Family-focused topics from Jason and Kim. We’ll talk about a parenting hack: staying calm to diffuse reactive kids. Easier said than done! We’ll also touch on the concept of “tending to the part of the garden you can touch” and how it is a good metaphor for how to get through crises in life, whether within your family, friends, community, and extending into problems throughout the world.
Follow Jason on Twitter, Follow Kim on Twitter, Follow Stranger Studios on Twitter
Transcript: Season 2, Episode 10
Welcome back to that talking thing. I’m Kim I’m Jason. This is episode 10, season two, and we’re talking about life topics. The first we need to wind to talk about our life. Uh, the first topic is as a parent, staying calm to diffuse anger and reactive behaviors. So this is something I think I wish I was better at when my daughter was two.
I’m getting better at now that she’s 10. I found my self getting calmer and calmer and calmer. The more angry or reactive a child is when you talk to them about something and using calm words, using sympathetic empathetic language, it’s not always easy, but it’s interesting. I think as a parenting tactic to think about.
Yeah, it’s so hard. And
one thing I noticed too, is sometimes the other parent can see, you know, like if our daughter, for example, is getting defensive about something she shouldn’t like, why do I have to whatever do do this thing that I, or what shower it’s like, you know? And we’re like every day, everyone, everyone in the whole world showers about once a day, You have like 3000 times already.
Now this is like, why is it a surprise that you have to take a bath every day? Um, so she gets really defensive. Like I got to take a bath. And then if say you act defensively to that and you get engaged in this kind of like emotional conflict with the child. Like as an outsider, if I just haven’t walked in, I’m like, I can see what’s going on and tell like, oh, you let it get to you.
Or like you’re taking it personally. And you shouldn’t, but it’s so easy as an outsider, or like when you see like another parent, like my brother with his kids and you’re like, well, obviously he should X, Y, Z. And no, but the one I always say like in the shit, almost like when you’re in the shit with your kids.
Cause that’s what it is, is like, you’re just like busy doing things. Yeah. So how do you cultivate that? You know, I don’t know the attitude and the persona, like the, you know, the ability to. Wait and be calm and take it sometimes for me, it’s like a sense of humor about it. It helps. It’s like, oh, like, it’s funny, like on some of it’s funny that she’s so like, it’s like, this is crazy from the outside.
Looking in that is horrible to me to observe because I feel that you’re minimizing their, how frustrated they are, how sad they are with laughter. Then I think they have something that they are justified in being upset about it’s being laughed at her being upset. Yeah. So if you let that laughter get out, then it’s just a different problem of you’re laughing at them.
And then they’re mad about that. And you’re like egging them on. We re we were just on vacation. And so it was kind of really, it was a little easier. I mean, it was skipping ahead to future topics, but maybe one reason was that we were really self-conscious of like, no. You know, agitating the kids and it’s like, why is it?
Like you have to walk on eggshells around your kids or whatever. They’re like, I don’t know. You kind of do. It’s like respectful. Like they can’t handle it. They’re, you know, they’re like, you don’t have to stop playing video games. Is eternity that’s forever. Um, we kind of recognize this with some of our customers not to make this business topic oriented, but, um, when, when people are deeply frustrated with something that isn’t functioning the way they wanted it to, and we’re like, okay, it’s a simple thing.
We can help you fix it to them. It’s the cornerstone of their business. The only reason they can point to for why they’re not financially successful yet. And. So emotionally involved in it more than we are. And I think the same for the kids when they get reaction and get upset about something. There’s another layer of feeling below what you’re aware of, you know, something that happened to them one hour ago, something that they’re expecting to happen to them three hours from now is involved and tied up in why they’re angry or why they’re reacting.
I think, I guess that helps too. If you realize, I feel like I say that a lot sometimes with the kids, when they’re upset about something that’s silly. And I tell myself, remember I tell you sometimes I’m like, oh, like, like they they’re really upset though. Like I know it is silly, but to them it’s really upsetting.
And so like, if you get on their level and like, yeah, that’s sad, you lost a saved game and your video game, they’re like, you could personally care less about, you know, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that bad. Maybe you can relate a little bit about like losing something. I don’t know. But even so. You know, it’s not a big deal.
It was like an hour of their time and all that, you know, they have tons of time and you’re like, um, even at the, it feels bad, but there’s other stuff that they don’t really, you know, it’s just like, you know, to them it’s really. And so if you meet them on their level and you don’t like the lesson now is, that’s what I think too is in the moment they needed to be consoled, they don’t need the lesson.
