Raising Teenagers!

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Nicole Walters Podcast

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The Nicole Walters Podcast

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Y’all middle school is middle schooling this week and I’ve got a story to break down for you. All in all I’m calling this a win friend and I’m excited to share what I’m learning with you!

Thanks for being here, friend. I’m so glad we are raising teenagers together!

Let’s keep this conversation going over on Instagram – send me a DM @NicoleWalters about what’s going on with your littles at home!

Nicole:

Hey friends. So I’m just going to jump into it because this one is, I wouldn’t say tough for me to talk about, but it’s come up a lot and we’ve chatted about it in the DMs. As you know, I’ve got a 12 year old at home and middle school is a tough, tough season. I almost feel like it’s getting tougher, particularly if you have little girls, um, in this day and age.

And I say that to almost date myself. Do you remember when, if you were getting. bullied, picked on, had a thing with a kid, or you were afraid of a test, you would just stay home. You’d be like, Mom, I need to stay home. I don’t feel good. Because the problems that you had, or the thing that you were nervous about facing, you know, existed someplace else.

Well, that’s changed a lot. I know a lot of you are nodding your heads right now, like, yes, girl. The drama from school comes home with these kids, and it comes home through social media, their cell phones. I mean, it is really a different dynamic to raising kids, uh, when we were growing up, you know, from our parental experience.

And I count myself lucky, you know, as a younger mom to my girls, meaning, you know, I’m not even 40 yet with a 24 year old, you know, and that kind of keeps me hip. Even though I use words like hip, you know, it keeps me cool because I am still very much on the touch point of, you know, social media and like the music they’re listening to and shows they watch.

So a lot of things don’t slip by me, even though I’m still trying to figure out what the heck Riz really means, you know, and, and all these things these kids are saying, but nevertheless, you know, It’s just been very interesting raising my own little Gen Alpha kid, which believe it or not, Mama’s Gen Alpha is in middle school and driving and Gen Z has babies.

Welcome to aging. And she came home this past week and she mentioned, I think I shared a blurb of this online. So if you follow me on Instagram, you already kind of kept up with this that, She’s kind of tired of her school, you know, she’s, she’s sick of the people, right? Everyone’s getting on her nerves.

And if any of you are raising a Virgo, you know what that means. If you’re a Virgo yourself, you understand what I’m saying. If you don’t believe in astrology, what that means is you have a very specific way about you. You take your time, and you are observant, and you take in a lot of what’s going on around you and have all the opinions, but you may not share them, and you’re into precision and into things being done right, and you just do not understand why people can’t catch the vision.

And that is my little one. She is an introvert by every definition, but it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have all the thoughts, all the opinions, and a very solid sense of what’s right and wrong. And when I tell you, after divorce, one of the things that was really important to me, knowing that she was going into middle school, because we started our sort of separation transition when she was about, you know, late nines, you know, going into 10 and, you know, and now she’s 12.

And when we were going through that process, you know, I was already prepared. I was already saying, you know, hormonally, she’s changing and we need to have these conversations about your body and about. And, you know, just really started starting to prepare her for the world, but doing that coupled with a lot of familial and life changes, you know, moving to a new state, moving to a new city, you know, as we’ve talked about before, and if you guys haven’t listened to some of the other episodes, you know, from last season, you definitely want to because she even comes on and talks a little bit about it.

So, yeah. tips for kids who are, you know, going into middle school and handling transitions and things like that. She’s just a really brilliant and wise kid, but I already knew she was going to face a lot and it was something that I reached out to, you know, my therapist about to say, you know, kind of where should I stand right now?

in this season. And for those of you who are raising middle schoolers, for those of you who have the opportunity to speak into, you know, kids in this sort of transitional phase of 11 through 15, I want to go over some of the things that really are coming up that I think are worth paying attention to, and also some things that I think are really effective, to help support them during this time.

and then also give you a couple of words of, of grace. So, um, She comes home and says she’s sick and tired of these kids, and this isn’t the first time, this is something that’s been echoed, she’s in sixth grade, and she’s just kind of, you know, from the beginning, she was like, why do the boys here have beards?

