When your child has ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Sensory Processing, or other neurodiverse needs, homeschooling can feel like your only option, with challenges of it's own. Afsaneh Moradian, homeschooling coach, shares her story of advocacy and thriving with her child.
After teaching, writing curriculum and being a huge advocate for public schools (and criticisms of homeschooling), Afsaneh found herself homeschooling her neurodiverse child. She didn't feel like there was another viable option.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVERED...
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My kids did okay at school, but having to go and spend so many hours doing, you know, following instructions, right? Doing everything that you're told exactly, you know, they say what to do and how to do it. And doing that for so many hours. As soon as I picked my kid up and we came home, that was it, they just couldn't function. They couldn't be told what to do even like, don't put your shoes on the couch. Right? You know, would just be like, when we talk about, you know, a rebellious child, right? So I really had to stop and think what do I want? What do I want as a parent? What relationship do I want with my child?
Danielle Bettmann 0:42
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood, I mean? Have too much anxiety...Not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough and you're not alone. I hope you pop in here buds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend. We're so glad you're here
Hey, it's Danielle. How do you possibly feel like the parent your kids need when the only viable option is to homeschool them and they have high needs and neurodivergence and resist everything you ask them to do?! My guest today Afsaneh Moradian is a homeschooling coach and author of the beloved picture book series. Jamie is Jamie. As a homeschooling coach, she guides adults by giving them the language to communicate effectively with their neurodiverse children, empowering them to create learning spaces that are safe and inclusive so their children can thrive. In this episode, she shares her inspiration for creating her book series. In her words, "when I get angry, I get brilliant" and makes the case for taking gender out of play in preschool. She then shares how she found herself homeschooling, after teaching, writing curriculum and being a huge advocate for public schools. She was tasked with finding a way to make it work. And she did just that, and now shares that wisdom with other struggling parents. So if your child has autism, ADHD, sensory processing anxiety, and/or strong-willed, you'll resonate with so much of Afsaneh's journey. She gives two great pieces of free advice you'll want to remember as well as ways to be open minded, that you and your child's journey might look more unconventional than you were expecting. But that's okay. You are the parent they need. Let's dive in.
Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I'm joined by Afsaneh Moradian. Hey, how are you?
I'm great. I'm so happy to be here and get to speak with you.
Danielle Bettmann 3:47
Yes, thank you so much for taking the time because I could talk to you about any number of topics. We're gonna circle back to homeschooling, and your journey and your book and all the things but before we dive in, just go ahead and reintroduce yourself to my audience who are you and who's in your family.
So my name is Afsaneh and I am the founder of MLC homeschool coaching. And I'm a picture book author of the Jamie as Jamie series. I live with my husband and my 10 and a half year old non-binary child. Yeah.
Danielle Bettmann 4:24
And where are you located?
Right now I'm in Wahaca. Mexico. I go between Wahaca Mexico, New York City, sometimes Florida. Depending on the weather. I don't want to do snow anymore. I try to avoid you know, one advantage of worldschooling
Danielle Bettmann 4:40
Nice good plan.
Yeah. When you were old school you can kind of plan you know the weather you want.
Danielle Bettmann 4:47
Yeah. Well, the weather is getting crazy. So it might be hard to predict because California just got snow the other day.
That's very true. That's a different show topic. I think right?
Danielle Bettmann 4:59
Yeah. Sure. We'll that's all I'll say about that. Okay, so I have to prequalify Have you ever felt like you were failing motherhood?
More times than I can count? Absolutely.
Danielle Bettmann 5:12
Okay, then you're one of us, right?
So many examples. Yeah, exactly.
Danielle Bettmann 5:20
Well, and I know that if listeners clicked on this episode, because they are hoping to homeschool or are homeschooling, I'm sure that they don't run dry, the well doesn't run dry with reasons to feel like it is hard, or they are really trying their best. So there is a lot going on there with that relationship that they care a lot about. So they're going to eventually feel like they're failing. And I think that's part of your journey that we'll get into in a second here. But the first thing I wanted to talk to you about was your book, Jamie is Jamie, I actually stumbled across it like three days ago at Lake Shore at my local Lakeshore Learning Center. And I was like, Oh, I'd recognize this name. Don't see that name. Very often, it has to be the same one I was interviewing in like three days. And so I read it, and I loved it. And just give us like a quick snippet of what that book series is about, and what led you to create it.
