Want to learn how to make good decisions with ease, step into your confidence as a parent or leader … and tap into a profound sense of empathy that will strengthen all your relationships? 

I did too! That’s why I’m beyond grateful that Dr. Becky agreed to come on Dear Gabby to teach us brilliant strategies for all of the above ^^^ and to answer some rapid-fire questions from our community! 

You, Dear Gabby listeners, came up with some really profound questions for Becky, and so did my closest friends.

Big Questions

My text messages were BLOWING UP when I recorded this episode of Dear Gabby

Knowing that I had a revered clinical psychologist and parenting expert on the show, my friends started feverishly sending me messages like these:

“OMG pleeease ask Dr. Becky how I should handle screen time for my toddler.” 

“Ideas for separating a kid from her binkie?????”

“How do I stay calm when my kid is having an epic tantrum—like, flailing limbs in the grocery store?”

And of course, I had a few parenting questions I had to get in there too! (Listen to today’s Big Talk to hear me talk about the thing that scares the s**t out of me as a mom.) 

But as it turns out, this conversation didn’t just touch on child-rearing. 

This Big Talk has valuable lessons for anyone who wants to step into their confidence as a leader, sharpen their decision-making skills and gain a deeper understanding of their relationship patterns. 

In short, this conversation is packed with the BEST parenting advice, which I use in ALL my relationships.

How to Make Good Decisions & Other Life Lessons

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to be a sturdy leader and make kids—or anyone you manage or lead—feel safe and taken care of
  • How to make good decisions and stick to them, regardless of people’s reactions
  • Why sticking to your decisions is actually regulating for your child’s nervous system (and is beneficial in ANY relationship)
  • How to prepare kids—and yourself!—to cope with frustration, and to use it as a tool for self-development
  • ​​How to be collaborative and warm while keeping your boundaries intact as a leader

It’s Never Too Late

We covered a LOT of ground. But when I asked Dr. Becky to share the number-one question people ask her, I was so moved by her response. 

Beyond wanting to enhance their relationships with their kids, colleagues or friends, so many people are longing to develop a stronger bond with their inner child. But they’re not even sure that’s possible. 

People come to Dr. Becky to ask, Is it too late?

Well, here’s the good news, my friend: It is NEVER too late to heal your childhood wounds and make your inner child feel safe, seen and soothed. 

This episode will give you hope that it’s never too late for you to find deep, unshakable peace with your child, your inner child or anyone else you have a relationship with. 

I am so psyched to share this Big Talk with you.

A Tool to Help You Heal Childhood Wounds

And in the meantime, I designed a quick, free tool that’s really going to serve you. This will help you heal any childhood wounds that might be holding you back from forming the fulfilling relationships you know are possible … but can’t seem to attract. 

Our attachment styles are formed in early childhood, and they affect every single relationship you have as an adult—whether it’s your relationship with your kids, your employees or yourself. My What’s Your Attachment Style? quiz will help you discover your attachment style in just 2 minutes. 

When you discover your attachment style, it’s like shining a spotlight on your relationship patterns. You’ll gain so much clarity on why you behave the way that you do in relationships. AND when I send you your quiz results, I’ll offer tips for breaking free from patterns that are no longer serving you.

Get More Gabby

The following are helpful resources and books I mention in the episode. 

Dr. Becky Kennedy is a clinical psychologist, mother of three kids and host of the popular Good Inside with Dr. Becky podcast. She was called the “Millennial parenting whisperer” by Time magazine, and has tips for helping everyone—parents and non-parents alike—make decisions and feel sturdy in the face of big emotions. You can learn more about her here. I’m so psyched to have her back on the show! 

If you want to listen to my first Big Talk with Dr. Becky, check it out here

Want an easy way to improve your relationship with your child? Our attachment style affects every relationship in our life—including the one we have with our kids! If you want to learn your attachment style and become a more effective parent and leader, take my free, 2-minute What’s Your Attachment Style? quiz. This will reveal so much about why you behave the way you do as a parent, caretaker or leader … and it will open you up to more love and connection in every area of our life.

Learn your attachment style

In my book Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace I share more techniques for caring for your child—and inner child. 

Want even more support? I created the Miracle Membership to help you design a spiritual practice you can stick to—so you can feel connected, supported and inspired every day. Each week I deliver brand new workshops, guided meditations, live group meditations, community connection and so much more. Plus, it’s easy to access on your phone, computer or tablet. Click here to join.

If you feel you need more support, feel free to explore this list of safety, recovery and mental health resources

This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey toward inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.


The following podcast is a Dear Media production.

Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I’m not a psychologist or a medical doctor ...

The following podcast is a Dear Media production.

Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I’m not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from a psychological or medical condition, please seek help from a qualified health professional.