I think having like the weekly meeting, we do there’s times where like, I’ll file in the back of my mind where I’m like, Oh man. Yeah, that’s really stinks. I’m sorry. You lost your save game. And in back of my mind, I’m like, oh, maybe we could talk about this at meeting, like how important are safe games or whatever.
Um, and sometimes that house meditation has helped me, like, it feels like life moves in slow motion, and then there’s like, I’m a little bit detached from Jason. And so I’m like, oh, that’s funny, Jason’s angry. And then like, he shouldn’t be angry now. Yeah. Like it really is. So it’s a super power for meditation.
I noticed something Marin does is when somebody explains that they’re having a feeling. So they’re feeling tired, they’re feeling sore, they’re feeling hungry. She has to say how she also has that feeling or she has it more powerfully. Um, I’ve, I’ve started doing. To her. So she’ll say, oh, I’m so tired.
She’ll like, wake up, say I’m so tired. And then I’ll say, oh, I’m so tired too. I’ve been awake for three hours. And that bothers her. So you’re not, I don’t think it does in her tiredness. It’s something she does to other people. So now I’m doing it for also for her to like recognize, oh yeah. Her feeling isn’t unique.
She’s doing it to others. She’s it’s, it’s how she reacts to other people. She’s taking it fine, but it’s been interesting too. That’s sometimes worse. So when you’re like, I’ll show them, like, I think I’m doing it, like in an empathetic I’m using medic calm words. I’m not saying, well, you shouldn’t be tired.
I should be tired. Yeah. It’s funny. Like the subtlety of exactly how to do things really matters. So we, okay. So maybe we can analyze this situation. Do you remember? You got. Bill for roadblocks. Yes. Excuse me. So you got an email that there was $20 spent on roadblocks and you’re like, I thought it was only $10.
Okay. Um, and then you sent it to me and you’re like, did Marin buy roadblocks yesterday? And I was like, no, but she did like three days ago and it should have been this much, this much. So I thought the most obvious thing was that she bought Robox on roadblocks without permission. Yes. Maybe this is bad on us.
I didn’t want to have to like always have my credit card when I’m buying stuff for the kids. And I think it’s a learning opportunity. It’s like, Hey, I trust you that you can click a button and buy something, but you have to talk to us first and give us the money and figure it out. Yep. So I was like, oh, does she like secretly buy something?
And at breakfast then I was like, Marin, like mom noticed that there was a robot under the bus. Maybe I didn’t bring it up to him. I think I did though. I, but I said like, did you buy the robot? And I don’t think I was, I was, I wasn’t angry about it. I was like, did you go let’s talk? Cause then she was like, oh, like, why would you take, I did that.
I did, of course I did it. And like, she was like really upset. I was like, I’m just trying to talk. We got to figure it out. Cause definitely someone bought Robux with our credit card yesterday, you know, like it really happened. Um, and she’s like, it must be a mistake. And I’m thinking in my mind, I’m like, I don’t think it was a mistake.
Maybe it was maybe it wasn’t, but trying to talk her through it and. I think not accusing her, but talking to anyway, we figured out that there’s like a delay of three days when the charge comes up. So it really was the purchase. She did three days ago. And that just happened to show up the day before. So it looked like it happened the day before.
And I spent like a half hour in the morning. I said, Hey, it’s okay. We’ll talk about that. Cause she was really upset and like crying and like hurt that we thought she had like betrayed our trust and it turns out like she didn’t, that it just was. There was a delay in like how to charge mine. And when I went to the Robux and accounted for, it was like, oh, she only ever bought at the time.
She said, and she always gave us money for it. So I felt bad, but we had a really good talk then where I like apologized. And she said, you know, it just like, it hurts my feelings that you, when you don’t believe me, And I think there’s been other times where like, yeah, I don’t believe you got like, I’m pretty smart.
Like, I guess this time though, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, the conversation. I don’t know there was, but it was, I don’t know, it has this like really intimate moment where she was kind of like, but it is remember, like when we, we wrote those, some meeting we wrote like, this is one thing that bothers me.
One thing I like, and the one I don’t remember, I should know what was there? One thing that bothers her. Oh, is when people pointed. Float stuff that’s wrong with her, like criticized or something and it was kind of related. So it’s kind of, she’s super sensitive to being told she’s lying or doing, doing something wrong when she feels like she did something wrong, she like exits a situation and she that’s a challenge we’re going to have to choose.
