Entitled Teenager Problem? Don’t Be A “Pusi!” | MomCave LIVE
Yeah, leave it right by their plate. All right. Well, we are live in all the places.
Oh, great. Excited to be here.
Yeah. Welcome to MomCave LIVE, where we may have lost our minds, but we haven’t lost our sense of humor. I’m Jen and I’m here with the very humorous Elizabeth. Elizabeth wrote a book that we’re gonna talk about that is gonna save all of your asses, I think. This is it.
Yeah, that’s it.
Oh, I know. It’s a tough title. It’s a tough title, but it does digest eventually. Yeah.
Yeah, well, you know, there’s a page in the very beginning of the book that shows the root of this word pusi, P U S I. Can you explain that?
Yeah, so pusillanimous means someone who lacks conviction and wherewithal and intuitiveness and all the things that the expression, don’t be a pussy, what we know today, means. So I kind of used that word once as a joke with my son and I was, oh, sorry about that. I used that once I really had one of those parenting moments where I just had enough and I kind of went, oh, for God’s sake, just don’t be a pussy. Now they kind of burst into laughter. They kind of laughed. It wasn’t like the traumatizing effect you would imagine that it would have on some kids, but no, they were teenage boys. So they were like, are you serious? So, and I realized, wow, I’m speaking their language, right? This is the language of a teenage boy. And he heard me, he laughed but he heard me, and it kind of became a family thing. It became funny, right? And I think it was after I read that Dr. Seuss was canceled, which is one of my favorite children’s books. And to this day I love the rhyming and the humor in Dr. Seuss. They were thinking, well, someone’s gonna have to pick up the Dr. Seuss, you know, tradition here.
Dealing with Entitled Teenagers | Don’t be a “Pusi” | MomCave LIVE
If he’s canceled you might as well come in.
Exactly. Someone else is gonna have to pick this up. And then I said, well, I mean, I don’t know, we could call it, like, don’t be a pussy as a joke. And I was sitting around and it was COVID and we had a lot of free time and it just kind of rolled out of me. I mean, it just really, really rolled out of me and my whole family thought it was pretty hilarious. So then I thought, well, why not? Let’s publish it and see, as I was saying earlier, initially a lot of people had a pushback about a year and a half ago. People said, “My God, the word.”
And I said, “Well, hold on, let’s look at the, you know, original meaning of this word.” And arguably it’s where the expression came from actually. So you can’t really cancel me on that. And then now I feel like people are coming back saying, hold on, what was it we were supposed to do with our kids? ‘Cause we have got these really entitled teenagers and, you know, maybe we shouldn’t have thought about that permissive parenting five-star review approach, ’cause it’s really not working at 18. So like, go ahead, get a copy of the book, read it. So it’s funny. But it hits home.
It does and it’s so great when you speak their language. We have a hey from Texas from Rebecca. Hey Rebecca. Welcome. So what makes you qualified? And I know but I want you to tell everyone. What makes you qualified to talk about entitled teenagers.
Oh God. Well, I have five, actually. Well, they’re not all five teenagers. They were five.
Five children, yeah. I have one girl and four boys from the ages of 15 to 29 and I also am a behavior analyst. So I spent a lot of time working with adults with autism. I run a center for adults with autism actually. And so the basic fundamental principles of behavior analysis is the reward system. You reward good behavior and you do not reward bad behavior you don’t wanna see again. And this is crucial with kids with autism, especially if they’re non-verbal or they’re engaging in self-interest behaviors, right? So I really understood that through my graduate school program, you wanna keep them alive. I mean, you wanna keep them healthy. But then I realized, my God, like we’re not employing these same principles with our neurotypical kids, right? And why aren’t we doing that? I mean, why don’t we understand like the science and the data showing, if we reward a tantrum, we will see another tantrum. If we reward amazing great behavior, we’ll see more amazing, great behavior. Right? It’s really, you don’t have to go through, you know, a doctorate degree to get this information. But, you know, it’s helpful to do that, but you do understand that this principle should be used with neurotypical kids too. And the consequences are equally grave. I mean, who wants a 40-year-old living in their basement unemployed? I mean, that’s tough for everybody all around. Like it’s funny, but it’s also pretty sad, right? And it’s your job to get your kid independent.
That’s your main job as parents to get them to be independent with people.
