Dr. Becky Kennedy, host of the "Good Inside with Dr. Becky" podcast and @drbeckyatgoodinside on Instagram, tells us how the “Good Inside” approach can reshape how we view both ourselves as parents and our children,and about her new book GOOD INSIDE.
Dr. Becky Kennedy is a clinical psychologist and mom of three who’s rethinking the way we raise our children. She's the host of "Good Inside With Dr. Becky," named by Apple Podcasts as one of the best podcasts of 2021. She also empowers more than a million parents following her on Instagram @drbeckyatgoodinside.
Dr. Becky specializes in thinking deeply about what’s happening for kids and translating these ideas into simple, actionable strategies for parents. Her new book is GOOD INSIDE: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be.
In this episode, Becky, Amy, and Margaret discuss:
Here's where you can find Dr. Becky:
@drbeckyatgoodinside on IG and FB
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Margaret: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. And welcome to fresh take from what fresh hell. Laughing in the face of motherhood. This is Margaret.
Amy: And this is Amy. And today we're talking to Dr. Becky Kennedy. She is a clinical psychologist and mom of three, who is rethinking the way we raise our children. She's the host of good inside with Dr. Becky, which was named by apple podcasts as one of the best podcasts of 2021. She also empowers more than a million parents who follow her on Instagram, @drbeckyatgoodinside. Dr. Becky specializes in thinking deeply about what's happening for kids and translating these ideas into simple, actionable strategies for parents. Her new book is Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be. Welcome, Dr. Becky.
Dr. Becky: Thank you so much for having me. What a really lovely intro. Thank you. Thank you. I'm feeling good about myself.
Margaret: Intros are Amy's specialty. Yeah.
Dr. Becky: Had a hard morning with my kids, you know, so I always need a little pick me up.
Amy: We are all moms of three. How old are your kids, Dr. Becky?
Dr. Becky: Ten, seven, and five.
Amy: Okay, so you win the littlest here. I win oldest. I have three teenagers, 19, 18 - he turned 18 - and 14.
Margaret: And I have - my littlest is your oldest. I have 10, 12, 13. I started kind of late and I was like, I better get to it. And then four years later, I said, this plan is going a little too well, let's calm down.
Amy: So you're not only a mom. You're also a clinical psychologist who was trained in treating both kids and parents. And you say in the beginning of the book that you became sort of disillusioned over time with some of what they call the "gold standard" approaches that you were taught in your clinical training to approach discipline. Can you tell us about that?
Dr. Becky: Yeah. You know, I was, at the time I was a new mom, myself and I was seeing adults in my private practice. So while I had trained with kids in my grad school, my private practice was focused on intensive once or twice a week therapy with adults.
And with adults, you know, I, I always feel like they came to therapy, essentially -- they didn't say this, but -- with a set of struggles where things that worked for them early on ways, they had to adapt to their childhood early on, were starting to work against them. And I think that's always true with us adults and yet understandably, and in some ways with gratitude, our body is hesitant to let go of the things that were put in place to protect us. And so that's often why we go to therapy. We never say that's why, but that's usually why all of us go, right? Even though the quote "symptoms" on the surface look different.
Amy: I've never heard it put that way. Just that like you, the strategies you, that you put in place for yourself to survive your childhood work perfectly wrongly when you become a parent yourself. I never thought of it that way.
Dr. Becky: Yeah. It's why I even say -- it's not like I don't believe in symptoms --but I find symptoms and diagnosis -- it pathologizes things in adults that were adaptations early on. And then in adult therapy, I feel like it's a process of rewiring, right? Of kind of acknowledging the things that used to help you and no longer do and helping our body feel safe enough to make [00:03:00] changes. And at the same time, as I was doing that, I had my own son at that time. And I loved, you know, working with parents and I loved doing something a little different from therapy, which was like parent coaching. Parents would say, "Hey, maybe I even have my own therapist or I'm not interested in therapy, but I'm struggling with my kid. And I actually, I don't really think my kid even needs the therapist as much as like, I just need your help helping my kid." Right? So then I was thinking, "Okay, this is kind of like a little new for me," even though I think I didn't realize at the time, like, it's actually not that different in some ways than so many of the themes that would come up in therapy or other areas.
