How To Both Love AND Guide Your Kids - Implementing Occam's Razor in Parenting

Posted by tonyoverbay

Occam's razor is the theory that given a choice between two hypotheses, the one involving fewer assumptions should be preferred. So why do we unconsciously and often unnecessarily complicate things that we desperately want to get right, like parenting? Tony takes a look at how understanding Occam's razor in the context of parenting gives us the permission to do what so many of us are trying to do in a variety of ways...love our kids! Tony refers to Tania Lombrozo, Ph.D.'s article "Choosing the Best Explanation Is Elementary, My Dear Watson" from Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/explananda/201201/choosing-the-best-explanation-is-elementary-my-dear-watsonPlease subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

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[00:00:00] Every now and again, I have a confession to make, I get caught going down a rabbit hole of videos on YouTube and I was never much of a YouTube guy until just a couple of years ago. But now that I'm just sucked into that, that doggone algorithm has got me. So when I want to zone out, I love watching Dog fail videos and I joke about it. But it's true. And as a matter of fact, almost nightly, I put my camera on slowmo and I toss a dog treat to my Australian shepherd Kobie, simply because he try so hard to catch the treat, bless his little heart, but more often than not, he misses it. We're talking biting air and then I send that video to a family group chat. Nobody ever responds. I think they're kind of tired of it by now, but I love it. And as a matter of fact, they'll probably try to have one of those videos up on my virtual couch Instagram account by the time this episode airs. But apparently that algorithm, with that in mind tells me that people who typically like Dogville videos like myself, also like videos of kids getting caught red handed and denying what they're doing is a prime example is maybe a kid gets caught with chocolate all over their mouth or their hands, but they insist that they did not eat the brownie or the cookie.

[00:01:02] And I love that stuff. It makes me laugh every time my kids all know that one of my favorite shows of all time is America's Funniest Home Videos, because I just I laugh. I love those those videos. But what was funny when one was a kid, unfortunately, often still occurs into adulthood. So I work with people who have theoretical chocolate on their faces in a session and their spouse knows it, yet the offending spouse still denies it. And that's a podcast for another day, maybe an updated one on gaslighting, as I've discovered some very fascinating information on gaslighting as a childhood defense mechanism. And from that standpoint, it makes sense that it's often carried into adulthood. But I digress. I've also started a couple of notes on potential podcast episodes of wanting to talk about a term called Occam's Razor. And maybe you've heard maybe you've heard of Occam's Razor. If you haven't, Occam's razor is a principle borrowed from philosophy. And simply put, let's just say that there are two possible explanations for something. The explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. So let's go back to that little adorable kid with Brownie all over their face when they are confronted with whether or not they ate the brownie.

[00:02:12] And let me add even that maybe one brownie is now missing from the pan. We have two options of what's happened, one following along with them that they do not know what happened to that brownie. They certainly didn't need it. Somebody else must have eaten it. And if you show them the chocolate on their face, well, of course, that was already there. Maybe it was there from earlier in the day. They have no idea how it got there. Somebody might have even put it on their face or they have chocolate on their face and one brownie is missing again. Occam's razor would say that when confronted with two possible explanations for something, the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. The kid eat the brownie. So another way that it's often framed is by saying that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation. But today I want to apply that principle to parenting, and I have some very strong opinions that have been brewing over the last few months or even years that I've struggled to put into words. But today is that day so well. Many of today's parents, including me, grew up in more of an era framed of clichés such as sink or swim.

[00:03:13] Throw a kid into the deep end of the pool, push the bird out of the nest, rub a little dirt on it. All the while watching what so many of us struggle to see is you hear the older people these days talk about a very entitled generation of youth growing up today. And I feel like trying to find that balance of, quote, tough love versus love. Love isn't really as difficult as one might think. And the key may lie in this philosophical principle. First, given a name by the English Franciscan Friar William of Ockham sometime in the thirteen hundreds, and he coined that term from his preference for simplicity in defending the idea of divine miracles. So are we making things too hard at times, or are we trying to get puzzle pieces out of a box of somebody else's puzzle and an attempt to make sense of our own puzzle when in reality maybe we're trying to work too complex of a puzzle in the first place and maybe the answer is right in front of our eyes. Maybe it's a far easier puzzle than we even anticipated. Maybe only has like nine pieces and they're all big. Well, we're going to dig deep into Occam's razor and parenting and so much more coming up on today's episode.

