228: Shifting Away from a Rules & Limits Mentality, with Dayna Abraham

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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Our culture is pretty rigid and it calls for parents to be rigid in their parenting as well — you set rules and limits, kids break them, you punish them. But, crime and punishment is not good parenting! 

Kids do need structure, but they also need the space to be authentically who they are and find their own path. Rigidity doesn’t allow kids to be true to themselves, it doesn’t allow parents to feel good about their relationships with their kids, and it doesn’t prepare kids for adulthood and independence. There is a better way. 

Author of Calm the Chaos, Dayna Abraham, joins me in this episode to talk about why we need to shift from rules and limits and what we should shift to: boundaries and agreements, routines and plans. Listen in to learn a values-based family system and how to implement it in your family.

3 Key Takeaways


Plan for Success: Having clear plans for various family situations is essential. It helps guide us through the ups and downs, teaching our children resilience and problem-solving skills.


Personal Boundaries: Instead of imposing strict rules on our children, we should focus on teaching them personal boundaries. This involves respecting their autonomy while expressing our preferences and limits in a direct and respectful manner.


Routines and Agreements: Establishing routines and agreements is crucial for a smoothly functioning household. However, it’s important to personalize these routines to address specific challenges and make them work for the entire family.

What You'll Learn

The importance of setting rules and agreements within the household to help create structure and promote harmony.

Start small with a few rules and agreements and gradually expand them.

Remind children of the rules and agreements on a regular basis to help reinforce their importance.

Personalize routines to address specific challenges.

Tailor routines to address specific challenges or sticky points in the day.

Personalize the routine to make it more effective for everyone in the family.


Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Calm the Chaos, by Dayna Abraham

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My Guest

Dayna Abraham

Dayna Abraham, bestselling author of The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day and Sensory Processing 101, is on a mission to create a more accepting world, one challenging kid at a time. Her latest book, Calm the Chaos: A Failproof Roadmap for Parenting Even the Most Challenging Kids will be released August 15, 2023.

As a National Board Certified educator, parent of three neurodivergent children, and an ADHD adult herself, Dayna brings a unique and out-of-the-box perspective to parents raising kids in the modern world. She is the founder of the popular parenting website Lemon Lime Adventures, which has accumulated more than forty-one million viewers in less than seven years.

Through her compassionate framework, Calm the Chaos, she has helped millions of desperate parents around the world, find peace and meet their children where they’re at when conventional parenting tools have failed them.

With a weekly reach of more than 1.2 million people on social media, and more than two hundred thousand parents attending her Calm the Chaos free workshop, she has become a proven and trusted leader in the parenting community.

Her work has been showcased in HuffPost, Scary Mommy, BuzzFeed, ADDitude Magazine, and Positive Parenting Solutions. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her three amazing children, her husband, Jason, and two huge Newfoundland puppies, Luna and Koda.



Dayna Abraham [00:00:03]: So having these plans of what to do when, brother takes your toy. What to do when you don't like the food for dinner. What to do when it's bedtime and you don't wanna go to bed. Having these very specific laid out plans helps the family run smoothly, and they can be flexible and tweaked. And that doesn't mean that you're letting your kids get away with things. It means that you are teaching how to problem solve because that's what happens in the real world.

Penny Williams [00:00:33]: Welcome to the beautifully complex podcast where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams, I'm a parenting coach author and mindset, Mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams [00:00:56]: Welcome back to the beautifully complex podcast. I am really excited to have Dana Abraham on the podcast today, and we are gonna talk about probably many things that have to do with neurodivergence because at tends to be where our conversations go. We're also gonna talk about shifting from rules and limits. Shifting that mindset of parenting to something that is far more effective and really better for our kids, better for them growing up and being independent. So I'm really excited to dive deep on this topic with you, Dana, but I want to first have you let everybody know who you are and what you do.

Dayna Abraham [00:01:34]: Yeah. So I am so excited to be here. I always love chatting with you. So I'm Dayna Abraham. I'm the founder and creator of calm the chaos parenting and started as Lemon Lime Adventure's blog. And I have been helping parents around the world create families that work together, advocate for each other, and enjoy spending time together no matter how challenging the situation is that they're faced with, right now.