Hey there. Welcome to Dear Gabby. I’m your host Gabby Bernstein. And if you landed here, it is absolutely no accident. It means that you’re ready to feel good and manifest a life beyond your wildest dreams. Let’s get started.

Welcome back to Dear Gabby. Welcome back. Welcome back. I’m really excited for today’s show. This is our 80th episode of Dear Gabby. And it’s crazy because it feels like yesterday that we sat down to record the first episode and this show has far exceeded our wildest dreams. We have millions and millions of you listening, and I’m just really grateful that you keep coming back for more and I’m gonna be super committed to giving you the best content I can.

And I’m so proud to be able to share this with you. So I wanna thank you for coming back week after week. My friends. Thank you. Today’s episode is a follow-up episode with the one and only Dr. Becky Kennedy. And Dr. Becky was recently named the millennial parenting whisperer by Time magazine. She’s so awesome.

You guys have probably heard her in the past with the original episode that we did. The episode was so loved that we wanted to keep the conversation going. And Dr. Becky’s goal is to empower parents to feel sturdier and more equipped to manage the challenges of parenting. For those of you who are not a parent, it’s really valuable for you to hear this because this understanding and awareness can really help you on your own personal growth journey.

So as this is extremely beneficial for parents, this is absolutely an episode for all humans on a journey of personal growth. You may have heard our last episode, which was titled, Do you have adult tantrums?: How to soothe yourself and your kids. And this episode perfectly compliments that one.

In today’s episode, I go right in with questions to Dr. Becky that were crowdsourced from my friends and family and team. The guidance and the advice that Dr. Becky shares is just golden. It’s golden. Her advice is not only really beneficial for parents but, like I said, it’s so beneficial for helping us understand how our childhood has shaped our sense of safety and security in the world.

And you’re going to absolutely feel that greater awareness and understanding when you listen to this show. Another great resource that will really support you on your journey of looking more closely at your own childhood wounds and how they affect you as an adult is our free two-minute What’s Your Attachment Style Quiz.

I’m super passionate about attachment theory. And once I learned my attachment style, all of my relationships began to change and much like today’s episode more awareness creates more opportunity for your own personal growth and therefore great shifts in your relationships. And so that’s why I created a free two-minute attachment-style quiz.

What’s your attachment style? Totally free. Just head over to deargabby.com/attachment. Take the free quiz. Consider this my gift to you. Once you learn your attachment style, a new level of awareness is going to amplify your ability to create boundaries, your ability to connect to others and to start attracting the right books into your life.

So go over to dear gabby.com/attachment. Take the quiz. Thank me later and enjoy this show. This is such a radical episode. I love Dr. Becky. Here we go.

GABBY: Okay. There are so many questions that have come through from my, my team, my friends we’re rapid fire. We’re gonna do…

DR. BECKY: I’m ready. I feel like I’m on like a game show.

GABBY: You’re gonna be on game show.

DR. BECKY: Okay. Let’s do it.

GABBY: Let’s start with the cell phone ones, the text messages first, and…

DR. BECKY: Your friends will be unhappy if their questions didn’t make into the show. So preserve those friendships.

GABBY: So good. Okay. Here we go. It’s Jessie’s birthday. Let’s ask Jessie’s question: strategies for moving away from trusted objects, like a bottle or a binky.

DR. BECKY: Mm. First step, like talk to yourself about being ready for this. Right. So, okay. I believe my child is ready to not have a pacifier anymore.

Now, remember that’s separate from, is my child gonna have a reaction to it? We have to really separate that. My child may be distressed. Of course, whenever anyone makes any change, they’re gonna have distress. I believe as a parent, for whatever reason, their unique family, the age that my child is ready to make this change.

And to really say that to yourself is the first step. I believe my child’s ready. I’m the sturdy leader. I’m the one who makes these decisions. My child’s in charge of their feelings. So let me also get ready with the, oh, you miss your pacifier. Like let me actually prep my body and practice those things now.

And remind. Oh, you want your pacifier? Okay. Jessie, Jessie, that doesn’t mean I made a bad decision. Her feelings, my decision, separate things, her feelings, my decision, separate things. Step two, come up with a plan, right? People do it different ways, right? Some people have a party around these kind of transitions to kind of add some joy to it.

I’m not for, or against those things. If that feels good in your family. Sure. But I think prepare your child for it. Tell them what’s to come. Not weeks in advance, maybe, you know what, tomorrow this is going to happen. Note it. I always think it’s helpful for kids to hear the feelings they might have.

That’s something new. There might be a moment you miss your binky. That makes sense. I’m gonna help you through it. So I’m doing what I think is such an important job as a parent is I’m naming the feeling, allowing it to be there, but I’m also telling my child, I’m different than you. Like, you’re gonna have a hard time.

I’m gonna show up to help you with that hard time. Right? Don’t we all want that in a leader like this, thing’s gonna be hard and I’m gonna help you through that?


