#187 Today, I am here with my dear friend Tracey Burns. Tracey is a coach who teaches and provides the life skills and tools teen girls need to thrive in life. She also partners with their parents to become a formidable team in helping the girls in the crucial years of adolescence.
During our conversation today, we discuss parenting styles, the importance of self-awareness among teens and parents, how parents can connect with their teens, and the effects of the pandemic on teenagers. If you are a parent who is seeking to connect with their child and build a solid relationship, then this episode is for you.
“I hear a lot from parents about wanting to change their teen. But actually, you have to work with both parents and teens to get the results.”
If you enjoyed this podcast, you may also like: Finding Our Purpose & Parenting As A Spiritual Practise | Patrick Harrington
About Tracey: Before starting Unstoppable Girls, Tracey had a successful career in Marketing and Advertising.
Tracey was inspired to create Unstoppable girls as she reflected on her own childhood and teen years. After suffering trauma as a young girl and realising the impact this made on her throughout her teen and adult life, Tracey knew the importance of having a strong sense of self and self-worth, as well as positive role models.
Tracey passionately believes that if we can develop our girls’ mental armour (courage, self-belief, confidence and compassion) to own who they are, understand their strengths, their uniqueness, and their worth, then they have a much greater chance of a positive experience during their teen years.
As a teen, and young woman, Tracey set up her own retail business which she ran successfully for 4 years until at the age of 23 she decided to study Business with marketing at University where she went on to win a National competition that saw her land a graduate training place at a top advertising agency in London.
She climbed the corporate ladder and went on to become a Managing Director of a leading Marketing agency working on world class brands like Qantas, Virgin, Vodafone, Volkswagen, amongst others. After 20 years in the corporate world Tracey retrained and studied Psychology of coaching and qualified as an Executive and life coach.
After working through her own childhood trauma and now being a mother of two girls, Tracey knew that for her girls and all girls to truly thrive, they needed to develop a rock-solid inner foundation as well as having strong, positive adult mentors in their life.
Key points with time stamp:
- Deeping Connections: What Your Teenagers & Kids Need Most (00:00)
- A coach to teenage girls in Australia (00:40)
- The importance of becoming aware of our trauma (04:15)
- Why you may not be healing from past trauma (07:43)
- Anger and positivity, can they coexist? (10:21)
- The reoccurring challenge of teenage girls and their parents (11:07)
- Is our world today amplifying the issues of teens? (13:12)
- The role of self-awareness in connecting with your teen (16:07)
- Do you inherit your parenting style? (20:09)
- How can you improve on your parenting style? (23:11)
- What does the ideal parent child relationship look like? (24:44)
- How do you find the balance between being a friend and being a parent? (26:11)
- The biggest frustrations of teenagers towards parents (28:34)
- Supporting your child as they step into adolescence (30:12)
- The lack of teenage coaching in schools (32:05)
- The importance of preventative approaches regarding mental health (34:36)
- Are teen struggles surprising to Tracey? (36:22)
- 3 things you could right now for your relationship with your teen (37:38)
- Are you not present enough? (40:50)
- Is it too late to mend your relationship with your teen? (44:38)
- Tracey’s workshops in the coming year (46:32)
- Useful book recommendations for parents (47:29)
- “It’s never too late” (48:50)
Mentioned in this episode:
- The Ten-Ager, 2021. A book by Madonna King
- Teen Brain, 2019. A book by David Gillespie
- Untangled, 2016. A book by Lisa Damour
Tracey’s Facebook Group
(9) Raising unstoppable girls | Facebook
Draw separate afterwards. You’ll be fine. We;re live Tracy, welcome to the podcast.
Hello, thank you for having me.
You’re more than welcome. It’s been a long time coming. Obviously, we’re dear friends. I’ve known you for many years. And you’ve certainly been a guidance to me on my journey as well through through yes for many years. So for me to actually get you on the podcast and share a bit of what you’re doing now. I’m genuinely very excited. So thank you for being here.
Thanks, guy. Thank you.
I’m going to ask you the same question. I asked everyone on the show. And that is, if we were at a dinner party right now. And we were complete strangers, and I sat next to you and asked you are what do you do for a living these days? What would you say?