I said like, I'm gonna go get more training. And so I did, I went to this kind of gold-standard, evidence-based parent coaching program. And at first I really mean it was like, I loved everything they taught. 'Cause like there's something about the behavioral approach that just lights up the logic parts of your brain and your brain's like feeding on.
You're like, "This is amazing! I'm gonna change the world. This makes so much sense. It's so linear." And I like linear things, you know, who doesn't? And so it was all about timeouts and punishments and rewards and sticker charts and ignoring and, and reinforcement, and essentially: how do you help kids? Or: how do you change kids as you get more of the good, you get less of the bad, and voilá.
And so I did this program and then I went back to my private practice, like, okay, I can take on more coaching clients. I'm so prepared. I have all these strategies. And, and I really did hear myself with one of them giving advice. I was just like, "I don't believe in this, like it's coming out, but like, I don't believe in this.
I would never do this with my own kid." And mostly also after years of working with adults, there's no part of this that I would ever recommend to adults in therapy. Like this is so different from the way I help adults. And helping kids can't be a 180 from helping adults. Like we're more similar than we are different as adults and children.
And so I literally, in, in my practice, I was like describing giving a time out and sticker charts or something. And I literally said to this poor couple, like, "I'm sorry, I don't believe anything I'm telling you." And they were like, "Well, that's disconcerting." And I was like, "The only thing I can promise you right now is I'm not gonna charge you for this session."
But like, I have a feeling in a couple weeks, I just have to clear my mind. 'Cause I was like, this, just, this isn't the way, like you see a behavior on the surface of a kid and yes, that is a signal to you of something they're struggling with, but that's not the whole story. Just like we know if you have a leak in your ceiling, if you think the solution is to put duct tape on that leak, like, even if it does stop the leak temporarily, like I don't think any adult thinks that's a great home improvement strategy. Like you got to get to the source, and is it hard to get to the source? Is it, you know, maybe timely sometimes? Yes. But I don't think any of us doubts that still it's just the only way, like you can't just forever duct tape.
Margaret: So the thing that you were seeing that was disconnected for you is that people were coming in and maybe saying like, my kid has a temper and you were trying to attack the kid's temper, what did you see as the symptoms [00:06:00] that were disconnected for you?
Dr. Becky: So a couple things. So: Why is my six year old not listening to anything I say? I say to, you know, put your shoes on. They don't do it. I say to clean their room, like, and then you can see, you can get into this whole awful kind of negative cycle with. Right. So they don't listen.
Then you feel internally. You're like, I kind of hate my kid or I have a rude kid. I have an obnoxious kid. Then you look at them as the enemy. When you look at someone as the enemy, you treat them like the enemy, then you're like, you don't listen to anything. I say, you know, you're, I don't know. I'm not gonna get TV for a week.
And then you're like, I don't even wanna say that. Like, why did I say that? Okay. I guess I have to not give my kid TV for a week...
Margaret: Now I'm in hell 'cuz I can't actually let my kid watch TV. Like, oh the times those came out of my mouth and I was like, "Noooooooo!"
Dr. Becky: Exactly. Then you're like, "I guess I'll give you a sticker chart every time you listen."
But then you're like, what am I doing? Like listening for anything? Like, okay, I guess I'm getting a sticker. And then they're like, "I should have gotten a sticker for that one!" Now I'm fighting about the sticker, like what is happening? And the listening problem, which is the thing someone presents with: My kids never listens.
Like that is a really important window in my mind, into something a child is struggling with or actually into probably something your relationship with that child is struggling with. 'Cause here's what we forget as an example in listening: Why don't I listen to my husband? Let's say that, like, if I was sitting on the couch, Reading a book, which I like never do, but it's a fantasy. Let's say I did.
Margaret: Let's imagine a world in which that's possible.
