Today Tony shares some mind-blowing data about “kids these days” gathered from a couple of consulting jobs with extremely large companies who are losing young, new hires at an alarming rate compared to just a few years ago. He talks about how attachment and abandonment issues from early childhood manifest in our teenage years, and then he gives several tips on how to connect, and communicate better with your teenagers. Tony references episode 240, “I See You 2021” and episode 237, “Here’s How You TRULY Connect” (using the 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation) and if you would like to see Parks and Rec’s Leslie Knope rap the entire DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince song mentioned in the intro to this episode, you can find that here
-Sign up at to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.-Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.-Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.-You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting And visit and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.-Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here

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[00:00:00] So one of my favorite phrases to use to sort of catch my wife up with why I'm about to spew out some sort of obscure reference is, hey, let me take you on my train of thought. And in this particular instance, we are going to jump on board a few steps back. So if you're like what I can only assume are millions of people around the globe, if not more, the end of 2020 not only brought a sort of welcome relief to an overall pretty crummy year with the hopes and dreams that twenty, twenty one will be more of a, you know, a return to normalcy. But then the ball dropping on Times Square also signaled another significant for many very a sad event. That was that the TV show The Office had been taken off of Netflix. And I swear I saw more social media posts about this than I did. Vaccines and politics and resolutions combined is the end of the year grew closer and closer. My wife and I have only recently started re watching the office, and I think more or less is something to have on wall decorating for Christmas or wrapping presents or playing a ton of board games, which we're finding ourselves more apt to do. The older we get and the more we realize that more games maybe offers an easy avenue to have our older kids hang out with us.

[00:01:08] So on one particular occasion, when one of my daughters was lamenting the upcoming loss of the office was was imminent, I said, well, where's it going? We need to buy DVDs or something like that. And her first response, at least to me, was almost an audible gasp of stained DVDs. OK, old man, to which I wanted to say, well, I can't find the old VCR because I'm guessing the VHS cassettes would actually be a little bit cheaper. And sidenote, did you know that it's almost impossible to find a VHS player these days? And if you share this fun fact with anybody under 40, the first reply is going to be something like, well, why would you want one? Not even a oh, that's interesting. So a quick Google search showed me that the office could now be found on the streaming service called Peacock, and I could have it for something like five dollars a month. And I feel like somewhere along the lines of subscribing to Disney Plus and the Peacock, all of these new streaming services. And if you add in your Netflix, Hulu, maybe Amazon Prime video, a little YouTube TV, and now we've kind of defeated the whole point of getting rid of cable. But I digress. So with a few clicks, we now had the office at our fingertips, along with too many other options to count, which and this is a podcast for another day, literally gives me personally there's going to be some name for it, but a form of anxiety of not knowing what to even begin to watch because there are so many options.

[00:02:26] And what if I start watching something and it's no good, but it takes a few episodes to get into? And I could have been watching any number of a few thousand other shows, so I want to get it right. I want to start and know that I'm about to watch a good show right from the start. But in purchasing the peacock streaming service, I was then met with all of the seasons of another show that I remember from back in the day, one that I in particular liked Parks and Rec. And one of the benefits of a growing older and to realizing how aid works is I had the benefit of remembering very little of watching Parks and Rec the first go around, so I thought I would start it over. Enter season two, Episode one, Ron Swanson walks into the office of Leslie Knope and says, OK, here's the situation. And it's a line that whenever I hear and if you're looking for it, you're aware, trust me, you'll hear it more than you think all over the place. But it can only be met in my head. And I wonder how many of you are thinking this right now by the words to a D.J.

[00:03:21] Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince song where you start in with my parents went away for weeks vacation and they left the keys to the brand new Porsche with their minds. Well, no, of course not. Unless he finishes the entire rap with the classic line. Wait for it. Well, parents are the same no matter time nor place. So to all you kids all across the land, take it from me. Parents just don't understand. On today's episode, parents, your kids once no doubt you felt the truth in these lyrics, but now you are the parent. So now are you the same as your parents? Are you uttering the same phrases no matter the time some 20 plus years later or place to the kids all across the land? Can they truly take it from me? And I think they can. As a father of four, as a marriage and family therapist now for over 15 years, is it true that parents just don't understand? Well, coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're going to talk about why you may not truly understand, understand what your kids are going through these days and what are some ways to begin to understand them. Better yet, ways to set yourself up to, at the very least, allow understanding to take place. And I'm going to give you some tips.

[00:04:26] Having now met with hundreds and hundreds of teenage boys and girls over the years on how to have a better relationship with your teens. So that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. And today's episode is sponsored by the fine therapist, The Yes, 20/20 may finally be in our rearview mirrors, but for so many people, there's a lot of catching up to do, a lot of processing necessary, a lot of motivation needed. So I feel like you owe it to yourself, your family. I don't know. Today we're going to talk about your teenagers, your pets, your future spouse, future children, future you. Whatever you need to tap into to get help, do it over a million people have already done is a and virtual couch to get 10 percent off your first month's service. Just answer a few questions. You find yourself a therapist that fits your needs and preferences, whether you're looking for help in dealing with depression or anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, OCD and more with counselors. And we're talking licensed professional counselors in your area. You do get the same professionalism and quality that you would expect from an in-house counselor, but with the ability to communicate when and how you want. So again, that's virtual couch and you will get 10 percent off your first month's services. So let's get to the episode.

[00:05:47] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 242 of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit, coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, which is that Path Back 2.0 featuring weekly calls. The group calls have been phenomenal. So every every Wednesday evening I get together with a bunch of people that have taken the Bapak course or taking the path back course, and we are talking about how to put pornography in the rearview mirror, get away from it as a coping mechanism, all strength based, live your best life kind of things.

[00:06:20] And the group is continue to grow. And we're even talking about all kinds of things, ways to just become a better person.

