Below are detailed show notes, links and thoughts, combined.
Ariel Welcomes Eric Kyle of Czech and Portland to the Imperfect Parenting Podcast and they get started.
Ella needed to go out with both Mats and I to splash in puddles before I started working with Eric on Skype. She is a connector, needs to connect things and people. She needed to have and experience us all together, doing something, out in the world before we all separated, again for a bit. Ella is a strong-willed little monkey, with very clear ideas and not too willing to give them up. I like that about her. If we were different parents we would all suffer a lot more from tantrums and whatnot. Now, it is mainly only when exhausted..
2 different kids from 2 different wives. One ex-wife and one current.
Eric is from Portland Oregon. Ariel and Eric know each other from Prague, Czech Republic where they have both lived for some time. They have worked together as trainers, shared in creating live music events and now share stories about parenthood.
Jake, 18 years old
Eric has a teenage son, 18, Jake. They have a strong bond as it was only the 2 of them, without Jake’s mom around. Growing up, Jake told Eric everything. He is introvert.
It’s a bit different with Lily who is 5 and looks mostly to her mom for the serious things. Dad is the fun guy, playmate and more like a brother, at times. So far, they don’t share as much as Jake and Eric did. Lily is a full on extrovert.
Jake and Eric had a strong bonding experience as mom and he were already split up, quite early on. Maybe their relationship would have been different if there were 3 there, though they will never really know. Jake mourns not experiencing that trio, even to this day.
Eric and Jake have a really open relationship, talking about all things. These days the topics focus a lot on girls/women and music.
Lily, 5 years old
Eric and Lily joke and play most of the time, that is Eric’s role with her. But, serious things, Lily prefers her mom in times of need. She doesn’t see Eric as the guy who she needs to take seriously and follow direction from. But, they have a fun relationship. It’s frustrating for Eric, yet he knows things could change at anytime and is patient for a possible deepening of relationship.
Eric and Lily don’t share as much or in the same way as Jake and Eric, yet the connection is there and strong.
Ariel agrees that there are different phases with our kids, over time. As well, girls sometimes rebel, as they grow older, against the rule maker and start talking more with the fun one, but of course that depends on the dynamic.
Trust your teenagers
Eric reminds us that we parents need to trust and let things evolve and wait and see what happens, not to push. It’s so true! The biggest thing I see that create issues with teens and parents/guardians is “TRUST”. If we can let go as parents and allow teens to unfold their own story. Give them the tools and trust they know how to and will use them in the right moment. This is power-full.
Eric reflects on his relationship thinking that maybe in 3 years, Eric and Lily will share more serious things. Or, not. Maybe being the light one is Eric’s role with permanent place with Lily. Only time will tell.
Different roles in relationship with kids
In every kind of coupling and partnership, there is often the dynamic that one person is the lighter one and one the rule maker. Seems common all over the world and in all kids of relationships and parent/guardian dynamics. Men and men, women, women, grandparents, adoptive parents or whatever constellation of family that you might have.
Eric says that kids like things the same. So, they like to label us and put us in boxes and its just what they do. I suppose it is what helps to relax them. To have things settled and sorted and in place so they can feel grounded.
But, of course, maybe things will change again, in their view.
Eric hopes that Lily would go to him sometimes more often when she is in need. Perhaps in time.
Eric is also at home a lot.
All things change
Mats only recently has been home more and it has thrown Ella off, at times. As his way of being in the world is very expansive and not always focused on her needs and energy patterns. Yet, it has been great to have that balance of both parents around, for her. She does like this short moment in time with both of us.
Ariel knew a young girl, who when really small, was more clingy with mommy, yet that changed, as it does, over time. Same with El and I, these days. She is so independent that it throws us off, sometimes. Yet, nice to enjoy in this moment.
Now, it’s the phase before she will be more independent, we breathe into this beautiful toddler moment.
Now, its all about being same as mommy. Same clothes, same food and so on. Super unexpected, yet I love seeing Ella wander off in independence and know she can come back to us as home base and do the same, again. Before it was only Ariel. Now, both Mats and I are home base, which is super.
Maybe Eric will find that doorway with Lily.
You never know when will happen.
Ariel’s ex-boyfriend’s mom once told her the story that her husband couldn’t easily connect with said boyfriend until age 7. It’s not the case with Eric, he connects with Lily, yet perhaps what comes is unknown.
Eric says, if you want to connect with your kids, it’s trial and error. Don’t give up, see what works and find the place where you align.
Like with Eric’s son, from 15-16 years, something was missing between them.
Was it better before, or just recently?
Just 6 months ago, all changed.
Now, its all about girls and career and music. They are sharing a lot of ideas there.
Keep trying with teens
You can always find something. You just have to dig to find where you align..
Teenagers are hard. But, so are adults.
