Podcast Episode 280: Why is This So Hard? Parenting Tips for Strong-Willed, Neurodivergent Kids Transcripts

Please note: Transcripts for the No Guilt Mom Podcast were created using AI. As a result, there may be some minor errors.

Danielle Bettmann: you have to make it so that it’s not just. You being the bad guy, you bossing everybody around. It’s just your way or the highway. And like, you’re such a mean mom because it’s not, it’s actually just problems that you’re trying to help your kids solve that are required from school and all these other things.

JoAnn Crohn: Welcome to the No Guilt Mom podcast. I am your host, JoAnn Crohn joined here by the lovely Brie Tucker.

Brie Tucker: Why, hello, hello, everybody. How are you? Yes.

JoAnn Crohn: Today, like if you have a kiddo who just. Like rallies against you and is so strong willed and doesn’t seem to listen. This is an episode you are definitely want to stay tuned into because we’re talking with Danielle Bettmann all about these deeply feeling kids or strong willed kiddos, no matter how you want to label it, it’s those kiddos with the intense emotions and, They’re wonderful.

And we have some great tips on how to deal with it, including hostage negotiation tips. So, yes, so Danielle Bettmann is the founder of Parenting Wholeheartedly Positive Discipline Certified Parenting Coach for families of strong willed kids and host of the Failing Motherhood Podcast. She helps defeated parents find validation. Support and proven techniques to parent their strong willed kids with composure, connection, confidence, and cooperation. And let’s get on with the show. 

So you say Omaha, Nebraska, how long have you lived in Omaha, Danielle?

Danielle Bettmann: I went to college in Lincoln, which was 2009, and so I’ve lived in Nebraska since then. I moved to Omaha, uh, when I graduated. so, well, I got moved to Lincoln when I was in 2005, and then Omaha in 2009, and then been here since. So, most of my adult

JoAnn Crohn: to, yeah, I went to Omaha once, like it was actually my first plane trip was to Omaha when I was 14 years old because we, uh, Yeah, well, we were, I was on an odyssey of the mind team and our world finals were at Iowa state university at Ames, Iowa, and Omaha was the airport we flew into. And then we drove to Ames, and that was like my first experience.

And I thought the Midwest was so pretty. It was so different. We’re in Arizona and, uh, we have so many mountains around us, especially where I was in Tucson. And so seeing the Midwest and no mountains, I was like, what is this? Like, this is crazy.

Brie Tucker: I think

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah.

Brie Tucker: thing people don’t expect is how

Danielle Bettmann: I went to Arizona for the first time in March to go visit a friend in Tucson, actually.

JoAnn Crohn: Oh yeah.

Danielle Bettmann: was most bizarre was driving on like the city streets and being able to see for like miles. Because it was like so flat. And in the Midwest, there is a hill. You can’t turn left without there being a hill that you’re like, Well, hopefully I don’t die. It’s crazy.

JoAnn Crohn: Um, hopefully I don’t, really, I don’t know this about the Midwest. I was just like, it’s flat

Brie Tucker: yeah, okay, Kansas is

JoAnn Crohn: actually reminds me. Yeah.

Brie Tucker: flat But yeah, yeah, not Missouri and like it’s pretty Pretty

Danielle Bettmann: By the way, it just gets hilly. Yeah.

JoAnn Crohn: Oh, that’s, that’s interesting. So Danielle, how many kids do you have? Remind me.

Danielle Bettmann: I have two girls. They are 15 months apart. So right now, they are 11 and 9.

JoAnn Crohn: 11 and nine. You have like the Brie age difference too. She has two kids who are very, very close in age as well.

Brie Tucker: Yeah, we thought I had the flu. We thought I

JoAnn Crohn: cried. Oh.

Brie Tucker: Turned out I didn’t! It wasn’t the

Danielle Bettmann: cried. I cried. But, you know, it all worked out. Yep.

Brie Tucker: Yeah, I would say, right? Like, you’re the first person I’ve had say that too. Like, I cried a lot. I was not ready to, first of all, give up, like, that time with my first. Like, to have him not, like, I was not ready to give up that one on one time we had,

Danielle Bettmann: I lost, I knew I’d lost my milk supply. It was gonna be a whole thing. Yeah. It was hard. Mm hmm.

JoAnn Crohn: I could identify with that. Not wanting to lose your time with your first. Cause even like when my, my daughter was four before I became pregnant with my son, and even at four years old, I’m like, it’s so perfect now. And I love this and I love being a mom right now. Why?