DR. BECKY: We don’t want someone who’s gonna say this thing’s gonna change and it’s gonna be fine. We so often think our kids wanna hear that. They don’t.

GABBY: Fine is like the worst F word.

DR. BECKY: Yeah. Oh, it is. Say it again.

GABBY: Right? Right? Like, yeah. Fine is like the devil’s F word, you know, like, oh, you’re fine. You’re fine. Right. Or we’re gonna get through this. You’re fine. Okay. Keep going. I didn’t wanna interrupt you.

DR. BECKY: Right. So step one, prepare yourself, remind yourself. This is your decision and kind of prepare for your child’s emotions.

That’s not a barometer of your decision-making. That’s a barometer of the fact that they’re an independent human being, right? Step two, explain it to your child, predict some of those feelings and tell your child you’re going to help them through it. And step three. Do it decisively. Not, do you think you’re ready? Do you think now? No.

GABBY: You gotta make it. You gotta make it happen.

DR. BECKY: There’s nothing as dysregulating to a child as not being sure that the pilot of the plane knows what they’re doing. Oh, like, can you imagine being on a plane with turbulence and being like, you don’t really know if we’re gonna land in Los Angeles or not.

GABBY: Right. Right. So that’s like all back and forth, right? Like if you start to, you know, you make a commitment, you gotta stick to that commitment.

DR. BECKY: Yeah. Right. Because it’s really scary for a kid. If you go back to the feelings and how scary they feel a child that says, no, not today, this is not to say we can’t reevaluate.

Of course, we need to change our minds, but changing your mind because you’ve had a difference of opinion is very different from changing your mind because you wanna avoid your kids’ feelings and kids know the difference.

GABBY: Beautiful.

DR. BECKY: And so, when we change because they’re protesting again, they think, wow, those feelings in me that feel overwhelming actually are as bad as I thought. They’re actually worse because now my parent doesn’t even wanna tolerate them. No wonder the dysregulation gets even higher. So stick to it and go back to that part of step one. You’re prepared with those. Ah, you miss your binky. I know you’re allowed to feel this way. We’re going to get through it together.

I wanted to take a minute to talk about how excited I am to be partnering with Perfect Bar and to be sharing one of my favorite go-to refrigerated snacks with you. Taking care of my body is extremely important to me, but I’ve never been willing to give up taste in exchange for protein or convenience.

And this is why I was so excited when I found Perfect Bars. Their protein bars have a cookie dough-like texture that’s really creamy and full of flavor. And unlike other bars out there, they are absolutely delicious snacks, but they’re packed with up to six grams of whole foods protein and 150 calories, a little goes a long way.

Perfect Bars are a nutritious and delicious snack that the whole family will love. And they’re made with freshly ground peanut butter, organic honey, and 20 organic superfoods. Perfect Bar has a variety of products. So you can be sure to find something that you’re gonna really like. And one of my current favorites is the peanut butter snack-size bar.

It tastes amazing. And it’s so perfect. And it’s the best size. I’m off to Machu Pichu this week, going to Peru. And when I take a long flight, I make sure to have a lot of Perfect Bars with me so I can snack the whole way there. And when I get off the plane, I can snack some more. So grab one after a workout for a quick bite or in between meetings or when you’re getting on your next flight to wherever you’re going.

Perfect Bar knows it will be love at first bite. So for a limited time, they’re offering you a chance to try their refrigerated protein bars for free. Here’s how it works. Sign up for email or text and upload a picture of your receipt from your local grocery store. And they’ll reimburse you for the cost of one bar directly into your Venmo or PayPal account.

Isn’t that awesome? All you have to do is go to perfectsnacks.com/gabby to get a free perfect bar today. That’s perfectsnacks.com/gabby to get a free perfect bar today. Happy snacking.

The last few years I’ve been so, so good at doing my own makeup. I’ve had to record so many podcasts on my own in my studio. I’ve even done live TV segments from my Zoom. So I’ve had to get really good at makeup, which means I have been really into figuring out the cool new makeup trends. And figuring out the most high-performing beauty and skin care products out there.

And let me tell you one brand that I absolutely love is Thrive Causemetics. They are the sponsor of this show, but I actually firsthand attracted them to be our sponsor. They don’t use parabens or sulfates. They’re certified 100% vegan and cruelty-free, which is also really important to me and my little kitty, Jimmy Blue. And I love their liquid lash extension mascara.

It’s ultra eye-opening and it doesn’t clump or smudge or flake. And I’ve tried dozens of brands. And this is the only one that I’ve used that is just amazing and almost mimics eyelash extensions. Also, their clean ingredients support longer, stronger, and healthier-looking lashes over time.

Oh, and the best part is it’s so easy to remove. Their tubing formula slides right off with warm water and a washcloth. There’s zero soap required.