I would probably say that I teach the life skills and provide tools to teen girls to to really thrive in life. And I also partner with their parents to say we’ve become this formidable teen team in helping the girls to thrive and the parents too
what, what age group Do you generally work with? Firstly, when you say teens, literally from 12, and 13,
from 13, generally within my one to one coaching, and younger, I’m working on rites of passage camp. So seeing girls transition from childhood into adolescence. So yeah, from 10. If I’m in a camp environment,
amazing, amazing. And, you know, we’ve had conversations off air, and obviously, I’m like, Wow, this is so necessary. Right now, the world needs this, you know, and especially with the last 18 months as well, I can I can only imagine. But why did you decide to step into this work for yourself?
That’s a big, that’s a big story. And it’s
We got time, it’s a podcast!
look, I think it has been such a long time coming, for me to realise that this is actually my calling. And it really goes way back like way back before and really goes back to my childhood in terms of what I went through as a young girl, and suffered like really big trauma for many years of my childhood. And so this, I didn’t realise how much that had impacted me until much later on in life. And so everything I did felt harder as a result. And I was living unconsciously, I wasn’t even aware of what happened to trauma in my past, what patterns that then led to in my life and the beliefs I had about myself and the struggle, I guess I went through, which you would never know, knowing me growing up, but it was a real internal struggle. And, and I think, you know, kind of doubled and dabbled within a career for many years in marketing. And I knew that that wasn’t really my true passion, there was an element of that, that I really loved, which was working with people. And it was helping people to see the good in themselves and bring out the best in them. And, but I and I think knowing that, I decided to retrain and study in psychology of coaching. And I started working with women. And I saw the struggles that the women had. And I think deep down I knew that it to make the impact that I wanted to make. I needed to start working younger, I needed to start working with teens to give them the skills that I had learned so that they didn’t struggle like I did throughout my adult years. So yeah, that was Yeah, and it’s been bubbling away for many years.
I know you on your journey as well you know watching from afar it just feels like you’ve stepped into your the true essence of what you’re about because they’ve just been around you You’re such a positive person and the way you relate to other people you know, that’s definitely your superpower hands down. And I can I can just imagine you there now with a group of teen girls and how you’d connect with them all and and allow whatever needs to blossom and come out of that commodity that you know. Yeah. What What fascinates you Because obviously, I think you’ll like the 100 almost 180 180/4 interview or something on my podcast. It was three years and you know trauma has been a A topic of interest of mine as well. And it can fit into so many categories and so many interpretations and affect us deeply. And you know, I firmly believe now that our body ourselves, we hold trauma, and we’re unaware of it. And I’d be interested to hear from What does trauma mean to you from your aspect. And when you were experienced trauma as yourself as a child, did you know that you were experiencing trauma? Or Then did you just go into your teens completely unaware that you’d been traumatised?
Yeah, definitely the latter. And I think I had no awareness. Like I had completely disassociated from what had happened to me. So there was almost no memory, no conscious memory that I had. And it wasn’t until I was 19. So I remember at the age of 19, really clearly, there’s a lot of my childhood years and my teen years that I have very little memory of, and at 19. This just kept replaying in my mind, Did this happen to me? Did this happen to me? And I thought I was going mad. I literally thought I was going mad. And I thought, because I could not I could just couldn’t figure it out in my own mind. And at that point, I had to confront the person who had abused me for my childhood. And when I heard the words, why now, it was like, Oh, my God, it did happen. It’s not me going mad. It’s not me going crazy. And But what was interesting from that was that anger that came up, actually, I chatting the anger with that guy. And I wasn’t even aware of it during my teen years. I have friends that have known me for many, many years. And they will tell me that I was a very angry teenager. And I thought the world was against me. And and I have no memory of that either. But I do know that I was angry when I realised that that had happened.
Incredibly. I’m what just just so I can get a reference by what age? What was it that it happened? Was it like before you?
Yeah, it was from four to 14.
Right? Wow. Incredible.
And then remember, the the age of 14 was pivotal, because that was the age that I knew, like put a stop to it. That I knew at that age Hold on. This is this is not right. This has got to stop. So yeah.
And then it was almost like erased from your memory until it started to resurface at 19. Like there’s a dis- disassociation to what happened even because at the time, you will figure out if it’s right or wrong, it was just strange. Wow.
And I think it’s your way of surviving. It was my way of surviving right was to totally disassociate from it. And I know in my I think maybe my late 20s I did see a counsellor and a therapist. And at that time, I think I had I was given an exercise and I had to write down I love and forgive this particular person. And the emotions that were coming up in from the bottom of my body up here was like a steam train. And I thought I just couldn’t deal with it. It was so overwhelming. those emotions were so big and so scary. That I consciously made the decision. I can’t deal with this right now. So I put a lid on it says like, not not having a bar of it. I can’t go there. It was true. It wasn’t and I felt I feel now looking back. It wasn’t the right time for me to deal with it. And I know that sounds weird, but I don’t think I was in the right place or if the right age or had the right experience to properly be able to deal with that experience. Yeah, yeah. Damnit went again.