Danielle Bettmann: Yeah.

JoAnn Crohn: Even though he was planned, like, it’s just like, yeah, you get that little.

Being like you’re, you actually get into a groove of knowing what you’re doing and then enter another

Danielle Bettmann: I did not know what I was doing yet. It was like five and a half months in. Yeah, yeah,

Brie Tucker: I was like, they just started to get my body back, goodbye pants without, the like, little,

Danielle Bettmann: throw it all to the wind.

Brie Tucker: yeah, the little like, panel in the front, like, goodbye, it was, I looked so nice in that picture. Oh yeah, wait, I had been throwing up all morning because I thought I had the flu.


JoAnn Crohn: that is hard. That’s hard So Danielle now you work with parents who have strong willed kids So usually like I know in my own life the reason I do what I do is because of like a past experience So like what led you to this in your life to really focusing on these kiddos?

Danielle Bettmann: Yes. Okay. So, my background is teaching. I have a degree that is combining a special ed, early childhood, and elementary. So professionally speaking, before I became a parent, I was in classrooms. I moved from Head Start to Early Head Start, and then I moved into a home visiting program through Save the Children, and that’s where I really realized what happens in a classroom is great, but what happens at home?

Is where like the real work is and way more impact on the child Not only for that one school year But their siblings and their whole childhood and their parents are doing the hardest job in the world With a lot of good intentions and no training to speak of whatsoever And I loved working with the parents that I did they like may be part of the family We were doing developmental screenings.

We were reading books together, and it was great So that’s when I really embarked on like, okay You If I want to improve the lives of kids, I’m going to do it through their parents. That’s the way that it’s got to happen. And so I already was doing that before I was a parent myself. And when I became a parent, I wanted to like go back and apologize to every family I ever worked with because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

JoAnn Crohn: Uh huh.

Danielle Bettmann: know.

JoAnn Crohn: Brie was a home visitor as well. I’m a former elementary school teacher. , the advice I give parents when I had a two year old at home and had no experience about how to get kids to do homework was. I want to go back and apologize as well to that during that time. Yeah, yeah, it’s just you don’t know what you don’t know. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann: I mean, textbooks are one thing, right? But like, classroom management does not translate to your own kid.

JoAnn Crohn: it does

Danielle Bettmann: It does not. Especially,

JoAnn Crohn: translate to your classroom. Let’s be honest.

Danielle Bettmann: Right. I mean, like, the one class you got out of the four years, you’re like, I need more than that. Yeah. So, I had my two daughters back to back, like we have already said, and my second daughter, I could not believe how different her temperament was.

From my first and I mean they were essentially Irish twins. They we were doing all the same things I treated them what I felt like in the very same ways and what I got as a reaction from each one of them was Wildly different. I mean she had the biggest emotions high highs and low lows and you could not change her mind with logic and reasoning There was just no in between and so I very quickly started figuring out You What works for her?

I got to go like back to the drawing board on my second. And at that same time, I was trying to help my husband not only get up to speed on like everything I knew about. Child development and brain development and like, you know, healthy communication, but also what I was learning in real time with figuring her out.

And then I started talking to other friends who had, it’s essentially an Annie like I did. And we had so many similarities that I’m like, okay, does yours, like when they get really upset, get really oddly clingy, even though they’re telling you to go away and they’re like hanging onto your leg. Yeah.

Does yours like do this thing where they regress? When they’re upset and then like they’re so expressive and smart, but they have no words and they like sound like an animal and they’re like, yes, mine does this grunting sound. And I’m like, how are we having all these similarities? What is this? And so that’s the kind of the rabbit hole I essentially went down is finding words for what I was experiencing.

And also starting to help other families with. So I started my business five years ago now. And it was like very a la carte, let me come to your house and let’s just figure this out together. And there was no structure. And I really started to just notice. Patterns similar struggles, you know, creating resources when there wasn’t any and I didn’t have the parenting experts on instagram.

It wasn’t on instagram. I didn’t have the words for like deeply feeling kids or highly sensitive or any of those things yet. It was just very much

JoAnn Crohn: Dr. Becky right now.

Danielle Bettmann: Right. So we have, thankfully we have Dr. Becky, but before then, five years ago, before the pandemic and nobody was on zoom, nobody was doing this. I didn’t know what I would know, but I was just sharing what I was figuring out.

