Your Child Isn’t The Patient: The Parent’s Role When A Teen Or Young Adult Is Misusing Drugs Or Alcohol, With Rebekah Tayebi

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Your Child Isn’t The Patient: The Parent's Role When A Teen Or Young Adult Is Misusing Drugs Or Alcohol, With Rebekah Tayebi

Rebekah Tayebi has been working with families in various therapeutic settings for 18 years. She has valuable insights for parents when they have a child who needs help with mental health issues or substance use. An important one is that your child isn't and shouldn't be singularly identified as the "patient" or client.

This episode provides you with considerations for 

  • when it makes sense to seek outside help, 
  • what parenting leadership really is and what it takes to have it,  
  • discerning between mental health problems and typical teen behavior, 
  • triggers parents might face, 
  • why we tend to want to have someone "fix" our child, 
  • the role of shame and blame as we work to help our kids, 
  • my personal tangent/rant about ADHD and ADD diagnoses
  • how empathy, honesty and neutrality are important parenting skills

And lots more. It's a candid, insightful conversation that will give you such a great perspective on how you, as a parent, have incredible influence and how your way of being is crucially important for your child's healing.


This podcast is part of a nonprofit called Hopestream Community
Learn about The Stream, our private online community for moms
Learn about The Woods, our private online community for dads
Find us on Instagram: @hopestreamcommunity
Download a free e-book, Worried Sick: A Compassionate Guide For Parents When Your Teen or Young Adult Child Misuses Drugs and Alcohol

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SPEAKERS: Rebekah Tayebi, Brenda Zane

[00:00:00] Rebekah: I think parents come to people like folks like me to say, Hey, can you fix my kid? Because the kid has become the identified patient, right? So we’re really blaming the child because they’re the one whose life is blowing up. So it’s very obvious to see. But if I step away from that blame, then I’m going to go into shaming myself. 

And that feels really traumatic and disorienting. And either way, if I’m in shame or blame, it’s not very. Easy for me to access my accountability and my leadership. So when I reach out to someone like Rebecca, they’re giving me skills that will just help me find my way during this trauma. 

[00:00:48] Brenda: Welcome to Hopestream, the podcast for parents of kids who are misusing drugs or alcohol, or who are in active addiction treatment. or early recovery. I’m your host, Brenda Zane, fellow parent to a child who struggled. So I’m right there with you. If you’re enjoying the podcast and want to hang out with me and a bunch of other great moms after the episodes, you can check out the stream. 

It’s a positive online space where you can get started. Support and take a breather from the stresses of dealing with your son or daughter. Just go to the stream to learn more. Now, let’s get into today’s episode. Welcome back. I have such a special episode for you today. Do you ever meet someone and you immediately connect and it just seems like you’ve been friends forever? 

That is what happened when I met Rebecca Tayebi. And so I told her she had to come on the podcast to talk with me about all the things related to families. Kids who are struggling and the dynamics that we need to look out for the ways that we can be in our families. And we covered a lot of ground. 

Rebecca is a therapist, a parent coach, a mindfulness teacher, and a certified yoga instructor. And an author, really so many things, but she’s super relatable and grounded. And I wanted to talk with her about how families as a whole need to heal and change and about some of the pitfalls that parents can end up in when they have a child who is struggling with either mental health or substance use issues or both, as is often the case. 

And I really like Rebecca’s approach in that she doesn’t see the child as the assigned patient. in other words, it’s not about saying, Hey, Rebecca, here, work with my kid, they need to get fixed, send them back to me when all is good. It’s really looking more broadly at patterns and dynamics in the home that can be influenced to create these changes that we want to see. 

Now that doesn’t mean that kids don’t need treatment or that things are going to instantly get better. It’s just a very, very holistic way to approach this challenge that I’m assuming most of you are on if you’re listening to this podcast. Rebecca’s also worked deeply with trauma and she has been doing in home therapeutic services for a long time, which is pretty unique. 

So it’s a model where you’re actually doing therapy in home. Somebody’s home. And what a difference and what a unique model versus having to go to a therapist office and sit in their office. So a lot changes when the work’s being done in your home. And so we get into that topic as well. We cover it. A lot of ground. 

We go on a couple of tangents, but it’s a really positive and enlightening conversation. So I will end here and let you listen in now to this chat that I had with Rebecca tbi. 

Welcome to Hopestream. Rebecca. I’m excited to have you here today and I know we’re gonna have an amazing conversation, and you’re a busy gal, so I’m just thrilled to have you here. So welcome.  

[00:04:15] Rebekah: Thank you, Brenda. I’m so excited to be here. I’m a fan of yours. I’m a very quick fan. I became a fan very fast. 

[00:04:24] Brenda: You fell hard.  

[00:04:26] Rebekah: I did.  

[00:04:27] Brenda: It’s awesome. I know we, we live and roam in the same world, which is an interesting world to roam in, but it’s also very, very, for me, at least satisfying and gratifying. So just excited to have you here and share everything that you do for families. yeah. 

[00:04:48] Rebekah: Thank you. I’m really excited to be here and excited to just be engaged in a conversation with you and see where it goes  

[00:04:54] Brenda: Yeah, definitely. I know I I love this some of my podcast episodes. I have pretty structured. Hopefully it doesn’t come out sounding like that, but this one I just figure like we could probably talk for 12 days So I just didn’t put a lot of guardrails around it. 

