Blub Talks: Understanding Toddler Tantrums and Combating Mom Guilt with Sue Donnellan
Jan 4, 2022 In this episode of Blub Talks, we present an interesting discussion with Susan Donellan, best-selling author, parent adviser, and stay-at-home mom.
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Our host and teaching sensei Robert M. spoke with our guest about topics relating to her best-selling book, “Secrets to Parenting without Giving a F^ck: The Non-Conformist Playbook to Raising Happy Kids without Public Meltdowns, Power Struggles, & Punishments,” which is available on Amazon. The topics included the strategies she advocates in her “practice” of helping parents navigate the challenges of raising children.
The discussion began with Robert giving background on Susan’s unlikely path of parenthood, “unlikely” because she never thought she’d get married or even have any kids. As an ambitious and entrepreneurial person, she planned on focusing on her career and everything that would bring. However, time has a way of turning our best-laid plans in a different direction, and she met and married the “first man who made me feel as though marriage wouldn’t suck.” One thing led to another, and then they had their first child, who was followed by fraternal triplets!
The discussion then focused on the relationship between her two sons and daughter, including her sons needing speech therapy to improve their /R/ sounds. Needless to say, having four kids (including triplets) is enough to qualify Susan as anyone’s “expert” in parenting, a space where she has brought her skills of organization and straight talk to raise four well-adjusted and successful grown children.
Robert asked Susan how long her boys were involved with speech therapy, and she said, “they went for 1.5 to 2 years, and they (the boys) solved it before the bullying phase started.” She wistfully then said, “I wish we had something like Speech Blubs . . . .”
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Susan then began describing the typical parent and scenario of the clients that come to her for help, and said “it depends on the level of overwhelm.” Her approach is very informal, although includes a needs assessment that determines which of her three programs she’ll utilize. Her sessions are face-to-face, and confront the sometimes hard-to-hear truths about parenting behaviors that lead to challenging behaviors. She did say, however, that if a parent takes the step toward getting help, that they are “pretty open” about hearing hard truths.
Some of the topics discussed in her book and in the podcast are: the challenge of seeing toddler tantrums as “phase behavior” and how to minimize the phase; the “B-word” (kids saying “I’m bored”) that her rule was “Bored is a state of mind, so you’re not allowed to use that word”; the “teenage boy brain” and the inevitable “fog” that goes with it; and the willingness as a parent to change yourself.
The key takeaways from the discussion were in the form of quotes:
- Talking about as a parent to “get my ego out of the way,”
- The seemingly counter-intuitive notion of “losing control to gain control,”
- That parents need to take guilt out of their approach, that “Guilt is a wasted emotion,”
- Setting boundaries and expectations by adhering to “No means no, no negotiating,” and
- That as a parent, “clarity and consistency = trust and respect.”
As the discussion drew to a close, Robert mentioned that Susan’s respectful, empowering, and straight-ahead approach to parenting, along with her skillfully fun way of communicating makes her book a “must-read.” Her willingness and ability to help makes her a natural at getting to the crux of parents’ challenges.
What an engaging talk for parents who are unafraid of looking at parenting in a more “change-me-first” way, who can laugh at their challenges, and who can respect that children have to be allowed their own path. Susan Donellan is a master of paving the way for children to take responsibility for that path in a positive way that they can understand. Thanks Susan!