So through my personal experience, and I would say the graduate, you know, my graduate studies and behavior analysis is kind of where I came up with Don’t Be A Pusi.
Uniquely and overly qualified with the five children. You’ve gone through this five times and I guess you’re still going through it with a couple of them, the younger ones.
The younger ones are like, they picked it up faster. You know, they watched the older ones go through it. So they’re like, all right. All right, we won’t be a pussy. We’ll get it done.
Oh, thank God.
Yeah, please. Parent yourself.
I just wanna say that everybody who’s watching, you have a chance to win a signed copy of this very funny book if you shared this video with somebody you think might need it, shared it on your page, whatever, and we’re gonna pick somebody to win a signed copy. So, Elizabeth, do you think that we have more entitlement in our teenagers now than we used to?
Oh, for sure. I would say that never in across history, across different cultures, I would say even across different religions, the universal parenting mode has always been that there’s a hierarchy. The parents trump the child. That has been, like I said, across time, culture, and religion. And I think that has radically changed, certainly in the United States. I can’t speak for the rest of the world as clearly. I would imagine it hasn’t as much for some reason. I think it has in the United States. And I understand that the pendulum does tend to swing left and then right and left and right. But again, behavior analysis is based on data, and based on data, if you allow a child who’s tantruming, or not going to work or not performing the way they should, behaving the way they should, and you reward that and you tolerate that, you’re just gonna see more of it. So we’re shaping our kids, whether we realize it or not. And I would say there is, I guess the political climate, that COVID threw everyone into a loop.
I think social media, with this instant five-star review, I think parents are looking for an instant five-star review from their kids. And parenting is a long-term game, right? You’re not gonna see the results of your work until they’re working and forming good relationships with good partners and making good friends and independent. Then you say, “Ah, it happened.” It worked, but you’re not gonna see that at 15. You’re not really sure yet, you’re still working at it.
Right, I think that in certain stages of parenting, if they don’t hate you, you’re not doing it right in a way. I mean, they love you, but if they’re not angry at you because you are the boundary, you’re giving them a structure, you’re giving them the boundary and it’s their job to rebel against the boundary.
Yeah, I agree to a certain degree, but they shouldn’t have to hate you if they know that what you’re doing is right, right? So that leads to an interesting sociologist and a psychiatrist that I studied called Diana Baumrind in the 1970s. She came up with four parenting archetypes. And when you start to imagine you are one of those four and there are only four. And if you really think about it, you’re like, you’re gonna fall into one of those four, okay? So it helps you understand what kind of parent you are.
So the first parent is the permissive parent, right? The one that says yes to everything. So we all know those.
Then there’s the dictator, which is the extreme opposite. The dictator just says, my way or the highway. I’m not discussing it. I’m not explaining it. I’m not gonna hear you out. It’s just my way. You don’t want either one of those.
The third one is the absent parent. You don’t want that either, the parent that’s just kind of rolling the dice and maybe you’ll get lucky and have like a super amazing successful child who’s happy and independent, but maybe not. It’s just the roll of the dice.
And the fourth one is the one that you wanna aspire to. It’s the fair judge. It’s the one that’s taking time to really be clear. These are the rules I’m gonna tolerate. These are the rules I’m not. We can have a verbal agreement. We can have a written agreement. However, it is your job as the fair judge, just like a judge in court, you know the rules, I’ve been very clear with the rules. So if you break them, it’s on you, not on me. You shouldn’t have to hate me because we agree to this. I’m not gonna tolerate self-interest behavior, illegal behavior, you know, universally accepted immoral behavior. And here are the specifics. I’m not gonna accept you not picking up the phone, failing out of school, et cetera. But I’m fine if you wanna wear, you know, a crazy hat to school, or if, you know, if you call me at 12 and say, “om, can I stay out till 12:30? I’m having such a good time with my friends.” I’ll be cool with that, whatever it is, just be clear. So the fair judge is clear. And when you realize that, you know, you wanna stay in that fair judge lane, but on a bad day, you’re gonna fall into one or the other, you’re gonna fall into being permissive or absent or the dictator, right?
Thank God. I’m glad you said that. ‘Cause we can’t always be the fair judge. We try and it’s what we aspire to. But it’s hard, right?