So So I’m also just interested to see where it goes. But before we start that, I would love to know, just, I like to ask a question to let people get to know you a little bit. And that is, what did you want to be when you were growing up? So little girl, Rebecca, what did you dream of becoming?  

[00:05:26] Rebekah: I think there is an origin story somewhere in there. 

I’m a child of the eighties and have always been like a. Not exactly type a, but very strong as a woman, even as a girl, I was like a strong woman. So I always saw myself in like a power suit and a briefcase and just laying down the smack and getting the job done. Yeah. So that, and I will say even as a therapist and coach, even though this is more of a touchy feely field, that part of my Style definitely runs through, but to really be like more authentic when I was a teenager, I’ve been thinking about this story a lot for whatever reason. 

I went to a Catholic school and they were very big on community service and social justice. And so my freshman year, I was 14 years old. They took the girls in my class on a field trip. And we visited a temporary housing shelter for youth who were like being filtered in through the foster care system. 

So this was like their first step when they were removed from the home. And there was this little boy who came in, tugged at my pant leg when we were standing on the playground and he wanted to be held and I held him all day and I, I kept trying to like look into his eyes, but I was just noticing there’s not really much happening behind the eyes. 

And I asked one of the people there, like what’s happening for him. He’s not really looking at me. She explained to me what it meant to be traumatized. And that this little boy, even at two years old, had already been traumatized. And that’s why he’s not really connecting with you. And throughout the day, I just, he wouldn’t let go. 

And so I was very happy to hold him and play with him and. By the end of the day, we were sitting down to wind down the day and watched a cartoon and he was sitting in my lap and then he just started rubbing my hand and just making that human connection with me. And we were like, we were looking into each other’s eyes and it. 

Totally broke my heart, totally broke my heart and went home and was like, what can we do? My parents were so sweet and we tried to see what we could do, but he was in a system, So I honor that, but it undeniably changed my life and put me on this course of I want to help children and I want to help families. 

[00:08:01] Brenda: Wow. I’m, yeah, I’m surprised you didn’t come home with him.  

[00:08:05] Rebekah: I really tried, Brenda.  

[00:08:07] Brenda: I can imagine. Oh, that is just, yeah, it is. So I, there’s a certain breed of us. I come from a kind of heritage of nurses. My mom’s a nurse. My grandmother was a nurse and I don’t know if it’s that, but there is, there’s a, there’s a breed of humans, I think like us, where you can’t think of Just let, you can’t see that and experience it and then bounce back home and then move on to your next thing. 

It’s so hard.  

[00:08:38] Rebekah: Yeah, you’re touched. Like you, you allowed that life connection to happen. And that’s a beautiful thing. the world needs all kinds of people and it, and it is, it’s folks like us, like nurses. therapists, healers, that we play it, we play a very certain role in this world.  

[00:08:59] Brenda: Yeah. I know. I actually, I might have to have a side conversation with you because I, I have a really hard time and this is just based on my experience, with my son. 

I have such a hard time when I, Get off the freeway and there’s a kid sitting there with a cardboard sign and he looks like he could have been my kid and he’s got his dirty old backpack and his beat up shoes and I know his story. obviously, I don’t know his details, I can imagine. 

historian. I have such a hard time knowing what to do with that. And I feel like I need a therapist to help me work through that. Cause it’s really, it’s so hard. It can ruin my day. I’ll be on the way to meet a friend for lunch or something. And all day, I just feel this heaviness, like I could have helped him. 

I should have helped him. Like I should have stopped. I should have asked him where his mom, it’s I know I can’t do that, but I feel like that a lot.  

[00:09:54] Rebekah: I know. we could do this. Yeah, I really empathize with you and I feel, I feel that from you and the, this, one of my mindfulness teachers, she just impresses upon us, if everyone just does one thing in this world and we just put one foot in front of the other and we’re committed to that one thing, the world would be a better place. 

And so I can’t help everyone.  

I want to and my emotions and my heart like want me to But that little that boy that little boy is he’s a reminder to us right to just keep committed to our path We have to be committed  

[00:10:38] Brenda: Yes Yeah, that’s so true. That’s a good way to look at it because it can be really overwhelming, you know to the point where it can be debilitating if you’re So consumed with what you’re not doing that you forget about what you are doing  

[00:10:51] Rebekah: Absolutely, I love that reframe Brenda, I think that’s awesome. 

[00:10:55] Brenda: Cool. we could talk about that for a very long time, but I would love to just have you explain to us because I love your website where you talk about I’m a therapist a co parent coach and a mindfulness teacher and I know you are a yoga instructor and like all the things that I love like in one package, but What would be, knowing that there isn’t a common scenario, so I want to first start out with that, there is no common scenario, but in your practice, most often, what’s going on when a family engages with you? 

What would be a situation that you would see frequently, and then what would you be doing with them? Just to give people some context around, who you are and what you do.  

[00:11:38] Rebekah: For sure. So a family would reach out to me. The most common thread is that the parents are no longer feeling like they’re on top of the power hierarchy. 

Now, like I have a master’s in social work, which means I’m like this progressive liberal person. And so using phrases like the power hierarchy. It feels wrong to me, right? I think maybe a different way of looking at that too or a different frame I could use is like when parents are no longer feeling like they’re in their leadership at home  

[00:12:12] Brenda: Okay,  

[00:12:13] Rebekah: and your kids really need that from you because just of where they are developmentally Purely from a developmental standpoint. 

