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October 10, 2020

[EP005] How To Have Great Conversations With Your Child


In this episode, the show host Genie Dawkins talks about how to connect with your child through conversations. Connection is an essential part of her parenting coaching program. She gives a peek into the different ways that we connect with ourselves and family, most importantly our children.

By sharing her journey on how she has learned how to create great conversations with her kids based on their likes not just her own.

Insights from the show

  • How to connect with your children through their interests

  • Anime as a vehicle to connect with your child

  • How to identify when your child is trying to connect with you and how to respond

To hear “ Suga Hill” by AZ clink the on the playlist below

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Genie Dawkins

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Genie 00:07

Welcome to the Parenting Cipher, where each episode will give you the tools and resources that you need to help you decode the information that keeps your child from making progress so you can connect the dots and lead your child's journey. I'm your host, Genie Dawkins, the Parent Confident Strategist, and I help parents like you become more confident in navigating their child's disabilities so they can reach their highest potential in school and in life while creating a home life where everybody thrives.

Genie 00:33

So today we're going to talk about connection and connection means different things to different people. But in the cipher, I like to use connection all the time because it's the most essential part in building a holistic life and connection can be looked at from people from different angles, connecting to yourself, connecting to your family, connection to your kids, connected to your friends, spouse. You get the idea, so because in the cipher we're talking about right now, let's talk about the kids.

Genie 01:09

So what's interesting is as a parent, we are always connected with our children. Is this something that we're sitting here thinking like, oh, I want to connect with my kids, no, okay, which is so funny because you will read a lot of books by authors and they're like purposely will have these titles, connect with your child, connect like dude, I connect to my kid all the time.. You don't need to tell me how to connect with my kid, right? But here's the thing. We are connecting with them and most often you're connecting with them, with the thing that you love, the thing that you're passionate about, that thing that you really, really like. For me, is a travel and you know what else it is, it's anime and is reading and it's anime because when I was a kid and I grew up in the 90s, Okay, but I'm a 70s baby.

 Genie 02:02

Me and my brother used to jack anime, so for all you people who don't know what anime is, it's better than cartoons, right? And it comes out in Japan. Storylines are the bomb, especially if you like the wiggling. Who becomes the hero type scenarios, so we used to booze it off of the Internet because there was no ground zero in our country, crunchy roll the VRV and all of this stuff they got now. You have to go bootleg it on the internet.

Genie 02:30

And sometimes they didn't even have subtitles, but my brothers and I would watch it. We watch it together. We watch it apart. We would talk about it. We would share with each other what we were watching and you fast forward to now and my boys watch anime and my nephews and my nieces watch anime. And me and my nieces and nephews may have nothing else to talk about but trust and believe, they'll be like, "Hey, you watch the anime? And I'd be like, "What anime?" And they'll tell me, we have this whole entire conversation. We'll text about it and it's that way that we connect in even with my boys and anime was actually an incentive for my children to learn how to read. Both of my boys are dyslexic.

Genie 03:20

My 11-year-old is no longer dyslexic. Yeah, he's no longer dyslexic, but my nine-year-old still is, but his incentive to read is he needs to read the subtitles. So, he actually came to me one day. He was like, Mommy, I need to learn how to read so I can read the subtitles because I don't know what's going on. But mind you, he will watch the shows without subtitles, which is so funny because me and my brother used to do that back in the day. So we used that as a vehicle of connection. I love to travel.

Genie 03:53

We use that as a connection, even to the extent of you could get caught up in yourself and you had like, oh, kids, don't you want to do? Don't you want to travel to Paris and you forget, but kids do not forget and they will hold you accountable real quick, especially if your kid is on a spectrum because they are like,"You said it, you said it, you said it, no excuses."

Genie 04:16

And my boys will come to me all the time and they'll say, "Hey, Mom, when are we going to London?" "Hey, mom, when are we going to Paris?" And now we've done those. We've been to London. We've been to Paris, we've been in Dubai and now, they're over here telling me, "Okay, so where are we going next?" And we have these conversations about where do you think you want to go? What you got? Right. And it's that connection I have with them that I love and to be honest, not really conscious of doing because you just sharing your stuff, that's you know, that's your connection, right?

