251: Impact of Parental Confidence and Social Pressure on Parenting Complex Kids, with Anouk Briere-Godbout

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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In this episode of Beautifully Complex, I have a candid conversation with Anouk Briere-Godbout about the challenges of parenting neurodivergent children. Our discussion focuses on the impact of societal pressure on parental confidence and the importance of finding supportive communities for parents facing similar struggles. Anouk shares personal experiences and professional insights, emphasizing self-compassion, resilience, and the need for a mindset shift in addressing the unique needs of neurodivergent children. If you’ve felt judged about your parenting in public, listening to this episode will make you feel so much less alone!

3 Key Takeaways

01

Impact of Social Pressure: Parenting neurodivergent children is super challenging and societal pressure has a significant impact on parental confidence.

02

Understanding and Support: The episode emphasizes the importance of understanding children’s behavior, finding supportive communities, and prioritizing self-care for parents of emotionally intense kids.

03

Self-Compassion and Resilience: Let go of shame and guilt, practice self-compassion, and build resilience to navigate societal pressures and parenting challenges.

What You'll Learn

The impact of societal pressure on parental confidence and decision-making for parenting neurodivergent children, and actionable strategies for managing and overcoming this pressure.

How to cultivate self-compassion and prioritize self-care as a parent of a neurodivergent child, including practical tips for building a supportive community and seeking out resources and support.

Strategies for handling challenging public situations with neurodivergent children, such as staying regulated, prioritizing the child’s needs, and managing judgment and societal pressures.

An understanding of the challenges faced by parents of neurodivergent children, and guidance on building a community of support, including how to connect with other parents facing similar experiences both locally and online.

Resources

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Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

My Guest

Anouk Briere-Godbout

Anouk is a mom of 3 emotionally intense kids, who has a master’s in social work and has been supporting parents for 15 years (and that’s how long she’s been a mom!).

She now supports parents of emotionally intense kids for whom nothing in the “general parenting advice” seems to work so they feel confident in trying different things that fit their kids’ needs better.

 

Transcript

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:00:03]: If we let that child do that crisis on the floor, we're gonna get judged. If we pick him up, we're gonna get judged. If we just leave that cart in the middle of the aisle, we're gonna get judged. There's no win here. So just pick what works best for you and do that.

Penny Williams [00:00:18]: 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. Welcome back to Beautifully Complex. I'm really excited today to have Anouk here with me, and we are going to talk about the impact of parent confidence And our social environment, on our experience with raising complex kids, I'm really excited to go down this path with Anouk and really figure out what we need to have more Presence of mind about as parents and how we can navigate this successfully. So I wanna start by having you let everybody know Who you are and what you do.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:01:18]: Thank you for having me over, Penny. So I'm French Canadian first, so You'll hear maybe some English mistakes here and there. I have a master in social work, and I have 3, what I call, emotionally intense kids, but Beautifully complex applies to neurodivergent kids ranging from 4 to 15, close to 16. And I've been working as a social worker up until a year and a half ago, mostly with kids with different special needs in a pediatric Hospital and re adaptation center. And now I have a business supporting parents of emotionally intense kids That can be neurodivergent, but not only. Some have trauma, anxiety, and different other. It can be Different really different things that lead to that emotional intensity. And I also am, advocate adviser for patient organization, and I support also another nonprofit, support parents of kids with heart diseases.

Penny Williams [00:02:21]: Yeah. Your help are in many different areas. It's amazing. Where should we start this conversation about, you know, parental confidence and social pressure? I think Social pressure, especially, is so difficult to navigate because it can't be our compass as parents of neurodivergent kids.