Wow. It makes sense because we, you know, we work with people at our retreats, especially, I know, coaching programmes, and especially when we’re diving into the, I guess, spiritual aspects of the work as well, that unless you’re ready, and you’re ready to allow those emotions to start to move and come up and bypass it. You know, it’s challenging. It’s really
scary. It’s really scary. Yeah, because you don’t know what’s going to come out and you don’t know what you’re going to find when it’s it’s almost like an onion and you’re stripping away the layers and I remember thinking, what if you know i strip all away these layers and I don’t even like the person I am. You know, they were the thoughts that would run through my mind when thinking about dealing with it.
Totally, totally. But it’s so worth the journey. Right? Once you once you go through it and transition and come out the other side and unable to reflect back, I guess, because there’s so many lessons that we learn from those difficulties as well. And then like you’re doing now we’re able to pass wisdom on to other people that are ready to be TP helped and healed as well. I’m just curious as well, then what were you like, as a teenager?
I was quite feisty. And I didn’t really take any nonsense from anybody. I think I was quite aggressive. I was quite angry. But I was also I was also full of life. And weirdly, despite that anger, I was actually a really positive person. I was always up for adventure. always smiling, always seeing the positive side is like this real. Two sides of me. Yeah, the anger and then the super positive, happy, give anything ago kind of team?
Yeah, therefore. So the move moving on, because obviously you you work through that you’ve come out the other side. And like I said, you’re reflecting back upon it as well. And now have that wisdom that you’re taking in and the passion that you’ve always had to work with people. I mean, that’s evident. You know, I mean, I love spending time with Tracey. And what do you what have you found since working with teens, and parents has been the number one problem or issue that keeps arising that you see over and over again, the challenges, then
there’s, there’s more than one that keeps rising, there’s actually the more that I do work with teens, the more I realise that the work needs to start with the parents. And it kind of I’ve really moved away from just working one on one with teens to working with the parent, and the teen as well. So the challenges I see with teens is a lot of a lot of anxiety. I mean, that’s massive, like huge anxiety in teams, and also so much self doubt, and unsureness of themselves, like really lacking in confidence, really low self esteem, really unsure of who they are, like, they just lack any awareness of who they are. So that I guess a couple of really big challenges that I see with the teens. And then with the parents, I think it’s is, I hear a lot from parents about wanting to change their team. I can’t deal with my team’s behaviour. I wish my team was more confident. I wish my team wasn’t so angry. I wish my teen so there’s a lot that’s put onto the teen , but actually, you have to work with both to get the results.
Yeah, yeah. So okay, there’s a couple of directions, I could go in there. The first one was with the teens, let’s start with the teens for a sec, because I remember I you know, I lacked confidence in my early teens. And I used to play rugby, so my rugby I would be able to channel My aggression. And I guess that that, that those emotions bubbling up underneath that I could never put word to express or, and beat my chest. Rugby was always my my outlet. And I kind of grew confidence from that was useless. And then other areas of my life in terms of what it meant to be confident and be a man and stand up in that area. So you know, he could say that teens tend generally go through that anyway, even though it feels like a long way back from my teens now. But do you find that obviously, the pandemics going to be fueling it, but you find just the general way society is moving, is amplifying that issue within teens, and maybe because of the stress and the pressure that’s been put on parents to, I guess, cope and survive with with the daily demands of modern life?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if I, I think you’re right, there is a there’s a definite and I shouldn’t call it a sweet spot because there’s not a sweet spot for the teens that are going through it. But the ages of 14 to 16 in particular are a challenging time, time for any team. But I think when you add to that the pressures of modern day life, the fast paced pneus of the life that we all the lives that we lead, the fact that parents are also super busy and working. Yes throw in a pandemic as well. In social media, the digital age, there’s so much placed on teams that I think of what they’re exposed to way much more than what I ever was. You know, there’s a book by Madonna King, which is called the ten-ager. And what she found is like 10 year olds today, are like 13 year olds from 20 years ago. So kids are growing up so much quicker now than what they ever had, they are exposed to so much more than what they ever were. So there’s a huge amount of pressure on teens to succeed to look a certain way to fit into, yeah, to better just to go back to that comment on the pandemic, when you then throw that in as well. And the impact that’s had on the team and their natural development and what they should be doing as teens is stripped away, then there’s a massive increase in their mental health and anxiety and being stuck indoors and not connecting and not getting outside it’s gets is compounding. Yeah,
yeah. Fair enough. Fair enough. So then with the parents, because it’s fascinating, because obviously, a my little Ava is 15 months old now. And she’s a feisty female already. And I’m thinking, Well, you know, give us give us a few years, I’m going to be coming up with all these challenges myself. With level five stick out. And so let’s say there’s a parent listening to this right now and going like, Oh, my God, that’s me. I just can’t connect to my 14 year old teenager right now. You know, they’re the defiant the, they’re locking themselves in the room. They’re on the bloody iPad all day, they’re eating junk food, I’m not cutting through, I’m really worried about them. While I can be like at the time, they’re 18 Oh, my God, like, What do I do? You know, and I’m sure it’s it’s simpler. It’s a very common scenario, like, sadly too common. Where would you start, like, food? Obviously, it’s hard now, because you mentioned about, the parent has to take responsibility as well. But like what I’ve witnessed from working with many people, and teaching people through different meditation processes and practices connecting back to the self. If we are not aware of something then we we tend to hold on to beliefs and go they’re wrong, yep.