[00:06:25] So and speaking of groups, and I will be very brief, if you happen to be a woman who believes you may be in a relationship with someone who struggles with narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic traits and you're not sure where to go, what to do next, how to get support, just go through my website, Tony Overbay dot com and drop me a note. I have a I have a group of women who are currently either in relationships of those sorts or have been through a relationship like that. And there's just a lot of strength there in that group. So, again, just reach out and contact me. And while you're there at Tony Overbay dot com, or if you head over there, you can sign up to find out more information about my magnetic marriage course, which is getting very close to launching. And it is going to help you communicate more effectively, better have a better marriage. It really is incredible. I cannot wait. I've been working on this for a long time with my buddy Preston Buckmeier, and we are getting the final edits and workbooks and all those things done. So go ahead, sign up. You'll find out more as soon as that becomes available. And you can find me on Instagram, a virtual couch. Let's get to today's episode. We're talking about something that I'm very, very excited about, and it is parenting. Why am I so excited about parenting? I am a parent.

[00:07:30] I have four kids. The youngest is soon to be seventeen, which is just it's a trip. I'm an old person now and I never I don't know. I always wanted to be a dad. I always want to be a husband. I wanted to be the world's greatest father and husband. And it has absolutely been a wonderful journey and. Right it no, it's not even close to done yet, but I have just learned so much over the years. I'm going to share a little bit today about a parenting technique that I absolutely love. That was a game changer for me many, many years ago. But I'm also just going to share a lot about some some data that I've learned through some trainings, gathered through doing some consulting and spending thousands of hours in the chair talking with teenagers and also just practicing, practicing, practicing on my own teenagers. And just I want to share everything I can about what I feel is the best way to more effectively communicate with your teenagers these days. And if you have little kids, hopefully this will set the stage for creating an environment where you will be able to have a really productive, positive, connected relationship with your teens. So so let me start by saying I remember a training long ago where there was a pediatric psychiatrist. So this is somebody that worked with children from childhood on into adolescence and early teens to young young adult age.

[00:08:46] And at that training, she talked about when a 15 year old is rebelling, that in one sense, as frustrating as it can be. And I love that she put it this way, she said that's their job. Their job is to push back because eventually they're going to be doing this on their own, this whole life thing, not completely on their own, but we want to be there for them. And and what we're going to talk about more today, I think, will put us in a better position to do that. But I just know, bless their hearts, they're trying to figure things out just like you were when you were their age as well, which can be one of the frustrating things, because we want to say time and time again, hey, I've been there and I know what you're going through, but and we'll get to this. But, you know, no one knows exactly what an individual is going through because that individual, that teenager that you interact with right now on a daily basis is their own unique set of circumstances and their own set of beliefs and their own set of experiences. So they think and feel and behave differently than anyone else around them. Of course, there's going to be some similarities, but they are the only version of them that has all of their life experiences. And that is why they think and feel and believe the way they do. So even though I preach empathy on a daily basis and I believe in it, I'm a huge fan. But if we're being very honest, it's impossible to have this perfect empathy for somebody.

[00:10:07] Again, even if you have been a teenager and you have had the loss of friends or if you haven't been sure what to do or if you moved halfway through your high school year or any of those situations that maybe your teen is going through when you did it, there was a whole different set of circumstances for you, just as there are for them.

[00:10:24] So back to this training. So I am asked to join a group of other professionals. I was the only mental health expert there, but we were taking a look at this company, this very, very large, successful company, and they had thousands of new hires every year. And age wise, we're talking twenty five and under. So these are truly kids these days. The younger generation in all of us that were in this room, we met for several days, we were all kind of in our think maybe the youngest was mid to late 30s and it was all the way up through mid 50s, maybe in early 60s in there. And the problem that we were dealing with was this company is investing a lot of money into the training of these new hires, just as they have been doing for decades. This company's been around for a very long time, but they are now seeing that employee, the employee decided that they may want to entertain other offers from other companies in the area. And they happen to be in an area where there are a lot of other companies with very enticing offers. But now these employees want to leave after I think the data was saying 11 months where in the past they would stay four or five years. So the company is now investing all of this money and time and effort and energy into training only to then watch the employee leave.

[00:11:34] So give them credit that they were bringing in a bunch of consultants and mental health expert and myself and others to try and figure out how do we retain these employees. And let me do a little bit more table setting now. This was something that I was kind of bringing into the mix, and that was this concept of how different kids are, how different youth are these days. And the company showed some data that was really fascinating. And let me just take you back in time. Before I became a therapist, I was in the computer software industry and in that software industry. And again, this was a very long time ago. There was this rule of thumb. I think there's even some name for it where technology doubled I think it was about every two years. And what that meant was every two years or so, hard drive would get twice as big or a computer microprocessor would get twice as fast. Well, now and I know I've been out of that world for a very long time, but the data that was being presented kind of showed that even the rate of technology. So the rate of technology, when I was in the technology industry, things are doubling every couple of years.

[00:12:34] And now there was this they showed this curve where now technology was doubling every few months. And then this was the part that just was mind blowing, was they laid this other graph on top of this technology, this technology graph, and showed that the generations of young people were also evolving or changing right along with that technology graph. So then this is where I start kind of putting some of the information together that I would notice in my office where when I was growing up, if, let's say my dad was talking about records hypothetically, then I'm talking about CDs, but I know what he means when he's talking about records. I've had some experience with records and he doesn't necessarily want to know as much about CDs because he's always enjoyed records. Records are safe to him. He knows records well, that sort of thing. And so but we spoke the same language. So the gap wasn't very far off between generations. And I feel like I noticed a shift many years ago, probably more than I than I realize where if a teenager was kind of being expected to do something from a parent, that they may come into my office and say, I don't want to do it, I'm not going to do it.

[00:13:53] I can't believe they asked me to do it. But then they eventually did it. They eventually went to a school that their parents suggested even went to start exploring majors that their parents thought would be a good idea. They would still keep up on different chores, tasks, that sort of thing. I work with a lot of people in the LDS faith, and it was guys or teenagers, girls and boys that would say I don't really want to go on a mission, but then they eventually, OK, I'm going to go on a mission. So they were still doing this thing where they would they would openly rebel, but then they just I feel like they were still just that close enough of a connection or a generational gap where they were still going to eventually do kind of what they thought their parents wanted them to do.