[00:04:24] Two hundred and sixty three and the virtual couch host, Tony

[00:04:28] Overmanning, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mind, will have a coach, writer, speaker, husband, author, father of four and ultramarathon runner, creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program that's helping people put pornography in the rearview mirrors. And instead of turning to that as a coping mechanism, they're living these lives of purpose and passion, excitement based on their values. And so if you want to find out more about that, go to Pathbackrecovery.com. One of the most exciting things I've been talking about week after week is this. These group calls that we do every week and the group calls the group is growing its strength base. It's powerful and and it's really work for finding great results. So, again, go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you're interested to find out more about that. And let's get to today's episode. I'm going to start with an article from Psychology Today that had some pretty interesting research. And I love it, especially when research has to do with four and five year olds. So this article is by Dr. Tanya Lumbroso and it's titled Choosing the Best Explanation Is Elementary, My Dear Watson. So the article talks about are we looking or are we trying to break things down as more of a Sherlock Holmes by deductive reasoning and doing a lot of research and breaking down the evidence or by Occam's Razor. So as I mentioned in the opening with Occam's Razor, do you choose the explanation best supported by evidence or the one that is satisfyingly simple and tiny says that recent findings suggest that even four and five year olds show a remarkable capacity to evaluate and choose between explanations, taking both the evidence and simplicity into account.

[00:06:00] So short of catching a culprit chocolate handed, as we talked about in the opening, which explanation would you believe? So William of Ockham, who's well-known Razor, suggests that we choose the simpler explanation. That's because research finds that these four and five year old children are surprisingly savvy reasoners when it comes to choosing between competing explanations or navigating a middle course between what maybe Sherlock Holmes would try to break down the likely probability of something happening or Occam's simplicity. So in research conducted at UC Berkeley and MIT, Dr Elizabeth Bar Bonewits and Tania Lombroso asked four and five year old children to explain why a toy lit up and spun around. So children were first taught that blocks of different colors could be placed in a toys activator to generate different effects. So a red block made the toy light up. A green block made the toy spin and a blue block like a potential chocolate thief generated both observed effects. So it provided a simpler explanation for both the toys actions. So again, they're they're asked to explain why toy lights up and spins around. So the red block makes the toy light up, a green block makes the toy spin and a blue block does both effects.

[00:07:16] And the researchers were simply going to put a block in the toys actuator kind of made up. Right. So here's where it gets tricky. So children were also shown that there were different numbers of each kind of block. So for some children, red and green blocks were only a little more common than the blue box. And one example, there were three red and three green blocks for one blue block for other children. Red and green blocks were far more common than blue blocks, 18 red, 18 green and one blue. And in this last case, here's where homes in action would disagree with probability. Pointing to the conjunction of a red block and a green block is the best explanation. But simplicity still pointing to the blue block. So children responses revealed a surprising sophistication. So while there was an overall preference for the simpler explanation, with the majority of children explaining why the toy lit up and spun around by appeal to a single blue block, this preference was drastically reduced. Excuse me when the blue block was very rare and when the majority of children now appealing to the conjunction of a red block and a green block. In other words, children went with simplicity when there wasn't strong evidence for an alternative. But as evidence accumulated, they followed its lead. So what does that say? Simply put, if there were a lot of red blocks and a lot of green blocks and only one blue block, now all of a sudden the kids said, well, it's probably the red block or the blue block or red block or the green block, even though the blue block was the simplest answer.

[00:08:41] But if there were just a couple of red blocks, a couple of green blocks and one blue block, then they said, well, it's obviously got to be the blue block. That's what makes this toy light up and spin. So the more evidence that is put out there, the more we tend to then try to figure out things based on the evidence versus the simplest answer that it's the blue block. So I thought that was kind of interesting. Was she she finishes her study that says, what about adults and what exactly makes one explanation simpler than another, is taking simplicity into account the right thing to do, or is it simply a sign of human error? And so this episode actually started as I was being asked a lot of questions about my parenting style. At first I thought that the person that was asking my wife and I these questions was insinuating that we did a pretty crummy job as parents. And there were a lot of questions that honestly had me feeling this strong need to defend myself or defend my parenting ability. Because when we simply shared the broad strokes of our parenting style, which is the nurtured hard approach, which is what my parenting positively in the most not so positive times, my free parenting course, you can get on my website what it's about.

