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Ep. 125: Elaine Taylor-Klaus - Sideways Stories of Complex Kids

September 25, 2020 Sucheta Kamath Season 1 Episode 125
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Ep. 125: Elaine Taylor-Klaus - Sideways Stories of Complex Kids
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Full PreFrontal
Ep. 125: Elaine Taylor-Klaus - Sideways Stories of Complex Kids
Sep 25, 2020 Season 1 Episode 125
Sucheta Kamath

“The builder said he was very sorry” writes Louis Sachar in the introduction to his children’s book, where instead of building a school one-story high with thirty classrooms, he ends up building a thirty stories high Wayside School with one classroom per floor. Readers discover that, none the less, the stories from such a strange and silly place are simply delightful.

Similarly, however challenging it is to raise complex kids wired for impulsivity, disorganization, neediness, disengagement, and occasional resistance, it can also be a great source of immense joy, pride, and gratitude. And their stories of courage can invoke hope for many to create harmony in shared spaces.

On this episode author, parent educator, certified coach, co-founder of ImpactADHD.com, and a co-creator of Sanity School®, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, discusses how parenting is a daily exercise in letting go. By using effective tools, every family can create connected, fulfilling, and empowering relationships with their real, unique, and amazing kids.

About Elaine Taylor-Klaus
Elaine Taylor-Klaus is an author, parent educator, and certified coach. The co-founder of ImpactADHD.com, co-creator of Sanity School® (an online behavior therapy program), and co-author of Parenting ADHD Now! Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD, she provides coaching, training and support for parents of complex kids – and parents raising kids in complex times. Her newest book, The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and More will be out in September 2020, and is available on pre-order with bonus gifts including a “Parenting in a Pandemic” supplement. Elaine has served as a parent advisor for the American Academy of Pediatrics and on the national Board of Directors of CHADD. She is the mother in an ADHD++ family of six.

Website:

Book:

About Host, Sucheta Kamath
Sucheta Kamath, is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed ExQ's personalized digital learning curriculum/tool that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence.

Support the show (https://mailchi.mp/7c848462e96f/full-prefrontal-sign-up)

Show Notes Transcript

“The builder said he was very sorry” writes Louis Sachar in the introduction to his children’s book, where instead of building a school one-story high with thirty classrooms, he ends up building a thirty stories high Wayside School with one classroom per floor. Readers discover that, none the less, the stories from such a strange and silly place are simply delightful.

Similarly, however challenging it is to raise complex kids wired for impulsivity, disorganization, neediness, disengagement, and occasional resistance, it can also be a great source of immense joy, pride, and gratitude. And their stories of courage can invoke hope for many to create harmony in shared spaces.

On this episode author, parent educator, certified coach, co-founder of ImpactADHD.com, and a co-creator of Sanity School®, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, discusses how parenting is a daily exercise in letting go. By using effective tools, every family can create connected, fulfilling, and empowering relationships with their real, unique, and amazing kids.

About Elaine Taylor-Klaus
Elaine Taylor-Klaus is an author, parent educator, and certified coach. The co-founder of ImpactADHD.com, co-creator of Sanity School® (an online behavior therapy program), and co-author of Parenting ADHD Now! Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD, she provides coaching, training and support for parents of complex kids – and parents raising kids in complex times. Her newest book, The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and More will be out in September 2020, and is available on pre-order with bonus gifts including a “Parenting in a Pandemic” supplement. Elaine has served as a parent advisor for the American Academy of Pediatrics and on the national Board of Directors of CHADD. She is the mother in an ADHD++ family of six.

Website:

Book:

About Host, Sucheta Kamath
Sucheta Kamath, is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed ExQ's personalized digital learning curriculum/tool that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence.

Support the show (https://mailchi.mp/7c848462e96f/full-prefrontal-sign-up)

