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October 10, 2020

[EP007] How To Help Empower Your Child To Cope With Anxiety Symptoms


Anxiety is an existing fact that we deal with in our daily lives the best way we can. Even though we have our own coping skills. How do we raise our children with the skills to manage their anxiety starting today? Jodi Aman joins the Parenting Cipher and explains how anxiety shows up for your child and how to give them coping skills that will help them manage their anxiety. We also talked about how to support pre-teens and teenagers who are dealing with bullying and racism.

Key Takeaways

  • What’s “Sovereign Power” and how does it helo your child deal with racism

  • Assigning chores to help your child discover there “ personal agency” which leads to reduced anxiety

  • How to support your teen to manage their “ anxiety”


Suck It Up! Calm Anxiety with Chores TEDEX

Book: Anxiety… I’m So Done With You: A Teen’s Guide to Ditching Toxic Stress Hardwiring Your Brain for Happiness

If you’d like to hear Jodi’s favorite song “ Crazy In Love” by Beyonce click on the playlist below

Stay Connected

Jodi Aman

Website: www.jodiaman.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jodiaman 

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

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

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jodiaman 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jodiaman/

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Genie 00:08

Welcome to the Parenting Cipher, where each episode will give you the tools and resources to help your child thrive in school and in life. Please write and review this podcast. I love to hear your feedback and also hit the subscribe button so you don't miss any upcoming episodes.

Genie 00:24

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Cipher. Today, we have Jodi Aman, who is a family therapist for over 20 years. Jodi empowers people to become their own healer. I love that. As an anxiety survivor and a mom of teens, Jodi totally gets it. Her TEDxWilmington talk, “Calm Anxious Kids,” and her new book, "Anxiety...I’m So Done with You!" Love it! Are changing the way we understand the current mental health crisis. Thank you so much, Jodi, for joining the Cipher today.

Jodi 01:00

I'm so happy to be here!

Genie 01:02

Okay, so this is a topic that's so near dear to my heart because both of my sons have the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, but they also have a separate anxiety diagnosis. A lot of talk with my clients, I find that they don't understand what the anxiety is. For them, it's really I read like the first couple chapters of your book and you say, "Anxiety is just" and really that's how parents feel like, it's just and all you need to do is which, after I really started to read about anxiety, is the worst thing you could possibly do to a child.

Jodi 01:44

Or feel. I mean, you're not doing it to them. Anxiety is doing it. It's nasty, so mean and horrible. It is the worst suffering.

Genie 01:54

It is, so what is it?

Jodi 01:56

Well, I define anxiety as the leftover fear response when you're not in physical danger, so it's the leftover like adrenaline and all those symptoms of adrenaline that make you feel like dread, like you're dying, like something horrible is going to happen. Your body gets involved, your mind gets involved and it's so horrible suffering. It's such horrible suffering and I only define it as anxiety when you're not in physical danger, because when you are in physical danger and that adrenaline comes, you use it for safety.

Jodi 02:33

And actually, you don't experience anxiety in those times. You experience fear, but you are so focused on what you have to do to survive that the suffering is less. You really can even think about the suffering. You got to just do the things to survive but so much, we're having these feelings, but we're not in physical danger but it feels like we do and it keeps triggering the brain to keep releasing these hormones, and so I know that we're just is so wrought with meaning and connotation and so we could use it to be judgmental and then also we could use it to invite relief.

Jodi 03:14

And so I think that's you know, it's hard. I know sometimes people use it in a way that makes people really feel worse about themselves and so I think I use this word in a different kind of way. Hopefully that makes people be like, Okay, it influences us, it's the worst problem ever comes with all our other problems. We're talking about your sons, you said a separate diagnosis and I don't know, anxiety comes with all our other problems. Right? It's like attached to them and it doesn't really separate from anything because it's so connected to our biology, our mind, our emotions and really our spirituality, too so we can't even separate it out, right? It's like, there's love and there's fear and it's everything.

Genie 03:57

And it's everything. You said in your book and you just said it again, it's inherent in us biologically to have anxiety, to help us  in situations that are detrimental to ourselves, but it's the lack of that need right now that is also is like it's exasperating the anxiety, because we don't actually have that circumstance that's coming at us was to be scared.

Jodi 04:25


Genie 04:25

But we have so much -

Jodi 04:28

There's so much risk out there and content about risk and violence, but not personally happening to our personhood in the moment.

Genie 04:37


Jodi 04:37

So we're taking it all in, and that's what's changed in the last fifty years with the digital age, right? So we could take in all of this violence and risk and randomness and then we feel traumatized by that, but there's nothing we could do because literally, we're in our room, on our couch safe or something. It's very difficult but yeah, I don't see the anxiety's biological like the fear response, like the sympathetic nervous system response. I like to separate that word anxiety because if people think sometimes anxiety is good and then sometimes it's bad, they don't get rid of it.

Jodi 05:15

And so I have to totalize that its all bad. So the fear response. Yeah, man, we could do amazing things of it, right? If we are charged up, we could do. We have superhuman strength, which is pretty cool, but the anxiety is just suffering, and if we think of it that way, I think it helps people because they think it's protecting them so they don't get rid of it, but they still are suffering, you know?

Genie 05:42

You're right. I think I lived in. I didn't realize I had anxiety, which opens up this whole conversation when we talk about parents and anxiety, and their children and anxiety and I actually had a therapist pointed out to me, like, where do you think your children get their anxiety from? And I was like, I name everyone but me and she pointed out how I live my life and I live my life and in your book, you reference the monkey mind and all of the thoughts that occur with it.