And so that is kind of where my business angle ended up being is helping families with the kiddos that have these really intense passionate. We love their dedication. We love that they know who they are and they know what they want. And you just cannot get away with very simple, traditional punishment reward, counting to three, you know, looking at them wrong type stuff.

It’s not going to work for them. You really have to level up your parenting. And so that’s why I do what I do now. But I also started my podcast, which we can talk about too.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, it’s so interesting though with like what you term the traditional parenting techniques because seeing now my daughter is a teenager, and looking back at those traditional parenting techniques and also looking at them at me. So, like, my parents had a similar situation. , I was the oldest child.

I was termed the good child, quote, unquote. I listened, I like did what they told me to do, but at the same time, I had this large amount of shame in me, like. I’m reading a book right now called never enough by Jennifer Brainy Wallace. And she says like, when you criticize a child, they might not lash out back at you, but they will lash out back at themselves.

And I feel like going down a little rabbit hole, the traditional parenting methods that count to three, like be aware of a consequence and punishment are actually like Not working on kids. They’re actually causing those kids to lash in on themselves

Danielle Bettmann: Mm

JoAnn Crohn: they’re not lashing out at you. And I think it’s a huge warning sign there, but like, yeah,

Danielle Bettmann: and your definition of what

JoAnn Crohn: working quote unquote working. Yes, it’s totally a whole thing. So like what, what do you see these strong willed kids? What are they trying to tell us?

Danielle Bettmann: Oh, yeah. So, there, it’s a huge misconception. I mean, it is still very, there’s so much work to be done on, like, the rights of kids and understanding what’s developmentally appropriate and letting kids be kids in society. So let alone, you know, all of that, but we need to kind of come to terms with strong willed kids are even the most misunderstood in my opinion, because they are the ones that have no filter at home and they truly say what they mean to me, what they say without people pleasing, without, you know, really crushing that sense of like, no, I know This is my idea and this is how the way it’s going to go.

And we all are like reeling because it’s like, Oh no, you’re not following the societal norms of like being quiet and like shutting that down. What do we do? And it makes us panic. And so what we then interpret from like the default of kind of some conditioning is that they are, being wrong and bad and naughty and manipulative.

Brie Tucker: Right? Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann: It’s a

JoAnn Crohn: yeah.

Brie Tucker: to act like this. They’re choosing to disrespect you. They’re choosing to not follow the directions that they clearly are capable of. And like you said, like, that is the

Danielle Bettmann: They know better.

JoAnn Crohn: is the normal, yeah, that is the normal interpretation. Mm

Danielle Bettmann: hmm. Mm hmm. So

Brie Tucker: you how many times doing home visitation. Sorry. Like, it reminds me of like parents coming, like me coming to their home and parents having kids that are under two. And they’re like, how do I get him to stop being so, rude? And I’m like, what? And they’re like, like, he’ll walk over the TV and he’ll touch the buttons and I’ll tell him to stop. And he turns and he smiles at me and He does it on purpose.

JoAnn Crohn: touches them all the time, yeah.

Brie Tucker: Oh God. That’s not what’s happening here.

JoAnn Crohn: That’s not what’s happening.

Brie Tucker: is not sitting there going, You can’t tell ME

Danielle Bettmann: Ha ha ha. Yes.

Brie Tucker: He’s 15 months!

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann: Yeah, and and so you parents end up taking that very personally like this is a vendetta that they have against me Or they don’t do this for their dad. They only do this for me and they don’t do this for their teacher You Because it becomes this very like relationship coded behavior where it does look different at school versus at home, or it does look different for mom versus dad.

So we come to these unhelpful conclusions that don’t give them any benefit of the doubt and give them, you know, the skills of a 25 year old’s. villain, let alone a, yeah, a two year old that has all this, you know, unbridled curiosity. And what a strong willed child is actually saying is this is a big deal to me. Genuinely, you’re not listening to me. Not, you know, I’m not listening to you. You’re not listening to me either. Or first of all, they’re saying this emotion is so big. It is scary.

Brie Tucker: That’s the big key. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann: I don’t got this. Like, I’m tapping out. Is it okay that I feel really strongly, and I have these big feelings, and I have these ideas, and I’m like a very boisterous person? Am I a bad kid?

JoAnn Crohn: That’s hard when you think like, when you see that in a kid and you know, that’s what they’re saying, it could be really difficult then to figure out like, okay, I see this all in the kid. Now, what’s next? What do I do now? And we’re going to talk about that right after this break. So we now know what a strong willed child is trying to tell us. And the question now is like, what to do about that? For example, like my nephew, my, he’s almost five going to turn five in July. He is very much all of these things, a strong willed child. Like he was just over at my house the other night and we were watching bluey and it was nine 30 and I put my 10 year old son to bed before this four year old child was like even thinking about going to bed.