100% 100%. And it’s a bit like when I start working with a team one on one is the same place that I start with a parent. And that is all around that self awareness. So that very first place to start is them understanding what influenced them, and their parenting style of today. So going back to things like their culture, religion, the way they were parented. So more often than not, this is certainly true of my parenting style that I was raised with. I grew up with authentic authoritarian parents. So and I think anybody that has grown up and been raised by authoritarian parents, there will be childhood wounds that you don’t have to have gone through some significant trauma like I did, there will be wounds there that you’re not aware of. So if you think back to that, or certainly my childhood, you know, you were to be seen and not heard. You had to blindly obey your parents, you know, you had to show respect, Woe betide you if you didn’t, you know, it was, you’d be punished. And often that punishment would be physical punishment. So I really start with the parents in understanding all of those influences and unpacking them. And then, you know, them understanding their triggers what triggers them, for them to respond in a way to their team that’s screaming and yelling, and just, you know, pulling their hair out. So that’s the starting point.
Right. So then basically diving into the triggers on the parent, and putting the mirror back on oneself, isn’t it?
Yeah, yeah, you got it. Yeah. The other thing is, what is expectations? So it’s a bit like, what was your vision guy have been being a parent before Ava was born, you know, we all have this vision of what we want our parenting to be right and quite more often than not, the reality is, this is not quite what I had ever had envisioned. And then your expectations as well, like the expectations that were not only placed on us as children that often translated through to our kids like the expectations we placed on our children are huge. The beliefs we have about ourselves, which we then transfer to our kids are huge. You know, it’s Yeah.
Nice last night, it made you triggered a thought of me actually, because people had no one to showed, like, when I used to work with a charity with the cancer patients, and a lot would be coming in after the medical system. You know, they’ve gone through that process. And they were like, well, what else can I do? Can I look at this holistically, and one of the first things they would do is change their food. But they were they always at the same stuck out is like you don’t that the disease isn’t hereditary. you inherit the cookbook, meaning meaning the way you’ve been brought up to the to eat and been taught that way. And a massive effect on one’s well being which I’m getting, like you say, then it made me think about the way we are parenting and what we’re doing, as reflecting on how i was parented did you know, my dad was never, never there, he worked away a lot. My mum was working. So we were always financially struggling, and my mum would go to work. So then I kind of like would get up and just say, yeah, I’m going to school, and then some days are dead. Sometimes I didn’t, you know, and just come home at the end of it. And I have this kind of unruly, wandering kind of upbringing. And I lived like that.