Penny Williams [00:02:03]: Yeah. And you have a new book coming out very soon on the chaos. Yes. Yes. Yes. And we'll at the end, we'll tell everybody where to get that. But let's start, I think, by talking about rules and limits. Right? Yeah. What are we doing wrong?

Dayna Abraham [00:02:21]: Well, I wanna start by saying, I don't think we're doing anything wrong. So I always have to start that I am not someone who really subscribes to this idea that parents are making mistakes, and here's the biggest mistakes they're making. Do you think parents are doing the best they can with what they've been given. And so I do believe, though, that we fall into traps and we fall into these pitfalls that we can't get out of. because we've been led to believe that this is the best way to help our families. Mhmm. And we're doing it out of love. We're doing it out of we want the best for our kids. And so, you know, I wanted to make sure I start with that. Number 2, though, you asked, like, where are we falling into a trap and why are pools and limits kind of not the thing. I feel like that's kind of what you're asking. And so to me, I think there's research that shows that you know, kids need nurturing, and they need structure. By the way, that research is a little outdated, but it is still valid research. Mhmm. When we lean on that research, the structure part is where disciplinarians and being a disciplinarian and disciplining our kids and creating extreme structure becomes this, like, belief we have to do. And so that's where these firm rules come in. That's where these, like, limits come in. We just watched the new little mermaid yesterday. And I was just like, oh my goodness. Have poor King Triton. Like, he is so stuck in his rules and his limits and his boundaries. that he pushed his daughter away. And so I cannot go through a movie without frame working a movie. Right. So You know? We ended up watching that, and I was like, yeah. That's a really good example of why this doesn't work. Right? Because -- Mhmm. -- we think we're doing something that's gonna help our kids navigate the world in the future. But, really, what we're doing is we're placing such tight constraints on our kids that they don't have room to breathe. They don't have room to make mistakes. They don't have room to grow. And they end up making these assumptions about themselves that they are somehow broken. They are bad. Something is wrong with them. Yeah. And then, in turn, parents think the same thing. Something's wrong with me. Something's wrong with my kid. And so I just think there's such a better way of going about creating some structure and nurturing at the same time without creating such a strong, rigid box that our kids have to be in, that they don't feel free to be themselves.

Penny Williams [00:04:55]: Yeah. And that strong rigid box is our society. Right? We live in a culture of conformity. We do not celebrate individuality. And so that structure really creates such a boundary for our kids to not be themselves if we're holding those really tight boundaries. Yeah. And I feel like we're slowly starting to move towards more individuality.

Dayna Abraham [00:05:20]: Yeah. I feel like there's so much to be excited. for, honestly. Like, we had this conversation 10 years ago when I first started with my son, if we had it 20 years ago, when I first started teaching, I would say, yeah, we're just now, like, maybe starting to look at kids differently. But I do feel like I mean, you've got this beautiful podcast, and then there's many others. And the fact that we even know the word neurodivergent at this point and so many parents know what that is, and that we have so much acceptance and affirming things out there. You know, I think there's no better time to raise kids that don't fit a mold than now in today's society. And so I just lean into the fact that there are enough people out there who are accepting, who are trying to create a world where we all belong. And I just lean into that because otherwise, I might get too depressed thinking about the rigidness that's still there.

Penny Williams [00:06:15]: Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, for some of us, that rigidness we're still trying to navigate it, you know, a school system, for instance. Your kid has to go to school. you know, you have to somehow try to either work within those boundaries or break down those walls. And we would love to break down the walls, and we try. I think, you know, we have to figure out how to help our kids to sort of survive in a world that wasn't necessarily built for them, but also be able to be themselves and to be able to make change to help others see that we all just need to be ourselves. We need to be authentic. Yeah. And I think that when we stick to traditional rules, limits, boundaries.

