Are you struggling with the juggling act of managing your kids? With our first-hand experience of raising three young kids while running a martial arts school, we're intimately familiar with the exhaustion that comes with trying to be everything for our children. In this engaging conversation, I share insights gained from our unique perspective, and the steps we took to shift our parenting style.
Imagine if setting expectations and letting kids face life's challenges head-on was actually a form of love? We delve into this provocative idea, discussing how coaching can help our kids navigate life's obstacles. We chat about the powerful impact of being their biggest cheerleader and the vital importance of fostering their sense of capability and self-discipline. Tune in, you don't want to miss the opportunity to empower your children with resilience and self-belief.
Hello, welcome to whatever with Heather, episode two Managing versus Coaching Your Kids. This is the first podcast on the topic of parenting, and there will be plenty more coming at you in the months ahead, so just to give you some background, i first started working with kids when I was 15 years old. That's when I started teaching swimming lessons, and then I went on to college to become a teacher, and I graduated from college right before my last semester of college I had my first kiddo, and then I had my second kiddo, during which I got divorced, and then, while I was like a single mom of two kiddos, i also taught tennis lessons to kids. And then I met Brian, my husband, and he owned a martial arts school, and so I naturally transitioned into helping him teach martial arts. Of course, i had to, you know, also train in martial arts so that I could teach people, and over the years I became a second degree black belt and helped him run a successful martial arts school. He started working with kids when he was 12 years old is when he had to start teaching martial arts to his peers and kids younger than him, and also people older than him. So my husband has also been working with kids since he was a kid himself And then he married me. I already had two kids and then we had another kiddo and we had three really young children and we were running a martial arts school and we were in this really kind of cool and fun, unique position of where we both had been working with kids basically since we were kids ourselves or teens, and now we were continuing to work with people's kids. But a martial arts school is unique in that parents bring their kids to martial arts usually for very specific reasons. Some is self-defense and some is because the kid wants to learn how to like fight. But the other main reasons are wanting to instill discipline, self-control, focus, resilience, mental toughness in their children, as well as respect. And so parents would bring their kids to us, essentially so that we could help parent their children in ways that they were feeling really stuck. And parents would ask us questions what can we do about this or this is happening to little Johnny at school, how should I handle it? And parents started asking us questions. Meanwhile, we're still parenting three young kids of our own and we have the martial arts school and ended up being this really beautiful experience for us to parent in and unique experience because the parenting that we were doing of our three young children informed and changed the way we ran a martial arts school and our interactions with kids. Since we've been working with kids since they since we were young our interactions with kids changed the way we parented our own children And so they kind of kept helping, like the martial arts school helped our parenting and our parenting helped the martial arts school, and this kept going back and forth. Meanwhile, parents keep asking us questions And so we had to get really good and we did. We were a waitlist in martial arts school. We got really good at working with different types of children with different abilities and disabilities and challenges and strengths, and helping them grow and develop discipline, respect, self-control because no one is really bringing their kid to martial art school just to fight. They want those other things And so how do you teach those things? through martial arts but also in the way you lead and instruct and communicate with your students. We were also working with kids. My husband and I worked really closely with the three to five-year-olds. They were called our little warriors, and when you're working with three to five-year-olds and getting them to stand at attention and all of these different skills that we worked with them on. You have to navigate each three to five-year-old child in a very different way, because some are very timid and some are very active. And how can we train discipline in someone who's timid? or how do you train discipline in someone who's active? And we learned a lot through working with other people's kids and honestly messing up, sometimes like not communicating the most kind way, like or effective way. We always tried to be kind, but sometimes we were ineffective And so we grew by doing that And then our challenges at home would help us, like shift, our martial arts program, and so it was really kind of this magical thing. And throughout the years we realized that a lot of parents are exhausted. We were exhausted, included, like we had three kids. We were exhausted and we were like how, like we can't keep doing this. This is too much. Like we are responsible for every piece of our kids lives. It's like too much And like what do we really want in our children? And we wanted children who had resilience. We wanted children who had self-discipline, which is different than discipline. Like self-discipline is, i'm going to take care of it and people don't have to remind me. We wanted