It’ll be interesting to see what triggers you with Ava. Yeah, you know, what’s also interesting is, and what I find really interesting, you know, my husband, and, you know, you have to also consider, what is your partner? How is your partner being parented? And what’s their parenting style, too, because that can actually cause quite a lot of conflict. So you know, my husband will believe that he is superior, because he’s the adult, and the child needs to do as they are told. And a lot of it is, and I will hear him say comments, like, I was never allowed to get away with that, if I spoke to my parents like that said, what would happen? Yes, you get a thrashing. And I think, you know, parents, we all say that we want our children to be seen to be heard to be understood that we want to be these compassionate parents. But what happens is, when we are pushed, and in fact, you shared a great quote with me, but when we are pushed and triggered and squeeze, what will happen then is we we go to our default parenting mode, which is how we were parented. So we can tend to flip flop between the two, you know, I can, I can see it myself, you know, it’s, you, you’re doing all the right things on one hand, then suddenly they push you. Something’s triggered. And it’s like, and they go straight back, because it’s so hardwired into us. Yeah, that default parenting mode, and it takes a lot of awareness, and an ability to be able to pause, stop and reflect in the moment to then change the course of the action we take and how we respond. So what would
your suggestions be to a parenting style per se? Because if you’re added the attitudes like, well, I’ve been disciplined my whole life, if I don’t discipline my kids right now, they’re going to run unruly, I can’t let them speak to me like that, or go off in that way. Why they keep doing that, you know, like, so if, if that kind of structure we know is then they started to rebel and push against us even more. And I guess severing the trust? would trust be the right word between teen and parent? Yeah, yeah.
I mean, I always say the relationship relationship relationship, first and foremost. And that and there are parents out there Guy that that go, No, no, that is not, that is not the most important thing my teen needs to learn. And so there’s that very dictatorial approach. And, you know, if I can raise awareness around how that made the parent feel, you know, how did you feel when you weren’t listened to where you weren’t heard? Where you? You know, because for me, I rebelled. It made me angry, it made me frustrated, and I couldn’t take that out. It was kind of squashed. So I think when you can get the parents to reflect on how that made them feel, and is that what they really want for their child? Often, not, often, not always, but you know, they may consider their approach that they’re taking currently.
Right? So as a dad, and with a daughter that would be growing up before my eyes and a concerned parent. And, you know, I feel like I’m very fortunate in some respects to to be a father later in life because you know, I’ve had to I’m unlearn a lot of my own shit, you know, to bring my best better version forward. And I really embody that embraced parenting so far, and I certainly hope that journey can take, you know, not deluding myself, but at the same time. I want to nurture that relationship with Ava. So when you say relationship, relationship relationship first, what does that relationship look like in an ideal parent to children?
Well, I think the biggest thing is when focus is actually massive, because when you’re able to manage your own behaviours, and how and you respond and not react, that’s the biggest game changer in terms of maintaining a relationship with your team. Because often, that is where the breakdown is within the home. And you end up in a power struggle. There’s a constant power struggle between the parent and the teen and each kicking in. And I forgot what your actual question was. Like, I’m not answering that. No,
no, the relationships are what would a relate when you say relationship relationship? Like, what is the night idealistic kind of relationship look like between parents? If there’s a way of doing it, you know, so like, for me, like, yeah, set an example for you like, Where am I just? How do I find the balance between being a dad and then being the friend and actually nurturing a solid relationship where we can have honest conversation? and be there? Like, I guess, what would that then look like or entail for parents listening out there, if they used to discipline their children, as opposed to building relationships with their children?
Yeah, and I think that, the, that that’s a very fine line, right, because you are their parent. And, you know, I believe our role is, is to guide our children to be self assured, independent, confident, young adults, and equip them to be able to go out in the world. And I think, you know, if you do try and friend them too much, at the end of the day, you are the parent, you need to set boundaries, there has to be, there has to be mutual respect. But if you want a good relationship with your child, then give respect to get respect. You know, allow your child to be in your team to be the person they are meant to be, not the person you want them to be, you know, allow them to fail, allow them to make mistakes, hold space for them, you know, just nurture their character, their personality, understand what drives them, what motivates them, you know, let them that. So often, I see parents wanting to mould their children, into the person they want them to be. And if you can work with your team to figure out who they want to be, and guide them on that journey, and be their support, and be that safe space for them to full when they need to. And then that for me is is building a good relationship with your team, you know, to say, you know, let them be seen, let you know, listen, be empathetic, you know,
when you work with teenagers, that when the parents aren’t there, because we spoke about the parents when they’re teenagers, you know, like, the triggers are the biggest one, what’s the biggest frustration for a teenager? Towards the parent?
It’s those three words that I hear time and time again. They don’t understand me, they don’t see me. They don’t hear me. I mean, not in those words. But ultimately, that’s what they’re saying. And I think, you know, from the age of 12, to 18, the teens are going through their identity phase. So and that’s a time when we need to move away from being so much caregiver to being that coach, to from dictating, to supporting from controlling to guiding you know, it’s we have to change our role, to meet the changing role and meet the team where they’re at. So 12 to 18, they’re naturally going to pull away from you because they’re trying to figure out in that state, who they are separate to you. You know, enjoying that time, it’s really important that they’re allowed to do that. It’s really important that they’re they’re allowed to get curious to experiment to to figure out who it is they are rather than, because it’s part of a healthy development, you know, and if you don’t Allow that then they’re going to struggle later on in life when they’re adults, if you don’t allow for them to explore and get curious and figure that out for themselves, with you being there holding that for them.
