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Episode 62

If I don't want to be an
authoritarian or permissive
parent, what is my other option?

January 9, 2023

[Kyle]: In today's podcast, we're going to finally talk about and describe for you, what it looks like to move into the parenting that we would call Loving Guidance or Peaceful Parenting. We're going to describe what that looks like. So, if you're interested in making a shift this year in your parenting, where you are for each other instead of against each other in the family, then we're going to describe that and show you how to do that today. 


[Kyle]: Hello, and welcome to episode 62 of The Art of Raising Humans. I’m Kyle.

[Sara]: And I’m Sara.

[Kyle]: And this is part two coming into 2023. I mean, I still think we can say Happy New Year.

[Sara]: Happy New Year.

[Kyle]: Because this is like, coming down--

[Sara]: It’s January. As long as it's January, we’re allowed to say it.

[Kyle]: Fantastic. That's right, it's January. We are excited because we're going to go to Disney World soon, right?

[Sara]: Yeah, visit my parents.

[Kyle]: Okay, great. So, we've got a vacation plan, we haven't done something, you know, vacation for quite some time.
[Kyle]: So, we're excited about doing that, but we really wanted to get this out, to help parents at the start of this new year. if you haven't heard, I would encourage you to go back to episode 61, where we really delved into defining these four distinct parenting styles that are really common, that you see in families and couples, okay? And so, we did a-- I think a lengthy job in our last podcast describing two in particular, you know? We looked at neglectful just a little bit, but we've spent most of the time talking about what authoritarian is and what permissive is.

[Kyle]: And so, we tried to really give you a good picture and I hope by now, if you have listened to it, you kind of found out where you tend to fall, you know? You know, and that way then, you had some language over like “oh, in our family I tend to fall here and my spouse tends to fall here” or so forth and so on, you know? So, you can kind of get a picture of where you are now and like Sara mentioned last week, it's a dynamic situation. It's not static, we do move around, but where do I tend to default to? Like, when I’m really stressed and overwhelmed, do I tend to just give up and walk away and just get neglectful? Do I tend to get permissive and go “oh, I need to swoop in and make everything okay”? Or do I get authoritarian and just say “do it!”?

[Sara]: Yeah, “I gotta crackdown”

[Kyle]: “Because I said!”, you know? Do I-- “I said so! That's enough!”, you know?

[Sara]: When conflict gets really high, you’re generally going to go to one of those. You know, like you said, when you're stressed or when things are tough, you'll fall back up.

[Kyle]: Well, and even look back at how you were parented, where did your parents tend to go? Where would you describe their styles? Okay? So, we're going to go in today to the top right, which I’m saying top right because we gave you like a four-quadrant approach. The top right today, where you're doing high expectations and high support, that's going to be the parameters in that quadrant where we're gonna know that that's where we want to go, you know? We want to get out of these power dynamics, that those other dichotomous ways of parenting took us towards, where it's either this or that. Either I’m doing it for you or I’m making you do it, to I’m doing it with you, okay? I’m doing it with you. So, I’m co-creating this moment with my kid, with my spouse, with my friend, whoever you're doing this healthy relationship with. I mean, today we're going to focus on parenting, but it's this idea if “I’m doing it with you”, that's what the top right is.

[Kyle]: Why am I doing it with you? Because I don't want to always do it for you and I can't always keep “making you do it”, it's just not sustainable. So, I want to get in our parenting to a place where I’m doing it with you, so when you leave my house, you can continue doing it.

[Kyle]: Okay. So, before we go into that though, I would love for you guys who are listening, you parents, to share this podcast! We want to get this out! I think what we're trying to give as much gold that we can give to parents, to help equip them to be the parents they want to be in 2023. So, I really believe these first two that we're doing this year are going to be really foundational for a lot of couples who are saying “you know, I want to do something different. I don't really like how these dynamics are going. It's not that it's been bad, it's not that it's been horrible, but this is not what I want it to be”, you know? I’m repeating some of the same, you know, dynamics, some of the stuff maybe I didn't like from my childhood and I want to really build upon my childhood and do it even better, you know? To take the good that my parents gave me and enhance it and move forward, right?

