e003 – Threenagers Vs. Teenagers – with Sarah Rosensweet and Laura Williams
We are going to dive into two specific age groups today, that typically earn a bad rep. Teenagers vs. threenagers. We will chat similarities and differences and everything in-between in hopes to empower mamas who are maybe struggling with the drama of it all.
Our two amazing Mama guests today are in the thick of it with each of these age groups. Sarah Rosensweet is a certified Peaceful Parenting Coach. She lives on Toronto Island with her husband and three “big” kids. Sarah helps parents become the parents they want to be, with a non-punitive, connection-based approach that that feels good and works too.
We also have Laura Williams, a Calgary based Mama of four children who is passionate about healthy living and raising independent children. Laura knows threenagers well, as three of her four children are three-year-old natural-born triplets.
We start by getting into the nitty-gritty of brain development, Sarah gives it to us layman terms. The reason why threenagers and teenagers are so similar is that both age groups are in a really similar place both psychologically & emotionally. They are both moving out within the world and their family, testing their independent wings. Brain development wise, there is a renovation that happens with the amygdala and the limbic system at both ages. This is the more emotional side of the brain where all of the “big feelings” happen. It takes a few years for the prefrontal cortex (the reasoning side of the brain) to catch up. So you get high emotions with both age groups and a lot of very unreasonable reactions.
Laura agrees, we as Mamas need to remind ourselves that it’s all relative, their anger is the way they are feeling their anger, whether it is over juice cup colors or jeans that are in the laundry. They are defining who they are, impulsiveness and irrationality is something they both share. We need to remember that the drama is real for them.
They both give us some us some techniques on how to deal with these age groups. Sarah remarks that with teenagers, the only thing you to have to influence them with is your relationship. In terms of discipline, you can’t physically stop them anymore. You’re really relying on your connection with them and your relationship with them. “Having teenagers is like closing your eyes and stepping off the edge of a cliff and hoping that it’s not too high...you really just have to take this leap into the dark and hope that everything you’ve done in the first twelve or thirteen years has put them in a position that they’ll make good choices” Sarah claims.
“Having teenagers is like closing your eyes and stepping off the edge of a cliff and hoping that it’s not too high...you really just have to take this leap into the dark and hope that everything you’ve done in the first twelve or thirteen years has put them in a position that they’ll make good choices”
~ Sarah Rosensweet
Laura agrees that building the relationship through the threenagers years is so key. Respect your teenagers or threenagers. Start honesty from the get-go. In terms of discipline and consequences both our Mamas claim that you need to look at the repair within the child themselves. How can you as a parent help empower them to maneuver solutions and not fix it for them?
Sarah encourages our Mamas, that everyone is doing the best they can, both as parents and kids. Generally, our kiddos really want to be good, if they’re not being good, then there’s a reason for it. It may be that they are tired, hungry, feeling disconnected or they're going through a leap in brain development but they are not just trying to be difficult. She affirms, that if we can remember that as parents, we can come from a more patient place.
Both guests agree you need to focus on self-regulation & self-care when dealing with threenagers and teenagers. Sarah urges that when our patience is tested, to try to take a beat and figure out how to not act on that frustrated feeling and instead focus on how to manage your own feelings so you don’t take them out on your kid. Take a minute to calm yourself, a “time-in” for both Mamas and kiddos. Sarah asks us to remember that: “Kids are like little mirrors to show us all of our faults, and all of our issues we haven’t worked on, and they really push our buttons”. This is an opportunity as parents to see what we need to work on about ourselves. She believes this is an opportunity for parents: “you get given the child you need to work on whatever you need to work on in your life.”
Laura underlines Sarah’s point. She wants to raise kids who know that emotions are ok. Kids who know that it’s okay to be angry, but not okay to be overreacting or screaming at others. She is always striving for a better way to communicate, even with her three-year-olds. And she is conscious of the fact that her kids will mirror her behavior, so she always takes the time to regroup if she is feeling overwhelmed.
These Mama’s close it up by giving our community some heartfelt tips on how they get through the days. Sarah’s mantra throughout the years has been: “This is It”, which is really a reminder not to look too much in the future. To really try to enjoy one thing every day about whatever crazy life stage you are in with your kids, even if it’s a really small thing.
Laura echoes Sarah’s sentiments: “Your babies are only three once. You don’t get to go back here. So try and laugh with them and live in the moment with them. Just appreciate who they are and appreciate the chaos that they bring to your life. Remember that this is not gonna be where they are going to be forever, and that stage that you keep looking for is going to come so much sooner than you expect.” Having a mindset full of gratitude is key even though it is hard, the nights are long and sometimes there is pee everywhere (for threenagers and teenagers, especially if you have boys!). She urges our listeners to: “Appreciate where you are in your life and just be thankful and have that mindset of you don’t have to do this, you get to do this.”
“Appreciate where you are in your life and just be thankful and have that mindset of you don’t have to do this, you get to do this.”
~ Laura Williams
Resources from our Incredible Mama Guests:
From Sarah Rosensweet:
- FREE e-course: “How to Stop Yelling at your kids”
- FREE ebook: “Stop Sibling Fights”
- Favourite parenting website (besides her own;): Aha! Parenting
- Favourite child psychology website: Hey Sigmund
- Favourite books:
“Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids” by Dr. Laura Markham
“Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn
“Playful Parenting” by Lawrence Cohen
“Hold On To Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld
“It’s Okay Not To Share” by Heather Shumaker
“Raising An Emotionally Healthy Child” by John Gottman
Connect with Sarah…
From Laura Williams:
Favourite activity: YMCA membership
“Welcome to your child’s brain: How the mind grows from Conception to College” by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang
Favourite shake: Vega Protein blended with any fruit (fresh or frozen), any type of non dairy milk, add in greens, hemp seeds, peanut butter & don’t forget the banana
Connect with Laura…
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