Karin Jakubowski: Rona, thank you so much for joining me today. I would like to just formally introduce this is Rona Renner. She was the host of the childhood matters which was a radio show in San Francisco Bay area for 10 years, and currently hosts about health on the kpfa.org radio.
Karin Jakubowski: She's a registered nurse temperament counselor writer and grandma of 5, and she's also an international parent book author of is that me yelling a Parents guide to getting your kids to cooperate without losing your cool. How does like the 1 million dollar question every parent, Rona. Welcome to Magnificent!
Karin Jakubowski: Thank you. I'm so happy to meet you. I'm so excited to have you here today, so I love starting out with what's one thing that you've done recently that maybe you haven't done for a while. That just brings you joy.
Rona Renner: Well, the bad news is that I fell and shattered my wrist. So in November I did that had a couple of surgeries. None of that brought me joy.
Rona Renner: I can tell you that. But last week I started And I got in the warm pool, and I got in the hot tub, I felt no pain, and it was ultimate joy. Just sitting there
Rona Renner: and remembering I had been in at the why, you know, before the pandemic. And now I had the courage to go back, and it just it was wonderful. It it felt so good.
Rona Renner: That's so good, cause it's your arm in pain most of the time now. Still, that's hard. Huh? Yeah, that's and then it's getting better. It should be there without any pain was just like.
Karin Jakubowski: Oh, yeah.
Karin Jakubowski: I can. I can feel that.
Karin Jakubowski: Oh, well, thank you for sharing that, I hope, continued healing speedy healing for your wrist. So, Rona, can you just start out by telling us? And for those listening like what led you to write this book about? Is that me yelling.
Rona Renner: You know I wasn't a big yeller with my kids, my 4 children. But I did yell, and my husband yelled, and
Rona Renner: when I became a temperament counselor at Kaiser permanent day in the pediatric department. I learned all about children's temperament, and we could talk more about that in a bit if you want. But parents would come and see me, and I would meet with them. And what I would find out is that what they were really worried about was how much they were yelling at their kids that that they felt like they were just getting frustrated. They were stressed.
Rona Renner: and they knew that it wasn't. Okay, but they weren't sure what to do. And so when I left working at Kaiser, when I finished my radio show, I suddenly had this open space, and I realized that I wanted to write a book, even though there were a lot of parenting books out there.
Rona Renner: and I just realized yelling
Rona Renner: was the new spanking in a way. You know, that parents had a lot of parents had stopped hitting their kids because they had heard that it wasn't good to hurt children, you know, and to hit them. So yelling became a way to deal with all the frustration, and I I knew from my own experience
Rona Renner: that kids really don't like yelling. If you ask children, they'll tell you they hate it
Rona Renner: when their parents are yelling.
Rona Renner: and so I I thought, how do I? How do I address this idea of understanding yourself, you know, in a way it's like mindfulness. But I didn't want to call it mindful parenting, because I wanted to reach
Rona Renner: all the parents who I had been working with, who wouldn't resonate with the word mindfulness. And so I focus more on the idea of is that me yelling like, how do I pay attention to what i'm doing? And then how do I shift
Rona Renner: my behavior to help my children understand how to shift theirs.
Karin Jakubowski: And I I noticed that you said in another talk where people would say just the fact that they read the title of your book, and it was present in their living room. Dining room kitchen. Just i'm looking at
Karin Jakubowski: is is that me? Yelling just consciously made them almost like check themselves to be like. Oh, wait! What can I do differently? And it really actually brought a change which is crazy.
Rona Renner: that's right. Sometimes All we need is parents is like a reminder, a little awareness, you know. You could be listening to the radio and hear something on the radio. It's just what you needed to hear, and I often would say to parents in my classes, Look, we're not talking about perfection. You don't have to say i'll never yell again.
Rona Renner: you know the first step is to know that you want to yell less. You know there are people who don't care.
Rona Renner: They yell at their kids, and they think that's a perfect form of discipline. And those people, you know, won't change.
Rona Renner: But if you decide you want to do something that's the first step, and then you need some support, and figuring out, how do I do this? And that's what this book is all about, and I talk a lot about myself. And I say, in the very beginning, that one day I heard myself I was upstairs, and the kids were fighting and sibling. Fighting was one of the big triggers for me for yelling.
Rona Renner: and I went to the stairs, and I said, Karina, stop yelling, you know, and I'm yelling on the top of my lungs, and I had that moment of oh, wait a second. I think i'm a hypocrite right now, right
Rona Renner: i'm the one yelling at du. So it's like self observation. How do we notice
Rona Renner: what we're doing? But we we need to do it without judgment and with a lot of compassion. I feel like parents
Rona Renner: need to have compassion for themselves. It's the hardest job there is.