Sure. So the first in the series is Jamie is Jamie, a book about being yourself and playing your way. And it was inspired by, you know, when I get angry, I get brilliant. That's kind of how I how I feel about myself. So when my kid was three, you know, my child was born female, we used her and called her a girl until they got older and told us that we were wrong. And then we knew better. So when my kid was three, they loved superheroes, absolutely loved them. And in a couple of different occasions, they would go over to some boys and ask if they could play with their superheroes. And the boys would say, no, these aren't for girls. And I would just get so upset, because I grew up with Free to be You and Me, And we're not supposed to have these gender stereotypes anymore. And play is supposed to be gender neutral, and all these things that I thought we were past, and then my child was on the receiving end of it, and dealing with those limitations, right from the gender, the idea of gendered toys. And I just thought, you know, there really needs to be a book where kids just play, and it just doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl. So that's Jamie, Jamie starts a new school plays with everyone and everything is a really awesome friend to have. And the kids want to know if Jamie's a boy or a girl and you never find out because it just doesn't matter. And so Jamie is whoever, whatever the reader really wants Jamie to be. And that's it for the whole series. There's never anything that identifies Jamie. Jamie can be a boy or girl trans non binary, whatever you need, because my child also had a really hard time seeing themselves in the picture books that we had. And I thought, you know, we've got to loosen this up a little bit, we've got to just create way more space for all of the kids that exist. And sometimes it's about appearance. But I think in Jamie's case, it's really about personality and wanting to just feel like it's okay to be who you are. Like if you're a boy and you want to play with a doll. If you're a girl, and you're playing superheroes, like we're not supposed to have any of those as adults, we're not supposed to put any of those judgments or restrictions on play anymore. But of course, it still happens. And it happens in the toy store because the packaging is all gendered and we haven't gotten as far ahead as I think we had hoped. And then the kids kind of are on the receiving end. And they kind of suffer from the limitations sometimes because then if they want to play with something, and they think it's wrong, then they think maybe who they are is wrong, right. And that's not what we want. For preschool aged kids and kindergarten, first grade. We want them to build confidence and to love who they are and to feel celebrated for who they are. Because we need them to learn and develop skills. And they do that through play. So we don't want to make them feel embarrassed or ashamed about how they're playing. We want to keep them safe. I was a preschool teacher and another life and like some play is not safe. Some players not okay. But in general, we want to keep them safe, but we want to keep them learning and exploring and being creative and using their imagination. So that's what started the series and there's three books in this series now that deal with different things. So
Danielle Bettmann 9:37
What are the other two?
The second is Jamie and Bobby. Jamie spends the day with great grandma, and they just walk around the neighborhood and have a lovely time. And Bobby makes some mistakes. Bobby makes some assumptions. Someone with short hair must be a woman someone with long hair must be a man. They run into someone they've known before who has since changed genders and pro nouns and names. And so it's all about it's a book about people's pronouns, Jimmy and Bobby, a book about people's pronouns as the title, the titles are always so long. And it really just shows how to use pronouns. What's the singular they how to use the singular they if you're not sure, so rather than make an assumption that it's a he or she, you could just use singular they had you ask to find out what someone's pronouns are. So it's really just how do you be mindful and respectful of how you know pronouns are something that change and that that's okay.
And then the third book is called Jamie's Class has Something to Say: a book about Sharing with Grownups. And that's more about self advocacy, actually, it's a little bit different. It's not so focused on gender. But it's really about adults listening to what kids like and dislike, and who they are as individuals, and making them see, feel, you know, feel seen and heard and respected as individuals, even though they're these little people. Hmm. And so it's really, you know, how do you share important information with your adults, which can be so scary for kids? And then the flip side is, as adults, how do you receive that information without being dismissive or with, you know, even if a challenge is what you think, should be done? Or how you think it should be done? How do you really listen to that, so that when something really important is going on, kids have an adult that they can trust and feel safe to confide in, which becomes a really important part of childhood, because some of the big things are really big things. And then as they grow into, you know, adolescence, the big things are even bigger, and maybe it's not them, maybe it's happening to someone else. And so how do you make sure that there's that trust and open communication, that starts when they're really young, so that they never feel like they're on their own to handle really big deal things that we don't want them to handle on their own?
Danielle Bettmann 12:01
That's so important.
So those are the three books. So they really focus on communication, creating space, valuing and celebrating kids for who they are as individuals. And then really the tool the communication tools. For in the back. There's tips for adults. So how, you know, how can you ask questions? How do you raise the things? How do you have the conversations, so and the kids really like them? Because they just want to be who they are. So the book saying go be yourself. They're like, yeah!
Danielle Bettmann 12:31
Yes, thank you for the permission slip, granted, yeah. It's so important, those were huge key fundamental topics that protects the mental health of kids, and really pave the way for them to have the support, they need to be successful in the long run, and making that available to them early on, and through that really powerful parent child relationship, where it means the most to hear it within that context. So I mean, I'm sure that your books are in classrooms, and you know, there's other ways to use them as well. But for parents, I feel like that's the best conversations happen over books. I mean, that's how they've happened at my house. That is what I recommend to my clients is like, I don't know how to talk to about this, get a book, there is one and there's a good one, I guarantee it. So I added Jamie is Jamie, but I hadn't seen the other two yet. So I'm gonna add those to my client resource, Amazon book Favorites wish list, because we just need to know that they're out there. That's the joy of being in an information age is like, overload. So when we need something when we need it, we don't recommend to find it. So I love that. So any last thoughts that you wanted to speak on that topic to parents in my audience, my listeners that are listening in and they may read the book, what are like, just a couple thoughts you have, when you have their ear, you feel like it's really important to communicate,
I don't think childhood really has a gender. And I think it's more important to focus on the play and the fun and the connection, and the creating good humans, you know, and good friends, rather than feeling like there's something wrong if they were that or want to do that, or, you know, there really doesn't have to be any concern. And really creating by creating those inclusive spaces, we're then establishing that it's okay, if our kids are LGBTQIA plus, that there's nothing wrong with that. And that is just, they're continuing on their journey of who they are as people. So I think it's really important because we just don't really know who our kids are. The first few years of their life they're developing, and then as they continue to develop, we get to discover and re meet them over and over and over again because they keep changing. So if we just focus on the Lay the conversation, the activity of it, and the joy of it, and leave out the gender part, then we get to build up their confidence in who they are. And we're not accidentally sending messages that there's something wrong about who they are or who their friend is, or whatever, we really don't want to do that. So I think creating the most respectful inclusive spaces for kids, their whole life, from the time they're babies, is really the most important thing for, you know, laying those foundations for the future.
