How do you motivate your children? What are the ways by which you can communicate your message to your children, no matter their age, and make them interested in what you have to say?
This is not about getting them to listen in a disciplinary kind of way. This is about making a true connection with them, sharing your world with them, and finding ways to convey your message in a motivating way, helping them become who they wish to be.
These are the topics I discuss in today's episode with my guest, Dr. Jim Van Allan. Jim is a speaker, trainer, and podcaster with clients across the nation. He runs the successful podcast ‘Communicate to Motivate' which discusses developing strong communication skills in all areas of life. Jim is the Vice President of Schools for the Jon Gordon Companies and runs the Positive Schools program. He and his team provide training for all K-12 schools on leadership, communication, and culture. Jim is also a professor of communication studies with Keiser University teaching public speaking, interpersonal communication, and business and professional communication in a fully online setting.
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Eran Katz: All right, my friend. So my guest today is a Professor of Communication Studies and a fellow podcaster, who runs the podcast “Communicate to Motivate” where he helps his listeners develop strong communication skills in different areas of life. And he also runs the Positive Schools program that provides training to K=12 schools on leadership, communication and culture. And we're going to talk about social pressure, communication between parents and children, and more. So please join me in welcoming Dr. Jim Van Allan. Jim, hi, how are you?
Jim Van Allan: I'm doing great here. Good to be with you all good to be with your listeners. I'm excited to be here. We got a lot of great topics to talk about and add value to your audience. It's such a pleasure to be here.
Eran Katz: I'm very, very happy that you're here with me today. We are going to talk about social pressure. But before we dive into that, just a little bit about yourself, I did introduce you a little bit but you can tell a bit about yourself and how you found yourself speaking about speaking, because I know that's something you do.
Jim Van Allan: Yeah, speaking is something I've always treasured, something I've always loved and, and thought I was pretty good at like when I was a teenager in high school, doing speaking competitions and being involved in clubs and organizations. And you get to a point where you say, what can I do with this skill? Right? Yeah, I'm a young, young kid, young student, what can I do with this, I'm going into college. And you know, my university, University of Florida did not have a major in public speaking, right, or communication. So I had to pivot a little bit. And I went the public relations route. I thought, well, still communication, I can kind of, you know, learn that aspect a little bit.
And but I always wanted to be a motivational speaker, one of these inspirational speaker types you see, go on stage, go into companies that was always pulling at me. And I had had an internship in public relations, and everybody in that internship had seen a speaker, his name is John Gordon, they'd seen him speak at a conference and they said, Jim, he's two hours away, you should contact them. I said, Okay, well, I'll contact them. So I wrote him an email. I said, I'd love to be a speaker, I would love any help you could provide. He wrote me back and gave me his cell phone. And we communicated the next day, that was 2006. And we haven't stopped working together since. So I graduated college. And you know, we kept working together as I went and got my master's degree. So I could teach my Master's in Communication Studies, I always wanted to teach at the university level. And while I was, you know, what I was teaching, I was able to get my PhD through my university almost 100% covered, which was quite a blessing. And I sort of built two paths, right, I had my teaching path and communication and public speaking, then I had my speaking path where I was working with John building his company, going into schools, training companies, keynote, speaking full day, half day training, everything in between. and now we're about to launch a new program called positive schools, where we're going to be, you know, focusing on improving school culture all around the United States of America and, and training school leaders and, and infusing a lot of the principles he's talked about in some of his books, and bringing them to schools and saying, hey, if you can talk about these principles on your campus, they can really work wonders for your morale, and for your culture. So that's, that's me, right? I love to teach communication. But I also like to practice it by actually doing it on stage with clients. And of course, with my podcast, communicate to motivate or trying to help people develop stronger communication skills. It's worked in my life, and I really like helping others do the same.
Eran Katz: And as you as you said, that I suddenly thought about what an apt name it is for for the podcast, communicate to motivate because I guess, as you said, you wanted to be a motivational speaker, you wanted to be one of those people who go up on stage and, and give a speech or talk with people and you want to move something in them. Right? And I kind of thought about it like that, that as a parent sometimes that's your role. You're trying to be the type of motivational speakers your children need. And do you ever find yourself using your knowledge and skills in you know, hacks and tricks from the classroom or from you know, whatever workshops you're doing with your children?