I mean, I fall into dictator immediately. I don’t have time. I don’t wanna talk about it. It’s just my way, right? And then I’m like, here I am. But then I try and self-correct back into the fair judge. So I would argue that the child never has to hate you. They may hate like the fact that you prove them wrong because we agreed on this and you did it, but they shouldn’t have to hate you actually, because if you were a good judge and cleared up the law and be from the very beginning, it’s clear. There’s nothing to argue.
Okay, good, good. I did an interview with someone a while back and we were talking about chores and allowance and helping around the house. And I was shocked. I got all of these insane amounts of comments of people saying, ready? Children should not have to do chores. Children should just be children. They shouldn’t have responsibilities other than school and growing up. And I was kind of shocked about that. What’s your opinion on that?
Well, you’re just having your kids be behind the eight ball because once they grow up and go out into the real world, they haven’t had those years of practice of showing up on time. So now you’re sending your 18-year-old to college and let’s say they’re in a dorm full of kids that actually had parents make them do chores and be responsible. Your kids now have to catch up and now they’re four years behind. Right?
So why wouldn’t you want your kids to start life off on an even playing field? I mean, if we’re even gonna go globally speaking, you know, we’re competing against China, right? And other countries where people do have chores and very strong requirements on their children. So I mean maybe some of that’s a bit extreme for some people and I understand that, but certainly having zero responsibility your entire life growing up, you’re way behind the eight ball. So look at it pragmatically, don’t even look at it as a right or wrong issue. I mean, look at the long-term effect it’s gonna have on your kid. It’s not good.
That is a great way to think about it and I think that having responsibilities in the house reinforces the idea that we’re a family, we’re a team and you are not entitled. You’re not the prince of this house, you know, for mommy to serve only. It also just makes them be invested in the family as a team.
Well and you’re also limiting them to understand what they’re capable of. It’s funny. I just finished a book. I know it’s an old one. Everyone read it years ago, Where The Crawdads Sing, about this little girl that you probably remember that basically raised herself in the swamp and, you know, wind up writing all these great, it’s a true story.
So obviously we don’t wanna raise our children alone in the swamp, but when we give them responsibility, you don’t want them to fail, but you always wanna push them a little further than you think they can handle. I think that’s the rule in life, right? Like, take on a project that’s about 10% beyond what you think you can do and push yourself there. Because if it’s too easy, it’s boring, and if it’s too hard you’ll fail and you’ll quit. But you wanna have a little bit of, like-
A little challenge.
Challenge, right. And so when a five-year-old says, “Oh my God, look at me, I cleaned all the dishes, and I put them all away, I didn’t break a single one,” that kid’s kind of feeling good about himself. Right? But if you say, “No, no, don’t worry, I’ll do it,’ they’ll never know they were capable. I mean, that’s a silly example, but you know, obviously, the examples get more serious as you get older. Right? So push your kids into being able to say, “Wow, I never knew I could do that.” Right? And help them, guide them as a parent, rather than taking that learning time away from them, that learning experience away from them.
Exactly. I’m gonna push to the comments so everyone can see the book. And there’s a link. Let’s see. Is it going? Hopefully, I think it did. We’ll see. This is Elizabeth’s book. And if you wanna win a signed copy, share this video with somebody who might also need it. The book is for teenagers as well as parents, correct?
It sure is. You know, I do a lot of work in charities over the years and I kind of realized one day, my God, there isn’t a single charity for traumatized parents. And how many of them do we know?
But let’s start one right now.
I know, so I thought, well, maybe I won’t start a charity for traumatized parents, but I’ll write the book and see if that’ll help them out a little bit. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll bond over that. Yeah, it’s funny. So it is definitely for parents and for their kids. Yeah.
Okay. I love the idea of just like leaving that on your teen’s unmade bed with piles of clothing.
Exactly, well, it’s funny because when I have read it to a few teens that I thought were pussies, basically, they go, “Oh, this is so great. I know so many people like that.” And I kind of went….
But they don’t recognize themselves.
“What about you?” And they’re like, “That’s not me.” And I think, “Well, if I were your mom, I’d say, sweetheart, there’s a reason I left it on your bed. I really feel like you’re falling into this potential behavioral problem.” But most people don’t recognize it in themselves.
By the way, you know, to be fair, I think I wrote it for myself in part ’cause there are days I wake up and I’m I’m thinking, “Oh my God, it’s so hard. My life is so tough, COVID and this and that.” I can’t even, I don’t know, whatever it is, my problems are so, and then I think, “My God, what is wrong with me?” I mean like suck it up. Like, don’t be pussy and get on with your day. Frankly, we all have moments.