Danielle Bettmann 15:35
What has been a couple of things that have meant a lot to either you, for your child that, you know, allowed for that inclusive space that really just like, you know, took that extra step, or made them feel extra comfortable that you both noticed, and it just made a big difference? like simple things? Is there anything that comes to mind?
Well, I think when my child changed their pronoun they/them, it wasn't really a big deal in the beginning, because they said, Oh, my pronouns are she, they. So I didn't really change that much. I didn't really think that much about it. I didn't make a big announcement to family. And then I saw every time someone referred to my child as she, my kid would cringe, because it wasn't who they are. So it's like calling a girl he or calling a boy, she, and then I had to change because it actually, you know, we go on autopilot when we talk to our kids don't even think about what we're saying. And so to change a pronoun is actually harder than it seems because you're so just used to saying she, she, she, she, she, she she right now. So but when you do it, it's like, I don't have a choice. This is my child, can you imagine if your parent doesn't use your correct pronoun? and then I had to kind of be very assertive and consistent with grandparents and you know, not all extended family agrees, accepts does it is interested in doing it, but at least it's clear on, you know, who my child is. And we fight to create that space for them with whichever adults, you know, an extra curricular class or at camp or whatever, that we make sure that, you know, this is our child, and they should be respected and their pronouns are they/them, right and then, so my kid doesn't feel like they're on their own having to fight their own battle. So I think that that was kind of a example.
Danielle Bettmann 17:34
Yeah, that makes me think I was just signing my kids up for summer camp. And I don't remember there being a spot where you can kind of designate pronouns on there. So how is that like a thing you have to manually communicate? And, you know, how do you try to do that without putting all that responsibility on your child?
Yeah, I mean, I did communicate that to the camp. And then I also chose, it's a really, really special camp. It's really, you know, the history of the camp is like 100 year old, you know, working man circle. Jewish socialists from 100 years ago, started a sleepaway camp, like I just wanted to camp where like, my kid could connect to their Jewish roots in a way that also brings in history and culture and songs and playing soccer and swimming in a lake. So it's definitely not a run of the mill camp. But this is a camp that, like so many friends over the years sent their kids to that I was like, when I have a kid, my kids gonna go there, right? So
Danielle Bettmann 18:36
yeah. Oh, that sounds like so much fun.
I mean, I think you treat it like a dietary restriction, right? Like, if your child can't have bread, that camp better know your kid can't have bread, right? So it'd be the same thing. And my child's pronouns are they/them, or he/them, or whatever your child's pronouns are. And this is what my child needs, in order to be successful. And you have to do that. Also, if you have, you know, a neurodiverse child that you want to send to camp, the camp has to know who the child is, and what does the child need in order to be successful? Because camp is no joke. If you're paying for it as a lot of money, you do not want your kid going and being miserable. And, like sick the whole time, you know, right. So it's kind of the same thing. We advocate for our kids all of the time in so many different ways. And this just as another way, that has to be done.
Danielle Bettmann 19:28
Yeah, I like being able to relate that to the other ways that we're already doing that, because that just makes it so much more tangible and important because we already are doing that for our kids. And this is just one more other way that sets your child apart in a great way that you want to make sure to celebrate and get across to the people who need to know it and so they are supported. Okay, so anything else on that topic because I feel like we could spend the whole hour you know, just diving into that, but I want to be able to the homeschooling and everything that you're doing now as well.
Now I think it's connected to the homeschooling stuff. And I feel like anyone listening that reads any of the Jamie books and has questions or wants to discuss it, find me DM me on Instagram, I want to talk about it. You know, I love discussing it with adults. I love doing readings with kids, I'll just share one super quick little story one of my favorite classroom readings of when the first Jamie is Jamie book came out, I read to a third grade class. And I asked, you know, when we were having our conversation, I think I asked like, has anyone ever gotten you a toy or present that you really didn't like. And then one after another, every girl in the class had a creepy doll story. And they just shared the creepy doll sitting on their shelf that they really don't like. And it was amazing that they all had one. And they wanted they really wanted to talk about it, because they had never gotten to share that before that the doll totally freaks. It's my sister's doll. My aunt gave it to me whatever, right and totally freaks them out. And so that was a pretty wonderful moment became like the creepy doll support group class.
Danielle Bettmann 21:23
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Yeah, like finally we can get this off our chest. What is with you grownups?