They actually need your parental leadership to contain them So what it means to be out of your leadership or maybe not Yeah On top of the power hierarchy, like you actually need to be as a parent, is that your kids are running the show. There’s a level of disrespect in the home. There’s a level of chaos. 

As a parent, you don’t feel like your influence is being felt. And that can be like, it can range from just, We’re not respecting each other as a family to my child has serious mental health issues and I don’t know how to intervene or my child is using and abusing drugs and I don’t know how to intervene. 

So it’s not always Oh, I’m out of my leadership or somehow I did this thing and I’m not on top of the hierarchy at home. A lot of it is this is actually out of my scope as a parent. This really is. I need support.  

[00:13:16] Brenda: I have been there. I do remember feeling I remember the day when I thought, we’re not going to parent our way out of this. 

this is just not something that is, like you said, within my scope or my realm of ability to work with because I wasn’t trained in this. And sometimes I think parents can feel like they have failed if they have to reach out for help. Which I always just say is nonsense, because if, unless you’re, a trained social worker, therapist, whatever, how would you know how to do some of this stuff, right? 

[00:13:50] Rebekah: Exactly. And I have to tell you, in my personal life, I’m too close to it, trained, whatever I am, I can’t see it cause I’m right in it. And so I, I value my therapist, my coach, my support teams. It takes a lot. It turns out to be a really effective human.  

[00:14:10] Brenda: Absolutely. It’s so true. And I was thinking what you were saying about mental health with your child. 

And I think we’re talking, and I’m so glad that we’re talking more about mental health right now with COVID. It’s finally, I think, come out of the closet a little bit, but it can also, I think, be confusing for parents because, unless maybe this is your fourth or fifth child, you, you don’t know what you don’t know. 

And when you talk about substance use, which is what I deal with a lot with the parents that I work with, it’s pretty clear, my kid came home drunk or I’ve found marijuana or. It’s a pretty evident thing that you can identify. I think with mental health, it could be trickier to say, is this something normal that kids go through as a teenager? 

Or is this something I should be more worried about? How do you separate that out? Or how do you help parents recognize yeah, this is actually something from a mental health standpoint that you’re going to want to pull in some help for?  

[00:15:08] Rebekah: Absolutely. I love this question. There’s, there’s like a lot that’s coming through for me. 

So sometimes when you’re experiencing your teen coping with more serious mental health concerns, one of the reasons it’s hard to know is this true mental health is because as a parent, you might have some serious blind spots. So if you grew up with parents that were really mentally ill, or your parents didn’t really intervene much to help support your resilience and your growth as a, as a person, some of this is just unconscious. 

This is normal. And so oftentimes I’ll have parents reflect that of this is normal, right? And so we’ll get an opportunity there to start to look at your family of origin, why this feels normal. And then really look at the reality of what’s happening with your child. So to really sum up that first piece, I think a lot of this is just making the unconscious conscious. 

And then when we can do that, we can really be with the reality. What is life presenting to us in this moment? How I really start to determine as a therapist, when a child needs more support, like it’s not just hormones or their brain development like running its course is when. It starts to impact like their global functioning. 

So what I mean by that is we look at school, how are they showing up academically? Are they showing up to school? Are they making okay grades? are they advocating for themselves that they’re struggling? How are they showing up with their friends? Are they making friends? Are they able to maintain friends? 

How are they showing up in family life? yes, the teenage years are difficult. Definitely a time in our American culture where we want to see our child experience some differentiation from us. They are becoming separate individuals more and more and we honor that. But when does it cross the line from differentiation into isolation? 

And then we look at things like very basic life skills like hygiene. Those kind of very basic self care things and if we’re starting to check the boxes like in those areas of like shoot Yeah, i’m seeing my child struggle in all of these areas or some of those areas even half of those areas We really want to start to look at intervening. 

[00:17:33] Brenda: Yeah, that’s great. That’s a really good breakdown of Not a checklist necessarily, but some areas to poke into. And I think the isolation thing is something that I hear a lot is all of a sudden, my kid’s not coming out of his or her room very much there’s, and with technology, it doesn’t help that they can be completely consumed for hours and hours and hours, either in video games or in social media. 

And, when they aren’t emerging from their room. And, and especially during COVID when they, when they were supposed to be maybe in their room doing their school, it’s such a mixed bag of like, how in the world do I pull this apart to know what’s really, what’s really serious and potentially damaging versus what’s not so that’s, those are good tips. 

[00:18:23] Rebekah: And Brenda, I think when I’m listening to him, okay. If mom is asking that question, or dad is asking that question, that is a sign. Slow down and evaluate, what is, if I’m asking myself this question, what is my wisdom, what is my intuition trying to show me right now? Yes,  

[00:18:44] Brenda: and do you find that parents often discount their intuition? 

[00:18:49] Rebekah: Yeah, I do. Because we’re people, I think parents are people. And it really, a lot of this has to do with how we grew up in our families of origin. I don’t know why, Brenda, but your question’s making me think of, a child. Who might have grown up counting their parents drinks, right? 

[00:19:10] Brenda: Mm hmm. Yeah.  

[00:19:11] Rebekah: And when we, when you’re encountered as a parent, then, finding a vape pen, or, a stash of whatever it is, whatever the drug of choice is in your child’s room, it can, elicit that childhood response, and so we might go to a place of, Hypervigilance and okay, now I have to scour the room and be on guard all the time or that denial place of it’s not that bad,  

[00:19:36] Brenda: right. 