Genie 06:19

And so I live in a perpetual of what if's because my mom has anxiety and that is how she raised us. So what if?  So if you live in that state of constant what if's, that's how you live your life and you're constantly in motion basically defending yourself against situations that don't necessarily exist.

Jodi 06:46

Right. So your mom, I mean, of course there's history of trauma came from our ancestors that are in us, so that's really affecting us big time. So we can't separate that out, but for your mom, the what if, like she wanted the anxiety, it seemed like her protector for her. If you knew about all the what if's, maybe you could do something.

Genie 07:05


Jodi 07:06

If you didn't think about the what if's side, it blindside you, and that was so incredibly scary, but it really doesn't really protect us. If we weren't afraid and we were building our skills and building that in our trust in ourself and our sovereign power and then something bad, because it looks like something bad is going to happen, we're going to have a loss and whatever, there is going to be things that we deal with. And so if we were building our confidence up and our connection with ourself, our spiritual, whatever it is, like building ourselves up and then something bad happens, we'd be equipped to do more crap but if we lived in anxiety and we thought about what ifs and didn't trust anything, didn't trust the world, didn't trust ourselves, then if something bad happens, we don't have those skills. It's even worse for us, and so the anxiety does not protect us.

Genie 07:58


Jodi 07:58

That's important to know.

 Genie 08:00

That gives me chills. Well, it gives me chills because when I was reading, so look, everybody, Jodi's book is awesome. I only read the first chapter and I was highlighting all over the place, but it was just resonated with me when you talk about the negative self-talk and then when you just said, anxiety doesn't protect you and you kind of like touched on the experience of your ancestors and the negative self-talk.

Genie 08:33

And when you said, "If you are self-confident and you're grounded, then it's possible for you to vanquish that anxiety that is feeding you." And you are right. I mean, as an African-American woman, right? My mom's fears reside in her experience as an American citizen, and that is the way that she protects her and one of the things reasons I was so excited for you to be on the show was because I've come to this realization for my generation is that we are realizing what we have been doing as far as parents carrying over that anxiety.

Genie 09:20

And now, we have Generation Z and they are different and different in such an awesome way where we want to empower them to be better and so we have to know, like, how do we need to kind of like ground ourselves, but being able to empower them to ground themselves even if we are not so grounded.

Jodi 09:42

Well, exactly and when you build that self-trust, you really are healing that trauma. Like Cardine, epigenetics says that, when things happen to us, it does change or affect our DNA, so bad things that happen affect it negative ways, but there is good things and there's healing and our DNA does change back or change to wholeness again and so if we help ourselves and our kids connect with their sovereign power and trust in ourselves, that doesn't mean we don't protect ourselves.

Jodi 10:11

Right? We'd actually have more power to really protect ourselves. The real sustainable protection or movement and you can not teach your kids as an African-American woman, you can't teach your kids to protect themselves because they need to or in this time, there's a lot of dangers for them, unfortunately and so, yeah, I just wanted to point that out. You could heal that trauma and feel connected with yourself, but that doesn't mean you're open to vulnerability.

Genie 10:43


Jodi 10:44

It actually means you're hopefully stronger then and more able to connect with other people and be in a group and in a team where you'd be much, much safer that kind of thing. It's the connection.

Genie 10:59

To be healed, to be whole.

Jodi 11:01


Genie 11:01

Yeah, I get it. Makes me feel good.

Jodi 11:07

The anxiety wants us to be separate from other people, it wants us to isolate ourselves.

Genie 11:11

It wants us to isolate ourselves.

Jodi 11:13

But that's not safe, so we need to, you know, especially in communities that are marginalized and victimized, we need to be together.

Genie 11:23

That is powerful because it's the fear that keeps us isolated from each other and also growing as a community because everyone is just isolated and scared and trying to make sure that they're taking care of their child instead of just like bonding together as a community. So, oh, my goodness, everything is okay.

Genie 11:46

So in your book, you mentioned, you talked about social media, you called the digital chatter. So let's be clear, everybody. Her book is for teens. It's for them. It's not for us, but I love this. I couldn't give it to my son right now but you talk about digital chatter, social media, and you said that it affects anxiety in three ways. Other people are better than you. Two, the world is a dangerous place and three, you deserve cool stuff, and I just wanted to take a moment to unpack those three -

Jodi 12:18

- sure

Genie 12:19

- because they were enlightening for me, especially three.

Jodi 12:24

Oh, excellent, yes, and this is my own theory, I have to say, so this is from in 20 years of working with kids and noticing the shift and their sense of worth with the commercialism and knowing the impact of that and seeing that when they're crying in the grocery store because they want something, their mom says no, they're responding to the feeling of lack of worth that they couldn't have it. That's interesting thing that's never happened more than fifty years ago before TV and commercials.

Genie 12:56


Jodi 12:57

Right? And so now it goes right to their you can't get something, then yeah, it's interesting.

Genie 13:05

You said for three, it's like you deserve cool stuff, which I put like in parenthesis entitlement and that's one of the things that my generation and older people say that this generation Z they're so entitled, but the way that the perspective that you put on it is like you tie in the idea of entitlement to self-worth.