You’re like, sometimes you can’t exit, like you have to address it. And like, with me, like she kinda talked to me and we would have figured it out. Not, we’re not like unreasonably. But she, but she, but she kind of, I guess it was important. Like she realized like, well, I get really upset when people accuse me of something and at least she recognized a recognition for her as the first step to like, figuring out like, what do you do about it?
That you’re Marin, you know, it gets upset when people accuse you of something. Yeah. For me, when she reacts like that, the stay calm when somebody’s angry and reactive, I say, You seem really upset. I was asking you a question. I don’t feel upset. Yeah. Can we talk about this? Yeah. So not engaging in it, not escalating it.
I find it’s probably a mindset shift for me and I’ve just recognizing it and proactively staying calm. We’re so used to like meeting people on level arguments and fights. Are we fighting now? Like, I mean, you’re like, well, you’re loud, I’m loud. And like, you know, such a natural, we’re kind of powerful people who don’t let people, you know, pick on us or bullshit us.
And so we react to our kids that way. I don’t know. Yeah. Sometimes the black parents listening. Try it, try the opposite reaction then your heart and your mind are inclined to do, I guess like a key point is you’re not, I don’t think you’re like letting them walk over you and yell at you. There’s like a you’re modeling, calm conversations.
That’s one of the things. Kids don’t learn what you tell them. They learn what you show them like they’ve learned by your example. So your example is being calm. They’re going to learn, oh, this is how mom deals with this is in a calm way. And in the back of your head, you have to say at family meeting or whatever, your version of.
I really have to have a conversation with her about like, why she’s freaking out on me. Cause I’m just asking her questions. Um, but if you do that in a moment, it just escalates and gets bad. And then the kids kind of learn like, oh, this is what we do is like, we yell at each other, you know? So it’s really tough because it’s tough.
It’s tough. All right. Next topic. Go yell at your husband later. Next topic. Next topic. Um, next topic. Talking with my mother about the situation and crane, the war in Ukraine, and you know, like other global huge challenges that are just sad set. Also like, you know, I was re, this also happens with like COVID and it’s like, what am I going to do?
Or like politics. And you’re like, the people I don’t like are kind of in charge of things and making decisions. I went. Um, not anymore right now, some of the places there’s still some, we’ve got the United States federal government, but, um, there’s, there’s stuff that’s out of your control and Ukraine. We were talking, you know, just about like the horror of what’s going on over there and feeling powerless.
And it was funny, like in the moment I reminded my, I was reminded of this and I told my mom about, I was like, um, This quote by Jack Kornfield who’s, um, an American, I think maybe especially, I think it’s American though. Went to India, um, learned Buddhism and then came back and wrote a bunch of books about Buddhism.
So he’s like a guru Buddhist guru. Um, he says tend to the part of the garden you can touch. And that’s like a rephrasing of like Buddhist ideas. And you say, say like the world is blowing up Twitter. I’m doing. I’m so upset. I feel powerless. Like I can’t do anything. And his advice is like, tend to the part of the garden that you can touch, you know, which I think some people read as when they hear that is like, oh, ignore the problems.
And instead like, literally go into the garden, you have a good day gardening today. And the weather like go into the garden and like do your thing, you know? Um, but in reality, I, I, cause I was trying to get the direct quote after I told my mom about it. And I saw like, when he, like, when in his blog or something, he shared.
He was in the video. He didn’t say like, ignore the world problems. He said, you can help with the world problems, but you can’t like change what’s happening. You know, folks in Ukraine, I reached out to them and they said like, oh, like, what we really needed is to have jets shootout and Russian jets and keep our skies.
And I was like, I can’t do that. Yeah. I have no influence whatsoever, but what can I do is like, what can I touch? But, yeah. So in reality, you can address these huge world problems. If you just like, instead of thinking about what the news is telling you to say, like, oh, okay. How can I, what am I personally in contact with?
What influence do I actually have? Who, what people do I actually have contact to? What can I do? And so, yeah, so I reminded my mom and then after I was, you know, it made her feel there. She was like, just that made me feel better. Like I just like thinking about it, you know? And she. You know, donating and finding things to do.
And like, it, it feels good to, you know, do you’re like I’m doing what I can. Um, and it’s funny, like the whole world is a bunch of people, just individuals helping. So anyway, I don’t know, like we did something too in our business, so I was kind of thinking on that, meditating on that. And I was like, oh, like, what can I, I like, what do we have access to with respect to this?