Jim Van Allan: I do and with my wife too, and my wife will call me out on it too. She will call me out and say “I know what you're trying to do” right? Or I'll get the other side where it's “Hey, you're supposed to be Mr. Communication. But yet you're saying and doing this” and then I'm like, wow, you got me right. But you know, you're right. I do it because I like to walk what I talk, walk what I preach, which is all about having positive thinking, shifting your perspective a little bit and taking ownership. Have your thoughts and using good communication skills with everything from body language to asking questions to people, and everything in between and using that with my family and teaching my children modeling it, I think that's the better thing is modeling, good communication modeling, good positive thinking, tone, you know, the words, we use modeling that for my children who are going to be six and four next week, they're exactly two years apart. And they're at an age where, you know, they're picking up on these things. And they're starting to understand that the words you use definitely matter. And there's studies all over, I mean, the Center for Effective Parenting, right, University of Tennessee found that children learn to communicate by watching their parents. And that's not rocket science, but that's what they're exposed to the most are looking at how you are behaving in public, and on the phone with your spouse, you know, when they hear in the car, when mom and dad are talking and driving, and the kids are in the backseat, they hear everything, my son will come at me, you know, even a day later and say, Dad, you said that, what does this mean? I'm like, well, you shouldn't have hurt, you know, they hear they see everything. And I think that holds us as parents accountable for how we behave, because they're learning from us. Yeah, they're gonna be the product of the environment they find themselves in, that's really important to me, that's motivating, right? Communicate is motivating, to not only be the best communicator for myself, and because that will impact society, you know, good, but for my legacy, my flesh and blood, my children, to become good communicators, so they can pay it forward as well. It's all a big domino effect. Right?
Eran Katz: Yeah, and I totally relate to that part of the way I work with parents is by what I call the parenting MAP, and one of the pillars of that is finding your own Purpose, which means what are your values as a human being as a, as a parent, in particular, and legacy is a big part of that, because it's how, and how you affect how you conduct yourself is how your children will learn to conduct themselves and their children after that. And I really like to think about those ripple effects. And you really touch on a very important topic, which where I see many times, people kind of miss out about how they act in not only how they talk, also how they act in the nonverbal way their children just pick up from that. And here in Israel, the culture can be very harsh, sometimes the cultural norms in where people talk to each other, which is a really different from places like the United States in some places, and you can really see people disrespecting each other sometimes, and then a, they're baffled in, in the ways the children act the same way. And they sometimes never see the connection between how they talk and act in, you know, react when someone cuts them off in, you know, on the road, etc. And then they expect the children to be these goody two shoes types, and, you know, that's never going to happen.
Jim Van Allan: Now, and you're, you're you're right, because, I mean, everybody needs to realize communication is generational. And your your family system, how you how you set up your family, what you value is generational. And, you know, you know, the, you know, in Israel, you know, you can you all can trace back generations and generations and, and, and it's all links together, right? We try to we try to be better than the last generation, but we have to, we have to work at that. So if my grandfather was a poor communicator, odds are my father probably was and then I have the tendencies to be that as well, just because that's what we've seen. And if nobody has worked on it through the generations, then it's going to continue being a generational curse or whatever you
Eran Katz: want to be paying being best down the line.
Jim Van Allan: That could because we all have tendencies, right? And, you know, we all have tendencies towards towards certain certain habits, and certain ways of thinking and how we behave. And communications part of that, and, and that's why you can't fight DNA, okay? And you can try to improve it and be more that's why the more self aware you become as a human being, the more you're like, Okay, I have a tendency to have a short fuse. Well, guess what, oh, wait a minute. My dad was like that. And oh, wait a minute. His mom I was so my grandmother was like, Oh, that's something that I can say I need to work on that because I see my child doing the same thing. When somebody takes a toy other hand there are flipping out and what you know, that happened to me once somebody cut me off. I think it's generational. So we can be the ones this generation to kind of have communication at the forum. friends say, I'm number one, I'm going to be more self aware of how I am, how I act, think and behave, how I use my nonverbals how I treat and talk to people. And I'm going to model that for my children. So they see that and we can break that poor communication, generational curse, as I may call it, I
Eran Katz: think one of the biggest problems that parents experience, at least from my perspective, with questions that I'm, I'm asked, and from people around, you know, on social media, or people come to, to work with me, parents feel a lot of times that the children never listened to them, or that they're trying to communicate a message that the children kind of either retail or like, you know, it's going from one ear in, you know, an hour, the other one, maybe you can think about things that parents can work on, or what what what do we need to do in order to get our children to, to, to listen, and to be motivated. And to make this a constant conversation, you know, how sometimes we tend to lecture our children. And that's not very, probably not very motivational and not very conversational?