[Kyle]: And so, that Sara’s and my dream too is we wanted to do that in our parenting and we want to equip you to do that. So, we'd love for your comments. Give us the five-star rating, would be fantastic and then also, share what you'd like us to talk about in 2023. You know, you can find us on Facebook, on Instagram with The Art of Raising Humans. You can go to our website and there, you can find courses that we offer to help you do this type of parenting. We did one just specifically on how to communicate to teenagers and another one on how to resolve conflict in your family. So, both of those are fantastic courses that I would encourage you to take advantage of and also, we've got tons of speaking going on. So, if you're in the Tulsa area, we're doing lots of speaking at different churches and schools here, but if you are a person who would love us to speak on these subjects throughout the world, we'd love to do that! So, feel free to reach out at You can find us; you can email us there or message us on either Facebook or Instagram and we'd love to see you no matter how small or big the group is. Well, I just wanted to throw that out there, all right?

[Kyle]: So, let's delve into this, Sara. So, today we want to describe what we're calling and I know I’m stealing this from Dr. Becky Bailey, so I give her cred, Loving Guidance. Dr. Markham calls it Peaceful Parenting, like we said in the past-- You know, podcast. Some people call it Authoritative parenting. We don't like that because it's confusing with authoritarian, so we're just going to call it Loving Guidance for this podcast, but we want to describe that. So, what does it look like to you to offer high support and high expectations? How would you describe that to a family?

[Sara]: Okay. So, the high expectations polls I think from the authoritarian really well, where it's saying “we're gonna keep our house a certain way” or “these are how we're going to treat other people”, “this is how we're going to do in school” or it does-- It's the boundaries. I think boundary is a good word, but just saying this is-- “I’m intentionally wanting you to build these skills and potentially wanting to help my child grow and go out into the world in this way”.

[Sara]: And you know, how are we going to interact with each other and do the dishes and you know, all that sort of thing.

[Kyle]: “You're going to have responsibilities in this house and you're going to contribute” and all this stuff, right? “And we’re going to talk to each other in a certain way”. Yeah.

[Sara]: So, it’s that side of it. Uh huh, where we have those expectations, but where it can also just sort of like “go figure it out. I expect this to be done”. It pulls in the support of “I am right there with you and I’m going to look at where you're struggling and not just kind of hand out a punishment because you haven't achieved my expectation”. “I’m going to join with you to figure out how to help you achieve that expectation”. So, I’m still handing, I’m still-- Got this expectation you're going to get there, but I’m going to come alongside you, we're going to figure this out, we're going to build the skills, we're going to help you grow and learn and be able to get there.

[Kyle]: Yeah, “I’m gonna equip you, I’m gonna teach you”. I’m thinking as you were just talking, it's the exact opposite of “do as I say, not as I do”. You know? It's instead “I’m gonna do what I say”

[Kyle]: “And then I’m going to invite you into doing that with me”, you know? And so, I love all that. I think what helps me too, Sara, is when I think of expectations, high expectations, it helps me understand that really all conflict that I’m having with kids, you know, as I’m parenting, is due to my expectations, right? The only reason why there's a conflict is because I want them to do something different, you know? And so, that's the only reason why I’m upset in this moment. I’m upset because you're not doing the thing I want you to do. So, the conflict is really within me, I’m the one who's feeling conflicted, right? And so, I have a choice: I can slip over to authoritarian and then just yell you in demand that you make that conflict go away by doing what I’m asking; I can go down the permissive and just be like “I don't think you can do it, I’m just going to do it myself” or I can go over to supportive and say “oh, well, this conflict starts with me. So, I just need to show you, teach you, equip you, guide you, whatever it is, to help you do that thing that I’m asking you to do”, right?

[Kyle]: Another thing I think too is--

[Sara]: I like how that ownership is in you. You know, it starts with me and the conflict I’m bringing the expectation.
[Sara]: And I’m upset with you maybe in this moment or I’m worried in this moment or whatever it might be, but it actually starts with me. [Unintelligible]

[Kyle]: Yeah, and another thing-- I mean, I kind of made this up in my head just to help me-- I try to let myself go to only two spaces when the kid isn't achieving the expectations and once again, you know, to the people who are listening, I let my-- I try to let myself do this about marriage, about friendship, about any relationship I have. Is if that human being, in this case we'll talk our kids, is not reaching that expectation I have on how they talk to me, on how they treat me, on how we interact, whatever it might be, I think it's only one of two things. Either they don't believe they can do it, like they don't have the self-esteem or the self-confidence to believe they can achieve the thing I’m asking.