Dr. Becky: And if my husband was like, "Becky, please go get me a glass of water." And if I was like, "No, like, you can get yourself water" or something like that, or even if I was like, "No, I'm reading."If he was like, "You have a listening problem and you can't watch TV for a week," I'd be like, I don't really think that's the problem. Like, I didn't do the thing you wanted me to do and you seem frustrated, but I don't think I'm your enemy here. In that situation, I think we all know if my partner's like, "Hey, I see you sitting, you look like you've had a long day. Like I'd really appreciated if you got me a glass of water", or even if earlier in that day he was really listening to me about something and I found him very supportive.
I probably would do it. I think that's an example where we see something on the surface of behavior and then we can so easily with the kid, take a "bad behavior" and really believe that like, that's the type of person my kid is. My kid is the behavior.
And this goes to the term "good inside," which is the title of my book. Like, I have a good kid who's not listening to me. I have a good kid who's hitting her mother. I have a good kid who's having massive tantrums every time I say no. Huh? I wonder what's going on. I wonder what skills my kid is missing.
I wonder what my kid needs my help with. I wonder what my role is in these hard moments, just to at least stop the damage before we can work on those larger skills. Now we're talking - now we're seeing what's happening on the surface as a signal into what my child needs, into what else might be going on in their life.
Maybe they're having tantrums because kids are mean to them at school. And guess what? I can punish them for having tantrums. I don't think anyone think that's gonna help my kid feel supported at school. And when we allow ourselves to have that kind of curiosity about , again, a symptom in a way, being [00:09:00] a signal, not a symptom being the whole truth, then we open ourselves up to being able to intervene in a completely different way.
Amy: You say that there are things that get in the way, 'cause on the surface, like, of course our kids are good inside. Of course we are good inside and want the best for our kids and want to be good parents. So what gets in the way of that? Why don't we just naturally feel that way all the time?
Dr. Becky: Well, it's a great question. I mean, I think there's, there's so many different things, so why don't we see someone as good inside when they're struggling? I think we can start by asking ourselves: What is it like for me when I'm having a hard time?
When I'm having a hard time, when I yelled at someone, when I told myself I would work out and didn't get up and, you know, instead ate bonbons in bed. Like, do I say to myself, "Wow, like I'm a good person struggling to get motivation. I wonder what's going on for me?" Or do we say some other choice words that we probably wouldn't even say to anyone else, right? And why do we do that? Why do we approach our own struggles with blame instead of kind of some version of boundaries and compassion? Well, probably because our struggles in our childhood were met that way by our parents. Right? So there's this intergenerational legacy, I think, of seeing bad behavior as a sign of identity, rather than assuming identity is inherently good.
And that doesn't make the behavior okay. Oh, 'cause my kid's good inside it's okay that they hit?Like, no, of course not. It's not what I'm saying. Those aren't our only two options: punish or make it okay. Your kid is good inside. Now you have to step in as an authority. But I really do believe we can practice having compassion for other people and for ourselves under our not so ideal behavior.
And not only do I think that's possible, it's like the biggest paradox. I think the only way we change is by actually doing that. So it's not just a nice-to-have. It's actually all about being effective.
Margaret: I wanna pivot to something that you just said that I think is another problem that gets in people's way.
We're talking to Dr. Becky whose book is "Good Inside" and we'll be right back.
You know, we have a lot of people on. They share ideas and give advice. And one of the things I can always hear people listening and thinking about is: But I don't have time. It's so hard. I just want them to get their shoes on. I don't wanna know what's the internal trauma and motivation. I just wanna get to the store with my three kids. One of the things that you say is "Slow down. I'm good inside." And I think that that for a lot of listeners - and I know for myself is where I lose this a lot of the times - "I don't have time to fix anything! I have to get to my next thing with shoes on."