Genie 04:52

Now, I'm going to switch it up and we won't talk about the way the kids connect with us real quick, right?So, children, we're trying to connect with you the same way, except sometimes as a parent, we're busy. We're moving, we got stuff to do and we are not clocking into the way that they are trying to connect with us. For instance, my son will say, "Hey mom, who is your favorite YouTuber?" And I'm like "I don't watch Youtube." And that will be the end of my side of the conversation. But he'll come back like, "Well, let's try to help you find a YouTuber."

 Genie 05:30

And I'm like, "I don't I want to do that." And it took a conversation with Elizabeth, the digital parenting coach, and we were talking about YouTube and she says, that's a way to connect with your child. And I look back, I was like, Yo! this dude was really trying to connect with me and I totally didn't see it. I did not see it at all. And I'm realizing that sometimes you got to slow down a little bit. Just a little bit and when they are trying to talk to you.

Genie 06:00

Yeah, we do not want I don't want YouTube. Okay, them voices sometimes, I'll go on YouTube for working out or whatever, but not just to be watching bloggers, but that's the thing that interests him. So challenging for many. Next time your child ask you something about YouTube or game or they're playing games, you got a gamer at home. Look! I know, but some of us, especially the moms, we like, I don't want to play games. Ask them about the game. What do you like about that game? Can you teach me how to play the game?

Genie 06:31

Now, look, look for all you parents out there who not play a video game, not interested, which I'm sure that many that's only going to last all of five minutes before they take over or they just get sick and tired of you, but you know what you can do? You can always once you get booted, get frustrated. Don't walk away, sit there for a minute, watch them play. It's a weird connection and interest. I remember growing up, I really didn't talk to my parents. I love my parents. My parents are the bomb, Okay? But I look back at my childhood, I really didn't talk to my parents like that. I didn't share my interest or what I was doing.

Genie 07:10

It was more like, "Oh, hey! I'm doing a performance at the Kennedy Center" or in actually for and you get that. I think anything that they can do was like some I must've called them and they missed out and maybe I missed out but just be mindful, which again, we may not like what they like, but if that's the way they're trying to communicate with us, then take a moment, kind of be like, "Hey, what's going on? What do you like about that?"  And then let's talk about connecting with yourself, which is a very important topic.

Genie 07:45

And I know we're like, oh, I connect with myself all the time. Now, do you really, though? Do you really? Do you really? Especially if you're a parent with a special child? We do a lot of running around, even if you don't feel like you're doing a bunch of running around. Because one of the things as a parent is we are in tentful with making sure our children has everything that they need to be successful in life the best way that we can. And in those things, sometimes you can.

Genie 08:21

And in most times I'm not going to go back from y'all, we lose ourselves, Okay and I'm not talking about people with about self-care and they're like, oh, yeah,  get your hair done, get your nails done. Have a day at a spa. I'm not talking about that right now. I am talking about connecting with yourself with would you like to do. What brings you joy? Was that work then you could do every day? Is it different?

Genie 08:44

Is that you need to get a cup of bun, whatever it is. What is that thing? Are you building in time to sit with yourself and connect with who you are? Are you alive or are you living? Are you going through the motions every day unconsciously? Are you present in the moment? Are you able to sit? And look at your life or just look at the situation and be like, this is all right, this is okay. And when you do that is beyond connecting with yourself, it's connected with your actions.

Genie 9:20

Instead of saying these are the things that I didn't do today, like, oh, y'all, that's that one thing I did do instead of coming of IEP meeting like, "Oh my God, I'm so busy, these jokers, because they're not listening to me," Instead, go back, think about everything that was said and done and ask yourself, Okay, what is it that I need to come back stronger than this and get them to listen and empower myself?

Genie 9:47

Don't sit in a beat up and it's easy to do that when you're not conscious in connecting with yourself. I was married for 14 years and when I came out of that thing, I realized I had lost a bit of myself because I had stopped those moments and when I was in the eye of the storm with my kids and diagnosis and going to the doctors and we haven't stopped doing those things, but it's just different. It feels different.

