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2020: Owen & Gretchen (with Jane, the COVID puppy)

This week on the podcast, hear directly from my kids about their thoughts about my parenting. My guests are my oldest and youngest kids, Gretchen (age 26) and Owen (age 17). They happen to be the only two of our kids at home with us during quarantine. We talk about life at home together during COVID, how my parenting has changed over the years, and their thoughts on rules, fairness, screen time, early bed times, siblings getting along, independence, and much more.

BIG IDEAS

• Parenting can get more “relaxed” over the years so that sometimes kids in different birth order positions have some different experiences.

• Understanding different family member’s personalities can help you better understand areas where there are repeated arguments and learn how to better respond to each other.

• The oldest child often feels the burden of doing everything first and not having anyone to “follow.”

• Sleep is so important!

• Seek support and advice from parents with kids your oldest child’s age so that you can better understand and relate to what they’re going through.

Photo Gallery

2003: Proud big sister Gretchen with her baby brother Owen.

2020: The whole family!

Cheering on his big sister at Academic Decathlon.

Owen & Gretchen taking Grandma & Grandpa for a Jeep ride.

Owen’s desk (Gretchen mentions in the episode how he built it recently).

Sibling and dog group spoon.

LINKS & RESOURCES

• Ep. 135: Advice & Ideas from Teachers During COVID-19

Ep. 82: Sibling Conflict, Part 1

Ep. 86: Conflict Resolution Skills for Siblings (and Everyone Else!)

Ep. 104: Know and Love Yourself AND Your Kids with Meredith Monke

Ep. 34: Advice on College, Transferring, and How to Support Your Kids with Their Decisions with Charlotte Monke

Ep. 139: Doing Life with Your Adult Children with Jim Burns

Raise Thriving Kids

QUOTES

• Audrey: “I actually went to boarding school for high school and I really credit that experience with why I even ended up wanting to run a camp.”

• Gretchen: “I remember when I was 13, almost every PG 13 movie I watched was researched beforehand if I was going to go to the movies with friends, I felt like there was more investment in what I was going to see.”

• Gretchen: “Even when I did have a phone, I remember truly keeping it off all day at school, all through high school and middle school, unless I needed to contact anyone. But because it wasn’t a smartphone, it was purely for communication.”

• Owen: “I remember the big thing was probably limiting screen time on the computer. When I would come home from school, it would just turn off after 30 minutes.”

• Owen: “Video games, I think for a while I had my video games screened before I could buy them.”

• Audrey: “One of the things all parents really want is for their kids is to at least eventually get along.”

• Gretchen: “Historically, it’s like a ton of teasing, which fortunately I’ve turned out fine.”

• Owen: “There’s a lot of advantages. I think there’s, what I just feel like, there are a lot less rules.”

• Audrey: “Do you think there might be a correlation between being more responsible and mature and independent because you had these older siblings?”

• Gretchen: “I feel like because you’re just dragged around in the car so much. I feel like you do need to be a more flexible person when you’re younger.”

• Audrey: “Well, you guys both know how important sleep is, right? If there’s anything I’ve taught you in life, don’t you feel better with a good night’s sleep?”

• Gretchen: “The positives would for sure be reading every night and consistent family dinners, at least for some days of the week, depending on what works for people.”

• Gretchen: “And for sure bedtimes too, at least when people are younger, I can’t think of a major parenting fail.”

• Audrey: “It tends to be a firstborn thing, I think, although not, I’m sure it’s not always, but really trying to set a really high standard.”

• Owen: “We stay connected. It’s just I’d rather be at school.”

• Gretchen: “It’s been awesome. I think as someone who lived very independently for seven or eight years, I was very surprised by how much I love being home. And I love having this time with my parents and my brother. It’s just such a unique opportunity that oftentimes you don’t get in the middle of your twenties, to have family time again. So I’m definitely appreciating it and not planning on leaving anytime soon.”

• Audrey: “Selfishly, I’m really enjoying it too, but mostly I feel bad for Owen because I know it’s not as enjoyable for him.”

• Owen: “It’s not terrible.”

• Audrey: “‘It’s not terrible.’ By the way, that’s like the highest form of a compliment from a 17-year-old.”

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

Raise Thriving Kids Parenting Course

Ep. 139: Doing Life with Your Adult Children with Jim Burns

Ready for Adulthood Check-List for Kids

Who’s Not Ready for College?

ONE SIMPLE THING

This week’s One Simple Thing tip is to set short term, one-week goals rather than lofty, year-long ones.

MY FAVORITE

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live, Too, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

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Audrey