Penny Williams [00:02:41]: We know our kids are different. We know they're not neurotypical. So how do we sort of almost circumvent that Path, in a way. Yeah. How do we get okay with that, I guess, is what I'm asking.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:02:53]: Yeah. And I would say, like, they really Are closely related, because parental confidence is impacted by social expectation or social pressure. And the more confidence we have, the less impacted we are by social pressure. So they really go end in end. And I would say, like, my older 2 kids are teens now, and I got diagnosis for them in the last 2 years. So up until then, I had no clue I was parenting neurodivergent kids. So that social pressure that you know or not, The social pressure is very, very intense Yeah. Because most of what we're told don't work with our kids.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:03:34]: And you talked about that again and again on the podcast. We cannot approach those kids with a traditional discipline method. And even the more Prositive parenting, it's often just not enough. Yeah. It requires more than that. It's not like just getting on that level And naming their emotion, it can even be damaging for some of those kids. So it's more complex than that, for sure. And So when we no matter if we are more in a positive parenting environment or more traditional disciplining environment In both spaces, we're never going to do the right thing, basically.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:04:12]: So that pressure and and it comes in Sneaky ways from everybody and everywhere. It comes from advertisement. It comes from the parent groups where you're chatting with other parents that are saying things, and you're Yeah. That's not working with my kids, and then people are judging or suggesting things that, you know, is not gonna work. You tried that again and again. And it's hard because often you like, for example, just recently, I was in a social setting, and I've been home a lot with my kids, and it reminded me how much we're judged all the time no matter what we do, because people don't get it. It's an invisible, Is it the disability or not? We can talk about that forever, but it still is a struggle, and kids are have Different reaction, and often they're not socially acceptable. And we're judged all the time.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:05:05]: It's not just the perception. Sometimes we think we're judged, but parents of neurodivergent kids are always judged, basically, because it's associated with bad behavior Yeah. Most of the time.

Penny Williams [00:05:18]: Yeah. As you were talking, I was thinking, you know, when we do the right thing for our kids, We're being told we're doing the wrong thing by society Yeah. Or our family members or teachers even.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:05:32]: Or doctors, I was told that recently by a doctor. You know you can't say no to your child. Really? That never occurred to me. Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:05:40]: And, You know, I always remind myself that people around us don't know our story. That helped me with my own anxiety and fear of judgment. Yeah. But society needs to catch up too. Mhmm. We need people to understand neurodivergence. We need that acceptance.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:06:00]: And I would say just accepting differences. It's just, like, can we just stop judging all the time? And thinking that we know better than other people. And I'm sorry, but that's not the case. It's really rare. Yes. It's gonna happen sometimes that there are parents that are not adequate. But, honestly, it's Really, a small percentage of parents that are really not adequate, and even them, they're doing their best. They just don't have the resources, Any kind of resources, the the knowledge, or every parents are doing their best.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:06:29]: There are no parents that are getting up in the morning and thinking, I'm gonna arm my child today voluntarily.

Penny Williams [00:06:35]: Right.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:06:36]: Nobody is taking that. It might have done that way, like, just because that's life, and because they're trying and it's not Working, and they're not doing the right thing for that child, but that's never why a parent gets up in the morning and wants to arm their children.

Penny Williams [00:06:52]: We may make mistakes.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:06:54]: We will.

Penny Williams [00:06:54]: We may not know what we should be doing yet or how to do things better, but our intentions are good. Yeah. And when other people see us struggling or our kids struggling in public, we're trying. Everybody's trying.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:07:09]: Yeah. All the time.

Penny Williams [00:07:10]: Yeah. It's so, so difficult. And I think Yeah. We all have some level of Drama around that as parents, like, when your kid is losing it in the supermarket and people I remember people literally Peeking around the corner of the aisles to look at us, to see what was happening. Right? Uh-huh. And that's so Hard. Yeah. And, yeah, it's just the weight of all of that societal pressure Can actually make us make more mistakes.

Penny Williams [00:07:43]: Right? Because it's dysregulating.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:07:46]: Definitely. Definitely. And and that has an impact on our confidence so that Even if we think I know what my kids need, and I'm gonna do that to support them, then we get judged, and we are dis related, and we are now doubting it. Maybe I haven't made that right decision, and then we're not doing what our kids really need. It's arming them much more than when we were trusting what we thought was the right thing to do. But the social pressure often makes us Not take the right path for our kids and not take the right decision for our kids because we don't trust our instinct because we're judged all the time on our instincts. So it's Arming our confidence as parent a lot. So social pressure definitely is a big, big part of that.

Penny Williams [00:08:30]: Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:08:30]: And we're not doing what's right for them.

