Ep. 01 – The Parenting MAP

How often do you feel that although you do your best and you have all the right intentions, something in your parenting just isn't working right? You may notice that instead of harmony, fun, and games, your days are full of stress, arguments, and yells. And if you're anything like me, you don't like it.

Welcome to the first episode of The Apparently Parent Podcast. My name is Eran Katz, and I'm a clinical psychologist, parenting counselor, and also a father of two great kids. In this podcast we're gonna combine the art of parenting with the science of psychology, and my goal is to help you understand yourself and your children better, so you'll be able to navigate your family into tranquil water.

In this first episode, you'll learn about me and why I think that being a parent is like navigating a ship, and what are the three pillars of The Parenting MAP.

You'll Learn

  • Who am I
  • Why parenting and sailing are similar
  • What are the three pillars of The Parenting MAP.

Click here to listen!

Episode Breakdown

  • [01:26] Who am I and what this podcast is all about
  • [06:50] Your own parenting ship
  • [09:35] What is The Parenting MAP
    • Mindfulness
    • Attachment
    • Purpose

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When was the last time that you felt that something in your parenting isn't working right?

How often do you feel that although you have all the right intentions, things don't work, and you finish the day depleted, hoping for something better?

And when that happens, what do you do for help? Do you search online? Do you go to Facebook groups? Are you constantly looking for the best parenting system that will surely give you the best mom or the best dad award?

And how confusing all this can be, right? Because on the internet, you get all this conflicting advice, and you know the people on the internet can be so decisive and so harsh. So you're confused, and you’re left with fewer answers at the end of the day.

And I know I've been there and sometimes, to tell you the truth, I still am. But I know it can be a whole lot different. And I invite you to come with me on a journey to discover how. I’ll see you after the intro.

Hi, my name is Eran Katz, and I'm so happy and excited that you joined me on the first episode of The Apparently Parent Podcast. Together, we're going to travel the seas of parenting, and we're going to learn how to do a better job for ourselves and our families.

As this is the first episode, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I'm a clinical psychologist, and I run a private practice in Tel Aviv, Israel. As a matter of fact, I'm standing in the middle of it right now recording this. I work with adults and families alike, and I especially like to work with parents who come for consultations, who want to learn more about their parenting about their children, and how they can do a better job for their families, as parents.

And I'm also the owner of Apparently Parents, which is a website focused on helping parents just like you and I improve their relationships with themselves and their children.

I am also a family man. I have two kids, a six years old boy and a two years old girl, and they teach me a lot about being a parent and about children. And I also have a wonderful wife. She's a food blogger, a recipe developer, and a photographer. So rest assured, we eat quite well, and we have great photographs of ourselves.

So why a podcast about parenting, and psychology in the first place? If you're listening to this, I bet that parenting is important to you. You feel like the act of bringing the human into this world and raising him or her is so important and so meaningful that it shouldn't be done carelessly, right?

But parenting can also be really, really hard. It puts you in front of impossible situations. Have you ever had to change a diaper full of poop in the trunk of your car? I had to do it at least twice that I can think of. And other than poopy diapers, panting makes you look into the eyes of some demons, some internal demons that you may have forgotten that you ever had, or maybe you even didn't know you had.

And I would like to give you an example. I know myself as someone who is pretty lax most of the time. I can be stressed when things are stressful, but I do not get angry so easily by other people. But when my boy grew up, he started to do the things that kids do when they grow up, which is, you know, act out and make your life kind of miserable. And I'd like to share a story with you. So it's eight o'clock pm, and it's bedtime for him, okay? He's supposed to be ready for bed after a shower and dinner and after he finished all his games, homework, etc. By 8 pm he’s supposed to go to his bed.

And for the entire afternoon, he was beautifully busy with some electronics craft that he was working on, and I helped him with it a little bit. And then he ate dinner and got ready. And then at eight o'clock, you know, we told him “dude, time to go to bed”. And then all of a sudden he remembered that he wanted to read. He's learning to read right now and he reads quite well. So he enjoys it. And he picked up a book and he said “I want to read! I didn't have time to read!”

And I got really, really angry. I thought to myself, “dude, it's not fair. I spent the entire afternoon with you building your craft and other stuff. Now you remember you want to read? what's going on here? It's your bedtime. Don't try to squeeze the lemon too much”.