Oh, yes, that's hilarious. But yeah, they're probably like, I don't know who you think this is for. But this is not me. This is not the way I want to play. I want to be able to like get down and dirty and take these dolls clothes off and you know, create all these scenarios, and I have to just keep it on yourself. Like I don't get funny here. Oh, good. I'm glad you had that. Okay, so you're a homeschooling coach now, that never intended to homeschool. Correct?
Absolutely. I am a longtime educator, a firm believer in public education. And I went to you know, a bit a public school in my life, but a big advocate and defender of public education and all that. So it was never my intention to homeschool. And I actually had a whole list of criticisms of homeschooling for sure. Before
Danielle Bettmann 24:51
Oh, how the tables have turned.
Yeah, because I think as parents we are constantly put into unpredictable situations, what do our kids need? How do we meet those needs? and where I was at the time, it was only academic preschool that was available. And we tried it, and my kids did okay at school, but having to go and spend so many hours doing, you know, following instructions, right, doing everything that you're told exactly, you know, they say what to do and how to do it. And doing that for so many hours. As soon as I picked my kid up, and we came home, that was it, they just couldn't function, they couldn't be told what to do even like, don't put your shoes on the couch, right, you know, would just be like, we talked about, you know, a rebellious child, right? So I really had to stop and think, What do I want? What do I want as a parent? What relationship do I want with my child? Do I want to send them to school to be part of a program where they're a model student, and they are doing everything that's asked of them, but it's way more than what they can handle, So that then, but when I pick them up, and I'm home with them, I have to deal with the worst absolute worst behavior, because that's the safe space to unwind, right. And I didn't sign up for that I really didn't, I really wanted to, like, have fun with my kid and be able to enjoy parenting. And so then it became pretty clear, to stay in this dynamic. And to stay in this environment with such a small child, it's highly unlikely that they're going to love reading and writing. And, you know, they push when they academics are pushed on children who are like three, four years old, and they're not ready for it. Some kids go with the flow, and other kids really have some damage from it.
And so we had to like, back up, I had to totally back off on writing for years, my kids did not start writing a lot in first grade, which is, you know, typically when kindergarten first grade, I had to really back off, because they pushed it so hard, so young, on my child that there was a real trigger there, there was like some actual damage done. And if you understand that, and you build the skills in other ways, and you introduce the writing, and you know, this is kind of where it's like, oh, I had to figure out a lot, as a homeschooling parent, I really shouldn't be a coach, like, there's a lot. There's a lot of help parents out with here. Yeah, to get to the point where now my kid is writing, and it's fine. There's no issues, but I didn't really see that I had much of a choice. I felt like our relationship was going to suffer. And eventually my child was not going to be okay. You know, it's not didn't seem like a healthy, thriving dynamic. So we started homeschooling. And that was a really unexpected journey. And I've, you know, I worked in a Montessori school, I taught and you know, I've had a long career teaching different different grades and different environments. And nothing prepares you for your child. And, you know, my child had some sensory processing issues, you know, frustration issues, all kinds of stuff, right? It was certainly not easy. It was a major struggle. So the question of like, Do you ever feel like you're failing, like, yeah, sitting there, and absolute dread, I am trapped to homeschooling, my kid who now doesn't know enough to go be in the grade that they're in, and is more advanced in some subjects than the other kids. So they're, you know, quote, unquote, behind, right, and the standardized way, they're trained in some subjects, but then they're more advanced and others, there's no school, that's going to be a good fit for them. And I'm really tired of getting kicked and screamed at every day. Like, this is awful for me, right. And I then had to use, you know, everything that I knew about education, everything I knew about child development, everything, everything, everything, everything, everything that I knew and say like, okay, Who is this child? What does this child need? How can I get the skills in there, make it fun, make it interesting, meet their needs every step of the way, and handle the stuff that comes up. And so we got there, we did it. But like it was very much a struggle. So I understand. I don't say everyone homeschool, everyone, take your kid out of going home school, like, no, it's really hard. And I don't think that schools are set up to be able to receive and educate every single child in a way that every single child can thrive. So I think more and more families are choosing homeschooling because it seems like you know, the only viable option. When you have a child that isn't going to do the assignments. You know, when you think oh, homeschooling is just go buy a curriculum, and then we'll do that and it'll be good and your kid doesn't want to do the assignments. It actually requires a bit more understanding of what the process is than maybe what you thought because it's like, oh, my teacher just showed up and just, you know, we did the next page and the spelling workbook. That's what it means to be a teacher. And like, it's actually a bit more than that, right? Yeah, there's the communication. A lot of a lot of teachers don't have great communicate, I'm not trying to say that they're all brilliant. But there are some wonderful teachers out.. I was a wonderful teacher. So I know not gonna, I'm not gonna say negative things about teachers, but there's a communication piece. There's the child development piece, and then there's the planning, and how do you really figure out what your expectations are, what you want your child to learn where you want your child to be? And then how do you get them there? And so all of those things are just not always skills or, you know, knowledge that we acquire in life, especially if our parents didn't, weren't particularly interested in what we had to say, or how we felt, it's really, really hard. Because you want to say, do this, and you expect your kid to do it, right. And we, you know, if you, those of us who've got high needs kids, they won't do it. It doesn't matter. You can bribe, you can threaten, they're not going to do it right? Not gonna happen. So then what do you do? Right? Do you cry yourself to sleep and worry that your kid isn't learning enough? Or do you get empowered, right, get the information and get the tools, you need power to be able to actually turn things around? So that's where I come in. That's what I support parents with. And, you know, I especially I work with all kinds of families, but I especially love working with families that are kind of in crisis, really dealing with those power struggles, and you can't see light at the end of the tunnel. At the moment, it seems like you're just stuck in it. So it's going to be this bad. So I love to come in and make those changes and turn that around really quick. And also working with parents who are neurodiverse themselves, because it's really lovely to go through the process with them, that they're going to go through with their own kids. So, yeah, it's one of my favorite relationships to be in with coaching clients. Yeah. So that's the journey. I mean, I didn't expect it. I didn't know. But I'm really grateful and honored that I get to do this kind of work. So
