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Calm Parenting: Changing Your Child's Behaviour Starts with Changing Yourself - Kirk Martin - SE2EP12

Calm Parenting: Changing Your Child's Behaviour Starts with Changing Yourself - Kirk Martin - SE2EP12

In today's episode, we're thrilled to have Kirk Martin, founder of http://CelebrateCalm.com and host of the Calm Parenting Podcast. Kirk has helped nearly a million parents transform their family lives by teaching them how to:

  1. Improve focus, attention, and organization
  2. Stop defiance, meltdowns, tantrums, and arguing
  3. Get kids off video games/screens without a fight
  4. Create stress-free mornings, homework, and bedtime routines

Today, we'll be discussing these important topics with Kirk, diving into his experience and expertise to help you navigate the challenges of parenting in the digital age.

Together, we'll explore the importance of building close, trusting relationships with your kids while ensuring they listen for the first time. Stay tuned as we uncover valuable insights and real-life stories that will help you transform your family life and create a new legacy for generations to come.

Guests Links : 

https://celebratecalm.com/ This Episode is brought to you by Skill Samurai – Coding & STEM Academy www.skillsamurai.com.au

Jamie Buttigieg (00:05.490)

Hello parents and welcome to Parenting in a Digital Age, where we explore the challenges and opportunities of raising kids in a world filled with technology. In today's episode, we're thrilled to have Kirk Martin, founder of Celebrate Calm.com and host of the Calm Parenting podcast. Kirk has helped nearly a million parents transform their family lives by teaching them how to improve focus, attention and organization, how to stop defiance, meltdowns, tantrums and arguing,

Jamie Buttigieg (00:35.510)

and screens without a fight and how to create stress-free mornings, homework and bedtime routines. Now that sounds like utopia, Kirk. Today we'll be discussing these important topics with Kirk, diving into his experience and expertise to help you navigate the challenges of parenting in the digital age. And together, we'll explore the importance of building close, trusting relationships with your kids while ensuring they listen the first time.

Jamie Buttigieg (01:05.710)

life stories that will help you transform your family and create a new legacy for generations to come. Kirk, welcome to the show. Please share with our listeners what you do and what you are passionate about.

Kirk Martin (01:17.717)

Hey, thank you. Thank you so much, Jamie, for hosting. So our passion is dealing with the really strong-willed kids. These are the really bright kids who aren't always academically motivated, but they tend to use their intelligence to argue with you. These are kids who make power struggles out of everything, right? And normal consequences don't work. They don't care about consequences, right? And so that was our son, Casey, who's almost 30 now.

Kirk Martin (01:47.817)

we invited these kids into our home. The idea was rather than send them off to a therapist, because my wife's a therapist, these kids get in an office with a therapist and then manipulate the therapist, right, and tell them what they want to hear. So we brought them into the home so we could see how they responded in everyday situations. And over the course of a decade, we had about 1500 kids in our home. So we love the strong will kids. I like the kids who like to

Kirk Martin (02:17.717)

say that but I was gonna say compliant kids are a little bit boring so but that's what we're passionate about and look they're really hard to raise obviously a lot of these kids have some OCD issues oppositional so when you get into technology and screens they can get really sucked into it and the kids on the spectrum sometimes use technology as kind of a calming tool so that makes it even harder as well so but that's that's what we love doing we love the tough kids

Jamie Buttigieg (02:45.810)

Yeah, yeah, okay. So there's a lot to unpack there. I'm gonna do a lot of that over our time together, Kirk. But one question I think that I'm always interested in, and I try to ask on these sort of podcasts, is how can parents strike a balance between embracing technology and setting healthy boundaries for their children's screen time? Because there are some good aspects of technology, we don't wanna deprive them completely. So is there a middle ground or this is a case by case, child by child basis? What's your view?

Kirk Martin (03:15.557)

I mean, look, it's tough because some kids can get off their screens, right? They can do it. And you work with them and you train them and you say, hey, when they're young, I'm giving you guys 27 minutes on your video games. Here's how it works. I'm going to come in the room after 27 minutes. If that video game is turned off, awesome. You get the right to play tomorrow night. If you turn it off two minutes early, I'll give you an additional four minutes tomorrow night. But I'm not going to remind you.