Sucheta Kamath: Welcome back to Full PreFrontal, where executive function is the heartbeat of living a fulfilling life. And I'm your host Sucheta Kamath. And I'm here with a dear friend, and an esteemed colleague and an author, a newly minted author, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, and I'm going to tell you a little bit about her in a second. But just know, before we begin, if you know anybody who loves to hear about executive function, or is interested in bettering lives for themselves, or their children, or if you're an educator or parent, and you want to know how to be successful and effective in raising a meaningful family that knows how to tackle problems, then this is the podcast. So please subscribe, please share, and spread the joy. So today we have a very special guest. As I said, her name is Elaine Taylor-Klaus, she's an author, a parent educator, and a certified coach. She is the world known co-founder of ImpactADHD.com. And she's a co-creator of Sanity School, an online behavior therapy program for parents. And she's a co-author of Parenting ADHD Now!, easy intervention strategies to empower kids with ADHD. She provides coaching, training, and support for parents of complex kids, and parents raising kids in complex times. her newest book, which is I think she's a single author is the Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and More will be, by the time this podcast comes out, will be out for everybody to purchase. I highly, highly recommend you do so. Because if you think you do not have complex kits by dear people, you have a news coming. All of us have complex kids. And I think more so we all are complex beings. That's why our children are complex beings to raise. So, it's not a problem or not a problem. issue, but it's we can really gain a lot from her wisdom. So welcome to the podcast, Elaine, how are you? 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: Thank you, I am thrilled to be here. I am beyond thrilled. It's been a long time we've been we've been waiting to have a conversation like this. I'm really excited. 

Sucheta Kamath: Exactly. So, I'll start with a generic question that I asked all of my guests, but I think the entire conversation that I'm going to have with you is going to be about that. So, tell us a little bit about your own executive function. And when did you become a self-aware person? When did you become aware of your abilities, your challenges? And when did you actually come to terms with leaning into seeking help? 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: Wow, what a fabulous question. So many answers. So, you know, obviously I as an adult with ADHD I have I was diagnosed with attention and learning disability, attention issues and learning disabilities around somewhere around the age of 40. But they didn't appear at 40. They had been with me all my life. I just didn't know what they were. And so instead of understanding them and treating them for many years, I judged them and myself, and I was treated for anxiety and I was you know did all these things to try to manage what in hindsight, was really executive function issues. So, I was a pretty high achieving kid and teenager, young adult went to really good school. And, and I think I managed the executive function issues by sheer will and determination. And I kind of had to work harder than everybody else. And I just accepted that as a thing. And by the time I finished college, and I graduated with honors and I'd written a thesis and I was completely burned out. And even though I had thought I was going to go on to a PhD and all of that I was burned out I couldn't do it anymore. I was exhausted. And my next memory of dealing with these issues was in my first kind of not yet my first real job, you know at a desk in an office and the whole thing secretary and I'm and I remember looking around and one day and kind of going when is someone going to tell me what to do? Because I didn't know what to do. And I had this big job, I had a 13-state region. And I was a political activist. And I was, I was doing great work. And I was so excited to do the mission of what I was doing. That never occurred to me, I kind of didn't know what I was doing. Because it required a lot of organization, I was actually a professional organizer. And I didn't really have the skills and I didn't really know how to create them. And so that's the first time I could remember looking around and going, am I stupid? Like, is there something wrong with me and I, I kind of thought that I must be dumb that I've been fooling people all these years that I had been getting by and nobody realized that I was really not smart enough to do this. And so every time I had those, those moments, and I remember it happening in like eighth grade, and then again, around that my mid-20s, I would go back into therapy, because clearly there was something wrong with me. Right? And then I would go to therapy for a while and manage the anxiety around it. Where nobody ever said, well, let's, let's figure out what these issues are. And at some point, when my kids were starting to get diagnosed, one after another kind of like dominoes, I looked at them and I went, I don't think my husband can be responsible for all of this neurology, like suck, just wait a minute. And so, I was actually going back, and my plan was to go back to graduate school. And so, I needed to take the GRE's because I had never taken them because I burned out. And so, I was going to go get a PhD, I was going to go to graduate school. I realized by this point, if I'm going to take the GRE's, I might need some help. So, I went and had myself evaluated. And I actually had a full psych-ed evaluation done on myself as an adult, just like I had done for my kids. Because I thought I was I might need some accommodations in, in graduate school. And lo and behold, I was diagnosed with attention issues and learning disabilities and processing issues. It was all of a sudden, my whole life made sense. Like I began to understand why I majored in what I majored in, even though I hated my nature. I took classes where I could write papers and never had to take tests, right, because I could write but I couldn't, I didn't have the working memory. So, like I had accommodated for myself my whole life and never really realized it. And as I started understanding these issues for my kids, and then my own diagnosis, everything got really clear everything. So that's how I became an adult who was aware as I cried for a couple of weeks, right after that diagnosis, and sort of the loss of what I hadn't done or hadn't been able to, like, I would have loved to have been a psychology major, but I couldn't take the tests, right. And then I started saying, Okay, so what do I need to do for me? How do I need to get the support that I need? And that's where I ended up. For me, I ended up in coaching, because it was such an empowering way to approach it.