Like, what is happening? Why is everyone so big? I feel so small in the hallway, you know, and she’s talking about the eighth graders, and she’s also a little shocked, you know, some of the language that they’re using, or, you know, the way they interact with each other, a little bit more physical, both in a romantic sense, So people holding hands in the hallways and, um, in a little bit of the rough housing sense, you know, the guy’s kind of asserting their hormonal, you know, masculinity by pushing around and playing keep away and things like that.

And she’s just not used to it, you know, she’s not used to it. And then imagine trying to figure out kind of once you get to that mid year point post Christmas, she’s now starting to realize that, friend groups are, are happening. And for those of you who’ve raised kids through the pandemic, you know, that.

This generation is like a little bit different socially. A lot of their relationships have been virtual, digital, and friend groups change constantly. But now that they’ve been sort of called out on social media, there seems to be a lot of pressure around finding one, fitting into one, and kind of having this pack as part of your social protection is kind of the best way I can describe it.

Like, where do I fit in? And I remember this when I was younger, but Just to be transparent, I kind of was always the kid who was the floater, meaning I fit in with a lot of different people. I was a theater kid. I was pretty good at sports. I was comfortable being smart and, you know, doing well in school.

And, I kind of got along with everyone, you know, but also didn’t really align with any particular group. And I liked it that way. And for my little one, because she’s an introvert, she’s the kid who’s not trying to be friends with everyone. She just wants a couple of like a couple of people, three or four people that she really clicks with.

So. That’s kind of I think been her approach to school was kind of who are my people and What seemed to have happened was that she had a couple of girls that she felt really close with coming in. And in trying to figure out the whole social dynamic, she thought, well, these are my friends, this is my friend group.

But what she didn’t realize is that friend groups evolve. And I, you know, I hinted at it, but you never really understand it until you’re into it. So, you know, she’s having sleepovers with these girls and, you know, they’re texting, they’re on a group chat, which just let you know mama’s, Keeping tabs on all of that.

You know, there’s no form of social media that I’m not tapped into. She doesn’t even have social media, but I’m checking all the text messages. I’m in all the emails. There’s no secret folders and her phone never goes into her bedroom and it plugs in after school and stays there. I mean, I’m pretty.

pretty firm in structure around media management and You know, she comes home and she tells me that a girl who she already noticed You know in her friend group was kind of starting to hang out with what she calls the popular kids but always still sat with them at lunch has started to no longer sit with them at lunch and And she was like, you know, and I guess I guess we’re not friends anymore, you know, and of course, if you’ve read my book, nothing is missing or you kind of kept up around here, you know that I’m very, my go to question is always tell me more about that.

And so I asked her, I said, tell me more about that. And she’s like, you know, she hangs out with the popular kids and I’m like, well, what makes them popular? And she’s like, well, they’re mean. And I was like, yeah, Well, what do you mean, you know, tell me more about that. And she’s like, well, they’re the kids who are always kind of on top because they’re making sure everyone else feels like they’re below.

And I know all of you kind of are like, you know, I just had a moment where I was like, oh gosh, like familiar, right? We understand that dynamic. I I think some of us sadly still experience it, right? Because, you know, some people never grow up, right? So even as adults, we have those people who feel better when they’re putting other people down.

And, she’s telling me like, these are the kids who are always making fun of people and things like that. And I asked her if they’ve ever made fun of her. And she said, yeah, you know, What was really weird was one of these girls who was supposed to be, you know, part of my friend group, you know, that we hung out with, I was wearing a certain shirt, you know, to school one day and she made a comment about it, you know, and it was clear that she was making fun of me and she doubled down on it and said it again, kind of with a laugh, and then went back over to the popular kids.

And, you know, I asked her how she made that, how that made her feel, and she said, Mama’s here is one place that kind of gave me a little bit of, you know, happiness. She said, well, I was more confused about why she would say that and I thought it was kind of silly. It hurt my feelings just because she was supposed to be my friend, but I didn’t really feel like what she said was true.

Now what I want to call out here is that I’m very grateful because as of right now, and I know the world’s gonna keep coming for her, but she has a very strong sense of self. And this is something I learned from my therapist that is so, so important with the littles and with, you know, the adults, if you have a really firm sense in who you are, if you have a lot of clarity around how you want to show up in the world, and you know that the people who matter to you echo those sentiments.

