Does it sometimes seem like your children only hear a small portion of what you say?
Turns out that's probably true. And in this episode, you'll learn the simple secret to fixing that.
And with better communication, you'll gain a better understanding of your child's world. Once that happens problems get solved. Even long standing problems that seem impossible to solve. In this podcast Kathy Taberner and Kirsten Siggins discuss the power of curiosity and how becoming curious completely changes communication. Improving relationships, productivity, innovation, and much more.
Kathy and Kirsten's Website
Special offer on The Institute of Curiosity Parenting class (for podcast listeners)
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Where to Find The Podcast
Kirsten Siggins: For me as a parent. I had to really learn to understand how my kids learn. I've got two kids who learn very differently and I, you know, for one of them she just, she needs her brain works differently. She processes information differently so she needs help in a very different way. I had to get out of my own way.
Liz Weaver: Hi, this is Liz Weaver and you are listening to the learning success podcast and information packed podcast with the latest news, information and tips to help you overcome a learning difficulty for anyone suffering from a reading difficulty writing difficulty, a math difficulty, a focus problem, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia or ADHD. This is the place for you, the learning success podcast. It's brought to you by learning success system.com
Phil Weaver: Hello and welcome to the learning success podcast. I'm Phil Weaver and today we have Kathy Taberner and Kirsten Siggins. Kathy and Kristen are a mother and daughter communication skills team, which is practically unheard of in the communication world and that fact may speak to their success and what they do. They have it. They have made it their business to get to the heart of the matter. Effective communication skills, training for work and home at home. Conversations impact family relationships and child development. So they have identified it and created specific communication skills to keep you calm and connected in every conversation, even in emotional inch and a challenging situations. Together they co-authored the power of curiosity, how to have real conversations that create collaboration, innovation and understanding and co-founder the Institute of curiosity where they offer training, ineffective communication skills for work at home. And today we are going to speak about how a parent's emotions affect their children and how you can use communication skills to develop a better relationship with your child and get what you want as well as your child getting what they truly want. So a, welcome Kathy and Kirsten. Hello. Thanks for having us. So let's first just generalize. I know that curiosity is a big foundation of everything you do. So let's just get can we get a general overview of why curiosity is so important. We'll dive deeper in later, but just kind of a general,
Kirsten Siggins: Okay, go ahead, mom.
Kathy Taberner: Okay. for us curiosity, it, it came out of a belief that we tend to be focused on ourselves and that really what we need to be doing is if we're gonna really see, hear and understand others, we need to understand them. And the best way to do that is to be open and non judging towards them. So, and that's what speaks to us about curiosity where we believe here all is being present listening in an open non-judging to really understand others and asking those great open questions that help us dig deeper in a better understanding.
Phil Weaver: I see. Okay. Very good. And so in general, it's, it's a strong it strongly affects all of our conversations and communication.
Kathy Taberner: Absolutely. It's I just, it gives us such a, a much deeper connection and it helps us to really understand where others are at. I think for a long time in our society, we had a belief that we all have the same perspective on whatever my perspective was. Both of you have the same perspective. And the reality is we each have our own unique perspectives. And if we don't begin to understand those of others, we're not going to be able to connect with them in a way that will support them. And with kids, for instance, if we don't really begin to understand our kids, their time in life is very different than ours was when we were the same age. And so we can no longer assume that, well I did at 10 or what person did at 10 is what 10 year olds are doing now. Don't begin to become curious with them and open and understand them. How can we keep them safe? Right.
Phil Weaver: That what you said there, that's very interesting insight that we kind of assume if you clarify this is that we kind of assumed that what is in our mind is also in other's minds. Yeah. Wow. That's that's insightful. Very much so. Okay. all so, so the opposite, that opposite of curiosity would, would that then, or what stifles communication would then be reactivity is that correct? And trying to just push out what we're, what we want rather than bringing, trying to figure out what they want.
Kathy Taberner: You want me to answer that, Chris?
Kirsten Siggins: Well, I was going to say, I think one of the biggest things that I've learned in the work that we'd done for me, we do workshops and we ask people in the room, how many of you believe you're curious? Almost the entire room will put their hand up, right? We read books, we want to know what's in a box where we read, you know, things online. We have passions, but we've learned is where people are not curious is in their conferences. And a lot of the reasons is that we just don't, we're not taught that way and we don't think to be curious in conversation because for a lot of us we've just taught to you, right? Or to get our opinion across or you know, whatever it may be and how we choose to communicate. So when we get stuck face to face, we tell and we judge and we blame and we shame and we get stuck in that.
Kirsten Siggins: I'm right. You're wrong. Headspace all without even realizing it. And all of that leads to conflict. And that's when we react. Right? And a lot of those times, those are those conversations where we're shooting from the hip or we need to gossiping with a girlfriend or we're so overwhelmed because you know, as parents, there's so many things that are going on in our day and we're overwhelmed and we're at work and we're working hard, and then we get home and we just nothing left, right? We're just flat out, nothing left. And then we have to deal with whatever's happening at home. And so we just don't have the space. We're not in a Headspace to be curious. And so we're reacting to everything. Not necessarily because we're not liking what we're hearing or you know, it may not be anything that our kids doing. It's just we're not in that head space.
Kirsten Siggins: We're not in that bandwidth. We're in survival mode essentially. And a lot of our conversations come from that place of reaction. Whereas when you can switch to that place of curiosity, where you're open and you're non judging and you are able to turn those little inner voices down in our head so that we can be present and listen to understand what's going on and take the focus off of self so that we can understand other, it really changes how we show up in the world. It changes how we have our conversations with our kids and how it changes, how we have our conversations with those around us. And it really allows us to build those relationships that we want and crave. And so that little bit of curiosity, just wanting to see, hear and understand somebody, my daughter in the background, I'm just wanting to be curious to better understand somebody is so important because we all want to be seen, heard and understood. But the challenges, we're not taught how, right? We just, we know how to react, but we don't know how to do it any other way. And that's what becomes a paralyzing for people.
Phil Weaver: I see. So this it sounds a lot like mindfulness. Yes. Yes. So how does you say that 90% of conversations actually miss a Mark? Does that saying that we are kind of walking around really 90% in our own world and not, and if we're not communicating 90% of the time that we're just completely inside of our ourselves and not it. Can you speak to that?
Kirsten Siggins: Well, I mean, this is a statistic that came out of Stanford and I use it in my TEDx talk. And I think when I first heard it, it was Judith Glaser who was, who said it in a webinar that I was listening to you. And she was doing lots of research around conversational intelligence. And it was a stat, a statistic that she used. And then I, since I looked it up and it, Stanford said nine out of 10 conversations missed the Mark. Now I couldn't read the title, know what the context of it was. But from my perspective, how I see it based on the work that we've done in one, I'd love for you to give your perspective after, but for, I agree with you, people are not present right? We're not present. We think that everybody's thinking the same thing. We think common sense is common sense.
Kirsten Siggins: You know, and families we think are about families have the same values. But the truth is we all have our own unique perspective. We all have our own unique experiences. Even the three of us will walk away today with very different perspectives and very different experiences. Even though we've had a shared experience. And so we can't do that. We are all experiencing or knowing the same thing. And I, that's conversations become a miss when we make those assumptions or we're not open to listening to different perspectives. It doesn't mean we have to like them or agree with them. It just means that we're open to listening to learn them. And I feel like we live in a time right now that's so polarized that we're not taking that time to understand people. We'd rather be right or we'd rather be positional or we think you know, it's very right or wrong and we're not taking, or we believe that, you know, a perspective is, is better than another perspective. It's taking that time to really understand what's going on for other people. I want, what about your mom for the 90% missed the Mark?
Kirsten Siggins: Yeah, I agree with you. I, and I think that we, we live in our own perspective. We believe that what I have seen, what I think what I speak is right. It's my truth. Therefore it is the truth. And it's not, you know, everyone has their own truth. Everyone has their own perspective. I mean, the classic cases, if you ask 10 people after motor vehicle accident, what happened? You'll get 10 different stories because the truth is different for each one of us. And so when I'm stuck in my own, you know, this is the way it is and Kirsten sees it differently unless we began to understand each other. It's, we're, we're going to be at cross purposes and that causes a disconnection and that's 90% of the times we just don't understand what the other person's thinking.
Phil Weaver: Right, right. I know you mentioned the motorcycle accident thing. We are mind and I mean it's shown that our mind, it's very obvious that our mind fills in a lot of things that we don't understand what we see, especially the one thing when things have are happening quickly. So that would be I think a fair assumption to say we do the same auditorily as well. Right. And that's what you're saying. So go ahead.