Sucheta Kamath: I think so many thoughts come to my mind as you're describing this. Number one, we have another guest, who Peter Shankman, who, you know, was, was a guest on this podcast, and he talks about this imposter syndrome. And I think it's often the case that I see with for 20 years that I have done, my clinical work is highly capable people when they underachieve or they don't live up to their own potential, or their own expectations of actualizing their potential, their first reaction of that we all have is to self-blame and self-doubt and wonder if I'm making this up, all my talents are made up rather than my challenges need to channeling you know, or they need to be understood. So, and the second thought that comes to my mind is how painful it is. For somebody like you who has to go through and I wonder if you didn't have children at that age, or did not have awareness that this could be actually understood through full neuropsychological assessment, like you would have fumbled through life kind of through life by just wanting to find an explanation somewhere outside rather than your own neurology, as you mentioned. So let me start here by saying and maybe I'm sure this will this all ties up but what did it mean to become a parent and tell us a little bit about your family since we are going to talk about parenting? If you feel comfortable? Would you share about your children who I adore and what was about their adorable nest that met with friction of raising them that made you aware that they were complex kids?

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: Yeah, that's great. Thank you. So, I have three complex kids, now young adults, and when in my first child was born that that child was a particularly complex kid. And it started at about two weeks, and there were medical issues, health issues, things, a lot of anxiety. They were just a really complicated child to raise. And, and, you know, somehow, I did manage to have other kids in that process, I still sort of marvel that I that I went through it again after that first kid. And, and what I remember, like we started looking at the process of diagnosis with this child when they were four. So, the problem started, like having to leave a preschool at 2. I mean, it was there were always issues, and I just, I was constantly trying to fix the problem instead of understanding the problem, right? And so, I would tell you, so this kid's having social anxiety, we're gonna go to a preschool that specializes in social and emotional development, right? This kid's having trouble with scissors, we're going to get an occupational therapist, this kids have it right? So every time there was a problem, I would look for the fix, you know, and by the time this kid was eight years old, we had done everything we had done integrative medicine, we had done occupational therapy, we had done speech we had done, I have visual therapy, like we have done everything. And, and it's not that none of these things helped, they did. But I think that's probably about the age when I met you, when they were that age about eight or 10. But we tried all of these fixes, but we weren't getting to the underlying cause. And, and by the time they were eight, I remember going to a friend who was who was a therapist, and saying, you know, what do I do? And he said, when you're dealing with these issues, both in school and in social, you go to a doctor, it's time to go to a psychiatrist. And so, we went to a psychiatrist, and we got a list of about eight diagnoses. And, you know, landed in a wonderful psychologist's office who, you know, with tears, and who said to me, when I said to her, where do I start, she said, You start with a metabolic. With all of these complex issues going on, you got to look, let's start with underlying issues, what's really going on. And so, she actually referred me to a nutritionist. And which it took me two years to have the guts to do, and I made the appointment and I cancelled it. Because I knew, even in those days, as long ago as this was that they were going to make me take foods out of my kid's diet, and I was already struggling so hard. I didn't know if I could handle that one more thing. 

Sucheta Kamath: So if I can interrupt, your hesitation came from it, increasing your work, or it came from you having to come to terms that you now are officially going to be on a different path than, quote unquote, traditional ways of doing things?

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: It's a great question. I think it was both man. I think by that point, I was already on a different path. I knew I was on a different path; they had already been introduced to a special program at the school. And we like we had already, I already knew there was something different about this, this environment. But the notion of a nutritional change was I just didn't think I could handle it on top of everything else I just did. Because in those days, this has gone back over 15 years. So, if you play backwards, we're talking about the early to 21st century, gluten free was not a thing. No, there were no gluten free restaurant menus, there was no gluten free food in the grocery stores. I mean, it wasn't a thing. And, and I'm not much of a cook, so I was really worried. So, I literally put it off for two years. And it was it wasn't until the issues got bad enough where I really had had to do something. So, we went back. And so, we had a profound nutritional change. In my daughter's case, my child's case, removing gluten from the diet was pretty profound. And that is not the case for everybody. And I want to be really clear, it's not a panacea. But for people for whom there is a food intolerance, it can be a significant change. And in our case, it was, and Beck's went from off the charts, emotional lability to within the range of normal in two weeks. And I just happened to be doing a psych-ed evaluation at the time or neuropsych at the time. So, we were able to scale it. We were able to actually see the change before and after, which was amazing. And so, then I went back to the psychiatrist who believed me because we had evidence because in those days, nobody was believing you that gluten and gluten. Nobody knew the brain gut connection about at that point nobody was talking about or a logical I used to call it neurological, celiac disease, just so people would take me seriously I would say they were on a gluten free diet, because people didn't believe it. So anyway, it was a pretty profound change. And very shortly thereafter, I discovered coaching. And it was the combination of the two, one was taking the gluten out of out of the diet, made it possible for us to begin to manage some of these other issues, and significantly, in our case, reduced their anxiety. And then when I started getting coaching, I started learning how to communicate with my child in a different way, and how to be in a more empowering way. And to see them as not broken. And I stopped trying to fix everything. And I started trying to look at the underlying challenges and what was going on and what was causing it. And it was around that time that I went to the same psychiatrist and I, and I started learning about it. I said, could this be me too, and she kind of patted me on the head and said, No, honey, you're just a mom. And so I waited another couple of years before I was diagnosed, because I was told, now you're just a mom, when in fact, it was part of that fear of I don't think I can handle this was because I had reached my load of what I can handle as a mom with three kids with my own issues that I didn't know, I had maxed out, you know,

