Patient Parenting with Alan and Alexis Tanner
September 14, 2021
Parenting can be hard. Sometimes it may feel like it, but we’re not alone in struggling with patience in the process. There are a couple of different ways we can be patient parents. Listen today as we interview Alan and Alexis Tanner, hosts of Parenting In Real Life Podcast, as they share some tips and wisdom about being a more patient parent.
Patient Parenting With Alan and Alexis Tanner
The Mom Training Podcast with Diana Ballard
Diana: Hey ladies, welcome to The Mom Training Podcast. So, excited to have you listening with us today. We are so in luck, we're going to talk to two wonderful people that are the hosts of the Parenting in Real Life Podcast, we have Alexis, and Alan, joining us today, and they are husband and wife and I'm going to have them introduce themselves a little bit.
Tell us a little bit about your family and what you do, your passion behind the Parenting in Real Life Podcast. So, let’s share some of that with us here.
Alexis: Okay. Yeah, we're Alan and Alex's Tanner. We have five kids, our oldest is 10, all the way down to three. We both always wanted a big family. And as we started having kids, we realized that parenting was a little bit harder than we thought it was going to be.
We have always loved podcasts and we thought it’d be really fun to do a podcast all about parenting, the things that we're learning. Because we feel like there's so much information out there and sometimes it's a little overwhelming.
So, we thought we can talk about the things that we're learning, what works and what doesn’t work for our family, and hope that other people can kind of learn from that too. And so… Yeah, that’s how we started our podcast. We love doing it together. It’s a fun project that we do together.
Alan: Yup. In reality, we didn’t know what we were doing as parents, and so we had to do research anyway, so well we may as well make a podcast out of it. It gives us an excuse to research stuff and figure out what we're doing, and share along the way. So, we try and do that; try and become better parents every day and the podcast help us do that.
Diana: Well, I love that you're doing it as husband and wife. Because it means that you're having to learn together. So, it's not just like one parent and then trying to get the other parent… Like you guys are working together to figure out solutions and stuff. So, I really love that. I love that you guys are doing that together.
Alan: Yeah. It’s been really fun and good.
Diana: That’s awesome… Well, let's jump into our topic here, patient parenting. I think that, pretty much, every single parent needs to learn something about patient parenting, because it is rough.
It is hard when heated moments and things that… Our children are so different than us, and it can bring up things in us that we’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can't stand this certain part of this child” Right? Or, “I'm really struggling dealing with how challenging this one is” or something like that.
So, tell me a little bit about patient parenting? And what exactly that is? And kind of what we're going to talk about today.
Alan: Yeah. For sure. I totally agree. Like it’s, we all need this, right? And I think what was frustrating for me, initially when I was a parent, is I didn’t think I would. I was third of six kids growing up, and I was the one that kept my cool when everything was going crazy.
So, I thought parenting was going to be so easy, I can just be chill and I'm never going to get upset at my kids because I never got upset at my siblings. And then I had kids. All of a sudden, I felt myself getting fired up, when my kids weren't good. And so, it was… It always feels bad.
But especially, when you think like, “I should be better than this. I should. I'm a patient person what is happening?” And so, we feel like it's so important to give yourself a break. Like if there's one message we would share, is you just have to give yourself some slack. Chill out a little bit, it's going to be okay. You're not going to ruin your kids.
And so, I think that for us, there’s really two parts to that. One is you have to have realistic expectations for yourself as a parent. The other is you need to have expectations for your kids that are more realistic.
Alexis: Yeah. So, for when you thinking about yourself, what kind of expectations that you have for yourself, some of the things that we mean are, that you can always start over with your kids. They're super forgiving, and just because you made a mistake, doesn't mean that your relationship is ruined with your child. You can always start over the next day, the next hour, or even the next minute.
Take that time with your kids and keep working on that relationship. I think we want it to be so strong and so great from the very beginning. And our kids are so responsible and patient but it takes at least, those whole 18 years that you're working with your children, and beyond that, right? And so, you're always working on that relationship and working on being the best type of parent for your kid and so, we can't expect to be perfect right away. It takes lots of time.
And then our expectations for our children. We just need to know what's appropriate for their age. The mistakes that they're making are usually really normal for that age. We want them to be doing better than what they're capable of doing.
