243: Strategies to Strengthen Your Family, with Brent Crandal, Ph.D.

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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In today’s episode,I have the pleasure of hosting Dr. Brent Crandal, a clinical psychologist and children’s book author. Join me for this thought-provoking conversation with Dr. Crandal about practical ways to build mindfulness and connection within families. From fostering gratitude to promoting a culture of hope, this episode presents valuable insights and actionable strategies to enhance family dynamics. We delve into the importance of mental health hygiene, modeling healthy behaviors, and finding balance in parenting. This episode is filled with wisdom and inspiration.

3 Key Takeaways


Mindful Parenting: Creating a culture of positivity, gratitude, and hope can have a lasting impact on family dynamics and children’s well-being. Small, achievable steps — such as implementing nightly gratitude rituals and offering genuine praise — can make a significant difference.


Parental Role Modeling: Dr. Crandal emphasizes the influence of parents on their children’s worldview and mental wellbeing. Parents need to prioritize their own mental and emotional wellbeing, as your actions and behaviors serve as models for your children. Showing vulnerability and resilience, and promoting a culture of warmth, understanding, and recognition, can empower both parents and kids.


Family Reading and Play: Dr. Crandal’s children’s book, “OPPOSITITIS: A Ridiculous Family Love Story,” promotes family reading time and emphasizes the importance of joy, play, and laughter in parenting.

What You'll Learn

Practical strategies to cultivate mindfulness and connection in your family, such as implementing nightly gratitude, feelings, and goal-sharing traditions.

The importance of modeling gratitude, sharing feelings, and setting goals as a family to promote growth, connection, and a positive mindset.

Ways to nurture mental wellbeing for both parents and children.

The significance of recognizing gratitude as a family to shift attention away from resentment and entitlement, and the positive impact of hope as an essential trait.

The importance of family reading time, play, and laughter.


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My Guest

Brent Crandal, Ph.D.

Brent Crandal, PhD, is a family psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor currently providing treatment for young people and families at University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining UCSD, he was the Director of Behavioral Health Quality Improvement at Rady Children’s Hospital and directed the Advancing California’s Trauma-Informed Systems Initiative in partnership with California’s Department of Social Services.

His research has focused on assessment, early intervention and trauma-informed care. He has trained child- and family-serving professionals in El Salvador. And sometimes he presents at Comic-Con. He is also a children’s literature author.



Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:00:03]: True growth includes challenge and includes setbacks and falling backward, tripping, hitting your knee, and learning how to get up and then move forward again, learning how you can get back up and keep moving forward. We all want it to be that straight line moving upward, and it it never is. And in fact, we would be boring people if it were. We need those dips to be the rich, enriched people that we become because of the challenges we confront.

Penny Williams [00:00:31]: 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. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Beautifully Complex podcast. I am joined today by doctor Brent Crandal, And we are gonna talk about strategies that will strengthen your family. I think this is such an important topic because we know How influential and powerful our relationship with our kids is, and I think this really helps us in that regard as well.

Penny Williams [00:01:19]: And the family unit too is a very powerful thing, so I'm super excited to have this conversation with doctor Crandall and to really Dive deep into what we can be doing as parents to really strengthen our family unit. If you would, doctor Crandall, just start by introducing yourself By letting everyone know who you are and what you do.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:01:40]: Sure. First of all, Penny, I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. I'm a clinical psychologist. I work at UCSD and provide care for families here who are healing from serious mental illness and from mental crises that have happened.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:01:55]: I teach at the school of medicine at UCSD, and, I'm a children's book author and also do some work in in helping child welfare systems become more trauma informed in California. So I've got a a few different hats I wear, but really all focused on promoting well-being, and and finding our growth edges.