Dayna Abraham [00:07:00]: What we're doing is we're creating children who feel like they have to conform to be successful. Mhmm. And when we raise kids where they're part of the creation of plans and agreements and They're helping create solutions. They have room now because you've taken out those very strict lines and boxes, and you've said, okay. Our home is the safe place for you to learn these things in. Now sometimes you're gonna go sometimes you're gonna go to the park. Sometimes you're gonna go to a friend's house. And in those places, things might be different. And years how to navigate those situations but that doesn't mean I have to be tough and rough on you at home -- Right. -- so that you can learn it out in the, quote, unquote, real world. No. You can have safe place at home while your brain's still developing while everything is still getting wired while your body is still developing. Your hormones are still grown. Like, all these things are still happening. They need us as the parent to be their guide, and their mentor, and their coach versus this disciplinarian that's telling them this is right, this is wrong. This is what to do versus this is how to think. Mhmm. The world's not that black and white. Mm-mm. And we have to prepare them for that. Right? Well, and the world is changing so much as we said. You know? Like -- Mhmm. -- this idea that you have to go to school, you have to be able to wake up. Because when you get out into the real world, you have to go to a job and you have to show up, and you have to work from 9 to 5. And here we are recording a podcast both working from home. And We're in an earlier generation. So imagine what's gonna be possible when our kids hit the age of finding a career, finding things they love, there's so much flexibility. I have tons of people on my own team who, you know, work in the middle of the night because that's what works best for them. Right. And who don't leave their house because they struggle with this sensory overwhelm. They struggle with navigating the, quote, unquote, real world So they have their groceries delivered to their house, and all their friends are online. And they have really close relationships through Zoom and through, you know, meet ups online that they're still living a very full life, but it just looks very different than how we were raised in this idea that you have to do all these things to be, quote, unquote, successful.

Penny Williams [00:09:26]: Yeah. We have to create that open space for our kids to define that for them souls for them to be individuals. Yeah. And we get so much pressure from that outside world. And I think you know, a lot of times we actually put that pressure on ourselves as parents because we fear that future. Right? Oh my gosh. My kid can't get himself ready for school. in 5th grade. So he's not gonna be able to live on his own and hold down a job. Right? Like -- Mhmm. -- we go there almost all the time. Mhmm. And we really have to train ourselves to pull back from that, to really be much more present in the moment. Right? Because that's just scary.

Dayna Abraham [00:09:59]: Oh, yeah. And living in fear and making decisions out of fear, we end up doing things that we don't even believe in sometimes. You know? And I found that when my child was in, like, 3rd, 4th, 5th grade, I could tell myself, oh, I got plenty of time. He'll figure this out. Like, I was totally fine with that. I think it's my, like, educator background that I was fine with, like, he's on his own journey. He's gonna get there when he gets there. But I'll tell you when he hit 15, 16, I was like, o m gbers. We are running out of time. Mhmm. Like, He is about to be 18. He's about to possibly graduate high school if we can get him over that hump. You know? And so I started putting all this pressure on myself and on him that was unwarranted. Yep. And, you know, it's funny because I can now look back. It's so fun. Like, I'm just right out of it. You know? We still have a long journey ahead of us, but he did graduate. And he graduated with his class in, you know, a regular public school And this is the same kid that was kicked out of more schools than I can even count on one hand, and he, you know, has police called on him as a kid, and he went to residential treatments. And he you know, like, he has so much educational trauma in his background -- Yeah. -- that The moment that he no longer had classes, he is a different kid. Like, he just opened up. He's having conversations with me. He's talking about what it might look like to get a job. to try things out to take some classes and things that he's really interested in. But, you know, people always ask, well, what's next for him? You know? Mhmm. And I go, well, I don't know. And he doesn't know. I mean, they're like, yeah. But, you know, oh, so he's taking a gap year. I'm like, no. He's got a gap life. Like, this kid has no plans on doing anything yet, but he also isn't ready yet. Like, I wouldn't send a nine or ten year old out into the world on their own. And, you know, in some ways, emotionally, he's still there. Like, even though he's in a seventeen year old body, He's still figuring out emotions and he's still figuring out social cues and he's still figuring out how to navigate things. And so To me, my job now is how do I help him live independently while still living in my house? Mhmm. And how do I help him find the habits and the routines and find things that he loves and fall in love with life until he just can't wait to leave my house. Like, that's my goal for him now is, like, how do I help him, you know, push him when he is, like, able to accept the pushing? but also create that safe place for him. And I just feel it's so good to look back and be like, we did it. You know? And he didn't have to go on anyone else's timeline. like, this arbitrary when you're eighteen, you are somehow an adult. You know, 100 years ago you've probably just a 100 years ago, when you were thirteen, you were an adult. You know? Like -- Right. -- with they were having babies at 13. Right? And, like, we finally realized weight. that is ridiculous. Like, let's change that norm. And so now we just have to keep shifting that and be like, it is okay. to not push our kids so far that they have to jump out of the nest before they're ready.