Right? So if your mom’s told you, look, you’re pretty, you’re smart, you’re capable, you know, it becomes really difficult for a stranger to shake that because you really know who you are. And, I’m just so thankful that with all the transitions that she’s faced, that her sense of self has not changed.

And I’m going to share something a little bit vulnerable here, but during the divorce, you know, uh, it was something that I was really worried about protecting in her, you know, because it was really important for me to make sure that my girls were set up comfortably. That, um, I knew that I was going to have full custody of my daughter, one, because I’m that type of mom.

Um, I’m trying to have this chat with y’all without, uh, crying, crying, because it’s just not easy, Knowing that the life and the parental familial structure that I thought they would have has changed so drastically. Necessarily, but drastically. And, um, I was just really hard setting it up and I just, I give thanks to God that they’re okay now and that they will always be okay.

But, I knew that for me, I wasn’t going to continue to remain with my partner. And when you’re a mom and you have kids, and again, anyone who’s gone through divorces or transitions or breakups will understand what I mean. One of the only ways you can move on is if you know your kids are going to be okay.

And I always knew that I would be mom to all three of my babies because I always had been. And I also knew that, with the move to California, which I had to come out here because this is where I work, and I knew that I needed to be close to work, in this situation that I went solo parent, so that I could, you know, solo parent.

I couldn’t fly from the East Coast back and forth and also be a solo mom. So I was preparing for that. And I came out here and got things set up for them and it took me a little bit, but not too long, before, you know, I got them all situated. And with that, I also did rest, recovery, mental health treatment and just made sure that I was in the best position I could be to be a good mom because I also knew I would, you know, more than likely be doing that solo.

So, There were some times where it came up in my absence, you know, where it was, you know, is mom coming to get us or what time or, you know, just a little bit of impatience, I think, you know, towards those last, few weeks, you know, few months, you know, where it was maybe there was a little bit more urgency, a little bit more discomfort.

And, even though I was there, you know, like every two weeks, like I saw every two weeks, every. major event, every holiday, every Christmas, like, you know, I was constantly with my kids, but, the permanent need, you know, towards that, towards the time that she came over permanently, you know, it was just a lot harder.

And, um, there are obviously pieces and nuances and things I’m not going to go into because everyone deserves their own privacy. But, uh, you know, it did come up where she, was faced with, you know, is mom coming back? and she very quickly said, And this is a moment that means so, so much because it’s come up a couple times, you know, mom would never leave me. And there’s no world where mom wouldn’t want me with her 24 seven. And I know who I am to mom. You know, and when I tell you, you don’t realize when you’re mothering your kids, how important that messaging is going to be as they’re out in the world, particularly when they hit middle school.

Middle school, I’m realizing and watching how she’s developing. So much of it

is kids trying to figure out who they are. And right now. There’s this tiny window between 11 and kind of 13 where they still listen to you and your voice still counts. And the fact that she has a strong sense of self, you know, I mean, she’s told me so far that she’s had kids say that she’s ugly or like, why does her hair look like that, you know, and she’s like, these kids will just like stare at me and it’s funny because part of it is because she is cute.

Like, I mean, you can look on the internet. Can’t nobody tell me my daughter isn’t gorgeous, she’s stunning. And I say that objectively because I didn’t even birth her. You know, like, I mean, like, literally, I’m like, my kids are very, very good looking and, and we thank God for it, right? They’re gorgeous babies.

And so, and I’ve always told them, so I’m like, look, I was like, everybody in our family is attractive and ain’t that a blessing, right? So, you know, it’s funny cause, uh, you know, she’ll say, she’s like, yeah, you know, people are staring at me and I don’t know why. And it’s like, the boys will stare at me and they won’t say anything.

And I’m like, is there something in my face? And, and I would tell her, I’m like, you know, Hey, I just want to let you know, boys right now are awkward and they’re staring at you cause you’re pretty. And she was kind of like, Oh, you know, and, and then, you know, she’s like, well, why are the girls staring at me?

