty young.

Speaker 3 (25:47):
That's pretty young. One of the things is you can
just decide.

Speaker 1 (25:50):
This is what my expectation is that you're putting a
coat on. If you're not putting your coat on, and
I don't have time to argue, you can hold.

Speaker 3 (25:56):
Your coat, we'll go outside. When you get cold, you'll
put your coat on.

Speaker 1 (25:59):
And that is all about our own regulation, Like why
is it worth getting Why are you about that?

Speaker 2 (26:06):

Speaker 1 (26:07):
Like yeah, it's almost like decide what really matters, and
don't waste your time arguing about the stuff that's just annoying.

Speaker 2 (26:14):
Catching the bus is more important and putting your coat on.
How do you manage anger outbursts.

Speaker 3 (26:21):
From yourself or from the child?

Speaker 2 (26:23):
I don't know.

Speaker 3 (26:23):
It doesn't say okay.

Speaker 1 (26:25):
Interestingly, it's the same thing, okay, thank you, it's the
same You would do the same thing. So when there's
an anger outburst, you want to regulate yourself and recognize
this alarm system that we have. So if you think
about how we tell ourselves if there's an emergency and
we need to be angry, we need to fight, what's fight,
flight or freeze?

Speaker 3 (26:44):
It's that's what a stress response is.

Speaker 1 (26:46):
So if a child is having an angry outburst, most
likely it's because they're having a stress response. Something is
making them feel like they are threatened, They don't like something,
something doesn't feel good, something makes them angry, so they
go into that outburst because.

Speaker 3 (27:00):
They don't have self regulation yet.

Speaker 2 (27:01):
They don't have that skill.

Speaker 1 (27:03):
And so if we as a parent can regulate ourselves
even if our child is having the outburst, then we
can come toward them with what they need and they
borrow our nervous system. We don't need to meet them
like a tornado and get everybody in a bigger outburst.
Over time they catch that, they catch that, we don't
think it's an emergency. When they're upset and angry and screaming,

we might say if they're older, like this is untenable
for me because I can't. I don't want to be
treated like this. So I'm get your feelings out. Just
do them elsewhere, and then we'll talk when you're a calmer,
because I can't be yelled at like this. But for
younger kids, they really just need help regulating, and it
might be as simple as putting your hand on your
heart or running your hand under cold water. Is something
that engages your parasympathetic nervous system because that tells your

body there's no threat.

Speaker 3 (27:49):
You could take a nap, and that's what you need.

Speaker 2 (27:51):
When I was growing up, the most popular book was
Cheaper by the Dozen. I don't know, do you know
what that is? Yeah, that's about a family that in Montclair,
New Jersey. I grew up in not Lit, New Jersey
with six kids in my family, but GEB really doesn't.
They had twelve kids in the family, so is it
better to have more kids less kids? One kid? What
do you what do you think? Ask as a doctor,

what do you think?

Speaker 1 (28:15):
It depends on your goals. So one thing is just
simply do you have the resources? And another thing is
what what do you feel like you can manage? There
is no we don't see differences in for example, singleton
children and multi children when it comes to their social skills.

Speaker 3 (28:31):
In the long run, you don't know.

Speaker 1 (28:33):
But in the short run you need little help and
you need to bring kids around and help for socialization purposes.
But it doesn't long term have an impact. You can
have as many or as few kids as you want
if you have the capacity. It's much more again about
the relationship.

Speaker 2 (28:49):
The question here is what do you do after you've
had a fight with your kid? How do you separate
the values that you want to raise your kids with
from the ones that raised you.

Speaker 1 (29:00):
So that's reflection, and that's really just making a decision.
I like to call on a very old trick in
this field, which is a family mission statement or a
family value statement, and sit down and just first like
set a five minute write down all of the words
you can think of that matter to you about what

kind of values you have, and then when you see
repeated things, circle them and come up with three or
four that really really matter and just say, in this household,
we value and it doesn't matter. There's no right or wrong,
but I mean there's some wrong.

Speaker 3 (29:32):
But you just want to know so.

Speaker 1 (29:34):
That you can focus your rules, your boundaries, your limits,
and how you make decisions around that mission statement. And
then you can only do that if you have the
reflection of, like, well, what is my family value? Like
in my household, maybe it was education, grades and kindness,
And now I'm raising my kids and I want it.