children who felt capable And we realized that maybe we weren't parenting in that way. We were really kind of like controlling the aspects of our children's lives because they were little. And so all of a sudden like I don't remember when the shift happened We realized that there was a difference and I specifically realized this, and then Brian and I had a long conversation that there's a difference between managing your kids and coaching your kids. So let's just dive into that. That was a lot of background, but I just want to give you kind of like where this comes from to help set you up to kind of shift into this mindset. So let's just take the word managing Like what is it to be a manager? And the definition is a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization. So let's just strip that back into like if you're a manager of your family, you're the person responsible for controlling and administering all or part of the stuff. So controlling and administering And if you go into management, it also means to take charge of and managers plan, direct and control resources. So in your family your resources are time and skills and like all the things. Right, that's managing. Now let's look at coaching. The definition of coach is to train or instruct a team or a player. Train and instruct. You can see why training and instruct would be good when it comes to parenting, right, coaches are responsible for planning, organizing and delivering an appropriate range of activities and programs for individuals and teams. So they're responsible for planning, organizing and delivering an appropriate range of activities. So let's zoom out. So we have those two definitions in your mind. Think of the manager controlling and administering all the aspects, and then a coach to train or instruct and appropriate activities. Those are kind of the two things we're looking at. Here's the thing When you, when your, your baby is born right, your kid is born, you are in a manager position. You are their parent and their manager. If you're a mama, you're their mama and their manager. You control when and how they eat to some degree, right? Babies also have their a mind of their own When and how they eat. We try to help them sleep, we change their clothes and they're we're 100% responsible for their hygiene. We take care of every sadness and try to turn it to happiness And we take care of every piece of their existence. This is necessary, right? A baby is born. You can't just be like, hey, you're on your own, figure it out. You are in a manager position and it's a lot. It's a lot and you are controlling every aspect. And when they're babies, crying and sadness means there's a problem. Right, your baby's tired or they're wet or they're hungry and we need to fix it. Every piece of their response, of their existence, is our responsibility. So we see sadness as something we need to fix when they're a baby, because sadness is a cue. Right, the crying is telling us what is wrong. They're telling us something's wrong and then we fix it. But then our kids get older And most of us, me included, continue to manage their lives for them. We do the chores, we do the cooking, we remove obstacles, we try to fix the hard stuff and fix the hard emotions and fix sadness and try to protect them from the bumps in the road. It's exhausting because it's not the way it should be I hate using the word should, so it's not the way it can be. I want you to imagine a different possibility in your family. And why is it exhausting? Because we need to shift into our children's coaches and not their managers. As coaches, we guide them, we cheer them on. We help them play the game. The game is their life, which is intertwined with ours, but also separate. They are separate humans. We do not play the game for them. Now this might feel like well, no, no, no, they're my babies. But I also want you to think of yourself and then think of your parents. And you are separate And the majority of your life is spent separate from your parents, and oftentimes, the older you get, the more you separate, because the managing of maybe your parents that keep trying to manage your life is too much. As we transition from managing our babies into coaching our children and when does this happen? I think this happens pretty young, where you're the manager, coaching role slowly change, right, you might start your managing and then slowly, as they get older, your managing roles taper off and your coaching roles increase. If you're on my YouTube, you can see Like we start up here, we're managing, managing, managing, and that line goes down like a graph And then we're coaching, and the amount of coaching we do increases with age. And think of when your kids are older you will be their coach and not managing at all. Right, no, managing, only coaching, only being their support and their cheerleader. So let's think about coaching and coaching our kids. If you think of a great teacher or a coach you had, most of us can think of one like at least one that changed your life. And what qualities did they have? Well, they believed in you, made you believe in yourself, pushed you to do, become and try something new. They called you out I'm going to curse here for a second. So, if you have kids, they called you out on your bullshit, saw your potential. They let you play the game or perform on the stage and have opportunity, and you could feel their care for you and their expectations of you. Can we see we're viewing parenting as coaching would be powerful? It's powerful. Imagine that when your kids grow up and they look back on your relationship with them, what would you want them to say? And let's look at these qualities of a coach one more time, reframed like that. My kids grow up and they're talking about me and they were like my mom believed in me and she made me believe