Kirsten Siggins: No, I was just going to say, I mean we talk a lot about that around conflict where the little voice in our head, the stories we tell ourselves play such a huge role than the assumptions we make or what we think is our perceived reality. Just as you're saying. So we all have that little voice in our head and it can be your greatest cheerleader or it can be our worst critic. And often, you know, those stories we tell us are, are made up. They're not based on anything. That's true. And so, and again, what conflictual situation, something that you know, is emotional. The feelings we feel are very real. We can be stressed out or we can have fear or we can have frustration and whatever it may be are the stories we're telling ourselves about. Those feelings are made up. And so it's getting curious to better understand where their stories are coming from so that you can change the stories and you change the feeling. And it's very much the same thing. Like we just listened to that little voice in our head until we convince ourselves it's true without ever challenging those stories to dig deeper, to understand what's underneath it. And a lot of conflict is because of that.
Phil Weaver: Right. That's we're filtering through the stories. Yeah. You mentioned that we're in fight or flight a lot of the time and I agree with you that most people walk around in that parasympathetic sympathetic state. And of course that takes us out of our prefrontal cortex and into our reactive mind where we just do what, what has already been implanted into that subconscious. So so which is why I mentioned that the, the mindfulness. So it, it, it seems to me that what you're saying is the first step is being present or being not nonreactive and just simply there and that, that has a lot to do with what your body is doing. Correct.
Kirsten Siggins: And that's it also includes the same being focused being open. Stop multitasking, paraphrasing, you know, to make sure that what you've heard someone would say is what they're saying. So saying it back in your own words, all of these thing is stopping the gremlins in our head, the storytellers, because all of those things interfere with us being in the moment. You know, if you're in this conversation, if I was thinking, okay, when am I gonna make for dinner tonight? I've got to go, Oh, I'm doing do that, dah, dah, dah. I'm not really listening to you or to Kirsten or whatever. And then I'm not really understanding what you're saying and I'm going to miss that. And that's into that 90%. So, and it's not respectful either. I mean, I can tell when someone's listening to me and when they're not. And I think Kirsten probably, you know, you would agree with me on that. And there are lots of conversations. I mean, I think I can say anything right now because this person's not paying attention. The reason. And I think parents and kids get into that situation a lot.
Phil Weaver: I see. So it sounds like that. So there's a definite skillset that which would be a cognitive skillset. And in addition, because the first thing you said was focus, but if we're in that reactive lot, fight or flight, that's not, that's never gonna happen. No. Correct. And then on top of that, you're saying there's an additional skill set to build.
Kirsten Siggins: Well, and also if we're the fundamentals of being open and non-judging, if we're not in that place, we will continue to judge in our head, whatever the person's saying, no, that's not right. How could they say that? You know? And that's not helping us to understand them.
Phil Weaver: Right? Right. Should we judge
Kirsten Siggins: We're not taught. It's important to remember. I think we all have to give ourselves a little bit of a break because we're not taught to be present. I worked with LA, I used to live in LA and through LA children's hospital. And I would ask them every time like what does it feel like to be present? And none of them could tell me what that feeling felt like. And they, you know, if we don't know how it, what it feels like to be present, we can never access that feeling. So a lot of the
Kirsten Siggins: Times we're told to do something, we're told to listen, we're told to calm down, we're told to be in the moment, but we're never taught what that's actually like. And if we don't know what that feels like, then we can't access it. So it's, it's, it's hard because these basic skills like being present and active listening and choosing how you process information, there's skills that we are expected to know, but we're never taught. And there's an assumption that we all do them well. And you're right, it is a skill set that we do have to learn. We just have to sort of peel back the onion and go back to, okay, when am I being present in my life? When is my mind full? Or when am I in mind full, right? Am I anxious on the past and worried about the future, then I know I'm not living in the present. And that's where we miss everything. So it's just sort of taking that deep breath and slowing down when you're having conversations with people and giving them that time so that we can be, and we stopped doing because we're so focused on doing nowadays. It's silly.
Phil Weaver: Yes, very much. Yeah, I mean I've got 25 years of teaching Kung Fu. So the, the concept of, of just being and presence and all that, this is a, this is resonating quite well. I may translate it into a different way, but it's, it's certainly the same talk there. Wait, I just last year, I, there we are. Okay. so let's talk about how these two things parallel each other in the work environment. And in the end a bit, maybe not too they communication and all of this parallels in the work environment and in the home environment with kids. So how does it X job? How does it affect you with your kids? Are they the same?
Kirsten Siggins: Go for it. You start. I think at home it is, it's the same thing but it impacts slightly differently. So the story that I like to tell around the home situation is that when I was 10 years old or 12 years old, I did things a certain way. When Kirsten was the same age or life wasn't that much different than mine. And I could understand what she, what she was doing, what her thoughts were to some extent. And I think in the past that's been the way, but kids now at 12, their lives are totally different because of the internet, because of social media, because there's so many things that have changed in their lives compared to what they were like for Kristen's generation who are now the parents. And so if parents don't become curious and they don't ask their kids what's going on for them.
Kirsten Siggins: And they assume that things are the same as they were when they were that age. They're not going to be able to keep their kids safe. They're not going to understand what's going on, how they can support them so that they're, they try that they have the best chance of keeping their kids safe. I mean their kids may still be safe, but they may not be because they're, their parents aren't understanding where things are at and unless we start asking our kids and better understanding their experience of, of, of the internet of this, of social media. I mean there are lots of lean things that go on a social media. Yeah. They were similar for 12 year olds in, you know, in past generations. But now it's amplified because of social media and so kids have to struggle with a lot more and if their parents aren't tuned in and finding out what's going on for them and how they can help, those kids are going to struggle just that much more.
Phil Weaver: You say the parent parents don't even understand their, their world.
Kirsten Siggins: No. And so if they don't start sharing and are asking those, those questions, that not in a judging way, I mean, kids are so good at understanding when they're being judged and, and we, it's not about judging, you've got to be open and non-judging just really wanting to find out what's going on for them so that you can have that better connection and can support them in a way that's going to help them be safe in the workplace. So lots of things, I mean, it leaders who are open and curious are more supportive of their employees. They help them to reach their potential nurture them to, or help them to create great ideas because they, they're, they support them in taking the risk they're okay with, with employees making mistakes because they know that creates learning and enrollments it's a fundamental in the workplace and even things like in transfer of work, you know, work's being delegated.
Kirsten Siggins: If both people don't understand what what's expected in that work, then there's a good chance it's gonna come back and not be what the person expected in the first place. So a leader is asking someone to do a project unless they're curious. Both people are open and curious as to what the expectations are, what are my next steps, you know, what, what do you expect? What will the end product look like? What are you wanting? All of those things, the leader may get back a product that they don't understand that doesn't work for them. And so there's a need for that clarity, that being open to better understand each other in all aspects of the workplace and at home and feedback with employees. It just comes into so many different areas.
Phil Weaver: Right. So the just, just plain communication is going to drastically speed up innovation and just a matter of getting things done in the workplace.
Kirsten Siggins: I think it's communication that is open and non-judging as in curious though, I mean, you can, you can have that, you know, there's still that opportunity for 90% of the time being missed if you're closed and judging.
Phil Weaver: I see, I see. Okay. Yeah. Back to your, the kids world thing. I, that's kinda got me spinning a little bit on that concept that we don't understand what their world, it seems to me that what you're saying is it takes a whole lot of curiosity to even start to comprehend where, how they, how their world is.
Kirsten Siggins: Yeah. And it's, it's so much more complex and unless parents really dig in and take the time to understand what's going on for them, it'd be really hard to support them. Sure. Know what's going on. And, and his through a lot more blind spots than there were. I mean, there were one, there have always been ways for kids to stumble. I just think that the, there's been a huge increase in the opportunity for stumbling because of social media, because kids are in some ways more independent, but in lots of ways, less independent because they're being driven from a to B, you know, all of the, a lot of them they're not having the same opportunity to be independent and things like walking to school or the ways that, I mean, I can remember taking the bus when I was nine till the library got on the bus and got off at the other end and they came back. And so I was learning skills then, but now kids are dropped off. It's a different Mo in most communities anyway, so they don't have the opportunities. And then there was always that phone where they can connect so they don't have the opportunity to think things through the way their parents said. So that adds to the complexity of what they have to deal with.