And the other thing sprang to my mind because I forgot mistake. You mentioned rites of passage right at the beginning of the podcast. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And could you just touch on that? Because I really feel that, that taken away from us like initiations into different stages of our life, and especially going into teenage coming out a teenage into adulthood, as well.
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s just something that we don’t do in Western society. And we don’t celebrate, we don’t mark these key milestones in our life, we don’t. And almost setting it’s almost you know, before you go on to the next stage in your life is creating a vision of the person you want to be. And it’s led, it’s like a letting go of childhood, and a stepping into adolescence, and what does that mean for you, as the child? And then what does it mean for the parent? And how can the parents support their child in that transition to adolescence, and with the rites of passage, it’s so it’s really a lot of circle work and holding space, and allowing for deeper connection, asking powerful questions, and really self reflection and self awareness guy, and going within but allowing both the mother so in a mother daughter camp, it’s allowing the mother and the daughter to, to Yeah, have a vision of what they want together for their relationship. And as individuals, as, as the child transition to that next stage is both do. And it’s, yeah, it’s really powerful, because it’s deep connection work between the parent and the child. And the child really feels heard and understood and listened to in that space.
That sounds amazing. Why are we doing this in schools? Right? It’s a very good question. You know, I
ran, I ran a workshop this year in a school and it was with year 10 girls. And so 15, okay, so 15 years of age, and really, I had the girls working in circle. And there was a lot of sharing, you know, and I got that quite vulnerable with the girls and shared my story, which really gave them permission to get vulnerable themselves and share what’s going on for them. And two really important things came out guy, they’re never given the space within school to explore what’s going on in their world. So they, they are, they are told lots of things. They’re taught lots of things that are taught about the dangers of social media and the online world. They’re taught about consent, they’re taught, but never do they sit and discuss and share what’s going on. For them, the two things came out one, they they never get to do that. And secondly, just the relief they feel when they understand that they’re all going through the same to all the struggles with the team, it becomes very internal, very insular, this is what’s going on in my world, teams won’t share with each other at that deeper level. You can have a group of friends that are very close, but they don’t actually really know what’s going on with each other at that real core level. So it was really powerful work. And, you know, the girls love it. There’s more and more of this work happening now. And now, you know, now in schools, and not enough for me now.
What were the parents said in that particular circle sharing no teens,
just the teens. And actually this particular school did a boy’s circle too. And I think every single boy in that circle was in tears, where every single boy just just let down their guard. And it was really about building healthy masculinity. And who that you know, defining the type of man they wanted to become. And similarly for the girls defining the type of woman they want to become is really powerful work.
Unbelievable, man. It’s me, I can feel it. I’m just like, it makes me angry when when isn’t going especially when hopefully we start coming out the other side of these lockdowns now and they stop using this as a strategy and creating a lot of either mentally unwell really From what I understand and what the stats are starting to show, you know,
yeah, and I think I, you know that this goes well, we even had a letter from our school to say they’ve hired a psychologist, great. There’s a psychologist, and there’s a counsellor. But, and they’re really great when the teen is going through really tough times. And often often they’re called in when there’s self harm when there’s suicidal attempts or thoughts. And so for me, it’s like, come on, like, what about the preventative approach? It’s, we can’t we can’t wait until there’s a problem.
It’s the same thing we see in the medical industry, isn’t it? The you know, at the end of the day, where the medical industry is set up in a mechanistic approach, everything’s individualised in parts and body parts and things and fixing and then once things start to break down, we repair it, as opposed to why don’t we just created a preventative strategy in the first place, and start sort out the way we actually address our lifestyle of eating and our habits and never have to do that in the first place? Yeah,
absolutely. And teaching them about self awareness and their mind and the power of the thoughts and all of those things that they don’t get taught in schools.
I have to ask you this. And I, and I don’t want to terrify parents out there. But when you sat in that circle with the 15 year old girls, and you said, they became vulnerable and opened up because you were vulnerable, and you’re really connected? Did it surprise you what came out? And I say, do you have to share the details? But did he surprise you what came out? Was it? Did it feel quite normal? Or is it like holy shit, this is the state and society today? It didn’t.