Jodi 13:30

Yes, exactly. So this is weird because everyone's calling this generation entitled, but they feel so inadequate, and so they're offended by that term even. They're like, how could I be entitled when I just feel like a total loser and I can't do anything, right? But, you know, it's like the commercials. There's the constant marketing messages that say you deserve stuff just because you're cool. You should get this. It's cool. You deserve it. You should get this. So they've lost this concept of cause and effect, which other people might call work ethic.

Genie 13:59


Jodi 13:59

Knowing that you have to put some effort in to get something. Completely lost because companies want you to just buy stuff they don't say, work really hard and you could get by saying they want you to just buy it.

Genie 14:08


Jodi 14:09

Impulsively. That's their bottom line, but over time and there's so many messages with commercials everywhere, constantly, everywhere, right? And even seeing our friends have something and we don't have it. It's like a commercial for it and so we're just constantly bombarded with this message. Get stuff, just get it, just get it and so what's really happening is like, when kids can't get it because a lot of kids can't get all those things, right? They don't have the money to do that.

Jodi 14:39

And they don't know this cause and effect that if they work hard and get it or something, so they feel completely out of control, but when they don't get it, they think, well, I'm not worthy of it, I guess, but I don't know why, because it's nonsense, so they're not going to figure out why, right? They're like, this is what I see happening. I don't know why I don't get it because it feels like injustice.

Genie 15:01


Jodi 15:01

Because it's like they've been called out as unworthy of having this. It's this is all in the subconscious, right? Because all the messages are subconscious.

Genie 15:09


Jodi 15:10

And so on the subconscious, it's like, why am I not worthy of getting this? This is not fair and they don't know what to do to change it because they don't know why they're unworthy.

Genie 15:20


Jodi 15:21

They feel bad and bad about themselves.

Genie 15:23

Which feeds into the negative self-talk and the anxiety.

Jodi 15:27

Exactly. Because it's like, I don't know why I'm not good. I don't have the skills, I guess. I'm inadequate. You kind of make all these to conclusions that are negative about yourself. It comes from capitalism, which you know that is from white supremacy. I mean, this is like the whole basis of all of it. White supremacy is bad for white people, too. It's not good for anybody. So in the individualism, people are divided in small households. I mean, all of this affects this stuff. We're social beings we're not supposed to be like that, so it affects our sense of worth. We think we're supposed to be independent, do everything by ourselves. That's supposed to.

Genie 16:13

Oh my God, why did you speak it to me? You speak it to me. I am Aquarian and I'm a people watcher.

Jodi 16:25 

I'm a north node Aquarius right now.

Genie 16:28 

So you know we love to watch people, guys, and we're thinkers, so one of my favorite things is I like to watch the Korean drama's, but when you look at the dynamic of their households and the adult, children are still there, and then when you look at that family unit versus our Americanize family unit is as soon as you're eighteen, which technically, you still are a child, you are supposed to go fend for yourself.

Genie 17:00

And it's like you said, we are not isolated beings, but when you look at this new generation and you take that. We just talked about when you put that in eighteen-year-old who is dealing with anxiety where I'm not good enough. You, the world is a dangerous place and other people are better than them and you as a parent are saying, you have to go out here and be an adult and you have to go to college and you have to do these things, that explains why we have this far is like the suicide rate.

Genie 17:34

With teens and especially college students like that first year. I mean, it's like a compounding experience from preteen all the way up into the college and I know that for some of us, we see the media, Oh you know, the teen suicide rate is going higher and it's almost like a disconnect for us because we are another generation. It was so hard. You don't even have to deal with the things that everyone else, but there is a disconnect. It's just like bullying.

Jodi 18:08

Right, exactly.

Genie 18:10

When we were children, bullying was from 9 to 3. I am not saying everyone was bully but from 9 to 3, but for this generation, it is 24/7.

Jodi 18:20

Yes, they're suffering more than any other generation but they're not having harder lives, so that's the paradox here is like, their lives are okay and easy and safe, really relatively. I mean, obviously relatively but we're not accounting for a lot of things, but relatively, in terms of it in the past history and they're suffering even more so they're okay and they're able to do things, they just don't know that they can, so this is we're raising a generation of people who have total adaptability. They have an incredible skills. They have incredible potential, but they don't see it because they've lost that concept of cause and effect.

Jodi 19:08

So they don't see the skills they have. They're not connected to the skills they have. They think they don't have any, and so we really have to I think that's the biggest thing, is having to begin to let them see those skills so we can really breathe life into them. They're there already. I mean, they still have that brain, like our brain is adapted for two million years to solve problems. Humans are highly adaptable. We’re incredible, actually but this generation and I really think it is that the digital age that's causing this with these three things is that they're losing that cause and effect that's affecting them on every level.

Genie 19:43

So how can we support them with being able to get the cause and effect back in their lives?

Jodi 19:49

Yeah, well, teens actually, they love it to be shown to them what's going on. All this is happening on a subconscious level and that's why I put it out there in this book. You don't want them to be like, you know, teens, they don't want to be like, just I told you, just listen to me because I told you so like, this isn't true. They want to know why. They want to dissect it and know exactly what's going on. They'd love to have someone to blame.

Jodi 20:12

So  we blame the culture because it is a culture's fault and a lot of times we blame the parents, it's not the parents, and so we have something to blame that really doesn't ostracize any one person, right? You blame the cultural discourses and now we don't have to have a bad guy and then so they could get it.