And I’m not the only one that’s obsessed with it. It’s one of their best-selling products and has more than 20,000 5-star reviews. Are you kidding me? That’s amazing. I’m also obsessed with their liquid bomb lip treatment. It’s a leave-on lip serum treatment that nourishes and restores dull, dehydrated lips.

I put it on every single night before I go to bed, but it also makes your lips look really glossy if you’re going to be on camera or if you’re just going out for dinner, whatever you’re doing. And one of the most important parts of the brand is that they have a strong mission behind their company. Thrive Causemetics donates to help women thrive. From women emerging from homelessness, surviving domestic abuse, cancer, and more, their bigger-than-beauty promise really resonates with me.

And I love companies that have a mission like this. Now is a great time to try Thrive Causemetics for yourself. Right now you can save 15% off your first order when you visit ThriveCausemetics.com/Gabby; that’s Thrive Causemetics, C AU S E M E T I C S.com/gabby for 15% off your first order.

GABBY: And you also don’t wanna set the stage for you to get upset. You then get what you want. Listen, I grew up with no with not a lot of money and it’s like a weird thing that I sort of look at as like, well, I learned how to work hard and I, you know because I didn’t have that privilege.

I now am this hardworking woman and with my child growing up with privilege, you know, financial privilege and never gonna have a care in the world financially, it’s it kind of scares the shit outta me.

Cause I’m like, I don’t want this little kid to be like a prince.

DR. BECKY: Right.

GABBY: So what do I do, Becky?

DR. BECKY: Right. So this goes back to that idea that we were talking about, which is. People say this, like if your kid tantrums for the toy, you give them the toy. Then they think a tantrum gets them what they want. Right?

I think it, that whole framework just actually assumes something kind of nasty about kids. To me, those words come up like manipulative. Right? And my kid manipulates me through a tantrum. That’s I really don’t think that’s what’s happening. My kid tantrums in a store for a toy. And I go into the store thinking I’m not gonna get my kid a toy.

So I know I don’t want to. Right? We’re there to buy a birthday present. I’m not saying no. So my kid thinks, well, I guess I don’t get everything I want. That’s really not what it is. What we’re really talking about in that moment is does my child learn that frustration is a part of life or does my child learn that frustration should not be a part of my life is not supposed to be a part of my life?

That’s what we’re really wiring. And you didn’t mention this word, but right. The big E word is entitlement. Right? I don’t know anyone who raises their hands. It’s like, I want an entitled kid, sign me up. Right. So I really believe when we say a kid is entitled. We’re really talking about the entitlement to not feel frustration.

And that’s not a kid’s fault because if a kid’s life was one where parents couldn’t tolerate their distress and had the means to avoid it through quote, “getting what they want.” The real issue is that a child actually becomes terrified of distress and frustration with good reason because their whole childhood was essentially saying, don’t feel that feeling. That feeling is so bad.

So now your kid is 18 and you’re, you’re so embarrassed because you hear them say, I’m not flying coach I’m I’m flying first class. And I was like, oh, they’re so entitled. They always got what they want. No. Did they go through the tunnel of frustration? Did they learn to tolerate frustration? And let’s call a spade, a spade.

If you have a lot of money, you have to work harder to make sure your kids actually experience frustration. You actually do, because it’s very easy to buy your way out of it. If you don’t have the money in the toy store, it’s just like, well, we’re just not, we’re always getting it, do that. It’s not. And then frustration’s a part of life.

And going back to your working hard, and guess what? People who work really, really hard, they have big frustration tolerances.

GABBY: Right.

DR. BECKY: They, because it’s been built in, it’s like, yeah, I know. I don’t get what I want right away. I know I’m not gonna just like sit down and write a book and it’s just gonna appear.

I know from my body, not from a lecture, not from anything cognitively I, my body has lived through tolerating frustration and eventually experiencing good feelings after that. Well, if kids don’t have their experience, that if kids don’t have that experience, it’s not their fault that they can’t tolerate not sitting in first class.

Their body actually is in threat state, feeling a feeling for the first time at age 18, when there’s not a first-class seat available.

GABBY: Right. I can’t have it. And that means I can’t. I have to feel something that I’m, you know…

DR. BECKY: And I’m not prepared. I’m no different than a one month old who feels frustrated, literally developmentally I’m at the exact same point.

GABBY: Well, I just thought of something that I’m gonna remember in the toy store is the no to the toy is the gift. Like the present, the present is the gift of feeling frustration.

DR. BECKY: I, I love that. And I think to add on, Our kids, don’t know that’s a gift. They don’t need to know. They don’t need to validate that.
GABBY: That’s me. That’s for me.