Penny Williams [00:08:32]: How do we accept, I think? Because we can't change everybody else. Nope. We only have control over ourselves. So how do we accept That other people are gonna judge. They don't know our story and be able to stand in Our kids' truth to honor what they need in those moments.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:08:53]: I would say there's I wish there was a magic formula for that. There's none. Yeah. But there's a few things that are gonna help. I would say, first, finding the right people to be surrounded with, the right community, because as much as The social pressure will have a negative impact on our confidence as parents. Having the right people supporting us in the right way around us will increase our confidence. So often when today, I'm still sometime doubting, even if I've dealt way less than I used to. When I'm question Shanavel, the decision I'm making, I always come back in my mind to, I'm not the only one making those decision for my kids.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:09:32]: I know So many other parents that are doing that, and it's working. I'm not the only one. But when you're the only one, it's almost impossible to stand against All that social pressure. You need to know that you're not alone. So podcasts like yours are wonderful resource, because, you know, there's, like, Authority people that have knowledge, that study, that that have parented kids older than yours going in the same direction and with the same kind and it's always different. There's nobody else doing things exactly like you need to do it for your child. But in the same kind of Mind and direction that you're going, having those people to reference, even if it's just mentally saying, yeah, I know I'm doing okay because Others are doing it, and it's working even if

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:10:18]: All of those people think it's not working.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:10:21]: That's one of the thing. Also, If you're in a relationship with another, it can be the other parents or a new partner. Having that teamwork also makes a lot of difference. If you're not in the alignment with your decision with your child, it makes it much more difficult to follow through and trust yourself. But when you support each other when that, It really is that helpful?

Penny Williams [00:10:45]: Yeah. That support is so Yes. Important, because without it, There's just so much friction. Right? And I I just wanna acknowledge, it is very, very hard to get on the same page when you're co parenting, Together or not together, even together Yeah. You know, in the same household is very hard. We grow up differently

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:11:07]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:11:07]: In different environments with Different ideas, and it's just you know, we're different people and different personalities. It's so hard. I just want everybody to know that We get that

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:11:19]: Oh, yeah.

Penny Williams [00:11:20]: Because it's something that I hear time and time and time again. How in the world do we get on the same page? You know? It's so much harder to parent this kid when we're also fighting about how to do it. Right? And and so you have to be mindful. You have to sit down and have those conversations. You have to even maybe create some structure. Right? If this happens, this is what we agree is going to be the outcome.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:11:42]: And it's also okay to not get it all the time. Yes. Like, perfect.

Penny Williams [00:11:47]: You're never going to.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:11:48]: And we're 2 different parent. We will do things differently at some points. And, like, there's that expectation that the 2 parents, if it's the same household, they should always do the things the same way. But it's not really realistic. We're still 2 different person. And for some reason, if parents get separated, suddenly, the child is able to understand that the The rules are different. It's just 2 asshole. But when we are together, it shall always be exactly the same, which is kind of weird.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:12:15]: So it would be great Yeah. But It's not really possible. We are 2 different human being. We will react differently to the situation. Mhmm. So it still is, like, As much as we should try to have some consistency and have the same kind of structure and rules in place, it's never gonna be 100%. That's not realistic.

Penny Williams [00:12:35]: Yeah. Yeah. Knowing that is important. The other thing I wanted to just circle back for a second on surrounding yourself with other parents who have Somewhat of a similar parenting journey. Where do we find those people? And I'll say there's so many places to find them now. When my kid was diagnosed teen, 17 years ago.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:12:54]: Crickets.

Penny Williams [00:12:56]: I wasn't even on Facebook yet. I actually got on Facebook So that I could find community with other parents who got it. That was why I signed up. So there's lots of resources. Where should Parents be looking because I think it's isolating. Yeah. And we hide the struggles from other parents, and other parents are doing that too. Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:13:16]: And so I remember There was a parent that I worked with, and for, like, 2 years, I had no idea that her kid was struggling. She had no idea that my kid was struggling. They Both were almost the same age, same diagnoses, lots of similar struggles. She was here, like, in my town. I could get together with her, and we had no idea until one of us Finally said something. And, you know, so, like, how do you find your people? How do you get these connections?

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:13:42]: That's a great question. I would say, locally, it's harder than online, exactly for the reason you were saying, because we are not talking about that or, like, openly with people around. But I would also say, start. If you can be the one that start talking about those things, you'll find people around you, because there's way more than we think. Yeah. And when you start talking about it, you realize that there's a lot of people that are going through similar things, but nobody is talking about it. And so it gets very easier. It's hard to start because you feel that people are gonna judge you.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:14:15]: So you can start with small things. You don't necessarily open up with the artist Things but you can start with some example of small struggle that you can have or things that are more difficult. And I would say keep an open eye for colleagues or people around you that might cancel appointments more often than others, be not coming at work, like, things like that. It helps to know that you can spot those parents that have more family Requests, I would say.