Danielle Bettmann 32:10
Oh, no, it sounds like you're made for it. And sounds like really powerful, beautiful work. And so important for both of those generations of healing through that process of learning how to kind of unlearn education and do it their way. And, you know, that's the goal is just to be able to feel really confident that you're not meeting, maybe the standardized, you know, checklists or the pathway that was recommended. Exactly, but you know, that you're doing the right thing for your family. And, you know, that's where we all want to be. But there is so many hiccups to getting there, I'm sure that you've seen. And I know one of the first things that you talk about is like the resistance, and the shockwave that comes with this, like, hit you under the knees. I thought I had everything planned or and it's gonna be awesome. It's gonna be cupcakes and rainbows. And then they have so much resistance, like, where is that coming from? And like, Why? Why?
Well, so it's a really like, it's a very interesting thing. Resistance, we all have resistance. If you think back to when you were in school, there were all kinds of ways you resist it, was it you know, did you go sharpen your pencil way more often than necessary? Did you drop your pencils, so you had to did you maybe you know, throw your pencils. So you could have an excuse to get up and give your friend a note or whatever, right? Like all the things that we do, to procrastinate or, you know, delay having to do something we don't want to do. So homeschooling removes the peer pressure and removes the authority of the school. So at school, if you don't do it, there's a clear consequence, you're gonna miss recess, there's a call home, the other kids are gonna maybe, you know, be mean about it, because you're the only one not doing it. Right. So there's an enormous amount of pressure from the environment you're in to do the assignment, which is why parents just don't understand. Although, you know, sometimes there isn't resistance when you homeschool. I would love to meet those two. I'm so jealous of those families. When I see a Mom, tell a child, go get your shoes on, we're gonna leave and they say Okay, mommy, and they go get their shoes. It's like, wow, that is so not my life at all. Oh, my child is not wired like that. That is not my day to day existence. But it seems so lovely. I applaud you. So maybe you know, a family. Not every family has resistance. Not every family struggles homeschooling. You know, sometimes the curriculum is brilliant, and it works well. But when a child resists, they're actually establishing a boundary. And so it's a brilliant thing. It's a really important thing because we all need to establish boundaries, and we need our boundaries to be respected. But it's hard as parents to respect those boundaries because you say, Okay, it's time for math and the child says No, I don't want to do math. It's like, what do you mean, you have to do math? No, I'm not doing math, right. So it can very quickly go very, very badly. And I think there's so much stress and anxiety on the part of the parent when you're homeschooling because you're nervous, if it's going to go well, anyway, and you've made the decision to do it. But you don't feel very confident in your ability to do it. So then when your child resists, it seems like validation that you're not good at this, that you made the wrong decision that your child isn't going to learn as much won't be set up for the future. All of those fears and anxieties that we have that unfortunately, society really reinforces and maybe such a society, maybe it's actually your parents. My father all of the time, like every month is like, oh, so is my kid's Roy, "Is really going to go to school? How's Roy going to be educated? Don't you think Roy needs an education?" We educate. We homeschool? It's an education. So, you know, what about socialization? What about rent? You know, I always had holiday time, I always on social media put up a drinking game, like bingo, like, take a drink every time someone says what about socialization?
Just keep drinking.
Yep, it can be coffee, it doesn't have to be alcohol, but like, just don't respond, just take a sip, you know, like, it's, so unfortunately, we don't always get endless support from the adults in our lives about our decision to homeschool. So, as soon as the child resists, it's like, oh, my gosh, the negative voices in our head are right, this was the wrong move. I can't do this. This is you know, my kid doesn't respect me as their teacher, they're challenging my authority and all these things. So the thing about resistance, the first thing to keep in mind is it's just, it's not about you, it's them. Like, it really has nothing to do with you, as the parent, absolutely nothing. Your child resisting out loud, is actually a reflection of how safe they feel to be with you and how much they trust you that they can be who they really are. Versus at school doesn't matter if you're tired, hungry, sick, suck it up and do the assignment. Nobody cares, right at home, they know that you care, you're their parent, you love them more than anyone in the world. So they can say no, I don't want to do this. So then it really becomes how do you respond? How do you figure out what's wrong? What's the underlying cause of the resistance? And where it normally leads to? Again, where I come in is helping to figure out what are these causes, because kids are very different. And what's causing it is not the same for every child. But if it's consistent, then it usually means that they need a totally different kind of learning experience than what is on offer right now. So kids can't do it, like they learn when they can. And if they can't do something, they can't do it. So it doesn't matter how much you motivate, oh, just get it done. And then you can have extra screen time. I can't, I can't, okay, well, if you don't do it, then you don't get any screen time. So all that does is push your child into a corner, where they then tend to come out swinging, then they have to fight to get you to understand their boundary and respect their boundary. And so there has to be a totally different approach. But that approach has to include being open to the idea that different types of activities, a different type of learning is required in this situation, which I know can be overwhelming and scary to parents because they feel like, well, the experts make the curriculum. I'm not an expert, I'm not a teacher, all I can do is buy someone else's curriculum and use it with my child.
