· · ·

How To Navigate The Minefields Raising Adolescent Boys

Today we’re talking all about raising tween and teen boys with Bethany Jett who is an absolute blast. You will love her sense of humor and honesty about her own challenges and imperfections as a mom in the thick of it raising 3 adolescent sons.

 

Bethany is an award-winning author and award-winning ghostwriter, and entrepreneur who has co-authored the leadership book with Victoria Duerstock: Navigating Minefields, a Young Man’s Blueprint for Success on Life’s Battlefield. 

 

What You Will Learn: 

We talk about the challenges of our sons pulling away and how to get them to open up and talk and what it looks like to support them through all the emotions and transitions.

How our role changes with our sons during the adolescent years and how to be intentional to meaningful connect with they’re pulling away.

How to support our sons based on their unique personalities to grow into healthy leaders.

 

You will find this interview so refreshing and reassuring if you are raising an adolescent son or want to understand adolescent boys better or the mothers that love them.

 

Let’s jump in!

 

LISTEN HERE!

 

Where to Find Bethany Jett: 

Bethany’s book AVAILABLE NOW: Navigating Minefields: A Young Man’s Blueprint for Success on Life’s Battlefield (It’s a great gift for sons!)

Website: https://www.bethanyjett.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyJett

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bethanyjett/

 

Transcribed Podcast Episode:

 

Sheryl

Hi, Bethany, welcome to The Moms of Tweens and Teens podcast. I am so excited to have you here and talk about raising boys and your new book.

 Bethany

Thank you for having me. I’m super excited.

 Sheryl

I am too and I was telling you before we jumped on here, it’s so difficult to find moms like you to get on here and talk about what it’s like navigating the boy world. And you have just written your latest book, which is not released yet, but you can pre-order it. It’s a leadership book for boys called: Navigating Minefields, a Young Man’s Blueprint for Success on Life’s Battlefield. I thought that’s a great jumping-off point for you to talk a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write the book.

 Bethany

Well, this book is written by me and my co-author, Victoria Duerstock. And she actually came up with the idea three or four years ago, and she’s an author herself, too. And she’s got two girls and one boy, and she said, “I’d love to do a book for boys, you’ve got three of them. Is this something you’d want to do together?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, sure.”

So it was one of those things that kind of just sat in the background, but she’s starting her publishing house, and this is the time – let’s just do it. So I jumped on with her. And it was perfect timing because my kids are 15, 13, and now 10, almost 11. And they need this book. I have this book for them and forced them to read it while they still live in my house.

 Sheryl

Yeah, they’re right at that ripe age of needing a book like this.

 Bethany

Yes. I think I’m going to make them read it out loud in the car on the way to school. I think that’s my plan. As soon as more copies come in because we’re still at pre-release at this point. Almost there.

 Sheryl

Yeah. Now, what was this process for you writing this book? Did you have the boys read it and share what they thought about it?

 Bethany

I didn’t have them read it. I read one of them to the younger two, while we were waiting for my oldest son to get out of soccer practice. It was right before I had to turn in the completed manuscript to the publisher. So it goes through rounds of edits and things. But I just wanted to make sure I was hitting the right tone.

I’ve always written books for women. And then my first book was a dating guide for young girls. And so it’s much more conversational that way. That’s how I’m used to writing and this is more punchy and short because of boys’ attention spans. And I read one of them to them and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, that was good.”

You take it with a grain of salt because you know your kids will lie to you. If it was bad they would have told me that. “Okay, I think he’s crossing his fingers.” But we just split up the chapters. Vicki and I even for one chapter we wrote the same exact thing. I actually had to change an entire chapter because not realizing it we both came at one of the topics the exact same way. It was crazy. Just guess it was an important one.

 Sheryl

Yeah, isn’t that wonderful? It’s confirmation that okay, we agree it’s important. Would you say it’s like a mom’s book to your sons of what lessons you want them to know?

 Bethany

Yes, the original idea was kind of like in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It’s like mom’s lessons to sons. Those ideas are still true and timeless, and how do we make it sink in for our kids? For boys specifically today? So this book isn’t a devotional – I think we’re gonna do one of those next, but this one’s just really more the leadership and motivational style for them. And I know we wanted to make sure that if a boy picks it up, he doesn’t feel like his mom is talking to him. 

So that was really important in writing it to where it sounded more like a general voice coming at them instead of another mother telling them what to do. So we have a lot of really great experts and cut them short and got to the point and told some stories in there without making it sound like my mom, you know how they are?

 

Sheryl

So there are quotes in the book and things for them to hold on to and to internalize.