Rona Renner: except maybe being a teacher. But but parenting is so hard, and if we're hard on ourselves, then we're not going to be compassionate towards our kids. So the first step is really being compassionate. Give yourself a kiss, you know, every time you make a mistake, give yourself a kiss
Rona Renner: and say, okay, I'm gonna track what happened, what I did and what I could do differently.
Karin Jakubowski: and that in turn is also teaching our kids
Karin Jakubowski: how to treat themselves
Karin Jakubowski: like it's it's actually beautiful in twofold. Can you tell us the story of when you interviewed that seven-year-old boy, and what he said about his dad, and then what you notice from from that that you share with parents.
Rona Renner: Let me see if I remember. I think I think it is it this to me to help you about? When I asked him what he would wish for if he had a magic one. Yes, you know it. It was. It was a child who I went to see the family because they were having a lot of struggles.
Rona Renner: and I said, You know, if you had a magic wand, what would you wish for? And he and he said, I wish my father would not yell at me, and I don't remember what I wrote in the book, because it's been so many years. But this father was really like in tears.
Rona Renner: realizing how sad he was that his child felt so bad about the fact that he was
Rona Renner: yelling at him.
Karin Jakubowski: Yeah, and I think I remember you. You just use that as the premise to say. Hey, parents, there's no shame here. There's no blame like, just be aware. But be kind to yourself.
Karin Jakubowski: and in that like you said mindfulness, or however you want to say it, I love how you bring out. Just ask yourself, what do you? What do you feel? What am I feeling right now?
Karin Jakubowski: What do I notice? And what
Karin Jakubowski: just to bring us to that present moment? Because, like you say, there's so many times where we're living in the past, and we're really just not in that present moment. And one way to do that is to take a breath.
Karin Jakubowski: I just ask myself, what am I feeling right now? What am I thinking?
Rona Renner: And and how could I reframe it, You know, if i'm thinking.
Rona Renner: Oh, my God, my kids are such brats! They're driving each other crazy. They're gonna grow up, and they're gonna wind up in jail or something, you know, like you start to escalate. And then if you stop and take a breath and you realize oh, right they're just normal kids, and they're they're they're cooped up in the house, and they need to get out. Okay. So now that I caught myself, I can then decide.
Rona Renner: Oh, what's needed. You know, when we're in a calm state.
Rona Renner: We could be pretty smart, you know. We we find the answers. I don't want to give parents the answers, because parents figure out what to do. But it's it's changing that state that helps us be able to respond from a place of knowing.
Karin Jakubowski: Yeah, yeah, I love that. And so kind of on that note I was. I was curious. If you could help me with this, this, this thing that happened to me. I had a kid who was really upset, and I
Karin Jakubowski: it was after the fact. So I really do my best not to talk to a kid when they're upset and crying, I really give them that time to just calm down.
Karin Jakubowski: and I I like to use the term like when when they looked calm and in control of their body. Then we can talk through what happened. And I use this little like problem-solving question process with them. And I said to them, like, what do you think it would help like. Sometimes it helps me to take a breath, and that just helps me like just reset, and
Karin Jakubowski: i'll think something different and act a little differently because I gave myself that breath, and they were like that doesn't work, and i'm like, oh, man, I know it works. How am I gonna and I didn't try to convince them. I just was like
Karin Jakubowski: and it, and when you try it it works for you awesome, and it
Karin Jakubowski: you try and doesn't work for you like that's okay, too. Is there anything you can help me with it's My, it's like we have to take that. I mean, we have to be real, and we have to be honest as much as we can, and acknowledge oh, okay, that doesn't work for you.
Rona Renner: I'm: just curious. And I love the work. Curious, I mean curiosity is such a wonderful word for teachers for parents. I'm just curious. Has anything helped you? You know, whether you're at home or at school.
Rona Renner: Has anything helped you when you're in that situation, and you need to calm down. You know the child might say No, nothing does, or they might say, Well, yeah, sometimes, if I suck my thumb, it helps, or you know, sometimes, if I if I get up and walk around and get a glass of water that helps. But children often know
Rona Renner: what they need and what helps them, if we ask, and if we are authentically are are really actually interested in them. So often we're busy, and we're frustrated, and we don't actually listen and pay attention
Rona Renner: to what kids have to say.
Karin Jakubowski: So it's almost like, really.
Karin Jakubowski: The intuition in each of us is there.
Karin Jakubowski: If we just take a minute and
Karin Jakubowski: like, sometimes it's just calming everything to kind of okay, what's coming up for me
Karin Jakubowski: instead of I don't know what to do.