So, that's another thing. It’s just lowering those expectations for your children. just knowing what is appropriate for this age and what they really shouldn't be doing.
Diana: Yeah, I love that. Specifically, the part about being patient with our self. I think it's really challenging for us as parents to be able to see past a moment… Say, like we're going through a really hard time like a loss of a job, or say COVID in 2020 was really challenging and really put a lot of stress on parents. And we can notice... “Oh, I wasn't as nice during that time” or “Man, my kids are like, “I've put them in front of the TV for like millions of hours”, instead of like what I normally do”.
I think that's so important to realize that we need to give ourselves a break. I think that needs to be, something played every day in our head of, “Hey, just give yourself a break and keep trying in doing your best”.
Diana: So, let's talk a little bit more about that because, honestly, I want to address both things. But I really feel like there's a lot of struggles with parents, with being patient with themselves and feeling like, “Man I messed up my kid”, or “I went through this hard time and I was going through heck myself, and I wasn't perfect.”
Maybe I spoke more negatively or I looked at the situation and now, they’re repeating my words or doing things like that. Like can I redeem this moment? So, I want to hear your thoughts a little bit more about that.
Alan: Yeah. I think there's lots of little things that help with this. So, one fun trick… And one thing I love is that kids as we know are kind of like echo chambers, they do what they see. And so, one thing I love that we've read, is when you make a mistake, it's okay to like, as soon as you realize that you blew it, rewind. Like if you can catch it in the moment, you can even go so far as to like say, “Hey, I need to rewind and try that again, because I responded poorly.”
And kids dig it. Like kids are like, “Hey look, mom and dad make mistakes, and they fix it.” And then that gives them the freedom to make mistakes and fix it. And so, I think it has like a double benefit. If you're able to catch it in the moment.
If you're not able to catch it in the moment because so many times it's like you're stressed until they're in bed. But at any point, I found - kids are so forgiving. Like I've had some bad moments with kids where you really lose your temper, and you say or do things that you don't want to do.
And it's not until, they're lying in their bed and you finally realize like, “Oh my gosh, that was not how I wanted to handle that situation.” And you go and you lay next to him and you say, “I'm so sorry. Can you forgive me?”
And I mean, maybe teenagers will bring some new challenges. But so, far, our kids have been so willing to just be like, “Yeah, we’re good.” Just instant and complete forgiveness.
Alexis: I think another thing too is to know yourself. I think, if you… I know, especially during COVID, I definitely felt more stressed, as our kids were home, way more than they've ever been. Just what was going on in the world, I just could feel this stress, all the time. That wasn't normal for me and so, when I was able to realize that I knew that I felt more stressed all the time, I was able to take those timeouts for myself.
I think we just need, as parents, to recognize how we're feeling and then remove ourselves if we need to. Like if you feel stressed and like, “Okay! I need a break.” Take those breaks. Just instead of giving your child the timeout, give yourself the timeout. Go in your room for a few minutes, read a book or listen to a podcast or something that will just allow you to kind of like regroup a little bit.
I think it's important that we are taking care of ourselves too. And I think so much of the time that we're spending on our children, which is awesome, but I think we also need to remember to take care of ourselves too.
Alan: And we even have learned to communicate that to our kids. Again, like they just… It's so good when we can demonstrate… Not that we should be bad on purpose. But we are, we all make mistakes. And so, you can say like, “Hey, you know what, I need 10 minutes.”
And it's actually good for them because sometimes if you run out of the room after you were yelling at them, then they worry. They worry like, “Oh no, did I break mom?”
Diana: Right. Yeah.
Alan: And so, just saying like, “You know what, I need a timeout for 10 minutes I'll be back in 10 minutes.” It gives them that idea of, like, “Hey, she's having a moment. She'll be back in 10 minutes and then they don’t stress about it.
Alexis: I think also communicating that with your spouse is important too. When we had younger kids, Alan could sometimes come home from work earlier and then I would say, “Okay, I need you to take the kids for half hour.” And I need some time to myself and I could go work out or read a book or take a walk or something.