 Bethany

Yes, that was really important for them to kind of be able to come to the same conclusion that I want them to come to without them thinking I’m guiding them in that way.

 Sheryl

Lecturing them or especially as they inch towards the teen years, they’re not as open to moms.

 Bethany

They’re not and I have one brother and a sister. And I remember my mom always saying that the difference she saw between my sister and I, had conversations with her. She said, “You girls will just talk, talk talk. But when my brother wanted to talk she would have to stop everything, because he may not want to talk again for a few days. So she needed to have that conversation at that time. I didn’t know I was gonna have three boys of my own, but I never forgot that. It’s true. The older they get. “Oh, you want to talk to me right now at 10:30 at night about your girlfriend? The deadline can wait, let’s talk.”

 Sheryl

“Let me get my cup of coffee. I’ll be right back.” Yes. You cannot miss it. How are you finding that transition now you have your youngest – is how old, nine?

 Bethany

He’s 10. He’ll be 11 this month.

 Sheryl

Okay, and then the oldest is 14. Did you say 15?

 Sheryl

  1. Okay. Oh, goodness. Has there been a shift happening?

 Bethany

Yes. I was just listening to your podcast on puberty with Michelle Mitchell talking about it and it was making me laugh because the youngest doesn’t have to shower every day where that’s now the rule with the other two: daily showers. I don’t care what you did. It’s that whole transition I’m seeing of him still kind of liking to be the youngest. So I don’t have to do all these things just yet because he hasn’t hit that stage yet.

 Sheryl

Stinky smelly.

 Bethany

It’s almost there. Watching the relationship change with my boys and having read books, earlier when they were younger, and worrying about the change where they would start to identify more with their dad. And it was – that was natural. And you know how moms can help with that. But then my role no longer seems to be with them so much as the disciplinarian like it was when they were toddlers and I was the one teaching and taking care. 

They’re really almost more like the guide like Gandalf. Steering them and helping them think four steps ahead for them, saying, “okay, here’s the things down the road, you need to think about it. That’s the choice you make.” And it’s interesting to watch those relationships shift a little bit, you know, they still need me as our mom, but in a different way as they get older.

 Sheryl

Yeah. How has that been for you? Has there been any slight grieving involved in that?

 Bethany

Yeah, I think it’s gonna hit really hard with the youngest because I always said, “oh, you know, when I have kids, my baby will not be the baby.” My brother’s the baby and I’m gonna change all those dynamics. You can’t control that. They’re the baby for a reason. Because they’re the last.

 Sheryl

Yeah, and the last out of three boys

 Bethany

I think it’s one thing I’m trying to do intentionally with them that worked really well with the oldest, but they all have three different personalities. I can’t get too excited that it worked well with my oldest one, because I don’t know how it’s gonna work with the middle one.

 

My mom does something called the 10-year birthday trip. And so she takes each grandchild and they hit 10 on this weekend, and they kind of get to do whatever they want, within reason. And they just look forward to it for so long. I thought, okay, I’ve got boys, if I had girls, I might do this at 16. But 13 seems to be a pretty good age where I’m still mommy a lot of the time. And they’re just enjoying the new world of being a teenager.

And so I said, I’m going to do the same thing for their 13th birthday. And then my husband – I just told him what he had to do. You have to do 16. That’d be a good time for them to go off with their dad. It worked really well with my oldest and he just wanted to be in the hotel room and play his video games without his brothers around and we went out to eat and I think I took him to a movie. It was just really calm.

It kind of changed things in our relationship too, because we got to talk a lot because he was the only one there. I was trying to be really intentional with that trip. But then after that, making sure that if we didn’t have a good relationship now this year, I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get it back when they hit 14, 15, 16. 

And so I’m really trying to be intentional with the 13-year-old who just turned 13 now because I’m seeing him start to shift. He’s starting to pull away more than he was before. The hormones are happening and he’s angry. He doesn’t know how to deal with it and I don’t know how to deal with it because he’s “different angry” than his brother was.

 Sheryl

“Different angry” – that’s so true. It can really look different. A different angry – maybe one that’s more having outbursts and then another one that’s more the silent angry. What are the different “angries” for you?

 Bethany

My oldest tends to kind of blow up. You can see him not really understanding why he’s upset, but he just gets upset really quick, and then it’s over. The middle one, it’s more, I think he’s gonna be the writer in the family, he’s more thinking and more introverted. So it’s a lot of internal feelings. And I think it builds up a little bit. And then he doesn’t really know how to handle the emotion. And so it comes out as bullying. 

It didn’t really happen like that with my eldest. Just yesterday I told my mom “I feel like this is the time, I’m glad that I can be home with them.” Because they really need me right now as they’re dealing with these emotions. I’m just thankful for that, trying to be intentional with them as they navigate this. It’s hard.