Penny Williams [00:02:14]: Amazing. Yeah. I'm so happy that the work is being done to really Educate more people on trauma. I think it's something that we all everyone in society needs to understand more. So I'm glad that to hear that that's happening more and more as well. Where should we start about this conversation about strengthening families? Maybe with, you know, why we would want to have I think it's it's sort of intuitive, but I think it warrants some discussion too. Why do we want A strong family unit.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:02:46]: Yeah. I think the why, you know, for me, some of it has been somewhat personal in terms of my own journey of kind of coming to that, which is the pandemic, I think, really kind of highlighted the importance of mental health, you know, with a lot of, you know, drawbacks, and a lot of horrible experiences that came from the the pandemic. There was also an emphasis on family. And since The well, actually, during and since the pandemic, I've been working with families who have gone through, like, a a serious mental health crisis, and they're like, The young person is coming out of the hospital usually, and there's, like, kind of a rehabilitation involved in their care. And it's really, For me as a therapist, I've been seeing that process, and it's been inevitable, I think, for me to then be thinking about this concept of mental health hygiene. Like, what is it to be mentally healthy as people are trying to kind of build back their internal resources, their internal strengths, and redevelop or develop for the first time Their well-being is really emphasized the idea of how that happens and that it doesn't happen in an isolated way. We can't Be separate from our world, from the context of our lives, our families, in particular as we do that because that's a big thing, you know, to focus on our well-being and to develop our well-being to grow. That is no small feat, and we we're constantly doing it, but not always realizing the the effort that goes into that.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:04:07]: And so I've seen that for families to be involved in healing, it doesn't happen just for the young person, and it doesn't happen just alone for that 1 person.

Penny Williams [00:04:19]: Right.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:04:19]: The caregivers or parents, the siblings are involved. It goes much better when they're involved, and, also, They have personal benefits of that, so it's contagious, I would say, in a really positive way for families to be working on well-being, to be working on their growth and their in your mental health hygiene.

Penny Williams [00:04:36]: Yeah. Just to be mindful of it as a family, to be mindful of mental health and emotional health and what it takes To sort of feel have that well-being, right, as you called it, for each individual. And What comes to mind for me as you're talking is something I talk about a lot. Our energy is always sort of projected onto others, and others around us Absorb it. So as a parent, if I am not feeling great, and maybe I'm really frustrated that day, things just haven't been going well, My kids are gonna feel that. My partner, my spouse is gonna feel that. It's going to have an effect on everyone who is around me. And so I think as a family, right, we're talking about passing that around and that it's contagious as you said, And it does impact.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:05:29]: Yeah. Yeah. I I really like the way you describe that. It's it's very much a culture that we have in a family, and parents are leaders of that culture. And, you know, one way or another, it's being developed. Sometimes we do it intentionally. Sometimes we're aware of it, and oftentimes, we're not aware of it because we bring our whole selves, including our blind spots into that process. But we share values as a family.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:05:50]: We share experiences and the meaning that we make of those experiences. And one way that we do that, like, just a very simple example of that is, you know, in Organizations I've worked in children's hospitals and other organizations in leadership where you're trying to create a culture, and it's maybe kind of more explicit in those settings. What you measure is what matters is is one of the things you hear when you're working in administration. What you measure is what matters. And so if you're really measuring, like, if people clock in on time, that's gonna be part of the through there. If you really measure if people are rewarded by their jobs, that's what matters there. If you translate that to a family, what are we talking about? What are the things that we discuss at the table when we're together. Do we have a table that we get together at? Do we have time where we're together? And when we have an experience that was difficult, how do we make sense of that? What do we say about it? Is it, oh, man.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:06:37]: That that was horrible. Let's never do that again. Or is it, oh, man. That was really rough. What what did you like about that? What did you not like about that? You know? Should we do something like that again? Was that a good kinda challenge, or do we need to take some other kind of course of action in order to make that work? And so there's there's a culture that parents inherently develop, and I think as a parent myself, it's not easy to recognize that we're doing that when we're doing it. You know? We kind of are just doing their lives. We're just living life.

Penny Williams [00:07:03]: Yeah.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:07:04]: But in reality, we're having a huge impact on the way that our young people see the world.