And then snickering. And I was like, it’s cause you’re pretty, you know, and it’s cause you’re amazing and you’re brilliant and you’re smart and you’re nice. And she’s just like. Okay, she was like, well, then why are they calling me ugly and making fun of my hair? And I told her, you know, it’s this weird time where people really just don’t know how to interact with each other.

And maybe they’re mimicking some of what they see on social media, or maybe they’re trying different things to make themselves feel better. And unfortunately, some of that is happening at your expense, because they’re trying things that don’t work, you know.

And so what happened was, you know, I, I did ask her outright and I’m sharing all of this with you so that you can kind of hear some of the dynamic that we have going on here because I know we’re all having these conversations and I just hope kind of bringing you into one of ours can help you with that.

with yours as you’re facing him. But I really do just let her talk and vent. And then I ask her questions to kind of see where her head is, you know, and one of the questions I asked her was, you know, I really want to know, like, do you think you’re ugly? or, you know, do you think you’re not that pretty?

Or, you know, is there anything about your appearance or how you show up? Do you think you’re a good friend, you know? And she said, you know, and this goes back to sort of during this divorce transition time where, She was catching the vibe that, you know, am I coming back? What’s going on? Like, is, is, are we going back to being a regular family as she’s known it?

And, you know, her being, having a strong sense of self, she immediately said, like, no, like, obviously I’m, like, I like myself and I think I’m pretty. I just don’t know why these people are saying this. I was like, and y’all, if you have followed, I don’t post too, too much of puffin anymore on social, but if you catch any of the clips, you can see she’s growing into a pretty strong and feisty one.

Like I know I’m going to have my hands full when she’s 16, but, It was just really good to hear that at 12, even though people were trying to tell her who she was, she knew who she was, and she knew who she belonged to, and she was comfortable in knowing that in herself, even if she was still trying to sort through the dynamic of how to deal with these people.

And so, And ultimately, you know, what she did say was, how do I deal with this mom? I just want them to leave me alone. I just want to be able to mind my business. And I just want these people to leave me alone. And that’s where, you know, I want to share kind of our technique. So all of my girls know every single one of them.

And you know, one of these days I have to have all three of them in the studio, so we can have kind of a group chat because they each have really funny stories about this. But I give each of my kids a pass. Every single year for mom to come to school and solve it. And here’s what that means. Of course, if there’s anything major, I’m down there without question.

I mean, if the school calls, I’m like halfway in the car before I even answer, right? Like y’all know how moms roll. However, Each of them gets a pass for me to step in and solve a problem. It can be a teacher, it can be a student, you name it. I will walk in there and I will finish it, right? Like I am that type of mom.

Do not play with my babies. and I remember, I can honestly say in the course of all of elementary, all of middle school, all of high school, each of the kids have probably used that once altogether, but they get, it renews every year. So with my little one, she knows that she has the same thing. You know, do you need mom to come down there and handle it?

But I always try to tell them the hierarchy, right? So first, when someone’s bullying you and stuff, I definitely expect you to not respond, right? You know, just kind of, okay, you know, like, you can ignore them, see if they kind of find a new interest, whatever. I don’t want you to just lash out. I, you know, we try to exercise self control and recognize we have autonomy, we can move ourselves out of the way, we can adjust, all of that.

Now, one of the things that was different as a sixth grader was that in elementary school you could just tell the teacher. I will never forget her first week of middle school when she was telling the teacher things and the teacher was like, okay.

And she came home and she was like, I mean, we told the teacher, but like, he didn’t do anything. And we were like, yeah, because it’s a middle school, like their teachers aren’t going to jump to it and solve every problem for you. You’re going to have to learn these interpersonal skills. And she was like, what?

So that was when we started reaffirming this sort of hierarchy. So the first part is you ignore it, right? Like we’re not going to feed, you know, the trolls. We’re just going to be like, it’s whatever. We keep it moving, but also recognize that I’m raising a little girl with her own voice. So the next thing that you do is you tell these people.

Please leave me alone and you say it nicely and that was what’s happening right now is she’s letting it go a little bit too long before she actually speaks up to the point where she gets irritated and that was kind of where she caught me in the story this week. Then the thing after that is you say, please leave me alone and you say it very firmly like please leave me alone Do not bother me and you say it very very firmly right like to their eyes Give them just a smidgen of crazy right let them let them be curious about what’s behind that look right now We’re gonna pause here so you can hear what I’m saying.

