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Episode 29: Finding Joy and Connection with our Kids Amongst the Chaos with Kari Kampakis

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Brief summary of show:

This week on the podcast, I sit down with Kari Kampakis, a bestselling author, blogger, and national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama.

Her book for moms, Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter, and books for teen girls: 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know andLiked: Whose Approval Are You Living For, have been used widely across the country for small groups studies. Kari’s newest book, More Than a Mom: How Prioritizing Your Wellness Helps You (and Your Family) Thrive, will be released in April 2022.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • The balance between parenting vs. friendship

  • Parenting mistakes you can correct

  • Why it’s important for us to apologize to our children

  • Tips to create more connection with your kids

Kari’s work has been featured on Today show, Today Parents, Yahoo! News, Grown & Flown, Thrive Global, Your Teen, For Every Mom, Motherly, FaithGateway, EWTN, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, and other national outlets. She also hosts the Girl Mom podcast. Kari and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola.

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Resources mentioned in this episode

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Podcast Highlights:

[00:04:19] Kari's top tips for building connection with your kids

[00:07:57] Why the stakes are higher for parents today

[00:09:56] Parenting vs. friendship

[00:14:29] Why it's important to admit our mistakes

[00:18:34] Why community for moms is imperative

Full transcript of episode:

[00:00:30] Natalie: Hi, everybody. You know, I talk a lot about parenting, you know why? Because it's hard. And when I ask people for feedback on topics, you always tell me you want more tips and tricks on being a parent more advice on parenting. And I think being a mom today is really harder than ever. My mom might disagree with that.

[00:00:49] I feel like we have so much more to deal with today and our kids have a lot more that's expected of them. They're expected to achieve more and just pack more into their schedules. They also have access to things that as kids, we didn't have to worry about let technology. My guest today, Kari Kampakis is a bestselling author blogger.

[00:01:08] She's also a national speaker and we're going to talk about finding joy and connection with your kids. Also making mistakes and avoid. Um, How to balance being your child's best friend with being a parent, it's all so important. And I just know that you're going to love this conversation. You're going to learn from this conversation.

[00:01:26] So here's my interview with Carrie. Carrie is joining me now. And most of my listeners know that I have three kids, two daughters, and a son and Carrie, I know you've written a lot about this topic. I love your podcast as well. And I want to talk today about finding joy and connection with our kids because in all the chaos, sometimes that gets forgot.

[00:01:50] Kari: Right. And I think that, you know, I, I really write for parents of teenagers right now just because that's the season of life I'm in. And I don't know about your experience, but I think what happened with me and that's pretty common with families is that, you know, your toddlers and babies. Pretty hard season of life.

[00:02:07] And then your kids get older. They're about seven or eight and you hit that sweet spot of parenting. And I remember that say's enough that hear the things about teenagers, about hormones and beds. And I didn't really believe it because the kids were so affectionate. They loved being with me, you know, just you're like, this is great.

[00:02:22] And then about 11 or 12, sometimes we fill our kids just pulling away a little bit, or just acting a little different in their search for independence. And then as that, you know, the teenage. It can really throw us for a loop as parents. And it's totally normal, but as parents we're like, we miss that affection.

[00:02:37] We miss that connection that we had with our younger child. And I know what happened with me was I was trying to use the same strategies I used when they were little and it just wasn't working. So I had to really, it was a journey for me, just finding new approaches, to connect with my teenage girls and try to be part of their world at a time where, you know, they were expanding their world and wanting to be with their friends, but also wanting some family connections.

[00:02:58] I

[00:02:59] Natalie: can relate to that in so many ways, because toddlerhood is difficult. But after going through the teenage years, I would go back to changing diapers and having

[00:03:07] Kari: a toddler. And I

[00:03:10] Natalie: do find that it's a different season. We have a struggle in every season, but the teenage years, at least to me, it feels like the stakes are so much.

[00:03:21] Kari: Yes, that's exactly it. And I was talking to somebody yesterday that especially, I don't know why the birthdays are always the markers for me, but when my daughters turned 15, 16, 17, I have this 18 number in my head and I'm thinking I only have two more years with them here at home. I have one more year with him here at home.

[00:03:39] And you just feel like you have to cram everything in before. Launch into the world. And I think as parents, we can really just focus so much on that and thinking of all the lessons we want to teach them before they leave that we're really not making that emotional connection with them. And just building that relationship, that's going to be so important, not only during the teenage years, but also as they leave home.

[00:03:58] Natalie: I'd like to get some tips from you and with four daughters. And how many books have you written on this? I've

[00:04:03] Kari: written two books for teen girls and a book for moms with 10 girls, and then a new book for moms that will come out in April.

[00:04:09] Natalie: Oh, I can't wait. Okay. I wanna hear more about that in just a moment, but let's go, let's go straight to tips.

[00:04:14] Let's get straight to that connection. That joy, how to get through it. Take it

[00:04:19] Kari: away. You know, the number one thing I've learned is that we can't take it personally and we have to be a little bit prepared for rejection and just know that I know my mistake with my teenagers is when they did start acting like teenagers are fitting the stereotype out there having this moments or seasons, I would take it personally.

[00:04:36] And if they got moody, I would get moody back. And that was really making it about me. One of the good things about doing the work that I do for teenage girls is that you just learned that they are struggling with so much internally that they're not sitting there thinking, how can I have a close relationship with my mother or father?

[00:04:51] That's just not on their radar. They're not intentionally trying to be heartful. And yes, we do have to teach them how to be respectful when we're having arguments or conflict. But, you know, really they're just juggling with their bodies are changing. Their maids are changing. A psychologist once told me that the, that the part of your brain that interprets your emotions is behind your emotions themselves.

[00:05:10] So I think that sometimes they're experiencing these big emotions and these big feelings, but they can't interpret them yet. Like I'm anger free and I don't know why, or I'm sad and I don't really know why. So there's just so much inner turmoil. And then on top of that social media, Friendship issues, bullying everything else that just our teenagers are dealing with today, they're wrestling with inside.

[00:05:30] And so I think so much what we see as parents is not really an effective wha