Dr. Becky: Yes. Like, just as a parent myself, yes. And I hear that all the time. Not from other parents, just in my own head, with my own kids. Like, "I don't have time for this!" You know, what's my thought about that? I think how we look at time is tricky, right? Sometimes in the moment we have to just do whatever we need to do and survive. Like, we all need to give ourselves permission, right? And I think we all know in so many areas of life, a little bit of preparation saves us time. Because I know parents are like: "I don't have time to say to myself: Wait, I can do this. I'm good inside. And I definitely don't have time to say to my kid, 'Oh, you [00:12:00] really wanted that block,' you know, or something instead of 'Why are you hitting Bobby?'" or whatever we'd say. Here's the thing I think we often forget: so instead I yell at my kid, like that saves people time, because I know usually what happens after I yell. Then you yell, you're dysregulated, then your kid gets more dysregulated. Then you are losing even more time because you're in a guilt spiral, in a shame spiral, and you're reacting. Like, I don't know any parent who's like: "The most efficient, time-effective way when I feel really good about my use of time is when I'm just reactive and explosive."
I've never heard someone say that. So when parents are like, "I don't know if I have time," what I actually think is happening - and I think this is very, very true - this is like learning a different language. Learning a different language feels awkward. If I was really trying speak another language fluently, I would catch myself speaking English and then having to pause, I'd think about saying something in Mandarin and have to, like, repeat it to myself a couple times before it came out. But if Mandarin is my most effective language with my kids, I can speak all the English I want naturally, but I'm probably just adding time, given that English is not gonna get me to the place I wanna get. So yes, it takes time, and I promise it saves so much more time.
Amy: This is sort of the idea that you return to, again and again, in the book - that two things can be true. I used this approach just last night. One of my big kids was really just recalcitrant and would not send this email that they really need to send. And we've been talking about it for days. It's so annoying that Mom keeps bringing it up, you know, that kind of thing. My point of view is like, "Just send an email and we don't have to talk about it anymore. What is the problem?" But I thought about this last night, 'cause I was reading the book, that two things can be true, right? From where I stand, it would be so much easier to spend 45 seconds doing this thing, and it never has to be discussed again. And from where my kid is standing, there's something getting in the way and that is also true. That's also valid, even if I don't like it or agree with it.
Dr. Becky: And what I love about that whole framework turned into a strategy of "Two things are true, is it really allows us to acknowledge our kid and ourselves, right? And this, I think is one of the things I really do feel like has been absent, is that parenting books are all about a kid, which, like, I think one of the biggest things we struggle with as parents is the way that we lose ourselves to our kids in this important job and the way that, of course we wanna be there for our kids, we wanna support them. Well, there's a paradox that the more we neglect the other parts of ourselves and our feelings and our reality, actually, the more likely over time, we're just gonna show up as a triggered, resentful, rageful parent, because we're kind of fighting an internal battle. And I think the reason really that "Good Inside" and everything we do has really struck a chord with people, is I think, and parents have said this to me, "I feel like you care about me as much as you care about my kid. Like, I feel like your parenting guidance cares about me feeling sturdy as much as it cares about helping my kid build sturdiness." Thank goodness. Finally, there's a parenting approach that cares about the parent! I think I really needed that when I became a [00:15:00] parent too. The way that every parent, and I think traditionally, historically, especially women, we've thought on some subconscious level that we can fill ourselves up by pouring ourselves out. I think these days people are like, yeah, like that's really not working. It's never worked. It's like really not working now. It's always easier to know what we don't wanna do than to know what we can do instead. "Okay, I know I don't wanna be that parent, but like, what do I do?" And I think two things are true, and kind of these concrete steps help parents feel like there's a different way.
Margaret: You hear this sort of echoes of, "Oh, so anything goes with kids," I guess, like, it's all about respecting kids and the sort of, you know, chorus saying, "Oh, I guess nowadays, like we respect kids as if that's somehow, it's just gonna become a free-for-all where like the kid can throw food and you're like, "I understand you're feeling upset," and that's a parody of what you're talking about. So let's drill down a little bit on what you're actually talking about in terms of these interactions with our kids.