I mean, I thought like, oh, we have customer. Where’s your cranium. And we can kind of find them by saying, like, who checked out with a billing address in Ukraine who has a Ukrainian email address or Ukrainian web domain. And let’s just email them and be like, Hey, this is weird out of the blue. You know, like we’re really upset about what’s going on the like, well, how can I help you personally?
You know, and it’s, as a business, it’s kind of like, I can give you free services. Sure. Like your website’s probably not the most important thing going on right now in your life. Um, you know, but how, how it’s going, I help you. Um, and it’s funny, like I thought that the websites, that I’m part, but the website is, it turns out the people we’ve interacted with so far.
It wasn’t, but it might be really important. Maybe like they’re raising money through their website. Like we have a tool that helps people raise. Um, on the flip side of that, we didn’t single out anyone that was a Russian website or a Russian email. Um, and I think companies have done that. Companies have like, McDonald’s pulled like closed their stores in Russia.
Yeah. And stuff like that. And I think for us, it wouldn’t have made sense to. Pull those weeds in the garden to S because it’s an assumption that there’s alignment that every Russian M uh, customer we may have is aligned with their country’s decision-making, um, and they’re at where they are in their country.
They aren’t necessarily physically being affected by what’s happening in the west. Citizens of Ukraine, regardless of agreement or disagreement with politics are being affected in their life, their exact place. So our motivation was to help, not isolate or harm or target anyone. Um, and it was good. It feels good.
And some people said like, oh, you know, I need money for this. And we’re like, let’s figure out how to get you money. And some people, you know, we set a budget and things. You know, some people said like I’m at the shelter, then he blankets. And I’m like, I don’t know how to get you blankets. But I, like, I remember when we helped our family through hurricane Maria, it was like, I kind of realized that I was like, wow, like you watch on the news.
You know, like people are sending convoys and doing all this stuff. And you’re like, there’s a lot of people just doing, helping a few people, you know, if everyone just helped a few people, like it goes a long way and we all help each other. So I was like, I don’t know how to get blankets to your place, but like, Are you able to share the address?
Cause I hear, you know, there’s someone else I knew who was, you know, driving to the border through Poland and it’s like, maybe I can get that money so that they can, you know, get, and it feels so silly and like, but it’s like, what can we do? Like, that’s the thing we can actually do. Yeah. But I guess it’s the point.
Yeah. We’re not being punitive towards, you know, our Russian customers and don’t feel like we have to, right now it seems at some point it might become law. I don’t think it’s trickled down to like our types of businesses are supposed to shut things. Um, and then it would be a matter of law, but thinking back to black lives matter and how could we have applied a similar tend to the part of the garden you can touch.
So for us, what did that translate to that translated to informing our kids about what was happening? So not, we don’t generally withhold any situation in the world from her. And try to hide them from no, but we got to go out of our way to like talk about it. And we don’t have the news on, in the background along with things.
So I think we realized, like we have to start talking about things now that are 10 and 13, otherwise they figured out on their own, they couldn’t. Hearing about things at school with ideas. And we’re like, oh, if we don’t version, if we don’t indoctrinate them, someone else is going to suddenly like, at least give them our values.
Um, but also like talking in an open way and encourage them to like, be thoughtful and think, but yeah, why wouldn’t a lot of black lives matter stuff was going on. I thought about that a little bit back then. And I thought, oh, like, what did we do? And we’re like, we’re an employer. How can we, you know, Employ people of color, like, or that’s just like a version of, you know, um, discrimination, it’s structural racism that’s built in.
And so I engaged in working on this kind of stuff of like, trying to figure out how, how do we value diversity in our business and make, you know, we thought about that as, as we’ve been hiring. And, um, we know like when I actually got hired now, but we gotta do that and say, now I’m telling you that. You know, one thing that I’ve heard, I went out there and researched.
I was like, Hey, what do you do if you want to hire? And you can’t just make a quota or say, you want to, cause you’re not going to reach these people. That’s kind of by definition what it, what it is is like, you’re not in these communities, you’re not reaching these people. So you have to go out of your way and be like, oh, well, where are, you know, why are people of color looking for jobs and applying for jobs?
Yeah. Network is a great referral source. Two yeah. Align with yeah. Um, tend to the part of the garden you can touch. Yeah. I don’t want to say yeah. How does that help? Okay. Yeah. Thanks reminder. Cool. Thanks. Okay. Next time. See ya.