Y’all all know there is something about bullies where when you look them in the eye and say I am not the one, not today, not tomorrow, or the day after that, that lets them back down. I say this because I As somebody who is a public figure, who on social media, you know, shares aspects of their life, I have been subject to bullying so much.

I will likely do another, another chat about that. If you listened to last week’s episode, I talked a little bit about that as well, but so much. And it’s not the comments individually, and frankly, honestly, I don’t get it as bad as some of my other peers who are content creators. I actually, you know, I’m grateful for that, but it’s the volume.

It’s that if someone doesn’t like something you’ve done and you are a content creator, you know, people are like, well, you deserve it. You share your life. You deserve it. You know, you should be open to criticism. Y’all, even if someone’s open to criticism, it is very different to have one person criticize you versus 500 at once.

Nobody deserves that, right? In any case, you know, one thing I have learned, though, is I’ve had people slide into my DMs and say outright, like, commentaries about, like, my divorce. Well, you, like, got pretty or thin or you, you know, made money and then you left your man, you left the person who was by your side, like, things like that.

And then I’ll say, like, oh, well, when’s our wedding anniversary? And they like have nothing to say and I’m like and I’ll respond back and I’ll say oh, I mean you had so much commentary about the private intimate moments of my marriage that I thought that you might have known more than I did. And when you say firmly back to them like this is your information and knowledge is minimal.

It is minimal, and it is not your place to comment, because even if you are synthesizing from what you are seeing, hearing, and you have your opinion about it, you can either keep it to yourself, or you can speak nicely and ask, and it is still my choice and boundary if I want to respond, but you won’t come into my house and insert your opinion and think I won’t say anything back, and I can honestly tell you, without fail, On social media, anyone I have ever responded to has said nothing back.

Ever. 100 percent right. Anyone who has ever said something to me, and especially when they’re out of place and incorrect, that I respond to, they disappear. Because one, people don’t think you’re a real person. And this is what I was trying to explain to, you know, my daughter, was I was saying, look, a lot of these people are so into their own head, their own narrative, their own feelings.

feels around who they think you are, what’s going on with their body and their opinions and feeling awkward and being insecure or whatever else that they don’t even realize. that you are a person and can, will respond. And the minute you do that, it’s almost like a jolt to the system where they’re, where they don’t even know what to do with it.

And oftentimes they just leave you alone. And then the next part of it is when you look them firmly in the face and you tell them, I’m not the one or the two or the three, it definitely, um, lets them know, like, look, if you keep this up, be prepared to finish it. And so it was interesting because we hadn’t really moved in this middle school madness past the point of ignoring it and her kind of coming home in a huff here and there.

And so when I told her, I said, listen, I am encouraging, empowering you, giving you permission to say something back because it’s so easy to keep telling little girls to keep ignoring it and taking it and ignoring it. But isn’t that the very messaging that carries us all the way into adulthood where we don’t speak up for the raises we deserve?

We don’t speak up when we’re being, sexually assaulted in our homes, in our relationships, in our workplaces, in our friendships, you know, that where we are being told that it’s better to just be quiet and just take it. Absolutely not. I’m not raising that type of little girl. You have a voice and you’re going to use it.

And you’re going to know that in using it, you have the full authority and backing of Your mom, your stepdad and God. Okay. And you got some sisters who I’m not even telling what’s going down because your sisters are crazier than all of us. Okay. Like they would be here so quick. Like, I don’t even want to play like that.

Right. So I tell her, I was like, say something back. And then, she was like, but mom, I’m scared. What if they do something? So I tell her a little story about how like bullies almost never say anything back. But she was like, yeah, like, Well, what if they try to fight me or what if they hit me or what if whatever?

And I’m like, you know, honestly, and y’all, I do not condone fighting. I do not support, you know, little kids getting into it. It’s not something I encourage. And I know, I know we have to be strong people to learn to walk away and things of that sort, but let’s keep it all the way real. If someone is physically assaulting my child, she is not going to stand there and get physically assaulted.