And. I was like, okay, let’s go upstairs. He’s like, no, I watch buoy. We’re going to watch. And then he’s like, he starts a trailer for elemental. He’s like, no, we’re going to watch elemental. And I’m like, you can watch this trailer. That’s great to watch the trailer. And he’s like, no, we’re going to watch the whole trailer.

I’m like, oh, it’s time to go to bed. And he starts running around the living room, wanting me to chase him, to grab the remote from him. and how I handle the situation is so bad. It’s not bad, but it’s more like using things. I know about the child and our relationship about the child to entice him into things.

I know that he does not like our basement. He does not like being alone in the basement. So I just tells him very matter of factly, Hey, everybody’s going to bed right now. And it’s going to be really dark up here. So why don’t you just come upstairs with me? We could read a book. He’s like, you’re not going to be down here anymore.

I’m like, no, No, we’re not going to be down here anymore. Oh, okay. And he puts down his remote and he comes upstairs with me. And that’s the only way I could have diffused that situation. So.

Brie Tucker: so much better than, get your butt upstairs right now, I mean it.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, because kids won’t, I mean, they won’t do that, but, but I’m someone who has been in the classroom. I’ve been at this for a while. I know how to read the room. What do you suggest to parents when they’re first starting out, when they have this strong willed child and they have no idea how to handle the situation?

Brie Tucker: How do you help them read the room? I like how you said that. That, that’s

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, you read, I know how to read the room. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann: Mm

JoAnn Crohn: I know when I’m at a failing situation, that fact it took one way.

Danielle Bettmann: Well, that, that genuinely is a skill of like catching yourself in real time. Because sometimes what comes out of our mouth is so much a reaction rather than a thoughtful response. And like the thoughts that were coming in our head and the way that we’re interpreting the meaning from the situation, the story we’re telling ourselves is not even a choice. It’s very much just like an unconscious. So catching yourself in the real time and being able to name the situation of like, this isn’t working.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah,  

Danielle Bettmann: I might need to cut my losses. Like it usually starts with like,

JoAnn Crohn: This is a failing situation. Yeah. Yeah.

Brie Tucker: time where you need to go, stop for a second, pause. Am I really losing to like, uh, am I losing to a three year old right

JoAnn Crohn: Is he outsmarting me? He is.

Brie Tucker: Yeah. Yeah. I’m really, I’m really trying to argue logically with a four year old. It’s like, okay, no, no, maybe I need to tap.

Danielle Bettmann: yes. And you’re at like a crossroads. And a lot of times when you’re at the crossroads, you have the choice to get really angry and take it personally and set off this defense mode in you to double down and defend yourself and your stance with logic and explanation and reasoning and, you know, get things to go your way, no matter what, or.

And you do have a choice here or you get creative and you get playful and you find another way to bring them into the momentum of the cooperation that you need. And you can’t do that. If they don’t think that you even get what they’re saying or hear what they’re saying at all with strong willed kids They are Acting in a way that they find is very justified and necessary and is working for them.

Brie Tucker: So what I’m hearing you say is like, if they don’t feel secure. They’re not going to have that trust that, and to be able to let down their own guard with you.

Danielle Bettmann: for sure Yeah, their guard is up. Their guns are blazing and they are like we’re gonna go to war on this and I don’t care

JoAnn Crohn: You’re gonna Wild West! Let’s meet! Let’s

Danielle Bettmann: haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it is not a parenting book. It’s called never split the difference You by a Navy SEAL. He talks a lot about how to negotiate with a terrorist, which we,

JoAnn Crohn: I think about this all the time

Danielle Bettmann: it really is like the skill of communication of being able to manage that conversation where he says your first goal is to reiterate back to the terrorist in quotes, what they are saying in a way that they would say exactly.

Then and only then do you have power in that conversation? Because if you are not listening, if you are just bulldozing, dismissing, uh, saying your own agenda, there is no cooperation happening. There is no next step. It is just now we have gotten our, both of our feet in the opposing sand and the tug of war is on.