Yeah. And that kind of makes me think about how, because I know I’m, I was guilty of this when we started engaging resources, I came at it with the intention of. My kid needs to be fixed. Could you please fix my child? And what I quickly learned was that it was, it was not that easy. there was a lot involved. 

Do you get that? Do you have people that come to you as families and say, okay, here, Rebecca, here’s my 17 year old who’s broken. Could you please fix him? Cause we’d like to get back on with our lives.  

[00:20:13] Rebekah: I do. I encounter that all the time. And can I, I don’t want to, can I turn the tables a little bit and ask you, I want to answer this for sure, but I am so curious. 

What did you learn about that for yourself?  

[00:20:26] Brenda: Oh, wow. I learned, I learned that, there were things that I was doing as a parent that were not helping my son. It wasn’t that I was causing him to do the things that he was doing, but I was certainly not helping him have opportunities to change. I was keeping him in the shame and the negative cycle that he was in. 

So I was doing a lot of the. Blaming and can’t you see what you’re doing to me and you’re killing me and how could you be doing this to your family? You weren’t raised this way, just on and on and on of berating him the punishment Just every opposite thing that i’ve learned now to do and just things that you know I had never we had a very amicable divorce his dad and I did about three years before he really started acting out And so in my mind everything was fine Because, we, we worked through it. 

The kids at the time didn’t really show any external trauma from our divorce because we spent time together. And so I just, I think I was in a lot of denial about what impact that truly had on, on our kids.  

[00:21:41] Rebekah: yeah, because it really sounds I honor you. It sounds like you were doing everything right, honestly, to, to navigate a very difficult. 

Moment in your family life. And so it is really difficult When we’re doing our best to have to come to terms with and I can still experience trauma And things in life can change on a dime.  

[00:22:05] Brenda: Yes Yes  

[00:22:07] Rebekah: No matter what  

[00:22:09] Brenda: Yeah,  

[00:22:10] Rebekah: and so I I can definitely understand. I almost think that that blame That not just you, Brenda, and I really appreciate your bravery. 

Thanks for letting me turn the question back to you for a little bit, because I think you speak for any parent in this situation. Like we go to blame because it is a control strategy. So even you were doing your best things still blew up and. If you can blame him and get, just get him to see what he’s doing, then we can get back to, homeostasis. 

Yeah. you can’t blame a girl for trying.  

[00:22:50] Brenda: And I say that all the time to parents, cause they’ll start learning some like craft skills and working with the therapist. And then there, you have that. Slap your forehead moment where you’re like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I was doing all these things. 

And I just try to say, you’re doing the best that you know, how, with what, with the information that you have. So that’s why we just need to learn and we need to, listen to people who do have the skills to help us because there are things that we can do, but the beating yourself up for doing the things that you’ve done in the past just isn’t helpful. 

[00:23:24] Rebekah: you’re just naturally, you’re naturally going to the place of you’re answering the question in the way I would exactly want to answer that question. So I think parents come to people like folks like me to say, Hey, can you fix my kid? Because the kid has become the identified patient, right? 

So we’re really blaming the child because they’re the one whose life is blowing up. So it’s very obvious to see. But if I step away from that blame, then I’m going to like, Go into shaming myself, and that feels really traumatic and disorienting. And either way, if I’m in shame or blame, it’s not very easy for me to access my accountability and my leadership. 

So when I reach out to someone like Rebecca, They’re giving me skills that will just help me find my way during this trauma, because that’s what we’re going through. I love what you talked about. This is the last thing I’ll say before we move on. You’re talking about skills, Brenda. That’s exactly what love is. 

Like love is a skill. Navigating your way through these traumas is a skill and Love is an ability that can always be learned. There is always hope.  

[00:24:44] Brenda: Yeah, that’s so true. And I think we, as parents, we somehow have this misperception that when you bring a child into the world or you adopt a child into your home or you foster child or whatever, that you’re just going to automatically know what to do and how to do it right. 

And nothing could be further from the truth because you’re doing the best that you can. And like you said, your family of origin have played such a huge part of that, of what you saw growing up, what your role models were and how you know how to respond and react. Yeah. It’s just, it can become really overwhelming. 

At least that’s what I see with the moms that I work with is just, there’s this level of overwhelm of but I’m trying so hard and I’m doing everything that I know how to do. And he’s still not going to school, still smoking weed every day, still doing these things. And so it can be really, really easy to just be, get really down on yourself and  

[00:25:48] Rebekah: naming the shame. 

Is the skill  

[00:25:53] Brenda: for sure  

[00:25:55] Rebekah: because when your child is using and or having serious mental health issues It is very isolating and you feel all alone and so with what you’re doing with the stream community or When we reach out to therapists or go to alan on sit and support circles That ability to start to name our shame is Is the, it’s the turning point of everything because then we can start to feel that connection again to life, right? 

Yeah, then we can access more resiliency and okay, so now what do I do when I’m doing all of these things and he’s still. He’s still using. What’s the skill I can go to next? I see all my shame. I see you. You’re there. And what do I get to do to work with this?  

[00:26:45] Brenda: Yeah, it’s very interesting. I don’t know. 

I’m always curious about other cultures. I feel like I need to do a whole season of this podcast with people from other countries and other cultures to understand why is it that we feel such shame when our kids are hurting? Is it because we somehow think that we’re super, Power people that should be able to have them avoid that, or I don’t know, that’s a whole nother episode, but I’m just really curious as to why we go there. 