 Sheryl

It’s hard. And it’s a lot. I love that idea for all the moms to hear that your mom takes them at 10 and then you get them at 13. I love that because my son did travel baseball, and so I got to sometimes travel with him without my husband. I almost got teared up when you were talking about going to the hotel room. I  miss that so much and now he’s married. He’s 28. But I think those are some of the sweetest times and it wasn’t even that we did that much. It was just being together. I think with boys, it’s a lot of being.

 Bethany

Yes, I would agree with that.

 Sheryl

I said to my husband, “how are you getting him to talk?” And he said, “I don’t talk.” Oh! We’d be in the car and I would be driving him to baseball. I’d think I can take this opportunity to talk to him. And I’d start talking: “How is this? And how is that?” So I thought okay, I’ll try that. And I didn’t talk for like the first 15 minutes, which was so hard. And he would start talking. That works.

 Bethany

That is a good tip. I read in a book somewhere that they recommended for moms with boys in particular that two things worked. If it wasn’t a serious conversation like they’re not in trouble, they’re not being disrespectful, – it’s not that type of talk – then to let them not make eye contact with you. Like if they’re doing something or going for a walk or they can be moving or playing with Legos or doing something that sometimes you’ll get them to talk easier that way.

Whereas with girls it’s eye contact or watching body language, we’re listening to tone -there’s so much happening and just in general girl conversation versus a boy conversation. I have found that to be one of the best pieces of advice ever.

 Then the second part of that was when it’s a more serious conversation where you need them and they recommended touching them on the shoulder, some kind of touch. When they were younger, I would squat down to their level and just touch their hand, touch their arm when I was saying it because I needed them to be paying attention to me that way.

So those two things have really helped. Even now as they’re older, when they’re playing Legos – this might be a good time to talk about something that was going on but not forcing eye contact where maybe I would have expected that as a sign of respect. I kind of let that go.

 Sheryl

I love that. Well, they’re playing with Legos today I think it feels less intense like as women I think we’re just more intense.

They’re kind of sort of removed but not. Even when I see my son now. I’m so excited to see him. And I have to back up a little bit inside of myself to not just bombard him. I think we can feel like that with our boys. We’re just wanting to bond. Hopefully, a lot of the moms with boys are relating and comforted by that.

 Bethany

It helped me feel like -I didn’t know what to do with boys. I didn’t expect to have three boys. I always figured I’ll have boys and girls and a daughter and it didn’t happen that way. I think for any boys, or for moms of only boys. I grew into it and I wouldn’t change it. I know a lot of boy moms have said that as well. I think at the beginning I was sad maybe for not having a daughter, but now I’m the queen in this house.

 Sheryl

A queen of the house. I love that. The only girl with all boys. I’m the queen of the house.

 Bethany

They steal my husband’s clothes. And I get to watch that circumstance now. No one touches my stuff!

 Sheryl

Trying to sneak your clothes. I did that to my mother, I would be like, “Oh, I love that sweater.” Let’s dive a little bit into your book, because it’s about leadership. And some would agree that it’s become an epidemic now with our boys, and learning what it means to lead and to be leaders. And do you agree with that?

 Bethany

Yeah, I do. I think there’s a lot of mixed messages on how boys are supposed to behave right now. I think it’s difficult for them to know. There’s the idea that boys have natural instincts. And sometimes, depending on society or who in society they are listening to, they’re being told to suppress it or change it. That can be confusing. Growing up is hard enough. 

There’s just so much coming at our boys right now that it makes it hard. It adds to the trickiness of raising them to be strong leaders and to respect women and respect everybody. You want all those things to be there, but you don’t want them to be ultra jerks.

 Sheryl

I think that’s good to define. What do you think it looks like? When you’re writing the book for or for men to lead. When you think about the word “leader” when you were writing the book – how would you define that?

 Bethany

One of the things defined in the book is the three villains of leadership, which is something that we talk about. I can actually just share those three.

 Sheryl

That would be great.

 Bethany

These three are subjective because there’s a lot of villains of leadership. But the three that I think are dominance is a villain. Because that goes to  “oh, you have to be this, macho, super masculine, overbearing personality.” But leadership also can sometimes come from a quiet strength. And strength doesn’t have to be dominant, strength is not having to yell to be heard. And that’s not being the dominant person in the room, it’s being the person that gets the most respect, that doesn’t have to yell. That can be a leader, too.