[00:09:45] It's based off of the nurtured heart approach, which I again feel is a game changing technique or parenting style. But it sounds at times like we're pretty permissive with our parenting because they're nurtured. Hard approach really does rely on you are no longer the punisher you don't react to when they're pushing your buttons. You absolutely try to build in her wealth by praising and praising, realistically or praising genuinely, not just throwing out good jobs. And then the kids know the consequences. The stand, the three of nurturing approach is these consequences that they have helped come up with. So no longer are you the this arbitrary ruler and you are delivering punishments and then also still trying to seek connection. But you're the one that is they now trying to build their inner wealth. And they know when they break a certain rule that this is the punishment that they actually helped come up with. So it's pretty fascinating. But so when you take yourself out of the role of Punisher, then it can't appear as if you are being somewhat permissive as a parent. But if someone doesn't understand the nature of our parenting approach, that's just their view from the outside. But so, again, of course, answering what do you do when your kid comes home late from curfew, anything short of grounding them or taking their phone away or their car is going to sound like you're letting them walk all over you.

[00:11:02] But I feel like that's missing so much of the point. What we're really talking about is what is your goal in parenting? And I'm guessing that it is to try your best to prepare your child to enter the adult world and the best position to succeed. But let me just stop right there. I want to define succeeding. Succeeding by whose standards? So let's say a parent grew up poor and they worked hard to put themselves in a position where they no longer had to worry about money. And not that they're set for life necessarily, but they have a good job. They have retirement money in the bank. So now they want their kid to have that same financial security. They want their kid to work just as hard as they did to get to that place where they're at. However, in their pursuit of financial security, where they often out of the home or out of the home more than they would have liked for a very good reason of trying to provide their family with the financial security that they didn't have. So if so, their own children may not have grown up with that deep inner drive for financial security because they didn't grow up in the eyes of those who had money or maybe if they wanted that new pair of the latest school issues and their parent was so happy to be able to provide those shoes for them, they didn't that the kid didn't sit there at night staring up at the ceiling, dreaming or being becoming obsessive they could do to get themselves out of their current financial situation.

[00:12:13] So maybe their kid has more of this value of wanting to be more connected or spend more time with their kids. So the pursuit of, say, a medical degree, a law degree or something, it might take them out of the home, but provide financial safety might not be as important to them as it was to their parent. So often I feel like we as parents spend so much time trying to convince our kids of what we believe that they should believe is important. And that can be incredibly frustrating as a parent because our kids are literally wired to push back. And if we think that something's important, often our kids either take a hard stance and say they don't care at all. And actually, let me give you a real situation that occurred in my office not very long ago. So parent and teacher in the office parent is practically begging the teen to try harder in school and they go on and on about the importance of school and how the parent getting their education was so incredibly life changing for them. And meanwhile, the teen literally sat as far away on the couch as humanly possible from the parent.

[00:13:08] And they refuted everything that the parent said. And to the teen school was ridiculous. And for every example that the parent gave of somebody that went to school and succeeded, the teen already had an example at the ready of somebody that had dropped out of school and succeeded. So you can see where this is going. Maybe you've had this experience before and neither of them was going to get anywhere in the conversation. Why? Well, first up, one of my very favorite concepts, psychological reactance or the instant negative reaction of being told what to do. The reactance was was thick in the room. I felt that it was tangible. But next up, both people just wanted to be heard. Both the parent and and the teen wanted to be heard. They wanted to be able to have the other person listen and sincerely listen with curiosity. And they didn't want their arguments to be refuted. Neither one of them did. So they're both trying desperately to break down the other person's reality or poke holes in what they're saying. And guess what? Neither of them are going to get much of anything out of that conversation. They're not even listening to each other, because not only is that psychological reactions happening, but there are literal physiological things happening in the brain. I mean, when we feel like we're not heard, when we feel like we have to defend ourselves, our heart rate elevates, our cortisol levels raise, and we literally shut down the area of our brain that is thinking logically.