The power struggle has ensued. So it’s goes against everything our brain is telling us though. We can’t possibly be like, let me pause. My time crunch, my agenda to hear them out and make sure that they know I heard what they’re saying. And yes, that is also a big deal to me too. So it hits us in the knees every time, but the biggest thing for managing a moment with a strong willed child is to hear them out to the extent that they would say, yes, mommy. Exactly. Where you’re saying, You love this TV show. You do not want to go to bed. You say no mommy. And they’re like, Wow, you actually heard me this time. This is great. Good job.

JoAnn Crohn: see their, their defenses

Danielle Bettmann: they melt

JoAnn Crohn: when you do that. Like the fight, like in the body

Brie Tucker: especially like, that’s why I tell you, that’s why like, under five is my favorite age group because like, you can see. You can just see

Danielle Bettmann: a dime.

Brie Tucker: happening.

Danielle Bettmann: Yes. Yes.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, you could see that in teenagers too, I think it’s just

Danielle Bettmann: is the toddler round

JoAnn Crohn: They will put their

Brie Tucker: Oh, Yeah. yeah. yeah. Toddlers with better vocabulary. That’s what you got. It’s the same matter of you don’t understand. Am I getting it right there, JoAnn? You don’t understand what it’s

Danielle Bettmann: Yup. You don’t get it. 100%.

JoAnn Crohn: it. We have, our Facebook group on with us right now. Marie Chris says, so mom should have terrorists negotiating skill certificates. That

Danielle Bettmann: 100%.

Brie Tucker: my God. We need to start

Danielle Bettmann: Do you know how much more confidence you would have going into a moment of like a tantrum at Target when you’re like, I got this. I got my whole arsenal. I got my toolkit. I can handle myself cool under pressure the way that a hostile negotiator would need to. I 100 percent think you need that level of confidence as a parent and you do not come with it. You do not get it when you go home from the hospital.

JoAnn Crohn: It’s true. Oh my gosh. I was listening to an armchair expert episode a few years ago where they were, interviewing a hostage negotiator. His

Danielle Bettmann: It’s the same guy.

JoAnn Crohn: but I got so many skills, same guy, same guy. Okay. Yeah. So many skills. And he teaches a masterclass on it too. And from that, I’m like, maybe I need to sign up for masterclass and take this hostage negotiating thing. But

Danielle Bettmann: There’s something to it.

JoAnn Crohn: book. I’ll read. Never split the difference. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So like with a strong will child, when you’re talking strong will, these are like kids who don’t necessarily have a diagnosis, correct? They’re just, they’re, they have their big emotions that they’re sharing. And you’re trying to find ways to get through to them and communicate with them.

And those can sometimes be the hardest kids to reach because there’s no real help for parents with those in betweens. And it’s hard. It’s so, so hard. Like, especially like when I see it every day in my nephew and I see like how my parents try to help him cause they watch him most of the time and they’re like the, no. And my dad comes in, he goes the, no, don’t do that. And he breaks down in tears, this little kid. Yeah. so like what what are some traits that parents can identify Experiencing like in their child as well as fears they might have or things they struggle with personally with their child Like what are things that can help them see what is actually

Danielle Bettmann: And I really, I really feel like these are the families in the gap. It’s, it, you’re not feeling like you can follow all the traditional gentle parenting one on one advice or like, you know, just come with whatever you had, what your parents did and it works, quote, unquote. They are also have gone maybe even to a child therapist or PITC or something where they’ve gone through an evaluation and it came back, yeah, your child really struggles with some emotional regulation, maybe, you know, some sort of an adjustment disorder is what I’ve heard.

But they’re, it’s not treatable at treatable levels. Like the symptoms you’re experiencing are only in one environment. So therefore there’s really nothing we can do. And those are the families that end up finding me because they either have not been able to take advantage of any other resources or they’re still trying to work through and control the things they can control.

So that they know for sure if and when medication might be helpful. But right, you know, when you’re in the messy middle and it just feels like my kid’s harder than everybody else’s kid, and I don’t know why, and they’re an angel at school. This is very confusing. And I think it sends parents into a tailspin if they are taking parenting seriously and they care about their kid a whole lot, because they’re like, well, They need something I don’t have Or there is something here that is very personal it means I have created a monster or I am a bad parent or I am failing them because We get into these desperate situations and I lose my temper and that’s going to screw them up And if I would just keep it together and be consistent, this wouldn’t be a problem So they end up keeping a ton of weight and pressure on themselves to figure this out and to Do better with still no new tools, no insight to kind of unlock understanding their kid because there’s just no. Language around it. They’re just in this gap of like, yeah, there’s some neurodivergence to them, but good luck with it, I guess.