Penny Williams [00:13:09]: Yeah. We're living very parallel journeys with that right now. My son is 20 now, and still trying to figure it out. Right? And I kind of wax and wane with it. Like, at first, I knew he had a very traumatic educational experience, different from your own son, but really just he needed so much time to heal. Mhmm. And really, it has taken about 2 years for him to heal and be able to start thinking about his future. Mhmm. And I have had many times where I've gone, oh my gosh. What is happening? Nothing's happening. Right? Like -- Mhmm. -- I can't sit in the stillness. We're not moving forward, you know. And then I've had to remind myself. This is what my kid needs on his journey. He is not me. You know? I was in college with 2 jobs and just go go go all the time. Same. That is not him. You know? It's not either one of my kids. It's a different life, a different generation, a different world, and we have to be okay with that. But we also have to prepare them. We have to prepare ourselves, and we have to prepare them. Right? Because -- Mhmm. -- I'll tell you, like, You know, they're still getting the message in school that they need to go to college. Right? That is your path to success. You do get in high school. You go to college. You get a degree. You're set. Right? Mhmm. My older kid followed that path, and it is not that simple when you graduate anymore. Even if you had a career running degree It is not that simple anymore. And so we're really doing them a disservice.

Dayna Abraham [00:14:47]: But, you know, our kids who are neurod urgent, hello. Like, They don't even need to follow that path. They don't even have to come close to that path. I mean -- No. -- not anywhere close. My son loves electronics. He loves figuring things out, and he loves kinda navigating the world. And every class that he had that was about figuring things out. Everything from engineering and robotics, which makes sense. Right? That's figuring things out. But psychology and sociology, he got straight a's in those. Why? Because it's figuring out the brain, it's figuring out society, it's figuring out how things work. And so anything that was about figuring out how things work, He gravitated towards, and he didn't have to study. He didn't have to practice. He and he got straight a's in those classes. Now straight down the line, He got straight a's and straight f's. Yeah. Anything he didn't like, he didn't see a point in, he didn't understand how to fit, like, how it fitting into his life, Mhmm. He just didn't even show up. He got, like, 13%. So, like, we had to literally just, like I felt like I was, like, blowing a feather hoop for a finish line. I was like, Mhmm. Like, you can do this. Come on. You know, you got this. So when we got the graduation, like, he is going to graduate, and there's no summer school. I was, oh my gosh. hallelujah. You know? Because now that's a chapter behind us, but we can now start saying, okay. Let's, like, enjoy ourselves. Let's find some things we love. Let's find some classes we love. And like, find a job that fulfills us, and it doesn't have to even be, like, the best job in the world. He's like, I think you might wanna work at the movie theater. I'm like, that's fantastic. What a great job for you. You know? Yeah. Yeah. Or like a GameStop or something like that. Like, he's thinking of, like, immersing himself in the environment that he loves. And it's like, great. Let's do that and not getting stuck on, oh my gosh, but you're gonna work at GameStop for the rest of your life. Like -- Right. -- I'm then trying to seed, like, you know, what we do. Before we got on this, we were talking about who we used to edit the podcast and who we used to help us in our company and, like, he could learn how to do something like that from the comfort of his own bedroom -- Yep. -- and make a really good living just editing podcasts for people.

Penny Williams [00:16:57]: Yep. There's so many opportunities. There's so many. There's so many. And I think, you know, a lot of our kids may end up being speakers, motivational speakers, you know, helping other kids. My son is super passionate about Other kids not having the same school experience that he did who are neurodivergent. And so, you know, he's not ready for that, of course. And he's not open to even revisiting that yet. Right? So it's something down the line, but, like, it's something that's crossed his mind. And how amazing would that be? Like, just being open -- Yeah. -- they can have such a more fulfilling adulthood than trying to cram them in that box.