And I felt the anger rising inside of me. I felt the knot in my stomach and I felt this heat in my chest and I told him “No, dude, you can’t. okay? it's bedtime. I'm sorry”. And he was so stubborn. And he said “Only a few pages. It's not fair. I didn't have time to read today”. And I got really really angry and may have yelled a little bit, I honestly don't remember, but the point is that is that this is an angry side of me that I really really hate. And I do not want this angry side of me to to come out and I do not want my son to experience me as this kind of angry yelling dad. And this is a kind of internal demon that I didn't really know about. I didn't really have contact with before I became a parent.

And actually, to tell you the truth, this story, it happened only yesterday at the time of this recording, right? Because it's not something that happened a couple of years ago and then I worked this through and now I'm anger free. No, no, this is an ongoing mission for me. And this is the part of me that I know is there. And I know my kids can push these buttons in me and this is something I have to work o. I have to work and understanding these buttons, why I have those buttons and what I can do about it to prevent myself from going into this angry mode, which I do not like.

But other than that parenting is not only hard. Parenting can also be great. Parenting can be exciting, moving, meaningful and full of really, really happy moments. And I honestly believe that parenting is one of the most important things that I will ever do in my life. And I kind of feel like it was something that I was meant to do. And I know that I can help you feel like that.

And I want to share with my scheme of looking at parenting. This is how I look at my own parenting. This is how I look at parenting when with people I work with. And this kind of metaphor of looking at parenting will go with us with every episode of this podcast, with everything that we're going to talk about. And this is the metaphor of the ship.

When you became a parent, you were instantly handed a ship. And I'm not talking about the ship that goes “Baaa”, I'm talking about a ship that goes on the ocean. And you not only were given the ship, but you were also instantly promoted to the role of the captain. That's right. There was no learning curve. You didn't have to learn all the nitty-gritty details about running a ship and navigating the waters and running a crew you instantly became a captain. And you were handed down a mission, and it’s seemingly a simple mission because the mission statement says that you have to take care of the ship, you must not let it get lost, and you must not let it sink. Because that ship holds a precious cargo. So what cargo is? It is a trove of gold? Is it some secret that must not be unleashed into this world? Maybe it's the Tesseract? No. That cargo is your family. It's your children. It's your spouse if you have one, okay? And truth be told, if you have a spouse you're both kind of the co-captains of your ship. But eventually, you are the leader of the ship and being the leader is tough because the sea, my friend, the sea has many many dangers.

And no one ever taught you how to be a captain. And yes, you grew up on someone else's ship, okay, your parents ship for that matter, and you picked up some stuff but maybe those are not the stuff you wanted to pick up. No one really sat down with you and taught you the manual of running a ship and how to get the respect of your crew members and how to take care of them and how to navigate through storms and stuff like that.

Okay, so what you need is a guide. And a guide is a captain just like you with a little bit more know-how and a little bit more experienced in the inner details of ship captaining. And I want to be your guide on this podcast. Together we're going to sail the wonderful seas of parenting, and we're going to visit magnificent places like the peaks of hope and cape meaning, but also dark places like the pits of despair and the cliffs of insanity. And we may encounter the dreadful Pirate Roberts or other pirates or other demons or monsters that lie in the deep seas.

So If you were captain of the ship, and you want to get your family from point A to point B, and point B is where there’s tranquility, what do you need? If in your mind you said the word “map”, then you're right, my friend, you need a map. Every ship's captain needs a map. Right?

And this leads me to the parenting MAP that is really an acronym. It's mindfulness, attachment, and purpose. Okay, I'll repeat it again. Mindfulness, attachment, and purpose. Okay, those are the three pillars of the parenting map. And I know that if you follow the parenting map and the strategies and tips and mindsets that it provides, you will have a much better connection with your kids and you will be able to lead them into your desired harbor.

So I just want to break it down a little bit, each part of the parenting map - mindfulness, attachment, and purpose- and I’m going to talk a little bit about it just to, you know, set the stage for what we are talking about. And in future and different episodes, we're going to dwell into each one of those pillars in its own way.

So let's start with mindfulness. And I know you've probably heard about mindfulness. This is such a buzzword these days, it's been for a couple of years actually. And if you google mindfulness or mindful parenting, you're gonna get tons and tons of results. And I want to give you a simple definition. Mindfulness, the act of being mindful, is about paying attention, moment to moment with no judgment to whatever is coming up inside of you. And I'll repeat that for a second. Mindfulness means paying attention, moment to moment, to whatever is coming up inside of you with no judgment. And the last part, the no judgment part is really, really important because sometimes we tend to neglect that.

And being more mindful and practicing mindfulness, it can be done in many, many ways. And it has been proven to help on many levels. It's not a silver bullet. It's not a magic pill, but it can help you both physically - it's been shown to reduce blood pressure rates, etc - and also mentally, it can make you feel more relaxed, more balanced in your internal mental and emotional life.

