Ferne Kotlyar

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback on last week’s Fridays with Ferne podcast episode! Because of all the encouragement, Ferne is back again with a new scenario.

In this brand new episode of Fridays with Ferne, we learn about a man named Mark who thinks his son is lazy. Mark complains that all his son does is sit on the couch, eat chips and play video games. He doesn’t do well in school, he goes to bed too late, he snacks well into the night, and as Mark puts it “he’s getting a little bit chubby”.

Today we discuss how to motivate your kids in the best way possible, how we can help them by seeing them in the best light, and to get more involved in their lives without creating resentment.

Now… Do I think Mark's kid is lazy? Click here to find out!

Do you think your kid is lazy? Have you experienced leadership problems? Share your story! If there's a challenge you'd like to discuss here on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:

kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. This is Kim Ades. I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we typically invite leaders from all over the world to get coached live and in person on the podcast.

Today, we have another special edition episode with my daughter Ferne Kotlyar. She has come to us from Montreal to have a nice conversation with me about a case that she's bringing to the table.

Ferne, welcome!

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:39]
Thank you so much! Thanks for having me.

Kim Ades: [00:00:41]
So what are you up to in Montreal? Before we jump into the case.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:00:45]
I'm hanging out for the summer, working, hanging out with my roommate and boyfriend. And then in September, I'm about to start my masters at UFT in Ecology and Landscape Genetics.

Kim Ades: [00:00:59]
Wow. That sounds very complicated. Well, I am thrilled that you are here today. You have a case for us. Go for it!

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:01:08]
Okay. So this case is on your favorite topic, as you well know. Of course it's parenting. So, there's a couple, Mark and Christina. They have two children, Ryan and Amy--

Kim Ades: [00:01:22]
Hold on, hold on. Mark and Christina, and they have two children and they're both boys?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:01:27]
No, Ryan and Amy, a boy and a girl.

Kim Ades: [00:01:29]
Oh, Ryan and Amy. Okay. How old are they?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:01:33]
So Amy is in grade 10 and Ryan is in grade 11.

Kim Ades: [00:01:37]
Okay.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:01:39]
Amy is what you call, you know, basically an angel child. She's on the swim team, studied hard, does well at school. She's got a good group of friends, but you know, it doesn't go out too much. Doesn't get into drugs or drink and, you know, very easy.

Kim Ades: [00:01:56]
Okay.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:01:57]
Ryan, on the other hand. So, he's the older one. He's quite different. He spends all of his time playing video games.

Kim Ades: [00:02:05]
Okay.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:02:06]
He's smart, but doesn't apply it. He doesn't do that well at school, he doesn't have so many friends, like, his friends don't come over. He goes to bed late, can't wake up in the morning. He snacks late into the night. Hardly goes out. And to be quite frank, he's getting a little bit chubby.

Mark is worried about him. So, Mark is the dad. Mark-- when Mark was younger, he used to play baseball, he was captain of the baseball team. He used to go out with his friends and he was, you know, a cool guy.

And here, his son is just spending all of his time in his room. We don't know what he's doing. We assume he's playing these video games, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, something like that. And so, he thinks that Ryan should be, as he was as a kid, outside with his friends, playing sports, at least doing well at school. Mark really wants his son to excel.

And so, it's the summertime and Mark tries to encourage Ryan to get out, but he doesn't want to be a part of any sports teams. And Mark starts to get frustrated. So finally he starts-- when he's-- doesn't want to join any sports teams, he imposed these restrictions on Ryan.

He says, "you have to go outside and exercise before you can come in and play video games". He, you know, changes the way Ryan eats in comparison to the rest of the family, so that he's healthier. He doesn't let him have food in his bedroom.

And so he, you know, puts all these restrictions. He's really just trying to help his son. And-- but Ryan opposes these actions. He fights back. He evades the restrictions. He lies, he cheats. He doesn't do what his father wants him to do. And so, you know, they start to get into battles, Ryan and his father.

And the question here is how does Mark help his son stay healthy, but without ruining their relationship?

Kim Ades: [00:03:59]
Okay. So, I love this question. It's a lot of fun for me. So, Mark has an idea of what's right, and Mark thinks that what his idea is right, is the idea of right. Like, he's sure he's absolutely right. He sees his son--

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:04:15]
Right about what?

Kim Ades: [00:04:17]
Sorry?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:04:18]
He's right about what?

Kim Ades: [00:04:19]
He's right about his son. His son is, you know, whatever, in bed, lying on a couch, whatever it is he's doing, but he's not moving. And he's worried about his son. And his worry is... comes from a good place. Right? So he has a great intention. He wants his son to be healthy, engaged, moving, physically active, all of that stuff.

His intention is good. However, his execution is leading to an outcome he doesn't want. So his execution is leading to a distance between him and his son. And what he's figuring out is his son is actually lying and fighting and doing more of what he wants, and his actions are creating friction between him and his son.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:05:09]
Definitely.