Jim Van Allan: Once we all once we figure out that question, I think we'll all be millionaires, how do we get our kids to listen, because I'm working on that too, with mice, with my two boys. But here's the thing. So everybody, you know, how do you get your kids to listen? Well, number one as your listeners, right? Are you actually working on this as a family? Like, is this being discussed in your family? I was talking about the your family system, right? What is your family's system value? in my household, we value listening, we value communication, so guess what we value that we're going to be talking about it with our children, even when they're being good, even when they're not when there's not an issue like if they're if they're misbehaving, and they're not listening to me, that's maybe not the best time to be, you know, reinforcing your family values. That's, that's you have to insert the corrective behavior there. But we're talking about listening communication, when things are going well, we're in the car, we're in the dinner table. And so they know, that's what we expect, we expect when we say something that well in this house, so we value that, and that's just something that you do. That's the expectation. It's just it's like the air you breathe, it's just something that you do and, and it's an ongoing process. So we talked about it, we work on it, we and we also I think what's been helpful, too, is we reinforce a lot. So when one of our children is is actually listening or does something without us telling them we know where they go, and they put their stuff into the dishwasher or their clothes or going to the right spot, they make their bed and all that stuff. And I didn't say anything, we're going to reinforce Hey, I saw that you did this. That's a great job. I didn't have to say anything to you, and you did it. So that shows me as a parent that you've listened to me. So we're reinforcing the good behavior more than we are finger wagging at them for being a poor listener, because that's going to happen. And trust me when they act up or when you know, I tell them that the number one thing dad wants is for you to listen. That's like the my number one thing because I am a very time sensitive person. Like, you know, I'm very, I prioritize Well, I structure stuff. I like to move through the day, right? And if you're not listening to me, if you're taking 20 minutes to get your shoes on and get in the car, that causes me anxiety as a human being. Okay. So I try to reinforce Hey, you got your shoes on, you're in the car. Hey, thank you so much. You listen, you did a great job at that. So I'm hoping they hear that enough. And they just start you slowly but surely, slowly, but surely, they get it and they say okay, it means a lot dad, a mom that I listened to. And I followed through I did this on my own or I behaved here. I want that part number one, I want that positive reinforcement because kids do number two, that's the right thing to do. Because that's what's been reinforced in this household.
Eran Katz: Yeah, I like that. And I think how important it is to to know not only how to talk to children, but how to listen, and this is something that it's it's a skill, it's worth developing, like really listening to what I have to say, how many times and that's something that you know, I think any one of you guys who listen right now, can think about how many times you've cheated, and I'm trying to tell you something, and you cut them off because you're busy. And it's okay to be busy sometimes, but let them know that it's not the right time to have a conversation. Or even if you're not busy, but you know you already in your head, figuring out what you're going to say. So you just complete their sentences or, or, you know, move, move to the next point. But when you do that, and I sense that sometimes with my son, for example, he's seven years old, so he has a lot to tell me. He just wants to express himself. And he doesn't want me to know what he's going to say. By cutting him off by not really listening. I'm doing The service. So we need to do notice that it's so easy to just let that, you know, escape our consciousness.