DR. BECKY: This is a gift. This is gonna prepare you for life. Right. And look, and I, in situations where my kids say to me, You know, but you have the money to buy this which, you know, I’m like, ugh, right. I’m like, I hope no one heard my child say that. It’s horribly embarrassing, but also it’s true.

GABBY: Right. Mm-hmm.

DR. BECKY: And that, and I’ll say, I know, I, I actually think it’s a really important thing for us to not always get the things we want. Learning to tolerate wanting and not having is a really important, maybe one of the most important things in life. That’s one of the reasons I’m saying no, like, just call a spade, a spade.

You don’t have to say, well, I don’t have the money. Well, do you know how taxes work? It’s just like…

GABBY: Right, right, right, right.

DR. BECKY: Just name it. Like it’s important to be frustrated. So I’m dosing out some to you. There you go. You know, they might still have the tantrum. I’m gonna contain them, carry them home. And I’ll tell myself after that was just an important life experience.

GABBY: That was really game-changing for me. Thank you. Now, there’s this other thing I’m doing with my son that I don’t know if it’s right or wrong and that’s why I’m so happy you’re here. And then I’m gonna get off my selfish questions and get into the rest.

But, you know, I want him to, at three I’m like trying to teach him what, like the value of a dollar is. And I’m like, I’m like, mommy gave you a coin. Let’s go put that coin in a coin. Like, I’m like, you know, are you gonna vacuum? Cuz he loves to vacuum. I’m like, are you gonna vacuum up so that you can, you know, earn money?

And my husband’s like chill he’s three. And so, I mean like tell me like, am I, is that crazy? Am I, I just I’m so. So conscious of him learning, like, you know, mommy and daddy are going to work now so that we can pay for you to enjoy this food. And, you know, yeah. I don’t know. I’m struggling there because I really want him to, you know, and have a great work ethic.

DR. BECKY: So I don’t think it’s wrong or right. And you know, it’s neither and I kind of applaud you. Like, we want our kids to work hard and also develop a system where they can feel proud of themselves. Right. Which involves working hard. Like we all know that’s the process of feeling good about ourselves comes from kind of those tough times.

So what I would say is to instill that in a kid young, when they’re young, right? First of all, it’s, it’s a long burn, right? So often be like, my kids don’t feel grateful for this. Gratitude, it just takes a while and a lot of perspective in years to develop. Right. And also to the degree. I think to the degree we’re raising our kids in a candy store, they’re not gonna be grateful to have candy.

Like it’s just not a thing. Right? So thinking about where, you know, the way we’re raising our kids, just what they’re exposed to. We can’t ask them to have perspective when that hasn’t really been their experience. Right. Plus the fact that age three, four, most kids don’t have that anyway.

GABBY: Right.

DR. BECKY: What I will say is you, I think you would make something concrete in his world. So he loves, I don’t know these, you know, little stuffed animals that cost $8, right? And he wants one. What a cool thing to say. And it doesn’t even have to be in the form of money. I don’t know if that matters, but he gets, you know, independent of behavior, maybe, right?

Like a certain sticker or a dollar every week. His body experiences getting one still not enough getting one still not enough. We don’t even need lectures. Like our body really learns through experience, not through words so that I can imagine. Right. Would really show him. Oh, like still not still. Oh, I have the stack of these bills.

Oh, still not… That that’s worthwhile. So I think that’s a way…

GABBY: You want him to do something for that bill.

DR. BECKY: There’s like a lot of different thoughts around this, you know, I think it’s Ron Lieber who wrote this book that kind of said these, you know, chores should really be independent of allowance because.

You know, your kid’s gonna get to a certain age and like, you’re not gonna be able to control them. You know, in that way anyway. Yeah. I, I don’t, I don’t really have such a strong opinion, but I think both are important. I think chores are really important for kids to feel purpose in their family and to feel capable, right?

Like when kids really learn to set the table or can step on a stool and fill up water and put it on the table or clean a sink, like there’s, there’s something that makes ’em feel good about that. Just to have purpose in their family. Separate from that? Allowance and the idea of saving or really the experience of saving and again, waiting right?

Maybe giving something to charity. What, what do we care about? Like, it just generates really good conversation. So I would say to families which linking it to chores, having them separate, whatever works for you.

Okay. Okay. That’s great. That’s really great.

Now, a word from our sponsor, Better Help. Let me ask you something. Are you the type of person who looks to find problems in situations, or are you the kind of person that seeks solutions? I am raising my hand right now saying I am definitely a solution seeker. If you’re the former, you’re not alone, it’s actually really common in our world to get stuck in finding mode.

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If you are anything like me, you might be on the go often and you don’t have all the time in the world to sit down and read a book. But that’s why I love this sponsor so much. It’s Audible. Audible, Audible, Audible. I love you. I’ve created two Audible originals for myself and all of my books are on audible, but over the years I have the, You Are the Guru Audible Original, and How to Release Anxiety is coming out this Fall.