Penny Williams [00:14:44]: Yeah. Challenges.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:14:45]: Yeah. More challenges and more things going on in their family because they might be less present at work, more distracted, then things like that. And so it might be a great way to start and just be open to their reality. Might be different than ours too, but just Getting together with parents that have a different reality, even if it's not the same as ours, is still great. And, otherwise, online community, there's many. Mhmm. And I would say now there's So many that find some that you really truly feel comfortable in and that the people in really resonate with What you're going through and your values and the way you want, and still, like, for example, your podcast, I think, is a great way, because you're gonna interview lots of people that have different communities offers, some free, some paid, but there's lots of opportunity to say, oh, I really vibe with that Person, I'm gonna go check if they have something that I can participate in, for example. And so that way, you can find the right ones Can be 1.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:15:43]: I would say most often than not. More than 1 would be great because not 1 community would be exactly fulfilling all the needs that you have.

Penny Williams [00:15:50]: Right. Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:15:51]: And I think people locally and online is not the same either. If you have people locally, it's different because their kids can play together or And track with each other, and you can get support if you need to. Like, for example, I know my youngest, I have no idea who can babysit her around right now because we moved here recently, and I don't know lots of people locally yet. And I'm not about to Ask a 15 year old to babysit her. It's not gonna it's not gonna be pretty. And so From her preschool, I know 1 or 2 other moms, and I've seen their kids. And I'm like, yeah. She would be able to handle mine.

Penny Williams [00:16:29]: Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, just being more aware Yes. Of what other people are doing and how it might be similar to the struggle that you're having.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:16:38]: Yeah. And just the reaction also of other people to your child. Yeah. It tells you a lot. Mhmm. Like, if they have a hard time with how your child is acting, That's not your people.

Penny Williams [00:16:49]: Yeah. They don't get it.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:16:50]: Yeah. Exactly. Some people get it. Some people don't. And it's just you see that fast

Penny Williams [00:17:01]: I know that some schools have PTO, PTA now for special needs families. We never had 1 in my area, but I know in another county in my state, they did have 1. So definitely checking with your school. Like, do you have support for parents? Mhmm. And maybe you can Spearhead that. You know? If you could talk to a specialized coordinator or guidance counselor and say, I really wanna start a meeting with parents Whose kids have similar struggles, would you mind, you know, sending out an email and seeing if people would join me? That's not something I would have done because I have social anxiety, but there are people who would take the helm and create that, and then you have that support. Like, when I finally got on Facebook, I started a group for parents of neurodivergent kids because that's what I needed, And I knew it, and I was hoping that I could create it. And and I get just as much out of it as anybody else because Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:18:02]: I am that parent also, and I can use that support also. So, you know, sometimes, if it doesn't exist Create it. You can build it.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:18:11]: Definitely.

Penny Williams [00:18:12]: You can create it.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:18:13]: And you don't need to be a specialist to do that. The goal is to be just Getting together as people who are living through the same kind of thing. That's it. That's the only goal. So nobody needs to have a training in anything to Start that other than being willing and having the energy to do it, because sometimes we know how energetically involved we have to to be with our kids. But, yeah, it definitely would be a great idea because that makes a huge difference Yeah. To have that community around Because there's a shame coming with that. Definitely, like, a feeling of shame coming with that all that judgment.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:18:48]: That's why we're not talking about it. Yeah. I honestly didn't realize for years that was not normal, because I only had those kinda kids.

Penny Williams [00:18:58]: Right.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:18:58]: For me, that was parenting. You know? I had no clue there was something else, and I always worked with parents of kids with special needs. I never work with parents of normal kids, if you will, if that's even a thing. So I didn't add a point of reference with What we can call regular kids.

Penny Williams [00:19:15]: Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:19:16]: So when you don't know, you don't know.

Penny Williams [00:19:18]: Yeah. We all have something. I mean, this is The conversation I've had with my kids many times over the years, everybody struggles with something. They may not show it. You may not know it. It may not be like you, But everybody you know, nobody is perfect. We're all human beings.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:19:34]: Yeah. And that norm doesn't really exist. Like, the way we consider normal is It's just, like, a middle ground of everybody, but nobody is that middle ground. That's the thing.