Penny Williams [00:07:08]: I think so often we're on autopilot as parents. We're busy. We have a lot on our minds. You know, if you have multiple kids doing multiple things, you know, it just It adds to sort of that overwhelm, and we end up being on autopilot. And what you're talking about is really having to be very mindful. Shifting just that not even instinct. It's just the way we sort of operate when we get busy or overwhelmed, I think. And so How do we create that mindfulness around the role that we're playing in the family and creating culture, being more Purposeful, right, in our family dynamic.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:07:08]: Yeah. It seems it can seem. I don't know if it does for everybody. For me, I can feel overwhelmed with that burden, and that's part of why I get on autopilot. It's like, well, how am I gonna do that? You know? It's how do I build that in? And when I work on this with families as a therapist, as a psychologist, what we talk about is just the small initial step because it is like we were just discussing, it's contagious. And so you don't have to do everything at once. What's the growth edge? And having that growth mindset of what's the next step that I could take, A lot of times after initial assessment that I do with a new family, I will give a caregiver a homework assignment if they're up for it.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:08:23]: I'll ask them if they're up for homework assignment, and I try and give the most achievable homework assignment possible. And it's commonly, could you find 3 things that you like about your child this week and tell them and be specific. And it needs to be genuine. You know? Everyone knows when you're faking it. But can you genuinely praise your child in a specific way in this week 3 times? Oh, yeah. Three times. That's easy. Oh, could you do more? Could you do 3 times a day? You know, how many times could you do that? Another thing that I often suggest to some friends and family that I do in my family, I was looking for a way at night to kinda close-up the day, And, you know, I wanted to have some kind of just, I guess, kind of a tradition or or some kind of you know, to really make it kinda part of the culture of our family, something that we do at the end of every day.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:09:11]: And so what we decided as a family was to do something that we call GFG, which is gratitude, feeling, and goal. And so we share as a family. We we usually read every night, and then and then we do GFG. And so the first thing we do is we share we each take a turn. And so 1 person will share a gratitude from the day, then that person shares a feeling that they experience right now and then a goal for tomorrow. And so there's a past, present, and future embedded in that. So what was a moment that you felt gratitude? What is the feeling you have right now, and what is the goal for tomorrow? And it's not required. It's never been a discussion like that.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:09:49]: It's really just This is what we do around here. This is how we do things. And, you know, if someone doesn't feel like doing it, they don't have to, but that rarely happens. But I think about families with neurodivergent young people, and, I think that sometimes With autism spectrum disorder in particular, describing feelings can be really, really hard. Mhmm. And so we sometimes kind of avoid that discussion about feelings, about gratitude. But What I've learned after working with neurodivergent individuals for a long time is that those feelings are happening. The expression of it is harder Yeah.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:10:22]: Oftentimes for young people, but the feelings are happening for every human, all of us. We have those feelings happening. And even if the young person is not saying or feeling at that moment or doesn't know how to. If a caregiver is is modeling that, if a parent is modeling that, that's very powerful. Mhmm. To have a caregiver say, Oh, today, I had a moment of gratitude when I noticed that you were putting away the dishes and I didn't even ask you Mhmm. Or when I was at work and this wonderful thing happened. We share our values by doing that.

Penny Williams [00:10:50]: Yeah.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:10:50]: And then sharing our feeling, like, what are the things you're noticing in your in your body right now? That makes it a lot easier to know how to share feelings if you can see the most trusted person in your world, your parent, doing that. And then a goal taps into our motivation, to a growth mindset, to focus on how we move forward, and, kind of helps communicate that that's part of our value too as a family is that we're gonna be growing. Mhmm. And so instituting that, it's not a huge thing. It takes about 5 minutes every night. Yeah. It feels really good, and, you know, it's not like you're trying to change everything all at once. We can take those small solvable problems and, make small changes if we go.

Penny Williams [00:11:26]: It's really building connection too. It's taking mindful time to build connection with the family. One thing that I did my my son just turned 21, but when he was young, every night when I talked to him in, I would say, I like the way you blink today. And whatever we might have been working on or something that went great, I said it to him, the last thing he heard from me in the day, Because I wanted to always end with something positive because things were so hard. They were so challenging, And we I think as human beings, we focus on the negative, and so I found myself ending every day going, everything is horrible and hard. And I needed too for myself to remind myself that it isn't all bad and hard and difficult. There's always a bright spot, and it just made him feel so good to, you know, be reminded. But, also, he got to end his day that might have been super Challenging in that same sort of positive frame of mind, and it was magical.