Put it all in perspective. Yeah.
I wrote it for myself too. Don’t feel bad. We can all be pussies. Life’s getting tougher and tougher. I mean, for all of us politically, I think that things are becoming very unstable here in the United States. And these are times where we have to be stronger and tougher actually to be able to weather through them. This isn’t the time that we get to have wellness Wednesdays as was employed in my son’s school.
Oh my goodness.
A wellness Wednesday? I’m like, what if you were in World War II dodging bombs? We wouldn’t be like, “Well, don’t worry.”
No time for wellness or to meditate.
That’s the other thing about, like, you know, people that grew up in the Depression, they’re like, “You know, why is everyone depressed? We didn’t have time to be depressed. We were in the Depression!” Like, you know? With my kids we read over, you know, many months, all the Little House on the Prairie books as bedtime stories. And we have returned to that time and time again because they were, you know, it was amazing to read an entire chapter about one chore. And how Laura does this chore with her family. And how they, like, they have no choice. This is how they survive. And also they get a sense of accomplishment like you were saying and like, I’m a big girl. I helped mama and dad with this. And so so many times in our family we’re like, well, what would Laura have to do right now? You only have to take the dishes out of the dishwasher. You don’t have to walk to a well, get the water up.
You know? So I think it helps to give kids examples or stories, things that they can like visualize of what real hard work looks like.
And I’m afraid to misquote the statistic, but going back to the idea that it’s not just making them feel good about helping, but I think I wanna say something like 50%, and don’t quote me on this, everyone should look this up. 50% of people between the ages of 30 and 50 are now living at home with their parents. And I know partially this was exasperated by COVID.
Right. It was happening before COVID as well.
Right. I don’t think we saw those numbers like during the Vietnam War or during World War II. I think those numbers have spiked in the United States to levels we’ve never seen. That’s something we really need to think about as parenting. How do I best make sure that my child can live an independent life when they grow up and certainly being able to clean out the dishes is one of those huge tasks. Start there.
I’m wondering if you have an amusing story. What is one of the most entitled things you have heard or, you know, a kid has said or done that, you know, and you don’t have to tell me who it is.
God, I have one and she’s gonna laugh if she’s listening, but I’m not gonna say her name. Yeah. Yeah. This was great. You know, she called me she’s like, “I had a huge fight with like my 17-year-old.”
And I said, “Oh no, what happened today?”
She said, “Well, I told him ‘no smoking pot in the house’. I don’t wanna see it. I don’t wanna hear it. I’m against it. If you do with your friends and I can’t stop you, what am I gonna do, but I don’t wanna know about it. And then she said, well, he says, “It’s his home. He gets to do it and then he got angry that I didn’t clean out his bong for him.”
Oh my God. Okay, that definitely takes the cake. Mom didn’t clean my bong??
Yeah. Mom, didn’t clean my bong. And actually, I did make my first page of the book, there’s little blurbs and like funny little quotes. And if you notice on the first page you see Dad’s like chucking the kids out of the house, saying act politely with pleasure. Get out of my house is one of the lines. And then the mom saying, “All this ’cause I didn’t clean your bong, you know?”
And I wouldn’t say she’s the only one that’s had that problem where kids are really, we’re here to work for them basically. And that’s just something flipped, something flipped in the last, I would say seven, eight years, I think in the United States. ‘Cause I don’t even remember this being a problem seven or eight years ago, or certainly, it was in certain homes, but it wasn’t supported in social media and in television and, you know, in movies and this idea that the parent is somewhere beneath the child is supported by media everywhere right now, that these kids have all these rights, even the teachers are afraid to say something to their kids. It’s extended to the school. So now the kids feel they trump the teacher and the parents.
And people say, well, “What do I do? My kid says, you know, I’m not gonna clean my room. I don’t doing my homework and you really should clean my bong. Like, what am I supposed to say?” And I always say the same thing to parents. Well, I asked the parents, do you pay for their phone bill? And they said, well, obviously, and I said, turn the f-ck off. I mean, I don’t know what to tell you.