Jodi 20:30

Once you're really conscious about what's going on, you could definitely change how it affects you; almost immediately, it starts to change how it affects you. And so if we dissect it, like in my book and this podcast, getting this message out there, what's actually really happening, it's relieving actually to them. Their kids and parents are loving this book because they're like, oh, they don't feel like so crazy anymore.

Genie 20:55


Jodi 20:57

And then they see a way forward and all along in the book, I'm encouraging that just really try to see them for their abilities. You have to remind them, so as parents, from a young age in my parenting classes, I teach people to notice the unique skills of your kids, constantly be known, not being like, "Oh, you're so talented, Oh, you're beautiful."

Jodi 21:19

And all those are good, too but be like, oh, when you have that idea, that was such a unique idea. You are an ideal person, you're a problem solver. You always solve the problems. Remember that time you figure that out how to do this when we could figure it out. That's you're starting to model for them to look for that in themselves and then they're going to feel like, oh, I have abilities. I could figure stuff out.

Genie 21:42

Right. Yeah, I'm so happy.

Jodi 21:46

I'm happy, you're happy, this is so fun.

Genie 21:48

You know why I'm so happy because I've been learning about the growth mindset for kids and there is actually a previous guest to me, a Gahmya Bey, and she has something called love connections with your child and she basically is pointing out, how does your child receive love and how can you let them see themselves and I've been focusing on that with my boys because they're two separate people and one son really wants to- he wants to help you and he wants the accolades for their help.

Genie 22:27

And the other one is he does not want accolades, but what he does want is he wants you to talk to him about the things that are important to him, which can be a challenge for parents, because we tend to, I'm realizing this. We tend to focus on ourselves like, let me teach you, let me show you and it's this new generation for us to kind of create that connection and also improve self-worth is, can you show me?

Jodi 22:55

Yeah. So they have an affinity for something like trucks or something, right? And then they're just so excited about that topic, right? And if they're telling you about it. Oh yeah. That's a beautiful way to connect.

Genie 23:09

Right. And it also, like you said, it gives them a self-worth.

Jodi 23:12


Genie 23:13

I mean, ironically enough, I think for latchkey kids, which, you know, I asked you like what made you want to start advocating for kids? And you mentioned like, to help lonely latchkey kids and I was a latchkey kid, but honestly, I never really felt any lost, my parents where, we went to school. When I'm looking at my childhood, I didn't invite them to anything and I didn't invite that because I didn't want them there. I didn't invite them because it never occurred to me and they were busy. This generation, that's not going to work, because if you don't show up and someone else's parents shows up, it turns into something about me that my own parent can't show up for my recital or my game or whatever, that warrants a conversation.

Genie 24:10

I understand you guys like some parents you can't, but you still should have a conversation about it. Follow up with it. Well, you know, I can't come to your spelling bee because I have to work, but I'm so proud of you. The word that you put into it, and when they get back, talk to them about it. I didn't have those conversations with my parent, but I don't really feel lost, but I can't use those same skills with my kids.

Jodi 24:39

Yeah, right. Some jobs are inflexible and some are more flexible, so some parents can do it even if they're working, some can't. It's really difficult. But sometimes, hopefully, there's some activities that are outside work time if possible and so if you miss some, I think that works out in the wash a little bit. If you miss every single one, they notice that.

Genie 25:03

They notice and it falls into the whole conversation anxiety and you said it and I was like, oh, yeah, you're right. When you said separate diagnosis, like they say in a separate diagnosis of anxiety and when I think about why, so their reasoning was we're giving them a separate diagnosis because we feel that it's uncontrolled and okay, so let's be clear right now. They controlling it. Me trying to controlling, over control their anxiety. Let's be clear. For them and this is why I love Jodi. For them and Jodi is teaching children, teenagers how to manage anxiety for themselves. But me doing that actually is hindering them. I'm being honest, it's hindering them because now he's a teen and he's fully aware he has anxiety and he hasn't read your book, but he's read books about anxiety.

Genie 26:03

So he breathes. He does breathing techniques. I find now that you mention that children with anxiety, they want to take control, but it turns out to be it could be like video gaming. It could be over eating different other ways, and basically, that's what he's that guys and rebel in it.

Jodi 26:28


Genie 26:29

Right, so-

Jodi 26:31

What I was saying in the book is, when you feel out of control, out of control is a hallmark of anxiety, so all of these things that are happening in the world now are leading to our sense of being out of control. We're not out of control as it is making us think, but we feel like we are and that's what's triggering our anxiety, and so a lot of times when people feel out of control, they try to get control over something and they either try to get control over themselves or try to get control over other people.

Jodi 26:57

And I call this pseudo power because it's not real. It's not sustainable.  It's either you're bullying or if you're trying to get control of yourself, yeah you're hurting yourself with these kind of either addictions or being perfect and all those kind of things that are just really hard on us, which is not good for us, and they actually cause more chaos. So you feel more out of control. So if you're perfectionists, you're trying to get control of your situation, but then you feel more out of control because you can never achieve that.

Genie 26:57


Jodi 27:29

It's unachievable, and so it feels more out of control, so you double down and try to be even more perfect, and it's not good. There's no robustness in mental health there when you're a perfectionist and it can be a real waste of time and it's so hard on the psyche.

 Genie 27:46


Jodi 27:48

These poor babies are suffering so much, but they're trying. So I teach people how to get real control or like real power, like real empowerment, like sovereign power, their personal power, their personal agency. We call it whatever you want but if they are actually really in touch with their own skills and abilities of adaption and in Problem-Solving, that's sustainable power. So they will not feel as out of control and it's for the higher good of community and themselves.