And so where I come in is I actually fill in that gap and empower parents so that for the next 10 or whatever years, they can actually figure out by a curriculum, but know how to modify it supplement change their own whatever, because their unique child needs something that a one size fits all curriculum can't provide an I write curriculum, I know it's impossible to write a curriculum is going to work for every single child using it. Yeah, that's literally impossible. So there just has to be some openness to making some changes, and really figuring out what your child's needs. And it's not rocket science, and it's not major. And what always helps, though, I will give some free advice right now what always helps is when your child resists to validate it, to accept it and validate it. So if they say I can't do this, it's too hard. We always say, No, it is it. Yes, you can do it. But if you say, Oh, it's too hard. Can you show me what's too hard about it? Immediately, your child can calm down. The second you say, it's not too hard for you. You can do it. They're becoming stressed. They can't stay calm. and they are gonna get into a point where they can't self regulate anymore because it's too hard for them, they can't do it. So if we accept it, even if you think it's nonsense, right? It's always like on the doctor shows, they always say you treat the pain, right? So even if you think your child is just trying to get out of doing math, because whatever, and you know, you wish that they weren't like that. The second you say you agree with them? Oh, it's too hard. Oh, this is boring. Oh, then they can calm down, because you really want them to stay regulated and calm so that you can have a conversation and figure out how math is gonna happen.
Danielle Bettmann 40:37
right. Because like, of course, they need to do some math. But what it looks like, you know, there's more than one way to learn something, there's more than one way to do something. So figuring out what's gonna work for your child, you want them involved, right? So just validate a pain, you know, think whatever you want to think think it's nonsense. Think they're manipulating think they're lying, Think whatever you want to think. But validate what comes what your face shows and what your words are, is, that's too hard. Okay, I hear you, that's too hard. So can you show me and then you start to ask questions to kind of dig in there and figure, try to get a sense of what's going on. And the other thing I'll add is a ton of the underlying stuff with behavior with kids, is that they might be hungry, because they have growth spurts all the time, and you don't know. So if your child is starting to get like a little whiny or a little like, you know, feed them too, okay, let's put this aside for a minute, let's have a snack. Let's have a smoothie or something, get some calories, because that's energy, and then try again, you know, so I feel like, we underestimate how hungry kids get because at school, we, it wasn't about our needs at all right? It was, do what everyone else is doing. That's the point of school and be conditioned to, you know, do this, when the bell rings do this, when the teacher says, you know, there's conditioning that happens. But homeschooling is the opposite. It's all about your needs, your interests, who you are as an individual. So it kind of their sensory problems when parents are like, Oh, I'm going to do school at home, because the kid can't react in the same way, because it's a totally different setting. So you can eat whenever you can drink whenever you can take a break whenever you can, you know, there's no rules, you can be totally flexible. And as long as it's fun, it should be fun. If it's not fun for you, it's not fun for them. And if it's not fun for you, why are you doing it, if you're doing it, because you don't have a choice, then call me because we have to make it fun for you. I guess be fun for both of you. Right? Like this is your life, this is how you're spending your day is one, our kids, we don't want to be fighting with our kids for them to do two minutes of math. So that's the whole point like this is homeschooling creates such an awesome, amazing experience. For learning to happen. We beyond what can happen in a classroom with you know, 2530 other kids there. So if it doesn't feel like that, okay, let's talk like that, it should feel like that. And it can feel like that. It just, you might just not know how to do that yet. So then you you know, learn how to do it. And then you get to have that. So, but that's the general rule, if you're struggling, they're struggling, if you're not happy, they're not happy. If you're clearly stressed about their learning, they're seeing that and then they're getting stressed, and under confident about their learning, too. So these are all things that get turned around. I mean, you you know Danielle, as right, these are all things that we work on. It's what are you thinking about it? What are you? How are you prepared for homeschooling? How do you set yourself up for success so that you can set your child up for success? What does that mean? It's so different for each child for each parent? Yes, but you're the best one to figure that out. Because you know, yourself and you know your child better than anyone. So I don't think it means give up on homeschooling, I think it means that you just have to get, you know, a little bit of learning happening on your part, to make sure that it's all set up for success. So that's my passion. That's what I love about it.