When we’re looking at our boy’s personalities, how can each one of them be a leader? They’ll show different leadership qualities early and how do we feed into that without telling them they have to be so tough to be the leader when sometimes it’s not the tough guy that’s the leader. So dominance would be the first one.

The second villain of leadership is arrogance. When you just get this ego because you’re in a leadership position. I’m trying to teach our boys that leadership is really about service and then if you’re the boss, then you’re really serving the people underneath you, that’s how you lead them and gain respect.

That kind of leads into the third one. Which duplicity was the best word for it. Any kind of shrewdness or “two-faceness” or hypocrisy is a villain. Because a lot of times, especially in business, there’s so many gray areas and so you have to make a lot of choices. But trust is the opposite of that. If you want people to trust you. Leaders have that trust. People – listen to them, because they have this sense of “they’re not going to steer me wrong.”

When the boys were little and even now still, not wanting to tell when they don’t turn work in. Even these little ” white lies”, it’s still being honest about the small things. Then the hard things make me trust you when the big things are gonna come because they’re coming down the road  – bigger stuff is coming for you. We need to be able to trust each other. “I didn’t turn my homework in.” “Okay, well now I can deal with that – not deal with that and deal with lying about it.” It’s always going to compound because I don’t want them to be that way when they’re in the boardroom, or at a job.

 Sheryl

Yeah, trying to get away with something because they don’t want to expose it in the open.

 Bethany

Because when you get the reputation for always cutting corners, I don’t want them to have that. And it’s very easy too. With the internet at their fingertips. Whereas I didn’t have that growing up. It was coming out when I was growing up. They have access to all kinds of information. So even for homework and schoolwork, all the answers are right there.

They could say, we need to build a trust that you can do this on your own. So even just the small things now that we’re seeing with school, it’s just making sure your integrity matters.

So then the opposite of the villains would be the heroes: confidence, a service servant’s heart, empathy, and then integrity and trust are the things that are going to help them when they get into those positions. 

Sheryl

When you think about leadership being an epidemic. I’ve done research on you and am following you now on Instagram. You really lead  – you’re a writer, you’re an entrepreneur, you help women build their businesses, you do all these amazing things. And so you’re leading and wanting to lead your boys. How do you think it’s different between boys being leaders, women being leaders? Do you see a difference there?

 Bethany

I do, I think the boys are going to have it a little bit easier, just because they’re boys growing up to be men. Even in my business with my business partner, and my best friend, her name’s Michelle. If we’re on client calls with older men, especially, it’s almost like we have to prove ourselves three times, the credentials aren’t enough. So it’s interesting to watch that dynamic in our own business. And I think, Okay, this is a door that probably they’re not going to have to deal with. But I want them to still have all the things behind them the way that I had. Have your credentials, have your record speak for itself, which goes back to integrity – have the bulk of your character be there, so that no matter what happens, in business, or if they become entrepreneurs, or whatever they do they’re not going to have to worry about that so much. I really want them to have empathy. 

I hear Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s a super amazing social media and marketing – he’s really is a brand in and of itself. But he talks about empathy so much, and how you’re there to serve people and it’s all about them. I want the boys to have that too. 

Because I watch Gary Vaynerchuk lead in that way, too. People love him because he takes the time to talk to someone about an Instagram question. You know, it’s just such a small thing. But you watch him do that because it’s important to him to care about people. And that’s really where I want them to go. And sometimes that’s not talked about with leadership, it’s about getting to the top and being a boss, or it gets more into being a manager, instead of really leading by example.

 Sheryl

I love that – really having them care about people. Why do you think it’s suffering now? Why do you think this is becoming an issue? Do you have any thoughts on that?

 Bethany

My other business partner is a guy named Kyle. He’s also my literary agent for our serious writer business. He’s got kids my kids’ age. He’s a pastor at his church. And he was watching the youth kids be in a room without their phones. And he said, “You know, they don’t know how to talk to each other.” I said,  “What do you mean? Like they communicate all day.”  But he said, “they don’t. They are used to communicating through text or at school, they’re not really talking or if they’re at lunch, there are small pieces where they’re together, face to face, but when you take the phones, they’re not sure what to do.”

 Bethany

He was explaining and I thought, That’s true because my kids are mostly communicating through FaceTime because if they’re at home, they’re talking to their friends online, or they’re in a video game or they’re not face to face. My boys talk to friends or they play video games together as a lot of how they communicate. There’s a lot of anonymity behind the screen. And that’s how they’re learning to talk to each other, too. We’re kind of losing the whole way of that inner personal connection that we were taught growing up, it’s not there as much, either. So it’s tricky to navigate them in a world where that communication is so instant. And that two-way communication is so fast that they have to deal with.