Like seriously, you have leverage. “I can’t do that.” Sure you can. It’ll take 12 hours. It’ll take 12 hours before they’re on their knees begging for you to turn it back on. And this time you say, “Sure, but here’s a written agreement. Since we had a verbal one and that didn’t work.” That’s the next step. If verbal agreements don’t work you move on to a written one. You wrote it down. “If these five things aren’t done, I’m not even gonna tell you. I’m just gonna turn off your phone. I love you so much. You’re so handsome. You’re so sweet. You’re so beautiful. But it’s gonna happen. So it’s your choice, right?” Turn off the phone. It’s leverage you have probably after college still. Use it. It’s the strongest thing you got.
Yeah. Putting it in black and white is so helpful. During the pandemic, we did a schedule and I was resistant to that ’cause I’m not a scheduling kind of person, but my husband made the kids a schedule and it was color-coded and it was like– these are the things you have to do. And certain things come before screen time or playtime. And like, they take it seriously now. The kids will now remind me and they’ll be like, oh no, if this is the scheduled time, something about it being on paper makes it very official for them and then you don’t have to keep saying it over and over. I mean how many times have I literally just pointed at the paper and been like….
Well, the key with that system though of course is to always follow through with what you say you’ll do if they don’t follow their rules. Right? So you can’t NOT turn off the phone. I mean, that’s back to the behavioral analytic. If you see a rat in a cage, it’s gonna keep on pressing the levers. It’s getting all its pellets. It stops receiving pellets it’s gonna stop pressing the lever. I mean, I don’t mean to compare us all to rats, but the behavior is the same. Slot machine. If you sat at a slot machine for two days and nothing came out, you get up and you’d walk away. It’s just not producing anything, reinforces for you. You’re gonna leave, but if you think it may come, it may not come, you’ll still play around with it, right? And hopefully, something will come out and you think there’s a chance ’cause there is a chance because you’ve seen repeatedly.
So if the punishment may come or may not come, they’ll mess around with that schedule. That’s human nature. I mean, yeah. It’s the same thing with work. If you went to work and your boss paid you if you showed up or not, you know, you’d probably show up a lot less. I would show up a little late. I mean we all would. I mean, how stressful would you be to show up to work late if there was never a single consequence. Right?
I know I have trouble as a parent with the follow-through. And a lot of it is because what is easier in the moment is to not do the follow-through. Right? But then you realize in the moment when you are like, so everything is going to hell basically. You’re like, it’s going to hell because I haven’t followed through so many times in the past and there’s this cumulative effect of the parent. Like you have to parent for the future almost.
Right, you have to parent, and then I go back to that fair judge and, you know, actually one of my best friends is a Supreme Court judge here in Nassau County. And I see and hear about the details that she has to go through with every case, the hours that she spends evaluating both sides of the situation following up, you know, and I realized this is the hardest way to parent is very time-consuming. But then later she’s now got kids in their twenties and one’s a lawyer and one works in this great company for marketing. And she did her work when they were younger, you know, and now it’s super easy. And those parents that didn’t do that work and they got kids in their twenties, it’s really tough because you’ve losing your leverage. You know, some of them may be supporting themselves somewhatish or finding other people to support them or something. So unfortunately you’ve lost your leverage and it’s very hard to change behavior as an adult. It’s very easy to change behavior as a three-year-old. So I always tell people you giggle and laugh when your three-year-old is throwing a fit? Just picture them being 19 and doing that. It’s not so funny. Right? You’re gonna quickly realize, let me shape this behavior now. Not at 19. Don’t fall into that shop because they’re cute and little and you think it’s funny, you know? You gotta really take it seriously when they’re little.
Well, it also gets to a point, you know, when they’re three and they won’t leave the playground, you can pick them up and make them leave the playground. But when they’re 19 and they don’t wanna leave something, that’s not gonna happen, so you lose that. So you need to have trained so much better. So we talked about the consequences like turning off someone’s phone, the consequences for not good behavior, but you being an expert in this, you know there’s also the positive reinforcement part of it. So what kinda positive reinforcement can you do?
Well, I’m glad you brought that up and I should have brought that up earlier because we should always think in our minds that as much as we’re correcting unwanted behavior, at the same time we should be encouraging the behavior that we see that we wanna see more of. So you may say, “Honey, you didn’t put your dishes away, but I love the way you tied your shoes. They look great.”