It didn’t surprise me. I think if parents were sat in that room, they would be mortified. At what did come out, it was heartbreaking. It was it was more heartbreaking. To see the struggles that they’re really going through. You know, because you know, as a mom having two girls, you know, it gets me really emotional because you think I don’t want my girls to have that struggle. So yeah, it was. Yeah. And I hope then the schools need to continue that support. Right. So you have this sharing circle and the girls get vulnerable, and they’ve opened themselves up, and then they need to be supported. beyond that.
Yes, yes. Yeah. Huh. What then? What would your advice be then, right now, for parents listening to this, because we’re hopefully coming out to the back end of all the lock downs, there might be some difficult things. Is this something that you could advise them three things that they could go and do this weekend coming up or something to maybe start a bridge or look at their relationship? If they feel it strained? And they’re not getting through? Yeah, I
mean, it’s Yes, like, okay, so there’s a couple of things long, longer term, I think I would like to say one thing to parents, which is, don’t wait until there’s a problem. You know, how can you start to implement preventative strategies into your home? That is going to develop and help your child your team longer term for life? How can you really, you know, we spend 1000s on sporting equipment and extra curricular activities, but think about it do we spend on our team’s mental well being as a preventative approach? So that’s a longer term thing in terms of what they can do. mmediately right now is look for opportunity to truly connect to your team, right? It doesn’t have to be quantity of time. But it’s the quality of time that you spend to your team. get curious. Ask them questions. What’s their vision for the future? How do they feel about the state of what’s going on in the world right now? Listen to them, get their opinions, get their thoughts, let them be seen, let them be heard. And I think too often we don’t have those bigger conversations in our home. We communicate with our team that we don’t connect. So look for ways in which you can truly Connect, do something together that you enjoy, go on a date night with your team, whatever it is, but make sure the quality of the conversation is around connecting deeper. And not just that That surface level. So that would be I guess the number one thing I would say to parents right now, and then really have a look within, first at yourself, you know, the biggest thing you can do is I think the only person we can 100% control is ourselves. So think about our emotional response, our kids need us to be calm, and they need us to be in control, they need us to be the adults. So thinking about you know, how you can maintain that calm for you and not get triggered. Take that pause, you’ll see a totally different relationship guy. If you’re able to manage your emotional responses. It I know myself doing it in our home the difference that that makes? Yeah.
Wow. You know, it’s funny, I will just share a quick story before moving on. And these things bother me is parent now as well, like, and, and it’s not to judge others, but I just observe all the time. And I think, wow, that could be so easily me, you know, and being self aware, like you say I was only at the park with Ava yesterday or the day before and there was no one there. They think the kids are just going back to school. So I’m with Ava, she’s 15 months old, she’s wandering around, she’s climbing the frames, and there was another dad there. And his daughter was about three. But literally the whole time he was on his phone and just let his kid run around and then the kid would come over. But yeah, and then he’d give her like a 30 seconds, and then you’d be back on his phone again. And I think and I even then I was like shit, that could be me like, and I was just seeing it in my own for myself. I’m like, wow, like, what do you think that’s doing?
That it’s there. It’s it’s basically telling them the message and this is the thing that and you actually that what you’re saying is you’ve got to be present. And I know parents say well, I’m busy. And I would I get that. So look for those moments when you can truly be present because it is quality, not quantity. Because the message you’re giving your child is you’re not worthy of my time. You know, by not being present. And by not creating those moments. You’re that’s the message and it’s it’s so powerful that I want to share a quick story with you. So there was an incident on the weekend I was sat in my garage, very glamorous with my neighbour. And we were sharing a drink and having a chat and putting the walls to rights and my daughters were inside. So stars he had gone off to pick up takeout and the girls had the panic inside the house, they thought they’d been left. They were on their own, they were really out there was screaming going on, which I’m totally unaware of. happening outside. Now. Suddenly, my almost 11 year old daughter runs out of the front door. She sees me and she shouts and she’s never swore at me before. And she screams you fucking idiot. Now, now my Now there’s two ways, right? And this is a really want to get this point across because had my husband been there that that would have created world war three from hearing that disrespectful, you know, don’t talk to your parents like that. In that moment, I had to pause. I could see, even though I hadn’t heard what was going on in the house, I could see how anxious and scared she was. I didn’t say anything in that moment other than I’m really sorry, if you felt that we had left you, you know that I would never leave you alone without telling you where we were going. And I left it. And it was later in the evening. I sat down on the bed with her and we were chatting I said hey, I know how you know scared and anxious you words. And she just looked at me. And I am so Mommy, I’m so sorry, Mommy, for swearing at you. I was just so scared. And that’s it. Like there is no need for me to punish. Yeah, there is you know, and it that’s the most powerful thing I can try and teach parents is just pausing that moment, because she’s got the heightened emotional response happening that you can’t rationalise with a child or teen in that moment is to let it pass, wait for calm and then have the conversation.