[00:14:19] And we get into this fight or flight mode. That's that's why you can be talking with your with your spouse or with your teen. And they can just be throwing out things that that you really feel confident that they don't really believe. But what they're doing is they know the right buttons to push to get you angry, because if you guys can stay in this argument or if they can get angry, then then they can leave the argument. They don't have to really look at the they don't have to look at what is there. They're kind of thinking about or what they're dealing with, because when you're just engaged in this argument, you're not really even addressing the core issues. So when a kid doesn't want to go to school and if they can get you angry and push all the buttons and tell you why they don't think school is important, even if they really do think it's important or if they think that it's more important than they let on, they don't have to explore that. They don't have to dig deep and say maybe I don't think school is important because I struggle reading or because I'm bullied in class or something like that, because if they can get you to get angry and push your buttons and what you explode, well, then that's what the arguments about.

[00:15:18] It's about the why don't you listen to me? It's about why don't you respect me? It's not about, hey, tell me what tell me what your experience is. Tell me why you don't think school is as important and that can be so important just to be heard. And too often we want to solve something right in that moment. But I'm telling you, we have to really think of it as the long game. Parenting is a long game. There's no doubt about it. The goal, I feel like, is connection. And instead, we often want to be right as a parent. We just want them to understand. We just want them to listen. We want them to tell us, OK, fine, I think you're right, but we need to shift that paradigm, the goal is not to be right, the goal is connection or the goal is to to listen, to understand them, to be curious about our teenager. So I'm going off on a tangent here. But let me kind of get back to where I was going with the Occam's Razor. So back to see this or William of Ockham in Ockham's Razor. So they are desperately parents are often desperately trying to build a complicated case of why the other person is wrong or why they're right by way of this person or that person or trying to find times where one or the other person said this or that or contradicted themselves as if they will find the right situation or the right word or phrase or experience that will all of a sudden cause the other person to say, oh, hold up.

[00:16:33] You just said some something that unlocked something in my brain. I now realize that you're absolutely right about everything. And I should think and feel and do what you're telling me to, because I'm afraid to tell you that is not going to happen. As a matter of fact, if the parent or the kid all of a sudden says, now you're right, it's a great point, that's typically when they've dropped the rope with a tug of war of the argument. And they realize that by agreeing they can at least get out of the argument. So I really believe that by following these principles of Occam's razor, we can drop the desire of building the complicated case to try and convince our teen that they're wrong. And instead, what I believe is the less complicated path, the simpler route, the simpler explanation is to default to the relationship. It's default to love the genuine curiosity to questions before making comments. It is far easier and I believe more productive, far more connected when we shift our goals from trying to come up with an argument to prove somebody wrong to a goal of connection. And here's the example that really brought this idea from one simply kicking around somewhere inside of my head to a more solid, tangible idea and.

[00:17:37] I apologize, I'm going to do this very quickly, I do this every time I almost forget about this. Let me do the world's fastest ad for Betterhelp.com. You can probably fast forward 15, 30 seconds if you need to. But if you're thinking about talking with a licensed therapist, a licensed professional counselor, look no further than Betterhelp.com virtual couch. You'll get 10 percent off your first months of service. The intake, the assessment process is easy. You can be speaking with a therapist in less than 48 hours via text or video or email or whatever works for you. Over a million people have done it. You deserve to deal with your own stuff, to put it behind you, to deal with it, to raise your emotional baseline. So check out Betterhelp.com virtual couch. OK, thank you. Back to the show. So I even remember where I was driving with my wife and and I was telling her in general terms about a father that was telling me that they have to do the tough love thing with their adult son, who had come back to live with the parents to finish up school. And the father had said that he needed to make things difficult. He needed to let the son know the cost of the real world. He needed to stop enabling the son, because if he didn't, the son might end up living forever in their basement. And that is where the light bulb kind of came on for me.