Just knowing that that time of the day was my turn to be by myself was really important. Especially during those early stages of having young kids all the time. So, just talking to your spouse or who you’re co-parenting with or whoever that person is, and letting them know when you need some space and some time too.
Alan: Yeah. For sure.
Diana: Yeah. Because I mean, having a minute to yourself, really does increase patience.
Alexis: Yeah, it does.
Diana: Being able to take care of your own needs and process... I remember talking to another parenting specialist about where like, when you're in your Yuck, when you're in your like high emotions of like, “Wahh…” you know. For kids or for adults; it's really hard to think clearly.
Diana: So, I love that, you would take that 30 minutes when he would come home, because it that's kind of like prevention for impatience. It's like being able to create a moment of like decompressing for a minute, So, that you don't have an explosion or that you're able to handle moments a little bit more.
I think it's really hard when we don't take a little bit of time for ourselves. And sometimes, it's challenging we got a lot of single moms we've got, people that are working multiple jobs or, just different challenges. Friends that have special needs kids that are really hard. It can be really challenging to get that time.
But I want to encourage our listeners right now that even finding that 10 minutes or that 15 minutes or that half an hour, maybe even a couple times a week just step out for prevention purposes, not even just in the heat of the moment. But being able to step out for a couple minutes and just kind of give yourself a little bit of a break.
I loved that you shared that, because I think… On our podcast, we're all about prevention, we love that. We love trying to prevent problems, as well as solve them.
Diana: So, I love that you shared that… So, yeah, that’s awesome.
Alan: Yeah. So, another thing that I think I'm still learning and appreciating, is what my job is, as a parent. Because I think in my head... So, I'm a people pleaser. I think a lot of us are. We really care what people think about us. And all of a sudden, when you become a parent that like adds another layer.
Now, it's not just me, like behaving and doing what people expect of me, but it's all these little things that I've created, and them doing what people expect them to do. And that reflects on me. And so, I just like, I found myself just getting caught up in this fear of like, “Oh my gosh, people are going to see my kids being crazy and think I'm crazy.” And like I was just so afraid of what people thought of me.
And somebody shared with me, that your job as a parent is to just be the voice of calm in your home. And it's not to solve all the problems. It's not to your kids to behave all the time. It's to just be that voice of calm and I love that, because it just changes those stressful moments for me. That when they're being crazy and being difficult, I don't have to fix it. And it doesn't reflect on me.
In fact, the only thing that reflects on me is how I respond to that. And that's a great way for me to be a more patient parent with myself. Because now it's not about how my kids are acting. It's about controlling the only person I can really control, and that's me.
Diana: Right… Well, and when you are calm, it feels so much better.
Alan: Oh, so much better.
Diana: I mean, the moments when like… I know for me that like I choose to be calm, and I could choose to react other ways but the moments I'm like, “Okay…” You're like, “Wow, it really does feel like a nice snuggly blanket. It feels nice to react in a calm way. You’re like, “I need to do this more. I need to continue to practice this.”
Diana: Yeah, I love that… I'd love to hear the side of the expectations for the kids too. Because I feel like that kind of ties in to the parents. Because, I mean, for us to be patient and to feel patient. Be patient with ourselves. We also have to realize that our kids have... That we need to see them in the right light as well. So, tell me a little bit about that.
Alan: Yeah. No. I think, if anything, that’s the bigger part for me. Nobody's patient when the house is on fire. Right? If you have this idea that your kids are a disaster, and that they're just like terrible failures, then you have this almost panicked feeling that, “Oh my gosh, I'm blowing it and my kids are blowing it. And we’re in trouble.”
And so, when you have more realistic expectations you realize like “Hey, we've got little problems and we've got issues. And we're going through stages and things are going on, but the house is not on fire. I don't need to go crazy. I don't have to stamp this out right now. Like I can let things slide.”
And that's really empowering; just that idea of like, “Hey, things are okay. Probably most of what I'm seeing right now is just the fact that they're six or four, two or three or whatever, and I can just take a deep breath. And a lot of these things are just going to go away. So, now I can just focus on loving my kids, and dealing with the big things, that may come up here and there.”
Alexis: One of the favorite things that we've learned is to try to see our children and who they really are. So, looking beyond that current of behavior and finding those strengths that they have and see that the person that they're becoming.