[00:14:35] And now and this is the shift I noticed that once I saw that the generations are changing along with this technology, that the current generation, especially these last five to ten years of youth, are so far over from where I am.

[00:14:51] So now if I'm talking about CDs, my kid is talking about streaming everything and instant access to everything and growing up with a phone from the time they're young and all of those things.

[00:15:03] So so they don't even care anymore. Again, bless their hearts about me talking about my CDs or me talking about what it was like to not have a phone where I feel like that must be fascinating to them because I enjoyed hearing those those kind of conversations from my parents again, because I really understood more or less that experience that they were talking about. Not exactly, but I could I was aware I was closer to those experiences than what my kids are to me now. And I just felt like that was it really set the stage of understanding how different the generations are, how different kids are these days. And so I just feel like if you're an older person like me, I think that one hopefully.

[00:15:47] They have just sunk in because all of a sudden, you know, your parent is on one side of the room and you're not that far off, but now it feels like you as the parent is on one side of the room and now you're your kid is so far into a different, different place and they have such different experiences. So here it is, kind of my first round of saying, oh, kids these days. And so I feel like if I was talking about waiting till next week to watch a new episode of Family Ties or cheers or Friends, now kids watch everything immediately. Everything's released all at once. If I was talking about when I was younger, if a if a fast food restaurant opened up, then we needed to go check it out.

[00:16:28] Now there's food delivery services, Doordash, and these things are just in in their in their bones, in their brain. So everything has become more instantaneous and immediate. And again, here's where I think right now. If you're hearing this and you're an older parent, you might be saying, that's right. That's the problem. Titelman kids these days, you know, get off my lawn, all those kind of things. But here's where I feel like things get real. I think it's important to note, especially right now, if you are having all of this time with your kids, with the pandemic and things haven't necessarily gone back to kids out of the home as much. Remember, we're not now just talking about the difference between records and CDs. We're the ones talking about CDs and they're talking about streaming data. We're talking about anything I want, again, that they can have at their fingertips. So when we as parents want to sit and lecture and tell our kids, you know, when I was a kid, we went outside when I was a kid, my app was called the outdoors when I was a kid. Television was called books. All these famous lines that we love the uphill in the snow both ways on Broken Glass, you name it. When we had a similar experience to my parents and we were willing to listen, our kids now hear this and they truly don't understand. They don't have an understanding and bless their hearts, their I believe because of this generational gap now, it's not even that they have a desire to know. And I'm not saying that from a can you believe it? These kids, they're so rude, but their experience is just so different.

[00:17:50] And the more we try to get them to understand, the more that they feel this disconnect. I remember sitting in a church congregation a few years ago and the ecclesiastical leader was standing at the pulpit and he was saying, you know, he held up a very old flip phone out of his pocket. He said, look, this is what I carry. So, you know, if you're if you're a youth and you're trying to get a hold of me, I don't do social media. I don't do I don't do Text, give me a call. You know, I want to hear your voice. And I could tell that he was kind of coming from this place where he was feeling like this was a very important moment. And he was very passionate. And I felt like the older people in the room, including myself at the time, were like, yeah, you know, kids give him a call. And I feel like if you looked around at the teenagers who were literally staring at their phone at that time, they were not saying, oh, my gosh, I think I would give them a call. I think they were more saying, I don't know what the word. I mean, I know that I've heard the phone makes these calls I've heard of, but I'm not sure how you do that.

[00:18:42] And so I'm not just saying that you need to sit there as a parent and just bulldog your way through and they need to hear you and they need to understand. But I hope that we can start to look at it, have a little bit of a different view of what parenting looks like. A different paradigm shift for parenting or parenting model.

[00:18:58] So right now, instead of trying to feel like we need to tell our kids what they need to do and what they need to know that we need to make a shift, the paradigm shift is, hey, let me learn a little bit more about your experience. And I'm not saying it's going to be comfortable. I'm also going to say that it is going to take time and it is going to be frustrating. And for you to have more of a tell me what your day is like, tell me what your friends like. Tell me what you know. What was that like when your friend said this thing or tell me about your friends situations with parents, their parents, or tell me why you enjoy the music you do or tell me why. You know, we want to be able to create this environment where where they feel safe and opening up to us and they don't feel like everything that we're about to say is going to be a life lesson, or if they even just want to share something excited that they're going to be met with. You know, when I was a kid, this is what I would do in that situation or oh, I would be careful.

[00:19:57] I wouldn't do that: because every time now that they come to us and we come back with this sort of vibe or energy, then it's just putting this message into our kids heads that if they come and talk to us about anything, we're going to turn it into either a life lesson, a lecture, an interrogation.

[00:20:13] And so that is definitely not something that they are going to want to do very often. And again, if right now you're saying I don't want to do this, I don't want to give in, I don't want to show them that I approve of all these things, then bless your heart. I can understand you can absolutely say that you don't agree with what I'm talking about and you are welcome to to just find another podcast that maybe feels more in line with what you think kids need to understand, because I want you to know that I have clients say this all the time that, well, they just need to understand that that's not OK or they need to understand that they're on their phone too much or those sort of things. And while these. Things I still believe are true by just telling a kid, get off your phone, I didn't use my phone growing up, we need to understand that. Hey, tell me what your relationship is like with your phone. Tell me what it's like to you. Do you communicate with your friends and how do you do that? Are you doing it through text? Are you going through Snapchat or are you doing it through direct message on Instagram, face time? Do you ever make phone calls? You know, what is that like? Because it is so much different now. I had a teenager in my office not too long ago, and every time I think that I'm starting to figure this thing out, I'll just get this new data.