in myself. She pushed me to do and become all that I could and she pushed me to try new things. She called me out When I wasn't doing what I truly wanted to in life or living up to the type of person I wanted to be. She saw my potential. She let me live my life and have opportunities, and I knew she cared about me and I knew she had high expectations of me and high belief in me. I don't know about you, but like that's the way I want my children to look back When you strip this all back. Coaches have these kind of two main roles, and one is to be your biggest cheerleader And one is to help you play the game, which means help you with obstacles not remove the obstacles, but rather coach you through the obstacles or tell you how to navigate, or show you how to navigate them, and also to notice where there might be problems and discuss those with you. If a coach is seeing let's like, take a basketball if a coach is seeing you dribble the ball wrong and says nothing, the coach is not coaching you. The coach's job is to see where there's problems and to give you solutions. A coach should not just say and I will say should a coach should not just say you're doing that wrong. A coach should say, hey, you're dribbling. You know I need some work. Let's work on it. Here are some drills you can do to improve your dribbling. Now, can the coach make the player be better at dribbling? No, they could try to shame, blame or guilt the player into being better. But if you play, if the player takes it on as their job to do the dribbling drills, to grow and evolve, then the player can take ownership of the growth and the way they've evolved as a player. And so, as we coach our kids, this is how we look at the obstacles that come their way, the way we communicate with them, the way the expectations we have for them. Now I want to talk about expectations for a second. Expectations aren't pressure on your children. Expectations are. I believe you're capable of this and I want to help you reach that. At the same time, if your children do not have the internal drive to do, be or become something that you expected of them, you will be just butting your heads all the time. That will be a different podcast episode on helping your children find the internal motivation, and I actually am just going to write that right now. Helping your children have internal motivation, be who they want to be Excellent. Okay, i don't know if I'll edit that out or might just leave it. That's going to be a podcast episode. Huge when your children are internally motivated, intrinsically motivated. So when you be a coach for your children, your job is to help them navigate how to play the game, aka navigate how to get through life and how to deal with the challenges that come their way. Okay, so let's talk about obstacles. Obstacles can be anything like, say, you're in a football game, the rain outside. Can a coach remove that obstacle? No, the other team and their skills. Can the coach remove that obstacle? No, the coach can only empower their team with advice, training, mindsets that are going to help them play the game. They cannot run out on the field and play the game for them. And so, as parents, we teach the skills to play the game, aka live life. We teach how to navigate the hard stuff. We do not remove the hard things from our children's lives because at some point they're going to have to navigate it and they won't know how because we never allowed them to. We would remove obstacles and not let them build the skills needed to navigate obstacles. Navigating an obstacle is a skill. Navigating, like the hard stuff that comes in your life, is a skill Being able to maneuver it, being able to fall on the ground and get back up is a skill And if we stop our kids from falling and we stop them from failing, we don't allow them to build that skill And life will force them to build that skill at some point as adults. But if you can do it at home, when you have a coach, aka your parent, to help you navigate it, how much more powerful. Imagine a football team that has never played football before and they're put out on the field No coach, how will they navigate? They'll eventually kind of learn things, but they're gonna get very injured. They're going to probably quit some of them And like it doesn't make sense. So you have this beautiful time when your children are with you to help coach them through the really hard stuff of life. And some of it's not that hard. Some of it's doing a chore and pushing through even though you don't want to. Some of it's navigating social relationships. Some of it's navigating difficult teachers. But if we do that all for our children, because we're managing them and we're in charge and we're in control, we don't allow them the opportunity to grow And we also tell them when we remove obstacles that we don't believe they're capable of handling the obstacle. We often think that love is protection from harm. Now, because I love my kids, i do protect them from harm, but I do not protect them although I want to from trials, from hard stuff. We think love is doing it all ourselves so they don't have to struggle. We do all the laundry, so they don't have to fold anything. We do all the dishes, so they don't have to worry about dishes. We don't like them to struggle through hard things because we don't like struggling through hard things and so we don't want them to face that. But as we allow them to face it, they become more capable. Fact is that love is a lot of things, but one thing love is is showing your children that you believe they are capable. When we don't allow our kids to do chores or help around the house because they won't do the chores right right in quotes we are telling them that we don't believe they are capable because we are in manager mode. We are in control mode versus empowering coaching