Sucheta Kamath: It's so interesting. You know, as a professional, I sit on the other side of the spectrum, I shouldn't say spectrum, but last 25 years, having these conversations, trying to mediate between parents as well, as doctors. You know, I remember all the research or the work that we do talks about early intervention, quicks get started with it, look at functional outcomes. And then a pediatrician might recommend to parents, we'll wait and see. And so already five years are gone or when they come to me, because they see the behaviors, but they don't have the backing of the diagnosis. So parents are confused, should we do something and my calling always my call, my invitation to parents always has been, Let's work so we see functional change, and parents hesitation sometimes I saw came from, what are we doing to me, I don't want to make a problem for my kid, because they were afraid to have a label. So, if there's no label, I'd rather not do anything because label itself is scary. So, I'm so glad to see culture change. And as you're talking about even food gut, and, you know, neurobiology connection, as well as even environmental modifications that are so within our control, people are leaning into them much more readily. So, tell me a little bit about this idea of I love the way you were saying particularly intelligent, highly caring, and educated parents tend to come in as problem solvers. But you are inviting people to say pause and get to the bottom of the hour understand. So, give us some examples of in what ways people are failing to understand or don't take the time to understand, and how does that understanding look different in action in everyday life. 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: So, so many things are coming up, as you're saying that. And I'm realizing that part of my journey that I've never really give credit to but I really, this is an insight for me at this moment. Right? Is that somewhere along this path when my daughter was maybe three, my eldest child was three, I became a yoga teacher. And so, my path you can see I've done all these different things. There's my ADHD, show it, right. But I became a yoga teacher. And, and that process of, you know, I see yoga as meditation in motion. Right? And, and I see coaching as the, as an extension of that. It's like the verbalization, of, of yoga, in a lot of ways. I think it's all the same thing. And so, part of the journey was me, stopping that tendency that the world has to see them as broken. Right. And so, it was the yoga that really helped me stop seeing this kid is broken and has to be fixed. And invited me to start saying, taking a wellness approach to say, here’s where they are, what will help them, as you say, sort of improve those behavioral outcomes. How, how can I get them from here to the next, instead of only looking at the long-term outcomes? And I think what happens with parents is we get so outcome focused, yeah, that we forget how important or how essential our processes, right, really, it's all about the process of growing up and helping our kids incrementally take on a little bit more responsibility and capability and incrementally learn to take ownership of their lives. But if we're only looking at, are they going to graduate from this or finish that we're missing this profound opportunity. And I think we've seen a lot of that in this pandemic this year, that's profound opportunity to kind of get back to the basics, you know, and to look at, what does it take for me to get from here to there to the next step? And what is, you know, improving a little emotional ability or social skill? What does that look like? or What does it look like for to help my daughter learn to start something, instead of completing it, the completion is great, but you're not going to get to completion. If you're not looking at, well, this, this kid struggling with starting something, or this kid struggling with staying with something this kid struggling with completing, or turning it in, or whatever it is, when we break it down, incrementally, we have this amazing capacity to help them grow, and, and take on agency in their life. That we don't when we're the ones holding the checklist, and that sort of goes back to the beginning of your question, what happens I have this image like we call it fix it Fran, right of the mom with the chalkboard with the with the clipboard, okay, OT thing, check, executive function, tutoring check, like they could, we're gonna do all these things. But if we don't understand why we're doing them, and how to integrate them, we're kind of missing that chance to really invite our kids to take ownership of their lives. And that, to that to that particular point, I think what I'm so excited that parents will get this message. Ultimately, to me, it's discovering courage. And it really is all about courage, courage to face your own truth, courage to face your children. And when I say face, because it is kind of a personal hypocrisy or deceit, emotional, not intentional. When we want our children to be fixed, we have with the front facing reasons we give is because we don't want them to suffer. But the back facing truth is I don't want to suffer. So, if you meet the difficulties for what they are, to me, it's such a beautiful process. That it it's not as hurtful as we imagined it to be. And so much shame. You're what you're speaking to is shame, right. Yeah, we fall into shame and blame and judgment. And, and, you know, as you're saying that, like, I mean, I love what you're saying, you're using the term courage, I might use the term trust, but I think it's we're talking about the same thing, right? For me, it's trusting ourselves and our instincts and our capacity as parents, and letting their journey be there. And what happens as, parents is we kind of live through our kids, we live vicariously, we see their capacity, we want to help them be their best selves. And part of that, as you say, is so that we can look like we've got these great, amazing kids, right? And, and when we let when we separate it, and we let them have their journey, and not let it necessarily be a reflection of us. And it's hard. I mean, what we're talking about is hard stuff. Yes, be honest. Right?

