18: Is Obedience Really the Goal with Our Kids? with Devon Kuntzman

An insightful and thoughtful interview with a toddler expert and parenting coach! This is one to make sure you don't miss, parents! She will answer the question : Is Obedience Really the Goal with Our Kids?

Is Obedience Really the End Goal with Our Kids? Podcast Interview with Toddler Expert and Parenting Coach Devon Kuntzman

Episode Recap

Parents, you are going to LOVE this interview with parenting coach, Devon Kuntzman! She gives us helpful insight into the brain development of toddlers and young children to know they aren't trying to push our buttons, and how much they need our love and support for their rapidly developing brains and bodies. We explore obedience and how we can unwisely wrap our self worth and success as parents up in whether or not our kids obey. It was such an amazing interview that we talked for more than an hour, so it's split into two parts.

Devon's Bio

Devon Kuntzman, RYT, B.A. child development, is a parenting coach and nanny for high-profile families. Devon is on a mission to transform the myth that toddlers are terrible. Devon teaches that it's possible to embrace this sensitive developmental period by uncovering the magic of toddlers while overcoming everyday challenges and keeping your sanity. She coaches frustrated, over-stressed and exhausted parents who are ready to free themselves from limiting beliefs, tap into their inner courage and rediscover the joy of parenting. Devon empowers parents to transform their frustration, fear and self-doubt into confidence in their parenting.

Dedicating her life to working with children and families, she has worked with hundreds of parents and children across three continents over the last 15 years. Devon is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, a graduate of the Wonder Weeks Academy Infant Mental Health and Development Program, a registered yoga teacher and the creator of Transforming Toddlerhood.

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How Devon Started Transforming Toddlerhood

Devon was a nanny for many years for high profile families all over the world. And she began to notice that her gauge for success with the kids was obedience. If they obeyed, she thought she was doing a good job! The old-fashioned way of parenting.

Then she had a little boy she was taking care of and the firm way she'd been using with the kids wasn't working. Time out didn't work, he wasn't behaving.

And she began to awaken to the magic and fun of toddlerhood and how her firm approach wasn't helping that part to thrive.

She would see the parents come home from work and their toddlers melting down, and how they just want to connect with their children but weren't sure how too. She felt like the connection between adult and toddler was breaking down.

About five years ago, she had an epiphany that she was doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get the same results. That her self confidence was wrapped up in whether or not she was getting the outcomes SHE wanted.

So she began studying positive parenting, childhood development, and respectful parenting as applied to toddlers. She also did a lot of self reflection and discovered that she had a passion for learning about toddlers and teaching parents about them as well.

The Two E's of Toddlerhood – Exploration and Experimentation

This is the magic of toddlerhood! But the flip side is that it's a very challenging time for both parents and toddlers and the magic can get buried in the everyday challenges.

As parents we must not place our self worth or success as parents on whether or not our children obey. - Devon Kuntzman

Self Confidence Wrapped Up in Obedience in Children

So Devon's mindset changed when she realized that her self confidence was wrapped up in whether or not she was getting the outcomes SHE wanted.

She noticed how there are lots of personalities and some are more passive and happy to obey and others have those leadership traits and are strong willed and know what they want and won't respond well to a firm, obedient-centered style.

She felt like a failure! She realized her self worth and success is based on whether or not she can get another person to obey her.

She realized we cannot control another being! It's impossible. They are their own people. We can only control ourselves.

When we start off parenting babies, it can be easy to think we are in charge here because babies are so dependent upon us and generally go more with our flow. We can get a false sense of control and then the switch flips in toddlerhood.

She truly believes now that when we take the focus off of the other person and trying to control what they're doing and put the focus back on ourselves, and managing who we are in relation to what they're doing, it's a game changer, especially with toddlers.

Obedience: Toddlers Aren't Trying to Push Our Buttons & Don't Know Better

Devon realized this was another big mindset shift for her as a nanny. This idea that the toddler is doing things on purpose to manipulate us or make us annoyed or mad is just false! They aren't developmentally able to do that. Our buttons are being pushed because there is something within us that needs to be healed and processed. So when you think about lack of obedience, it's more that our toddlers are struggling and need help than it is about them not behaving.

So switching your perspective from how they're making US feel to realizing this tiny human needs my help.

Toddlers are very impulsive and are not able to regulate themselves yet to respond to expectations. It's their instincts taking over which is developmentally appropriate for their age.

Toddlers aren't trying to push our buttons. It's simply their cry for help, to tell us they're struggling and need our love and support. - Devon Kuntzman

Toddler Brain Development

The first part of the brain that develops is the lower part that is the impulsive, emotional response.

The higher part of the brain that has regulating and impulse control is just starting to develop in toddlerhood.

And of course, there are many of us adults that still have impulse control and trouble understanding and regulating our emotions and our brains our fully developed! So imagine how difficult it is for a child who has a much less developed brain.

We Live in a New Era of Parenting

With all of the information and technology we have today, we have access to so many good trainings and teachings on childhood development and brain development. Our parents and grandparents didn't have nearly as much information nor did they have easy access to it.

Have a Larger Why or Vision for Your Kids

Devon asks her parenting clients which qualities do you want your toddlers to embody five, 10, 15 years from now? And that's how you know in the moment what to teach them. She believes having this vision helps us as parents to be able to switch from obedience mindset to teaching mindset.

Positive Discipline

I learned many parenting techniques from the positive discipline method when my oldest was just a baby and it has helped me tremendously as a parent to know and understand where my children are coming from, what they're feeling, how they're thinking, and how their brains are developing.

It Take Courage to Be Your Child's Teacher

It takes courage to let go of that sense of control, which is an illusion, and go from that place to realizing our children thrive most when we are their teacher instead. It takes courage to challenge the status quo, to make mistakes and embrace your humanness.

As a parent, it takes courage to challenge the status quo, to make mistakes, and to embrace our humanness. - Devon Kuntzman

Parenting is the Only Job Where You Get Only On-The-Job Training

So this is where we can give ourselves grace as parents and also seek out knowledge, information, and help. Can you imagine showing up for work and having NO idea how you were going to do your job? And yet parenting is the most important job there is, and many of us have little to no training and oftentimes the way we were parented left a lot to be desired!

She also suggests to be doing a lot of self-reflection – what is working, what isn't working? And to know that it takes courage to challenge the status quo and to make mistakes. Courage to embrace our humanness, to know we don't have to have it all figured out or know it all.

The number one question Devon gets from her parenting coaching clients is about having patience and how do they have it with their kids when obedience does not happen.

She says is comes through having grace and being kind to yourself first and making sure we're taking care of ourselves.

Is Obedience Really the End Goal with Our Kids? Podcast Interview with Toddler Expert and Parenting Coach, Devon Kuntzman of Transforming Toddlerhood on The Merry Messy Moms Show

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