Danielle Bettmann 44:17
Yeah, no, I 100% back you up. And you would say some of the same messages that come up with my clients all the time is that validation piece and like that collaborative problem solving piece, and the it's so much more about us than it is them. They're all so interconnected. And it's all about like the stories in our head and the way we're interpreting their behavior and the expectations of ourselves in them. And this is not easy stuff. This is not something that you should have known by now. This is not like, you know, yeah, like you said, it's not rocket science. It's simple things that you just haven't learned yet. And when you do, it unlocks a whole A new world of potential with your relationship with your child to take the pressure off, take the pressure off, you take the pressure off them, and be able to just see more future more freedom in that future, especially if you're homeschooling. And I'm sure that that's so hope giving and energizing for you. And when you see those light bulbs go off, and you see those, you know, outcomes happen for your clients. I mean, that's why we dowhat we do. Right?
Exactly. And then there are definitely, you know, the parents who the second child is so different. And then they come to me and say, I know parenting, I've done this, and none of it for the second, you know, and even if you have two kids who are neurodiverse, they're so different neurodiversity is, each individual, there's no one no two people are the same. And diverse or not no two people are the same. Nobody processes things exactly the same or has the same personality. So that sends parents for such a loop when the rules just don't have everything they know about schooling or homeschooling. And parenting just no longer applies to this one child in their house. And it's like, oh, no, what am I do?
Danielle Bettmann 46:11
Throw it out the window. Yeah.
So I really it's like, parenting is such a trip, really have to be, oh, just flexible and open minded that really like this isn't me, it's them. And it's so hard. I think we just take things as such a challenge to, you know, it's an affront, it's a challenge to who we are. But I was, you know, I was teaching for a million years before I had my own kid. So I had no dignity left, I had no shot. You know, there's nothing like being in classrooms full of kids from, you know, young to adolescence, even college and graduate school level, right? Like, they're kind of all the same as preschool kids. But you know, whatever, I had chalk, I had the chalk line across my foot, you know, whatever, I don't care, you know, my kid would have to, I'm not saying my kid can't hurt my feelings, right? Because when they say they hit you? Yep. Oh, yes, I can look at what is happening with my child. And I can see the development, I can see the hormone, you know, I can see now my kid, you know, once they turn 10, the hormones start going. And it's really a shock to a lot of parents, because the personality changes a lot. I mean, as each kid is different, how they deal with it. But you know, I had a child who really their personality changed a lot once they hit 10. And you know, just the rudeness, and just, Oh, you don't love the rudeness. You can't love that love your child, but you don't love the rudeness. And so the rudeness coupled with the insults, the whatever, and to be able to watch that. And say, seems like you're dealing with a lot of really big stuff right now. Would you like a hug? And then you know, for your child? Yes. Yes, Mom, thank you, and then a hug, and then they just cry. Like, I don't know why I'm so angry. I don't feel I I'm not angry at anything. I just feel angry. I know. It's the hormones. Yeah, do you need another hug. So I have endless hugs for you, I'm not gonna get mad at you. Because your hormones are starting to go a little, you know, go all over the place. And that's scary for you. And, you know, new and scary and you don't know why or what to do, I'm not gonna yell at you, because you're being rude. We do have a Rude Jar that, you know, everybody has to put money in. And when we get enough, we'll go out, we'll go out for a meal or...
Danielle Bettmann 48:36
I love that.
... ice skating or, you know, we'll go do something, because I really can't stand the rudeness. I really don't love it. But I'm not going to, you know, punish and yell and get upset over that. So it is a really tough thing to see this little person, not as a reflection of you or a reflection of your parenting but as their own person dealing with a whole bunch of stuff. And if you can, like see that and listen, even when you're tired and stressed, you don't want to deal with it. You can still be you know, kind and loving and kind of gracious about it. And if you're not, you can apologize, right? That's the rule. We all make mistakes, we all get tired. We all get impatient, all of us. There's no patience in any generation of my family, I am trying to be picky to search for patience So when you're impatient, and you get it wrong, you get to apologize and you get to try again and not make that mistake, hopefully and try again the next day. And they have to apologize to and they have to learn that some things are not okay. And they can apologize and then they can get a do over and a second chance and all that so I think that's really the hardest, intense part of it all, but it's also the really beautiful part of parenting and it's hard to see the beauty in it in those moments. But if you really don't see your child as an extension of yourself For like a, you know, a judgment, a report card of yourself. Yeah. And your ability? Yeah, if you see them as their own human being, then you can see, okay, healthy, happy people don't behave like this. So if my kid is being really angry and really rude or just, you know, going into crisis having a meltdown or an explosion, they're in crisis, they need help, how do I help them? Instead of, okay, this behavior is unacceptable, now, I'm punishing you. Because your behavior needs to be different. You know, like, my great grandmother used to say that children are like animals that have to be trained. And they're really not like, they're really, really actually human beings, their intellectual, emotional beings from the time they're born. And so if we see them that way, which is so counter to, you know, probably how we were raised, how I was raised, maybe how you were raised, you know, that idea, like children need to be trained need to be told what to do. It's our job to teach them how to exist, rather than okay, we're all at the table. Who are you? What do you think? What do you like? What do you want? Let's collaborate on it. So it's very, very different. But when you do that, it's a lot more pleasant. Parenting and homeschooling becomes a lot easier for you. I think the rule is, the kid has to do more work during homeschooling than the parent. So when the parents doing all the work, and the kid is sitting there, saying, No, I'm not gonna do that, or I don't want to and then the parents doing most of the work that something is right, you have to press pause. If there's too much resistance, if there's you know, too many meltdowns, tears, all that sort of stuff. If you're doing more of the work than your child is you have to press pause, and you have to make changes. You can't just keep going in the same way. So, but there's a million solutions. Yeah, there's always a solution to every problem. It can always it will always get better. You can always make it better. Always, always, always, but maybe not on your own. You might need to get help to figure that out.