Dr. Becky: Yes to that. I hear that all the time. And again, I think it's actually, like, such a bigger struggle than in parenting. Like, most humans have a really hard time. We have a really hard time holding two seemingly oppositional thoughts at once. We see that politically, we see that in every area of life. So the idea that wait, I can respect a kid's feelings and still hold onto my authority is almost like this mind-blowing idea. 'Cause it feels like, "Okay, if I respect my kid's feelings, that means they can throw food all over the kitchen?" No, but it also means that there's other options than saying, "What is wrong with you? Go to your room." There's so many things between those buckets. Whoever's listening, like: visualize those two buckets. Like, on my left side is a bucket that says "Go to your room." On the right side is "Okay. Throw and hit away because your feelings are, you know, worthy of respect." Okay. Like, I see those two things and like, lemme just separate my hands further than they are to be like, there's a lot of room. There's a lot of room. So what's in between that? Here's the thing about "Good Inside." It's why actually I rail against when people ask me about gentle parenting. 'Cause I don't have anything wrong with the word gentle, but no one who knows me well would be like, "Becky is a gentle human being." Like, it's just not the first adjective they would say. And I think again, that speaks to what is in between. "Good Inside" both respects kids' feelings and teaches parents how to embody their authority.
So here's how I would describe that. I think everything we talk about at Good Inside comes down to what I call family jobs. Right? If you're gonna do a job, any job, definitely if you're gonna do it well, you have to know what your job description is. Like, you gotta know what it is to know if you're doing well. So I think that's important as a parent. Say, "Well, what is my JD? Like, what is my job description?" And I believe parents' jobs in general are setting boundaries, providing empathy, and offering validation. Boundaries, empathy, validation, like, over and over and over again. That boundaries part is really key in explaining why you wouldn't just let your kid throw food all over the place.
Let's say my kid is throwing food in the kitchen, in that example. What's my job? What's my job? Boundaries. "I won't let you [00:18:00] throw food." Those words. I'm gonna say, "No, I won't let you." Boundaries are what we tell our kid we will do. They're not telling a kid what to do. I always think the way you can know if you're setting a boundary is if you can say yes to this question: "Am I telling my child what I'm going to do? And is my child required to do nothing?" Stop throwing food? That's not a boundary. Get off the couch? Not a boundary. 'Cause that required your kid to suddenly have self control, which they don't have. "I won't let you jump on the couch. If it's too hard to get off, I'm gonna take you off." Oh. That's the boundary.
"I won't let you throw food" is a boundary and I might take my kid's plate and actually remove it. And when they say, "Give me my dinner back,!" I might say, "Look, it's really, really hard to have food right in front of you and not throw it. I know that's tricky. And so actually I am just gonna give you one piece of food at a time. And then tomorrow, and the next day we'll practice having more because I know that's really, really hard to do."
I'm seeing my kid as a good kid, I'm empathizing with them and I am making that decision. The thing about "Go to your room" or the thing about, you know, "Stop hitting your brother, stop hitting your brother. What's wrong with you? No TV for a week." People are like, you know, "That's the opposite of gentle parenting." I always think it's interesting that, like, sending your young child away from you is looked at as like a sign of parental strength. If I was in a company and there was an employee, like, having a hard time and the CEO's reaction was "Get away from me. Like, just go wait in that room," I'd be like, "Whoa, like, do you even know what you're doing here?" Like, sending your child away? And randomly deciding on something that they care about, that you're gonna take away from them. I know for me, I'm in a desperate place when I do that, and I do that with my kids, but it's always because I feel desperate. It's never because I feel sturdy and strong. And so I think again, between those two buckets is the strength of setting boundaries and making key decisions. "I won't let you throw" or "TV time is over" or "Yes, this is your bedtime." And then empathizing and validating my kid's emotional experience. So I'm respecting myself and I'm respecting my kid.
Amy: We're talking to Dr. Becky Kennedy. She is the author of"Good Inside" and we'll be right back.
So Dr. Becky, I wanted to be sure to get to something you call the MGI: the most generous interpretation," because it reminds me of something Margaret often says on this podcast, which is that you should come for your place of highest generosity. And this seems to me to be very similar, I think, but can you explain what MGI is and how we can use it in our parenting?
Dr. Becky: Yes. So, you know, I love sharing kind of big framework shifts because I actually think, and I love a good strategy in script too, as a parent, but it's actually a framework shift that gets unstuck.
So like, "Oh wow, I didn't look at it that way." And so one framework is the idea that we're good inside and our kids are too. That is actually a big framework shift away from all these more behavioral parenting approaches. But to me, the thing about a framework is I know when I hear a new framework that actually excites me in any area of life, I'm like, "Okay, but how do I do the framework?" So I like turning a framework [00:21:00] into a strategy.