[Sara]: The skill set.

[Kyle]: Yeah, or they don't know how to do it. So, that's the knowledge, the knowledge is they don't have the skill, right?

[Kyle]: So, either they don't believe they can achieve the thing I’m asking; they think it's too much, right? So, they don't have this confidence. So, there what I need to do is encourage them, right? You need to encourage them and then the other, they don't have the knowledge, like they don't quite understand what I’m asking or don't know how to do the thing I’m asking. So, now I need to really like just teach them, right? If I let myself go to a third one, which is easy to do and I know a lot of parents [Unintelligible], the kid is not doing it on purpose, you know? The kid is purposely defying me. The kid is purpo-- And I’m not saying kids never do that, they do at times. Marriages, we do that in marriages too, right? It is just not helpful to me to default to that, because if I do, it now turns me against my kid, right? So, I can't be for my kid if my kid is purposely opposing me.

[Kyle]: So, I would suggest that even if the kid is intentionally doing it, is because the kid doesn't believe I’m for them. The kid doesn't think I’m there to either teach them or encourage them.

[Sara]: Yeah, it goes to a relationship breakdown.

[Kyle]: Exactly. So, it says that that kid-- So, even if like I were to go up to Abby's room and Abby, let's say she didn't clean her room just to spite me, well, that's because Abby thinks she was doing her room because I was gonna get mad at her or make her whatever. So, she's showing me--

[Sara]: There’s some breakdown on the relationship.

[Kyle]: Yeah, she's showing me I don't have to do it.

[Sara]: [Unintelligible] want to spite you.

[Kyle]: Yes, yeah. So, if I then turn authoritarian, I’m actually confirming the very thing she thought, which is “I’m only going to clean this because he makes me” and I’m gonna make her, right? So, instead I’ve gotta stop for a moment and realize “oh, she thinks I’m against her. I’m not against her, I’m actually for her”. So, I need to figure out how to reconnect, you know, kind of repair the relationship and then help reframe this moment to where I’m there to help her. That having a clean room isn't about me, it's about her. That having a clean room it feels good, you know?

[Kyle]: And even though it may be hard for a kid, they can get there and they can learn it, you know? So, that kind of really helped me understand expectations a little different, because that's how I could keep the expectation without shifting over to authoritarian. It was me owning my part of the conflict and then just letting myself go in those two specific areas, you know?

[Sara]: Yeah, keeps your mindset you're not then entering into some conflict, you're staying in a compassionate space of “oh, there's some breakdown here”.

[Kyle]: Yes, exactly. Yeah, I’m curious even like, I’m curious about why does she think she's opposed to me, why does she think--

[Kyle]: Even in drug and alcohol counseling, when I did that, Sara, for quite some time, clients were court ordered to go there and they were mad about being there. They didn't think they should have been arrested. They didn't think they should have lost their license for, you know, whatever they were doing. They were mad and I felt like it was-- They already thought they were opposed to me and I had to switch that and what we learned as drug and alcohol counselors was how to flow with the resistance. Like they-- I think those people want to live healthy whole lives. I don't think they want to kill anybody while they're driving drunk or you know, I think they want to be healthier, but they're mad at me because I’m the representation of control and power and I need to let them know I’m for them. So, to me, I learned that skill a lot by realizing even those people who would say they're against me, they're actually not, because they're against whatever power they think I have over them. That's what they're against, you know? 

[Kyle]: And I wanted to point out, Sara, how what I think is so important for families is, when you move up to that top right corner, to Loving Guidance, is how it's not going to look the same, you know? Like when you're giving high expectations and high support, it can look really different than how I give high expectation, high support. The goal here isn't for you and I to look exactly the same, it isn't for uniformity, you know? It isn't for us to lose ourselves and become some other kind of weird being that we're always just like, acting and saying the exact same thing, right? That there's still uniqueness in how we approach it, there's still differences and we use our different strengths to get us to go up there, right? And I really think it's important for parents to understand that. I thought early on it was like you were way up in that right corner before I was and I thought my goal was to be like you and it wasn't “that's gross”. Like, I shouldn't-- Not saying being like you would be gross would be gross, but--

[Sara]: Gross?!?