Phil Weaver: So these are skills of being independent and,
Kirsten Siggins: Yeah, and that's my perspective anyway. And I think unless parents can, can better understand what's happening for their kids and what they're experience of the world is, they're not going to be able to support them in the way that they want to. They can't make the assumption that I can keep you safe by doing things the way my parents did with me. Cause that doesn't, you know, those assumptions have to be tested.
Phil Weaver: Okay. So what are the things that parents can do to, to build those same skills in and other ways that are not, that are lacking, that are not,
Kirsten Siggins: You mean build the skills in with their kids or build their own skills?
Phil Weaver: Well, no, the, the kids for example, well you mentioned that, you know, they don't ride the bus on their own. They're not there. They're completely I, I dunno if coddled is the right word, but, but they're, they're not learning to do things independently because of this environment.
Kirsten Siggins: It, that, and, and it's just, is that, and it's also the whole notion of, so social media, all the things that make society so much more complex today. And I think parents begin with baby steps, asking open questions with their kids, seeing things. But judging, you know, I have to emphasize that more and more because kids are great up about
Kirsten Siggins: Being judged and though judged enough at school and everywhere else and they don't want to be judged by their parents and want to feel that they're supported, that they're, they've got some security there.
Phil Weaver: Well they, it would seem that they would pretty quickly recognize that parents don't understand their why their world and if they're being judged and know that they're not understood that that's going to shut them down pretty quickly.
Kirsten Siggins: Exactly. So for parents and to begin with easy things, just asking questions about open questions around well they, I mean, they can start even with what's going on at school or what's going on in your day to day and how many being there for their, their kids, not having their kids fit into what they want, but really being there to understand their kids and to just be there so their kids can have shared the space with them is instead of being told what to do all the time and maybe who they want to be. Yeah. Yeah. Her son. Have you got anything to add to that? No, I think what I was just gonna the only thing I would add is that I think parents today, there's so much fear and uncertainty
Kirsten Siggins: As parents raise in the kids because it is simple. And so I think that parents, you know, are, we're all doing the best that we can with what we have and how we know how to do it. And, and, and unfortunately, you know,
Kirsten Siggins: These are, again, these are skills that we're not taught. You have babies and men, there's some magical unicorn that's blessing with parenting skills. Right, right,
Phil Weaver: Right. Huh. So don't judge parents his way.
Kirsten Siggins: No, not at all. We're all doing the best that we can. And as a parent, what I've learned and then, you know, talking with parents and working with parents is that they're, there is so much fear because it is so different than how we were raised and there isn't a person on this planet if you see what the world is going to look like in 10 years or what our kids are going to need to succeed in 10, you know? So I think from that perspective we're all just trying to figure out like how do we keep our kids and from to give them the most, have the most successful life. What we've recognized, I think Kathy and I in the work that we've done is that if you can take it down to those bare basic, you know, conversation skills where you are present with your kids, where you're listening to understand them.
Kirsten Siggins: Now again, this doesn't mean you have to like what you hear. There are plenty of times that my kids tell me things that I do not like what I'm hearing. I do not like how they're going to solve a problem. I totally don't agree with their approach, but it's giving them that space to say, okay, this is how you're going to do it. Now. I better understand you. You got to try this on your own and if it doesn't work, we'll circle back and we'll have a different conversation. And it's just seeing them autonomy over certain parts of their lives where parents can let that part go to say, okay, you know, I want to see you. I want to hear you, I want to understand you. It doesn't mean that I'm going to like what I hear, but at least, and you can have a conversation that you know you'll understand what's going on for them.
Kirsten Siggins: You can have a conversation around how to keep them safe. You can have a conversation around things that may be difficult for them, and then asking those open questions, who, what, where, when, and how. So that, how do you want to deal with this? You know, what's your plan to move forward so that they can start putting some action steps in place? I think that those conversations, a lot of times as parents, when we go back to the original conversation, you know, earlier in our conversation when we were saying they're reacting, I think as parents when we hear things that make us scared, where we think our kids are not going to be safe or we don't like the approach they take, we become reactive because that fear kicks in and we're just like, that's not a good idea and I don't want you to do that and you can't do that.
Kirsten Siggins: You can't, you know, you can't, you need whatever. And then the kids received that as judgment and then they feel blamed and they feel shamed and they shut down. And then they stop wanting to talk to their parents about things because nobody wants to feel blamed or shamed. And I say that also with the context that no parent ever wants to blame and shame their kids. Right? They're coming at it from place, wanting to keep them safe and protect them. And it just doesn't land in that same way. Just learning to have that presence and just sit back with them and listen to understand them. And ask yourself, you know, when I'm asking questions, who's needs am I meeting? Is it meeting my own needs to figure out what's going on in their life and PRI? Or is it meeting their needs to better understand them? And, and now, you know, just having those different conversations that I think is, it's, it's hard for parents to have.
Phil Weaver: Okay. So going, I'm sorry,
Kirsten Siggins: Say that you can, you can practice on say things when kids are in a good space. Yeah. Just explore. It doesn't, you don't have to wait until there's a crisis to start asking them some questions. So, you know, if you're just hanging out together for some reason, you can start just exploring things with them in a non-judging way and they'll become more and more comfortable and feel safe in that, in that kind of conversation.
Phil Weaver: Sure. Okay. So Kirsten was talking about when you're, you're there in the moment and you're not liking what they're saying. Okay. And, and you're, you're about to get reactive, right? So what is that moment look like when you're just there trying to listen? I mean, what's going on in your body? What's going on in your eyes? What's going on in your breathing? What, what's, what's just, I'm just, that's the starting point, right? What's that? What's that like Chris, Kirsten.
Kirsten Siggins: So for me, you know, I am, I am a total con. I'm a recovering control freak, right? You have kids, especially when they're younger. It was easy for me to be in control and I liked being controlled. It made my life easier as my kids got older. I have a twin and a teen and you can't control anything. And so for me, I think in those emotional moments, what I've learned is I can control the chaos around me, but I can always control how I show up to the chaos. So that's just being in the moment and breathing and just always remembering it. My cue is to be curious because what that allows you to do is it asks the open question. So it reminds me to breathe. It reminds me to listen. Do I put away my phone, I stop what I'm doing so I can give, my kids might call attention.
Kirsten Siggins: And then I just, I listen and when I hear things I don't like, I can feel it in my body, right? I feel my heart starting to be faster. I feel the hairs on my arms standing up on end and I want to go into fix it mode and I want to tell them what to do and, and I just, I breathe and then I asked him a question to better understand and it's always okay. So what did you mean by that? Or if I can't think of a question, it's tell me more. Or you know, how do you want to deal with this? A lot of the times when Kathy was talking as well about the paraphrasing. I remember this instance, my daughter when she was younger and she had this instance at school and it was like, this girl is, we're not being nice and they wouldn't let me play this game and you know, I didn't like it.
Kirsten Siggins: And then somebody pushed me to the ground and it was a friend of hers and so I immediately went in to fix it. I was like, they're your friends, and I'm sure they didn't mean it and everything's okay, you know, and she's getting angry or with me and I now hindsight, it's like, yeah, somebody pushed it to the ground and she wasn't happy and it wasn't a nice situation and now her mom is telling her that they're her friends and everything's going to be fine when really it was a frustrating experience for her. So when we listen now as a parent, I can paraphrase back and say, wow, it sounds like you had a hard day. Not nine times out of 10 will diffuse an entire situation. It's like, yeah, thank you. Somebody recognize I had a hard day, right? If there's more than, it's like, okay, so what do you want to do about it?
Kirsten Siggins: So it's getting to that pair, listening to paraphrase, checking your stories in your head. Like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I raised a kid like this. Is this really happening right now? Right. Cause those are the stories we tell ourselves. Calm that little voice and say, okay, how do you want to move forward? What do you want to do? How can I support you? What do you need from me? And that will just let you have a different kind of conversation with your kids. Sometimes you need to be more supportive than you have to have a much close, like a bigger container to hold them in where they need your help in ways where you have to tell them what to do. Sometimes you don't, you know, depending on the situation, we're not saying as parents we can't have opinions and that we're just throwing our kids to the worlds to raise themselves.
Kirsten Siggins: That's not what this is about. It's about allowing ourselves to see, hear, and fully understand our kids so that we can have those challenging conversations in a way that's more respectful because really we need conflict in our, in our lives, right? We need to understand the conflict that's going on for kids that helps us grow. It helps them grow, but you have to work through it rather than bumping up against it. And I think you live in a society now where we avoid it or we want to talk about it or we push it down or bulldoze over it. Right? You're fine. We don't really need to deal with this right now. Get your hockey stuff, let's go. Right. We just pretend like it doesn't exist and it, and that's not a healthy way of dealing with difficult or challenging times.