An MGI to me is the strategy of the good inside framework. So if my kid is good inside, how do I do that as a strategy? Well, I think I ask myself the question: What is my most generous interpretation of whatever my kid just did that I wanna react harshly to? Or, what is my MGI - most generous interpretation - of my behavior that I just engaged in that I'm not really so proud of? And when we ask ourself the most generous interpretation, what we always do - it's like a hack - is we always end up seeing a behavior as a sign of a struggle rather than a sign of identity. 'Cause it's just easier to come up with the LGI, like, the least generous interpretation. "Why did I yell at my kid? 'Cause I'm a horrible mom." Like, you just can come up with that really quickly. "Why did my daughter hit her sister? Because she's a sociopath," you know, like we say these things like so fast, we're like, wow, such a big leap and coming up with an MGI, for anyone listening, like if it's hard, it doesn't mean anything's wrong with you. It's truly a different muscle. And it's actually a hard exercise, 'cause you have to actually see who a kid is, as different than the behavior they just engaged in or who you are as different from the behavior you just engaged in. And so if it's tricky to do that, just remind yourself, "Well, I am building a new muscle and if I went to the gym to work a muscle, that was totally new, I'd probably find my first set of exercises really, really hard there too. "That's just what happens when you build new muscles.
Margaret: We say all the time, like, "Watch your story. What's the story you're telling yourself?" Is the story you're telling yourself, "My in-laws were put on the earth to make my life hell," or is your story, like, "Well, I need to balance a bunch of different families." Just your story is kind of central to how you function through these things. And I think, especially with kids, especially with multiple kids, that you can be like, "This is my kid who's lazy. This is my kid who's messy. This is my kid that..." Whatever that default setting in our brain. "This is my husband who just gets in our way at home because he doesn't know how we do things here." And I think that this work is something we talk a lot about on the podcast and just the very simple, good inside, it's like, "What if I believed that my husband was coming in good inside as opposed to coming in to bring problems and confusion and upset?" I married a person 'cause I thought he was good. The layers that go on top of that, it just happens faster than you realize.
Dr. Becky: So fast. And I think that, underneath that, the foundation to that is so powerful, as you said, always, we don't respond to other people's behavior. We respond to the circuit in our body that activates when we witness someone's behavior. That's like a really, really big difference. And it explains why different people have different reactions to the same stimulus.
And I always think in that way, like, our kids, our partners could be just, they can just be pawns in our game. They're like actors in our play. I think it's easy to then go into, "Oh, so something's wrong with me?" That's often the first thought we have, but it's not ever the truth. It really just means, "Oh, well that's actually really empowering because that means if I get to know my own story or my own [00:24:00] circuit, then, like, I can show up totally differently. Even if that person doesn't change their behavior. Even if my kid doesn't stop tantruming, I can show up differently." That makes me feel so empowered as a parent, like, to know that my growth and also just my family life isn't dependent on my four-year-old changing, like, that's not a good place to be. And then here's the biggest irony. My kid's tantruming and I show up differently. Well, we are all wired in a relational context. So my showing up differently: my child will absorb my calm, my child will absorb my boundary without shame, and guess what? That helps them build coping skills. And at some point when I say, "No, we're not having ice cream today," because I showed up differently, my child will take a deep breath or say, "Oh, that's a bummer," instead of flailing on the floor, and having a huge meltdown.
Amy: So we're teaching our kids that they have the capacity to change. I think sometimes we think we have to lock it down: "This kid is misbehaving it reflects on me," and people do think it reflects on you. You're not crazy to think that, but that if you don't hurry up and fix it by locking down harder that your kid will never learn. But you're suggesting they learn differently.