Penny Williams [00:19:46]: Mhmm. Can we talk about an example maybe of how to handle that judgment, how to handle our kids when we are in a place where There are people around, and our kids are emotionally intense. They're having a hard time. Whatever is happening Yeah. Is really tough for us. We're feeling judged. Do you have some strategies? What do we do to get through that?

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:20:12]: I would say it's a practice, But it's really focusing on what my kids needs right now and what I need to stay regulated Mhmm. And try to block everything else, All the judgment, all the looks. And you might be ignoring some people that could be helpful. That let's be honest. Sometimes some people can. It but the thing is, It's very, very small number of people that will be helpful in those moments, sadly, in this society. I hope it was more than that, but it's generally more helpful to just block And ignore them as much as we can and try. Because often that, like, knowing that people are looking down the aisle and, Like, it will raise our beat.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:20:52]: We will get, like, warm, and then we'll lose patience so much faster with our kids, and that will Snowball with a bigger, bigger fight. And if you need to just leave, just leave. It's possible. Just go in the car and come back later. It's okay to just leave a full cart of food in the middle of an aisle. That's life. You know? And maybe you'll come back, and it's all gonna stay there. Maybe you'll come back and you'll have to start from scratch.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:21:18]: Maybe we have to go tomorrow. We still need sometimes to remove that expectation that things are gonna go a certain way. I remember, clearly, my sister was that kind of child, and she still is in some way. She's just not a child anymore. I'm 6 years older than my sister, so I remember some of the things that my parents were doing with her, which which was really helpful because they were early in the positive parenting sphere. And I use some of the thing that they use with my own kids, my son, especially, because he's the older one. And I remember distinctly sometimes in the grocery store, she was just losing it in the floor. They were leaving her there Grocery shopping, then picking her up, putting her in the cart, and leaving the grocery store.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:22:04]: That's it. I'm sure it was hard for them, but From my point of view, it looked normal. I was having a hard time.

Penny Williams [00:22:13]: Right. Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:22:14]: But my parents looked like they didn't. I'm Pretty sure it was not the case, but it looked like that from the outside. And they knew that that was the case. Today, I might like, I know better in some ways than they knew. Lots of stuff that they didn't know about regulation and sensory processing issues and things like that that We're not really known in the late eighties, early nineties. Right now, I would not necessarily do that. I would alpaca regulate. If she always had trouble in the grocery store, there's probably a reason.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:22:45]: And so Yeah. We would find a way to help that child what's going on in the grocery store. Is there Too much noise, too much people, too much light, too much music. Like, there's a reason why that child is getting that way if it's always in the same place.

Penny Williams [00:23:00]: Yeah. Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:23:01]: But, like, that's not knowledge that was generally known, and it was not even I'm not even sure it was known, period, at that point in time. So it's completely different. Yeah. She's more than 3 years old, so it's been a while. So, yeah, I think that would be it. It's Twofold all the time. It's like, in the moment, focusing on what our kids needs and what we need Mhmm. To stay calm and forgetting the rest.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:23:27]: And then if it's always happening in the same situation, then we can troubleshoot in advance and see what we can do, finding Play detective, I call that play detective because we often don't know what's happening. Yeah. So it's trial and error a lot. And it's okay to do trial and error. Like, they're not coming with a One zero one guide, how to raise that kid. We wish. At all.

Penny Williams [00:23:49]: No. Yeah. I remember my son, the grocery was a problem for a long I am and I was taking him there right after school, and that was for me Yeah. Because I was already out.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:24:01]: It was convenience.

Penny Williams [00:24:02]: We were right By the grocery store, it was for me, and I had to stop doing it because he could not handle it at that time. And that didn't mean that he was never going to be able to handle the grocery store.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:24:17]: So true.

Penny Williams [00:24:18]: Which was kinda where I got stuck way back then. I think, you know, if if we don't do it, he's never gonna be able to do it, but it wasn't the case. Mhmm. He just needed more skills, And he needed to be regulated. He needed to have the energy to work at it, and he didn't have that after school. It was gone. Yeah. He'd already spent it all.

Penny Williams [00:24:38]: Yeah. And I struggled to leave the cart. I didn't think that was an appropriate thing to do. Right? That was my stuff again. So it was a lot of my stuff, And I had to remember that it was his stuff too.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:24:51]: It's a social pressure. Like, it's not socially acceptable to just leave your cart in the middle of the aisle. That's true. It's not a socially acceptable thing to do, so you're gonna get judged for that.