Sucheta Kamath: But it really is.

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: I have a kid, my eldest kid, who is, by all measures extraordinarily successful, young human, right, they are almost 26 years old, really, really accomplished. And at nine years old, we weren't sure if that kid was ever going to live independently. And, and they really struggled. They struggled with life, they struggled with school, they struggle with mental health issues, they struggle with medical health issues. And, you know, as successful as they are, they still struggle with those issues. What's different is that instead of focusing on making sure that they learned algebra, or philosophy or whatever, we've focused on making sure they learned how to manage themselves in life, whatever that was gonna look like. And when we stopped trying to fit them into some other box, no matter how smart they were, and started allowing them to be in the box that they were in and letting them letting them sort of create the best box they could in where they were. That's when things started shifting. But our focus we had to let go of the child we thought we were going to have and embrace the child we had. 

Sucheta Kamath: So I really enjoyed that part and in chapter four, you talk about you know, bringing these corners or cornerstone concepts from coaching, which is where you talk about that people aren't broken, they are creative, resourceful, and whole. Can you talk about the other three? The second one you talk about to create change; people must have ownership of their agenda. So how do you see that? actualized? I'll tell you why I asked this. Because here's another problem that I noticed. And I don't know if you get consulted on this or not. But I get a lot of learned people. And let me tell you the problems of the learned. They're there so book smart, that they have a gap in their application skills. So, they are able to read out or recite principles, but they don't live in them. And they find themselves very frustrated, but they also actually come to believe that they're somehow doing it because they get it. They have read it, and they have understood it, but they're not adapting to it. So, I'm very curious where you stand on that. And how do you see it? 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: I love that. I love that. So, I was on the phone with a couple this morning, who were both college professors. Okay, so I know from which you speak, right? Yes, this Yes, I would say I'm consulted on this. And with a 16-year-old child who is who is struggling in school, and so as academicians, they're really struggling with the fact that they're really bright kid is struggling at school and in life. Right. And, and they have landed in a very classic, you know, textbook control battle with their child, and they're now young adult, mostly because and I'm thinking about another family I work with where the mom is also an educator, right? very learned, where they're treating their seven year old, their 17 year old, like their seven, right, and if, if a kid is coming up and is not given agency, if they're not given ownership, if they're not, if someone is constantly directing their life, and I don't care whether they have executive function challenges or not, even if they have executive function challenges, the goal is to help them learn to manage those challenges, not to do it for them. And, and when parents continue to do it for them and do it for them and do it for them, they begin to stop trying, because why bother? I can't ride this horse because mom's busy writing it for me. So, until she's willing to give me the reins, and let me ride it. I'm just going to, I'm going to back off, and I'm going to stop trying. And I think this means classic control struggle. But what happens is that we as parents, we get, and we get stuck in what we what we talked about in this phase one parenting. In the book, we talked, we talked about the four phases of parenting, and we get stuck in phase one, which is directing our kids and telling them what their motivation is, right. And the way to transfer ownership is to begin to move out of that phase and start collaborating with them and helping them figure out what their motivation is, and then allowing them to take the reins and supporting them in it instead of telling them what it's going to be at. And, and let's be honest, that's hard. I mean, it's really hard to do. It's gut wrenching to let go every single day. And parenting is an exercise in letting go every single day. Right? 