Jim Van Allan: I like that you said that. And because I've said that before, you know, on my podcast and in my talks that our kids have a lot to say. And if we want them to be good communicators, let the teach them how to express themselves. And let them express themselves, you know, appropriately when they're when they're telling a story. Or if they're, you know, hey, you know, if they're misbehaving, Hey, why are you what are you feeling right now? What's going on right now? And just let them talk instead of cutting them like you said, instead of cutting off and saying, No, no, that's not it. Just let them get it out. And they'll kind of that teaches them to work through their emotions. So they don't have to have a phone to help work through their emotions, or they can work through it themselves. And our kids have a lot of great things to say you have a seven year old, a six year old, very smart, and really can say some pretty interesting stuff. Sometimes you just kind of let them talk. I love just asking open ended questions. You know, what were some of your favorite things you did today? Instead of how was your day? Tell me specifically like, what did you enjoy? What tell me some things that really motivate or made you happy today? Right? Those like specific questions, just to kind of let them talk, let them talk. And then I ask these clarifying questions on will tell me that again? Or how did that they make you feel? or How did they, where you're just always getting them to kind of self analyze their emotions and work through things and just understand that it is normal to to talk about how you're feeling what you're seeing what you're experiencing all these things without being interrupted. Yeah, I think that's, that's hard for us as adults, right? We want control a dad, right? I want a little bit more. I want some control we want we all want control, especially me over like time stuff. And sometimes I got to just take a deep breath. And I'll even squat down sometimes and get I say, all right, talk to me what's going on? You know, why are you upset? Let's instead of instead of the high perch where you're standing tall over I'm right, you have that nonverbal, that's a nonverbal, yes, space is nonverbal, I'm up here, your way down tonight is easy to get down, you can get a hug, you can look up if I and that really, I've noticed that really diffuses things a lot.
Eran Katz: Yeah, and from strictly from from a neuro neurological level, when you go down to the levels, you are giving really the nonverbal signal that everything is safe, because when you talk down to them, especially when you're upset or angry, so your voice also goes you know, to those places, but even if, if that's not the case, the act of going down to their level really gives the cue of safety because you're in their eye level you're you're there with them. So powerful.
Jim Van Allan: Right? And then you can you can initiate the hug you can kind of grab their hand you can kind of put your arm around them, Hey, sit I might sit on my leg here, let's talk and then they're they can they can feel you touch wise and they in and it's just the energy changes significantly from being this authoritarian, authoritarian to more of a cult, a tough love type thing or a love tough type of thing. I should call it love tough where, you know, and there are times right, don't get me wrong, right? There are times where we need to be that authority where we need to lay it down when we need to be up here. But then there are other times. And it's all situationally where we need to come down to the level where we need to lay in bed with them, or we need to stop the car and turn around where we need, we need to do those things. And I think it's important to know your child's right no know what their emotional triggers are, if you understand what their triggers are, and you understand the understanding how someone wants to be communicated with is key. Okay, so if you have a child who reacts well to when you get down and talk to them eye to eye, and you give them that one on one attention, that's great. Maybe you have a child who needs a little bit of space, you know, between when they're getting in trouble. And that's, hey, go to your room, let's talk in 10 minutes to talk in 15 minutes. Maybe that's helpful. I'm like that, right? I want to know how you communicate with me. I want to know how I communicate with my spouse, how do you best want to be communicated with ask them, you can do that with our spouses and our people in our families, but with our children, being able to read them, and yeah, and they're gonna make it pretty obvious how they want to be communicated with. And trial and error can help you get to that point. But once you find it, then you need to really be using that because that will help them to feel comfortable, more relaxed, it will lower the emotions, it'll decrease some of the meltdowns and it'll just help them to express themselves much more comfortably. And genuinely.
Eran Katz: Yeah. So and I think that's really valuable, what you just said about really getting to know your children better in a way of how they want to be communicated with That's really powerful. And that's something that we, we need to work on. And it's all about being more mindful of what is going on in their minds. And they, they actually tend to tell us in their own nonverbal way, right, you see their expressions, you see their body language, if you're attuned to that. And I think most parents have that in them, because that's what we do with babies, babies can talk, they can tell us anything, but they, they communicate a lot with their, with their cooing, and your crying and their x expression. So, and we are much more attuned to that. And parents kind of, quote, unquote, forget how to do that when children grow up to be four years old, for example, or even free. And that's really powerful when you can really read read the science and, and then you, you approach each one of your children in, in an optimal kind of wave.