Ariel remembers not only being a teen, but noticing them around and working with them at the International School of Prague. It’s an intense time.
**Eric reminds us that the best way to connect is to show that you trust them and that there is mutual respect and then they will open up more.
Don’t try to control and lecture them and they open up more.
Many times Eric is Lily’s favorite and other times, mom is favorite. In choosing, she says, ” I don’t like you mom, or dad.” She choses one or other. Seems extreme, but again, the compartmentalizing. Ellas does this with us, too, especially in stressy times.
Our relationships effect our kids
Radana, his wife and he haven’t been close for awhile and it seems to have its effects.
So, Eric recognizes that Lily feels she has to choose one or the other.
Maybe if they were closer, Lily could feel that she could just be with both of them. Or, maybe that is just part of parenting.
Ariel saw this with her step son. He would like or love me and leave and had to hate me, for survival. Or, who knows, maybe he was doing the survival thing with us. No idea. There were moments when he was kind and other times when I was in shock by his actions.
What kids do to feel relaxed
Eric reminds us that kids are often all about black and white. Is or isn’t.
Ariel wishes that they could know that they can love everyone. Wouldn’t there be less suffering for all? Yet, that is about reality of the grown ups around and how they manage their emotions and realities and if there are actually able to allow the same for the kids.
Eric solidifies it all by saying that the truth is that kids “want everything to be stable and consistent.”
So, they are trying to create that world for themselves.
So, if parents aren’t close, then it is kind of a problem.
Was it similar with Jake? Regarding choosing sides?
No. Until Jake was 8 or 9, Eric was king and he didn’t even want to go back to mom. He felt guilty that he wanted to be with Eric and not mom and as well that he eventually had to go.
Kids, parents and guilt inside divorce
Later, Eric and Jake spoke more about what happened with divorce and all. But, when he was younger, he didn’t want to go there, just wanted to play.
After Jake and Eric were talking a lot more, some of that guilt Jake felt seemed to go away.
Funny, even at 15, 16 years old, Jake would choose sides and talk crap about his mom.
What was that about, do you think?
It seemed like Jake wanted Eric to know that he was on his side and that he understood that it was a difficult situation.
Ariel talks about the multi-layered and complicated reality of separation/divorce.
When the kids are younger, they adjust more, but don’t understand what is happening.
When kids are older, they seem to be more angry and aware of things. At least, from Ariel’s personal experience with friends and her own situation with bonus kids.
Kids keeping the lines between exes
Jake still separates things with his mom and Eric by only speaking Czech with his mom and English with his dad. Never ever mixing Czech in with his dad.
He is almost 18 and Eric hopes it will change and he can relax with that.
Ariel isn’t so sure that always happens. Depends on the family and of course the person. I wanted to believe that in 20s people would grow out of it and shift, but from experience, it doesn’t always happen like that. I know plenty of people who are well into their 40s and still have divorce issues hanging around from their past.
Jake doesn’t always have the social cues. Seems more like Asberger”s, however apparently not.
Miscommunication and exes
Interestingly, and sadly, there was a miscommunication with Eric’s ex-wife for 10 years! For 10 years, Eric thought his sone had Asberger’s, when apparently in the end they decided he had ADHD. He thinks he would have done a lot of things differently with Jake if he wasn’t always assessing his issues from another perspective.
Ariel wonders how often we get distracted by “also compartmentalizing” our kids, like they do us. And, what if we didn’t do that. Maybe it isn’t just about an issue, but who they are. It is what we do in society. Yet, could we do it differently?
ADHD and choices
I mention our podcast episode 2 with Freja and Lisa and their experience of not having a social life before finding a solutions that worked for them.
I ask if Jake and his mom have worked with diet or any kind of solution that also helps his situation, but no.
..Jake is aware of his limitations. He is working on it..
Introverts learn to cope in real world
Though Jake is an introvert, he has found a way that works for him. Jake has learned to be a total extrovert if he wants to be. And, he can charm people and so on, when needed.
But, he forgets to ask questions about others when he is with them.
Ariel wonders if she has an issue as well. Eric too.
Jake is happy or content much of the time.
But, if one thing goes wrong, he is really hard on himself and spirals.
Wrap up, Episode 10
We ran out of time and things ended a bit sooner than expected. My usual questions didn’t make it to this episode, yet it was so natural and fine to end as that is what the show is all about. What is possible. Imperfect in the reality that life brings and making peace with that was strong.
Yet, we will hear more in future as we check in with Eric, down the road, when he has been in the states a bit longer and away from his kids and see how all that is going.
Thanks for giving us some time of your time, Eric.
For all of you out there, we wish you good communication, resources for teen issues that pop up in your family and more.
Over time, we will have more resources growing for you. Please, share any thoughts on the comments below, or in a review or if you have any great resources to share.