Sucheta Kamath: Do you find that? So, what are some of the recommendations you have while the kids lack the wisdom to know why parents are doing things differently? And particularly you and I see kids see families in the midway in their journey, that means they have been doing a certain way, which is not working. That's what transpires them to seek help. But the problem is, they know the way they do doesn't work. But they're not fully ready to do a new way because they don't trust the new way, or they haven't mastered it. So, what do you suggest when parents come with that knowledge? Now I'm talking about different kinds of learned parents, parents, who you and I coach, and then they go in front of their children and the children poke a hole in the theory or the better practice. So now, it doesn't work. They haven't planned enough or don't know enough how to handle the pushback. So, you talk a lot about difficult or getting the buy in what is recommend to parents to do to work with these difficulties when the kid who doesn't have the wisdom is giving pushback. 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: So, when a kid has pushed back and doesn't isn't bought in, usually it's because they don't trust. And the reason they don't trust is because they don't have reason to trust yet. And so, when a parent, particularly parents of teenagers are struggling with these kind of classic control issues. The place that we encourage parents to start is by leaning into relationship and to not focus on the doing, but to be together to connect with each other to rebuild that. To talk about something other than school or college applications, or you know what they're picking the telephone for whatever the kids not doing, right? And to really find out what's interesting to that, to that kid, what movies are watching what, what music? Are they listening to? What games are they playing, and reconnect, because the core of the ability to shift your approach as a parent and power parent from an empowering place, is to be in connection. Usually when I whenever I talk to parents of teens, and I often say sit Give me the parent of a seven-year-old instead of 17-year-old any day, because that's easy, right? Seven to 11. Like we can do this all day long. Once they're 12. and older, the kids begin to be motivated by themselves, not by pleasing the adults in their lives. And so, it shifts. So, when I'm talking to parents of older kids, the first question I'll ask is, is what kind of a relationship do you have? And usually, they'll either tell me, actually, we do really well, we're doing great, it's just this, and that'll give me a lot of information. Or they'll say, well, we used to have a really good relationship. And if they say, well, we used to have, but not really anymore, what I know is they got stuck in level one parenting, and they need help moving out, right? If they say they really do have a good relationship, then they're not stuck in level one, they want to be collaborative, they just don't know how. Right. And so part of what I take my lead from where the parent is, because we say we often we always say meet our kids where they are, and raise the bar from there and help them grow from there. The same is true for the parents, we have to meet them where they are. But we have to help them understand what's important to them, and what they're doing this for. And, and to help because they've got to help their kid understand what's important to them and what they're doing it for. And our kids are not going to be motivated by doing things because they're checking it off the list or because it's good for them or healthier, because it's going to be good for them to know in their future. Like we have to find a more immediate motivation.

Sucheta Kamath: I love that. And I think there's this is also going back to this idea of parental persisting; I feel people have a habit of consistently and persistently being controlling. They don't have persistent persistence and consistency in building relationships, where take a person who doesn't trust you to become a person who trust you, which literally is doing nothing or doing less. And so, controlling parents don't know how to do less, takes a while. 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: Yeah, I was talking to a mom this morning, who I'm going to be doing some work with. And you know, what I found, as I've gotten more comfortable with this work, I guess, I've been doing this a dozen years now is, is I'm being more clear with parents that this is your job, this is your work. This is we're not talking about we're going to talk about your job, but this is your work to do. And the changes are going to start with you. And, and if a parent's not ready to see that they're not a good client for me, because I'm not here to fix the kid, you know, and parents will often call and say, my kid needs a coach. Right? My kid is considered function tutor. It's like, is your kid asking for help? Is your kid ready for help? What can I do to help you get your child to the point where they are willing to use the help, you're making available to them? Because that the child's not receptive, as you know better than any, it's really hard to do the work and make the change if the parents putting it all on the kid and not shifting their approach. 