Genie 28:21


Jodi 28:21

And it's sustainable. If you don't want to get my book, at least watch my TEDx. You could just Google Jodi Aman TEDx. I summarize that kind of thing, but yeah, it's so important. We just need them to see that they can.

Genie 28:39

That they can in a positive way. Because when I read that, I was like, oh, that's him, that's him. I had this conversation with people about these labels of diagnosis and social media's contribution to what people think it is, right? Not really understanding of what they think it is because of media, and people think that anxiety is something all you need is a drug or all you can do is this, but they really don't understand and it does have a physical manifestation for people, so if you have a child who says, I have to go to bathroom, you're like, you just went to the bathroom. That is a physical manifestation of anxiety. Nail-biting, there are plenty of physical tells that as parents, you need to be aware of, especially when you're advocating for your child, because teachers and other people, just because they're teachers and they deal with children, does that mean they understand anxiety.

Jodi 29:45

Right. That's the thing. You were saying that in the beginning. You're like, I didn't even know I had anxiety but, we call it so many different things and it plays out. Now, it affects us the same kind of way, but we call it embarrassment, we call it shyness, we call it introvert, we call it protecting ourselves, we call it worry, we call it all of these other terms for resistance. We call it rebellion, addiction. I mean, we have all these names for it and then we have all different physical symptoms. This is the interesting part. All anger, all upsetness, all frustration, all confusion, all weariness, all the same hormone, all anxiety, all the same hormone. Any time you're upset, same hormone.

Jodi 30:31

And yes, there's different levels of it and there's different ways we think about how we feel and that's what makes a difference. Small levels of adrenaline, we might feel some way with the butterflies in our stomach and then if we have different kinds of adrenaline, it's like more dread and more thinking, over thinking and so there's a lot of differences and we think all these things are different, and so it's not necessarily helpful.

Jodi 30:55

And so people of anxiety, the people who are really advocating against the stigma of mental illness, I love them and so powerful what they're doing now to really open people up, to be able to talk about it and say this is normal. We all feel like this. But also, there's some narrative about that this is real and you're different than other people, but don't look at us as negative. I don't understand that there's still the element that we're different.

Jodi 31:23 

And my message is like, yeah, we all have this aspect of it. We all could be experiencing this kind of thing. I don't know if you hear this. My daughter is warming up. I don't know if this is coming through the microphone. It's coming through my earphones. It's like upstairs. I'm trying to tell her to shush, but if anyone hears this in the back of the audio, that's what's going on, prepping for her voice lesson. So parenting, right? I mean, it's like everybody's home and nothing's sacred here. It's parenting.

Genie 32:01

That's okay. We're always doing two things at once. I wanted to ask, I feel like I know the answer. I have all these questions, but I'm like, oh, no, you're touching on everything. One of my questions was just for the parents who were about to go to a virtual school and I had this conversation with my son's middle school teacher and he was saying, okay, let's be clear, guys. My son does not like to be on the screen at all, and the middle school director mentioned, well, we see that there has been an increase in teens not wanting to be on screen.

 Genie 32:36

And he's kind of like alluded to. It was like a phobia or some new term for anxiety, and I was kind of like, okay, but he already has anxiety and I don't think it's this new or whatever, but what are your thoughts about that?

Jodi 32:54

Well, I think there's a lot of reasons why to turn your camera off. I mean, you've probably been in meetings yourself, right? Sometimes you turn your camera off so you can move around, so no one looking at you, you could eat. You don't have to just be like sitting in the middle straight all the time and so once you're allowed to turn your camera off, I quickly turn my camera off once that's the norm.

Genie 33:19


Jodi 33:20

Some kids are turning their camera off. You don't want to be the only one up there and also, you want to be able to move around. You want to be able to eat and I guess maybe they're not paying attention, so it should be up to the teachers. I mean, there has been some things I've been on  and the teachers like,  I was in antiracist class with Bridgid Feltus and we had our cameras on. There was an accountability piece of it, so we weren't like doing something else. We were like solidly in there with those teachers. And so there is a respect to keeping that camera on and so but once some of the kids aren't and then, you know, people are speculating, are they afraid of their houses and there's something I mean, you could always have a wall behind you if you wanted to or use those things that has a picture behind you on Zoom, you know.

Genie 34:09

Oh yeah.

Jodi 34:09

I don't ever use that yet, but kids could do that.

Genie 34:12

So it's always parallel for me.

Jodi 34:14


Genie 34:15

So what's interesting is, if you think about our generation, it wasn't about being on screen. We had to take pictures all the time. I didn't like taking pictures necessarily, so for my son, he's like, I literally do not want to see myself on screen and he's adamant. I don't want to see myself on screen. Now we're virtual, so we do Zoom birthday parties.

Jodi 34:39


Genie 34:39

And I'm lucky if he will dip real quick, like -

Jodi 34:43


Genie 34:45

He does not want to see himself on the screen and my mom's like, What is it? Is it anxiety? And I'm like, well first of all, let's not make everything about anxiety. Guys, look, some things that our teens are dealing with is just growth. It's not necessarily anxiety, so I'm like I don't think it is anxiety. I really think that he as far as when we go to I think, like number two about self-worth and self-love, teens are growing and they're growing exponentially mentally and physically.