Phil Weaver: Sure. Right. It sounds like you have an entire skillset built into one word and that one word in your mind triggers that skillset. Okay.
Kirsten Siggins: Yes. And this has taken time for me. I mean, when Kathy and I started doing this a long time ago, we had to put these skills to the test. We are a mother daughter team. I love my mother more than anything in life. But if somebody had said we were going to be business partners like it's not, and then we wrote a book together and I think my mum would agree in the same way you know you, it really changes your relationship. We really had to put these skills to the test and practice them every single day and have really hard conversations because you know, you can live in a family and share family values, but we all define them differently. And I think that's important for parents as well. You know, are you have similar values but our definitions can be very different. So we come to the table thinking our families, you know, we're United in our families, so great. And then the moment that some little conflict comes up because our definition is different, it's hard to work through those conversations. So that's a long answer of saying East skills work, present, being present, choosing how you listen to process information, asking open, curious questions. It keeps you calm and conflict. We've been doing this for a long time and it totally has changed our relationship, I would say.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. What do you agree Kathy
Kirsten Siggins: I just finished our whole family. What are you saying? Yes, our entire family? Yeah, like 100% for the better girls. Science supports it in that when we are open collaborating with someone else, dopamine is released and that oxytocin, we feel good. So when we start this conflict, all the things that Kirsten was talking about it when she asked that question of her kids, then that dopamine starts to be released and she's feeling commerce. She's feeling better or sound crazy, but it really does work.
Phil Weaver: No, no, I, that makes perfect sense. I mean, dopamine just controls so much in our mind there. Kirsten was the way you were describing there about that moment when you're, you're listening and all that that has a place in martial arts we have a very similar concept. We call them, it's called mushim and it means no mind. And so it means not having all the stories, not trying to, you know, and this is obviously a conflict, but a fighting conflict situation. You, you can't be having the story. You can't be looking at what's my opponent going to do? You just have to be in that moment. No mind state. It's a very high level state. So what you're saying about this takes skillsets in this case takes a lot of time. I mean, I, I've been doing martial arts for 25 years and I cannot say that I can enter, enter mushim at will all of the time, you know? So yeah, it, that's quite quite an amazing thing.
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Phil Weaver: What is what is like one trick in the moment that you can, a parent can do when they feel those emotions coming at? What, how do they stop it?
Kirsten Siggins: I think for me the biggest thing that I always hear from parents that's the most effective. It's literally taking a breath because I think that we're so overwhelmed, it's, and we just don't take that time to breathe and it's just centering yourself and taking that breath and checking in with yourself before you say anything. Because what happens is I think what parents forget is that, you know, in those emotional moments, subconsciously repeat those habits and patterns that you know, our parents did when we were raised. Because we do what we know. And so how we react directly influences how our kids are going to be cotton. They're going to react and then how they're going to show up as leaders later in life and others. My big aha moment, what I would be working with grown, you know, really amazing talented people and leaders, professionals.
Kirsten Siggins: And then they would say, my buttons got pushed and I was in a meeting, you know, with all of my colleagues and I heard my mother's voice come out of my mouth. And it's interesting because we all do it, but we don't do anything about it, right? We just know that it happens. It's not effective, but we don't really do anything. And then we go home to our kids and we'd have the same reactions and then we get mad when our kids react the same ways that we do. Right. They just hold up that mirror and that pushes all their buttons. So if we can be calm in these moments, just, you know, taking that breath and reminding ourselves to ask a question and be curious. It's like any skill, it becomes easier and easier and easier. My kids now are now calmer in these moments because they have seen me do it.
Kirsten Siggins: So they now adopt those skills. I mean we had a really, my house was like really crazy for a long time and so it was having to sort of, you know, I tell my kids, you need to listen to me and I tell my kids you need to calm down. And then my daughter, I talked about this in my Ted talk at three, she was like, I don't even know what that means. I don't even know how to do it right? So it's, we have to teach these skills to ourselves and then we have to teach these fields to our kids. And the easiest way to teach them to our kids is by modeling that to them. But that means that as parents, we have to put that investment in an upfront where we say, okay, I got to learn how to be present. I need to learn how to actually listen, right? Actively listen, I need to learn, figure out what's going on in my head. So I can process that information in a way where I'm understanding what people are saying and then practice those open questions. It's going to help you in regular conversations. It's going to help you 1000% in conflict. You're going to have better relationships, you're going to be happier, you're gonna be healthier, you're going to be more grounded. It really is a life changing process, but it takes time to learn them.
Phil Weaver: Sure. So if you're really developing, taking the time to really develop any skills in yourself, your kids are going to get a lot of it simply by osmosis.
Kirsten Siggins: Yeah, because they do what we do. It's do it. Parents do not what parents tell them to do. Right. So they are going to, they are going to adopt those skills. I mean it's, it sounds so simple and it is. It's once we change will we change how we show up to the chaos, the chaos changes because we can't control that chaos around us. We only control how we show up to the chaos. So you know, my kids now have learned and we're not perfect. I'm not saying that this is the perfect thing, but it's like they've learned at a young age, okay, I can't control the chaos that's going around me, but I can always choose how I show up to the chaos and that those are really important life lessons for kids to learn. And these are skills that we're not learning in school. So you know, as parents we really have to think about what kind of a leader do we want, what I want my kid to be. And depending on how we're reacting and we're modeling what it is like to have a conflictual conversation, those are the skills they're going to take that model of what it's like at home to have a challenging conversation. And that's how they're going to show up in a leadership
Phil Weaver: Right, right. And if you have a typical interaction with your children, that gets repeated all the time. As soon as you change yours, it can't happen anymore.
Kirsten Siggins: Well, cause yeah, we subconsciously repeat those old habits and patterns until we consciously need to change. And is that, it's like breaking a habit. You have to consciously make that change. So every time you have to go into it, I'm sure it's exactly like in martial arts, you have to consciously make that change, right? And then you build those skills and then that becomes your habit. And I think my wish for my kids and for this generation is lets us parents show up differently. So that becomes their habit.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. In martial arts, we 100%. That's, that's, that's what it's all based upon. We have physical reactions that for some reason we're not programmed with any good ones to start with. And the, in our physical reactions, I don't know why we came that way. But that's what we, we visualize. We use the power of visualization and walking through those you know, what we're trying to accomplish until we do it enough and make it so the mind can't tell the difference between visualization and reality a lot. So it programs it in just as if you were doing it the same thing. So it sounds very similar. Yeah. Of we're training. The subconscious is going to get into control at some point. Right. It's kind of take over and you got to train it what to do beforehand. Cause that where you were saying
Kirsten Siggins: Being more present, being more conscious of how we're showing up. I think as mothers as fathers,
Kirsten Siggins: As partners, as friends, as siblings or even as children with parents, you just go on autopilot, go on and also get out of our own way. You know, so often we're so focused on ourselves and what we're saying and my points right in what I'm doing is right and I've got to get it across and I'll say it 10 different ways because I know I'm right, but we may be right for us, but we're not right for anybody else. So I need to be more focused on others.
Phil Weaver: Right. and just a quick note, you mentioned the fight or flight and breathing as being an at a, a way to get into it. And so when we are invited flight, we typically breathe through our chest and if we learn to breathe into the belly and actually into the back and the diaphragm, we can change which system where we're using. So the deep breath. What emotional calming skills can a parent teach to their children before this happens? How do we,
Phil Weaver: How do we get them to?
Kirsten Siggins: Do you want to go ahead? Go for it. Okay. I think one of the, historically, I think parents have always said, don't they, they've negated or they haven't acknowledged the emotions that every, that their kids have. There's just, I think that we've historically thought emotions were bad that we need to stay calm, that don't get upset, don't let that bother you. All of those negative things. And there are only certain emotions that I've, I do work on emotional intelligence. And one of the things is that a lot of people show up at with sadness because it's an eccepted emotion in our society. We can be sad and people go, Oh, that's too bad. But if I can become angry or fearful or anxious, or I'm shaming, I may not get that same sense of support from others. So a lot of us going to, to sadness just because it's okay, but we're not really ever taught to acknowledge, to understand, to appreciate that it's okay that I have emotions, that's, I shouldn't have those, you know, each of our emotions protects us.