Speaker 3 (29:54):
To be joy.

Speaker 1 (29:57):
I'm trying not to put anything in anybody's mind, but
something else, three other ones that aren't aligned.

Speaker 3 (30:03):
Then you need to figure out, okay, I know what
my values are. These are going to be the rules
and boundaries in my house.

Speaker 2 (30:08):
How do you prepare a toddler for a second child?

Speaker 1 (30:12):
Ah, okay, you wait until you're showing we're talking about
a baby, or if you're adopting a baby, you wait
till you're telling everybody and talking about it, and then
you can say very straightforward the first relationship, so you
connect with your child like I love you, We're very
excited to hear some news this is what's happening, and
lay out the plan. They don't really understand time, so

you might say something like it's winter now, and when
it becomes springtime and the weather gets warmer, we're gonna
have a baby, and then don't spend the rest of
the time just fixated on forcing that connection, like this
is going to be your best friend, this is going
to be amazing. You sort of don't make it the
center of everything and slowly build.

Speaker 2 (30:53):
Can you talk more about the social media pressure to
be a perfect parent in these times?

Speaker 1 (30:59):
Yeah, I feel so much for parents, and I'm a
parent too, but I do not pressure myself to be
perfect because I'm so This is like the one thing
that I would say I've really I've been clinging to,
which is we do our kids a disservice when we
are perfect, because then they don't know that they're allowed
to not be perfect. So I think when you see
this stuff on social media, you have to remind yourself

that we make a choice about the same thing we'll
teach our kids.

Speaker 3 (31:25):
We make a choice.

Speaker 1 (31:25):
About what we show in social media. We're not just
showing everything. And you know, unless your whole thing is
to show how imperfect you are.

Speaker 3 (31:34):
Then you're going.

Speaker 1 (31:35):
To put whatever best face forward seem perfect. Or maybe
it's even a parenting account that makes it feel like
every moment has to be perfect. And I think we
all need to just embrace the fact that perfect is
harmful and the imperfect is actually better. And so if
you are a perfectionist and you're like, well, I want
to get this perfect, then you best make mistakes in

front of your kids.

Speaker 2 (31:57):
How do you emotionally respond to a talker throwing a
temper tenttrum?

Speaker 1 (32:03):
You can see how you really only need for five
principles because I'm going to say the same thing, which
is okay, I have to regulate myself and remind myself
this toddler is not being chased by a saber tooth tiger.
Everybody is safe. This is a feeling. I'm going to
do what I need to remind myself of that, Like
I'm a big hand on part person, because that makes

me feel a little bit like a little oxytocin hit.
That's a that's a little thing that some people do.
Some people get annoyed by it. You have to know yourself.
Whatever you can do to take a breath and tell yourself,
there is not an emergency. I don't need to chase
this toddler around to make this toddler feel better.

Speaker 3 (32:40):
I can just be available and.

Speaker 1 (32:43):
Let them know that I'm here through you know, my
nervous system saying it, even if they're screaming, and when
they're ready, they come to you and they might need
a hug.

Speaker 3 (32:53):
But you don't need to chase the.

Speaker 1 (32:54):
Feeling and fix it with like giving them the blue
cup when they wanted it, or changing everything around or
your seat because they're so upset. You can just understand
that sometimes it's very hard to be a toddler.

Speaker 2 (33:05):
Here's a good one. My kids are at thirteen and sixteen.
Is it too late?

Speaker 1 (33:12):
Oh my god, No, I mean we're talking about a
late right. No, It's never too late. That's the cool
thing about being humans. We are constantly growing and changing,
and it's never too late.

Speaker 2 (33:24):
When it comes to punishment or consequences. In negotiating the
type of punishment, is it more damaging as the teenage?
This is a teenager Problemly they write, example, no cell
phone as a punishment. Then your child says how long?
One week or two weeks? You know, you're negotiating one
week or no week or two weeks with it. I mean,

I mean it doesn't work, does it.

Speaker 1 (33:48):
Typically, punishment for the sake of punishment is not effective.
You want consequences to be logical or natural.

Speaker 3 (33:57):
So if it's natural.

Speaker 1 (33:58):
Because you're taking the phone away because they were sending,
you know, selfies that were inappropriate, or they were bullying somebody,
it's appropriate to say, you're not ready for this phone
right now, so I need to take it because I
need to protect you developmentally, and we'll take a break.