[Kyle]: But I’m saying like me being you or me being Dr. Markham--

[Sara]: No, we are-- We each have our own personality, our own style and our own relationship with a child, so it's naturally going to look different and you want it to look different, because the child is going to go out in the world and interact with all kinds of personalities too. So, it's great to know that it can look different, it's great to know you're not going to look the same and you can't look at somebody and go “oh, I need to be the parent they are”. You still get to parent from your place and your uniqueness and your child needs you to show up in that way.

[Kyle]: Yeah, yeah, and so, I think Sara, with that uniqueness and with those differences, I think our kid know that they do need us to do that because it's who we are, you know?

[Sara]: Yeah, that we are our authentic self.

[Kyle]: Exactly, yeah. So, not trying to put on a mask and be like “this is what a good parent looks like and does”. Like “oh, are we being good parents right now?”. It's really about us just saying “hey, let's have a unified goal and vision” and our unified goal is to have high expectations, because you and I have high expectations on our kids. I mean, very high expectations on just the human beings and we have them, because I believe they can be fantastic human beings, right?

[Sara]: Yeah, and we have high expectations on ourselves.

[Sara]: And we have high expectations on our marriage, right? So, what I want to do real quick is show how it's different, like how you and I do it differently and yet, still are up in that right quadrant. So, how does it look different when you and I do that?

[Sara]: Okay. I think I-- Just our specific personalities, you're very much more out there and loud and strong. You have this big personality. I am more gentle and quiet and so, you it's a very awkward-- I don't know if that's the right word, but for you to try to be that gentle quiet person or for me to try to show up as big as you can when you walk in a room with the kids or something, it just-- It wouldn't work, it absolutely wouldn't work.

[Sara]: And did you want me--?

[Kyle]: Yes, do it. Yeah, yeah.

[Sara]: We had talked before about that. One place that shows up is where, let's say our child is having trouble going to sleep at night and I often will take that one, because I come in and what that looks like for me, is calming them down and helping them settle and feel safe and loved, so they can just let themselves go to sleep. Because a lot of times, you know, maybe they're too tired or they're wound up about something and it's just getting them to that calm place and so, I come in with my-- My personality is more just naturally that way, so that's why I can come in and support that “okay,, you need to get to bed. Let's do this”.

[Kyle]: Yeah, and that annoys me, you know? Like, I’m not as good at that, right? So, like I’m typically like “Hey. See ya, love you, kiss you. Prayer”, you know? Saying “Let's go, we're done, right? I’ve got other things I want to do” and that's just more my personality and there have been times I’ve lingered and I’ve done it and I’ve been there when they needed that, right? But in general, you're just better at that and so, there is kind of like “hey, you know, I could do this tonight, but I think they-- You know, you go ahead and do that”, right? I’ve gotta-- I find, Sara, I’ve got to be in like a certain kind of space to be that, otherwise, I am very kind of focused on the next thing, right? So, we're going to bed, let's just go to bed, you know? And I find myself getting kind of annoyed if the kid continues to feel these big emotions at night and so, it's so fantastic that you're good at that, you know?

[Kyle]: But there's other things, you know, like at times where you were commenting on like-- There are moments where, you know, certain kids like, let's say Abby, was really emotional, right? Where somehow Abby seems to gravitate more towards me in those moments and I can help hold that with her and for some reason, I don't get annoyed by that at all and she can cry with me and I can work through it, in a way that it doesn't seem to be as effective or as helpful when you do it, right?

[Sara]: Yeah. Well, and I think that's a good place of even, let's say it is effective with me. There are times that I sit with her and talking about how we instead of just one of us tackling-- Sometimes there's-- I come in with my strengths and I handle that situation and you come in with your strengths and-- Or you handle a different kind of situation where you have figured that out and so, we might kind of pass the baton, “this one's for you because you're better at this”.

[Kyle]: Exactly, yeah, yeah.