Kirk Martin (03:45.717)

Hold on. We need to save it. We need to get to the next level you guys choose you guys show me that you can handle this and You'll earn more time kind of a trust thing and some kids can do that Okay, right, but some kids just get sucked into it and we can get to this later But the compassionate thing to do for some of your kids is to say look I I handed you an iPhone I handed you something that's controlling and dictating your mood and your behavior

Kirk Martin (04:15.497)

that. So I wish I had a hard and fast rule, but I think it depends on the child, right, and on the family and what you're doing as a family. Very act. We're out in the western United States in the mountains. Most people out here are very, very active. So there's less screen time and more hiking and mountain time, and that makes it a little bit easier.

Jamie Buttigieg (04:39.470)

Yeah, yeah, definitely does. So can you maybe share some techniques? Let's have a look at some practical stuff now for, how would a parent manage defiance or meltdowns or tantrums, particularly when technology is involved? Like how would you deescalate or respond to these situations? Can you give us an example or two? So, so

Kirk Martin (04:57.017)

I'll give you an example because I think it will help all parents and even if it's not specific to technology. Let's just do a quick one on that. Right. So my wife, when Casey was young, her son was young, you know, she did most of the stuff around with him and she'd limit his video games or take off. And I would walk into the home and I'd hear him yelling at his mom. So my typical response is a guy to walk in. You know what? How many times have I told you?

Kirk Martin (05:27.597)

And I would lay into him for everything else. You never pick up your Legos You don't know how to do this and I would escalate typical guy things like you know one more words young man And you'll write one time my son said word right and then I got furious and or we do Here's a good one. You know you've already lost your video games for one week You want to make it to and the strong will child's gonna be like let's make it for Because you there's no way you're taking away my screens for a month because you need me on

the screens so you can live your right that's kind of true isn't it Jamie and uh and kids know that so then it would escalate and I'd end up I ended up I saw his face was red he was upset and I knew he was too far gone but I would end up pushing him right like keep it up keep it up he would end up saying something disrespectful go upstairs slam his door I would feel justified as the dad for

Kirk Martin (06:27.157)

realized at that moment was I wasn't really in control of myself. I wanted my son to control his own screen time. I couldn't control my own emotions and what I was ultimately telling my son was I need you to behave and do exactly what I tell you to do because if you don't I'm gonna lose it and you don't want to see me angry. So that was kind of a day of reckoning for me of realizing I can't

Kirk Martin (06:57.417)

if his dad can't control himself, right? And I was like 35, because I'm kind of an intense guy. And so rewind the situation. Here's a good de-escalation tool. One, before we get into discipline, we always like to deescalate the situation. Great phrase, motion changes emotion. With a strong-willed child, if you try to talk too much while they're upset, it just makes them angry, right? They get furious and then you get upset and talk about your childhood

would have never let you do this, right? So here are a couple examples. I walk in the room with some intensity say, Hey, case, I can tell you're frustrated. Listen, I got a football. I'm going outside when you're ready. If you want to come outside and play catch with me, glad to help you with whatever you're frustrated with. Hey, case, I'm going to dump some Legos out on the floor. When you're ready, come in the living room. I'll help help you build a spaceship. The whole idea was motion is a tool that kids use to

Kirk Martin (07:57.057)

yelling at someone saying, you need to calm down young man, usually doesn't work. There's an invitation, come play catch with me, build with me, and in the course of doing that, I'm calming down, they're calming down. Now you have two rational people again and now you can get to what we call discipline is actually just teaching and I can start to teach about the screens, right? So why,

Kirk Martin (08:27.137)

really want to play. My friends were on Call of Duty today and I wanted to play. I told them I'd be on at four o'clock and mom said no and I could. So I'd hear that and say okay I get that. You want to connect with your friends right which is one reason kids play video games now and I get it. You love Call of Duty too. Just realize when you yell at mom that just means you're going to get

Kirk Martin (08:57.697)

Why does teaching him and I know I'm going long-winded and do you mind if I pivot for a minute and get to You don't mind so here's at the foundation what I wanted to get to With with my son because he got kind of sucked into that whole world when he was 12 call of duty all the time And I come in the room. You know when we were kids we were outside playing sports and football and you're gonna rot your brain They don't care. So one day I sat down and I said

Jamie Buttigieg (09:04.658)

Go for it, let's do it.