Penny Williams [00:25:00]: Right.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:25:01]: Like, I always say, like, with kids like that, there's no right Solution. Yeah. We are always going to get judged.

Penny Williams [00:25:07]: Mhmm.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:25:07]: No matter what we do. If we let that child do that crisis on the floor, we're gonna get judged. If we pick him up, we're gonna get judged. If we just leave that car in the middle of the aisle, we're gonna get judged. There's no win here. So just Yeah. Pick what works best for you and do that.

Penny Williams [00:25:24]: Yeah. Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:25:25]: No matter what, we're gonna get judged. So Mhmm. That's the thing. And it it's hard. Like, I'm saying that it's It's so hard. It's not gonna be that easy to do. It's gonna take lots of practice. Yeah.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:25:35]: I still struggle with that, and I avoid some situation also. I will decide if I wanna go somewhere based on if I know if I'm gonna get judged a lot or not. I will choose not to go in some places, and that's also self care.

Penny Williams [00:25:49]: It is. It is. I think that's an important thing that you bring up. It is self care sometimes. Sometimes it's appropriate to avoid something. You know? It's not always maladaptive, and we have to prioritize our kids and ourselves, Especially above strangers.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:26:07]: Yes. Definitely.

Penny Williams [00:26:08]: We don't know them. They don't know us.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:26:10]: You know, there's really no expectation that we have to fulfill

Penny Williams [00:26:10]: for them. Yep. There's that we have to fulfill for them. Yeah. There's this social contract that, you know, we should be a good parent, and they think they know what that looks like. But, you know, we're not letting these other people down because we don't have anything that we're We're responsible for to them. We are responsible for ourselves and our kids.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:26:36]: Yeah. Most likely, they're gonna have forgotten about us in 5 if it's Mhmm. We won't, but

Penny Williams [00:26:41]: they won't. Before we do. Right? We're still thinking about it. I mean, I'm still thinking about that grocery store incident, and my kid is 21 now, and he was, like, 6.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:26:50]: Exactly.

Penny Williams [00:26:51]: Like, I remember, and I also wouldn't leave my cart. I ended up Finishing. I was almost done, thankfully, but I ended up grabbing a couple more things, going through the checkout with him kicking and screaming like a crazy person. You know? But I did Have to practice. And for me, the work was in my mindset. Mhmm. I had to tell myself, they don't know our story. What they think has no bearing whatsoever on what is going on and what I need to be focused on.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:27:20]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:27:21]: And then I had that great mantra. My kid isn't giving me a hard time. He's having a hard time. Then

Penny Williams [00:27:29]: Yes. I could say, okay. Now I'm focused in the right place. Right? I would literally just say those things in my head when things came up.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:27:37]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:27:38]: And now I was in the right focus. Now I could Either leave the store or, you know, not worry about the other people, try to help my kid regulate, whatever the right strategy was at that time for us.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:27:49]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:27:49]: But I had to do the work myself on my own mindset before I could ever get to a place where I wasn't suffering from shame. You know, I wasn't feeling inadequate.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:28:01]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:28:02]: I was confident. Right? But it did take a lot of practice as you said. I just want people to really hear us say that.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:28:08]: Yes. Yes.

Penny Williams [00:28:08]: It's easier for us to say it. It takes time and practice, and it is difficult, but you can do it. Yeah. I mean, I have social anxiety. My big hang up is judgment from others. If I get there, I feel like just about everybody else can get there. Right? Like, it was doubly hard for me to not care about what other people thought.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:28:31]: And it also applies to people closer to us. Like, it's also okay to decide not to go to a family meeting because there's too many people there that are gonna judge your kids, and you know that The ALS is absolutely not okay for that child. Yep. And we'll still gonna do the error sometime of going into in places and regretting that. We should not have gotten like, recently, I made a mistake. We went to our old city that is an hour and a half away, And we did 2 things in the same day. And the second one was absolutely too much for my youngest. She was completely dysregulated, and I should have brought some Sensory things, and I forgot to brought some sensory things.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:29:09]: And she was not having it. There was no way. And it was my grandparents' house. It's It's absolutely not child Right. Friendly. So it was a nightmare. And I was like, that was not a bad good idea. I should not have planned those 2 social activities in one day, and I should have brought something and planned a buffer in between so that she could have Regulated ourselves maybe a little bit.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:29:31]: Mhmm. But it's things that we forget. Like, I should know better, but I still forget sometimes.