Jodi 35:18

But they already feel like they're in a fishbowl, like even at school, they're constantly feeling like they are in a fishbowl. I mean, being on Zoom and being on camera, you don't know who's looking at you, really. You can't tell. You're assuming that everyone's looking at you and judging. Your hair is out of place. If you're ever in the Zoom meeting with a lot of people, they're like adjusting their hair because you're just like, who's looking at me and what's going on here? It's intimidating and they're waking up early, they don't want to do hair and makeup before they get on there.

Jodi 35:53

There's a lot of complications, and I don't really know the answers to what to do and I think it might be up to individual teachers how to handle that, but if you have a child that is really adverse to going on screen, have a conversation with them about it and see if you could talk to the school to see what the needs are in the school, what the expectation is, and see if you can negotiate around that. If there's something that just really feels like this is different. This is not just a kid not wanting to be accountable. This is someone who really has a problem with it.  I think schools should be flexible. I mean, they know that the kids are reeling right now and really having a difficult time, and so I think schools are going to partner with parents to try to make it as easy as possible and give some accommodations in those kind of cases. So I would definitely encourage you to advocate if the school has a problem with it.

Genie 36:52


Jodi 36:53

Maybe they don't.

Genie 36:54

They've been flexible. I think if anyone, it was me and I was caught in a Mom moment not connecting with his anxiety around being on screen and just really like these are the rules, these are the rules, and it's almost like not almost but just like when we talk about having your own agency or sovereign power, it's basically me doing that to him, but also taking away his sovereign power on how he's decided he's going to deal with it, which is I am going to turn the screen on and I'm going to flip the computer screen to face the ceiling. And I'm here and that's in a conversation that I have with myself and parents as well. Check yourselves. We need to check ourselves sometimes, because not only are our kids anxious, we're anxious.

Jodi 37:58

Probably very powerful in your culture to be respectful. I mean, me too, right?

Genie 38:02


Jodi 38:03

We want them to respect their teachers. I mean, some of them for safety. Some of them for just raising and yeah. So then it's like, so do they negotiate with their teachers? What's the expectation around cameras? I mean, I think that's going to be part of I didn't watch the webinar from my daughter's school yet to see what's going to happen. We know they're two days on, three days virtual, and so two days in school, three days virtual here. I'm in New York State, so I didn't watch that but I'm curious about. There’s so much left out to that information, but there is a lot more there and so that might be part of it is what's expectations on camera, not on camera and then where's the workaround around that.

Genie 38:45


Jodi 38:47

High school kids could negotiate that themselves, junior high maybe as well, but maybe younger kids maybe would have the parent kind of step in and help negotiate. The three of you: the kid, the teacher and you or the school and negotiate what's the least that they have to do? Could they put the camera on their hand or something? What could you do?

Jodi 39:11

So you're present. What can you do to show that you're present and respectful, but not trigger something that's going actually be adverse to their learning? Yeah, I think this case by case, but -

Genie 39:26 

Okay, that makes sense. I'm excited, I'm like, okay, because I have a thin line with my parenting. Okay, so I had two older children and I overparent it hard, so hard.

Jodi 39:41

I'm sure you did not.

Genie 39:42

I looked back and I cringe. I'm like, Oh!

Jodi 39:44

You're so hard on yourself.

Genie 39:46

Because my anxiety was on a hundred, so lets just say, my power, my self empowers all go in the hundreds, so with that being said, not in a harsh way, though. I have a nine and a 12-year-old, so with them I straddle the line between, okay, you have to figure out yourself and I have to support you. And then sometimes, I jump over the line and I'm all in charge. So, I try to give my 12-year-old space like, I'm in the background. Don't you want to ask them? Don't you want to? Maybe you should talk to your teacher. Maybe you should - you know, and then, what I don't get the response that I feel like I need, I jump over the line and then when I jump over the line, I realize that I'm all types of wrong and that with him per se.

Genie 40:44

But when I do speak to his teachers, they're like, oh, no, we already spoke to him about A, B and C and it's fine and I'm just saying I'm just sharing it with people to know that,  just because your child's not communicating with you does not mean they're not communicating with your teacher.

Jodi 41:03 


Genie 41:07

Jodi, when I say, listen, the screen time was so hard and he had a class that I was like, why are you getting this grade? And I like weight it on him about like, you supposed to be on screen, and then ten minutes later in middle school, a director asked to have a meeting. And I'm like, oh yes, he know it. I'm right. And he literally told me, your son is in a three way tie for the highest GPA for sixth grade. However, and we're not worried about the screen time. He's just missing some assignments, and I'm just telling you guys this story to say one, this is a perfect example of my anxiety. Two, me not actually talking to my child to see what conversation we've had about virtual learning, but it was so funny. You know what, Jodi? I went back and I apologized.

Jodi 42:03

Perfect! That's perfect.

Genie 42:05

I went back and I apologized and I took ownership of my assumptions, and you could just see the sign of his body because one of the things that another thing that people don't understand about anxiety is I read in a book they said, people of anxiety are people pleasers. They don't want to be on anybody's negative meter, so me doing that and me saying those things to him just really just made him feel ten times worse.

 Genie 42:37

And you can read a lot of books as a parent person, but you are a person, you know, you make mistakes, but you have to own up to your mistakes. I know I was reading a book called A Middle School Matters, and they said that teens, middle school students live in a perpetual circle of blame. They feel like people are constantly blaming them for everything as well as they're blaming themselves and they can't -

 Jodi 43:07

Sound like all ages.