Kirk Martin (09:26.997)

curious, what do you get out of this game? Why do you play? Because every action that we have in our lives, it's because it feeds something inside of us. And what I heard him saying was, Dad, I'm really good at video games. I'm not that awesome at school. I'm not that great at behavior, but I'm very good at Call of Duty. And I was like, well, why? Well, I'm kind of sneaky. I've got a strategic brain, right? And I was like, well, that's true.

Kirk Martin (09:56.997)

when I'm playing this game, I'm the leader, right? Kids, other kids follow me because I'm good and I'm authoritative and I'm, look, the strong will kids are almost always bossy, right? And so the flip side of being bossy is they tend to be good leaders. And the other thing you find out is, Jamie, when you and I were kids, and I know I'm a lot older than you, we got together with our buddies, our friends, and played outside. This is the way this generation of kids gets together. They connect through technology. So I'd encourage parents,

that, right? Just because we don't like that's the way they do it, don't dismiss that it's a very important part. It's like the teenage daughter whose friends are texting until midnight, but you make her put her phone on the kitchen counter at 9 o'clock. She just missed three hours of conversation between her friends. Now I know that doesn't mean anything to you, but when you're a teenager and your whole life is social connection, she goes into school next day and she missed all

It doesn't mean you let her stay up till midnight. It just means that this is a real thing. So it stimulates the brain. For many of the strong will kids, Jamie, video games represent one of the areas in life where they are actually very confident. Because if I'm not good at school and I'm not that great at behavior, but I'm really good at my video games or I'm good at putting computers together, whatever it is, well, it makes sense that they would want to do that a lot. And so even acknowledging that

It's not an excuse to let them do it. Well, I guess since it meets so many needs we should let you do it 12 hours a day I'm not saying that I'm just identifying with the kids to say well, of course, this would be important to you That alone sometimes takes down some of that constant power struggle between I'm old and don't like Technology because when I was a kid we walked uphill to school right every and instead you identify and you're saying

I understand why this is important to you. Does that make sense at all? I think that's foundational for many of our kids and So if I want to get kids limit their screen time one of our principles is whenever you say no to something Inappropriate right too many too much screen time. We've got to say yes to something else So when I learned okay, this is feeding my son inside he feels confident

in charge, he feels in control of something, it's something consistent in his life, I better find some other things that meet those same needs so that he doesn't rely on the screens solely in order to get those needs met. Does that make sense at all?

Jamie Buttigieg (12:45.532)

Yeah, makes a ton of sense and there's again a lot to unpack in there. You said something which was really interesting, discipline equals teaching or something like that.

Kirk Martin (12:53.777)

Yeah, well, as a parent, we tend to discipline to me as a parent before I learned how to control myself was Just a means for me to express my frustration at my son because he was irritating Right and it was like go to your room. Well, look kids already there's nothing wrong with that at all Right, but kids already know That what they're doing is wrong Right, like they may make excuses, but every kid from the age of two knows you don't hit you don't lie

those things. And so we get into this pattern of, hey, if you do that, then you lose X. As if behavior is rational. And it's not. Because all of us do things that we shouldn't be doing, and we already know that we shouldn't. It's emotional, it's irrational. And so the idea of discipline to me is, the root word is actually from disciple or to teach. So my

Kirk Martin (13:53.977)

was to slow down and instead of just, hey you talk to your mother like that again you're gonna lose your stuff for a week. That's fine but the next time that he's frustrated he's not putting that, kids aren't always that rational right and and they don't think in the moment, uh-oh I think if I yell at my mother now right they just don't do that. So what I'd rather do is teach him, yeah so you're

Kirk Martin (14:23.857)

Welcome to life. You're gonna be frustrated every day with probably everybody, you know, it's a part of daily life So let me take some time now to teach you how to deal with your anxiety My son was triggered by anxiety a lot and a lot of strong will kids struggle with anxiety anxiety frustration and disappointment I'd rather take the time to teach you hey next time you get disappointed because we told you to turn off your video game Instead of yelling and saying you're stupid. We hate you

Kirk Martin (14:53.938)

Well, I'll show you how to deal with disappointment in a better way, if that makes sense.