[Sara]: But there are times where it can just look different and we both can still achieve the goal.

[Kyle]: Yes, that's good.

[Sara]: And so, maybe it looks like with me, if she calms down it's she's venting and talks it out and we make a plan and we go forward, but sometimes what it looks like for you and you still get her calm and still moving forward and she just goes and sits with you and sometimes, she even asks for that and she's like “I just need to go sit with Dad for a while”.

[Sara]: And sometimes I don't even know if you talk. It's just the space, you just hold that space with her and she is able to move through and let the feelings pass and go forward and I know eventually you do circle back around and have a conversation.

[Kyle]: Yeah, yeah, and I was telling you with both of our girls Abby and Ellie, I was telling you this. I think my brain is just wired from [Unintelligible], you know? Maybe a lot of, you know, if any dads are listening to this, they can relate to this, is I never really saw-- I saw girls get comforted when they were upset, I saw a mom or dad hold the daughter and cry and do that, right? And so, that for me seems natural and easy for me to do, but like when Brennan, our son, gets upset and he's crying and upset, there is-- Even though I’m a counselor, so I know boys can cry, I know that's healthy and I cry a lot too. I’m probably --I cry probably the most of the whole family, I’m very-- I can get emotional with movies or things like that, but in general, it triggers something in me where I have to like, in order to be there for Brennan, I really have to work through a lot of like past issues. I’d be like “no, it's okay that Brennan's crying, it's okay. Like, I can help him with this”, but many times it's just like “I think Sara would be better at this”.

[Sara]: [Unintelligible] of the times.

[Kyle]: “Sara, you take care of this. I’m getting super annoyed that Brennan keeps crying about this, this is bothering me, right?” and I may still circle back with Brennan and talk to him about it, but just in that moment, I can tell I’m not gonna be able to keep the high expectations and give the high support. I’m about to slip over into my authoritarian, right? And so, I know “hi honey, can you take care of this?” and then you'll do it, Brennan will get the nurturing he needs and by then I’m back up to my prefrontal cortex. I’m now calmer, I’m not as triggered by it, then I can guide Brennan in a way that I just feel more capable of supporting him in that way, you know?

[Kyle]: So, a lot of those conversations might look like the way we'd support him with his emotions, is you might help him through with that nurturing empathy stuff that you do so well and then, I might later on fall off and say “how could we have done that differently, son? You know, like you got really upset about that thing and, could we approach that differently?” and then him and I will have that kind of talk and it'll be more of a discussion about how to approach it in a different way next time, you know?

[Kyle]: So, that's an example of just you and I, you know, how we do it differently. Because I don't want to hear-- [Unintelligible] our listeners here, there's this one way of doing it and it's going to look like that every time. I mean, I’m even thinking, Sara, it was a light bulb moment when I read Dr. Cohen's book “Playful Parenting”, where he also has, you know, the same kind of approach of doing Loving Guidance, but he just does it differently. So, I remember Brennan was maybe like three or four when I read that book and Brennan at that time was in this habit of when he get mad, he'd growl at me. In the first few times, I got real authoritarian. I would be like “don't you growl at me!”, you know? And I would--

[Sara]: Yeah. You have to set this limit so he does not to growl.

[Kyle]: And then I was like “wait. Okay, in order to do it the way we're trying to do it, I guess I got to do it the way Sara does it”. Because you would be like” oh Brennan, you seem really mad, can I--?”. So, I would try that and be like “this feels kind of gross”. Like, I don't feel-- So, like “okay, okay, okay. I’m gonna try to do this more-- That's more congruent with who I am, you know? More authentic to who I am” and so, I remember when Brennan growled, I mean, I looked at him and I just growled right back at him and I said “I’m gonna eat you, Brennan!” and I ran after him, right? And Brennan was like… He's running in the house and by the time I got to him and grabbed him and started like, hugging and tickling him, pretty soon he started to cry and then he starts to just opening up to me and I was like “oh, that was actually so much more fun for me” and it seemed like I got him to that place, in a way the other thing when I was acting like Sara wasn't working.