Dayna Abraham [00:17:36]: And I think that goes back to what we're talking about with, like, the discipline and the rules. And when we get really rigid, a lot of times, it's because of that fear of what happens when they become 20, what happens when they become 18. And I think there's this belief that it's sink or swim that our kids graduate, and then they've gotta just jump out of the nest, and it's either sink or swim. But it's not. It's a gradual release. You don't have to let them go so quickly that they fail. Right. And I know so many parents. I know when I was growing up, I heard my mom say that to my brother, you know, she raised us, and it was like, when you turn 18, you're out of this house. Like, it was so ingrained in society that that's what you do when you're 18. Yeah. You're out of this house. No matter what, no matter if you're ready, no matter if you have college, no matter what. And I think it leads a lot of people down paths that maybe they wouldn't have chosen if they had had a safe place to land for those first very uncom after you graduated high school.

Penny Williams [00:18:45]: What we do with rules and boundaries when they're younger creates the atmosphere -- Oh, yeah. -- for them to be able to find themselves when they're older. Right? Oh, yeah. I wanted to give you the opportunity to really talk to them about what should we be doing, what is more help full to our kids and really ourselves, honestly -- Yeah. -- trying to keep kids to very strict, rigid boundaries is stressful And it is no fun. Why do we even wanna do that to ourselves? Right? But -- Right. -- more importantly for the kids, what should we be doing instead?

Dayna Abraham [00:19:19]: Some of the things that we have found after working with so many parents is that it really is important for you as a family to get clear on your values. I find that if I say I've talked to a 100 parents, out of those 100 parents, I would say maybe 3 of them, have even thought about what their values are, have even talked to each other as parents about what their values are, and what they want for their family and how they want their household to run and how they want their family to feel And so I think that's 1st and foremost. The first thing that we have to do when we're talking about rules and boundaries is Get clear on what do we want and why do we want it, what are our values that we hold true to ourselves and involve our kids in that And, yeah, you can involve toddlers. Right? And, yes, they may say play. Well, okay. Then that means it's a value to be playful and fun. Right? And we should honor that. And so you allow everyone to brainstorm. You allow everyone to kinda put that out there. And let's say, You know, one kid says, Tandy all day. Right? Well, what they're really saying is they wanna be able to have choice. Mhmm. They wanna be able to choose what they get to do even if it's things that mom and dad don't think are really that healthy. Right? They wanna be able to, like, do fun, exciting things. So allowing no bad ideas at first when you're establishing those values as a family is a really great way to let everyone know, hey. We really do honor you and hear what you have to say. So you get those values down to 3 to 5 That might be that you value, you know, neurodivergence. You value inclusivity. You value kindness. You value acceptance, you value hard work. And that's gonna be different for every family. In our family, we value shenanigans. Like, we think it's really and for us to have fun and for us to be silly. Another big one for us is we value individuality. Like, we really want each child and each member of the family to feel valued in who they are. We encourage families to come up with these values first. And then based on those values, you create systems that work for your family. And we have 4 types of systems that we have really found help families run smoothly and kind of start working like clockwork. And I just wanna put in a little caveat The conversation you and I are having is this is not the first place you start if you're dealing with tantrums meltdown. outburst. If you're dealing with a kid who won't listen, if you're dealing with all these things, you don't start here. You actually start way back at the beginning of the road map, which is about riding the storm and about getting your own time and energy. Like, you've gotta take care of you first -- Mhmm. -- and you gotta build trust and safety. So I'm kinda describing this last stage of the road map, but so I just wanna kinda put that caveat out there. Because if you go to try to talk to your kids about values, And yesterday, you took away their electronics for a week. They're not gonna trust you. Right? They're just not gonna believe you that you're on their side. And so it's not cold turkey. You know? You're not quitting cold turkey and going into this. And so once you do that, and have your values, you now can create these systems. And the 4 systems we like to look at are, 1, is agreements. So instead of rigid rules, We like to look at, as a family, what do we agree to? So in this family, we agree that we will do our best to talk to each other kindly. Now that does not mean that we will always do it because sometimes we struggle to stay calm, and sometimes we explode. But we are gonna do our best to treat each other with love and kindness. Or in this family, we agree to be honest. In this family, we agree to help out, to help each other. Right? In this family, we agree to work together to solve problems. So you're coming up with kind of these rules to live by versus rules like no shoes on the