JoAnn Crohn: yeah, that is how it is So I want to go through an actual situation with you about because this is something that we hear from our community a lot About getting kids ready in the morning who are not naturally morning persons We’re gonna get into it right after this

So let’s talk about and let’s go through actual like strong willed kids in a situation That is so typical for parents getting ready in the morning. This kid who just fights you Every step of the way has the hardest time getting out of bed. Like where do you

Danielle Bettmann: Yes, oh my gosh, I have not met a kid that is not a morning person as a strong willed kid. Like

Brie Tucker: a strong willed adult and I’m not a morning person.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah

Danielle Bettmann: I think their brains ignite with so much creativity right up at time, and then they wake up and they have the hardest time getting to school no matter where they’re going. It could be the world’s best school with all their best friends.

There is no logic and reasoning that you can tell them that is going to bribe them and entice them into Getting ready like hurry up means nothing. It doesn’t compute. It’s not in their vocabulary So if that’s you Every single morning the struggle is real. You’re not alone 100 percent and i’m glad that we’re taking this into a tangible example because all the theories in the world are great That’s why we have the internet, but it does not help if it does not get down to this like minutiae, right?

So in the mornings, the first thing I would recommend is a visual schedule shout out to Mighty and bright. they’re a fantastic company. Love, love. Yes. They, and they have like two different kinds now where you can do like the high quality magnets and you can do like a, a really, really simple low cost one. But you have to make it so that it’s not just. You being the bad guy, you bossing everybody around. It’s just your way or the highway. And like, you’re such a mean mom because it’s not, it’s actually just problems that you’re trying to help your kids solve that are required from school and all these other things.

So making it much more tangible to say your chart says. These are the five things we need to do. Which one would you like to do next? Or, how far are you on your chart? Are you finished? it puts your kid into a more empowering state when it feels like they’re being bossed around all the time with these care tasks. They need to know it’s not just you. It’s like the clock. It’s the chart. It’s school. They’re the ones that are telling them what to do. But here’s how they have control over it, or here’s how they can play out their timing of it, or making it their choice, or getting to kind of pick, because they just, they want something that gives them a sense of control and some dignity. And so visual schedule is one of the best places to start.

JoAnn Crohn: so well. Like I could, I could say just from my experience, I used one with my son getting ready and, , we printed it out and I let him determine the order he did things in the morning. And so he was posting it up on the wall with me. He’s like, I want to do this first. I want to do that first. I want to do this first. and then, yeah, so he, that took so much Anxiety out of the morning because he could just look at his wall and be like, Oh, I haven’t done that and that and that and go on with his day. It

Danielle Bettmann: Yes. Good. The other thing that I really want, parents of strong willed kids to understand is strong willed kids can be extremely independent and very, like, capable of extremely intelligent things. And they love to be held and they want you to do it for them. And they want like, there’s this dichotomy of like, but I feel so loved.

Yes. When I can like be doted on and you help me get dressed, even though I am for, and I can do it by myself and I know better. And I’m like a big kid now. I still feel like I want, it’s like a love language. When you help me with something I know I’m capable of doing, it makes me feel so much more connected to you.

And then when it’s not a power struggle and you can just be like, sure, you know, you do it by yourself or I’ll help you. Oh, you want me to help? Okay, great. When we don’t make it like a thing of what you’re for, you have to do it by yourself now. It’s just so much smoother, so much faster. We can actually, and I know I can, I remind parents all the time. They will put on their own pants by the time they get to college. They will be okay.

Brie Tucker: I had a friend that used to always say that to me, like, they will do X, Y, Z, insert the skill here, by the time they go away to college, I promise. It’s hard to get out of the trenches when you’re in it. True.

Danielle Bettmann: It feels like the longest days. And 100 percent it just you think like we should be out of this phase by now. They should be able to go through the whole chart by themselves and then come down, you know, and then we’re almost ready to go. And that’s not how it is.

And it feels like you’re held hostage. It feels like, you know, you’re still doing things on their terms. But when you zoom out and you think about what is my true role here? What’s my end goal? How can we actually just get to school on time? I can make that concession of helping them get dressed if that’s what they need to be able to get downstairs and get through all the rest of the things.