Kirsten Siggins: If we don't have any fear, then we're going to get into situations where we can't protect ourselves. So we need these emotions and we need to be able to handle them when we're in situations and, and when we so when parents shut kids down or say, no, no, no, no, you don't. You don't have an, you know, there's no emotion here or just be fine. Just ignore it, forget about it, whatever. Instead of that really acknowledging and helping the child work through what does this feel like? What does it feel like for you to be angry right now? You know, what, what what do you want to do about it? How, how could you handle it differently or what, what's at risk here for you? You know, what could you do that you might not feel that you are in control over?
Kirsten Siggins: That you don't want to do all these exploratory questions where a parent can help a child begin to really feel whatever the emotion is that they're experiencing and, and sort of feel it in their body and become aware of it. Because until we develop that self awareness, we can't really begin to manage our emotions cause we don't know what we're managing. So we need that to develop that self awareness. And parents are in a great place to affirm with really even little kids to explore, you know, so you're feeling sad right now. What does that feel like? You know, sense of loss. Someone's done something, you know, how, how how does that make you feel? What, I don't want to eat anything. Okay. Or I just want to go to my room and cry. I just want whatever. So exploring with them and acknowledging that it's okay to have those emotions, then that's going to help the child become aware of being able to identify, okay, right now I'm feeling whatever it is they're feeling and they can begin to cope with it. And once they can, once they recognize what they're feeling and that's okay for them to feel it, then they're able to manage it. But so often kids feel it's wrong for them to met to, to feel anything. And so they block it out. It doesn't help them in the long run. So I think parents are a great place to create opportunity to explore that with them and help them or appreciate the gift of emotions.
Phil Weaver: Okay. So a lot of interesting points there. So the starting with that, so society is constantly telling us that some emotions are not acceptable then. And so if
Kirsten Siggins: More or less less acceptable than others. Yeah, I think so. Yeah.
Phil Weaver: So if that's the case, then as parents, we need to really make work hard on on making sure that that's not too, that's not built into our kids, that they're not repressing those emotions because, because yeah, emotions are useful. They're telling us something, right. Or they're, or they're giving us strength when we need strength or I mean they have, they have purpose. So how would a parent explain to a child that those emotions are okay? I guess? I guess you explained that by, by exploring them.
Kirsten Siggins: It's okay that you feel this way. Okay. How do you feel? Just, yeah. And you can, even then, when as a parent, I'm feeling really angry right now and there's the one it feels like to me, and this is why I'm feeling this way so we can share it. And, and once a child see that it's okay to have emotion. Oh, my mom too. Or my dad does too. You know, dad and I just had an at a, had a discussion and I'm feeling really sad about the fact he has to be away for the next two weeks. And then you can explore that sadness, what it feels like. You know what it means that I'm going to be alone in the evenings. It means that I don't have someone to talk to after you go to bed. It means whatever it is and, and children begin. We're just not giving them the opportunity to understand emotions, to explore them and to become aware of what their own experience of them is.
Phil Weaver: Okay. So, and is that by doing so by understanding them, by exploring their more, is that giving them the ability to manage their emotions more effective?
Kirsten Siggins: It was in the, I think in most pretty well all of the emotional intelligence frameworks. The fundamental is self-awareness and it does have no awareness of our emotions. And so until we begin to understand our emotions, once we understand them and, and I'm in a conversation that's something is triggered and I think, Oh, I'm feeling really angry. Okay. I know I'm feeling angry. This is why and this is what I need to do. But then I can start managing it. But if I don't know what I'm feeling, then if I'm not aware, if I'm not aware of it and I don't know that it's okay to feel that way, then I may say things that I later regret, I may retreat because I don't know what to say or how to explain it. I may, I'm not, I'm not showing up in a way that's going to continue to build a relationship. Yeah. Yeah.
Phil Weaver: I was very familiar too. We, I have a, so I, I've had a number of, of young men with Asperger's that I've worked with in, in the martial arts, and I think one of the, you know, the path to self awareness mental self awareness, emotional self awareness actually comes through proprioception and interoception, just getting aware of our body. And so in that example, he would always tell me he was very violent and very, which seems like a bad thing to do to teach about, to teach martial arts, to violent Aspergers. But it's not. He became just a wonderful, wonderful man. But he was, his emotions were so out of control. I had his school teachers who also trained with me come to me and they'd say, how do you managing him? He, that kid would pick up chairs in the classroom and throw them at the teacher and was just terribly.
Phil Weaver: And as he developed in learning about his body, then, you know, he would say things, well, I don't have emotions. I have asked for her so. Well, and we do do just that dive into how does this feel? And did those exact, those exact same exercises that you're talking about. And I'm happy to say I attended his graduation at UC Berkeley two months ago. Oh wow. Yeah. From, he was a kid that they were trying to put into a home to have to have a and take care of him and all this. And he's, well not, he's, I'm sure he'll be a university professor one day and as a wonderful girl, girlfriend and, and all of these things. So I do know that what you're talking about works. I've seen it. I've seen it firsthand. Yeah.
Kirsten Siggins: It just speaks once again to parents being curious what their kids to be open, not judging them for having the emotions. I would never get angry in that or it's not, it's not right for a girl to get an angry or it's not right for, you know, whatever. Instead just understand and validate for them that it's okay to have these emotions. It's okay to feel this way and help them understand it so they can embrace it and said, I mean, it must be awful for kids there are rotting and they don't know why or what starting at or what to do about it. And then their parents just say, calm down or their teachers is calm down. Well, they don't know how to calm down personally.
Phil Weaver: A lot of kids that have the come from, you know, a, a bad family atmosphere and all that, that some emotions are just so repressed that they didn't, they, they're not exist. And, and then which leads to trouble a lot of trouble, so they, they do need to come out and come to the surface.
Kirsten Siggins: I just also wanted to add too to that. I think that as parents we have to remember that in order to handle our kids' emotions, we have to first learn to learn to handle our own, and I think there are a lot of parents who are not comfortable with their own emotions, which is what makes it so hard for them to deal with their kid's emotions. There was a study or research study that they came out that showed that when parents don't know how to manage their emotions, their kids never learn to do so either. And so it's that same, it's really easy to say, you know, to have your kid exploding or it sounds very easy to be able to see your kid exploding, to, to dig deeper into the emotion, what it feels like. But if you're a parent that is not comfortable with their emotions, who was never allowed to have an emotion as a kid, you know, you have to start with you first, right? You also have to do that same work to figure out, okay, what am I feeling? What's going on for me in this moment? Has, it's going to be hard for us to support our kids if we aren't doing that same investment and having that same or bad self-awareness in ourselves.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, that sounds like one of those studies that was so obvious. It wasn't necessary, but I'm joking about that. It probably was, but having seen what I've seen, that's kind of one of those duh moments. Right. I know, I know. I know.
Kirsten Siggins: We stayed where kids do. As I say, not as I do. I think what we've learned through the work that we've done is the best thing you can do for your kids is to keep the person you want them to be because you are going to make a far greater impression on them and every in their life. Right. By being that person. Then anything that you teach or tell them to do
Kirsten Siggins: That
Phil Weaver: Yeah, I was, I was totally joking because I do know that it is necessary. I do know that people, what you just said is not obvious. Okay. It takes some time before that does come out, but it should be obvious. Right. what happened to curiosity? That I mean, we're born that that's what we are. Right? We don't know anything in the world. What do we don't, I don't know what we are. We have curiosity. It seems to me that when we're born, curiosity is our main skill. What happens? Where did it go?
Kirsten Siggins: I talk about all the time and I would be so fun to do some research around that. I don't, you know, I think what I've learned just to talk, watching, observing, listening, and just, you know, basically from the work we've done in the last 10 years, I think that a lot of it would sort of be out of us, right? You, yeah. Super curios as kids and it's really cute as kids. And then you start asking a lot of questions and then it becomes annoying and then you're in a classroom and you know, there's no time for questions. And those that are asking questions are often called, they said, Oh, you're not listening or you're not paying attention because you're not staying on track. Or if you want to go and explore a different way, you're not doing it the way it's supposed to be done.
Kirsten Siggins: And then we isolate and testing and we are not allowed to share answers or collaborate or work together. And then we get shot out into the work world. And then we say, okay, now solve problems and collaborate and work as teams. And it's like how everything up until this point, you know, it's, we're not really serving those skills to get to where we need to go. So I think it's again, as parents, when your, I and I had, I spoke last week at a school and I had a mom say like, my daughter won't stop talking and all she wants to do is talk. And it's frustrating and I don't want to listen and I've got so many things that I need to do. And I also know that if I shut her down, she's going to stop talking. And so it's like, okay, well then there's your opportunity to learn about your daughter.