I I, meet a handful, maybe I would say like 5 percent of the people that I work with are like, no, I don’t feel any shame at all. This is just, it’s the thing he’s going through and they’re good with it, but it’s so rare to find that.  

[00:27:25] Rebekah: It is there. I think culture definitely plays a part in it. 

And I think our family of origin culture plays a huge part in that. How you grow up, it’s coming through in how you parent for sure. Yeah.  

[00:27:38] Brenda: Yeah. speaking of parenting, are there things, because we’ve, so we’ve talked about how it’s not just the kid, like the whole family’s got to get fixed, whether or not you want to admit that. 

It’s almost always the case. Is there some work that parents could be doing in their homes? So if, let’s say, the scenario is that you’ve got a, 16, 17 year old who’s not going to school regularly, friends have changed, they’re smoking a lot of weed, you probably think they’re doing some other things. 

they’re in the home and it’s not horrible, right? There’s no violence or no police involved yet, but things are not good. So there’s some stuff that we could be doing that could be helpful at that point. Besides engaging with some professionals, but just day to day.  

[00:28:28] Rebekah: Yes, I think it’s really focusing on your way of being. 

As a human and as a parent, so What’s your relationship like home with family? So if your child’s kind of in their room all the time isolating and they’re smoking or whatever they’re doing in there One of the first things I would ask a parent is are you isolating? What’s your engagement like in family life? 

And when you’re in family life Does it feel invitational? Does it feel open? What are you cultivating in terms of the energy at home? What’s your relationship like with pot? if you’re worried  

[00:29:06] Brenda: about  

[00:29:06] Rebekah: smoking pot. What’s your relationship like out in the world? Are you spending time with friends? 

Are you connecting to your community? So basically it’s what am I embodying in family life? What am I representing so that my child can absorb that? Even from their room, even from behind their closed door, what am I emanating so that they can, it reaches them. And I can never underestimate the power of a parent’s way of being. 

I think it’s the most important tool. And if you need to flex and say, okay, I need to work on my way of being. How do I get there? I’m a big fan of mindfulness. I’m a big fan of sitting for a few minutes in quiet. Even if you need to go sit in your closet for that quiet space or go sit in the car for a few minutes and just be with yourself for a moment, you have so much body wisdom, you have so much insight, and we need to slow down to really start to get in tune to that. 

When we get in tune, then we’re able to see, okay, here’s where I am, here’s where I get to go next, which is really empowering.  

[00:30:20] Brenda: Yeah, that is something that I think we don’t hear enough of is really slowing down, looking at ourself, looking at the energy that we’re putting into, not even just globally, into the world, but into our home, into our kitchen, into our bedroom. 

Bedrooms like what are you representing? Because what I see is this tendency of every conversation becomes about substance use or about your attitude or you’re not doing this or you’re not doing that. And there’s really very little positive. Lightful, like fun interactions or words even coming out of your mouth because you, and it’s not because you’re a bad person. 

It’s just that you’re really worried about your kid. And so you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with them. And so anytime you have a chance to have a conversation, it’s okay, what’s, what’s going on with this? And how come you’re not going to school? And how come you skipped a class today? 

And I found this in your room. And,  

[00:31:20] Rebekah: and  
[00:31:21] Brenda: so who wants to be in that space?  

[00:31:24] Rebekah: Who wouldn’t want to lock themselves in the room?  

[00:31:27] Brenda: Exactly.  

[00:31:29] Rebekah: you’re reminding me of this story of a mom I worked with years ago, single parent and raising a teenage boy who was like her complete opposite. And this is, so this is 10 years ago when the show family guy was like, Pretty big. 

And this mom was like dyed in the wool feminist, like very convicted to her values. And her son was obsessed with like video games, family guy, just, so we were talking about this exact subject of like, how can I get through to him? Like, how can I, he’s in his room all day. We don’t have a relationship. So through the course of that conversation, mom decided to sit down with her son that week and watch family guy. 

So she did it. She said, I hated every minute of it, but I let him know, like I sat there, with an open energy and she said, he shot up the stairs, went into his room and she could hear him call his friends and brag to them that his mom just sat and watched family guy with him and he was this is like a 16 year old boy. 

So she was like, okay, I hate it, but I’m going to watch the show with him every week now.  

[00:32:49] Brenda: Nice. It’s true. and you can start to, have conversations about that as well. Like, why do you think that’s funny? why don’t, why do I think that’s not funny? Like those are the kinds of conversations you can have, but if you’re not even engaging, then all it is is oh, I hate that stupid show. 

It’s so blah, blah, blah. yeah, I remember sitting down trying to learn how to play World of Warcraft at one point. Wow. Oh my gosh.  

[00:33:19] Rebekah: Thank you so much for doing that.  

[00:33:21] Brenda: It was insanity. I was terrible at it, but I could see, once I sat down and I started, really trying to, not learn it, but be engaged at least with it, I was like, I can see why a 15 year old kid would love this. 

so yeah, that’s, that’s good, good stuff. I’m wondering about you, you mentioned a word a little while back that I love, which is resilient as a health and wellness coach. That’s one of the things that we really focus on is trying to build resiliency in people because you end up faring better in life. 

And I think that, this past year in particular with COVID, we’ve had to get. Comfortable being really uncomfortable, and I think some people have done that better than others, and I have to guess that that could be contributed to resiliency or resilience. I’m never sure how to say that word. If it’s resiliency, I go back and forth with it too. 