Karin Jakubowski: I gotta figure it like someone's got to help me do it.
Karin Jakubowski: There actually really is the help within you
Karin Jakubowski: and within your child, which is.
Karin Jakubowski: I just love that it's very empowering.
Rona Renner: Yes, and sometimes we're just going too fast. And so we don't, you know, really slow down, and you know I've had parents say to me, Look, I got to get out of the house in the morning. My kid is driving me crazy. They they won't get out on time, you know, and i'm rushing. And you know I I work with them on strategies like. Let's set a timer for 15 min before they have to be out, so that they get their shoes and they find their jacket, you know, like like their strategies that can really help. So parents can be
Rona Renner: proactive. But if the child is really having a meltdown, I say to the parents sometimes, okay. So what will happen if you're 5 min late.
Rona Renner: you know, Like if you really need to be 5 min late, because you've got to help this child, calm down without you throwing fuel on the fire without yelling at them. It's not the end of the world, you know, so so we have to keep checking in on our rushing
Rona Renner: and our fast pace.
Rona Renner: because I think that really gets in the way also. And again, I feel empathy for parents. I know that you have to be on time for a lot of things, but you gotta prepare ahead, you know. Make those lunches ahead. Help them pick out their clothes ahead. Make sure they're getting up early enough. Make sure they're getting some protein and something healthy for breakfast.
Rona Renner: because that's going to help their mood all day. Make sure you're getting something, so that your mood is also okay. You know there's a lot to think about as parents. And
Rona Renner: again, lots of sympathy, compassion for how hard it is, especially these last few years
Karin Jakubowski: yes, even more than ever. It's like it's. For some reason it
Karin Jakubowski: it's easier for people to just feel like they're on the brink of like losing it, you know, and things whatever falling apart, or or or just that feeling or thought of it. I had a question come in that I wanted to ask you is, let me see here.
Karin Jakubowski: So, my child, and I have absolutely opposite temperaments, and maybe when I go into that little bit and we often butt heads, and when there's a conflict, how can I help us get to level ground? How should how much should I compromise with my child?
Rona Renner: So temperament is the way we move in the world, and we come into the world differently. So Some children are slow to warm up shy. They may be sensitive. Some kids have high intensity and high activity levels, or or they're very regular. Other kids are disorderly and unregular, you know. So this is full, these 9 traits of of temperament, and there's a wonderful book called Raising your Spirited Child
Rona Renner: by Mary Kresinka, and she goes through all the traits. I think it's one of the best books my book is that me yelling also has a a good chapter on temperament, so
Rona Renner: our children might be very different than us. So, for instance, this parent is saying, they're different, so maybe the parent is an extrovert and high energy, and the child is an introvert, you know, slow to warm up and sensitive. And so the parent is trying to go. Come on, let's go. You know i'm impatient. It's time to go, and the child is taking their time.
Rona Renner: So what happens? We, as parents have to first understand the differences and know that our children are different than us. So if I'm in patient part of my job is to learn actually how to be a little more patient.
Rona Renner: If my child is slow and slow adapting, and has trouble with transitions, I've got to teach them, you know. Again setting a timer making a list, really trying to help them do what they need to do. But
Rona Renner: but I I I think the end of that question was about the how to have a peace between you and not have the fine final last word. You know the piece is really acceptance, working with the child, and then not feeling like your siblings who are fighting.
Rona Renner: You know we don't want those power struggles. So you give in a little bit like, okay, you don't like eating this food because you're sensitive. I'll tell you what. I'll make you something healthy for each meal, and
Rona Renner: all of us will eat other things, and if you don't like them, at least you have this one thing.
Rona Renner: you know, instead of saying
Rona Renner: you must eat and sit at the table until you've eaten this, and then the child will just sit there and won't. Eat it, and you'll lose.
Rona Renner: So there are compromises. You are the boss. You still set the rules. It's not about being a pushover. But there's this understanding of what makes your child tick, and if you could understand that
Rona Renner: my intensity
Rona Renner: in order to teach my child how to calm their intensity and and parents. You know we have to regulate.
Rona Renner: so that we can help our children learn to regulate and and there's this idea of co-regulation, you know, like if you're in a more regulated state, you can help your child regulate as well.
Rona Renner: And then some kids are just going to keep pushing you. They're just going to keep pushing you, and you're going to learn and learn and keep looking at the blessing that they are. Keep looking at what they have that's really good, and also understand that behavior has meaning.
Rona Renner: So when the behavior is really hard, there's some meaning behind it, and his teachers and his parents. We sometimes have to understand what's going on with this child.