[00:18:39] In my opinion, that truly is trying to overly complicate things, because now the dad was working off of his experiences of what success was to him, what he felt like he needed in order for him to succeed. But he wasn't listening to his son and he hadn't taken the time to even hear him to really understand what his experience was like. Was he struggling in school? Was he struggling to even know what to do for a career? Did he feel like he was stuck, like he had headed down the wrong path in college, did even want to be in college? Was he pursuing a career because he felt like if he didn't pursue that career, that his parents would not like him? Good old abandonment, attachment issues that talked about on so many episodes. So I believe that the point isn't that if I don't kick him out and make him grow up, that he may eventually be living in my basement. Now, I believe that the kid needs to know that they absolutely can't live in the basement as long as they need, because with that secure attachment, with that knowledge of the parent is there for them that they care about them, they have their back, they love them, then then they will know that they can try and they can go out and explore and do and possibly fail. But they know that they have somewhere to land, somewhere to process, explore and to figure out what's next.

[00:19:41] They know that they have the secure attachment where they can come back home. And the parent is not going to say, are you kidding me? But the parents can say, all right, how was it? How was school or what was the job like or like? Tell me tell me what you're thinking. Tell me about your fears, your hopes or your dreams. Because with that type of a relationship, when you default into that relationship of love and not trying to solve or fix or teach a lesson, then that is where I feel like things people can push off from. That's what I feel like success really comes from. And I 100 percent I understand that your mileage may vary. These things take time. It takes time to actually create these patterns. So it's obviously going to take time to change them. And so I understand that they're going to people listening right now. They're saying you don't even know what you're talking about. I can't get my son or daughter to do anything. It's been years. But if the pattern is consistent, doesn't that speak volumes in and of itself? If you've tried over and over and over through the years to motivate by saying, have you done anything today or when are you going to stop playing those games? When are you going to when you can find a job? Why don't you go do something different? What if, you know it has that worked up to this point? And if it has, great.

[00:20:47] But if it hasn't, then I feel like this approach, Occam's razor, the default to love, the default, the curiosity to default to. Hey, tell me what's going on in your life. Tell me what's going on in your your head, your brain. That that is often the it's I guess it's not that necessarily always the easier path, but I think it's the more productive path. So is your goal I mean, before I go to that, I feel like, you know, you may already really know deep inside you might not be happy with the way that your current interactions go. What what what progress they they yield or don't yield. And so you're met with that reactants, you're met with the reactions, you're met with the anger. So I know that people that are going to listen to this episode are I want you to listen and think, OK, maybe I do need to take a look at doing something different. Maybe I do need to try out this. I'm going to do I'm going to default the love. I'm going to default to understanding. I'm going to try to be very present and listen and not try to react and not try to correct and not try to fix. Because is your goal to be right or is your goal to have a relationship? Is your goal to let your kid know that you are here for them regardless of the path they take? Or is it to let them know that you believe that you know what they need to do? And if they do not agree, then they're wrong and then you may not support them, because remember, we are all just a product of our environments.

[00:22:07] As I tried to lay out earlier in this episode that just because you if you are a parent who worked hard to put your family in a position of financial security, then know that you probably did that because of the experiences you had growing up. And so therefore, your kids experiences are not going to be the same. But often you're going to want to impress on them the importance of financial stability or security or the importance of the, you know, the nine to five job or whatever it was that you really felt like helped you. When in reality, because of what you have set up or provided for them, their experience is most likely not going to be the same as yours. So defaulting to questions and curiosity and love, I believe, is Occam's razor. It is it is the easier path or the more productive path, because, again, we are all just products of our environment. I say it all the time. I'll try to do it a little bit differently this time. But it's it is our birth order.

[00:23:02] It's our DNA. It's the way we were raised. It's our friend groups. It's our teachers schools that we happen to go to, the friends who happen to move on or away from our block, the girlfriend whose parents relocated to move, leaving us feeling abandoned, the teacher that maybe got fired and let the kids wondering what happened. It's people who have unfortunately been through things like physical abuse or emotional abuse or sexual abuse. The divorce, the parents or the parents who stayed in an unhealthy marriage for the sake of the kids get the kids then didn't end up seeing real love or sacrifice or togetherness, modeled it. It is all so complicated. So I understand when parents want to control their kids because they think that that is the best way to help their kids. And I get that. And I understand and bless your heart for wanting the best for your kids. But in reality, what if Occam's razor is right? What if the option with less complications is the best option? What if loving our kids or hearing them or having a sincere desire to hear them is the best option? Because I've been doing this for a long time now. I have kids. My kids are getting older. I'm not claiming any kind of I've had it all figured out, but I really believe that to hear them is to help heal them. And I feel like the more curious we are with our kids, the more they're going to feel like they can open up to us.