Dr. Becky: Yeah. And again, there's a lot between locking it down and nothing, right? My kid's having a massive tantrum in the ice cream store. I'm not sitting next to my child there. And just being like, "Mm-hmm, let out the feelings," right? There's so much in between. But I think we've been so steeped in this behavioral mindset, we've just come to accept it as if it's true. And from a behavioral standpoint, I can't reinforce this behavior. And if I just ignore it or let it happen, if I don't come down harshly, my child's gonna think it's okay to treat me that way or to do these things, so I have to show them, right? That's a theory. That's not a fact. And here's what I know about humans, that if I had a really bad day. You know those days that you're doing a million things and nothing's going your way. Okay. Let's say it's that day. And then my husband comes home and he's like, "Oh, you didn't, you didn't get more milk?" Like, something totally innocent. We all know how I'm gonna react. I'm not just gonna say --
Margaret: Borderline innocent, borderline innocent. Yes?
Dr. Becky: Borderline innocent. Right? And I say, "You don't do anything in this family and I hate you!" And whatever. Maybe that's not even true actually in my family. That's not even true, but I'd probably react that way anyway. Now that's not an okay way to talk to my husband, even if I'm upset, just like it's not okay for my kid to say, "I hate you," to me when I say no to a sleepover. You're allowed to be upset. You're not allowed to say that to me. Fine. But if my husband said to me in that moment, "I have to crack down on this! Becky, go to your room!" Or, I don't even know, "Becky, I'm not talking to you for a week! Like, okay, let's think about that. And then let's think if my husband was like, "Becky, whoa, that was not okay, the way you responded to me. And you must be upset about something beyond my asking. And honestly, I care more about all of that than I do about the way it came out in your words. And so like maybe we just both need to cool down, but then let's actually talk about it. 'Cause sounds like you had a hard day." I wanna know a person who's in that situation thinking, "Wow. My husband just reinforced my rudeness and he's letting me know that it is okay to talk to him that [00:27:00] way. And tomorrow I'm gonna be more likely to be rude to him because he came at me from this place of understanding." I just really don't think that's the way humans think, I really don't. Right? Now, might he have to say, "Hey, you've been doing this often. Like, what's really going on?" Maybe that, that could happen.
But I just think humans aren't just governed by behavioral reinforcement principles, number one. And the other thing we really forget with our kids is that it's like our kids come into the world with every feeling we have and zero coping skills. They are literally just raw wires. That is a really hard way to live.
And because we worry: "Oh, no," we do something I call a fast-forward error. Like, we see a kid do something at five, and then all of a sudden we've filled in the blanks that they're gonna be like 15 doing the exact same thing. Like we've just missed 10 years of development, like, 10 years. And then we respond today based on our anxiety and fear, not based on what's happening in front of us.
So I would say to parents: Number one, even you would know that if someone comes at you with a boundary, but also kindness, that's not reinforcing your behavior, it's probably what you need. Number two, our kids actually don't have the skills. They don't have anywhere close to the skills that hopefully you are going to help them develop throughout their childhood.
We kinda have to trust ourselves and trust development. You know, that doesn't mean do nothing, but I think it's why if we have a parenting approach that makes sense, and we can look at our kids with generosity, we become less focused on our single reaction to a behavior and much more invested in the overall process.
Amy: We've been talking to Dr. Becky Kennedy. Her new book is "Good Inside: a Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be." Dr. Becky, tell our listeners about all the places they can find you.
Dr. Becky: So goodinside.com is the home to everything Good Inside. So from there you can find my book goodinside.com/book, or just navigate to it from there.
Also, you can sign up for my Thursday email. It's, like, really where I just put my organized thoughts in one place. That's called Good Insider, and then all my social media is there. And then, my whole membership platform is there as well. And that comes from the fact that I feel like parents need not only resources, but they also need community and expert support to really both have frameworks and strategies that work for them, but also get answers to their personal questions, to tweak things in a way that feel right for them. And so a whole digital library with all my workshops and scripts and short videos and then a really large global community and parenting coaches trained in the Good Inside approach doing live events and answering questions. That's all a part of the membership.
Margaret: Awesome. I loved this conversation. It really had some eye-openers for me.
Dr. Becky: Well, thank you so much for having me. This was amazing. I loved talking with both of you and look forward to doing it again.
Margaret: Thanks so much.
Amy: Thanks, Dr. Becky.