Sucheta Kamath: So, tell us a little bit about so that was the working with the parents to work with difficult children? How do you recommend parents work with children to work with the world? So, what does that transition look like? How do you see parents gain the skills to teach their children to advocate for themselves rather than advocating for their children? And one more layer to that is, I think, again, to me comes back to trusting that universe has placed for everybody. I feel that when parents advocate very strongly, sometimes I find them that coming from a place where they want their children's circumstances to be fixed. Yeah, but that doesn't lead to child knowing how to do it for themselves, but they don't see that cost. You know what I mean? So, I was just curious how you see that in your world. 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: So the concepts that we teach around this, you know, and as you're asking these great questions, and everything we're talking about, the answer is in this program, we teach called Sanity School, you know, or in this in the book that's coming out and it's like, it's all there. And the concept around this are creating an environment that makes it okay to make mistakes. Because when we create an environment that makes it okay to make mistakes, we then teach our kids how to ask for and accept help. And part of what happens is our kids, we give them a solution, they resist it, we get mad, and then we don't realize the reason they're resisting help is because we have made it wrong for them to make mistakes all the way along. And so now they feel like if they take help, they're wrong. And they don't want to be wrong, they're tired of being wrong. So, our job is to create a culture, an environment where it's okay to make mistakes, so that they can learn how to ask for the help they need. That's what self-advocacy is, self-advocacy is asking for the help that you need. And, and if you're advocating for a kid without involving them in the process, they're not learning to say, wow, this is a struggle area for me, I could use some help with that. They're being made broken, instead of learning how to make themselves whole. And that's, that's the shift here is that we want to see them as whole and help them learn to create that for themselves. And that happens when they learn to not just ask for help but accept help in a way that that works for them the way that they need it.

Sucheta Kamath: You know, the point that you were making about the Sanity School, can you tell us talk a little bit about that. And, and again, this is why listeners you need to really get this book, I don't care what how old your children are and whether there are complex or not. Because our lives are complex, I highly recommend for you to get the advice and wisdom that our dear friend is talking about. But I think to that point, if you can talk about the role of communication that you have embedded in the Sanity School, and you're teaching parents, how to be good communicators, we again many of the clients that you and I see come from, they're highly educated, they have a lot of, you know, high positions, they're highly accomplished. But they may not be good at this, which is interesting, right? 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: It's so true. And what I was writing something recently, and I realized that that basically this methods, whether it's the Sanity School for parents program, or Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids the book, it's all the same concept as the coach approach to parenting. And really, it's about ultimately, it's about raising the level of emotional intelligence, it is about helping parents see and understand where those pieces are, so that they can. So, change starts with awareness, you can't change anything until you are aware that you want it to change in the first place. And the same is true for emotional intelligence. And the same is true for communication, as it is for something more quantifiable, like, you know, I don't even know what an example would be, you could probably come up with something better than I could. But it starts with an awareness with a knowing that this is the change I want to see. I want to be able to have a conversation with my child without him getting defensive. Every time I asked him to do something, that might be a change, you want to see, well, that's your awareness. That's where you're taking aim and our language, you're starting to say I want to be able to talk to him in a way that doesn't put them on the defensive immediately. Well, if that's the case, then you want to get curious and try to understand what's causing the defensiveness? Is he feeling shamed? Is he feeling blamed? There's been an environment where it hasn't been okay to make mistakes. Is it because he feels bad that he can do it and he feels like he should, and he sees his friends doing it and he can’t? Like I who knows what the dynamic is, but until you can really understand what they're thinking processes whether going about and come from a place of compassion and acknowledgement. One of the skills we teach in the book is called ACE in Sanity School, acknowledgement plus compassion, to really acknowledge where they are and have compassion for it before you start trying to fix it or explore options or explain anything. Acknowledge their experience. That's emotional intelligence because that's raising awareness to here's where you are I get you don't want me to interrupt your game while you're in the middle of gaming and I need the trash out. I'm really sorry to have to interrupt you right now. And the trash has got to get out before five o'clock is the trash come? People are coming so can you please stop and do that? That's a very different come from. Then I told you to get the trash out by five o'clock. Get out there right. One of those is acknowledging that there another human being in the world. And coming from a place of understanding and empathy and compassion. And, and that's really what emotional intelligence is about is recognizing and seeing other people's experience, not just around, 

Sucheta Kamath: You know, I'll tell you two things. So, I call this kindness curriculum. And intentionally practicing, which is from Hindu and Buddhist philosophies of soft front and firm back. So, you're rooted and grounded in principles, but your presentation is always kind and soft and welcoming and tolerant. And with my children who are now younger than adults, as well, like, just like yours, I often say to them even now, get out of my way, I'm parenting. So

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: I'm borrowing that. I love that,

Sucheta Kamath: Yes. It's literally if you're like, wheeling somebody, you know, in a wheelchair, you tell people, you know, get out of my way. And I feel like, kids come in the way of parenting. And I think it's really important that you point out to the children, that their job is to not interfere with the parenting process. And, and that's where the respect lies to the process, which is so important. And I, I was raised with that, that respect for the process idea. And I always have raised my own children. And in my training, I talk to parents about unveiling your principles, because you may be living like, don’t lie is a principle. But then tell your kids while you're in the shower, "Tell her I'm not home", you know, you're telling. Right, right. So now, can we do it all the time? Yeah, I talked, we don't lie, but then you lie. And then you say, but it's okay, if I lie, because I know what the right and wrong is. So that kind of you unveil and, and so I when my kids were very young, you know, Amelia Bedelia. Right. Yeah. So, I used to talk a lot about that, you know, having the entendres of language, how we use language to communicate. And so, I would the veiled, you know, conversation, how to communicate intent. And I feel that emphasizing that aspect of your relational ways of relating using language is such an essential way of parenting that sometimes people leave that to interpretation, and then they get in trouble. Or they get in trouble.