 Genie 43:08

Right. And if they can't find a way out and when you think of when kids are teens and they're in middle school, they're growing and they're trying to...You know, people call it rebellion, which is a form of proof, to be honest. They trying to sort themselves out. They're trying to figure themselves out and as a parent, you're kind of like, this is the way and you keep trying to knock them back. I hate to say it that way. You keep trying to knock them back on the path that you see for them, so that doesn't actually give them a way out to make themselves feel better.

 Jodi 43:44

Exactly. Yes. So you have that, that's the same power thing when you feel out of control, so when you feel out of control over decisions and what you can do and what you can't do as a teenager, you start to be like, I want to make my own decisions and so you feel a little control to feel it out of control and then you're trying to get control back. That's a rebellion, right? It's trying to take that back and making your own decisions and the more oppressed you feel, and that's not real oppression.

Genie 44:14


 Jodi 44:14

It's like you feel that way. We feel like it's unfair. When you feel that way, you're going to do some kind of rebellion, and so that is definitely developmentally appropriate, isn't it? But it's scary for parents too. We feel out of control and then we double down and try to get our control back. I mean, it's like this constant, like controlled battle here.

 Genie 44:39


 Jodi 44:41

For all of us in our life and even that blame thing, I mean, blame is so apparent. I do talk about it a lot in the book. But, we blame ourself, but we also are defending ourselves, but inside our own mind, this leads to so much suffering. It's like were, is it me? Is it that? Is it me? Why did I let that happen? Why they did that to me? Why I let that happen?  

Jodi 45:02

We fight ourselves constantly, so blame is such a huge problem and we need to relieve that, what a waste. We think we have to figure this out and it's like none sense and so we spent a lot of energy and really get stuck in a lot of chaotic mind monkeyness going down a lot of rabbit holes about this, and it's just, we just got to get out of there. And I think my book teaches people how to just stop engaging in that. None of it is true. It's not your fault. We blame ourselves so much, but that's our way to get in control and blame is actually a way to get in control as well.

Genie 45:41


 Jodi 45:41

We might order something doesn't make sense? Blame is the fastest way to create order in that and that's why it's such a problem.

Genie 45:48

Yeah. So what is the best tip you can give right now to help teens be in control when they feel out of control?

Jodi 45:56

Take action, so if they  take some kind of action or they engage in something creative or do hard things or have a sense of purpose, then they're going to start to build their self, what they could do, what their skills are, so I have people who I work with and every night, the Gratitude Journal, and you write down three things you're grateful for. I have that because that's passive, right?

 Jodi 46:18

You could be grateful for a sunset. It's beautiful. You know, the research says that it's wonderful. I love it, but in addition, we need to definitely write down three things that we did that day because we're so deficit focused. We see all the things we didn't do and weren't adequate about and we never, never, our culture, there's no support from our culture to look at our skills. Actually, it's a little bit like, we want to be hyper modest, but if we write down three things that we accomplished that day, we're going to start to be looking for it. We're going to start to noticing it through the day instead of noticing our deficits. We do stuff. We do some tons and tons of stuff as moms, we do more before our kids get on the bus.

Genie 47:03


Jodi 47:05

We don't recognize any of it. No one does or we make excuses that is no big deal but making so much and so, if we start to notice what we do then, that's how we build that trust in ourselves. That's how we know like, we could handle anything. Look at us figuring this stuff out. We want to really have ask our kids, all ages in looking at the things that we do because we need to start getting in touch with their skills and abilities. We have it a little bit more because when we were young, we still learn work ethic.

Genie 47:38


Jodi 47:39

And the younger generations haven't as they're losing it because of that commercialism and because of the screens in comparison, culture and violence, all of it, they're losing that cause and effect, the idea of cause and effect and so that's why we have to bring that back online. Work ethic is really good for you, actually.

Genie 47:58

So what's like two ways that as a parent, we can help them get that cause and effect in the work ethic?

Jodi 48:06

Well, my TEDx talks about having them do chores, so it'd be remissed if I didn't say that. If kids do chores, then there's three kinds of chores that I outlined in there. One is tedious chores, that stuff that you do every day like dishes and laundry and sweeping, those constant daily things that are kind of tedious but if you do them, then you're going to have less resistance.

Jodi 48:28

If you do them frequently, there's less body resistance to that and then things get easier in life, because if every task you have, you feel like, I don't want to do this, but it's hard and then you need some challenging chores where you really have to problem solve. You have to learn how to ask for help or do research and figure things out. Trial and error. You need to really have challenges because our brain wants that. When our brain is not challenged, when we have too much luxury or we have boredom, that's when we get into the suffering and anxiety, but people who are engaged, like right now during this quarantine time, this pandemic time, people who are engaged in really creative things are doing so much better than the people who aren't. The people aren't feel less motivated.

Jodi 49:13

They feel they're having the effects, the isolation, which is really horrible on them and the people are being creative and just turning out all kinds of like either art or content or something. They're good, they're doing good and so it's really telling and so then the third kind I try to talk about is generous chores, like doing things for other people, because that gives you a sense of belonging. It gives you...You don't have to sweat the small stuff. You seek people go through a hard time and they get through it with lots of love still, and lots of laughter as well after. You don't get so scared of things when you're in those connective relationships. You see hard times and people recover, and then you feel that. We all want to belong.

Genie 50:00

Right. Makes sense. That makes me feel good.