Genie 10:16

I literally would veg out like just sitting there, like dude, I am so tired. You ever have those moments where between school, work, getting the kids, taking them to therapies, you just sitting there looking on your phone and you are straight vegged the hell out, just tired, you know what I'm saying? And it's going to feel that way until you can build in those moments to connect with yourself and give yourself a little bit of love.

Genie 10:45

You know what I'm saying? And that connection with yourself is shows your kids can see it and when you are in this mode of like doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo, how they received that, how it comes across to them is totally different. We are here being super parents with an "S"  on our chest. And to them, kids make up their own narrative and story about why things are happening and to them, it may seem a little bit like Mommy's tired because of me, Daddy's run around a lot because of me, I'm so sorry and I actually had a moment like that with my kids.

Genie 11:26

I think we had been like a year in and on Fridays, literally, they had half a day of school and we spent half a day in the therapist's office and two hour commutes. I was taking my son to a reading specialist and we would do that three days a week. We were on the road for two hours on sessions and at three hours and I'm like, oh, got to fix this. Oh, I'm like, totally in guilt mode with myself. But just really like, we're going to do this. I'm going to help you. And one day my son said, "I'm sorry, " What are you sorry for?"  "I'm just sorry, Mommy." I'm like, "Why are you sorry?" " I'm so sorry. You're so tired all the time."

Genie 12:06

And I just stop like, "What is it that I'm doing that would make you think it's your fault that I'm tired?" And in that moment I stop and I thought about how I could be coming across to him and I did something that I didn't do before. And I said you're not making Mommy tired. And I point out so many things that I could tighten upon. And then I also said to him, because I realized my urgency to help my kids, I never really sat down with him. And at that time, he was nine years old and said, "Hey, Asar, you have dyslexia."

Genie 12:45

And that's why we're going to see the reading specialist. Instead, the conversation was, don't you want to read? Mommy's going to help you learn how to read and from there, I explained to him what dyslexia was and what he was doing at the therapist. And it changed for him regardless of what was doing. 150% but it changed for him because then he understood why be on, I can't read because that was the narrative that he had. I can't read and I'm damned, right? Man, I mean like oh jeez, it hurts your heart.

Genie 13:20

And when I really explained to him what it was and he was like, "There are other people like me?", I was like, "Yeah,  then we went to find all the other people, famous people who had dyslexia." And he was like, "Oh, okay", connection. Connecting with yourself to connect with your child and everybody, even your family and your spouse. It really helps. It really, really helps and we're all in this together. No one is living your life alone. Point blank, period. We are symbiotic creatures, Okay? In symbiosis means that we all rely on each other for something even your kids like, "Oh, I don't blame my kids for nothing."

Genie 13:58

Yes, they do they give you so much. They give me joy because I have the most after a day and they make me smile. It could be a hug, it could be a word, so I just want to challenge everyone to really think about a minute of connecting with yourself a day, take a breath, especially now just take a breath.

Genie 14:18

And the next time your child says, Hey, Mommy. Hey, daddy, do you. Oh, my God, do not shut down and listen to them. Put it down anything. You own your phone. Put that phone down with them. I got do them myself. Put the phone down and make eye contact and listen to them take a breath, because I know you want to shut it down real quick, Daddy. Now, everybody, I'm that person and listen to them and ask them questions because they are trying to connect with you, Okay? And that's a lovely thing. You're going to build so much into creating this holistic lifestyle that the Cipher is generating right now.

Genie 14:56

And since this is the Cipher and I always ask my guests, what's your favorite song? What's your favorite hip-hop song or a song that gets you going, gets you empowered? Given the fact that we're talking about connection today, I am an old school and new school hip-hop person, but there's something about that old school hip-hop, man.

Genie 15:15

And it's probably because it was during a time in my life where it was like, I don't know, it's just the energy, can you smell it? For all you out there and you think about college, high school and the music you listen to when you listen to it now. It just made you feel something, but on that note and close it out with one of my favorite songs, which is called Sugarhill by AZ and the lyrics that I love the most that's resonating with me today is, " So until I see past the green pasture, me being supreme master, ain't. Much more life ta feind after, but another chapter, a new way of life to. Adap ta, cause these streets a gas ya, and have ya caught up in the rapture"

Genie 16:00

So in closing, every day is a new chapter for you to create.  From one parent to another. You are doing the best with 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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