I told her entirely, I said, listen, if it comes to that, I want you to know that I expect you to protect yourself. Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself. Okay? And then when you come home, we will handle it from there. So, it’s one of those things where it’s so interesting because And again, I’m trying not to tear up about it because just the notion makes me both so angry that I even have to have this conversation with her because why can’t babies just be babies?

Be kind, be sweet. You guys are 12. Like, my God, like, you know, there’s that. But also, it just makes me sad because I just hate that I even have to have this conversation. But the way that I described it, you know, earlier this week when I was chatting about it, you know, was that I hate that I have to gently break her innocence.

Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s me saying, look, it’s not 100 percent safe out there. And I’m grateful that we’ve created this little bubble where you think everyone’s gonna follow the rules and everyone’s gonna respect your space and that people, you know, are raised just like you, where they understand what a boundary is and they seek out to be helpers in the world and they’re getting enough, even simple things, food and water and love and care, but, you know, maybe that ain’t it, you know?

And you’re gonna meet kids that are not happy. going to know how to handle and interact with you and you are going to need to look out for self just a little bit. And I just want to let all of you know, in sharing those lessons with her, and I hope you’re hearing this too, it just echoed some of the lessons I’m learning for myself, that I’ve come a long way, but I still have to look out for self, you know, and the same thing applies, to her,

The kids are growing up differently. They have cyber security assemblies where they are learning about You know some of the threats online, and they have assemblies around shooter drills.

And teachers spend more of their time taking away cell phones and disciplining than they do actually teaching. I mean, heck, they don’t even learn math the same way. They don’t carry the one anymore. School is different now. And it’s just amazing to see how resilient these babies are.

So just a few days later, you know, she comes back and I ask her, you know, how, how are things going, you know, with the girls, uh, with these little cliques and these clubs and all that. And she was like, you know, mom, there are a couple of things I realized when I tell you those Virgo babies are, are made different.

Just Beyonce’s a Virgo, just to give you some context. You know what I mean? They’re just made different. Right. And so she’s like, yeah, you know, there are a couple of things I realized. She’s like, you know, the first thing is that all these girls are a lot nicer. So they’re still nice to me. It’s only when they’re all together.

And I was like, well, tell me more about that. What do you think that means? She was like, you know, I think it means that they’re more worried about what other people are going to think about them than they are about what they actually believe. I think they might be a little confused. And I was like, I think you’re really smart to realize that, and she said that one of the things she wants to do, and she was kind of like looking for language, and Alex is actually really good at this, so Alex kind of, he does morning drop off, and he, and pick up actually, and so he was like, I’m gonna, you know, give her some tips on this, because he was bullied when he was younger.

And, what she said she wants to do is kind of talk to them individually. She was like, I realized that maybe I don’t need to say something in front of the group because they seem like they’re nicer separately. She wants to ask them, like, why are you mean to me? And I said to her, that’s great. I love that she kind of worked around it to figure out her own approach, you know?

And I said, what do you think the answer is going to be? And she said, I don’t know. But I hope that it’s something good. Like, I hope it’s surprising. Maybe they don’t even know that they’re being mean. And I was like, oh, my baby still has grace. Bless it, bless it. Thank you, God. You know, so, so I’ll keep you all posted.

You know, if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll probably keep you updated there. But, you know, she’s going to talk to them to kind of see, you know, if maybe she can tap at their hearts a bit. um, and she figured out a way there, but the other thing she realized, and again, sense of self, you know, she was like, I was on my period.

Maybe it was my hormones. Maybe I was feeling like a little ramped up. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it could be. And it’s probably true, you know, cause these, again, these middle school girls are a different breed, but I got to tell you, it’s interesting to evolve in parenting.

in just 10 years done prom, college, rehab, divorce, chemotherapy, kindergarten, solidified potty training, taught how to read, middle school twice, high school twice in 10 years, I have to tell you, it is pretty amazing.

how capable and smart and wise these babies are. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that our job is to be the guardrail to inspire critical thinking, to encourage and impart grace and to be interested and asking the question because I know some of you are now like, these kids aren’t trying to talk to me.

All they say is fine. Okay, fine. To ask, Truly in-depth questions, not open-ended, not just how is school, but can you tell me two things that happened at school today that are interesting? Is there somebody in your third period class that you would say is a good friend?