That’s a tricky one, but I’m just wondering if you have thoughts on what you’ve seen in your practice of how we can be more resilient as adults, but then also how can we potentially help our kids because coming out of COVID I think is going to be a lot harder. Ooh, like how do we help these kids really learn some of those skills? 

[00:34:48] Rebekah: So resilience, when I think of resilience, it’s really being in the flow of life. So that doesn’t mean I’m always like rocking it and yes, I’m just in a flow state all the time. It really is I’m just able to be present enough to do the things I need to do or that I want to do. So I still might be triggered. 

I still might be upset. But I’m still able to like function and function in a way where I’m doing things. I’m going with the flow. When I’m out of my resilience, I’m stuck. So when I’m out of my resilience, I can be stuck in a place of like hyper vigilance. Like I mentioned before, oh my gosh, my anxiety is running high. 

I’m super aware. I can even feel a little bit manic, irritable, on edge, like I’m just stuck in this place. Or I can be stuck in like Hypovigilance. So I’m like running low, I’m bumped low out of my resiliency. And so I can be stuck in places like depression, isolation, numbness, fatigue. And one of the best ways that I have to help me understand how to get back into resilience is just knowing where I’m at. 

And so that’s a skill called tracking. So I would ask you, Brenda, when do you know you’re in more of a flow state? What does it feel like for you when you’re resilient?  

[00:36:20] Brenda: I would say it’s when I can go through a day and things, there can be really good things or really bad things, but I don’t feel like I’m at either end of the pendulum. 

I feel like I’m pretty like middle of the road and I can celebrate the good things and I can. go wow, that’s a bummer on the bad things, but I don’t end up at the very top or the very bottom Either way if that makes sense  

[00:36:45] Rebekah: Yeah, it does. So like you’re not blown about by every wind even though you can acknowledge the winds they were blowing today  

[00:36:53] Brenda: Definitely. 

Definitely. Yeah, and that’s even right now I’m in a stage of life where I don’t have a kid who’s Pulling at those extremes, but I know that there are so many that do it’s wait a minute. How am I supposed to have this calm or resilience when all of these crazy things are happening with my kid and I think that’s You know, I definitely didn’t have the skills when I was in that stage But I think that’s what I and you and other people are trying to help Parents get to that point where you can have something completely crazy happen with your kid and you’re going to deal with it and you’re going to feel it, but you’re not going to get sucked into it. 

[00:37:34] Rebekah: Exactly. And so that, when I’m able to see the reality, be with my reality, what’s happening with my kid without getting lost in it. I am in my resiliency zone. I’m in my place of wellbeing, even though it’s a hard time, I am still showing up flowing. Now I’m going to ask you when at times, have you known when you’re out of your resilience? 

what does it feel like when you’re stuck either in that anxious place or that lower place?  

[00:38:05] Brenda: For me, I think it’s just, I find myself just going in circles. Like I will start one thing. I become very ADHD all of a sudden, like I’m not ADHD normally, but when I can tell when I’m like, okay, I start this thing. 

And then I pause that and I go over here and that could be either online, like with work, or it could be. The cup of coffee that I heated up, but then I left it over here and then I went to walk the dog and then I did this and I’m just like in this weird ping pong mode and I’m thinking, what is going on with me? 

This is crazy. And it gives me extra empathy for people who do have ADHD. Cause I think, Oh my gosh, this would be terrible if you were like this all the time.  

[00:38:50] Rebekah: Absolutely. I love your compassion. I just have to say. Every example you’re giving, you’re like, and then it makes me think of other people.  

[00:38:59] Brenda: I think because I saw that in particular in any mom or dad who’s listening to this, who has a kiddo with ADHD, it is so painful to watch. 

I remember watching my son. I, two boys in the home growing up and One would get up, and he would do his little chore chart, this is when they were younger, obviously, and brush his teeth, and pack his backpack, and get his lunch, and, just tick, tick, tick, tick, and then he’d sit down to eat, and then he would wash his hands, put his plate in the dishwasher, and go out to the school bus. 

And the other one he might get in the shower, but halfway through the shower, he might decide he needs to let the dog out. So then he goes, let’s dog out. And then he grabs a banana on the way down, but then he can’t find the banana. So then he can’t find his backpack. And then he finds the lunch from four days ago in his backpack. 

And it’s Painful to watch them because they just can’t go in a straight line. And so I think that’s where I just have that empathy for them, because I think there’s, there are some, this is way, way off track. So I’m so sorry to listen to hers, but I just have to say this because I think it’s so common is that people will tell you ADHD isn’t real or ADD either one. 

Mine didn’t have the hyperactivity. It was ADD. It is so real. And if you’re a parent, you can see it. Playing out in your kitchen and your house every day. And it’s hard when you hear people say, Oh, that’s not even real. Those are just kids who are, all kids have some level of that. And it’s no, actually they don’t. 

There’s not. There are some kids who really struggle with it. So anyway, that was a complete tangent.  

[00:40:35] Rebekah: I actually love the tangent because so much of what I’m hearing you say is you’re honoring your child, right? We can look at these labels as. Just pathologizing and i’m not saying that we don’t do that in the mental health world I think we really need to shift from a lot of that At the same time some of these oh my gosh this set of phenomena that i’m seeing put together That’s creating a diagnosis Is actually honoring my experience And when we honor that then we can make shifts and we can find support. 