Penny Williams [00:12:31]: I have to say it was it really made a difference For him and for me, it helped us to be more present too, you know, to really we had to notice those positive things in order to actually reflect on them at the end of the Right? Yeah. I had to log them. I couldn't just be on autopilot and going through that. The other thing that struck me with your GFG, that goal, You know, it sort of reminds us that tomorrow's a new day. You know? We get to start fresh the next day by thinking about that at the end of the day. I love that.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:13:01]: Yeah. Wow. I love so much of what you just said, Penny. That was so wonderful. Yeah. I I I mean, because we all have those experiences and those memories of going to bed at night, and our mind is still going as we're, like, falling asleep. And as kids, you know, we think about all sorts of things, but you're putting a very powerful plug in there. Hey.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:13:18]: Think about one thing, how much I love you, how much I notice you, how much I see you and appreciate you. Mhmm. And I see that you're growing, and I I value that. And to have that be, you know, the lingering thought in his mind, you know, kinda bouncing around as he goes to bed, I think that's so beautiful. Yeah. I I love that. And I think, Yeah. Being able to say, okay.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:13:37]: I'm at the end of my day. What do I want tomorrow to be like? Could I take anything from what I've learned today and make a decision about what I want tomorrow to be like or how I want it to be Right? And, you know, oftentimes, for my daughter, I don't ask her how she did on our goal all that often, but a lot of times, she'll tell me. And, oh, I did my goal today. I complimented 3 friends. Oh, wow. And, you know, I just filled with pride and and, you know, satisfaction and and amazement in who she is, and and I think we need as many of those moments as we can get. You know? And so gratitude, like you pointed out, it is about connection. It increases that That social connection, there's lots of research to show that.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:14:13]: It also increases our well-being. Our sleep is better when we have gratitude, and it's not just feeling gratitude, but it's a trait, something that we are oriented around gratitude. And and if that is what we're talking about as a family, that we take time specifically to Recognize your gratitude even if it's just 30 seconds, then it does, like you pointed out, kind of call us to action to notice moments of gratitude Mhmm. Or to be reminded, oh, wait. There are things I can be grateful for in my day. It's a magical value, I think gratitude is, because it completely shifts our attention. We can't be resentful. We can't be entitled when we're trying to notice things to be grateful for.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:14:49]: And a lot of times, we need that nudge, all of us, to be kinda pointed in that direction.

Penny Williams [00:14:57]: I heard someone say yesterday that we need hope in our lives as much as we need to breathe, And it really resonated with me. Because when you are in the thick of it with a neurodivergent kid and you're really struggling, That is the thing that keeps pulling you forward, that keeps you from, you know, falling apart and Staying in that space. Right? Because we are gonna fall apart. We all are at some points. Right? We're human beings. But It just really resonated with me that and it goes along with gratitude. Like, we have to be hopeful in order to keep moving. Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:15:38]: And when we instill a culture of that for our kids as a family, they take that with them throughout their lives. You know? It's It's building a sort of a habit. I mean, we can definitely make habits of gratitude and noticing in all of these things, and I think it becomes just Part of who they are. Yeah. Yeah. You think so?

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:15:59]: Oh, a 100%. I love that emphasis on hope, you know, being so essential. And we all know that we're supposed to brush our teeth twice a day. Somehow, Big Dental got that message out there, and we are all, you know, aware of the of the hygiene for our teeth that we need to do. And yet the idea that hope is as essential as water or air, You know? I don't think that that message is out there as much as it needs to be. You know? Yeah. And big mental health needs to get out there and have a message, you know, and help us find ways to build that hopefulness and build that growth orientation, you know, and to find beauty in the breakdown, find beauty in the moments that we struggle, and to be accepting of those moments and to be looking toward growth rather than, you know, that those fixed mindsets. Or oftentimes, what I see is, I work with young people who have gone through a 1st episode of psychosis.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:16:50]: And one of the symptoms of that is having the fetus beliefs, feeling like you've lost before you started. And those are a focus for me in getting out and doing healthy things. You know, for depression, for example, the biggest Intervention is it's called behavior activation, which means doing things you enjoy. Get outside and do things that you like to do. I think that's wonderful. I mean, Hey. Let's think about the things that you would like to do. How would you like to be spending your time, and how do you do more of those things? I mean, it's really joyful to be spending time talking with people about how they could have more fun and it happens to make their lives better.