 Sheryl

Even dating comes to my mind, I was just doing a teaching on that. Talking about dating, relationships, and boys, not having to ask girls out actually call and then you would hear their voice and you would talk and “Hey, what do you want to do? Would you like to go out with me?” Now so much is done through text. It’s a different world.

 Bethany

It is. The first time I had my son call, I think it was my mom or somebody on the phone. And it was the worst phone manners I’d ever heard. And I remember thinking to myself, who raised you, and I thought, I talked on the phone but they don’t – they talk to me or my husband on the phone sometimes, but they don’t really talk on the phone anymore. It’s all text or FaceTime. 

So we’ve had to work on phone manners now. Now we make him order pizza, and he hates it. Talk clearly, say goodbye, thank – all the things and how to answer the phone. I thought that was just a skill that I grew up knowing right? You learn it from a very young age. How crazy is it just to watch them growing up without knowing how to do that? I thought what else is there that I took for granted that they know that they probably don’t know. And so I’m trying to watch for those opportunities like the terrible phone call he made.

 Sheryl

Well, thank you for sharing that, because it’s a skill that he did not have. And it could have looked at it like “I can’t believe that you don’t know” rather than “Oh, this is a skill that’s underdeveloped. And so I’m going to look for opportunities for him to develop the skill.”

 Bethany

I don’t think I snapped at him because that’s my natural instinct for them. But I think I was horrified.

 Sheryl

Who’s his mother? It’s me!

 Bethany

I am looking for the “Who’s your mother” moment. And right now it’s socks all over the floor. I cannot even tell you what happened. That is an epidemic in our house.

 Sheryl

I love your transparency. It’s comforting. It’s what we need as moms and your sense of humor in the midst of it. You had a meme and I thought it was so funny that you said “if you can’t figure something out, ask my teen son, apparently he knows everything.”. That’s a good conversation starter here because how do you have important conversations with your boys about leadership and about empathy and all these things when they think they have all the answers? Have you figured that out?

Bethany

I have not figured it out – I am rolling with the punches but even today my 13-year-old had a school project that he made out of Legos and it was amazing and it fell apart in the tote as he’s carrying it to the van – “alright no big deal we’ll fix it. I can park, you can take care of it.” He was doing that but the reason it fell is that – he had Legos those big green base plates like..”

 Sheryl

Yeah, for me their grass.

 Bethany

He had built this very intricate base but it wasn’t really a base, It’s like a stand – a cake stand. So a really long piece on top and then a smaller thing to hold on to. I said, “you know the reason I fell over was because it’s your base – is awesome.” Trying to be positive. “But it’s going to tip so I don’t think you should put it back on when you get to the library.” 

And so then we’re having it in the car on the way to school, not only back talking, but almost arguing with me over why he needs to have the base on it. I said, “Look, here’s what I think is gonna happen, you’re gonna put it on the table, some kid is going to bump into the table, and the same thing is gonna happen and your project’s going to shatter, and you’re not gonna be able to fix it.” “No kids are gonna bump the table.”

I don’t know why you kids don’t listen to me. I’m thinking four steps ahead for you and giving you the options. You still don’t want to do it so fine, put the base on and see what happens, which is probably not my proudest parenting moment. Why don’t you trust me, I’m looking out for you? And I said I would carry the project with one hand, carry the base another hand, – but just come on!

 Sheryl

So it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

 Bethany

I am looking forward to hearing about it.

 Sheryl

It’s gonna be really hard. And you might have to bite down on something to not say, “I told you so.”

 Bethany

“I’m really sorry that happened to you.”

 Sheryl

Or he might not tell you because he doesn’t want to hear that mom was right.

 Bethany

I know.  It really is my oldest son that that meme came from him – something he had said, and I thought, “Well, you know what? IListen, one day, one day, you’re gonna call me or you’re gonna think to call me you’re gonna say you were right about just anything we’re talking about, someday, you’ll come back and say this.” It’s happened once so far, he’s already realized I was right about something. I’m like, “Well, you know, there’s more coming your way. But thanks for admitting it this.”

 Sheryl

You do have a great sense of humor. Do you use humor a lot with your boys?

 Bethany

You have to because everything is a bathroom joke. I’ve heard girls do it too. So I’ve had friends who say, my girls joke about this kind of stuff, too. But everything is bathroom humor. And even if it’s not talking about bathroom humor, it’s still like that kind of thing I have learned that they just naturally think it’s funny.

Sheryl

All the time. Oh, my gosh, totally.