[00:21:19] And the person said that when because I was kind of making a little bit of the joke about seeing a bunch of teenage boys at my home and they're all together. They're watching a sporting event, but they're all on their phone. And I want to make the joke of, boy, you guys are really having fun hanging out. And so but I have this teenage girl in my office not long after who said that when you are getting to meet a new friend, then you're more likely to talk to them. But then when you feel comfortable with a friend, that the way it works in a sense these days is that people are on their phones and then they are sharing they are sharing things that somebody else is saying they're sharing memes, they're sharing videos, they're sharing clips off of YouTube, Instagram, you name it.

[00:22:01] And so it's more of this shared experience as a friendship where when we were young, I mean, we had to go and create our own shared experience. And I hope you see where I'm going here is I still, as I say that to you right now, I want to say, hey, guys, it's you're going to build a much stronger bond if you put your phones down and talk and go go do things. And even if that might be the case. But their experience from growing up in this day and age with phones, technology, peer pressure, social pressure, the idea of social currency is that that is not their experience. And so they are going to feel like if they do that, then their friends are not going to be there for them. They're going to be viewed as outcast or weird.

[00:22:44] I remember having a teenage boy not very long ago at all whose parents had told him to let their teacher, let his teacher know that he wanted handouts or he wanted to be able to. He needed to be able to take a test, not on an electronic device, because the parents wanted to make a stand. And the kid, because he felt like he had to at least go through the motions or the steps, approached his teacher. And while his teacher was empathetic, there literally wasn't the way to complete the project without technology. And so then when the parent said, well, that's ridiculous and we want to take this up to the school and the school board, who do you think was in the middle of that? The teenager. And it wasn't like his friends were saying, man, that's so cool. You know, I love that you're making this point to to try to do something the old fashioned way.

[00:23:31] No, he was he was kind of made fun of for that. And that that just kind of broke my heart. So let me go back to these examples of I'm going to go a little bit hypothetical here, because I have a couple of different companies and situations that I worked with with this younger generation of employee. So this whole situation is similar, I feel like, across companies. So let's just say that there's a company A and Company A is the company that says we're losing employees. 25 and under we're losing a lot of them. And they and these employees are going to Company B or C or D. And here's the problem. Company B, C and D are saying, and this is literally true. Hey, if you want to come to work in your pajamas, come to work in your pajamas. If you want to work on the top of a tree and you can get a good satellite or Wi-Fi signal, then go work on the top of the tree. And if you get here and you like the project that you're in, but then all of a sudden you think, I don't know, I think I might want to do a different project. Well, then go check it out. So Company A is hearing this and this is how their their employees are getting poached, so to speak. And company A is sitting in this meeting and they're saying that's ridiculous. We shouldn't even have to do that. And here's the part where I'm not even arguing if you should or shouldn't have to do it.

[00:24:39] The problem that we're working with right now, and I feel like this is the problem that we're having with our teenagers right now, is that, you know, we're not even arguing if they should or shouldn't be on their phone. Is that a productive thought to building the relationship? So, again, the problem that we're working with right now in this situation was they were losing these employees, that they were investing in a year's worth of time and energy and money into only to go over to their competitor. And we kind of put this back onto our kids. It's like, well, I shouldn't have to spend time learning about the social media or that sort of thing. And again, I'm not even here to argue true or false statement, but is it a productive statement if your goal is getting closer to your kids, if your goal is to stay? Absolutely. You know, in the name of justice and to get your experiences out there, then I guess that's a different experience. If your goal is to build a relationship with your kids, then then we need to kind of refocus what those efforts look like so that you can, again, understand where I'm headed with that. So if Company A then says, all right, well, let's look at some data, let's just say it again. Hypothetically speaking, the company had a deadline where you signed up for your medical insurance, your medical plan. And even five years ago, seven years ago, ten years ago, this company had the data. That showed that the new hires that came to Company A.

[00:25:50] these employees that they were signing up and over 90 something percent rate they would sign up by, let's just say there was a November 1st deadline to sign up for health care. So new employees a few years ago, 97 percent of them would sign up for health care by the deadline. So the latest data that they brought into the room showed that it was something more like 50 or 60 percent of people were now signing up for health care by that deadline. The then the deadline hit and then, let's say the day after the deadline, one of these people that doesn't have health care because they didn't sign up for it breaks their leg. And the company says, hey, I'm sorry you missed the deadline, but a lot of these employees that didn't sign up are saying, I don't understand, where's my health care? And again, this could make you feel frustrated. This is where I feel like a lot of people in my own head say, well, that's entitlement, that they need to learn a lesson. And you may be on the verge of turning this episode off because they know it's going to feel a little bit like, well, they shouldn't get away with it. There was a deadline that said November 1st. And again, maybe they shouldn't. But in this meeting, the one that I'm talking about in this hypothetical situation, let's just pretend that a very wise leader said, hey, why are we doing things the way that we're doing them? Why do we have this deadline of when they need to sign up for health care? And someone in the room said, let me go get the data.

[00:26:59] And they did. They went and talked to some VP of H.R. or something. That was a very big deal. And they came back and they said, well, it's because that's the way we've done it, a little bit easier on our accounting. We have to have a cutoff date at some point. So, quite frankly, it's it's quite easier on us. And then this person, the wise person in charge said, OK, well, let's do it a different way. And I was in there, I was in the room and people in the room all of a sudden you get a lot of rustling in the room and people saying, well, we shouldn't have to do that and we shouldn't, then we shouldn't do this. And they need to understand. And then it was someone, again, very wise who said, hey, we're not debating if we should or shouldn't. We're here to solve a problem. We're here to figure out how to connect more with these employees so that they'll stay and we won't lose them to all of our competitors and we will not be out of jobs. And I feel like that's the same thing that we're dealing with now with our kids. So I hope you can see the parallel that if our experience is so much different now than it was with our parents and our kids, experience now is experientially exponentially much, much more different than what our experience was then. We now have this opportunity to bridge the gap, to learn a new way to parent, to learn a new way to communicate with our kids that's going to have them feel more connected and feel more loved.