Kirsten Siggins: What is it that she, you know, what are the reasons that she's coming to you? And, and whose needs are you meeting in that moment when you want to shut things down? And you know, I think there's an opportunity for us as parents to just listen to our kids and help them explore those places of curiosity they have. Because if they're not passionate and curious in life, you know, that's, that's what leads us to what we want to do. There's an entire Ted talks on flying. Don't find your passion. Just be curious, right? I mean, everything's stamped. That's how we learn. It's how we grow. It's how we evolve. It's how we collaborate. It's how we innovate. The curiosity is that the root of a lot of things and yet it's become, I don't know, it's like a pain in the butt when people are curious, right? What was, he knew? They're considered
Kirsten Siggins: Time consuming or they're considered too much work. And I think we have to reframe what that looks like and allow our kids the space to explore because we're not giving that space to explore anymore.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. So it's not even, I would hardly even call it a developed skill. It's something that's so innate, but it's simply repressed. And so,
Kirsten Siggins: And Kathy can speak to this in the work world, you know, a lot of people are afraid to ask questions. They're afraid to be curious, right? Because they're afraid that they're going to get reprimanded. They're afraid they're not going to have the right answer. They're afraid to dig deeper and make suggestions because it may not be what people want. And so there's huge repercussions of not having that curiosity when you come out and trying to get a job. Because organizations want curious people, espec ially now we need curious people
Phil Weaver: I cannot remember where I just, I just listened to something on that exact fact. Can't remember where I heard it, but they were talking about interns coming out of college and going into at company and being afraid to ask questions and then, but for the purpose of not seeming as if they didn't know enough or or whatever, but what they were truly doing was not building the relationships that they needed to, and then they, they didn't get the job they expected. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. That I, I just heard that in, I don't know where a week ago somewhere I put, I can't remember if it was so and Kathy you mentioned dopamine of your time. So if we're dopamine, one of the things that causes that does cause dopamine is when we have that, that aha moment when we learned something. Right. And so therefore if curiosity would be, would lead up to that we have to be curious about something to learn something right, then it would seem to me that once a person gets back on the track of curiosity that it might be kind of a self building skill
Kirsten Siggins: Based on our experience and the feedback we've had from others. Absolutely. In fact someone who worked with us early on said, once you cross that line and you become curious, you can never go back because you said it just feels wrong. It doesn't feel, it doesn't feel good anymore. Judging others or telling them what to do and creating that space where we can really focus on others instead of ourselves just makes, makes us feel so much better that we want to do it. It's about people. Yeah. Yeah. And it leads to empathy and compassion. It just helps to deepen relationships. It just, it's a, it, it changes how we show up in our world.
Phil Weaver: So being non-judging I mean, judgmental is of, that's one of the things that'll shut it down. Yes, that seems like quite a mental discipline. How would one develop that in my, in my true in saying it's a, it's a discipline
Kirsten Siggins: I don't know that I say it's a discipline. I just, for me it's, it's just what were the words that I focus on and I'm all self taught. It's around wanting to learn more as opposed to going, stop, I've heard enough. This is just, you know, you should be doing, or I should be. I'd never, I'd never do that. Or it's we, we get to, instead of getting to that place where I'm trying to compare myself with them or tell them what to do, I just say open to hear what they have to say. Well, I think it's, for me it's around focusing, focusing on the words differently.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, I can see that. I guess where I was coming at it from is that they're there, the judgment, our arising thoughts in like the mat meditation practices. That is a discipline of learning how to not necessarily control those thoughts, but to let them pass and not let them have an effect on you. Which is I think that that's what I mean by a discipline because you're training your mind to be able to do that and not go into your reptilian brain.
Kirsten Siggins: Yes. And it's, it's something, it is something that we can do and it, it once we, as I've said before, once we get there, so, eh, and I'm not going to say how long it took and I still at times judge, I'm sure. Sure. I, it's just that most of the time I really work on sending intention around not being, not judging others, and it's also focusing on them instead of me, you know, instead of me saying in my head, Oh, she shouldn't do that, or Oh, if I were her, I wouldn't be. And instead of getting in my own place, really focusing on her or him, you know, on the other person.
Kirsten Siggins: So for me it's being out of my own way.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. Well, okay, so you're just like what I was, but that means not, not focusing on yourself, not focusing on that. That's what you mean by not by getting out of your own way of,
Kirsten Siggins: So there isn't an, I'm sure there is a discipline there. Yeah,
Phil Weaver: It sounds exactly like meditation. Yeah. It very much parallels it. Some Eastern philosophies. So
Kirsten Siggins: Just practice. It goes back to what we were talking about. It's a conscious practice. You have to be aware of how you're showing up. It's about being present again. I think when we have those conversations, shooting from the hip or gossiping with a girlfriend or whatever, we're not, it's, it's, we're showing up differently. So it's having that conscious awareness of, you know, paying, not focusing on self and focusing on others, it's easier to shift into that noise. Right.
Phil Weaver: Okay. Good.
Phil Weaver: What about like non-verbals and stuff? Are, are you trying to be very aware of what you're projecting as far as non-verbals
Phil Weaver: To be present?
Kirsten Siggins: I try and stay still as much as possible. Okay. Your good at that.
Phil Weaver: That actually seems, I don't know, I could see that as seeming as judgmental.
Kirsten Siggins: Oh, well, I, I don't, Oh, that's interesting. No, I, I'm saying still because I really want to focus on them and thats how I do it.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. Well, yeah, I mean, I think that I probably do the same thing and, and
Phil Weaver: I've had people say like, why are you mad? I'm like, I'm not, I'm listening. Right. I'm trying to figure out what you're saying. And so do you think that's a problem that, I mean I maybe want to retrain what your face looks like when you're doing it
Kirsten Siggins: I I've never had that feedback.
Phil Weaver: Hmm.
Kathy Taberner: I dunno. What about you Kirsten? I was going to say those could, that place to the stories in our heads. Again, that's the story that whoever is talking to you, that's the story they have in their head because they're in themselves rather than focus on understanding you. So I think that's, it's important to remember that where when we're in a conversation body language for sure it makes a difference. I moved from LA, I, you know, would go and walk into a room and people wouldn't make eye contact with me. That cliche, right? Looking over the shoulder, constantly seeing who else is walking in the door. And I could tell that they weren't listening. So body language is important where you need to make eye contact and give your, you know, the speaker your full attention. But I know, especially for women, like resting bitch face, it's a real thing.
Kirsten Siggins: When women are listening, a lot of the times they think that they're just, they're mad or they're angry or whatever it may be. And, and so we have worked with a lot of women where they will say, I'm not mad, or I'm not angry. I'm just listening, right? This is my face. So they, they, so I think that's a very common thing. And I remember thinking, wow, I've never thought that. That's so interesting. You know? That's not what I'm thinking. So that's the little voice and other people's heads on the other end. I've never thought, yes, never thought that. So it's being aware of that voice in our head and the judgment or whatever it's saying to us, because it's conflicting with our ability to listen. So every time I'm looking at you, and I think you're angry at me, I'm creating a bigger story in my head that's like how I respond to you.
Kirsten Siggins: You know, I'm thinking, why is he mad at me? What have I done? You know? Then I'm not actually listening to what you're saying. I'm not understanding what you're saying and I'm off on my own story. And then afterwards I'll leave with not a full understanding of what happened and you and I could get into a fight over it, whereas I just opens her on you. And if it was something that came up for me that I was concerned about, then it's like, okay, you know you can ask that question. I F it, but it's, it's putting it in the I statements like, Oh, I felt like your facial expression was mad. And then you'd say, why? No, I was just listening. Right? But when we say you look mad, then that feels like judgment and right. So there's a difference where you're talking about your experience of his situation versus saying to somebody, you're, you look mad. Or you know, what have I done wrong? What do you think I've done wrong? And that's where you get into, that's their stories of play into our heads. So it's just reminding ourselves to turn that little inner voice down, not listened to those stories to just give our full attention to the speaker. And if we have a concern, we just ask. I think most of the time people are listening. It's hard for people to listen, but we have to really focus
Phil Weaver: That the phrase resting bitch face. Is that a new phrase? I just heard that for the last first time, like a week ago and now I've heard it all over the place. Is that
Kirsten Siggins: Well we hear it all the time, right?
Phil Weaver: No, it's been a thing for a long time.