mode. Love isn't doing things for our kids. Love is who we be. For our kids, love is a being. It's being present, listening, taking time for them. They will feel and remember that We also need to raise humans who believe they are capable. So, by coaching our kids, whether it's coaching them and teaching them how to do a new chore, and being patient and guiding them along the way and allowing them to fail and allowing them to mess up. If we take loading the dishwasher, your children will break dishes, but guess what? Sometimes you still break dishes too. And so, as we allow them to do it and mess up and do it wrong and we gave them the directions, but they still did it wrong We coach them again. We coach them again and again And then, as we coach them and show that we believe they are capable, they become capable. My daughter, when she was younger I'm gonna give you an example I want. She needed to learn to cut apples with a knife. She cut herself three times And as a mom, i remember on purpose allowing her which was very hard for me to continue to cut an apple, even though she kept cutting herself. I'd given her the instructions of hands above the knife If your hands above the knife, you're not gonna cut yourself. And she didn't listen the first time or the second or the third time, but now she can cut an apple without cutting herself. Now think of how I stopped and not taught her how to cut an apple and let her fail, which actually resulted in injury. I don't regret this, because it shaped her into someone that was resilient, although it was so hard for me. She wanted to learn to cut an apple and it took multiple tries And now she can do it. But think of how I had not done this. And then she's older and she's moved out of the house And now she grabs too big of a knife and now she cuts herself then And I'm not there to help clean the wound, i'm not there to help bandage her up, all because I removed the obstacle when I was there as a support, when I was there, in case she cut herself. The things we don't teach our children now they will have to learn, but they're gonna have to learn them without you there to help them, without you there to coach them, they will have to learn it alone. And how much better to have a coach there or have your mama there to help you when you cut yourself? I am three years away from having an 18 year old And something I ask myself is what tools, skills, plays, right, if she's playing the game, what plays have I provided her with for navigating life. How have I coached her so that she can feel ready to play the game on her own And no, and trust that she can still turn to me in times that she needs feedback and support? That is what coaching your kids is It's allowing them to do things and allowing them to fail and being there to provide feedback and support so that they know they're not alone. And if they can trust they're not alone through the hard times when they're young and know that you believe they're capable of navigating the hard times, then when they become older, they're going to know that they're capable of the hard times and they're going to know they can turn to you for feedback or support. And that feedback and support becomes welcome as they get older. And I've seen this in our kids, because now we have a almost 15 year old by the time No, she'll turn 15 the day after this. This launches, like she knows she can turn to me for feedback and support, where I think back, you know, five, seven years ago. Had I not allowed her to mess up multiple times, would that trust be there between us? Would I trust that she was capable And would she trust that I believe she was capable and I'm there to support her if things go wrong. And so, as we coach our kids, it becomes really fun because they get to play the game, they have their own autonomous life, while we are there as their biggest cheerleader and we're there to give feedback and support as they need it. We're there to call them out if they need called out, in a respectful way, in a way that's in alignment with who they want to be, and that's where the magic is. I'm here to say like, pardon me, didn't want to teach this until my children were older because I didn't know if this would work. I was like I don't know. Now here I am with older kiddos and it's worked with all three of them and they're all very different, but believing they're capable, coaching them through it, is where the magic is. And as parents, as moms, dads, believing your kids are capable and letting them know that is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, to empower them to move through life, because a lot of what you believe about yourself is because of, because of or in spite of, what your parents and leaders thought of you or believed in you or didn't believe in you, and so, for your children. You can be that. You can be the reason they believe in themselves or the reason they don't, which is a lot. It's a lot to carry as a parent, but it's also like super cool that you can be that for your kids. So, instead of managing your kids, coach your kids. Show them that you believe in them and that they are capable, and then trust yourself to be able to be a good coach for your kids. Your kids, your teens, your really little toddlers. All of it is coaching. It's being there and being supportive. That's it for today. Thank you for being here for whatever with Heather. I definitely love to hear your thoughts on this. Or, if you love this episode, share it with your with a friend, share it on Instagram or Facebook. If you're on YouTube, leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you think. And or, if you're on a podcast platform, find me on Instagram at HeatherEvanslife and send me a DM. I'd love to hear your thoughts and I will see y'all next time on the podcast on whatever with Heather. See you next time, bye.