[00:28:09] So I feel like it's kind of time to take more of a look at what are the reasons why we say you shouldn't do this or you can't do this. Because, again, when we were kids, we kind of understood where our parents were coming from. So they might have said, here's what you need to do. And we're saying, I really don't want to do that. By the end of the day, we're going to say, I don't know, maybe that's the best thing to do. And unfortunately, we're in a little bit of a situation now where we may say, this is what I want you to do and our kid doesn't even really understand. And there might even be some deeper chasms or we may not be as close as we would like to be with our kids because of this this changing or evolution of generations that we weren't even aware of till you maybe just heard it right now. So then how many times as a parent then refer to all you need to do it because I said and when we were younger, again, maybe that made a little more sense. But if you step back and take a look right now as parents, we're in a lot of pushback all over the place for this. And we want to blame social media and we want to blame entitlement.

[00:29:01] We want to blame a generation Z or millennials or we want to put labels on it and that sort of thing. And that's fine. But what are we going to do with it? Are we going to or are we going to hold the line and double down on rule based, restrictive, authoritative parenting and see where we get or and if that's your model, bless your heart. But if you looking for a new paradigm, a new way, then I think the information that I just shared will hopefully resonate. And and as Stephen Covey said, best seek first to understand before being understood.

[00:29:29] So I think a lot of times that is that is tip number one. Goal number one is to seek first to understand before being understood, take this data that I just presented to you that it is different. It's exponentially different now than the difference was between you and your parents. And I feel like if you go on a fact finding data combing in now with your kids, you're going to find a lot of things that you weren't aware of. You're going to find things that make you uncomfortable, and you're going to have these experiences where you and this is where I feel like the brain wants its path of least resistance. It's afraid of this unknown. And so your brain is going to hear some of these situations. And the path of least resistance is to go back to maybe it's an authoritative or shame based parenting model to just say, OK, I've heard enough, you need to not do that anymore or you just just give me your phone. I can't believe you just told me all that. And if and just that's where, you know, I need you to take go, then I need you to practice mindfulness. I need you to be present, breathe into the moment and through the nose. Out through the mouth. You know, stay very focused, keep that heart rate down and lowered in those situations so that you don't react out of some fight or flight response and that you start to create this new relationship with your kid to be able to hear them so that they feel like they can talk to you, so they feel like they can open up to you.

[00:30:43] I'm going to quote out of an episode I did not too long. Go, it's episode 240, which I forget the title, something about twenty twenty one, are you ready to thrive or survive? And the reason I'm going to quote that, because I've been quoting it a lot, I'm getting so much feedback from something I shared in there about abandonment and attachment issues. I quoted an author named Robert Glover and he lays out so succinctly these concepts.

[00:31:06] I feel like that I've circled around in so many podcasts where he said "when children come into the world, they are totally helpless. They are dependent on others to recognize and respond to their needs in a timely, judicious manner. And as a result of this dependency, every child's greatest fear is abandonment. So to children abandonment means death." And we're talking about setting the foundation of the wiring, the wiring under the foundation of the brains of our kids. So we really are. This is that part where we're talking about five, six years and under. And and I don't want you to hear this and think, oh, my gosh, my kids are older than five or six. They're screwed up. It's too late. It's not this. Just give us a little bit of information to work with or clarity. So, again, every child's greatest fear is abandonment, sort of go along with that. Children are ego centered. There's nothing judgmental or wrong about it. It just is the means that kids inherently believe that they're the center of the universe and that everything revolves around them because, again, they're little kids who don't know otherwise and they don't know yet how to self advocate or get their needs met. And they don't have a clue about what others are going through. Primarily they're caregivers. So this author, Glover, says that therefore kids believe that they are the cause of everything that happens to them. He says that these two factors, their fear of abandonment and their ego centeredness, create a very powerful dynamic for all children, that whenever a child experiences any kind of abandonment, he will always believe that he is the root cause of what has happened to him.

[00:32:22] Because this is my point, my part to add in, he's an egocentric, attachment based, needy little cute baby. Again, no zero zero blame or shame, this is just the way it is. It's acceptance, just like we this is the way that our kids are presenting now. Acceptance. They've grown up with social media and cell phones. Noted, you know, it's no no blame, no shame. It just is so back to abandonment. Abandonment experiences are going to happen when a kid is young, they're going to cry and nobody is going to come to the rescue. People are going to be busy. They're going to be doing their own things. He's going to be hungry and told to wait for dinner. He's going to want to go to Disneyland. And his parents are going to say we can't afford it. He's going to want a particular present. And he is not going to be able to get that present because his parents maybe can't afford it or they don't think that's a good present to get, a parents to get angry because they're having their own issues and think that they're a crummy parent, and simply because their kid is reacting or the kid is human, or meanwhile the kid does something that embarrasses the parent out in public. And that parent is having their own experience of what if my friends think I'm a bad parent and they'll know no, no longer want me to be a part of the cool parents group.

[00:33:24] But then other abandonment experiences also might be and I think about this one, often a parent putting unrealistic expectations on a kid, even if they mean well, you know, I call it the old. You can do better than that champ theory or heaven forbid the parent does shame or hit emotionally abused, physically abuse, neglect again because of their own issues. And this can show up in so many different ways. A parent can be doing all they can, serving others and their community, their church. They can be working to provide a living. And even if they feel like they you know, they feel like, OK, this is what I have to do. I feel like the acceptance of this, knowing that this is what abandonment and attachment issues look like, how they present again, I'm not blaming parents. I'm not shaming parents. I think it's just important to understand that this is how that wiring gets set. And I want to give an example. I this is this one's kind of interesting. So check me out. I try to be as authentic in the moment and those sort of things, but I think I'm sharing this a little bit impulsively. And I don't want to I don't want shame or blame to come out of this at all of what I'm about to share.