Jim Van Allan: And in the right and in a situational way, because there may be some listeners who have multiple kids, and you know what, I, my wife is one of five, and they're all very different, right? Just on personality and how they want to be communicated with and how they communicate. And it's sometimes being the the outsider coming into the family, one of five, right? It's, it's like, I got to talk this way to this person. And this way this versus you know, and but I'll do that though. I'm like a communication chameleon, right? sort of changed, right? Anyone who I'm with, just because I want them to feel comfortable and want them to feel, you know, good talking with me. And our kids seem to the same way. Everything is nonverbal, right? between 60 and 90% of our communication is nonverbal. And as you're talking about babies, the number one thing babies first recognize is nonverbal communication, touch, what does the nurse do they take the baby out, put it right in mom's arms, right against their chest, at least the US right? I mean, with our first with our second child, we said we don't want to have any of this stuff, they put in their eyes, we don't want to try to breastfeed right away. We just want to put them right on mom's chest, and the baby calm down instantaneously. And there's a lot of research that shows that with newborns, right, take them out and put them right on mom, and just let them nuzzle in, you know, the smells, the feel the touch, I got that, you know, kind of pet is back and touches back with them as well. And it's nonverbals. And then they start to hear tone of voice from inside the womb, right inside the womb, their understanding tone, then when they get out, they hear it. They recognize mom and dad's voice and they open their eyes, they start seeing facial expressions, and what do we do we make these grand gestures and facial expressions, and then they react. So they're hardwired, the nonverbals are hardwired into them. That's why it's probably our strongest sense, whatever you want to call it. And something that is just as important as we get older, because when you're talking to kids and family and people, we tend to trust the nonverbals more than we do the verbal
Eran Katz: Alright, so I want to switch gears a little bit. And we wanted to also talk about social pressure. And, and I know you recently had a serious in our episodes in in your podcast, where you talked about families, and you also talked about social pressure that children are experiencing. So what what do you think about the things children are facing today? And you know, we can think about how how are those things are different from what their parents, which you know, you and me and my listeners used to experience because social pressure was always there. But it's kind of different.
Jim Van Allan: It is different and weird. To me, we're in a culture of expectation, we're in a culture that expects society wise, that you find success that you contribute that you do well. And there's nothing wrong with that, I would say but it's it's the parents are putting the the pressure on their kids from a very young age, and not letting them struggle through challenges. I think that's the hard part for a parent nowadays is they see the child struggling through something and they want to come in and come in on the white horse and rescue them and, and tell them you know, give them a participation trophy. And we're not letting our kids sort of struggle through challenges, not saying you leave them out to dry. But there's some character building that goes on, we can be the ones to be the supportive and facilitate and support and tell them we're there for them. But sometimes we have to teach our children that that they have to work through ultimately, we have to work through it on their own. Like we can help them of course by talking with them and being like I said being there with them, but it's gonna serve them so much better if they can kind of draw their own conclusions. And come out of that struggle knowing that they that they accomplished something that they did it, that they that they came to the realization that they needed to do. So I think in this culture of expectation and pressure, you know, social media certainly doesn't help. I think too many kids and families, you know, our kids are, are getting a false sense of self identity, through social media by what they see and who they interact with. And I think that fills them with the pressure on from a look standpoint, from a accomplishments standpoint, and that puts a lot of pressure on them to be keeping up with, I mean, you have a very open society now, like, you know, with our friends with people all over, so you can, you can compare yourself a lot. And I think that adds a lot of pressure, especially, you know, if you're, if your friends are going on after high school, or they get older, right, you see some friends that are starting to do well and do well. And maybe you're not doing as well, and you start feeling negative about yourself, even though you are doing well you just not as well as somebody else, right. And that can kind of add some pressure as well to it. And families feel it too. I call it an American kind of a phrase of, it's called keeping up with the Joneses. And that means, you know, Bob down the street gets a brand new TV, well, guess what, I got to get a new TV, Janie got a new car, well, you know, my car, I got to get a new car, they painted their house, I got to paint my house where it's this constant, one upsmanship keeping up with and that's exhausting. That's pressure. And that can cause a lot of anxiety, that can cause a lot of heartache, self doubt, negativity, and, and our kids are experiencing the same thing too. I don't want to, I don't want to completely put down social media, even though there's a lot of censorship going on right now in the US, but I don't like completely put them down. But I will tell you that when used well, and use effectively, social media can be a great platform for ideas and to share positive stuff, but there's an underbelly there, that has gotten I think out of control, and probably was not in the vision of the creators, you know, 15 years ago, they had no clue what it would really turn into on a mass level.