Speaker 3 (34:12):
You were misusing it, we'll get back to it. And
that's it. And that's where rules are really important.

Speaker 1 (34:17):
And if you want to talk to them about how
long feels reasonable, that's okay, but don't keep changing it.

Speaker 3 (34:22):
Just make a decision.

Speaker 1 (34:24):
Empathize with them because it stinks to have your phone
taken away, and then you know, except that they're going
to be really mad at you, and you're going to
love them anyway, and you'll get past it and repair.

Speaker 2 (34:33):
Any rules about when they should get a phone, when
they should get an iPad, I mean, schools are giving
out iPads when you're in kindergarten now, of course, they're
regulated content. But what do you do about a cell phone?

Speaker 1 (34:44):
I mean, I would push a cell phone off as
long as possible, like until it's just socially really problematic.

Speaker 3 (34:51):
But we're learning every year.

Speaker 1 (34:52):
We don't actually have great data yet, but we're every
time anything comes out, it's typically like letting us note
it take a little bit longer. And just because you
have a phone doesn't mean you can have social media.
And just because you have a phone doesn't mean that
you have access to it all the time. So parents
have to also be ready to monitor the phones. I

feel like maybe my child had the developmental skills, but
I did not have the time as a mother to
focus on helping them learn to use the phone properly.

Speaker 3 (35:21):
So I punted.

Speaker 2 (35:23):
What do you do when your children will not listen?

Speaker 3 (35:27):
Let's just say, if your goal is.

Speaker 1 (35:29):
Compliance, like I just want this kid to listen, then
make sure that you're very clear about the rules, that
you're not throwing a thousand things at them, and that
when you ask them or tell them what to do
versus what not to do, you're helping them understand how
to behave in the world, not just telling them no, no, no, no, no,
all the time, and then when they do listen, let

them know you notice. But the other thing is is
that they're not listening all the time, and there's absolutely
no consequence to not listen. They don't really have a
reason to listen if you're like clean the dishes or
you can't fill in the blank, and they're like no,
and then they go get to do whatever they want.
Why would they listen. I think they're very smart not

to listen. So I think we have to say that
we can decide what's important to us and just say, okay,
until you do the dishes, the things that you want
to be doing are just not available.

Speaker 2 (36:23):
My parents and I wouldn't drink my milk. We had
to sit at the table until we drank our glass
of milk. It was horrible. I sat there one night
for six hours, and then I drank the milk because
I wanted to go to bed, Because you.

Speaker 3 (36:36):
Wanted to go to it. What did you do for
six hours?

Speaker 2 (36:38):
I listened to the radio was on, you know, we
listen to radio. I guess I have no idea what
I did. But then by then the milk was so horrible.
It was warm, you know, almost sour, But I think
my parents were good parents because they didn't. They didn't
they didn't give up on something so stupid as having
to drink milk.

Speaker 1 (36:55):
I mean, there's another way to look at it, which
is they maybe for them that was super important, but
maybe to another parent they're like, I don't really care
about the milk. I'm not going to make it a rule,
So then we're not going to negotiate, because I think
a lot of times we make rules and we can't
stick to it.

Speaker 2 (37:08):
It was just I mean, when you have six kids,
you're just not drinking their milk, and that's pretty bad. Anyways,
six glass of milk. So I don't know. I thought that.
I thought it was smart. After I thought about it,
I thought it was smart.

Speaker 3 (37:18):
Did it work?

Speaker 2 (37:19):
Yeah? We always Yeah, there you go, always drank our milk.
I don't. I do not drink.

Speaker 3 (37:26):
You never will.

Speaker 2 (37:27):

Speaker 3 (37:29):
I feel like that's very telling.

Speaker 2 (37:32):
What's your parents keep in mind when trying to communicate
with a teenager.

Speaker 1 (37:37):
That we are not We are brilliant and wise and
know exactly what they're going through, but we need to
just Yeah, being curious and listening is much more effective.

Speaker 2 (37:50):
So sometimes you see a family where one child seems
to have some strong confident adult have become a strong
confident adult, whereas a sibling has really struggled.

Speaker 4 (38:00):
What does that indicate It Is it temperament. I think
it's temperamental, not genetics. There's something in the research called
goodness of fit. If if a parent is a really
good fit for one.