Jodi 50:05

Good! Do give your kids a lot of chores?

Genie 50:08

I do, so when you said they don't want to, he does not want to do it, but I'm like, you have to do it, this is your job. Go ahead and do it and then when you talk about generous chores, this generous chores was at his grandparents house and he feels the same way.

Genie 50:27

But we have a pep talk, but it's a conversation of basically cause and effect. Look at all the things that they do for you. You can do this conversation and he tries to speak up because like I'm not even. He makes me mad, but I don't show him. I'm just be like, Oh man, but he does it and I think when we talk about that concept, I love that concept of sovereign power. I really do. So for me to say, "I want you to take out the trash." And he'll say, "I'm going to take it out when you go take it out, I'm going take it out." You always say that but you don't take it out. So we had this conversation and at this point, either I can make him. Some exercise might.

Jodi 51:13


Genie 51:14

But what I choose to do is say, "Listen, this is something that you are going to do. Why don't you empower?" And I use that word. "Why don't you empower yourself and choose a time that you're going to do it and then I'll leave you and then I will leave you alone. And then he's like, “Okay, I'm going to do it this time." Because he almost say excuses. Some things are excuses. Some things is his anxiety's off the chain and I recognize that.

Genie 51:45

And we have conversations about it, but once again,  I'm going to say it,   what's beautiful about Jodi's book is when you have a teen and all children will be teen at some point, it is imperative that they learn how to manage their own anxiety because you will not be with them 24/7 and you are not with them when it's just them and their monkey brain. And I will explain monkey brain in my show notes, but it is so important to support them around that because you want them. Our goal as parents is to raise children who are able to take care of themselves. You do not want to be the parent who's like 60, 70 years old and their 30-year-old son is having an anxiety attack and only mom can sue-

Jodi 52:35

It doesn't mean you abandon them but yes, exactly and the chores thing is like,  the cause and effect of one of the tactics I use is like, "Oh,  but if you did it, then it won't be hanging over your head anymore." Like you give them some result that is desirable like Oh! The freedom of having that job done. Like in five minutes, you're free, and so, kind of like inviting them into a good result.

Jodi 53:05

Teens will be [inaudible 53:07] about that, but it's like, teens need to know why. It's like, do it because I told you so or I need help or whatever but it's like, no, they need to know why and so I have a whole blog, the benefits of chores. If kids knew how it benefited them to do chores, they would help a little bit. I mean, they're still going to have the resistance. I talk about that in the book. I talk about biologically why they have the resistance because we put all kinds of meaning around that resistance and it's just a natural thing but we could override it and so they have to see some benefits to be able to override it and one of the great benefits is like the job's done.

Genie 53:47


Jodi 53:49

It's got to be done and if you finish it and you can resist for an hour and in five minutes, you can get it done and the whole rest of the hour is like -

Genie 53:58

Yours. It is yours. That's the conversation I have my son about the summer work.

Jodi 54:04

Yes, I do that too

Genie 54:07

Oh my goodness. Well we want to wrap it up soon but I have to ask everyone because this is the Parenting Cipher which and its name that way because it's a tip off of the rapping cipher where you have a group of people and they build together. And that's what the parents decide is a space where parents get to grow together and do things differently.

Genie 54:29

So I always ask people what their favorite hip hop song or motivational song, like when you go about to get on stage or when you're about to do a thing. What is your song? The song that you hear that gets you excited?

Jodi 54:43

I would say Beyonce, right? I would say crazy and loud just because you could just dance to it and, it's about love and like, I want to really focus on love whenever I'm going to present anything to anybody or teacher, do a video.

Genie 55:01

Right, so you know what's so funny about me, I've been asking everyone this question and usually when someone chooses a song, it resonates with who they are as a person or what they're talking about at the time and when I say talk about guys, I'm talking about, we are always in constant growth and our energy shifts and changes and we have these moments where we can all be about crazy and love and that's like that is our starting point of everything. Sometimes you can have this moment where you're like, hey, it's all about the money. It all depends, you know?

Jodi 55:41 

Right. Exactly.

Genie 55:42

Jodi, thank you so much. I'm going to share in show notes your book and your blog.

Jodi 55:54

Anxiety...I’m So Done with You!

Genie 55:55

Yes, and guys, she has parenting classes on site now. Suggest [inaudible 56:00], because they're really good.

Jodi 56:07

That's great. Yeah, I'm putting together some emotional resiliency for home schools pods and for educators, so I'll be speaking in some health classes and yes, I'm really excited about that piece. I want to help teens directly, but you can't do that without helping the parents and the educators or the counselors, you know? So I just am building resources for all of that.

Genie 56:32

I love it. 360 degrees, that is a complete circle. Everything has to be in a circle and I find in American society, we're not holistic. We talk about healing. We're talking about being holistic and you can't just look at one part of the puzzle and think that the other parts are going to come together.

Jodi 56:56

Thank you, what a wonderful time this has been.

Genie 57:02

It was such a joy.

Genie 57:19

Always remember, you're doing the best of what you have. Remember to be patient with yourself and your child. Did you know you can support the show on patreon so the Parenting Cipher can keep bringing you great content and guests just click on the patreon link in the show notes 'till next time.

Genie 01:00:12

From one parent to another, you are doing the best of what you have. Remember to be patient with yourself and your child. Please subscribe and check out the website www.theparentingcipher.com for additional resources from this episode.

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