Penny Williams [00:29:36]: Perfect doesn't exist. That's what I have leaned on for myself and for the families I work with. Like, you're going to make mistakes. Life is going to ebb and flow. Things are going to happen. It's how you handle it.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:29:50]: Mhmm. Knowing how to handle the things even if we are not Doing it perfectly, most of the time. We're trying, and we know what is the goal of what we wanna do. And just knowing that we are doing the right thing because we are responsible for the way we are handling things, but we cannot Yeah. Guarantee, our child will react with that. We cannot guarantee the results of our how we act with our child. So When we know that what we are doing is the right thing, even if it doesn't give the results that we wish, at least we have that confidence of knowing We are doing the right thing that our kids need. And sometimes we don't know.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:30:30]: Sometimes we try. And, clearly, that day, that was not the right thing. Mhmm. It needed something else for some reason. We don't know why, but it still is. Like, we try our best, and we are learning from that experience. And this next time, we'll try something else.

Penny Williams [00:30:44]: Have to be flexible. Even if our kids are not, we have to be flexible, and I think that's, you know, part of getting through this Pretty much emotionally intact. You know, it is hard. There is grief, but, you know, being resilient, I guess, is what I really mean, because we are gonna take an emotional hit. Yes. Any parent takes emotional hits. I mean, that happens.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:31:08]: That's life as a parent.

Penny Williams [00:31:09]: Right? Yeah. And we're struggling more.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:31:12]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:31:12]: But being able to navigate it in a healthy way, in a way that is modeling for our kids the way to handle their emotions, right, and to Let go of the shame and blame and know that we really are doing our best, I think, is, you know, really, really powerful, and that's how we get through this. And we do it together in that community that we find. I wanna let everybody know how to connect more With Anouk and learn more from her and just really to take those resources and Become a more confident parent. You can do all of that in the show notes for this episode, which are at parentingADHDandautism.com/252 for episode 252. And I just hope that everybody who's listened to this episode is able to walk away With a little less shame and blame and a little more confidence that they are doing the very best that they can Because we know that that's the case. We know that you are.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:32:19]: Yes. Yes.

Penny Williams [00:32:20]: Thank you so much for being here and sharing some of your time and your wisdom.

Anouk Briere-Godbout [00:32:24]: Thank you very much for having me.

Penny Williams [00:32:26]: It was a pleasure. I will see everyone on the next episode. Take good care. 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.

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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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7 Comments
  • Thanks so much for this episode. It's especially an issue for women, and very hurtful, as we've been conditioned from birth to try and fit in. If you grew up in the golden age of bullying, this idea was reiterated every day at school – especially if you may also have had some of the atypical wiring that your child has. So you often had your own trauma, then your kid goes to school and it starts again. Questions from kindergarten teachers about our kid included “Is someone hitting him?” to “Let's talk about where you are going wrong.” A lot of staring and whispering from other moms, who could have functioned as support, but did the opposite. Under these circumstances, how can a mom develop confidence about any of their own parenting? I appreciate that you discussed this.

    • You're so right. I think the confidence has to come from within to a great extent. When you follow what you know you need to do for your kid and their experience improves, that helps with confidence. When you work on accepting that you're doing what's right for your child, even if no one else gets it, that helps with confidence. We don't “need” the validation of others to be the parent our kids need, not matter how much it feels like we do.

      • Thanks so much for this episode. It's especially an issue for women, and very hurtful, as we've been conditioned from birth to try and fit in. If you grew up in the golden age of bullying, this idea was reiterated every day at school – especially if you may also have had some of the atypical wiring that your child has. So you often had your own trauma, then your kid goes to school and it starts again. Questions from kindergarten teachers about our kid included “Is someone hitting him?” to “Let's talk about where you are going wrong.” A lot of staring and whispering from other moms, who could have functioned as support, but did the opposite. Under these circumstances, how can a mom develop confidence about any of their own parenting? I appreciate that you discussed this.

  • You, ladies, talked from not just from your experience but from your heart. Thank you so much for making us, as well professionals more aware of what you are dealing with and give us a best understanding of what our parents and clients are passing through.

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