We love Ralphie Jacobs. She did Simply on Purpose on Instagram. And something that she has said is, “Look for the good, and soon that's all you'll see.” And I love that because as you're looking for those positive things in your children, then you’re going to see them more often. You’re going to see what their strengths are, what the things they’re doing good. Rather than all those negative things that are so easy to find, and are usually more obvious.
Sometimes, you have to do dig a little bit to find those good things. But once you do, then you’ll see that more often, and then you'll be able to be more, I think, patient with that child, because you can say, “You know what, there really are good kids and they're struggling with us right now. But we're going to get past this and they're going to develop into being a great person.” And as you see that, then you react differently to them. You start treating them a little bit differently too, and treat them more positively, overall.
Alan: I'll tell you, the first time I heard about positive parenting, like as a parent, at least. It felt so like hippie dippy fake. Like, “That can't work. My kids have issues. Don't tell me my kids don't have issues.” And it like kind of challenged my core beliefs of like I need to help my kids figure this stuff out.
And it's totally a mindset shift, but it's so liberating. And it's also great to know that it's backed by science. If you need science, the science is there, that kids do better when you positively reinforce things. That's because so much of what they do is based on reinforcement. And so, they don't care what's getting reinforced, they're going to just do whatever was.
So, if you only notice someone when they're being bad, then they’re going to be bad. If you only notice someone when they’re being good, they’re going to find ways to do that too.
Alexis: I think it's important to point out too that this doesn't mean like no expectations. I think it's so important that you do have those rules in your home those expectations and things that your kids still need to do. But those things need to be clear and consistent.
And if they know exactly the things that they should and should not do, when they make those choices then they know what’s going to happen. Whether it's a good choice, or the wrong choice, those consequences, either good or bad, they’re very aware of what's going to be happening.
So, that can be anything from chore charts to bedtime routines to morning routines to get ready for school… I think it's still important to have…
Alexis: Yeah, boundaries. and schedules. I mean, unless you're not a schedule person. I totally am so, that’s like me… I like having schedules. But the boundaries are important, because your kids still need to know what's okay and what's not okay in your home.
So, make sure those expectations are still there, but just keep them, like we said before, appropriate for their age level. And make sure your kids are very aware of what's supposed to be happening in your home.
Diana: Right… Well, I’m going to be transparent about something for me that I'm struggling with. It’s that wonderful thing that my daughter loves to craft. But she crafts, all day, every day. And we live in a really small house, and so, my kitchen table is where she crafts…
I mean just paper cuttings, everywhere. All over the floor, the kitchen. We go, through tape like nobody’s business. And I find it stuck to the floor and feathers and all these things. And so, it's been challenging for me lately, because I've only seen the mess.
Diana: I've been trying to focus on, “Okay, she's so creative. She's wanting to do so many wonderful…” Like she literally builds an entire like humongous thing every single day. And we home school, so she has time for that. She does what she needs to do with school and like the cleaning stuff, and then it's to crafting.
It's been really challenging for me to not look at the mess. Because that's literally what I see all day, and I have to help clean up every day. And so, I don't know, what are you guys’ ideas with something like that?
So, it's not necessarily that she's doing anything wrong, but I feel like my expectations might not be in the correct zone. I guess I'm seeing more of the negative side of the creativity than I am the positive side… I let her craft. We buy ton of craft stuff and she does it.
But what is some advice you would say about something like that? Where it's literally like it’s her personality; that’s who she is. It’s something that she loves. And we do have boundaries, she has to clean it up every single night which is always a challenge… Which is like, “Well, I have other stuff I want to do, Mom. I don't want to clean up.” I’m like, “But you got to clean up your mess.”
Like what you're saying with boundaries. So, I just would love to hear your thoughts on something like that. About being patient… About a piece of a child, it's like who they are and something that they love. But, again, like I'm focusing too much on the consequences for myself, than focusing on the positive stuff that's happening with her mind and everything.
So, anyway, I'd love to hear what your thoughts are.
Alan: I think you're doing all the right things. Like you… It's okay. This is one of the times when you need to be patient with yourself. It's okay that it's frustrating to clean up after your daughter every day. Like that's natural. It is hard to clean up, day after day, especially when it's a big mess.