Danielle Bettmann 52:00
Yeah. And that's okay. That's actually like, a good thing, usually, because even more good comes from it than you think. And there's a reason why we can't ask for help, especially for our kids, because we're their advocates. That's why we're here. So well said, and go ahead and just share how listeners can connect with you where you're at on the internet, and you know, what you have for offers available to work with you.
Sure, so MLC coaching.com is my website. And then Moradian.Afsaneh is my instagram handle, and MLC homeschool coaching on Facebook. And like I said, you can send me a private message, and I will absolutely respond. So I'm very, very easy to get a hold up. And you can see on the website, I have some digital products that are less expensive and one about dealing with resistance, the Anti resistance homeschooling roadmap. Another a masterclass on Homeschooling with your child's triggers, and then a third on How to Streamline planning and make it more hands on and easier for you. Especially if you're homeschooling more than one child more than one level more than one age, you know how to just streamline the process and make it easy and more fun for you and for your kids. So those are digital products. And then I have one to one coaching, where we really get to go into the heart of it. Your expectations, you know, you as a student, what your ideas are about your child, and how they learn and what they should learn and then who your child is, and how do we use all that information to really create the best learning experience for them, so that they're thriving, and you're having fun, and everything gets so much calmer. We really want calm and peace in our days. Yes, that is absolutely possible. With a neurodiverse. With a high needs kid, it's absolutely possible, I promise, it may look different. And calm might mean something different. But you can achieve more calm, more collaboration. And you know, your kids can absolutely love learning. So that's what I do as a coach.
Danielle Bettmann 54:08
Yes, I'm so good. So needed. And I love that there's kind of a spectrum of options there. So you can depending on where you're at and what you're struggling with, find what you're looking for there in your kind of library of resources. And it's so similar to, you know, one on one parenting coaching, one on one, sleep coaching, homeschool coaching, like they're all so interconnected, we're teaching a lot of the same tools when it comes to communication, and you know, mindset and just the practical things to give you the capacity to do the things you want to do as a parent really well and help you feel a lot more confident about by holding your hand and giving you that support that you deserve. Because you're doing something really really hard and I feel like everybody deserves that as a parent. So love that so much and I will share all those resources in the show notes. So I wrap up every episode with the same question I asked every guest I have on which is how are you the mom that Your kids need?
I can use humor very well, when things can go into conflict and power struggle, I choose humor. And that is what my child needs. My child does not need a heavy hand, my kid needs to laugh and be redirected at pretty much any moment. And so going for the silly, yes, and the joke is definitely what my kid needs. And the result is that my child is actually really funny. So my kid does that for me to love that. And that really helps. Yeah, so you know, we had a flight canceled recently and had to sleep wait to spend the night in the airport. No. And my kid grabs, you know, the Starbucks bag and wrote be positive. It's not just a blood type, oh, my gosh. You know, we could laugh about that at two o'clock in the morning. Hi, I'm a big proponent for humor, I think it makes every situation way better when you can just, you know, laugh at the situation, or just distract yourself and think about something funny and share a laugh about something else. So that's me as a parent,
Danielle Bettmann 56:15
oh, my gosh, I love that so much, because I can see it. And that is something that I do at my house. And it's one of the tools that I teach in my program as well. And we're always bringing to our live calls, like how were you silly this week. And there's one mom in particular that every week, she's like, Okay, I have this new example. And it was like, you know, her daughter's saying, Oh, this is the worst day of my life. And she's just like, Oh, you think this is bad? What would happen if you just sailed into like, some ridiculous scenario that will never happen? And then they talk about, you know, the rationality of what they would do in that situation. And it just diffuses everything, like, it's just magic. So brilliant, and makes you feel so good afterwards to like you just like I'm nailing this.
Well, I would like to stay regulated and calm and be laughing. I'd rather have you know, laugh lines than frown lines, since I'm gonna have lines no matter what. I would rather be laughing
Danielle Bettmann 57:13
Yes, we're gonna get lines, one or the other. Choose which ones you want. That's so funny. I love that. Oh, absolutely. Thank you so much for your time you really like threw a whole bunch of information at us, perspective and insight, as well as your story, which I feel like, is the most powerful piece of just being able to know that you're not alone, what you're going through is normal. And there's help and it's okay. You are still the parent that knows your kids the best. And you can just be a student of them, learn who they are, as they tell you, and you can figure it out together what's going to be the best case scenario to help them thrive. And you know, we're here to help. So, thank you so much again, for your time and for your resources and so grateful to have connected with you.
Thank you for having me.
Danielle Bettmann 58:10
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms note they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!