Speaker 1 (38:11):
Kid who just kind of came out, responds to the
world in one way and it just makes more sense
for that parent, then that child might get a little
bit more of what they need than the child who
the parent is not interested in or just doesn't understand.

Speaker 2 (38:25):
How does a parent actually become just kind to each child?
I mean, my mom was so kind to each of
us and uh and treated us all equally, even though
we were so unequal. We could never understand how she
could be so fair, but she was. It was so
great and when you think about it, it's an amazing

way to be. So she must have been a good parent, right,
You are the only one who knows that.

Speaker 1 (38:51):
I guess so yeah, And I think that it's in
the that is for us to know, to feel, to decide,
But it's.

Speaker 2 (38:58):
I think all I think all six of us thought
that that she was a really great parent. A father
not so much. But the mother was the mother. But
you only needed one, Yeah, only once to see she
was the one. Now I'm understanding my youth. It was
so great. How is parenting different now than it was
ten years ago? I see a lot of different.

Speaker 3 (39:19):
You do, Oh yeah, tell me what you see.

Speaker 2 (39:21):
Well, I just see laxity. I see parents now, two
parents working instead of one parent working all less attention.

Speaker 1 (39:29):
I do think that in the last ten years, some
combination of like the influx of information and the almost
commodification of this relationship and the optimization culture of parenting
has kind of exploded, which is why I was very
hesitant to write a book because it's hard. I want
to provide information and support, but not so much that

we become rigid and feel like this all has to
be micromanaged, but not so little that you're just left to.

Speaker 2 (39:56):
But obviously from the questions we got and we need it.
We need no, we shouldn't be.

Speaker 1 (40:01):
Left alone for this. We used to long ago. We
used to have a whole community that was not online.

Speaker 2 (40:06):
Also, we had our grandparents, we had our great grandfriends,
we had all kinds of people around us.

Speaker 3 (40:10):
Yeah, and we really need that. It's not fair to
do this alone.

Speaker 2 (40:12):
Yeah, it's very difficult. Well I should parents not be
friends with their children?

Speaker 3 (40:19):
Well, but you can.

Speaker 1 (40:20):
They can be friends with you, but they cannot. It
can't be reciprocal. Like you never want your child to
take care of your emotions. You're there to take care
of their emotions. They can share their secrets with you,
but it becomes a boundary issue when they're like, I
need to take care of the grown up in my
life or they won't be Okay, that doesn't feel safe.

Speaker 2 (40:40):
Remember that, and I think that's very important.

Speaker 1 (40:42):
Yeah, it's hard because it's fun, especially as they get
older and you.

Speaker 2 (40:45):
Know, don't live their lives. Yeah, right, live your own life.
That's very important to say. Any other questions, Yes, do
you have.

Speaker 3 (40:54):
The other tips for nervous system regulations?

Speaker 1 (40:57):
I have like an entire chapter on that with life
of lists, because that is a thing. Because if this
which I do is annoying, there are other things that
you can do. I put regulation exercises at the end
of each chapter because that seems to be the thing.
It's like, all of this sounds great until you're like
taking time every day to do something that exercises the muscle,

which is why meditation is awesome, but not most parents
don't have time or don't feel like they have time.

Speaker 3 (41:25):
So I try to find like micro moments.

Speaker 1 (41:28):
Anything that makes you have a practice of just reminding
yourself that you can breathe is incredibly effective. And it
doesn't always work because then something gets thrown at you
and you lose it. But when you practice every day,
it just reminds your whole body that you're able.

Speaker 3 (41:44):
To turn off the alarm system.

Speaker 1 (41:46):
I talk about the passcode to your internal alarm system.

Speaker 2 (41:50):
So if you could only give one piece of advice,
what would it be.

Speaker 1 (41:57):
I think it would be, I give two choices.

Speaker 2 (42:00):
Yeah, you can give it, okay.

Speaker 1 (42:03):
I think it would be to remind ourselves that more
often than not, we are the parents we want to
be and that is good enough. Or all feelings are welcome,
all behaviors are not the end, I think, or you
get the whole book, which would be better.

Speaker 2 (42:22):
This has been so informative and I know it will
help many many people. Our podcast listeners can find the
Five Principles of Parenting wherever you buy books, and for
those of us at the ninety second Street Why New York.
You can purchase signed copies here tonight. Thank you so much,
doctor Pressman, Doctor Eliza, good luck with the book and

good luck with your practice.
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