Kirsten Siggins: Yeah. And I think I was listening when I hear it, it's, you know, I'm not like, it's not my resting bitch face. I'm listening. And so yeah, it is a lot of different contexts, but I, you know, again, it's, we, that's that judging voice. It rears its ugly head.
Phil Weaver: Right. Okay. Okay. So, but we're talking about it. So we're speaking to somebody that has say none of these skills and they, they have the stories in their head and all of that. Should we develop skills to try and communicate, you know, non-verbally that we are not angry or something like that. If we, if we know we may have a resting bitch face actually, which I apparently do.
Kirsten Siggins: I think it's always important to be aware of your body language. So that's part of active listening. It's important to you and you know, are you making eye contact? How are you holding yourself? And, and even, especially in emotional situations because we're emotional, you know, if I would sit here and, and you say, how am I? And I crossed my arms and I, my tone is off and I say, I'm fine. Everything's fine. In your mind you're thinking I'm not fine. You're hearing my words and tone of voice, or you're hearing, my body language story and my tone of voice, not my words, it's telling me I'm fine. The situations, it's important to be congruent. And there was, I can't remember the study and I know mom was really good with these stats and you can talk about it, but it's just really important that we are aware of our body language because if we're holding ourselves in a way that's not inviting, that looks mean and judgemental. People are gonna take it that way. But if we're open and we want to understand what I've learned from my own experience is that when I'm open and I want to learn and understand, my body language softens, I'm kinder with myself and
Kirsten Siggins: I'm kinder with other people because I'm coming at it from a place of like, I do want to understand you. I want to know what's going on. Rather than me standing there and saying like, what are you going to tell me now? You know? So it's, that's what dictates how we show up and reminding ourselves to just turn that down so that we can open and relaxed and listen and learn.
Phil Weaver: Right. Well and vice versa. The body language will communicate to the brain and, and, and that's gonna help with which voices do come up. Which stories? Do come up. So and, and you mentioned the congruency, I think the congruency between the body language, between what you're saying and all that. And I think that like Amy Cuddy mentions in her book, fat is one of the prime things that leads to what flow or presence. Same thing. Right. so interesting. Kathy, you have anything to say about that? And this is a really interesting subject to me right here.
Kirsten Siggins: Well, the the study Kirsten was referring to as a very old one. It's from the 60s but we haven't, it's reef. It's still, it's used a lot by people. And the thing that's so interesting about it is that when you look at tone of voice, body language, and words, only 7% in conflict, only 7% of the communication is through the actual words. So if you're, if you're talking to me and I'm sensing emotion through your body language and your tone of voice, Whoa. You know, this is, the words
Phil Weaver: Aren't even getting in then. Yeah. Yeah.
Kirsten Siggins: And it's, I think it's just that the emotion, that contagion, we become emotionally connected with all the, what we see as hostility. We don't, we can't hear the words we're protecting ourselves. We're just, this is so it shuts us, it shuts down the situation when in fact, maybe that's not what's going on. So when there's not congruent IC, then we get confused about the mixed messages and read the words.
Phil Weaver: Right. And it's not, so not only are our macro body language, but we also have micro expressions which are picked up through the limbic system when we can't control. And so it would seem to me that you really need to, to get yourself into the right mental state because whatever that state is in there is going to be projected.
Kirsten Siggins: And that's why one, if we can get to a place of asking open questions, it just comes back and then the dopamine starts flowing and we feel better. Right? There's going to be a congruency of the, the tone of voice and the conversation and, and, and the bud language and, and we're going to be better understood and we are going to understand others better to what the, the research that I would love to see done and I'm not aware of it, it may have been done was around that, that I believe what happens is we ask an open question. Dopamine starts, we ask another one or two and oxytocin as well. Judith Glaser's we work, spoke, speaks of the, the, my heart opening connection with when we continue to be curious and ask questions. And I think in conflict what happens is I'm feeling better because I'm asking questions and there's a contagion to the other person. It changes for them also, even if they're just answering the questions and not asking any, I think the contagion factor makes them feel better too.
Phil Weaver: Right. If we can hold a state and going back to being nonreactive, then it of course it's going to be contagious. Yeah. Wow. Okay.
Phil Weaver: This has been a very interesting subject, but I'm out of questions. If I missed anything mean I could, I can keep going here because I'm so, I'm so curious about this. But is there anything else that we should be telling parents here?
Kirsten Siggins: To me, the messages get out of your own way and really show up for your kids to better understand them, to really see, hear and understand them. And that's if they're, you know, a very small child or all the way up to being independent because I'm until we get out of her own way, our kids, kids are smart and they know when we're not there for them.
Phil Weaver: Right. Can we define again? I know we kind of did getting out of your own way.
Kirsten Siggins: I'm focusing on the other person instead of on ourselves. So focusing on our kids and really wanting to understand them instead of thinking, well, I'm right. And then my day it was, you know, none of that just eat our minds a blank canvas. And we're there to hear them, not to, to tell them what to do, not to judge them, but just to really try and understand what's going on for them.
Phil Weaver: The physical role playing you did just, that helped a lot. The physical role playing that you just did. What was all that was? It was, that was awesome. Okay. That, that, that speak, I mean, the body is more expressive than the words. Huh.
Kirsten Siggins: And it was the age. I just, you know, I had a mom come up to me and say, Oh my kids went to university. So I, cause I spoke at a high school and so you know, my kids have come and gone and I don't need to worry about this anymore. I was 30 when I started doing this. You know, and it's, it's, so I, it doesn't, there's no age. I think that in any relationship that you have, doesn't matter if you're a grown person with your parents or you're a parent with grown children, it really is irrelevant. These skills work at every single age in, and it's so important if you want to have healthy relationships, you know, eat curious is how we connect and this such a simple process being present, choosing how you listen. So you're open to listening to understand and asking those curious who, what, when, and how questions to dig deeper and get on the same page as a three part series. Right? And the D are all skills that we can do. You can all do them now. It's just showing up differently and reminding ourselves in these moments. What am I curious about?
Phil Weaver: Right. So before it, actually one more big question here is, is that so with us, we're dealing, helping parents deal with kids who have specific learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD. So these kids are already, they've lost weight. We looked into our own data and so we had questionnaires asking about certain things and, and a lot of the things when we specifically asked parents like, is your child losing self-confidence? Are they losing self-esteem? The numbers were, were, were high, but, but the, the indicators of losing self confidence and self esteem were way higher. So parents were telling us these things are, are going on, but they weren't realizing how bad of an emotional state that their children were in. And so when it gets to doing things like anything around school work or you know, like say homework time, it can be huge tantrums and hu huge battles. How are these skills? Can you go into those skills being applied in that specific situation? Like, let's say the child is throwing a temper tantrum because they don't want to look stupid because they're, they, they think they're going to look stupid for not being able to do their homework. Well,
Kirsten Siggins: I mean, I, I can fully relate and understand this. Exactly what you're saying from a parent's perspective. And I think that as parents it's, we have to remember to give our kids some autonomy and it's figuring out what our kids can have control over and can and can have control over. So for me as a parent, I had to really learn to understand how my kids learn. I've got two kids who learn very differently and I, you know, for one of them, she just, she needs, she, her brain works differently. She processes information differently. So she needs help in a very different way. I had to get out of my own way. I had to stop listening to the stories in my head or whatever it was that I wanted for her and just really focus her and what she needed. And I had to get curious with her and ask those questions, what does it feel like?
Kirsten Siggins: What do you need? What is your class experience like? I had to really understand what it was like for her to function in her day all day so that I can support her in a way that was effective because a lot of the times our kids don't have words to express what it is that they're going through or they're telling us very, very clearly, but we're interpreting it very differently than what they're saying. Though it's I would offer to parents. For me, what's been like changing with my kids is to, again, it's going back to that, being curious with your kids to listen to understand them to, when you're asking those questions, you're really trying to focus on what it's like for them and not what you think they need it. Understanding what it is that they, and then when it comes to the homework situation, it'll be easier for you to support them because you know what are the reasons they can't get their homework done is that they don't understand the content. Is it that the homework has been given to them in a way that they can't process? You know, is it that, I mean there's so many different reasons,
Phil Weaver: But whatever it is, you're able to, you're able to drill down to it. When you do this,
Kirsten Siggins: They then you can talk to the teacher and say, this is why it's not working. Right. It's not because your kid can't do it or your kid isn't smart enough, or whatever it is, it's not being delivered in a way that is useful for them. It, it's what's that way. But those, the conversations of starting with your one get out of your own way as a parent to focus on your kid to understand their needs. Three, understand. It's like what do you need to make this successful for you moving forward? And then you can take that information and work with your teachers so that you can get on the same plate. I think that, you know, I spoke to a mom who has a daughter who has down syndrome and she had troubles with her teacher. And so it was really a question of what is your daughter need to have a successful day? What is she telling you that she needs? Well, I've never asked. I don't know. I just assumed that I knew.