Jamie Buttigieg (14:58.230)

a lot of sense. This is some really good stuff. So you say, Kirk, the quickest way to change your child's behavior is to first change your own. Was there a point like what made you discover that you needed to change instead of trying to change your child's behavior? Was there a point or was there a was it an accumulation of events? Like, what was that moment for you?

Kirk Martin (15:19.537)

think one it's an accumulation over time right where it's just I started realizing I'm always kind of on this kid every day after work why can't you do this why and I loved Casey and I was a good dad right like I wasn't abusive I wasn't like a off somewhere I was engaged it's just that I got triggered all the time and he began internalizing I'm a bad kid my dad doesn't like me and

Kirk Martin (15:49.577)

active. There was a moment when he was doing this school assignment once, my wife says, hey, Casey, can you take out the trash? And he said, in a few minutes. And I remember I was in the living room, my dad was career military. So you didn't say in a few minutes, right? Like you get that. And so I was like, hey, case, your mother asked you to take out the trash,

Kirk Martin (16:19.497)

You do not get up, and I remember my wife said, honey, it's okay, I'll take care of it. And then that infuriated, I was like, no, I'm gonna handle this. And so I walked into the kitchen, I said, you get your butt up now, you take out the trash. Now is there anything really wrong with that? No, I wasn't really like being mean, I was just enforcing, right? It's not ideal, but it wasn't anything wrong. But I just, I would amp up so quickly. And so he ended up getting a little bit teary,

And of course, I had to go after him for that. Why do you have to get so emotional over everything? As I'm getting so emotional over everything. And so he ends up stomping off. And I end up reading what he was working on. And what he was working on was a school project where the teacher had given him assignment to write about your favorite superhero. And as I'm reading it, he's saying, I don't want to write about a superhero because my dad is my superhero.

Kirk Martin (17:20.077)

I don't want to swear on your podcast, but I was like, it's like my son's writing about I'm his hero, and here I am constantly just always kind of on him and reactive. And that was kind of the turning point to realize, look, I'm 35 now. If I can't handle my own emotions, how can I expect a nine-year-old kid or a 14 or whatever age to do that? So that was kind of the turning point.

Jamie Buttigieg (17:21.432)


Kirk Martin (17:49.677)

about the quickest way to change your child's behavior. Look, if I come into the room like this, I'm creating a defensive response. If I come into the room and I sit down and I ask questions, I'm probably going to invite a conversation instead of triggering a confrontation. And I started calming myself by just doing the opposite of what I normally did. And I tell you, sitting down, people always make fun, that's a stupid thing. I was like, try it. It's really hard to sit

scream at someone. You feel really like I'm sitting now if I was like Jamie you it just doesn't feel right. And so it's a tool that I use and I began to really work on myself all of my triggers so that in a deeper sense I could break I could break the generational pattern I got from my dad. So that my son grew up knowing you are capable of controlling your emotions. And I'm glad you asked that because I think

Jamie Buttigieg (18:26.816)


Jamie Buttigieg (18:45.413)


Kirk Martin (18:49.497)

That's a bigger part of the screens thing, right? Like if I can't control this, right? If I'm like, you need to get off your screen, you're on your screens too much. Like you can't be wed to yours and then tell some kid that he can't. I mean, you can, but it means more if you can control yours.

Jamie Buttigieg (19:05.770)

Yeah, and kids will model that behavior, right? And I love this idea of questions. I heard this, it might've been a Tony Robbins thing, I can't remember where I heard it, but the quality of the questions you ask determines the quality of your outcome. If we as parents, and just as people, learn to ask better questions, our life changes. Our kids' life changes. But it's not always easy in the moment. As a father, I find that same thing

Kirk Martin (19:18.698)

Mmm. Mmm. That's good.

Jamie Buttigieg (19:35.750)

that really resonates with me. Like I feel like I'm always riding my son, you know, all the time and he's 18 now and I still feel like that. You know, it's always, can you do this? Get up and do this. You need to go and do that. And I do sort of pull myself back occasionally, but it's a hard habit or hard behavior to break as a parent. But you're asking great questions and sitting down is an important part of changing their behavior, but by modeling better behavior yourself.