 Bethany

There are certain words in our house that the boys are not allowed to say in front of me because my husband is a middle school boy at heart. The military, he’s super confident, he’s commanding the room. And yet, they all think that things are funny that I don’t and so there are certain things they can’t talk about in front of Mommy. That’s where I had to make the line. But they respond well to humor and then they also respond well- it’s gonna sound so bad. Sometimes I have to shock them to get the behavior to change. Otherwise, they kind of don’t respect me all the time.

 Sheryl

Give an example.

 Bethany

We call it the Pokemon debacle of 2017. My husband had been gone overseas for six months he was back from Afghanistan and so the family dynamic had changed because six months is a long time. I had already gone through those military single mom stages, and now I was in complete control of the house. But six months is enough time to get to that point, you’re now dying inside but handling.

So then the husband comes back and now we’re switching dynamics again. And that’s just something in and of itself. The boys I saw instantly – the respect that I had, during that time dropped as they started then balancing my husband being home too. So I’m kind of watching this dynamic shift where, I’m not the only parent making decisions any more, and they’re kind of playing off of that too.

When I was just over it, they had just been completely disrespectful and disobedient. And Pokemon was the thing and so I grabbed every Pokemon that I could find threw them in the trash in front of them and we lived in a condo at the time and I knew I would regret it – I knew I would pull them out at some point as soon as I was over the anger part. 

So I pull that trash bag out, tighten it up, went outside put it in the car and I drove it to the trash recycle – the big trash dumpster and threw it into the compactor so I wouldn’t have the chance to go and get it again. It was almost like I had to shock them to the point where I’m serious when I say something. I will have to follow through on consequences and that’s really what it was it wasn’t – I’m not trying to trick them into good behavior but the consequence – they weren’t seeing consequences matching what their behavior was.

So that was part of that I had to go back and say okay, we don’t need to get to that point again – consequences have to matter every single time. But sometimes with them, the consequences didn’t matter, they didn’t care and that’s kind of where we had gotten to. “Oh, I’m in timeout. I don’t care anymore. Oh, I got my phone taken away. I don’t care. Oh, I can’t play video games. I don’t care.” It had just reached that elevation. So sometimes now say Do we need to have another Pokemon debacle? Because I’ll do it and it could be about anything.

 Sheryl

You definitely made a statement in that that they have never forgotten

 Bethany

I look back on it they know and still remember that if they push me too far there will be severe consequences they’re absolutely going to hate and so I don’t want to get to that point again and we haven’t had to get to that point again because I’ll sometimes I just have to say do I need to do this again? No no no no no.

 Sheryl

It’s like a code word Pokemon.

 Bethany

Oh someone with an early childhood education degree is gonna send you an email. Sorry about that.

 Sheryl

But you know what, I think that there’s really a lesson in what you’re sharing because in my experience and I can say this as a parent myself and having my kids older now but also working with a lot of moms are – mom end up when they don’t do something like that. They yell and scream and it’s like when you have a boundary and a consequence like that, you didn’t need to yell, it’s like your consequence spoke for itself. It’s like “this is what’s going to happen. You need to take me seriously.”

You took the Pokemon cards and you threw them out. I bet you felt very empowered in that moment and you didn’t have to come home screaming and yelling because your consequence spoke for itself. I think moms are afraid sometimes to just have a consequence because maybe their kid won’t like them or but we actually end up creating a lot more resentment and anger and nagging and leaks out all over the place rather than having the consequence.

 Bethany

I totally agree with that. And I did feel like I had these moments. I felt good about it and then I felt bad about it because it was a lot of money. They had bought them. I had bought them – so I was trying not to think about that part of it too. But it did reset them and it did reset all of us in a way and even my husband – the dynamic had been coming to a head because of coming home from such a huge-

 Sheryl

Huge transition.

 Bethany

I’ve never had to go to that extreme again but I have learned that sometimes the shock value. They didn’t expect me to do this works sometimes to get a little bit of a reset with them because they’re bigger than me. I can’t easily pick them up or give them a swat on their diaper anymore. It doesn’t work and so it’s a creative discipline that’s actually going to mean something or in this case, it was “I can’t walk all over mom” which is what they were doing and so that changed

 Sheryl

You definitely got the point across to them. So thank you so much for sharing that.  I bet that moms who, like me, when you said you did that there was a part of me feeling empowered I’m sure that because of how much money you spent or we question ourselves but it felt like that was a good move on your part.

 Bethany

I’m glad I didn’t see any negative results on the back end of it because it was a while ago. But I think the fact that I can still use it as  “do I need to go to this level with you, or can you change your behavior” has been a really good talking point for us with them, too. So it allows them the chance now to reset themselves before I have, and I tried to do that with them. “My guess is you need to change your behavior, or I have to do something about it. Which do you want?”