Penny Williams [00:17:25]: Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I've struggled, and I've been open with this. I've struggled last year and early this year with just sort of getting stuck myself In that negative spiral and I have worked really hard for years on myself so that I could show up as the parent that I wanted to be for my kid Because I was really trapped in negativity. Why did this happen to us? Why did it have to be my kid? Why do things have to be so hard? Right? And I was really stuck there, and I found myself during and after the pandemic sort of sliding back into that space. And so I've really been working very hard on that, and and my therapist is always like, okay. What are you gonna do this week That brings you joy. What are you gonna do that makes you happy that is just for you? And we forget to do that.

Penny Williams [00:18:18]: Like, We forget, and we get so caught up or we get stuck, and we forget just to have even if it's 5 minutes, To have something that brings us at least relief, if not joy.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:18:33]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:18:33]: And it's powerful. It changes everything. I mean, you just start with 1 day in the week and then go to, you know, 2 days in the week. Because that was something I learned about myself. Like, I wasn't gonna flip a switch And start having all these great habits again that I had let go of, and so it was breaking it down into the very smallest step first.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:18:53]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:18:54]: What was the barrier? Addressing a barrier first, then moving to the next barrier before we're even trying to do anything. But also my kids have gotten to watch that process and to start to think about they actually, Especially my my daughter who is 24, she will all the time be like, well, mom, you know, you gotta do stuff for yourself too. And And she's not great about it either. Right? But it's your kids get to a point where they pair it back To you, everything you've said to them, they're giving you your advice. That's the point I've reached to my parenting, but it kinda brings me joy in a way. Right? Because They heard me, and now they're seeing me model what I need to do for myself, and we tend to sacrifice that as parents. And I think it's an important part of those strategies that strengthen the family, that create that family culture. Right? I am showing them that, yes, you also have to do things To take care of yourself, to bring yourself joy, you have to focus on the gratitude and the hope and the stuff like that.

Penny Williams [00:20:02]: So it's been quite a journey, but I think It has actually brought us closer as a family. Even though my kids are young adults, they're still here in the house, which I actually am grateful for. I'm not one of those parents who's like, get out. I don't want your like, I'm like, you can stay as long as you want, but That might change my tune at some point. Right?

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:20:22]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:20:22]: But, I think that just illustrates, you know, what you're talking about with really modeling Building that culture too and building those habits too.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:20:33]: Yeah. Yeah. How inspirational. That was so wonderful to hear. I mean, you talk about your experience and your openness about, you know, that that experience is not always, you know, rosy as we, oftentimes hear, you in the stuff we consume, and that's not the experience. That's not reality. And true growth includes challenge and includes setbacks and falling backward, tripping, hitting your knee, and learning how to get up and then move forward again, learning how you can Get back up and keep moving forward. We all want it to be that straight line moving upward, and it it never is.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:21:06]: And in fact, we would be boring people if it were. We need those dips to be the rich, enriched people that we become because of the challenges we confront, and we are all better for those times that we've fallen down and then figured out how to stand up again.

Penny Williams [00:21:22]: Yeah. And our kids are better for seeing it. Yeah. I'm very much a proponent of being a human being in front of your kids. You know, we cannot set an expectation of perfection. They will never feel like they can measure up. And so, you know, I just think we have to be real, real humans for our kids. Again, that's modeling, right, that culture.

Penny Williams [00:21:42]: It's modeling What you do to help your own mental health, but also your family members. You know? My kids have seen, like, what do I need to help me feel better? And they can have a part in that. And so when we're talking about this family culture that you're describing And, you know, your GFGs at night, it does that same thing. It's showing everybody what is going on for each other, But also opens the door, I think, to just more connection and discussion around that and more support for each other.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:22:16]: Yeah. I I think it's a little empowering when a parent can say, wait a second. I can be selfish in a very healthy way right now and focus on needy and happy. There's something I need to do to be happy, and it might not be all in my day. You know? I'm I'm still a parent, but I can focus on how I can be happy as an individual, and that's going to be me being a good parent. That's empowering to know that us focusing on our own well-being is time well spent, and it contributes to our Children learning what it looks like when someone struggles and when someone grows and when someone accepts themselves through the growth.