[Sara]: Yes, you were being authentically you and still high support, high expectation and it actually reminds me of how when we've had some-- When they were littler and had some bedtime resistance, how you would easily jump into that same playful approach. It's one that fits you well and suits you, where you can still have that expectation of “it is bedtime and you're going to bed”, but you would use that high support of playfulness to get them there. Either a competition or go to bed like a ninja or you know, you would use some playful approach and that's I think, a really great example of that was a style that suited your personality and still held the high expectation, high support.

[Kyle]: Yeah, and I want to add in this, you know, that also this really helped us even our marriage to have high expectations on each other as a couple, you know? And how we wanted to parent. You know, before we started bought into this, we were slipping back into you against me, you know? Like your way “oh, it worked that time, but let's see if it works next time”, right? Or I would be like “what is she doing that? That's not the right way of doing it”. We'd slip into these kind of things, right? But instead when we started thinking about marriage with having high expectations, you know, like there's a certain type of parent I would like you to be and a certain type of parent you'd like me to be, but in order to do that, I’ve got to encourage you. I’ve got to come alongside you. I’ve got to see when you are-- You know, like instead of commenting on the failures all the time, to see when you're succeeding and you're doing fantastic.

[Sara]: Well, and support, support that. If you're stressed or I know you got a lot going on that day, how can I support you to be the parent you want to be?

[Kyle]: Yeah. Well, there's many times where you saw I was slipping into being the parent I didn't want to be and you just tag team me. “Hey, would you want me to help you with this? Can I--?”, “yes, get in there! Because I’m about to lose it!”, you know? And other times when you would do that, I’d say--

[Sara]: I know, I’ll send-- I’ll be like “hey, why don't you go see your dad?”.

[Kyle]: That's right.

[Sara]: But I know and our kids know that doesn't mean he's gonna crackdown.

[Kyle]: Exactly, yes.

[Sara]: And I know it's like “look, I think we've run-- We're in a tough spot right now and then if we just can switch gears and I can get you down to him and he'll help you get into a different space and work through it” and I think that's been very, very helpful in our relationship to know that and even the kids kind of know, “I just need-- I want to switch”.

[Kyle]: Yeah, yeah. Well, and I hope you hear what we're saying is, when you're up in that right corner, the theme in the family, the theme in the marriage is “I am for you”.

[Kyle]: You know? So, going back to like, those other dichotomous ways that were based in fear, based in like “I will control you, I will make you do it” or “you're out of control, so I will do it for you. I don't think you can do it”.

[Kyle]: This top right corner is based in love and it's based on this idea that my power is always for you. My power is actually there to help you, you know? But like you said, even if you see me struggling, your power in my life is to support and encourage me, right? And to help me become the better husband that I want to be and me to help you be the wife and the mom you want to be, you know?

[Sara]: Yeah, the biggest-- The word alongside.

[Sara]: You know, coming alongside. We come alongside our children, we come alongside each other. That's our goal, we definitely fail at it over and over again, but the constant goal and we grow each day, is to just do that easier, better, more often and always holding that as a family, we're going to come alongside each other.

[Kyle]: Yeah, yeah, and I would say also that's why the word discipleship to me is so powerful. If you don't know that listener [Unintelligible] Every parent that I do coaching with,1 we talk about how the root word of discipline is disciple and this is really discipleship. So, the top right corner is discipleship. It's always an invitation to say “hey, will you do this with me? Let's co-create this together”. So, it's not me making you do it or doing it for you, it's doing it with you, okay?

[Kyle]: So, I know today we didn't get into real specifics about what that looks like, you know, with specific things, specific conflicts. We've covered that in a lot of the podcasts and we'll cover that in other podcasts to come, but I really wanted to give a bigger picture view of if you're interested in 2023 of go in this direction, we have so many resources available to you. So, you can personally meet with us, you can go to and you can schedule a session and you can come get some one-on-one coaching with us on how to do that. You can get the courses we put together; we've done a lot of these podcasts to equip you in all types of circumstances. You can come to some of the speaking we're doing. So, there's all different types of ways Sara and I just really passionate, about helping parents in 2023 be the parents they want to be. So, if you're interested in that, please take advantage of all the resources we've given you. Share this with your friends and I hope this 2023 is exactly the year for you to make that shift and we are there to support you along the way. 

[Sara]: Yeah, we appreciate you, thanks for listening.

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