Eran Katz: And I think for for children, specifically, they all have these comparison games and trying to achieve something that is kind of like an ideal is very hard, it's harder for them than for us adults, because they don't have the internal structure to tell themselves that you're perfect, just as you are you find just as you are, it's okay to strive to be this or that. But, you know, you and I can can see something, you know, as parents, you can see someone's post on Facebook, for example, or Instagram and you think to yourself, wow, they really have it going very well, what are perfectly with family, and my house is a mess. But, you know, that's one thought that you having, and then you remind yourself that they took the picture of the house when it was clean. Normally, it was messy, you can do this differentiation. Children cannot they don't have the capacity yet. They don't have this perspective yet. So it's really tough. When when all this pressure is being, you know, put down on them, and they don't have the capacity to brush it off.
Jim Van Allan: Right. And they you know, what they understand, too, is that everybody is dealing with something. There's, we all have stuff we're working on, right? We all have baggage, we all have emotional baggage, we all have pasts and histories that that were on us and family drama and just stuff that you know, guilt at all. We don't we all have some mental stuff. We're all working on all of us, right? But the social media, you're not going to find that out because I'm going to put my best life out there. You're exactly what you said, I'm gonna take the picture of the house when it is spotless. I'm gonna put pictures up there. When I have shades on my wife's hair is nice. And my kids are smiling. Well, you know, I mean, you're gonna see the best and that's just not really realistic. But our students and our kids, I said that they they haven't lived long enough to to have the capacity to say, this really isn't the real world because they don't know life without social media. You and I do. I joined Facebook in 2004 when it first started, I was a freshman in college, and you see these links to join What's this Facebook thing, right? And it's just the university thing at the time. But so I know life before that I didn't get a cell phone till I was 18 years old. A senior in high school. I made it through middle school height most of my high school with the landline with no social media. I know that world before it but our students now they don't know the world or social media. When you wanted
Eran Katz: to talk with a friend you had to call the house and talk with the parents first.
Jim Van Allan: Hi mister. So and so is is john there? Can I talk or get your girlfriend right? That was the worst oh god her dad picked up her mom picked up, you know, I was the worst. And now direct shot direct line circumnavigates the parents, and that makes parents feel out of control too, because it's like, I can't have my thumb on everything that the child does. And that causes pressure and anxiety as well. You know, and especially with parents, right? parents put pressure on themselves to, you know, it's the comparison game, it really is. I mean, we, you want your child to do well and do it do x exceptional and be good behavior. And not only because you that's, you know how it should be, but because your neighbor's kid as well, too. And your sister's child is doing well and well behaved. Why can't you be more like that? Or, well, they're like this, we're always looking left and right, we're not stay in our lane enough and understand that whatever is going on in my house with my kids, I can deal with that. They're developing just fine, a little bit slower than some of the other kids, but you know what, they're on target. They're on benchmark, and I love them, and they're beautiful. We celebrate that.
Eran Katz: That's, that's awesome. So just, you know, to kind of move away and close it off. What do you think parents can do? You know, from this, from your standpoint, when you talk about speaking and motivation and communication? And, and, you know, delivering a message, what do you think parents can do if their children if or if they sense that children are under some kind of social pressure, like a peer pressure or justice need to? Perfect at anything? What What can we do? What? How should we approach them?