Penny Williams [00:22:47]: Yeah. So I wanna sort of play devil's advocate slightly here because I hear parents saying, you know, it's not that easy. My kid won't sit down and tell me a gratitude for the day. You know? How do we get Through that resistance, resistance with our kids, but also I think resistance with the adults thinking that it can't be different. Because I think we get there sometimes. Right? So if we have a parent who's listening and saying, well, easy for you to say, but that's not my kid or that's not my family and my household, old. How do they start moving in that direction?

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:23:27]: Yeah. That's a great question and not a new one for me, you know, in my role.

Penny Williams [00:23:31]: Mhmm.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:23:32]: And a lot of times what we do is we like on a dry erase board or or on the the screen, we we'll draw a balance. And on one side, you have kindness and warmth and nurturing. And on another side, you have structure and rules and expectations. And then I ask parents to Draw their balance. Like, where are you on the spectrum? You know? Are you a little more heavily on the structure and role side? Are you more on the nurturing side? Because kids need both. You know? Balance is the goal in our parenting. Have some balance there, and you don't have to be all touchy feely if your orientation is not really touchy feely. That's not realistic, you know, to expect that you're gonna completely change who you are, and that that wouldn't work.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:24:13]: But you can take 1 step in that direction to find a little bit balance as a parent. And what would that look like? How could you be a little bit warmer or a little bit kinder? Or how could you have a little bit more structure, a little bit more in terms of guidelines, and find a little bit more balance there. That's really all that's needed is what's the next step. You don't need to look a year ahead. You're not trying to change a year ahead right now. Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:24:35]: We can

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:24:35]: make changes tomorrow. We all all we have is this moment, in fact, to make those changes. And so, you know, I've worked with military families at Camp Pendleton, and I've worked with families that are going through some of the hardest times of their lives. I've worked with all sorts of different parents and and families, and I can tell you that all of us We're on our own journey of finding balance and doing better as parents. None of us are perfect. Mhmm. And the goal isn't perfection. It's growth.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:25:00]: And so It may not be easy. If your child doesn't want to participate in the thing that you're trying to do, that's okay. If there's small ways that they kind of do it, notice that, call it out, Make it grow by noticing it. You know? What we notice is what matters. Yeah. And so notice the times that it does happen. If we teach our children that we're gonna see even small ways that they participate. Oh, thank you for listening and being part of this time where we did GFG.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:25:24]: You know? And if you ever decide that you wanna share your own, I can't wait to hear it, but I'm really glad that you're here. I I appreciate that you participated in this today. I'm you know? And, And and so then the emphasis is not on, oh, man, you didn't participate. I wish you did, which will make the child feel bad and the parent feel bad. Yep. It's more emphasizing What did happen that I can appreciate here? Where was their growth? And if there wasn't any, then you don't need to say anything. You can kind of say, well, it's it felt good for me to share gratitude. It's all good for me to think about my goals tomorrow.

Penny Williams [00:25:56]: Right. Yeah. Yeah. Just falling back on modeling.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:25:59]: Yes. Yeah. Just like you said, not modeling. Yeah. 100%.

Penny Williams [00:26:03]: Yeah. And I think too, like, there's other modalities of doing this also. Like, if your kid doesn't love to Chat with you and their team with a phone, text them. Hey. I noticed you did this today. It was amazing. Or what happened today that really made you feel good or anything or, you know, leave a note. I've left sticky notes on my kid's door, like, when he was sleeping, but I found out that he had, like, emptied the dishes out of the dishwasher without me prodding, which is what usually happens.

Penny Williams [00:26:33]: Right? And so I couldn't speak to him right then. I wrote a sticky note. I put it on his door. It's been on his door for, like, a year because he likes to have it there and see it and be reminded that, Like, hey. I contributed, and people appreciated it. You know? And so there's other ways. We don't have to, like, all sit down in a circle and Be really I don't wanna say cheesy, but, you know, like, that's sort of an ideal. Right? It doesn't have to be the ideal.