Kirk Martin (19:55.239)


Kirk Martin (20:04.737)

Yeah. Can I get, I'll give it, uh, especially dads and moms a tool here. So for dads, it's a noble thing. The reason we ride our kids is noble thing. It's for this. Moms, mommies love their children. Daddies want their kids to be successful and not make the same mistakes they made. Right. That's what we're, that's my guiding thing is I love my son, but it's primarily don't do the same stupid stuff that I did and get hurt.

Kirk Martin (20:34.857)

that our kids do wrong or that they're not doing well enough and we're on them like hey here's a better way to do it nice job but eventually what happens is they learn I can't really please my dad and some of it is our own anxiety because we project out and we're looking at that 12 year old kid who's sitting in a hoodie sweatshirt same hoodie sweatshirt he wore for like 17 straight days and all he does is play video games and we project out and think who's gonna

Kirk Martin (21:04.997)

All he does is literally sit there and So that anxiety triggers and you want to break like come on get up. You got to get moving Hey get a job do this do that and I just encourage us as parents Control that anxiety and and I'll give you a goal for the next week just the next week Acknowledge or affirm all the things that your kids are doing well already Instead of pointing out what they're doing wrong

Kirk Martin (21:34.757)

one of them. Like I work out, you can't tell. But like if I come home from the gym and my wife is like, you know, I think you need to work a little bit harder on the weights. I'm like, screw you, I'm not doing anything. Right? But if she says, hey, I can see a little vein in your arm. I'm like, I'm going back to the gym now. You tell me what I'm doing well and I'll work harder for you. But if you're just like, look, you need to do more. I tend to check out a little bit. And a lot of our kids.

Kirk Martin (22:04.797)

I'll put this on dads for the next week for one week your homework is this find every time your kids are doing something well and just say hey you know what like how you did that shows me you're growing up and then walk away right and mutter to yourself but there's 15 other things you're not doing and then watch I guarantee you the kids will start doing more when they believe that they can actually please you.

Jamie Buttigieg (22:30.550)

That's profound. I know it's deceptively simple, but that's profound there. And I'm going to accept that challenge. So thank you, Kirk. And I hope many other fathers and parents do. So you talk about defiant kids or strong willed kids, often having anxiety. So specific example, how would you help a child who struggles with anxiety over say going to new places or going to school?

Kirk Martin (22:38.117)

Okay, good.

Kirk Martin (22:56.417)

Okay, awesome. So two things for anxiety that I think are really important. Number one, normalize anxiety, right? And anxiety is a very normal thing, right? And we've created in our culture a thing where like, oh, you know, you're just anxious and that, and now it's like, you have to go talk to a therapist every week and it creates really anxious kids. And I'd rather us as adults say, of course you're anxious. You're going to a new place. Like let's say it's a Tae Kwon Do class is new.

Kirk Martin (23:26.617)

unknowns and for a lot of the kids that we work with they have these very very busy brains and it feels like everything's out of their control and so going to a new place is a new place, new smells, a new instructor that may not get them, other kids that may pick on them, they may not be good at taekwondo so all these unknowns trigger and they eventually say no I'm not going taekwondo is stupid, you're stupid and you'll have a big meltdown over a simple

Kirk Martin (23:56.397)

And so in that moment rather than, you know what, get your butt in the car. I paid $150 for that class. You but better be there. Instead, I would normalize and say, of course you're anxious. Just stomach a little bit upset. And usually they'll be like, it should be. You're going to a new place that you don't know who's there. Like that's a normal physiological response to something new. So you're not excusing it. I'm not saying, okay.