 Sheryl

Yeah, it’s a choice. I have a couple of more questions for you. How do you – there’s a lot of moms listening to that struggle to get their boys to help. And I know that’s one of the things that you talk about, is developing that work ethic and boys. What would your advice be to moms that are listening that are saying, I’m really having a hard time getting my kid to help out around here, or to work on doing their homework?

 Bethany

We’re having a hard time right now I’m getting them to turn in homework.

 Sheryl

Yeah.

 Bethany

So I’m right there with you. I have a tip. When Justin deployed for that longer deployment, the six-month one, I was also in the middle of joining my company with another company and starting another one. So and I was in school. And I think we were homeschooling at that point because we had just moved back from a military move, before putting them back into school.

So there was just a lot. And I still say this phrase, even though start to get a little bit older, the phrase became, “Do mommy’s hands have to do this? Or can your hands do this?” And that’s kind of become the model for us. Mommy’s hands need to go check email, or I have a paper to do or I have a client thing to do. Do my hands need to switch the laundry? Or can your hands do that? Do I need to unload the dishwasher, or can your hands do that?

It’s kind of delegating really. What can they do that’s age-appropriate, that’s gonna help. What we do is they each get a month of one job. And that’s their main job. And they have other little jobs they have to do around the house. One of them is the kitchen, which is really the biggest one and dishwasher, unloading and loading or dishes. And then the second one is the laundry, which also is the person who gets general duties as well, because laundry is not that difficult, even though they complain about it. And then the third job is the trash and recycling, and then the floors. Sometimes the bathroom gets split between that person and the laundry person.

We were splitting every week where they would just rotate through. But then they would wait till the end of the week, and leave it bad because I didn’t want to do it. So we said, “okay, you have a month.” So they each have that job for a month. And if it’s not done, well, the night before they’re turning it over, they get it for the second month, so they can’t just leave things for their brother to take over. And that’s kind of been working well.

Although the caveat to that is, if I did it, it would just be so much faster. Yes, I could do this so much faster than them doing it. But I don’t want them to be the stinky kid in college, I don’t want them to be the gross kid and the dorm room. They have to know how to do these things. And my husband’s parents really taught him and his brothers and sister, they all have such an amazing work ethic, they just worked so hard for the family business so much more than my kids do.

I feel like my kids are a little bit spoiled in that sense, just because of how hard my husband had to work growing up just for their family. We’re trying to instill that in them. But I also want them to know how to cook or vacuum the floors and wash their sheets. And then it frees me up to be able to do things that I need to do as I’m trying to create this balance where we can also have family time too.

I don’t always get it right. Probably most times don’t but I think that’s it’s showing them how a house is supposed to run. And I want them to end up marrying women who have dreams and goals and always be there to help the way that their dad helps. And so I feel like getting them to understand “We do this because we love each other we’re part of the family.” It’s not gonna be weird then when they go out and they’re on their own or they get married or have a family of their own.

Sheryl

Yeah, everybody contributes and helps out. Oh, I love that tip. That’s very helpful.

 Bethany

Do Mommy’s hands have to do this?

 Sheryl

Do mommy’s hands have to do this or can your hands do this? Yeah, that’s a good one. So it’s there one piece of encouragement for a mom that is listening, that is struggling, what would you want to share with her?

 Bethany

You’re not alone. And it feels so lonely sometimes. I know that. If you’re talking to your friend and their kid starts acting up I’m always kind of happy. It’s not just my kids.

 Sheryl

Yeah, it normalizes it’s just not just me.

 Bethany

I’m not the only one whose kids think that they know everything. Okay, good. I think the big thing is it just feels like you’re alone. But you’re not alone. And there are so many amazing communities online, like even any mom listening to this podcast right now, it’s going to be part of the community that you’ve built, and then on Facebook, and Instagram, and things like that.

I think remembering that each one of your kids is so different. You know what worked with one may not work with the other and just trying to sit down and maybe have super honest conversations with them about the hard things like not turning in homework, which means this. I know going five, six steps out with them sometimes can be helpful, because then at least you’re telling them what they need to know. And so sometimes there’s a little bit of encouragement at that. But the big thing is you’re not by yourself in this, it feels like

 Sheryl

When you’re saying talk to them about that, when they’re not doing their homework and the steps how do you mean?

 Bethany

Some people are like checkers, and some people are like chess. Personality-wise. So, checkers, is it’s instant, right? So they make quick decisions, and then they just move that way. And then you’ve got the chess player people, which I find myself in that category, where you’re always thinking, six moves ahead. So my move now is because I’m thinking about moving number six –

 Sheryl

So you’re helping them because they don’t, especially in the teen tween teen years, they don’t connect cause and effect?