[00:24:12] And we can absolutely have our own thoughts, feelings and opinions, objections. But oftentimes I want to say, can you just make room for them? Can you use the acceptance and commitment therapy principle of expansion and just make room for those reactions? And you're watching the video. I'm holding my hand up to my right because just hold him over here, hold those objections and reactions over here. You can do that and just seek to understand, ask questions before making comments, because being a parent is not about us. And that is a really difficult thing that we as parents often can can really wrap our heads around that as much as it feels like it's about us and that because it is our our job to nurture them, to guide them, but it's to guide them. You know, it's not about us. Parenting is about our kids and about setting them up for success, but setting them up for their success, not our success, but their success. We mean well, we're trying to guide them. But I believe that they first need to know that they are loved. And one of the best ways to convey this is to let them know you hear them. Are you want to hear them or you care about them. You know, you want them to come to you with problems and questions and have them know that you want to hear what they have to say, that every conversation isn't necessarily going to turn into a why didn't you do this, you know, fix it or a judgment statement or that the conversations aren't always going to turn into a life lesson.

[00:25:26] I want to try I love to encourage you to try something this week. My wife and I are doing this in our lives right now as well. It really is focusing on the long game. You know, if you're asking your kid how your day was, don't use that as an opportunity to. OK, well, hey, sounds good, champ. Did you follow up with your teacher? Did your homework done? Did you follow did you do this did you do this to do this? Because our kids are so smart. They really are. They know that. All right. They really don't want to hear how my day was. I'm going to tell them fine. And now I'm going to get ready to defend why I didn't talk to Mr. Johnson about the make up work or why he didn't do my homework or that sort of thing. I was talking to somebody recently. And I mean, I think for the most part, our kids know when they're not doing their homework. I think a better question is to say, hey, is there anything I can do to help, you know, or or if they if you are going to have a conversation about homework or school or that sort of things like tell me more, what's that like? And resist that urge to say, you know what I did when I was your age? Because right there now they've tuned out.

[00:26:18] They really have. And I would imagine a lot of you did the same when you were younger as well. I want to read I got the book Grit, it is an amazing book, Grit, as a book by Angela Duckworth. And there's just a part that I've thought about often, and I think I included this on an earlier episode maybe two years ago. And it's about Jeff Bezos and love him or don't necessarily love him. Whatever you wherever you land on that. He's a founder, CEO of Amazon, and I think often the world's most richest or wealthiest man. But let me just read from Grit, and this is a couple of pages, and it's just fascinating to me. I've thought about this so much. The Angela Duckworth writes in the book, "Jeff unusual, unusually interest filled childhood has a lot to do with this unusually curious mother, Jackie. Jeff came into the world two weeks after Jackie turned 17 years old. So she told me I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions about what I was supposed to do. She remembers being deeply intrigued by Jeff and his younger brother and sister. Jackie said. I was just so curious about these little creatures and who they were and what they were going to do.

[00:27:17] I paid attention to what interested each one. They were all different and I follow their lead. I felt it was my responsibility to let them do deep dives into what they enjoyed. For instance, that three multiple times asleep in a big bed, Jack explained that eventually he would speak and he would sleep in a big bed, but not yet. But then one day she walked into his room and found him screwdriver in hand, disassembling his crib. But Jackie didn't scold him. Instead, she sat on the floor and helped Jeff sleep. She helped him and Jeff sleep in a big bed that night. By middle school, he was inventing all sorts of mechanical contraptions, including an alarm on his bedroom door that made a loud buzzing sound. So whenever one of his siblings trespassed across the threshold, we made so many trips to Radio Shack, Jackie said, laughing. Sometimes we go back four times in a day because we needed another component. Once he took string and he tied all the handles of the kitchen cupboards together. And then when you open one, all of them popped open. I tried to picture myself in these situations. This is, I think we're saying to try to picture not freaking out. Oh, no, this is Jackie. I tried to imagine. No, this is Angela Duckworth. She said, I tried to picture myself in these situations. I tried to picture not freaking out. I tried to imagine doing what Jackie did, which was to notice that her oldest son was blooming into a world class problem solver and then merely nurture that interest.