So let's just stay home. I'm just normalizing it so they know so there's nothing wrong with me Not at all you you shouldn't want to do like we do this with our kids all the time since you mentioned Tony Robbins My joke I do about Tony Robbins is all parents are like well my kids shut down when things get hard Well, who doesn't right? I don't like to do hard things right and I always joke like the only one is like David Goggins or Tony Robbins, right? They're like bring on the adversity

human, but they're freaks of nature. The normal human response is if something's hard, I've got to figure out a way around it. So one is let's normalize. Of course you don't want to go because it's a strange place and you've never been. Perfectly normal. Well that takes out some of that fight of like, why can't you do simple things? I don't know why you have to make everything so difficult. Instead of, why do you have to make everything so difficult? It's like,

course because you go in a new place. But and here's one of my favorite phrases, but I believe you're capable of going and you're gonna have a great time. So I know it's hard right that that assignment that you're working on of course that's hard but I believe you're capable of doing it. And then the tool that we use is this wherever your kids go have another adult ask your child to do some kind of job wherever you're going whether it's a teacher,

Kirk Martin (25:56.397)

Hey, Tae Kwon Do guy, listen, my son Jamie is going to be in your class next week. Loves helping other people give him a job. And that Tae Kwon Do guy is like, Jamie, listen, I'm psyched. Psyched you're in my class. Listen, I need your help. Next week, I want you here five minutes early. You're going to help me rearrange the mat, set up the cones, get ready for class. You up for that? Most of our kids are very good at doing things for other people. They just won't do it if it's your idea. So next week when I come home and I'm like, hey, Jamie, Tae Kwon Do tonight,

Instead of triggering all the unknowns what triggers is hey mom dad remember that taekwondo guy said he needed my help And we need to be there five minutes early, so we have to leave like three and a half hours early Now what's in his brain is I have a job to do and somebody needs me and so that counters The anxiety and my final point would be that's partly the reason I want to control myself so that when I'm

Kirk Martin (26:56.497)

I don't want to go. Instead of, you're going whether you want to or not, you're gonna have a good time, I can take 15 seconds and say, okay, why is my kid fighting me over taking him to a fun place? Something else is going on. And usually if it's irrational, then it's anxiety. And I can say, oh, Jamie, totally get it. It's an anxiety, perfectly normal. Let's come up with a job for you to do there. Cause that's it, right? And so wherever I go,

giving the job to do is really helpful.

Jamie Buttigieg (27:29.350)

Yeah, that's a great technique. And I know I can just say it like they're I'm sitting here nodding even internally. And there are parents listening to this podcast right now who are doing the same thing. So some really good practical tips there. Let's move from it and talk about the stress free stress free morning routines, bedtime routines, you know, especially when screens are a temptation. What are some tips here, Kirk? How can we improve the morning routines and bedtime routines?

Kirk Martin (27:56.917)

You're right, that was an over promise. It's not gonna be stress-free. That was marketing. Now, so I'll give you, let's do a morning thing because we only have so much time. I'll try to give maybe three different options so you can take these principles and apply them to different situations. So one of my favorite things to do is give kids tools. So a lot of kids don't wanna get up in the morning, don't wanna go to school because school's hard for them, whatever reason. This is younger kids tends to be,

Jamie Buttigieg (27:59.954)


Kirk Martin (28:26.837)

them up and say, hey, guess where I hid your breakfast this morning? Out in the backyard, in the basement. Little kids love treasure hunts and the whole idea is instead of me going in, come on, I know you're tired, I know you don't like school because you get in trouble all the time, you don't have a lot of friends there, get up, get up, get up, with all my anxiety. I just gave them a task to complete that wasn't a chore. It's fun, it's a mission, it ignites their

Kirk Martin (28:56.997)

like time in the morning alone. And I usually joke about this, but it's not really funny. If they want to sit outside and eat their breakfast, have at it. Like you don't have to eat every meal together. It's miserable, right? So your strong willed child's outside hunting for his food, which they will love, I promise you. Most of them will love that. And then you can be inside with your compliant easy kids enjoying breakfast without the strong willed child complaining about everything, right? So there's a tool aspect.

Kirk Martin (29:26.937)

So here's a tough approach. Hey Casey Carpool leaves every morning at 721 a.m. I want you in the car at 721 my time is important if you're a minute late you forfeit you choose To forfeit 10 minutes of your screen time for every minute that you're late in the morning That's kind of a harsh one and I'm okay with tough discipline as long as you're even a matter of fact and don't make it personal So the first morning we did this because Casey was habitually late

He got in the car three minutes late. I held up the phone and he's like, seriously dad? I'm only three minutes late. And I was like, for you that was pretty good. But remember you just chose to lose 30 minutes of your screen time tonight. So did that go over well? No. He wasn't like, dad, thanks for being consistent following through. It makes me feel safe as a child. Of course not. He said, this is stupid. You're supposed to be a parenting expert.