[00:34:24] But I remember early in my high school experience, I was in an area I grew up in an area where there was a lot there were a lot of wealthy people. And at that time we weren't the most wealthy. And, you know, my dad worked hard. My mom was a stay at home mom, was able to show up at all events, that sort of thing. So but I didn't appreciate all of that for what it was at the time. So there was this time where it was school, school shopping, what needed to happen. And and my mom made me some shorts. You heard it right. Made them, that's a fabric, had a clever pattern of design and made these shorts. And the way the story kind of goes nowadays is that everybody loved the shorts. I loved the shorts. Everybody wanted their own pair of shorts. But boy, I don't remember it that way from when I was when I was a kid. And I thought about this from an attachment based when I when I went through all this data from Glover, it just it just memories, emotions, everything kind of flooded. And I really felt like this was a pretty, pretty big aha moment for me personally.

[00:35:21] So everything, I was an egocentric, attachment based, needy middle schooler, we'll put it that way. So I really did feel like the world revolved around me and I was just trying to get my needs met at any cost. So what do I view that as as I view that as I am I not of worth enough that my parents would buy me the fifty dollar pair of shorts? I think they were called Jerbo's at the time. And so, you know, I really did if, like, man, what's wrong with me? I mean, all the other kids parents are buying them these shorts. So I'm egocentric. I'm in my own head. I don't understand. I can't advocate for myself because I'm young. So I'm not going to I mean, I could throw a fit or that sort of thing, but it's not going to get me anywhere. And I had no idea of the plight of my caregivers that, you know, if let's say that if money was tight or you don't have that, if my brother was going to college at that point or are we maybe had to get a new car, I have no idea. That's the point. But I didn't understand or I wasn't I didn't have a concept of what others were going through, primarily my caregivers. So in that scenario, I then show up to school and, you know, I don't remember it is everybody thought those were the cool shorts and they wanted to pair. It was kind of like, you know, look at those, you know, and everybody else had their their new stuff on. So I did feel that was an abandonment episode. So I felt like, man, what's wrong with me? Why weren't they there for me? But I understand now that, OK, I was stuck in my own ego centered view of myself.

[00:36:48] I was young. The world revolved around me. So if my needs are being met, then it must have been something about me like I can't believe that my my needs weren't met. And I even realized that was that was early on.

[00:36:59] That was when I actually started to really use humor, being more of a maybe a people pleaser. And it's funny because then I realized that this is starting to set the track of what an attachment wound looks like, that if I can get people to laugh, then in my head, then they will like me. They will want to stay with me. They will want to hang out with me despite the fact that I feel like I am less than because I'm showing up with these other shorts on. So I just feel like that is part of this attachment wound or abandonment issues that that go forth and from childhood.

[00:37:30] And I had another epiphany pretty early on this week, or I think it was last week as I was sharing this concept with a client in my office and the client shared an experience where two of their kids have been wrestling and one of their older kids got hurt while wrestling had nothing to do with the younger kids wrestling acumen or prowess.

[00:37:49] But the older kid was in pain and in yelled in pain, and then the younger kid thought it was their fault. And so even when a very kind parent says, hey, hey, it's not your fault, you know, that was going to happen. You're in your older sibling will be fine. But based on this attachment and abandonment data, it just was fascinating to me that that kid, that younger kid is in this egocentric world revolves around me. How dare people not meet my needs kind of state? And so even if we tell them, hey, it's not your fault, you know, this was going to happen anyway, that doesn't mean that they go OK because they are living in that ego centered world. So they aren't even necessarily going to be able to process this this abandonment wound or attachment issue until they are older and then able to kind of take a look back and say, OK, that makes more sense now.

[00:38:38] So in this episode 240 than I go on to say so, because every child is born into an imperfect world with imperfect parents and imperfect families. And again, because I'm sorry, there are no perfect families and no perfect people, the same egocentric kid, even if they are beginning to move out of that egocentric view of themselves, they now carry with them into adulthood that they must have been the reason why so many of these painful events occurred in their life, which is untrue. It's incorrect. It's an inaccurate view of their life. They were kids that they were experiencing their childhood. So without this help or without awareness, without accepting this imperfect world or imperfect parents and the fact that they're trying to deal with emotions as a kid that we still can't figure out as adults without coming to therapy and doing the work, then of course, we're going to move forward into relationships, into adulthood.

[00:39:22] And what I'm talking about today into teenager hood, trying to figure out how to navigate relationships and present ourselves in a way that others will think are OK, that others will then care about us. So it's almost the anti, you know, being authentic formula because we carry these abandonment wounds of what's wrong with me. Why didn't why or why all my needs not being met? why do my friends not always want to hang out with me here.

[00:39:48] Why are they not there when I reach out to them? And so that is why they are now trying to interact with their own friends in this way of I need to figure out how to navigate in a way that these people will be there for me. And each one of those kids and each one of us is going through our own abandonment and and attachment experiences as we are trying to interact with everybody around us. You know, do I say the right thing when I say the right thing? Do I present this way?

[00:40:12] And you can see it in therapy in particular when you have somebody new that doesn't understand that their whole goal here is to be able to express themselves every bit of themselves when that door closes and the safety of this office where they still are sometimes early on in the process, kind of trying to gauge what my reaction is to something they share. So even when you're trying to work on attachment wounds or or abandonment issues, we still just have this hard time kind of getting out of our own head.

[00:40:39] So what that does abandonment experience is create what many experts refer to as toxic shame. There's something much be wrong with us inherently or our parents. What I've got is the shorts, you know, or they would have taken us to Disneyland or they would have got us the transformer.