And truly it’s like when we are already in bed and we ask our spouse like, Oh, can you fill up my water bottle for me? Are you capable of that? As an adult, 100%. Do you feel loved though when someone does something for you you’re perfectly capable of doing? Yes! That, that’s like the message that they’re getting in that moment and that can actually transcend the next five things going smoother because, you know, you met that need in that one moment.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah. And I think like something else, during that time, that was so helpful, in our situation with scaffolding. So like, even though they couldn’t do the whole list right away, like stepping in and helping with those pieces, and gradually, like, we call it an education, as you know, it’s a gradual release of responsibility where they get more and more For themselves.

And what I found really helpful is we put in something called buffer time at the end of the morning, where they could like watch TV or they could play a game if they got ready by a certain time on the clock, like everything on the list was done. So then it wasn’t just me trying to like scoot them out the door.

It was them wanting to get this time to do exactly what they wanted to do in the morning. and they were like working against the clock then instead of working against. Me, which was much, much better. It’s so much, so much, such a happy environment. So Danielle, what are you looking forward to right now in your life?

Danielle Bettmann: Yeah. I am kind of in like a glow up era right now where I’m really trying to focus on like the good leggings, good underwear, good shoes, uh, a good pair of jeans. Like I’m finally in that space where my kids are old enough that I can have the opportunity. To place orders and send back a bunch of returns that don’t work because that’s inevitably how this is going to have to happen, but I am on this mission to like, feel better in my body without changing it. And I think in the summer we get really insecure,

but I’ve just decided. it’s worth the effort I put in to be able to every day find things that make me feel good and not constantly adjusting myself or worried about looking in the mirror and how do I look because I’m not going to lose weight. I’m not gonna do a bunch of diets and supplements.

I’m not gonna go get procedures done. But I can get myself a stockpile of really good Amazon leggings and, you know, know that I’m going to not feel self conscious then when I, like, I get to choose that for myself. So I am excited for just being able to have more of that perspective and actually.

Decluttering everything else that doesn’t fit that parameter. I think that’s the main, like, you can have some great pieces, but you’re not going to choose them on a random Tuesday. So what’s the point? Like you, if you keep having your like old trusty yucky crusty things to go back to you, well, so I had to, I’m like purging them. And it’s been, it’s been really empowering actually, where you wouldn’t think it’s that big of a deal, but it is.

Brie Tucker: Yeah. It sounds like you’re going to have an amazing summer. Yeah.

JoAnn Crohn: I should like, I hear you say that. And it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, looking at like my clothes and I, I think I should do it as well. I think that you should take all of the tags out of clothes actually, because this is such a mental block.

Danielle Bettmann: Well, and it’s obnoxious that you can’t just order mediums and everything and know it’s going to fit. It’s

Brie Tucker: Yes. Oh

Danielle Bettmann: I feel like I’m between sizes for like every store and it’s this haphazard guess of like, I guess I have to order three sizes and hope that one of them works and it’ll be different than the last store. Like it’s, it feels very defeating.

Brie Tucker: Yes.

JoAnn Crohn: It does feel very different. Yep, you’re right. Exactly. I want to do that now,

Danielle Bettmann: All right. Good.

JoAnn Crohn: I love it. Thank you so much for coming on and it’s been a joy talking with you about Strong Willed Kids and we’ll talk to you later.

Brie Tucker: Okay. So , I had to like sit on my hands to keep from like jumping in when Daniel was talking about, her kids and how she couldn’t believe how different her two kids were and how much more strong. Well, the second one was, I wanted to be like, were you in my house?

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, I

Brie Tucker: it’s the exact same dynamic in my family. You’ve heard me say it. Like even

JoAnn Crohn: Yes, I felt she was describing your kids too. Yes.

Brie Tucker: Yeah. I’m like, I always would say when they were little, you could write a paragraph about their similarities, but a book about their differences. My second child, we nicknamed Odzilla because she would just come in and destroy whatever you were doing because it was about paying attention to her.

And she had really big feelings. all the time, really just a lot. And what Daniel talked about, about like letting them be heard and helping them like, understand that you do hear them, you do understand them. And then giving them the background on things like that is where my, my daughter has thrived.

And like people do tend to sometimes, she was, I always say like, she was lucky that people like her. She has a good personality, but if you don’t like her. It drives you nuts because again, she’s so big. She’s so strong. She fills a room, but it’s You just, like, barking orders would never work for her.

Like, you can give her the rules, and like, my oldest, her, brother who is only barely 15 months older than her, you give him the set of rules, he will follow that checklist, check, check, check, check, the whole way. Because to him, it’s black and white, it’s right there. Her, it’s like, but why?