So, it's okay to give yourself that slack and be like, “Hey man, this is okay that I feel this way”, and acknowledge that it’s real. But it's also great that you are catching yourself and saying, “But this is who she is. And I love that she's doing this. She's being creative, she's just doing the things that she loves.” And that you've put in boundaries to help you get there.
I think, as time goes on, what I would be looking to do is build in more of those boundaries or accountability to help her get more independent. We had a kind of related but different situation with our three-year-old. She was totally potty trained; could do it by herself all the way there 100%. And then she decided that she liked somebody to be there.
I don't know what happened… But they do that… She now had to have somebody to be right there with her going to the bathroom. And so, we kind of reverted back to almost square one, where she would have an accident, if we wouldn't go to the bathroom with her. And so, we had to slowly build those boundaries back in, where we said, “Every time you go to the bathroom you get your unicorn on your chart, if you go by yourself.” And then there was rewards along the way if she did that.
So, works back up but it was a struggle for a month, to get her back to where it was. But it was just like, acknowledging that it was frustrating that she needed us all the time, but also that she didn't need us. And so, we just… You have to kind of allow both. You have to allow kids to be kids and allow you to feel frustrated sometimes and meet in the middle. And then…
Really long term… Like you want to have a healthy relationship with your kid more than anything. And so, how do you, if you're always giving in, and they're always taking, that's not going to work forever. Right? Even though as parents, obviously we know there's a lot of giving, and not a lot of taking but you want to teach them to become independent and be able to do it on their own.
We're happy to announce that after however many months of reverting back to doing this, our daughter can go to the bathroom by herself. It took a long time. It took a long time but she got there, again. And now, we’re good again.
Alexis: Yeah, and I love that you're having her help clean up too. Because I think sometimes, it's easier as parents and be like, “Oh, I'll just do it because it's way faster, if I just clean it up.” Right?
Alan: So much easier.
Alexis: Yeah, so much easier. But I think that's important to have her participate in that too, because if you're making a mess then you got to clean it up. So, I love that.
I also wonder, I know you said you live in a small house, but is there like maybe a space that she could have… I don’t know… Like a card table or… Because it's so hard when it's on your table where you eat.
Alan: Your main space.
Alexis: Yeah, you're using that table and you need that space. And so, I don't know if maybe it's too messy for like her room or something like that. But maybe if she had a space... I don't know, I'm not sure what your setup looks like.
Diana: Yeah. Well, the main floor of our house is like 800 square feet. And that's we have all three kids in one bedroom and they have no toys in there that's their clothes, their beds, and we love it. The house is great. But literally, the only space she has is the kitchen table.
So, that's what makes it, I think, a little more challenging is… She has had space before, but then it doesn't get cleaned as frequently, because it just grows...
Diana: It becomes layered. Everything becomes layered at that point. So, I guess it's kind of a positive thing that is in the front because it does get cleaned up every day.
Diana: Because it has to. Like at night, I would like to my kitchen area clean… So, yeah, I know… But I love what you guys were saying about the independence thing and the, being patient.
I think for me, I just think that I need to make sure that my voice is focused on expressing more positive things and not expressing like, “Oh my gosh, you need to clean up the floor.” Or putting so much of a focus because like I can't even… I don't even understand how it happens. Like it's completely… I mean how many pieces of paper have been cut? And they're tiny little pieces like everywhere.
But she's had the time of her life and created like a whole entire house out of a box and all that stuff… So, I don't know… Like tying in the positive parenting, the patient parenting of like letting myself be frustrated, but trying not to express it as often, I guess.
Diana: Maybe, like you said - stepping out for a minute and like trying to really like, “Hey, how can I word this in a way that would uplift her in her your skillset and her creativity, and still get the same result.” I think that… I think… I don't know. I feel like that’s going to be my next focus. Just from our conversation here is just stepping out a second and thinking - how can I create what I want, the boundary that I want or the expectation that I have, in a more positive manner, I guess.
Alan: Yeah. I love that.
Alexis: Yeah. I love that too. I think, yeah, focusing on, like you said, how creative she is. And it’s so awesome that she's able to create things like that; and such a talent. Focusing on that talent and the good use of her time, and yeah, not the messes. Because I’m like that too. I’m just like, “Oh, I hate when things get so messy and it stresses me out.” Like having that mess in my living space… But I think if you do keep focusing on that positive part of her and how she's becoming so creative.