I mean, find something, make sure you’re reinforcing. Even if there’s nothing to reinforce, find something to reinforce. So they remember, right? So they see that you’re equally correcting them, but also telling them this is the behavior I wanna see more of. This is a behavior I wanna see less of. And often, and I do this too. We all fall into this moment where we feel like good parenting is constantly correcting them. Right? That’s only half of the story. Because if you’re not encouraging every little good thing they’re doing, they’re not gonna understand what the good stuff is. Right? ‘Cause there’s zero reinforcement and they don’t know that you actually liked it. So, “thank you so much, honey, for showing up to dinner on time. Oh my gosh. I love the way you, you know, put your book bag by the door, so it’s ready for the morning,” whatever. Even smallest thing.
I mean obviously the big things too, like thank you so much for giving me a hug. It meant the world to me that you just came up to me and hugged me. Point out those things to them so that they remember, oh, mom liked that, because we assume they know it, but they don’t always know it. You can’t make those assumptions just like you can’t assume they don’t know to do something. You can’t necessarily assume they do know that you like it. So try and do for every 10 corrections do 10 compliments a day.
Wow, yeah. That is a challenge. ‘Cause as a busy mom, you’re like, you know, trying to get out the door in the morning and of course, they have to brush their teeth and I shouldn’t have to tell them because, you know, my kids are old enough to know that. And so I don’t say, “Oh good. This morning we got out the door on time ’cause you did your things,” but the mornings that they don’t, I’m pretty pissed. I’m yelling and it’s awful.
And we always forget to say, “Thanks guys for all remembering to brush your teeth and getting in the car on time. This is amazing. Let’s see if we can do this again tomorrow. I so appreciate it ’cause I have a crazy day today. Thank you so much.”That goes a long way and we forget to do that. I think we forget to do that with our spouses sometimes too. You know, I know. I think in our friends, I think we have to remember to say those things. Maybe I do it more to my friends. I don’t know if I think about, anyway, to remind myself to do it not only to the kids, but to the spouses too or the partners or whoever it is. That’s co-parenting. You have a co-parent, yeah.
Your book is, you know, it says teenagers in the title, but of course, this applies, you start, as you said, you start when they’re young. But do you notice this? I feel like the teenage years are starting earlier and earlier.
I think that depends on the child. So in my family, I had some that were very late bloomers and some that were early bloomers. So I would say it depends on the child and at the same token, the reinforces. So the same way that every child’s different, you have to unfortunately parent every child differently, so some kids are gonna require more reinforcement. Some are gonna acquire less. I don’t know about, well, I would imagine because of social media and television that there is this on one side that they’re growing up faster. On the other side, we’re taking away a lot more responsibility. Laura Ingalls, for instance, at 12 was probably far more mature than the average 12 year old today. So the average 12 year old girl, let’s say, has got lipstick on and maybe like looking a little older and pretending, but she’s in fact not older, right? She’s not acting older than her age. She’s actually acting much younger than Laura Ingalls. She wouldn’t be able to walk two miles to a well and bring back water and sort it all out before her school day started. Right? So they may pretend that they’re becoming more adult quicker. They look like it and they’re taking the responsibilities they think are owed to them, but they haven’t earned those responsibilities. So in fact not really gonna be able to perform like an older person.
They think they are. That’s my opinion on that.
That is great. Wow. Yeah, that’s so true. I guess what I was I’m saying is I’m seeing this emulation of teenager behavior in, you know, 10 year olds and 11 year olds. And I’m noticing the kids that I know imitating the teenagers that they see on some TV shows or something that the whole attitude of sort of, you know, everything sucks and entitlement. And so they’re starting to do that so much younger, but yeah, that doesn’t mean they’re mature. That just means they’re imitating this bad behavior.
Well, you could just say, “Sweetheart, if you think that, you know, you’re such a grownup, I get it and you know you definitely need to get your teeth cleaned, why don’t you call the dentist to make an appointment? And then we can download an Uber app and you can take an Uber to your dentist as well. Because if you’re such an adult at 10, you should be able to do that” and then see how far they get on that task. Right?
And pay for the dentist too.
Well, I mean, even forget that, just make the appointment. Forget the Uber, even. Let’s see if you call and make an appointment with the dentist. I mean, because if you think you’re 10 at all grown up like you should be able to do that. Right? So go for it. Let’s see how far you get. So acknowledge, great, you want to be an adult? Terrific. But here are some tasks. I need you to also make dinner tonight if that’s okay. ‘Cause you’re an adult, so that’s cool. So you should be able to do that. Right? Who knows? Maybe they’ll be able to do it and if they do, good for them.