Get psyched. Audible also offers an incredible selection of audiobooks across every genre from bestsellers to new releases, to celebrity memoirs, mysteries, and thrillers, motivation, wellness, business, and more. And obviously spiritual self-help books like mine. You’ll discover exclusive Audible originals from top celebrities, renowned experts and exciting new voices in audio.

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GABBY: Let’s talk about screen time, screen time, screen time. Mm-hmm as it relates to any age, right? Because you know, my three year old what’s what’s interesting is like, you know, he could get so hooked into Paw Patrol, but then like once we move him onto like watching kids playing soccer, I feel really good about him watching that one kid over on repeat he’s obsessed with this six-year-old kid called Isaiah who’s like this amazing cuz he goes, this boy helped me.

Because it’s teaching him how to play, you know, you help me, mommy. Cause he just wants to be a soccer player. Right. And so there’s, there’s so much value there, but there’s also like this crazy thing. This intuition that I have is like, oh, if I just let it be a thing and like, let him have it that it’s not something he’s like longing lusting after, but man, like what’s the deal, Becky?

Dr. Becky, tell us what to do.

DR. BECKY: Yes. Okay. So I definitely don’t have like any one truth about screen time, right? To me, the thing I struggle with around screen time, again, speaks to these longer term circuits that we’re building in our kids and kind of, it relates to what you’re saying around entitlement and frustration, which is do I associate good feelings and kind of in some degree, dopamine release, right? With mindlessness and ease and lack of exertion?

Which is screen time, no matter what, like certain time you’re just like watching something, you don’t have to do anything. You, you literally just sit there and check out and your body releases dopamine and you have good feelings.

Or do I associate the end of that circuit…Dopamine? Good feelings?…with working at something and being active and being mindful and having a failure and working through it. Right? And kind of something that more mimics hard work, especially when our kids are young. The thing that actually gets to me most about quote “too much screen time,” and I don’t know what that amount is, but let’s just say too much is our kids are building their circuitry for their lives in their early years.

And so the more screen time they have. Right. In some ways, the less prepared they are for the things that are actually going to be needed as they get older, even when they’re in kindergarten, like learning to read requires so much attentiveness, so much focus, so much concentration, so much effort, so much tolerance of failure. So much not knowing so much struggle.

And those are the opposite of all the circuits, right? We practice when me too, and all of us are kind of on our phones mindlessly. So let me be clear. My kids watch shows; my young kids watch shows. My young kids are on screen time. I’m like I am so not a no screen time person.

Plus being a parent is so hard. It’s never been harder than it was, you know, in the last year and a half. And we’re overwhelmed. Then screen time to some degree has been a way for us to engage in self-care. So we need to engage in self-care. It’s just all those things are true.

So what I encourage parents to think about is actually just those general circuits, right? That we want our kids to be able to engage in challenging, mindful activities. Right? And the more time they spend building up the muscle of kind of just chilling out and getting quote “success,” right? The less prepared they are to kind of cope with life. And so what does that really mean, concretely?

I dunno for everyone just to kind of consider that and I. I think, you know, the conversation that’s so often missing around screen time is am I doing anything for my child to help them build their independent play skills? That’s, what’s always missing because one of the reasons we rely so much on screen time is cuz we need a break.

And, and we do, we, we a hundred percent do. The better, our kids independent play skills, the more options they have to do something on their own. So we can sit and read or sit and do whatever we wanna do. And then we can opt into screen time, but we don’t feel as parents as kind of desperate to rely on it.

GABBY: I love when my kid’s, like in the corner of the dining room, like playing with his, like to, with his cars or his magnet tiles.. Cause it that, okay. So the encouragement of independent play can really kind of balance it a bit.

DR. BECKY: Yes. Yes. So, all the parents listening really like nobody’s doing anything wrong.

Right. What I would say is in the early years, like one of the things we wanna cultivate are kind of this frustration tolerance skills, right. So we know those are not cultivated during screen time. Okay. You know what? I’m not always cultivating those skills in me. I wanna chill out and relax too. Full permission.

Yes. And let’s try to be mindful about giving our kids those opportunities because we know, we know they’re gonna need those skills when they’re older and we have to be the ones to kind of set up a structure where they can build those skills when they’re younger.

GABBY: What if there’s been no boundaries? The kid’s 13 years old, and all he wants to do is get on his, get on his phone. Or her phone. What then?

DR.BECKY: So I think too often we forget as parents, I’m the adult here. At any moment I could change any rule. I can change anything. It’s actually like, I’d ask everyone listening to be like, wow, it’s kind of really powerful.

I’m very powerful. Like we are like, something’s not working for me anymore. I can change it. Does that mean I’d go to my 13-year-old and take her phone or his phone, whatever out of their hand and say no more? No, it’s just never gonna go well, but actually empowering yourself. And I think about this phrase a lot, like embodying our authority, our kids need us to.