It’s actually there’s so much Potential for it to be super empowering and create more possibilities when we get to name what’s really happening  

[00:41:16] Brenda: Right,  

[00:41:17] Rebekah: and i’m gonna go back to you saying Okay, how I know when i’m bumped out of my resilience is that i’m more scatterbrained and my executive functioning that part of my brain that really organizes That initiates a task and sees it through to completion before I begin another task like that part of my brain You Isn’t really accessible in those moments because I’m man, I’m nursing too much stress There’s too much stress or trauma happening and I can’t access that part of my brain because I’m surviving. 

I’m just more in survival mode. So when you’re able to track yourself like that, which is a skill that you have, not, not all of us have it. It can be as. Also as easy for most of us is like tracking when I’m hungry or when I need to go to the bathroom. If we can do those things we can track and when I know where I am So if i’m if i’m brenda and i’m feeling like wow, i’m pretty scattered today I’m, not quite completing one task before I move on to the next That’s a sign to me that i’m out of my resilience And so then I get to ask myself where do I need to go next or where do I want to go next? 

To bring myself back into my zone of well being. And for you, Brenda, what would that be? What would help you get back there in those moments?  

[00:42:37] Brenda: Oh, I have to first I have to, just let myself recognize that instead of beating myself up for it. But for me, it’s going on a walk, or Calling a friend, just, I have to get grounded. 

There’s actually like almost like a physical grounding that I have to do. Cause I feel like I’m this kind of whirlwind doing yoga helps just anything that roots me into the earth a little bit, brings me back to the, to the world, really helps me. but it took a long time to figure that out. 

literally like in the last five years. So I went for a very, very long time without. Understanding that. And so I think with our kids to just helping them recognize, it’s okay. If you’re looking at yourself and you’re like, wow, I am out of control right now. That’s okay. That happens. let’s figure out a way to get back in control that doesn’t, involve Xanax or whatever. 

Cutting or whatever it is and so I think that’s the work a lot of parents are going to have to do, especially now coming out of covid is everybody shifted to this different reality of cocooning and being like this completely different world and now we’re going to be expected to pop back into  

[00:43:59] Rebekah: the  
[00:44:00] Brenda: world and I don’t know how that’s going to work. 

[00:44:03] Rebekah: It’s going to be wonky as we like slowly transition in the state of California, but I want to highlight a few things that I’ve heard from your sharing. One is that when I, as a parent, study my life, and I understand my life, and I stop judging myself for it, I can accept That I am a human. It allows me to normalize that for my child. 

When I can normalize that for my child, it really starts to like Diffuse the shame energy at home and the charge around like our perceived failures and the other thing that I really loved about your sharing is The neutral tone that you shared, yet it was warm and accountable, right? So hey, so now that we know this is just what the brain does when we’re stressed, let’s, let’s really be serious about looking for alternatives to cutting or using. 

[00:45:01] Brenda: Right.  

[00:45:02] Rebekah: So I don’t hear any enabling language in that, but I also hear I’ve really removed the charge, which is that charge is going to distract my kid. They’re going to stay hooked on the charge rather than the solution. So I can tell you’ve done a lot of great work. And of course, it’s easy to talk about it when we’re out of that. 

[00:45:26] Brenda: and after years and years and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of therapy and treatment, it didn’t come free.  

[00:45:35] Rebekah: yeah,  

[00:45:38] Brenda: but I, I do think that, and this is a concept that I don’t, I never learned when my son was in it, that it’s okay to say to them if they’re in a. In a place where they’re using or self harm or depression or anxiety to say, wow, that must be so hard. 

I don’t understand this. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to help you, but I’m going to do whatever I can. And I’m feeling stressed out too. And, and to say, you could even say, man, I had such a stressful day. I would love to have a drink right now, but I’m thinking that’s probably not what I should do. 

Let’s go on a walk. And, and involve them in that, so that they can see, okay, wow, my mom or dad’s really, they struggle too. Like they want to go the easy route. They want to hit the easy button, pour a drink, all of a sudden, like boom, you’re shut, you’re calmed down. But, I think we have to take responsibility to, to say, if I don’t want my kid to turn to a substance the first minute that Things get stressful or they have a long day or the traffic’s really bad or whatever it is, then I should probably be doing the same thing. 

[00:46:47] Rebekah: Love it. I love it. And that’s, that’s just the key. I think that’s just one of the biggest themes we’re talking about today. It’s your way of being. It’s the thing that they’re going to pick up on more than anything you say. Yeah.  

[00:47:03] Brenda: And we’ll have to do a part two of this to say, okay, if I, if I’m recognizing that I’ve done all of these things that maybe aren’t setting the best example, how do I start to unwind that and redo it? 

And I’m guessing part of it just starts with being very honest and saying, I probably haven’t been the best example all the time. But I’m working at getting better and maybe starting there, I don’t know.  

[00:47:28] Rebekah: Absolutely. And I think just, I love the word recovery. I love witnessing people go through a recovery process. 

And even for myself, like there was a period of time where I was like, I am in recovery. I am going through recovery. And that’s just letting go of all of the shame. Unskilled habits that I developed and really looking at who am I? Who am I? And I’m going to recover that part of Rebecca and that’s who I really am. 

And that’s what I want to be. So I, any parent can do it. And your child really gives you an opportunity to find your own recovery. That doesn’t just mean from substances. That’s not the only thing that recovery means, but it is an opportunity to really. Undo the template that we received from our childhood of how to operate in this life. 