Kirk Martin (30:27.217)

But don't react. He wasn't angry at me. He was angry at himself. So we get home at night, right? He goes and get on his screens Pop into his room. Hey remember this morning you chose to be seriously you're gonna do that again Expect the fight your kids are not going to say hey, you know what reasonable consequence mom and dad. I appreciate it They're their job is to make your life miserable Until you give in right? I mean that's that's

That's a what a smart child does so I just don't react to it and I say hey Look the 30 minutes tonight just tomorrow morning. Let's be on time. Then we won't have to do that choice up to you Hey, if you want, I'll wake you up a couple minutes early Third one option is connection connection Changes relationships. It's a connection breeds compliance. So my son was very much into blues music from a young age There are a lot of more old souls. So I go and wake him up and say hey

I downloaded some really cool John Lee Hooker stuff. You get up, get ready, be downstairs in 12 minutes. We will blast that. Mom's gonna hate it, but we're gonna love it. And so we bonded over something, and there was connection which was drawing him to me. So tools, do something fun in the morning. Tough discipline, be tough. Just be firm and even a matter of fact, and don't make it personal. I'm not mad at you that you're three minutes late. I'm just letting you know.

Kirk Martin (31:57.017)

And when you take my time, it's gonna cost you more time And then the third thing is just connection sometimes is a very powerful way Connection is probably my favorite way because there's a humility in that it's it's Jamie It's that thing of when you know your daughter's upstairs and you're like grace get downstairs great grace I'm not going to tell you again, which guarantees you're gonna tell her again, right and then you're gonna yell and scream sometimes if I walk up the stairs

stairs and sit on her bed and say, you know what, it's been a long week. I don't really want to go out either. Come get in a car. You know, we'll plan something fun for afterwards that 30 seconds of connecting with her sometimes breaks down the walls and the fight that would have taken 30 minutes or three hours. So.

Jamie Buttigieg (32:49.090)

Yeah, or longer if it's a daughter.

Kirk Martin (32:52.922)

Yeah. Three days.

Jamie Buttigieg (32:53.990)

I know, I know. Okay, so yeah, I love that. I love that notion of connection. And sometimes like even as a father, I feel like, you know, you had blues music, which you could connect with Casey on, but sometimes it feels such a divide between what you're interested in as a parent and what they're interested in as a child. And you've really got to seek out and find ways to, you know, find those points or moments of connection, right?

Kirk Martin (33:15.197)


Kirk Martin (33:19.797)

That that's like one of the biggest insights. That's awesome. It is my thing that I do with dads all that because dads are like Well, i'm interested in this so i'm gonna invite them to do that hardest part for me with casey was for a long time his interests were so different and I just asked dads to say To see what your child is interested in and then bond over it even if you hate it because you probably will take an interest in it because There's something one of the uh, best bonding tools

Jamie Buttigieg (33:42.685)


Kirk Martin (33:50.157)

This is a cool one is to ask your child to teach you something Because their whole childhood is teachers parents adults literally every day all day for 18 years. I'm teaching you I'm telling you what to do teach to you to you and so to have you come along and say hey I don't know how to do that. Could you show me sometimes with technology? That's a beautiful tool because sometimes our kids know way more than we do and I'll be like, hey

Kirk Martin (34:19.897)

Just think that kid now, you know, he's not running the home, but now he's got some confidence and he's teaching you something. It shifts the dynamic a little bit and it's a really cool tool. So I yeah, I'm a big fan of gritting your teeth and just saying, hey, I'm curious. What are you into? Right. I got lucky that Casey actually liked good music. Right. If your kids like horrible music, don't do music or just put earplugs in.

Kirk Martin (34:50.646)

It goes a long way.