That’s really great. Thank you for sharing that. That’s one big tip. Last question for you before I shift gears is what about again, let’s say you’ve been parroting the certain way and you become you’re becoming more self aware. Yeah. And you have say, a 14 or 15 year old that you just cannot get through, but your self awareness is picking up and then you look back and go. And you might be looking at your parenting style and start punishing yourself going shit What have I been doing this for this long this? I guess my question to you then is is it a teens adaptable? If we will enter then change? Or is it like Oh shit, I’ve just done too much damage. It’s never gonna change. I’m just gonna wait till they’re 18 and move out? Well,
I think you know, what is it that your beliefs about yourself a form that up until the age of seven? High? Remember? I have now is I’ve completely screwed my case. Before I started doing a lot of this work, Yes, they are. And you know, guilt and shame and isn’t going to serve you It isn’t going to serve your team. And your there’s always an opportunity to choose how you want to be as a parent and choose how you want to parent and the teams. Yes. Will. teams teams want to connect? I know it seems like they don’t and they hate us. And they think we don’t know anything. But they really at a deeper level. They want to connect with you. So it’s never too late. Never too late. That’s what I tell myself.
Yeah, that’s the main thing. Just a few questions for you, Tracy, before we wrap it all up. The first one is, are you holding any of these workshops, rites of passage initiations for teenagers and daughters coming up this year at all if the world opens up slightly, and we can actually altered the circle and to the fact
that well, I am holding with some other amazing facilitators at the rites of passage. And mother daughter camp in October, which is sold out and fingers crossed, it goes ahead. It was meant to happen in August, we had to delay it. And I was due to go into a couple of schools as well. It’s unlikely that is going to happen this year. So really now I’m focused on either group coaching or working one on one until I can get back into the camps and in schools.
But there is somewhere that people can go and yeah, yes, that’s the thing as long as Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. Has there been any? Would you? Is there any? In the meantime, let’s say they want to come and work with you or check it out? Is there any kind of books that jumped out? You’d say, Oh, you should check this out or recommend as well, for people? for parents to read? Yeah, yeah.
Um, there’s a couple actually, there’s an AI. There’s a teenage brain by David Gillespie on which is, I think if parents can really just understand what’s going on within the teenage brain and their development. That’s just the biggest aha moment in terms of understanding why there are certain team behaviours and what they are capable of or not capable of. And then I really liked a book called untangled. And I think the author is Lisa, demure. And that really talks through the developmental strands of teens. Again, it’s highly recommend reading that for parents, there’s, there’s so many, there’s two that comes out of my mind.
Perfect. Yeah, I’ve heard of both of those books. And just to finish Tracy, with everything we’ve covered today, is there anything you’d like to leave our listeners to ponder on?
It’s never it’s, I think, going back to what we talked about, it’s never it’s never too late. To build a connection, a deeper connection and a relationship with your teen . I would recommend preserving the relationship with your teen at all costs, because that is what will help them set them up for the future. You know, breakdown, a breakdown in connection in the home can lead to retaken behaviours can lead to poor mental health. So for me number one relationship in that in the home, I’d lead parents with that. And the work always starts with as it’s it’s a hard truth. But it is a truth. So yeah, start the work within and and why On the relationship,
Mason, and where can we send everyone Tracy if they want to find out more about your work in your office, a couple of places. So
my website unstoppable girls.com.au. I also have a private Facebook group called raising unstoppable girls. And in there because I do offer lots of free resources and free parenting challenges as well, to help parents do exactly that build connection and communication in the home. So there’ll be two good places to start.
Amazing. And if people listening they can pause this and the links will be below in the show notes anyway, so I click straight through as well. Crazy that was brilliant. Thank you so much for coming on the show. You could certainly got me pondering on things as well. I just want to just say, Look, I’m I truly honour you and I love what you’re doing absolutely loves this. And I’m just happy to be able to call you a friend and I thank you for everything. I really think you don’t get me started. Thanks, guys. Thanks. Thanks for having me. It means a lot. Thank you. You’re welcome. Thank you!