Penny Williams [00:23:26]: Dayna Abraham [00:23:30]: couch or no running in the house or no eating after dinner time. Like, these very rigid and strict, this is what we're doing. and instead their agreements and you start small just like you would with rules so that kids can remember them. Yeah. And so that you can always come back to remember in this house You can go back to your values, or you can go back to your agreements. You say, remember, in this house, would you agreed to blah blah blah. And because they agreed to it, it really does set a really positive tone. And they're like, oh, yeah. I did agree to that. Mhmm. I love it. The next one is really common, and it's routines. But it's making the routines with your kids. identifying where's the sticky point in your day and getting clear on that. I had this one friend, and he was like, oh, maybe you can help. My kids just come in from school, and they just throw their backpacks down and then they run off and they do their thing. And it doesn't matter how many times that tells them. Doesn't matter how many times that we practice. They just run-in, and they throw it down. I'm like, okay. Do you have a routine? for after school. And he's like, what do you mean? Of course, we do. Like, they know they're supposed to come in, put their stuff away, put their stuff on the counter, and I'm like, do they, though? because they're. And so it's getting really clear with your kids and saying, okay. Why are we struggling? What are we running to? instead of putting our backpack away, oh, we're wanting to go have quiet time. Oh, we're wanting to go play with the dog. Okay. So maybe we take our backpack with us. We play with the dog. then we go put our backpack away. Maybe there's an adjustment to that routine, but we're individualizing it not on something that we found on Pinterest or on Instagram. but we're making it really work for small pieces of the day that help our day run smoothly for each family member.

Penny Williams [00:25:21]: Yeah. What stands out to me there is you're paying attention to the signals that your kid's behavior is giving you. They are signaling that the most important thing to them when they arrive at home after a hard day at school is some downtime. That's what they need. Right? And just when we're open minded as parents, we get to see those things. We get to honor those things. it makes everything go better. It does. It really does. If you resist, it will persist.

Dayna Abraham [00:25:51]: Yeah. And that kind of brings me to the next one, which is boundaries. So boundaries I think boundaries are like a wolf in sheep's clothing in the positive parenting world, and I love so many of the experts in the positive parenting world, but I do think the wrong message is being kinda shared out there is that as parents, we must have these boundaries with our kids because, again, that structure. Now what I actually think has happened is you and I and other parents who were raised in the eighties or seventies nineties. I think many of us didn't have boundaries. Right? We were not taught how to have our own boundaries. We were given maybe rules, but we definitely didn't have boundaries around our own body and around what we were allowed and what we weren't allowed and our time. And so now as we're older, there's this huge, like, I feel like a movement around having your own personal boundaries as an adult and being able to say, you know, no. I'm not letting you do this. Or No. I'm not gonna do that with other adults. And then we take that boundary work that we're doing as grown adults with other grown adults, and we try to do it with children who are still developing and be like, well, I don't wanna be touched. And so then, therefore, get away from me. Well, it's a kid. You know? Or, you know, I have a boundary around my own screen time. Therefore, you must a boundary around your screen time. Right. Or I have a boundary around the food I put in my body. So therefore, you must have a boundary around the food you put in your body. and we are sharing our boundaries and imposing them on our kids. And so instead, I think what's way more valuable for our kids is going back to those values and creating personal boundaries and helping our kids create personal boundaries. So this is a really silly one, but one thing that we did in our family was toys. Right? Kids didn't wanna share. I gave them you know, that's fine. You don't have to share. However, if a toy is out in a common area, then you're kinda saying, hey. This is free rein. Right? Yeah. And so if you would like to place a boundary around your things, what could we do? And they came up with this idea that their rooms were their rooms. That's their boundary. Like, this is my safe place. And so if my belongings are in my room, they are in my safe place. and they aren't to be played with, they aren't to be used. If my things are in common area, they are out to be used, they are out to be shared, they are out to be played with, and look that and touched. And so we are constantly, as a whole family, reminding each other of you know, like, if they say, oh, don't touch that. Like, well, it's out. Like, if you don't want people to touch it, you know, maybe you could put it in your room. And they go, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay. And then they move it back to the room. teaching kids personal boundaries around their own space and autonomy, I think, is really important as well. I don't like loud noises. I'm gonna move to the other room. Not I don't like loud noises. Please stop. You know? Right. You're being annoying. But I don't like the noises it's hurting my ears. I'm gonna move to the other room. Yeah. Right? I'm just stating, like, here's my boundary. I'm gonna stop now. Or teaching our kids to say, you know, when you talk to me or I say this even sometimes. When you talk to me like that, it makes it really hard for me to wanna work with you. Mhmm. So if you want me to work with you, you know, we might need to pause, and then we'll come back to this conversation. We're me saying something like, you know what? I can't talk right now. Like, I'm actually really upset. And so I know if I talk right now, I'm gonna say the wrong thing. So we have to talk later. Nope. This conversation's over, and that's my boundary. This conversation's over right now. I don't wanna talk. I will talk to you later. I promise. Right? And then coming back and being sure we follow-up on that. Yeah. But a boundary isn't I told you to get off electronics. Get off electronics. I'm taking electronics. Right. Like, that's just a rule in a boundaries, like, outfit.