Phil Weaver: Okay, yeah. Well I'm laughing, but that's, that's sad. That's really,
Kirsten Siggins: I think his parents want to help them and we want to do the best for them. But sometimes just those one little question, it's like, what do you need? How could this be better? And again, that's the autonomy and control over their life. But we as parents have to get out of our way. You know, everything what's best for them. And we might not like what our kids have to say. You know, we might not like what the answer is, but if that's what they need, then it's figuring out how you can best support them to get what they need. Otherwise it's always going to be a battle.
Phil Weaver: And at that point when that's going on, I just want want to stress that those stories are probably very loud at that time. I mean, you're a mother, you're going, this is my child's future. Those they're screaming, right?
Kirsten Siggins: If you can pretend that it's not there, we can keep saying, or you need this and you need that and you need fat. But until you actually get to the heart of the problem, you're never going to resolve the issue. And I think that unfortunately a lot of our school systems, they cater to a specific type of learner and being in the box, and if your kid doesn't fit in the box, then you know they don't want to help you. But when you're a parent, they can go and say, I know exactly what my child needs and these are the reasons why and how can we get to this end goal because we all want them to be successful. It's a very different conversation and you want to partner with your teacher. You don't want to fight with your teacher, right? You want to partner with your child. You don't want to fight with your child. The only way you can create that partnership is by fully understanding them. And I think as parents, just as Kathy was saying, that first step, you got to get out of our own way and not focus on what's best for us or what we think our child needs. We need to fully understand what's going on for them so we can best support them.
Phil Weaver: We we always stress that the parent is the expert, but now thinking about this, we might be wrong if the parent is not the expert until they do this.
Kirsten Siggins: Well, I know, I mean, I know for my daughter I use for many, many years and she struggled with a lot of different things and all of the things that she told me, she struggled. I thought I knew what was best for her. And so finally asked the question and it was like, Oh yeah, I didn't think about that. I don't know what your experience is like, you know, no idea what her experience is like at school. I can pretend to know and I can her, I know what's best for her. But until I asked that question and really understood what it, what it was like for her to go through the day and what it was like for her to learn and what, you know, she needed, we couldn't put any measures in place to help them.
Phil Weaver: Marker. Wow. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So getting out of your way big time first Kathy, do you want to say anything about that before?
Kirsten Siggins: No, I just said I agree. And I think Kirsten, and I can't remember it now, but there is, there was a was on Instagram. It was somewhere, and it wasn't a research, it was a story of a little of a girl whose father had taken her to the hospital and she was, I think, autistic. She wasn't able to speak anyway. Her father was speaking for her and then he thought me happen to him and he wasn't able to be there. So she became frantic and was screaming cause she could communicate. So when they began to understand what she, she was able to communicate what she needed from correct person and they got to the point of, of asking, what do you need? Instead of just saying you need this or don't behave that way. What do you need? So you're so how can we support you to make sure your needs are met? You know, what do you need now? What would you like to have happen? And it changed the conversation where they now in that particular hospital with all kids, that's how the conversation goes.
Phil Weaver: Wow. Wow. That are, huh? They asked
Kirsten Siggins: What, what matters to you? And that's it. Yes. Well I'm up to you. I think as parents we always, you know, we think of being curious like what's the matter? What's the matter? What's the matter? But that triggers fixing and solving and telling and whatever. You know, what's the matter? Okay, I can fix this. We're going to get to the harder, you know, we're gonna make it better. Rather than taking that step back, you ask what matters to you and that's going to have a very different answer. You're going to have a very different snapshot into your child's life with what matters to them and what's important to them. And that was what happened in this hospital as they took a piece of paper and said, what matters to you? And it was in the new England journal of medicine. It was a story about that.
Kirsten Siggins: It was a woman who basically was saying her brother was at the end of, he had a long term illness and she said that, you know, everybody kept saying what's the matter? What's the matter? But the question they really needed to ask was, Matt, what matters to you? And that healthcare needs to put away from what matters to what matters to you. And I think in the education system it's exactly the same thing. Yeah. Looking at what matters to these kids, because if we want them to learn, they need to be curious. They can't operate from a place of here. We need to be in a place of, you know, open. You learn in that curious state and how do we get them there? Okay, let's figure out what the steps are that they need to get to that place. Cause if they're turning up to school everyday thinking that they can't do it and they're operating from that place of fear, their brain is literally not it. Brains state to learn, right? They're not and make friends in relationships. It's just they're going to be stressed out the entire time.
Phil Weaver: Sure. It's a self fulfilling prophecy
Kirsten Siggins: And they know what they need and what matters to them much more than anybody else does. Yeah. So giving them that opportunity to have a voice in it really shifts what happens
Phil Weaver: And how they show up. Right. Right. So this is obviously a pretty big, especially for our listeners who are parents of children who are struggling. But this could really make a change. What would a parent that parents want more of this? What would they do here? You've got your book, your website.
Kirsten Siggins: We offer a parenting program. We have an online parenting program and it's a 30 day program. It's on our website. They can access it. We go through all of these exact skills,
Phil Weaver: Go to Instituteofcuriosity.com.
Kirsten Siggins: Yup. Think they go to the parenting page, they'll see the online program and you can either use from the parents, it's parents have loved it. It's been life changing. And we've had parents that have kids with mental health that have taken it and they found it life changing. I think what if difference with us in the work that we do is it really focuses on changing how we show up as parents. So we're not here to change your kids. We're not here to change your spouses. What we're offering is specific skills that will change how you show up and when you change how you show up as a parent than everything else changes.
Phil Weaver: Yes. The same message has been told by quite a number of people in it and it's it's, it's, it really is how you change the world. Change yourself. Yeah. This is everything that's going on at all. We see all these arguing and you know, we go on social media and everyone's trying to change your world, but it's simple. It's right here.
Kirsten Siggins: Well, let's start with you, right? Be the change you want to see. Exactly. Ghandi was on to something.
Phil Weaver: Indeed. He was say think he had some, he's a smart man. Okay, fantastic. This has been really enlightening for me. I'm sure that people will really learn a lot from this and, and thank you very much.
Kirsten Siggins: Thanks Phil for having us, for having us. And Phil, I would just like to throw out there if you ever, if there's any way that we can support any of your parents, I know how hard I know how hard this is. Like however we can make that happen. If there's a way to collaborate or reach out, whatever. I'm throwing that out there because I know that it w I, and I'm saying that only because this mom of her daughter who has down syndrome was like, how do I get you into our community? I never thought about this because it is all about parents. It's just changing how parents, the lens and how parents show up for their thing. I think especially when their kids have learning disabilities or so focused on changing their kids that they don't think about how they're showing up 100%. Phil, you told a wonderful story about someone who was able to be himself with Asperger's and now he's graduated from university. Yeah,
Phil Weaver: Yeah. It's yeah, I've seen this. I mean a lot of this, I have not defined it in the way you, you two have and all that, but I've seen these things in action and so yeah, I know and a, I do look forward to any way we can collaborate in the future
Kirsten Siggins: And I'll also throw out there if you want for your community to have discount code to the online parenting program. We can also arrange that. So if that's something that sounds good for your listeners, let us know. And that's not a problem. We can give a percentage off as a bonus for your listeners if they're interested in taking
Phil Weaver: Let's absolutely do that. Do you want to set up the code later and we'll put it in the link or how do you want to do that?
Kirsten Siggins: Yeah, I can. It'll just take me, you know, I can send it. Can I send it to you tomorrow? Does it go out right away?
Phil Weaver: Yes and it see me tomorrow and I'll just
Kirsten Siggins: Just cause it's seven 30 and I got to get my kid's bed into bed or I can do it later tonight.
Phil Weaver: There's no hurry. I just want, I'll just, how do we, I'll put it in a link below the video or something like that. Is that okay? That's
Kirsten Siggins: Okay. Then it will be in the link below this. Okay. All right. We'll send you the code or the link for the code. Yes. Okay. That's what I'm saying. Great. Great. If they're within the community, we have, wait, we're happy to phone calls to work with people in any way we can and they can get all that information on Institute of curiosity.com correct? Yes. Yes. Very good. Very good. Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Alright, bye. Bye. Thank you.