[00:40:54] That something must be wrong with us or our parents would have met our needs or our friends would have met our needs that he wouldn't have our friends would have invited us to that sleepover and not forgot about us or our friends would have invited us to a party. Or when we see on social media that three of our friends went skiing and won and we didn't get the invite. You know, that that feels that feels wrong. That feels like abandonment. So we wish that our friends would have met our needs and that people would have cared about us more deeply or want to know us more, want to spend more time with us and marriages. You know that. Why doesn't my spouse want to know me more? Why aren't they more curious about my experience? But we have no way of understanding that our abandonment experiences are not caused by something about us, but they are caused by imperfect people who we are assuming will recognize know understand to meet our needs. So this author Glover defines toxic shame is the belief that one is inherently bad or defective or different or broken or unlovable. And it's not just a belief that one does bad things. It's this deeply held core belief from childhood what we laid out earlier that for some reason they are bad. So we then spend the rest of our lives trying to navigate this balance of trying to understand who we are, why we like and care about the things that we do while trying to see if figuring ourselves out is still going to allow us to be part of a group or a community or family or a marriage and and all the while continuing to try then to be somebody that we believe others think we should be or others will like. So when we are going in to talk to our own kids.

[00:42:16] The reason I went to all of that is that our own kids, I just you know, I want you to be aware that they are going through these abandonment and rejection episodes. But it's not like you can just lay out this what I just shared with you and say, hey, this is just a unrealized abandonment.

[00:42:32] And so don't worry about it, because the truth is they're worried about it, which is all the more important to all the more reason to be able to establish this relationship of when your kid does want to process something, that there is a good chance that they will come and talk to you about it. So tips and I just did the seek first understand before being understood. So listen, if you're curious about what's going on in your teenager's life, asking more direct questions might not be as effective as simply sitting back and listening. I've had one of my daughters on my podcast a couple of times, my daughter Mackie, to talk about some times where my whole goal was to just go lay on the floor and just ask questions. Tell me more about that. What's that like? You know, or I mean, with each one of my kids, I feel like there's these situations where I just I just want to ask questions and listen and maybe not the most direct questions, but like, tell me what it's like to what's your high school like right now? Or, you know, do you ever feel pressure from social media or what what are the biggest challenges that you find in trying to get homework done or those sort of things that the more likely you are going to hear more if you're if you're staying open and interested, but not seem like you're trying, not seem like you're setting up another life lesson.

[00:43:41] And I feel like that's that one is that one's tough to show trust. I mean, teens want to be taken seriously, especially by their parents, even if they're pushing you away, again. Go rewind and listen to that, the abandonment attachment stuff. So it's important to try to find ways that you can trust your teen if you can ask them for a favor that shows that you can count on them or you can rely on them. Volunteering at privilege shows that you think that they can handle it or letting your kid know that you have faith that they'll be able to do something, will boost their confidence and make them more likely to rise to the occasion. And if they don't get something done, if you ask your kid, hey, you know, is there any way you can go get the car detailed, here's some money to do it, and then they aren't able to at a pretty incredible experience with with my one of my daughters, who I was asking that very thing to kind of get a car cleaned up because it's a lot of reasons why we need to do that.

[00:44:31] But they they had told me when they were going to do it and then they called in a panic because they had gone to do it in a whole series of events that had unfolded that just were not going to allow them to be able to do it. And I could just sense their their worry that they were going to let me down. And it just I was like, man, thank you so much for putting that effort in. And I really appreciate it. And I know you're trying your best. Even if in my head I wanted to say, and I asked you this a week ago, you could have done it a lot earlier. That's not a productive thought. You know what I saw? I was I was grateful that they were doing it.

[00:45:01] And so I was trying to show that trust, boost that confidence, validate their feelings, that they were frustrated because some events that they had thought would would work had not worked and they were not going to be able to get this task done and giving praise. My whole parenting courses on the nurtured heart approach that nurtured heart approach is is game changing. And I really if you haven't taken my free parenting course, please go do so. I talk about this data that I talked about a little bit on this episode, and I get into the specifics of the nurtured heart approach. The nurture heart approach has these stands stand. One is you absolutely refuse to energize negativity and that becomes so empowering. I can't even describe how empowering that is to be able to have your kid, you know, try to push your buttons, get you to react and you kind of sit there. Then when they're done, it's like, hey, OK, hey for calming yourself down, like I'm really looking forward to to kind of hear more about what your experience is or that sort of thing, and there's even these levels of praise or acknowledgment that I love. There is a stand in the nurture heart approach, which is just it's just recognizing somebody is you know, my son comes down the stairs, hey, there's Jake or what's up, Jake? Because I feel like so many times teenagers just feel like they're they just start to blend into the woodwork and that they aren't even recognized or noticed.

[00:46:12] You know, there's another stand in the nurtured heart approach. And I wasn't doing a nurtured approach episode today. So I apologize. I really do feel like there are some episodes I've done where I go into more detail or if you go take the parenting course. But, you know, the first stand is absolutely refusing to energize any negativity. And the second one is, is just this relentless building of inner wealth and energizing positive behavior. And not by just saying good job. You know, that is the you want to say things like, I appreciate the way you did that, because it shows me that you're maturing or you're going to be a, you know, a great dad someday or so. It's really attaching something more than just good job. And and I feel like one that is is hard to do. It is really hard is to control your emotions. That's part of what I feel like is so powerful.

[00:46:54] of the hard approach is that firsthand of not energizing negative behavior because we're human, we're going to have emotional responses. But that is what our teens learn to do, is if we're asking them a tough question or if they have maybe not done something that they they are proud of or meant to do, if they can then say, I can't believe you're even having this conversation. Or, you know, I remember conversations around if you had let's say you have a curfew and teenager is late for curfew. And then there, you know, I don't even know why we have a curfew. That's ridiculous. And none of my friends have a curfew. And so if they can get you to take the bait and start arguing and get mad. Now, we're not even talking about the fact that, oh, they were late for curfew. So you don't energize the negative behavior. You learn to control your emotions. It's so easy for tempers to flare when you're teens being rude. I mean, it is when our heart rate elevates and our stress hormone cortisol starts flooding the body. That is a signal for your brain to go into fight or flight mode. When you're when your brain goes into fight or flight mode, the rational part of the prefrontal cortex shuts down light like a light switch is turned off in a in a building and you go into fight or flight mode.