Penny Williams [00:27:03]: We can meet our kids where they are and what works for them at that point and just take those really small steps like you said.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:27:09]: Yeah. I remember being a, you know, Moderately broody teenager, and it was not cool to, you know, talk about, you know Talk to your parents. Talk to your parents. I remember that. And I'm dreading the point when my daughter gets to that age. And, you know, I know it's coming at some point, but I also remember really appreciating a hug and really appreciating I wouldn't tell any I wouldn't admit it. But appreciating warmth and appreciating recognition and being seen. I was still human, you know, and I still wanted to be understood and appreciated and, value for who I was.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:27:40]: So we can always take those steps, and they're, I think, almost always gonna be appreciated.

Penny Williams [00:27:45]: Yeah. Even if they don't show up.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:27:47]: Yeah. It does make it harder. There's more demand on us.

Penny Williams [00:27:49]: For sure.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:27:50]: We need to be seen and valued by someone else, you know, like, because we're not gonna always get that from our teenagers.

Penny Williams [00:27:55]: Mhmm. Oh, I'm glad you said that. That's so true. Yeah. And it's okay. It's part of the process, I think, of them striving for independence. It is what we have to navigate at that age a lot of times. And, again, it's all about how you show up.

Penny Williams [00:28:09]: And it matters to how they'll show up. I wanna give you the opportunity too. I wanna talk about your children's book. Do you wanna tell us a little bit about it? And then we'll link in the show notes to where people can get it.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:28:21]: Sure. Sure. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. I wrote my 1st kid's book, and I'd plan to write more, but this one is called Opposite Titus, a ridiculous family love story. And it's not like a value based it's not like a psychologist wrote it kinda book. It's just a silly, loving book, and so it's just meant to be fun for families to read it together.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:28:40]: It's for kids, 4 to 9, about that age range, and it's about, dad who has opposite Titus. So he does things opposite. He does breakfast for dinner every night, unless it's dinner for dinner night, and then they have dinner for breakfast because he does everything opposite, and he wears shoes on his hands, and and his daughter meets someone who changes things for their family. And and it's really silly, hopefully funny. I I read it at a school yesterday, and the kids laughed, and that was, like, the biggest compliment for me.

Penny Williams [00:29:08]: Yeah.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:29:08]: And it's anywhere you can find books, anywhere you like to find books opposite Titus. So thanks for letting me Talk about that. But, yeah, I I I love family reading time, you know, given the age of my daughter. I love it. And so I I wanted to create something that I thought Would help families enjoy that time too. There's lots of good books out there. Hopefully, this will be one that is fun for families.

Penny Williams [00:29:27]: I love it. Abba's Atlantis. It's such a good idea. Thanks. I'm a book nerd, so I appreciate, like, just the wording and the silliness. Because I think, you know, so often, we're trying to teach And correct. And, you know, be the parent we think we're supposed to be, but play and laughter is a really important part too. And I'm sure there are lessons learned in your story in that book, but, also, there's just joy in sharing it with your kids, and That matters a lot too.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:29:59]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:29:59]: I love it. Yeah. So it'll be linked up in the show notes for everyone as well as doctor Crandall's website so that you can connect, learn more from him. Those show notes are available at parentingADHDandautism.com/243 for episode 243. I just wanna, again, at the end here, thank you so much for sharing some of your Time and your wisdom and your experience and for all the very helpful, wonderful work that you're doing in the world for kids and families.

Brent Crandal, Ph.D. [00:30:32]: Well, thank you so much, Penny. That means so much to me, and I appreciate being able to talk about it. I noticed I was smiling throughout and Okay. And I was inspired by you sharing your own experiences, and so this was very rewarding for me. So thank you so much for letting me Have this moment with you.

Penny Williams [00:30:45]: Awesome. We shall collaborate again, I think. Oh, sounds great. For sure. Yeah. For everybody listening, I'll see you next time. Take good care. Thanks for joining me on the Beautifully Complex podcast.

Penny Williams [00:30:59]: 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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I'm your host, Penny.

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…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

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