And then I think the mess, like you can clean it up together. You can play music while you clean it up, or something. Or have like set a timer or maybe try to make it a little more fun. But I think... Yeah, like you said, not focusing on just the mess part will help you. I think, overall, just make it a better experience.
Alan: Yup. For me, I would just say like acknowledging that my feeling is real, is the best way to get rid of that feeling. So, often, if I feel it, and feel guilty about it, or feel like I’m trapped or something, then it grows until it explodes. So, feel it, if you need to walk away, walk away. But then it does leave you open to feel the positive.
Diana: Yeah. I love that. That’s kind of being more mindful of yourself, like as a parent too.
Diana: So, I don’t know… I love the acknowledging the negative emotion, because I feel like we push aside… Those like, “Oh, I can’t be angry… I can’t be frustrated… I can’t feel impatient.” Or different things like that.
Diana: I love that about letting yourself feel it. Stepping away for a minute. Making a choice of how to respond.
Alexis: Yeah. For me at least, that gives me a much greater probability of acting patient; like of displaying patience. It’s okay to feel those things, you just don’t want to act those things. And so, feel them. Feel them as much as you need to, but then, get them out and so that you can go back to being a patient parent.
Diana: I love that... Cool!... Okay. This has been a great message, you guys. I love diving into this and talking about this with you guys. I want to hear though, tell me real quick, like each of you – your favorite things about parenting.
Alexis: One of my favorite things about parenting is seeing my kids learn and grow. I love seeing the milestones. I love seeing them learn things at school, or the things that I’m teaching them, or as we learn and discover together.
I’m such a natural learner and it’s really fun for me. So, I just love seeing that my kids learn and like a little light bulb go on, and seeing how they’re progressing. It’s just fun to watch them to develop. And become more independent or see what their strengths are or talents, and just kind of see that as they get older. I think that’s one of my very favorite things.
Diana: I love that.
Alan: My favorite thing is my kids’ laughs. I think all kids have cute laughs, but I just… Like my kids’ laughs can just crack me. When I’m super stressed or super angry, or they’re just being too loud, and then you hear just one of them, just like pure innocent laughter – it’s just like, “Okay.”
It just breaks it all down and you remember, “This is why I do this.” These kids are fun and they’re funny. They’re a good time if you let it. If you get caught up in all of it, I think it’s easy to just feel stressed all the time. But that laughter is a good reminder for me, that like, “These guys are fun. I like to be around these people... Yeah, that’s got to be my favorite part.
Diana: Oh, I love that… Okay. So, tell me where we can find you guys. Are you guys, pretty much, on all the podcast platforms or where do you guys play?
Alexis: Yeah, we’re on all podcast platforms - Parenting in Real Life Podcast. You can find on my website is AlexisTannerLane.com. Also, Instagram is Alexis Tanner Lane. So, if you want to connect with us, we’re on social media. Usually, Instagram is the place you can find me the most. So, yeah…
Diana: Okay. And I’ll make sure I put all of that in our show notes. Ladies, if you want to connect with them, I highly recommend it. I know I’ve totally enjoyed talking with you guys. This has been so wonderful. You guys sharing some wisdom and just… I don’t know, it stimulated my brain a lot on things I need to focus on and do. And so, I hope it’s done the same for the moms that are listening right now.
I would love to have you guys on again. This was wonderful. I haven’t had a lot of husbands – wives’ interviews and so this has been fun, to be able to hear both sides of things and have some more male energy in our podcast here.
I love that.
Alan: For sure. It’s been great.
Alexis: Yeah, we’d love that. Thank you.
Diana: Oh, cool… Alright ladies, well, I hope you’ve learned some things today. And you can something that you would like to apply to your own life and having patience with ourselves, having realistic expectations for who we are and what we’re feeling and what we’re feeling is real, and that’s okay. And also, having realistic expectations for our children, finding the good in them and being able to step back, take a moment, being able to process our own emotions so that we can respond well to our children.
We’ll see you next Tuesday on The Mom Training Podcast.