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: It will in the coaching realm, we call that transparency.

Sucheta Kamath: transparency. Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: And I love to get out of my way on parenting, what I usually say is, throw me a bone here, right through, right, just, you know, go with me for a minute, humor me here. I'm the parent, I gotta do this, because I'm the parent, right? So, my mind me here, but I love this sentiment, because it's again, it's reinforcing, our kids need to know that we're human, just like they are. And if we try to put up the some front that were super human, and we don't make mistakes, and we don't do anything wrong, all they're going to look at adulthood is to think I'm never going to be able to do that. There's no way because that's not real. And, and who likes the goody two shoes anyway? I mean, let's be serious. You know, like, everybody's got to have our foibles. That's what makes us fun and playful and interesting, you know, who doesn't love a good roast? You know? 

Sucheta Kamath: Well, so I feel Oh, my God, I could talk with you for hours. So as we come to the end of this discussion, you have this beautiful quote, in your book that she says, "At the end of your life, you don't want to be the leading expert on your child, you want them to become the leading expert on themselves." Yeah, tell us about that. I think it's such a beautiful way of living your life. It's such a way of conducting your business of parenting, so to speak. How, how do we how do we stay true to that sentiment? 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: Well, I think that it's kind of that's a great encapsulation of everything we've been talking about, right? That the job here is not to raise children. The job here is to raise these young bee beings to become adults, to prepare them to become adults and to recognize that they're on their journey from a very little from a very early age. And we kind of recognize that with toddlers, we give them you know, they've got a mind of their own to kind of accept that with the terrible twos and threes, and then somehow we start trying to train it out of them. When the truth is that what we really want to do is to help them learn to be who they are, and, and to be more and more and better and better incrementally and little steps to but to be a full expression of themselves. To do that. We have to let go right? We have to not hold on to who we want them to be. But allow them to be who they who they are, I don't think I ever could have imagined that my oldest child was certainly never would have imagined they would have been an actor. And, you know, I'm not even sure with this, that my second child that I would have thought I was going to have a scientist, you know, like I don't, those weren't the images I had for them where they were born. What's really more important is to help them figure out what makes them tick, and what jazz is them, so that I can help them become their full expression of themselves. That's them living their lives, and not me trying to live it for them, or just to circumscribe them, I can say that you can tell a good parent, when other kids come out differently. When you have a family where all the kids come out kind of, you know, cookie cutter versions of themselves, they're probably cookie cutter versions of one of the parents. Right now, that's not the route of exclusive role. But oftentimes, if you see a family, they got one kid in the Peace Corps and one kid, you know, like, all different places, that's when you know, there's been some parenting that's really been about empowering autonomy and independence and, and helping shape people to be themselves. And I want to say it again, it's not easy, because it's a daily exercise in letting go. And that's our job as parents is to begin to transfer the reins a little bit at a time little step at a time so that they become capable and confident in doing it themselves and knowing how to ask for help when they need it. That's what a successful adult looks like. 

Sucheta Kamath: Oh, well. I cannot tell you what a beautiful place to stop. daily exercise in letting go that truly is the calling of big being apparent. So, thank you, Elaine Taylor-Klaus for being here with us. Thank you, everybody, for everyone for tuning into Full PreFrontal exposing the mysteries of executive function, as you see, helping children to attain their optimal performance and help them discover the goals for themselves that they can chase the dreams that they can conceive and become the people that they are begins with you which is being the most amazing parent and being an amazing parent is actually a lifelong commitment must be taken seriously. And I thank you. And thank you for leaving a guide a manual for us so I highly recommend we'll be linking in our show notes where to get it what the book is, but it is the Essential Guide to raising complex kids with ADHD anxiety and more and be sure to get it right a great review and Elaine, so thank you for being with me and for being such an amazing human

Elaine Taylor-Klaus: My pleasure and I feel quite the same thank you for sharing this journey with me and for allowing me to come to share with your tribe. I appreciate it.

Sucheta Kamath: Thank you. Have fun everyone.