Jamie Buttigieg (34:52.510)

Yeah, yeah, well said. Now we're gonna need to wrap things up soon Kirk, but I mean, I could talk for hours and I know that I've gotten the tremendous amount of value from your generosity and time today. So I thank you for that. Well, one question which might help some parents out there as well, because you know, this is something I used to struggle with quite a lot. And that is, you know, what advice would you have for parents who are struggling to find a balance between their own use of technology and being present for their kids?

Jamie Buttigieg (35:22.530)

as a father like literally totally modeling the wrong behavior because I was busy, you know, I was working and I was always on this device and I realized there was a point where that that really sucked and I was totally displaying and modeling the wrong behavior for my kids. What advice would you have there? Because it's not always easy when, you know, these these phones and the platforms are designed to keep and hold their attention, right?

Kirk Martin (35:50.497)

No, it's brutally difficult. I think being a parent now, it's just hard. When we were younger, you'd run outside and play, and then we'll see you in three hours. I have tremendous compassion for what parents are going through. I'll give you one tool that I love. Sometime on the weekend, call a family meeting, because kids hate family meetings. Guys, we need to talk about technology use in this home. They're going to be like, ugh.

our stuff and then lead with this. You know what? Mom and I have determined, we've noticed, our heads are in screens too much. Like we're not giving each other enough time. And like I pick you up from school, my head's in the screen and I'm wondering, what could mom and I start doing to limit some of our screen usage? And just watch the eyes because they're expecting you to come after them and instead you're owning it, which is true. It's just honesty. I struggle too when

Kirk Martin (36:49.997)

What could we start doing? And the subtle thing that happens is as they begin helping you do certain things, then it translates to them. Because they just came up with their own solution. And one thing I have found is helping kids get off screens is a tremendously compassionate thing to do for your child. Because they just can't do it. Look, Jamie, look, I'm 57.

Kirk Martin (37:20.117)

discipline. This thing at times, I just look at it to look at it. It's like a comfort thing. Like did I get a new email? Did I get a new email? And I get sucked into it. So to ask my kids to say, hey help us do it, there's accountability. And then later it becomes, so what are we going to do as a family here? Because we know this isn't working. And I'd encourage you for any parents who are going through this rough patch of, hey we're struggling and we're resisting

and restricting and our kids are upset at us, eventually they will come to you at some point and say, I'm glad you did that because I realized afterwards, this thing was controlling me and I couldn't do it myself. So I don't know if that helps to frame it that way.

Jamie Buttigieg (38:08.190)

Yeah, that helps tremendously. That's not a way I would have approached it. And again, I've used the word profound a few times in our discussion today, but real usable, impactful tools that parents can take away and use and thought provoking things too. There's some things in there that really get parents to think. So thank you. One fun question we like to sort of finish off and ask all of our guests, and that is,

Jamie Buttigieg (38:38.290)

and could go back to your 10 year old self and give yourself one piece of advice. What would Kirk Senior tell Kirk Junior?

Kirk Martin (38:47.497)

I would say just don't worry about all the little stuff. Most of it works out, right? Like just everything that seems immediate isn't and you can just chill. And by the way, that is what 65 year old Kirk in the future is trying to tell current 57 year old Kirk still of flow with life and let it go and don't try to fix everything all the time.

Jamie Buttigieg (39:15.791)

Yeah, love it.

Kirk Martin (39:17.437)

10 because I'm not really listening that much now.

Jamie Buttigieg (39:20.873)

At least you're honest, at least you're honest. Now, how can our listeners get in touch with you? Where can they find your website? Yeah, give us some of that and we'll put it in the show notes.

Kirk Martin (39:29.077)

Oh, yeah, celebrate calm.com or if you just look up the calm parenting podcast or Kirk Martin, you'll find us and anybody who wants to email specifically if you're struggling, it's Kirk K I R K at celebrate calm.com. I'll be happy. Let me know you found us through this podcast because then it makes it a little bit more personal and I'm be happy to help you. This is a parenting is harder than any job I've ever had.

Jamie Buttigieg (39:57.850)

Indeed, Kirk, thanks for your time, your generosity today. I hope we cross paths again soon. Take care and bye for now.

Kirk Martin (40:03.477)

Awesome. OK, thanks, Jamie.

Jamie Buttigieg (40:07.012)