What type of things did you do today in gym? Is there something about your math class that’s pretty hard? How many people do you sit with at lunch and who’s the person that you always sit next to? When you ask interested questions like that, when I tell you, these kids won’t shut up. And I want to let you know, just kind of as a last note, something that I think is really, really important.

You know, um, my middle baby Chrissy, you know, she’s 21 now, and I’ll never forget something she told me. Many years ago, and, and she barely remembers it, but it will be in my head and mind and affect my parenting forever. She told me when she was in high school, I think she was in 10th grade, that, because we hang out all the time, like I have an awesome relationship with Chrissy, I have an awesome relationship with all my kids. It’s just different, right? Because they’re all different humans. But with Chrissy, uh, we hang out a lot. Like, that was just a huge part of our relationship through high school, also because of pandemic and chemo and all that. And one of the things she used to tell me was that

it was very unusual Because she noticed that a lot of her friends didn’t hang out or talk to their parents and She saw me and same thing with Daya, my big one, Shoot, they were like, yeah We if there’s a problem or an issue will just call you, you know Like if there is if we know if we did something really bad if we got in trouble if we’re arrested whatever even if They’re with friends and someone else does something stupid, they’ll call me.

I literally got a call yesterday from my 24 year old Daya. She was calling me for another one of her friends in her sober living facility who was going through a breakup. She was like, she needs mom advice. Can you get on the phone with her? I was like, absolutely. You know, um, because that is the nature of, the relationship I have with my kids as they know.

Listen, I may still be annoyed, but that will not affect the fact that I love you and I’m not leaving. I would rather us figure it out, and then we’ll deal with everything else on the back end. So, we talk about everything. Everything. I’m sure there’s stuff they don’t tell me, but we do talk about from sex to boys to bodies to money, everything.

Even if they’ve made a decision, they’ll come to me and say, Hey mom, is there anything I’m missing? I am going to do this thing even if you think it’s stupid. But I just want to know if there’s anything I’m missing. Like, and I’m very grateful for that. I don’t take it lightly. I noticed that it started way back when and it was because of this.

And I’m saying this to all of you because I think this is really important if you don’t realize this. She told me that a lot of her friends feel like their parents love them, but that they don’t like them, that their parents obviously love their kids. They love them so much, but they don’t like them.

They aren’t interested in what they have going on. They don’t want to hear about their hobbies. They don’t care about their friends. And I want to tell you, It’s really important that your kids feel like you like them, even if you don’t. And I say that because we all know, right, mama to mama, there are moments where I am like, listen, you are making me parent right now.

I am tapping into the most triggered parts of myself, okay, to be my best self. And this is hard. And no, I don’t care about listening to, you know, your latest K pop album. And no, I’m not interested in all the drama of blah, blah, blah. But listen, when I tell you, I would sit there and listen to the gossip of who was doing what with what and who was going where and all this because what I do know is that I like my baby and I want to be aware of what is, what matters to her matters to me because I know that if she knows I’m always an ear, she’s not going to go out there and chase ears that are not actually going to have great advice because they’re not attached to mouths or brains that can say what’s necessary and so I say that to you to say, um,

middle school has been a challenge in this household. And I hardly consider myself a parenting expert by any definition. I get it wrong. I make mistakes. I’m figuring it out as I go. But I can definitely tack up a win this week. And I want to share that one with you as we try to do this life thing together.

Middle school is middle schooling, and there is nothing that is working better than me listening to my baby, holding space, but empowering her to get out there, make those calls and find her own voice. Deep breath. We’re making it happen. We’re raising these babies and we’re taking care of self. I’m glad we’re doing it together.

 
In this episode, we chat about:
  • How middle school is middle schooling this week,
  • What the Puffin and I have talked about when it comes to feedback,
  • How to know when it’s time to speak UP,
  • The lessons I’m learning from raising teenagers, and
  • What I keep in mind when parenting a pre-teen in this world

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
  • Listen to The Puffin on Season 3, Episode 3!
  • Grab my New York Times Bestselling memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!
  • Send me a DM on Instagram and Facebook!
  • Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!
  • I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

More about The Nicole Walters Podcast:

If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.

As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.

When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.

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