 Bethany

No, they’re definitely playing at the moment.

 Bethany

So that’s kind of what you’re helping them to do is to think, “Hmm, what does that look like? Like, what would you say to them?”

 Bethany

The whole thing right now, one of them’s not turning in homework. We had the same problem with my older son, too, because he wasn’t turning in homework. But he’s actually bringing home A’s on his tests. But then his grade is down because he’s losing points because he’s not turning work in on time. And so, saying, “Okay, look, I know that you don’t really care about this now. Because you’re lnot even thinking about the report card, you’re thinking about progress reports, right?” He’s only thinking about the next step. “Here’s the thing, though,this doesn’t matter so much right now. But if you don’t stop this behavior, when you get to high school, it does matter. And then what do we want to do after high school, what are the choices here?”

So it’s kind of the teaching, going back to the behavior of, you’re wasting your own time by doing the work and not turning it in and getting bad grades because you’re just not turning it in. It’s ridiculous. That’s kind of a thing right now. “Okay, this behavior is going to manifest in some other way later. So if you let yourself to this, this is what’s going to look like for you when you’re older.”

And again, they don’t understand that concept. But your mind is so much like an onion, it’s layers of it. And so, we say, ma’am, in our house, when my little one came home from first grade, the first day of school, he said, “we say, ma’am, in class”,  “I’m like, you’ve been saying, ma’am, since you could walk.” Someone else said it. And it that was the quick moment for them – and it’s always like that with kids, -I said this to you for years, but so and so’s parents said it, or the youth minister said it or someone on TV said it and all of a sudden. “Yeah, yeah.” So I think if I started talking to him now about these things that will layer, and hopefully, someone else in their life on TV or somebody will say it, and it will click because I’ve layered it into their brains, hoping.

 Sheryl

And they’ll remember they’ll think about it. Yeah, that layering. So good to think of it like that.

 Bethany

And he wants to play sports and being a student-athlete is a thing. If you get bad grades, you’re gonna they won’t let you on the team first of all so we have to fix this now before a basketball season starts because you’ll get pulled from the team, and that’s an immediate consequence that he can actually wrap his head around. So we got to fix this behavior now. So that’s maybe two steps out.

 Sheryl

Yeah, yeah. Well and a motivator that he wants to play sports. And you really are a great example with what you’re sharing that it is such a process. Every day in the process, you have to remind them, remind them, remind them, you got to layer layer layer.

 Bethany

That’s the job right now, honestly. How much of this can I get into their heads before they’re gone?

 Sheryl

Yep. Laying that foundation. So tell moms where to get your book, where to order it for their sons? And tell them a little bit about who would you recommend this book to – graduation? Eighth-grade graduate? Who would you recommend buying this book?

 Bethany

I really was thinking about my kid’s ages when I was doing this, how does it appeal to a 13-year-old but how would it also appeal to a 15, 17-year-old at the same time, and kids read up. So I would say anytime they’re entering those teen years is a good age range for them. And even so much to say, seniors, and going into college age. Vicki and I both really kind of targeted the voice to them. So but you can get it for younger kids. Because again, kids read older. Graduation is going to be a great time. This is something like I’m gonna get.

My boys will get the book, but it’s gonna be part of the Christmas is to get them books for Christmas. So really thinking that’s a good time because you’re buying gifts anyway. So it doesn’t feel so much like, oh, here’s a book my mom wants me to read. The holiday season is a good time or anytime that you’re looking for. If you’re driving kids to school, sometimes having a book for them to read. And they are short little essays. That’s a good conversation starter for the car. “Like did you agree with that? What did you think about that?” Hoping that you know, as moms have layered into their own kids, we’re hoping that this can maybe be that extra voice saying the same thing that you’ve been saying to your kids. 

Sheryl

Yeah, and we and we need that. And where can we find it?

 Bethany

On Amazon is for preorder. The publishing website has it as well, though, and Game press is the publisher and I think it’s going to be anywhere that bookstores are but I know for sure  Amazon and the publisher – great places.

 Sheryl

Yeah, Navigating Minefield. So I will put the links all in the show notes so that parents can find it in order and I think would be a great one to add to our Christmas gift guides for boys.

 Bethany

Yeah, I think that would be a great time to get a book to boys.

 Sheryl

Yeah, absolutely. So gosh, thank you so much, Bethany for being with us and talking about raising those boys and the realities of raising boys and I love your energy, your humor and the wisdom that you have to share with us. So thank you so much.

 Bethany

Thank you so much. It was so fun.

Similar Posts