Rona Renner: What do we need to know?
Karin Jakubowski: And that takes time, and that takes time and teachers, which is why we're always fighting against. Yeah, and especially teachers, You know you have it's in the class You gotta keep going.
Karin Jakubowski: They want to
Karin Jakubowski: that at at their heart is to really take that time with them.
Karin Jakubowski: and they struggle with
Karin Jakubowski: Yeah, how do you find the time? And sometimes that's where it falls on the administrators, because we have the time to sit with them, and also when you sit with them, is when you're building that connection and relationship stronger with them, which is so powerful when a teacher has that
Karin Jakubowski: with the child, too.
Karin Jakubowski: And I love how you talk about the code.
Karin Jakubowski: Think of a boss that you had or boss that you kind of the character that you
Karin Jakubowski: respect, and a boss, and how you you kind of like. Talk about that
Rona Renner: being that with a kid. Do you want to touch on that for a second? Yeah, I think that's one way for us to understand what our kids are dealing with like I could think about bosses who I loved and what did I love about them? You know they were funny. They didn't judge me harshly, or me, or shame me.
Rona Renner: and you know they they want to
Rona Renner: back and forth cooperation, You know, when I think about bosses who I didn't like. They were often a little scary, you know. Often they would yell, you know, in front of other people make me feel bad, or make someone else feel bad, and I would still cringe at that and and didn't
Rona Renner: offer the positive. So I mean, I think, if we think of ourselves as parents as the boss of our children. We could think all right. They need positive feedback. They don't want to be shamed. If we need to discipline them. We need to do it in such a way that we're first saying something positive. And then we say, yeah, but we still have a problem in the morning when you're not getting ready on time.
Rona Renner: Or, yeah, I love it that you have so much enthusiasm at night. But actually, you need to go to bed, you know, whatever it is, but but I think we can identify as adults with bosses who we respect, and other bosses who we didn't want to have anything to do with possible.
Karin Jakubowski: Yeah, I think that's a great way to look at it. When you said that I was like, oh, I mean they think of it, you know just a little differently
Karin Jakubowski: Here's another question from a parent. How do you help de-escalate situations when your child is frustrated about not being able to verbalize their needs.
Rona Renner: Yeah, you know. Think about it. I can't always verbalize my needs. Most adults, I know you know I have trouble with it. So we expect our children to be really clear what they need, and you know, say it in such a way that it's very meaningful, but in fact, often they can. So I think that's when
Rona Renner: we sometimes can say, Wow! I see you have really strong feelings right now. It looks like you're really frustrated or angry, you know. Is that what's going on? And they may say, No, you know. Oh, okay, I think I got that wrong. Then do you want to tell me where what you're feeling or where you're feeling it? No, okay. Well.
Rona Renner: looks like we gotta take a few minutes here and figure out what we're going to do, you know. So if they can't verbalize it, you want to accept
Rona Renner: what you see.
Rona Renner: I see you're really upset.
Rona Renner: you know, and children respond to that. They they want to be seen, and so we help them by sometimes saying it, and then being open to their agreement or not agreement, and over time they can learn to say what they're feeling, but
Rona Renner: practice they need practice, and and we have to be comfortable with that.
Rona Renner: and a lot of us were not raised in a way to know what we were feeling, you know, like I remember growing up, and it Wasn't: okay to be angry.
Rona Renner: you know, like anger. No, no, no, no, that's bad or or sad. No, that was even bad. So again, practice for yourself. Ask yourself. What am I feeling? You know. Where am I feeling it? What am I feeling? And then, with your kids.
Rona Renner: try and be curious about what might be going on for them.
Karin Jakubowski: Yeah, I I just came across a picture book. It's my mom says. Inside me lives a village, and the author just uses cartoon characters of 8 different animals
Karin Jakubowski: to teach kids the different
Karin Jakubowski: feelings, because really, when you ask kids how they're feeling to a good bedset, happy like you get adults. We have such a limited
Karin Jakubowski: description of how we're feeling, and so I just read that to a first grade class, and they loved it. It was just so cool to just like talk about that, so that they could recognize, like the rabbit was sad, or the you know he was. He was unhappy or cheerful or excited, or it just went through like
Karin Jakubowski: almost like 15 or 17 different
Karin Jakubowski: words to teach kids
Karin Jakubowski: that it's there like, you know. You Can you? You notice the behavior?
Karin Jakubowski: But there's no judgment that's what I love. That's why I teach teach kids in our mindfulness lessons. Just notice what's what comes up
Karin Jakubowski: for you without judgment, which is huge.