It doesn’t feel good to them to be the pilot of a plane. They know they don’t have a pilot license for it. They’re like, where the fuck is the pilot and why did they put me in charge? It really doesn’t feel good. Right? So we’re the pilot; we really are. So what might that look like? Hey, I wanna talk to you about something and it might get a little heated.

I hope it doesn’t. I wanna talk about it respectfully. I’m just gonna give you a warning. I think you’re not gonna, like what I have to say. One of my jobs as your parent is to make decisions that I really, really believe are good for you, even when you don’t like those decisions, one of your jobs is to have feelings about that.

So I feel like you’re gonna have feelings. There we go. We’re both about to do our jobs. So I think there’s been a little too much screen time in this house. Again, I’m not even using blaming language, right? You could even take it on. I think I’ve been a little permissive about it and here’s one of the things I know.

That screens and phones are important for teenagers and they connect to their friends and there’s an amount of freedom and exploration you wanna do on there. And I’m totally supportive of that. And it’s really important to make sure we have time without it. That’s actually how our brain grows. That’s how we learn to tolerate frustration.

That’s how we learn new skills. And I wanna help set you up to be, you know, kind of successful adult in terms of feeling capable. And if I don’t change the rules around your phone use, I’m really not doing that job. So I don’t know if I have any stringent rules right now. I actually wanna include you in the discussion.

Let’s think about this together. It’s gonna change. I can tell you there’s a range that’s gonna work for me, right? I have a range in mind, but let’s talk it out. Let’s think about the most important things that you do, the most important times of day. Probably let’s come up together with some things that you’re willing to give up.

GABBY: Love that. Love everything about what you just. That was so empowering for me, but because I know it would empower the kid, obviously with a three-year-old, it’s a little harder to do that.

DR. BECKY: But, um, with a three-year-old, you know, encourage the, the, the self play, you know, I think also like, as parents, we have to like prepare emotionally for the teenage years.

Right. And, but, but it’s the same stuff with our three year old. Right. Even, Hey, you know what I’m thinking about? Ugh, it’s been really hard to kind of play. With your friends with like your trucks. It’s been really hard to figure out if it’s okay for them to have them or you have to have all them. And I have some ideas about what can happen at that next play date, but you know what?

You’re a smart kid. I’m sure you have a lot of ideas too. So let’s talk it out together. Yeah. There’s a way to be really boundaried and really collaborative. Again, like I always think about these two things. Like you can be boundaried and you can be warm, you can be boundaried and a leader and you can be collaborative.

Like these things can be true at once and often it’s what we all want from someone. Yeah. Is someone to like be kind and kind of sound like they know what they’re talking about.

GABBY: Collaborative, come on. So beautiful. So in my household, we don’t yell. Not that we never raise our voice. Like there’s of course those moments where I’ll say like quoting you, like, I will not let you do that.

There’s like a sternness, but yelling is not happening. Okay. And it’s not because we’re not expressing our feelings. It’s because it’s, it’s all about getting into what is up right now. What do you, what do you need to feel right now? Let’s talk just for very briefly about the act of yelling.

DR.BECKY: Well, what I would say is I don’t know, one parent who’s like, I really wanna yell at my kids. I’m just like, I’m feeling pretty solid about that intervention. I think it’s really good for them. I remember being yelled at just like, was so good for me. Like, I don’t know anyone who says that. So I think anyone who’s yelling at their kids, they’re dysregulated, right?

They’re totally dysregulated. And hopefully again, if they kind of note the guilt and say hi to it, they can reflect on what triggers me, what gets me to that place? I think what’s interesting about yelling is we always look at, oh, I yelled at my kids. I didn’t want to. Like what led to that? I often think it’s not what led to that.

It’s what started it. And what started it probably happened so much earlier in the day or the day before, right? Like what was the very beginning of that arc? Yes. My kid took a snack when I said there’s no snacks, but what else happened that probably led to the development of those feelings, cuz we need to intervene way before we’re full and are about to overflow.

Right? Why isn’t yelling good for kids? Well, it puts them into a state of threat. They feel terrified, right? It’s an animal defense state and often kids actually freeze.

GABBY: They freeze. Yeah.

DR. BECKY: We think a lot about fight or flight and some kids respond in fight or flight. They yell back or they get aggressive, but the freeze, submit and play dead animal response states aren’t talked about as much, but they’re, they’re just as common, right?

GABBY: It’s so fascinating that you just said that. Cuz like I think of the families where yelling was sort of the form of discipline doesn’t mean there wasn’t love and like deep love in the family, but like just, that was the form of discipline.