People are shocked. My son’s been making dinner since he was about nine, every once in a while, like he’ll make the dinner. And you know, when he was much younger, I would stand nearby and be working and watching and making sure he doesn’t, you know, blow up the kitchen or something. But actually I feel like if you give them tasks when they’re younger and they’re eager to do the tasks, because they haven’t gotten into that entitled teenager stage yet, they wanna be grown up and do the task, then they learn the task so that they already know it by the time.
I’m not sure if some should be an option when they’re young. I think some tasks should be just overruled. I mean I think there’s also a way to say these are rules and these are options. So I often use the expression with my kids. I was like, “Oh honey, I wasn’t asking honey, it’s not optional. Sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear. I’m telling you to do this. I’m not asking.”
And other times I’m like, “Well, this one I’m asking for, maybe you wanna do it. “There are things I’m asking, like, I don’t really don’t like that outfit. Could you change? I’m asking. It’s optional. Because frankly if you like to wear the pink and purple together, go ahead. I don’t care, but I’d prefer you change, but that’s an option and then other times I say, yeah, you know, cleaning up your room is not an option. And it’s very good to be clear, like a fair judge, be clear, what’s an option, what’s not? Cooking, I don’t know. Maybe, you know, if you really want that child, you look at these Chinese kids that are playing piano like Beethoven at the age of six, I mean the ability we have and we always say that we only use like 10% of our minds. Right? But like by not making them do certain things that they can do when they’re younger, we’re not expanding their minds. We’re not giving them showing the opportunity of what they can do.
And I think that extends to all of us even as grownups. I mean I remember opening up my business as a 50 year old woman and I was like, oh, I don’t know if I can do this. This is something other people do. And I kind of just jumped in and figured it out and had hiccups, you know? And you can tell your kids that too, look, I’m an adult and I’m nervous too. Right? And I’m not sure I can do this, but I’m gonna take on this task. It’s probably about 25% more than I think I can handle, but I’m gonna go for it and quickly learn that 25% along the way that I don’t think I know. Right?
And we make mistakes and we fail and they should know that too.
And it’s okay for your kids to see you’re vulnerable and you’re nervous too and I come home, I said, “Oh my God, I had a great day.” My kids are reinforcing me. They’re like, “Mom, good job.” You know? So you kind of want them to kinda reinforce you back. Right? But if they think that you’ve never shown your vulnerable side to them, if you didn’t say I was scared to do this too, I was nervous to fail. So I was in grad school the last five years that my kids were finishing high school or one’s still in high school. But so we sat around a table and did a lot of homework together. So we used to compare notes and homework and exams. The test, that was a little stressful. My kids were like, yeah. So, you know, we got A’s. “What’d you get, Mom?” And I’m like, “Oh, you know, I got a B plus, but okay. So next time, I’ll go harder” but that vulnerability, that vulnerability to show your kids that you’re trying to do the best you can as well. As long as you are firm with you’re still the boss because you’re paying for everything and you’re just raising them. And you just have the years of experience behind you, but that vulnerability is good to show them, I think. In my case it worked.
Definitely. That is a great place to end. You are the boss, do not forget that you are the boss and it’s for their own good and that’s, I’m gonna, this is the book. Here we go, Don’t Be A Pusi, A Politically Incorrect Book for Entitled Teens and Their Traumatized Parents. Somebody who shares this video is going to get a signed copy from Elizabeth, and Elizabeth, do you have a website or some social media accounts people might wanna look at and follow?
Well, I have my gallery, @22bayville, which is my studio for adults with autism and we practice behavior analysis, which is very much about what we talked about with adults with autism there. So please come and check us out and if you ever feel like you’re having a bad day, look at what these amazing students are doing with their disabilities and keeping in mind and still what they’re able to accomplish. And if you ever feel like, you know, ah, I can’t do it, it’s too much, just look what these guys are doing and then say to yourself, no, I can do this too. So suck it up and don’t be a pussy.
Suck it up. Don’t be a pussy. Thank you so much for talking with us. This was really fun. Okay, you guys, share the video and all good stuff, and we’ll see you next week.
Listen to this episode as a podcast!
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