And then figure out what are the things I want to keep from my family of origin? And what are the things that I, I want to create and do differently?  

[00:48:39] Brenda: Ooh, I love what you said about a template and to think about, I am helping create my kid’s template. And is that a good thing? Or are there some things that we want to rearrange on that template? 


[00:48:55] Rebekah: an architect. As a parent, you are an architect. And you, you get to look at what, where is the design just elegant and working? And where can I, get more creative?  

[00:49:08] Brenda: We need to do a little remodel over in this section.  

[00:49:12] Rebekah: Thank you for, thank you for using my language.  

[00:49:14] Brenda: Oh my gosh, that’s so good. I think this can be so helpful for parents and sometimes I, I wonder and I’m, I’m guessing that Young people never listened to my podcast, but I think if they did, sometimes they might be like, Oh, my parents could be doing this or that, or maybe this is why they’re doing this or that. 

[00:49:37] Rebekah: Absolutely. Yeah. And I, I’m so grateful to all the parents who are listening to your podcast because. It’s just one of many ways that you’re showing up for your child.  

[00:49:47] Brenda: Exactly. Exactly. Even if you’re doing nothing else, you’re starting with listening to these things. It’s just going to marinate in your brain and you’re going to start thinking differently and maybe talking differently. 

And that’s the, those are the first steps, you can’t go and just jump into the deep end of the pool, like started, started those, the kiddie end with the waiting pool. And this is that, and then you can, you can go deeper. What are you working on? Cause you do so much. What are you working on that you want people to know about? 

Cause I know you have a book specifically for girls that I’d love to hear more about. Cause I think that’s so important. And I know you have some new work coming up and you’ve got an event. So what’s, what’s happening in the world of Rebecca.  

[00:50:31] Rebekah: I was telling Brenda before we popped onto this interview, I’m going on vacation very soon. 

because I have been taking on projects that I’m really excited about and get to rest and then get to come back to it. But the first thing that comes to mind is, I’ll speak to the book. The book is a very sweet read for teenage girls. It’s a, In the self help genre, it’s super interactive. The art in the book is really beautiful, and it’s called the Wanderlust Warrior Project. 

It’s all about cultivating these styles of leadership in your life that will help you uncover the fearless, wonderful version of yourself that’s always there. Just looking to Be tapped into so that’s it’s a really sweet read and it’s it’s light and fun But can also get deep so i’d like the balance there The other project that i’m excited about and i’ve invited brenda to be a part of is that i’m hosting an online conference on june 8th It’s called effective family leadership how to stop being reactive and start building confident happy and loving connections and family life And I have assembled a panel of awesome experts in this field and people who have gotten there the hard way and who have put in a lot of thought and study into building healthy connections at home. 

So I would love for people to be there and I have a landing page if you want to come to that. It’s just. familyleadership. com. And then the last thing I want to share is that I’m partnering with a group that I really believe in. They are called the rich surface group. And we specialize in doing intensive family therapy in the home. 

And so if your child is at a place where you’re feeling like we need some intervention beyond traditional therapy, We’re not quite ready to move out of the home like to do an out of the home placement This is a great place to start And to like we’ve talked about all all interview this whole interview It’s really looking at the whole family system and what mom and dad can be doing differently as well to be more effective parents And so I think that covers it  

[00:52:51] Brenda: Yay. 
That’s amazing. that’s a lot.  

[00:52:54] Rebekah: Yes.  
[00:52:58] Brenda: Yes. You have earned it. I love that. I love the whole concept of the in home practice because you can’t hide things when somebody’s in your home and they’re really seeing the truth. And I just have to believe, and I’ll be curious, maybe we’ll do a follow up and The end of the year, once you’ve been there for a while, but I’ve got to imagine that there’s going to be some really cool happenings and findings and experiences that come out of that in home presence  

[00:53:32] Rebekah: in homework. 

I’ve been doing in homework most of my career, and it’s exactly what you named it to be what you can pick up on. With love and compassion, when you’re in someone’s home versus they’re in your office, it cannot compare. You’re seeing all of it, from the multitasking, to the siblings running in and out of the room, to everything that’s co creating what’s happening for your child. 

[00:54:02] Brenda: Yeah. Love that. Love that. Okay. we’ll do a follow up at the end of the year and we’ll get all the juicy details on that.  

[00:54:08] Rebekah: Thank you. Oh, thank  

[00:54:10] Brenda: you. Awesome. thank you so much for joining me. This was amazing and have a wonderful time in Hawaii. And I will put links to the book and the event you’re doing and the resurface group. 

I’ll put all those in the show notes. So if you’re listening, go to the show notes and you will find all of that information on Rebecca. So thank you for joining me.  

[00:54:29] Rebekah: I am so happy. Thank you, Brenda. I loved every minute of this experience with you.  

[00:54:34] Brenda: Thank you. Thank you so much for listening. If you’d like to go to the show notes, you can always find those at brendazane. 

com forward slash podcast. Each episode is listed there with full transcript, all of the resources that we mentioned, as well as a place to leave comments, if you would like to do that. You might also want to download a free ebook I wrote called Hind Sight, Three Things I Wish I Knew When My Son Was Addicted to Drugs. 

It’s full of the information I wish I would have known when my son was struggling with his addiction. You can grab that at brendazane. com forward slash hindsight. Thanks again for listening and I will meet you right back here next week.

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