Jim Van Allan: Well, so that's, that's, that's a great question and approach our kids and talk with them about about this, I would say that, trust your so when, when people are struggling, or they're in the middle of a challenge, they always go back to their training, to teach you in the military. When you're stressed, you're caught in the middle of it, go back to your training, go back to your training. And if you're if you have young kids right now, you have you still have plenty of time to get their minds, right. And help them to see a world that doesn't have to be perfect at to set the tone in the house that I don't expect you to be perfect. I use it with my kids a lot. I you know, before we go into somebody's house, I'll talk to them, I'll say, Okay, what kind of behavior do I expect today? And sometimes my oldest to be like, Oh, you expect this to be perfect? I said, No, I said I don't I just expect you to listen, and be good boys, you know, in general. So I'm already trying to wash that out that the word the P word, the perfect word. So I think setting the tone early is helpful in bracing them when they're when they're struggling or when they do something wrong. And not just shoving them into the room and really getting on top of them. And really, you know, and really making them feel bad, but I'm helping them understand that maybe that behavior wasn't the best put in the correctable behavior and move on. Forgive, move on, don't let it linger. So they understand that it's okay to mess up. Because I'm still going to be loved, I'm still going to be appreciated by mom and dad, the people that matter the most. And that'll help when they're younger. Now, I think if you have teenagers, right? If you have older kids, then it becomes a little bit more difficult, especially if you haven't set that tone early when you have young kids. And I think here's the case of having that open door policy. And always trying to be like I said, communicate the motivate, right? Really trying to work on the communication. ask the right questions, to get them to open up. Don't push right when you when you feel like they're going when they're not ready to communicate, and try to come at it organically. So try to come at your teenager who has a lot of pressure on them and feels like they need to be perfect. Try to come at that organically instead of sitting down and saying, okay, so tell me everything about what you're feeling right now, you know, they may not respond to that. But if you can think of some conversation topics that will lead to topic B, delete the topic C and then it goes a little bit deeper. And then finally you can get to the point where it's like, okay, they'll start being a little more open and honest with you about what's going on, then you can talk to them, I would say, trying to listen and understand what they're feeling. Instead of just I think as you mentioned earlier, instead of just saying to Well, well, you shouldn't feel like that. Or That's crazy. Why are you thinking like that and saying some of those things, I think doesn't validate them doesn't they don't feel heard a teenager young and older kids not gonna feel heard. If they're just told they shouldn't feel that way. They shouldn't act that way. Let's let's give them some money. empathy, let's let them express themselves and then ask the right questions. If you can get a lot of information, you can teach a lot, simply asking questions and getting them to self dissect a little bit, and getting them to maybe come to the realization on their own. They don't have to be perfect. Nobody expects that, that they are beautiful, that's okay to mess up. And organically finding ways to input some relevant stories maybe from your past. And and leave it at that. So it's sort of a dance for teenagers, right kids, younger kids, it can be a more straightforward, the older ones, it's a bit more of a dance, you have to be a bit more strategic in how you approach them. And the questions you ask, and how you maneuver that conversation. But it's got to take a little bit of time, and you have to build up that habit in them. To be able to that it's okay to talk to your mom dad about what's going on. And it's okay not to not to be perfectly not to be affected so much by society. It's a dance, but one worth taking for sure.
Eran Katz: Yeah. Yeah, I think one of the best Taiko takeaway messages here is that it's really about letting them feel that they are accepted no matter what. And that takes time. It's not a one time conversation. And it's a it's a process. And it's a process of I liked, I liked how you call it the dance, you move a little, they move a little you approach each other, then you get, you know, further away from each other. And you dance around the issue a couple of times, and then you always in this way, give them the message that this is something we can talk about. This is why I'm here for I'm here for you. So when you're ready, we're going to talk about
Jim Van Allan: relationships safe work, don't they, they take a lot of work. And I always say relationships are a choice to and the time you will you're going to put in that relationship as a choice. And with your children, the time you want to spend with them, the time you want to communicate with them is a choice, you get to decide how much interaction to do how much of that dance, you're going to go, you know, I could dance all night, right? You got to decide how, how long you're willing to do it. And with your kids, you know, we should be willing to go to the ends of the earth to break through to them. They're our flesh and blood. That's our legacy. And we care about how they feel how they act, but we just have to learn how to approach them on it, especially when they get a little bit older.