Karin Jakubowski: because sometimes growing up.
Karin Jakubowski: you know you're like Well, I shouldn't feel that way, and then you know you. You feel bad, and
Karin Jakubowski: and then
Karin Jakubowski: you can't really like
Karin Jakubowski: kind of work through it to move on.
Rona Renner: You know Atlas of the Heart, by Brene Brown is an amazing book that you probably know.
Rona Renner: and I love her, that all the emotions that you know, we, the words that no one really uses the differentiation between jealous and envious, and all the ways in which we might feel sad. Can you say the name of that again? Because I want to get it for my grandson. Yes, and and i'll i'll email to you afterwards. It's my momma says, inside me lives a village.
Karin Jakubowski: and I invited the author of my podcast, and she didn't respond, which I invite so many people, and i'm so grateful when any of them respond, you know. But I got her book, and I read it to one of the first grade classes, and they they just like soaked it up. It was the cool thing, and I had to make a picture of one that they connected with, and then I challenge them to make an animal with a name of maybe another
Karin Jakubowski: feeling. You know that maybe it wasn't representing the book. So just to really get kids to start thinking and talking about it
Karin Jakubowski: to me was huge, because
Karin Jakubowski: nobody was teaching and talking me through that in first grade when I was a kid, and so if we can, so it's that like it it. Our Our motions are there, and it's not something to be pushed down which
Karin Jakubowski: I did a lot of growing up like. Okay, let's just you know there it is. And now what are we going to do with that
Rona Renner: beautiful? And if if we teaching children in school these things, and then again, having the curriculum, so that the parents are learning it simultaneously, because, you know, parents do the best they can with what they have and what they
Rona Renner: they are. I believe that wholeheartedly I do, too, and I I look at myself. I had my first child at 22, you know, and I'm 75 now, and you know I look back, and I think. Wow! I made a lot of mistakes, and I have beautiful children, and
Rona Renner: you know they were resilient, and we want to teach resilience. You know we want.
Rona Renner: We want to be there for them when they're struggling, and know that you know someone's got their back and stay connected. And I think, for any parents who are listening, who have teens preteens.
Rona Renner: I just want to say that that staying connected, you know, not yelling, not shaming them so that they come to you when they're struggling. They need to know that you're a safe place, and
Rona Renner: we know that safety is really important for all children. So, to the best of your ability. If you lose it and yell at your children. Go back and apologize. Say, you know i'm really sorry I I was upset.
Rona Renner: and I yelled, and I don't like it when I yell, and i'm sorry, and i'm i'm gonna be working on that and do better, don't add, and if you only listen to me. I wouldn't have to yell. You know you leave that part out.
Rona Renner: You just come from to a place with with an apology and children, then again learn. Oh, I can apologize when something goes wrong, so true, so true, like I I I say, like the kids are mirrors of us
Karin Jakubowski: whatever. However, you're if you're yelling, they're going to end up yelling, or just totally shut down, you know, and if you can take your take a deep breath, or whatever works for you to get yourself calling and control your body. They will eventually
Karin Jakubowski: here and match you. And the same with it's: okay, to say, hey, I You know what I'm really sorry that I did or said that, and it's teaching them how to behave like that. So powerful. Yeah.
Karin Jakubowski: Yeah. So
Karin Jakubowski: let's pretend, like you had all the moms and the parents sitting sitting in this room with us right now.
Karin Jakubowski: And what is just one thing that you want to just leave them with today.
Rona Renner: Be kind to yourself.
Rona Renner: really find ways for self care.
Rona Renner: so that
Rona Renner: your cup is at least halfway full.
Rona Renner: so that you can be there for your children. Because if your cup is empty.
Rona Renner: you know you're not You're not going to be able to be compassionate. So figure out what it takes, you know. 10 min of meditation. 5 min of you know a. A. I don't know. What would that be? 5 min of talking to a friend, a bubble bath.
Rona Renner: a run around. Yeah, Going for a walk, going for a walk, something that
Rona Renner: fills you up some so that you could be grounded.
Rona Renner: and so that you could approach your child with an open heart.
Rona Renner: and know that you're going to be imperfect.
Rona Renner: But at least you're doing the best you can, and and really trying to understand who this little being is, who is just surprising you every day. But you're gonna keep coming back
Rona Renner: and figuring out
Rona Renner: what they need and what you need.
Karin Jakubowski: How can those of us listening, find and follow you.
Rona Renner: Well, you know, I don't do a lot of social media or anything anymore, but I have a website, Nurse rona.com, and I post my radio shows. I do a live radio show in the bay area, but you can also hear it online. And I post all the [email protected].