Penny Williams [00:29:51]: Mhmm. Yeah. And I'm hearing so much self advocacy and what you're talking about here. You know, we're teaching kids to self advocate. It's loud. I need to go to another room. Right? That's self advocacy. Mhmm. And that is super important for neurodivergent kids.

Dayna Abraham [00:30:06]: Yeah. And the final one is plans, and we actually in the book, I spell out 5 distinct plans, one for each of stages in the road map that we've created to go from survival mode to thriving as a family. And so having these plans of what to do when, brother takes your toy. What to do when you don't like the food for dinner. What to do when you guys are getting in an argument. What to do when it's bedtime and you don't wanna go to bed. Right? And so coming up with these plans, a lot of those were ahead of the moment plans, but also, like, what to do when, you know, we are all yelling at each other. Right? But having these very specific laid out plans helps the family run smoothly and they can be flexible and adjusted and tweaked, you know, like, going to get braces. You don't go get braces the next day. You've got beautiful straight teeth. you go and you get braces. And for, like, the next 2 years, you keep going back and getting them tweaked and tightened. It's the same thing with your plans. It's not a one and done. It's the same thing with boundaries. Right? It's just not rigid. It is flexible, and that doesn't mean that you're letting your kids get away with things It doesn't mean that you're allowing. It means that you are teaching how to navigate challenging situations how to navigate when things change, how to be flexible, how to problem solve, because that's what happens in the real world.

Penny Williams [00:31:35]: Mhmm. Yeah. And really, you know, that open mindedness is teaching our kids to self advocate also. Right? It's teaching them, I can go where I wanna go. but I may need to set my own boundaries. I may need to ask for help. You know? It's really great. And I know that so many of our listeners are going to want to find out this road map, follow this road map, And they can do that with your calm the chaos book, which is available now for preorder, and then it releases on August 15 2023. Correct? Yes. It does. And then they can get it in their hands and start using it to really benefit the whole family. That's what I love about this. It's about the whole family. Yes. We wanna help our kids, but we also need things too. their siblings need things too. Right? We all want to be happy -- Mhmm. -- and coexist in a way that works for each individual person. Yes. And I love that. I also wanna make sure that people understand where else they can connect with you online, so we will have all of that linked up in the show notes website, social media, all that good stuff as well as a link to the book. And that is at parentingadhdandautism.com/228 for episode 228 if you can believe it. That's amazing.

Dayna Abraham [00:33:00]: I'm on, like, episode 9. You just got started. To me, 228 is like,

Penny Williams [00:33:08]: Yeah. Yeah. You get to a certain point and every little milestone is like, wow. Look at me go. And then suddenly you're like, it's just coasting, obviously. Like, I get to talk to all these people. I get to help all these people by talking to cool people. Like, what else could you want? You know? And it's amazing. Yeah. Any last thoughts? Anything you wanna leave everyone with before we close?

Dayna Abraham [00:33:34]: I think I just, you know, want to remind anyone who's listening to this that, you know, no matter what parenting advice or tactic or strategy you're trying, a lot of times you can feel like maybe you're somehow doing it wrong, you're somehow failing, or that your child is somehow broken. And I want you to know that 1st and foremost, you're not alone. There are so many other families and parents that are going through the same thing you are. And 2, is that you're exactly the parent that your child needs. You are not failing, and your child is not broken. And I truly believe that you can do this?

Penny Williams [00:34:14]: Yes to all those things. Well, thank you so much, Dana. It's always a pleasure. And I will see everyone on the next episode. Thank you for having me. Take good care.

Penny Williams [00:34:25]: Thanks for joining me on the beautifully complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share. And don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingadhdandautism.com and at thebehaviorrevolution.com.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

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