JoAnn Crohn: but why exactly? This is a questioning. I love questioners, by the way Like I think that like they keep you on your toes Like I appreciated them as a teacher like I was your daughter’s Girl Scout leader. I loved her Because you’re always the one who is Challenging you and the one who’s like hey like this doesn’t make sense and I sometimes I go to them and I’m like You know, right? It doesn’t make sense. You’re totally right. It doesn’t. And, uh, like, this is just the easiest way I’ve found right now. So, can we do this? And they’re like, yeah, we can do this. Fine.

Brie Tucker: Yeah, most of the time, like, and, and those are the kids that a lot of times do get labeled as like, bad, disruptive, like, and it’s not always really what’s going on. They just have a lot of questions about why, and if you can, stop and talk to them about it and let them feel like they’re being heard, they are so much more open to what’s going on.

JoAnn Crohn: yeah. Yeah,

Brie Tucker: have found that that works. So well. Yeah.

JoAnn Crohn: roles in the process too helps so much. Be like, I get it. I get you’re upset about this. So here, here’s how you can help. How about you help me do this and you can decide how you want to do it. And they’re like, okay, cool. So if it’s like passing papers, like, oh, Mrs.

Crow, like, why are we passing the papers this way? Like, I’d be like, you know what? I’m up to try new things. What do you suggest? Like, and not in a, and it’s all about tone too, because it’s never in like a sarcastic way. It’s always in a, let’s figure this out. What do you want to try? Like I’m up for it. Do it.

Brie Tucker: It’s about it. And I do think a big part of it is about understanding that kids aren’t trying to piss you off. We all do as people have a, have a need and a want to be loved and accepted. And they’re trying to find their path. to that. So when you’re really getting frustrated and really getting overwhelmed, it is fantastic for you to be able to say to your kid, right now, this conversation is really frustrating me and I need to go stop for a little bit and then we can talk some more.

Or even sometimes, like I would even do the whole, like when she was littler and I do it now as a. 45 year old woman. I’ll be like, sometimes I’m just like, can we stop and just hug right now? Cause I need a hug. I’m feeling very hurt and very like done. So can we just hug for a minute and then we can talk some more and.

JoAnn Crohn: That’s a great thing

Brie Tucker: it’s great when it’s, when it can work when, when everybody’s open to that.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah. It all comes down to emotions and it’s like control versus collaboration. And we have to remember as parents that like, even though our kids are young and their kids, like, we still collaborate them. We don’t have to control them. And it’s not a like judgment on our parenting if we can’t control our children.

It’s never how it’s supposed to be. It’s always a collaboration where we’re looking to see, okay, what do you need out of this? What do I need to happen out of this? And how can we make it so that the situation works for all of us? And those are actually the skills we teach parents in balanced VIP in the phase three of calm and happy parenting, it’s been remarkable. The people who have been through the program and have just noticed a complete change in the relationship with their kids. Um, Uh, like Marie Chris, for example, who is on live during this broadcast today. Like she has found so much more ease and control in her interactions with her daughter based on just communication skills that she is now using, that she didn’t have before. so it’s an amazing thing and I’m getting that book about hostage negotiation. I’m getting it.

Brie Tucker: Yeah. You talked about it a few times. I think we might have to like have them on the podcast

JoAnn Crohn: Oh, my gosh. I’ll read his book first and then I’ll hit him up on Instagram and do my whole, my whole spiel. Get in there. It’s the way I get our guests, people. It’s a secret method.

Brie Tucker: what works, man. But yeah. So like if you love this episode, come join us in our No Guilt Mom Facebook group. We have a No Guilt Mom podcast, Facebook group. You can talk about the episodes, talk about like the struggles you’re having. It is an amazing community of hundreds of women are people.

I don’t even know if they’re all that, probably not all women, like hundreds of parents. that listen to the podcast and like to talk about and relate about parenting. So it’s, it’s a fantastic community to come join. there’s a link to that in the show notes, there’s a link to learn more about balance. And there’s also a link to, uh, join our newsletter. If you just want to dip your toe in,

JoAnn Crohn: Yep. So remember, the best mom is a happy mom. Take care of you. We will talk to you later.

Brie Tucker: thanks for stopping by. 

Brie Tucker

COO/ Podcast Producer at No Guilt Mom
Brie Tucker has over 20 years of experience coaching parents with a background in early childhood and special needs. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and is certified in Positive Discipline as well as a Happiest Baby Educator.

She’s a divorced mom to two teenagers.

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