[00:28:27] My moniker at the house was Captain of Chaos, Jackie told me. And that's because just about every just about anything that you wanted to do would be acceptable in some fashion. Jackie remembers that when Jeff decided to build an infinity cube, essentially a motorized set of mirrors that reflected one another's images back and forth ad infinitum, she was sitting on the sidewalk with a friend. Jeff comes up to tell us and he's telling us all about the science behind it. And I listen and I nod my head and ask a question every once in a while. And after he walked away, my friend asked if I understood everything. And I said, "it's not important that I understand everything. It's important that I listen".- Jackie Bezos By high school. Jeff turned the family garage into a laboratory for venting and experimentation when one day he got a call from Jeff's high school saying he was skipping classes after lunch. When he got home, she asked him where he'd been going in the afternoons, and Jeff told her he'd found a local professor who was letting him experiment with airplane wings and friction and drag. And he said, I got it. Now let's see if we can negotiate a legal way to do that. And then in college, Jeff majored in computer science and electrical engineering and after graduating, applied his programing skills to the Management of Investment Fund.

[00:29:26] Several years later, he built an Internet bookstore named after the world's longest river, Amazon. And I guess the rest is history. But what I love about that story is when when Jackie talked about that, she said her job was to just understand, be curious about these little creatures and who they were and what they were going to do. She said, I paid attention to each one. They were all different. I followed their lead. I felt it was my responsibility to let them do deep dives into what they enjoyed. And as simple as that sounds, it's also complicatedly beautiful is what they've enjoyed. And because we've already got the attachment, abandonment things that come up by a human nature that our kids do want to please us, even if they are getting angry with us and pushing our buttons, that a lot of the the reasons that they even react that way is often because they don't feel like they can be heard. They feel like the only time that they really get our attention is when they react or when they act out. So if we can shift that paradigm to be one of more of curiosity and tell me more, then I feel like that really can start to help them nurture and nurture them and help them find their interests. And ultimately, that is going to be where they push off from.

[00:30:33] So if we can get them in a spot where they can really we can nurture these interests and help them understand and try different things, then I feel like they are going to feel that secure attachment to us. And I feel like if we really focus on the relationship, if we focus on love, if we really default to what requires the maybe the least amount of explanations, if we go back down this Occam's razor path, that that is the more productive path that is the obvious answer is to love them, not to try to overly complicatedly. Think of ways that we can prove to them that they need to understand this or they need to believe in something else or that they are wrong because that that is that is that's all kinds of emotional calories burnt when according to Outcomes Razor, maybe the easiest thing we could do is love them. So I could say so much more, but I want to end it with that. So there's my goal for you this week. Play The long game. seek first to understand, ask questions before comments, use the four pillars of a connected conversation that I've developed, assume the good intentions when they say something, even if that they're not doing their homework, that it isn't that they're trying to hurt you or they're trying to make you mad, that it's there's a reason why. And it might feel like they're overwhelmed.

[00:31:42] They might feel they might be having troubles. They might not even really care as much about school. They might have friend relationship issues going on. And then the second pillar is don't you can't just say you're wrong. That's that's a bunch of garbage. I don't believe you, even if you don't believe them. Because then the third pillar is questions for comments, then now's your opportunity to ask them and to know that right now, if you're trying to change the dynamic in the relationship, most likely they are going to push back because they if they can push your buttons and if you can react, then they don't have to have this conversation. They don't have to get open and vulnerable. They don't have to deal with their own stuff. So play the long game shift to the goal. Is the relationship not to be right and for them to be heard. And the more that you do that, I do promise you that over time you're going to see a pretty big shift. And the more that somebody feels like they can be heard and understood and they feel like they are in a safe environment, the less of that reactance or pushback or reaction you're going to get and that's where you really going to start to see the relationship develop and you're going to see that you do truly get to help them. You help you help guide them along their path. So there's my goal to you. I hope that you will all have an amazing week and I will see you

[00:32:50] Next time on a virtual couch.

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