[00:48:00] So it is important to literally sit there and breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, keep your heart rate as low as possible so that the cortisol does not spike. And this is why it is so important to have a daily mindfulness practice, because you are training your brain to be able to come back to this present centered, calm moment, even in times when someone is pushing your buttons and whenever you can do things together. And I think that's one of the things that if you're going to the store as much as that we want to, as a parent, go have our own time, go to the store. Hey, who can go to the store with me or ask a kid to go along with you? And it's and I and there's always I think there's a fear at times of where this almost parent's fear of abandonment or rejection, where they don't want to ask because they they don't want to be told "no", but so this is this is part of that paradigm shift. So doing things together, I have a rule in my family that I've had forever and I'm just grateful for it. And that is I don't care if I have already exercised or ran or if it's been a long day or haven't eaten or whatever.

[00:49:00] If you come home and your kid wants to go on a run or they want to talk or they want to go to the gym and put up some shots, you say yes, and you just do. And sometimes, you know, my immediate response wants to be I just saw thirteen clients and recorded a podcast and I've got a deadline and but you know what? OK, I'm not even sure if those are true or false statements.

[00:49:19] Are they productive thoughts to a goal of connecting with your teenager? So doing things together, there's one on here about list I written down about, you know, sitting down together as a family for meals. I feel like that's good. I feel like right now I'd be a little bit of a hypocrite if I was saying that one, because my my kids at home are almost 17 and almost 19. And so they're just going in a lot of different directions. So whenever we can, we try to do that. I think when kids are younger, that is so, such a wonderful time. That was a goal that I had had always growing up, was when I became a husband and a father to sit down for meal time. And my wife did an amazing job with that and then be observant. It's so normal for kids to go through different changes. But, you know, it really is important to just pay particular attention of energy level that decreases, appetite decreases. And take note, if your kid is stopping doing something that they used to do to make themselves happy. And again, what can be important is then that is even all the more reason to go and start asking questions and not necessarily these direct pointed questions.

[00:50:25] But, hey, tell me more about what's going on in your life, and this is why it's so important to set this stage of open communication early on so that all of a sudden, if you notice that your kid is is starting to withdraw, that it won't be this coming out of nowhere. Oh, now my now my parent pays attention. So just learning how to be more observant and maybe they need to go talk to a mental health Professional and I have to tell you, this was not going to be a part of this episode, and I think this episode is probably gone on longer than I had anticipated, but I have meaning to do an episode on therapy and teens for a long time. And I'll give you a sneak preview of what that would look like. I love doing therapy with teenagers. I do. I don't do a lot of it these days. I do so much of the couples and and kind of working with some addiction issues or women relationships with narcissistic men or those sort of things. But teenager therapy is is amazing.

[00:51:13] And the reason why is I only ran into it maybe literally one or two or three or four teenagers who have said, I want to go to therapy. More often than not, the parent sees this withdrawal or whatever and says you need to go talk to somebody about it. And I remember early on having teenagers come in and they do not want to be here at all.

[00:51:33] And I don't blame them. And I feel like, you know, I would always say this thing of just just get a teenager into my office. And because I just I know they don't want to be here and I let them know right away. Hey, I know you're maybe coming because you're being nice. You're being nice because your parents want you to come. And I don't have a magic pill or magic wand or anything that is going to all of a sudden make everything better. And as a matter of fact, you might not even think things are bad. So I'm if we've got this 50 minutes together, I just want to ask you questions and help me become a better father, help me become a better therapist, help me understand teenagers. And once you get a teenager talking, it is just amazing and fantastic. And there are so many times in the past where I would have a really good session with a teenager and they stand up to leave my office and you can almost watch them kind of then flatten their affect, kind of shut down, kind of get a little bit more hardened. And I'm to the point now where I'll joke and say, oh, yeah, you know, you don't want your parent to think that you actually like this. Right. And you usually get a chuckle out of that, too.

[00:52:30] But doing therapy with a teen is it is the long game. It is. It's really what I want you to do as a parent that all I'm doing is saying, hey, we're here, let's talk let me ask you questions. And if you want help at any point, at some point down the road, then hopefully you now know that I am a safe place and that therapy is not intimidating. And I'm not going to just tell you what you're supposed to be doing all the time. And that has worked. But it takes time. I feel like too often parents send their kids to therapy. Almost. Let me just say, OK, can you fix him or can you can you let him know that he needs to do this or this or this? And, you know, I now just nod to the parent, OK, Thank you and then but I'm going to get to know the teen because more often than not, bless the parents hearts, that's where the challenge really lies, is in a well-meaning parent who is now turning everything into a lecture or a life lesson when a teenager really just needs to communicate and be heard. So I'm going to wrap things up. I, I just talked a lot a little bit off the cuff.

[00:53:31] I had a few notes down here. So I hope that there was a semblance of this making sense. If you appreciate it, enjoyed the episode. You're always welcome to go rate or review and subscribe and all those wonderful things wherever you get your podcast and and send this one along, share it on social media, give me a shout out on Instagram or Facebook or any that kind of thing, because that really does mean a lot. And I here's my anxious attachment where I never wanted to be the one saying, you know, please, please go share this. But I'm finding more and more that the more some of these messages get out, the more it's just really help people change the way they parent, change the way they communicate and the relationships, their marriages. And I'm just so grateful to be to have this platform and to be able to share these things that I've seen and just, you know, years and years of therapy. And I'm so delighted that it can help. And if you want more help, you can go take my free parenting course. And if you're interested in communicating better with your spouse, I've got the magnetic marriage course coming up. And I'm mentioning that right now because I really feel like the same principles that that I teach in the magnetic marriage course will be effective in trying to communicate with your teens. If you haven't heard the episode I did on my four Pillars of Connected conversation a few weeks ago. Go listen to that now, after you heard this episode about communicating with your teenagers and implement those four pillars of a connected conversation. And I think that you'll see some pretty miraculous results. All right. Hey, have an amazing week. I hope your beginning of 2021 and starting off well, and you can send me questions, comments, thoughts, all those sort of things at And I will see you next time.

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