I see the kids literally turn off. Freeze. They just, they, they…

DR. BECKY: And, and it can be very activating to a parent cause they say, do, do you hear what I’m saying? Why aren’t you responding? For any parent right now, it’s actually powerful to think. Oh, and again, check the guilt. Hi guilt. And remember I’m a good parent who had a hard time, just like our kids.

Our kids are good kids who have a hard time. We are good parents who might ave had, or are having a hard time. Oh, maybe my child’s not responding cuz cuz they’re in a freeze state. That’s wow. Okay. Right. Okay. So it’s just, again, the framework with which we interpret our kids’ behavior, determines how we respond.

Right. So where all of us are like what strategy, what strategy? I always think forget the strategies as much as I’m like, love the strategies and love the scripts. I do. What’s more powerful than any strategy is checking in with yourself about your framework. The framework with which I’m thinking about my kid’s behavior, does it make me feel further away from my kid and angry at my kid? Or closer to my kid? And more curious about my kid?

It doesn’t even matter what the framework is. As soon as we can get into a framework, that allows us to be compassionate and curious, we are gonna think of a better strategy and script than Dr. Becky will. Like a hundred percent.

Because you’re in that place. So reframing your kid’s response to your yelling. Oh, they’re frozen. Okay. Right. That allows me to see what’s happening from the lens of empathy. Not the lens of they’re disrespecting me.

GABBY: Right. Beautiful. Excellent. All right. So as we wrap up, I wanna hear what’s the most common question you get from people because, because first of all, everybody’s gotta follow Dr. Becky on Instagram. It’s you’re so excellent there. You’re doing such a beautiful job of just demystifying these principles and being this, this hope merchant for so many parents. And, and thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Tell me what the most common question you get is and what is the answer?

DR. BECKY: There’s two and one I’ve already said, I think one is.

It’s not too, uh, sorry. One is it too late? Yeah, I keep saying hi. I’m like, it’s not too late, but that’s not the question. Is it too late? And, and I really think, and I think you’ll appreciate this Gabby that whenever we ask, is it too late? I actually think we’re asking for really that like inner child, that’s looking for healing in ourselves.

I could cry like, and so it’s not too late for your child, but it’s also not too late for you.

GABBY: Totally.

DR. BECKY: The other question I get, and I think this could be a really powerful thing to end with, is the question, how do I get my kid to stop blank? Or how do I get my kid to start blank? Right? How do I get my kid to stop yelling? How do I get my kid to stop freaking out? How do I get my kid to say, thank you? We can’t get our kids to do anything. Like I actually mean that we can’t get our partners to do anything.

We can’t get other people to do anything, but, but to me, that’s not like full of hopelessness. I think if we replace that question with what’s going on for my kid when they do this? What skill is my kid missing that they’re not doing that behavior? Or maybe even a better question.

What goes on for me when my child does that behavior? What does it bring up for me? And how can I show up differently? Because here’s the most amazing thing about family systems and internal family systems is when you show up differently, the system changes.


DR. BECKY: And it doesn’t immediately change the other person, but it allows for change because you’ve provided the movement.

And so again, this isn’t a way of saying, oh, so you’re saying it’s my fault. No, it’s totally not our fault. Like our kids’ behavior is not our fault. I just, I think it’s our responsibility as the adult to reflect and look at anything we can do differently. Because that actually allows our kids to make the changes, you know, what we’re looking for and, and probably they’re looking for as well.

Because certain behavior, whatever bothers us, it probably doesn’t feel good to them either.

GABBY: And I think when you model that behavior, the, the repetition of that behavior with love can be so effective. You know, I got a text today from my son’s nanny and she said, Ollie’s looking at me, I’m sitting on the sofa. And he goes, what doing Ahnie?

And she’s Angie, he calls her Ahnie; what doing Ahnie? And she said eating pizza. And he goes, no eating on the sofa. Daddy no like. You know, it’s like, and this is something that, you know, we’ve been working. It’s a beautiful thing to witness that they are. So, you know, they can be guided to learn these important life skills, like not eating on the sofa, which is not something I learned, you know, and it’s a, it’s an important skill and that they can learn it with grace and they can, they cannot feel shamed into it.

DR. BECKY: A hundred percent.

GABBY: What doing, Ahnie? [laughter] So, so, and where can everybody find you?

Where can you find me? Well, probably the hub I guess, would be goodinside.com and at goodinside.com, you can find my Instagram. You can find my podcast, which is called Good Inside with Dr. Becky. You can find the kind of courses and workshops where I do deeper dives into a million different parenting, and non-parenting topics, I should say.

GABBY: And I’m so proud of you.

DR. BECKY: Thank you.

GABBY: If you made it to the end of this episode, that means you’re truly committed to miracles. I’m really proud of you. If you wanna get more Gabby tune in every Monday for a new episode. Make sure to subscribe. So you don’t miss any of the guidance or special bonus episodes.

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