Eran Katz: Yeah. All right. So we are approaching the end of this conversation, which is I think, was very illuminating and powerful around these topics of how to approach thinking, I really like this concept of community communicate to motivate. She's, how do we approach each other. So in my scope, it's how we parents approach you know each other, like each one in his or her own spouse or especially our children, and learning to do so as they grow up. Because the ways you talk to them the the basics are the basics, but you have to really know how to scale up the conversation and let them be themselves and let them know that there is always a safe place. So that's there's a lot to be done here. For parents, and I think that's part of the magic of being a parent of seeing seeing that happening.
Jim Van Allan: It is it's a process, but one worth one worth taking for sure.
Eran Katz: Yeah. I want to close up with a question. That's, it's a question. I asked everybody at the end of these conversations. And so you said you have six and four years old, right?
Jim Van Allan: Yes.
Eran Katz: So you know, if you could go back in time, a couple of years ago, six or seven years ago, before you became apparent when it was, you know, on the horizon, but before you became a dad, and have a conversation with yourself, maybe maybe a motivational conversation with yourself with your past self? What would you like to tell that person?
Jim Van Allan: As it relates to us? Uh, what would I tell my past self? Yeah, I would tell that I would tell that person to not have such a not have such a short and not have such a short fuse. I think. I think there were times when my kids were really young, where I would let little behavior things or a splash in the tub or, you know, spilling something where I'd be like, what are you doing, you know, where I would react really strongly because I wasn't used to the chaos. Yeah, and I just call it K. I say that lovingly, right? They had the kitchen being a mess, the rooms being a mess. I like to keep things nice and tight and orderly. So I would definitely tell that person Hey, you are going to miss this time. When they are young. Right when they grow up or when they leave the house. You're going to miss you know, the messy kitchen The bathtime the the little things, so just try to take it in stride, I would say. And I would just say just breathe, try to find, you know, it's put in the corrective beat behavior if you have to, but just try to smile and, and know that they're being kids and kids mess around. And kids get into troubles and dimes and kids say, kooky things, and kids spill stuff, and write on your floor when you don't want them to. And everything can be cleaned up, you know, in my house, you know, my kitchen might get messy, but it always gets cleaned up every night, you know, and I'm going to miss the time, you're going to miss that time, if you don't really enjoy it, and try to look at it from a different perspective. Instead of just looking at it as Oh, here we go again and try to be negative and sigh I would definitely tell them to just slow down a little bit.
Eran Katz: Awesome. Thanks for that. That's really cool. So if any one of my listeners want to learn more about you and what you do maybe work with you, how can people find more about you? Sure. So
Jim Van Allan: my podcast comes out every Monday it's called communicate to motivate you can find it everywhere. It's on Apple, Google, Spotify, every podcast, you know, platform. My website is Jim van allen.com. V is in Victor a n a l l a n. There's some information there on my training and speaking and the podcast links are all there to my work with author john Gordon Jln. Gordon, he's written the energy bus no complaining rule power positive leadership, his website, j o n Gordon, gr d o n calm. And that has a lot more information on specific positive schools training too. So I love connecting with listeners all the time. I'm on social media at Jim Van Allen, VA na LA and look me up let's communicate to motivate right. Let's have some fun. And let's keep the conversation going.
Eran Katz: Yeah, okay, that's, that's great. And I'll put links in the show notes of this episode. So you can find those at apparently parent.com. And that's that for today. So again, Jim, I want to thank you so much for this conversation, and I held fun, and I hope we can you know, continue to communicate.
Jim Van Allan: Let's do it. I enjoyed it as well. And let's use communication to the fullest extent so we can have better relationships with everybody, especially our kids. So thank you.
Eran Katz: Awesome. Thanks.
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The Apparently Parent Podcast
On this show, I share with you my perspectives and experience of parenting and psychology.
Enhance your understanding of the relationship with your child and yourself by learning about attachment, mindful and playful parenting mindset and techniques.
Listen to me sharing my knowledge and experience both as a parent and a therapist, as well as interviews with parenting experts from around the world.
Your Host – Eran Katz
I’m a clinical psychologist and parenting counselor specializing in attachment theory. I’m also the father of two children who are my best parenting teachers.
I believe that parenting is one of the most important jobs we ever do. This is why I created Apparently Parent and The Parenting MAP. My goal in life is to help as many parents as possible become 21st Century Parents, moving from chaos to harmony and building an enduring, meaningful relationship with their children.