And for me, it's important because mindfulness can make you a better navigator. If you're leading your ship through waters, mindfulness can make you a better navigator because you notice storms before they arrive. And you know how to preempt them, how to navigate around them, or even go through the storm but without losing your ship. Okay? So this is the importance of being mindful as a parent.

Now let's move on and talk about attachment. Attachment is a theory in psychology and it's my baby as a psychologist. I love the attachment theory. I work with attachment theory with my patients, and I research attachment in my PhD thesis. And this is for me the best psychological theory that I hold.

And let me say first and foremost that when I talk about attachment on this podcast - it is a parenting podcast and I talk about attachment a lot - but I do not talk about what is known as attachment parenting. “Attachment parenting”, quote-unquote, is a specific parenting system and it has some guidelines, and I do not totally agree with that/ I have some beef with this, and I will get into this in a later episode. But I want to stress that I'm not talking about attachment parenting per se.

I do talk about the attachment theory in psychology, and how it ties into our parenting practices. Because for me, attachment talks about fostering a secure relationship between ourselves as parents, and our children, also ourselves and our spouses, or ourselves and ourselves. But mainly it's about the relationship between you and your child, and especially about how you the parent can make the relationship between you and your child more secure for your child.

The originator of the attachment theory is known as John Bowlby. He was a psychologist and a child psychologist. And he talks about how parents are supposed to be the bigger and wiser part of the relationship. We are bigger because we are older and we're stronger. And we’re also wiser because we have more experience in the world. So we are there for our children to lean on. And when we can do that we can foster security in our children and they can use these skills to explore the world, okay, and then they can explore their emotions in the outer words of friendships, and they feel more confident to go out to the world. And this is what we want to instill in our children. And yeah, we're going to talk a lot about how we can foster this attachment between yourself and your children.

So let's move to the third pillar of The Parenting MAP, which is purpose.

Everything we do in life can be done with purpose or without it. And that’s true to parenting as well. Being purposeful means that you take the time to think about what you do, why you do it, and how you should do it so you’ll end up where you wanna go. When it comes to the parenting MAP, purpose is about moving from a place of winging-it, or drifting on this ocean wherever the wind takes you, to taking a more active approach of actually trying to steer the boat. And steering the boat starts with knowing where you want to go. This is what purposeful parenting is all about. Questions like “what kind of parent do you wanna be?” or not less-important: “what kind of parenting do you want NOT to be?”, “how do you want your children to experience you and remember you?” and more - those are the questions that will direct you to your purpose and values as a parent.

Okay, so this is a time for a quick recap. When you became a parent, you were handed down a ship. And that ship holds your family, your children, it's up to you to be the ship's captain, and to lead your family into calm and relaxed waters. But the sea is full of storms, and demons and pirates and dangers, and you have to know how to notice them and how to navigate around them or find them and do whatever you have to do in order to get to those calm waters.

And the thing that can help you do that is The Parenting MAP, which boils down to mindfulness, attachment, and purpose. And we're going to talk about this in our podcast, this map and this metaphor of the ship And I'm going to help you see how you can utilize different mindsets and strategies and answer your questions about how to be a better parent for yourself and for your children.

Okay, so this is the end of this episode. I want to thank you so much for listening to the first episode of this show. It truly means the world to me that you invited me into your earbuds like that. Please subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcasts on, so you'll never miss an episode. And if you enjoyed this episode, I'd love if you could share it on your social media or send it to whomever you think will find it interesting and useful. And I would also like to ask you to get an Apple Podcast and leave an honest review. Whatever you want - good or bad - whatever you feel. Besides helping this show getting in front of more people, it will help me learn a lot about what your needs are, what you want to hear more about, etc. So if you have a couple of minutes, just go to Apple Podcast, type in The Apparently Parent Podcast and leave a rating or review, I would really, really appreciate it. That's it. If you want to learn more about what we talked about, you can go to the show notes of this episode at apparentlyparent.com/1. And I will see you in the next episode. Bye.

About 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. 

Eran Katz - Clinical Psychologist and Parenting Counselor

Your Host

Eran Katz

First, I’m a father of two kiddos. But I’m also a Clinical Psychologist and Parenting Counselor specializing in Attachment Theory and Experiential, Emotional Focused Psychotherapy. I believe that parenting is one of the most important things we ever do in our lives. This is why I love talking about it and helping parenting just like you and I find their best-parenting-selves.

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