Kim Ades: [00:05:10]
So, let's step back for a minute and let's just talk about parenting. Okay. So, as a parent, we want to have influence over our children. And what I mean by influence is we want to influence them in a positive manner. So, how do we do that? What is the best place to influence our kids? How do we get that done?

So, the way we influence our children... think about it. Okay. Let me step back for a minute. I am influenced by someone who I think is doing a great job, but I'm influenced by someone who sees me in the best possible light, because that is a person I want to spend more time with. Right?

So when I know someone sees the best in me, I want to talk to them more. I want to hang with them more. I want to hear what they have to say more.

But when I see someone who sees me in a poor light, what do I want to do? I want to shield myself from them because their vision of me is painful. It hurts. It doesn't feel good. So what do I do? I hide and I lie and I stay far away from that person, because that person's point of view about me does not make me feel good about myself.

And so, unfortunately, that's what Mark has created for his son. He's created a situation where his influence has been diminished rather than augmented, because the son, Ryan sees that his father does not see him in a great light. So he shields himself from his father.

He says, "I want to do what I want to do. But in addition to that, I really don't want to spend time with my father. And I don't want to be influenced by him because his vision of me is negative. And why would I want to be influenced by someone who sees me that way?"

So what's the best way to influence our kids? Is to see them in a positive light and shine that light on your child. In other words, if 90% of your child is struggling, your job is to shine the light on the 10% that is effective, strong, doing well in life. Just that 10%. You're about to ask a question.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:07:33]
Yeah. In this case, what would you focus on? What do you see as good in Ryan?

Kim Ades: [00:07:38]
Well, Ryan is actually interacting with humans on a computer. So number one, that takes some degree of social skills. Number two is he's playing a game and typically a person who's playing a game over time has some degree of efficacy in that game. Is it skill? Is it manual dexterity? Is it that he's teaming up with other people, you know, from afar? What is he doing?

And so the father's lacking information about his son's skillset. He's not learning. "Hey, Ryan. Show me the game. Tell me how you play it. You know, who's who, and what's what? But show me where you're scoring. How did you get that score? What was your strategy?" He has no information about that 10%.

All he sees is the 90% that he doesn't want to see, and he shining the light on the 90%. Right? So his level of influence is diminished. So in order for Mark to increase his influence, he needs to identify that, which is good and right about Ryan and focus on that, which is good and right about Ryan. But there's a second piece to this. Okay?

So, as parents, what do we want for our children? We want them to grow up to be independent, to make great decisions, to think for themselves, to have a level of self-confidence.

And what is Mark doing? He's saying, "Hey Ryan, you don't have the ability to make decisions for yourself. You have no reason to be self-confident 'cause you're chubby and lazy. And so I'm going to step in and make all the decisions for you, and I'm going to tell you what to eat, how to move when to move and all of these things".

And so the very things that we want for our kids, we're not breeding.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:09:30]
We're doing it for them.

Kim Ades: [00:09:31]
We're doing it for them. And what the message is: "Ryan, you don't have the capacity and I don't trust you". And so, what ends up happening is that he's not allowing Ryan to come to a place where he says, "Hey, I want to do something different. I, you know, notice that I am getting chubby or that I'm not as strong as I used to be, or I can't run as fast as I want to run".

But he's not trusting that Ryan can come to a place on his own that's says "I want to make a change". And so what is he doing? He's enforcing a change on Ryan. What is Ryan doing? Resisting. Right? And that resistance causes the exact opposite effect that Mark is looking for in his son.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:10:24]
So you're saying that Mark has to wait for his son to want the change himself.

Kim Ades: [00:10:29]
Mark has to focus on what's good and right about Ryan. Mark has to demonstrate the behaviors that he wants Ryan to take on. Mark has to build a really great relationship with Ryan, which he is not doing. Mark has to invite Ryan to participate with him in things that Ryan is interested in, and that perhaps he is interested in.

So all of these things are not happening. There is no good relationship, he's taking ownership of Ryan's development and journey, he's imposing at, you know, at the age of grade 11, what is that? 16, 17 years old? That's, you know, that's pretty old. And so, you know, is Ryan being disrespectful? No. Is Ryan being rude? No. Is Ryan trying to figure out what it's like to be a teenager? Yes.

And so, is he trusting that Ryan will get to the other side? There's no trust there. There's no belief that Ryan will get to a better place. And all that he sees in Ryan is a lazy slug, right? And that's not useful for helping Ryan move to a better place.

He's in a poor position of influence and he's not breeding the types of characteristics or behaviors that he wants to see.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:11:49]
So let's say he does all these things. He has a good relationship. He, you know, sees the best in him. And then, you know, Ryan's happy, they have a great relationship and, you know, because Ryan's happy he continues playing video games, I mean, that's what he likes to do. But he doesn't go out and be active. How, at that position, that position of influence does he now encourage Ryan to be active?

Kim Ades: [00:12:12]
By saying, "Hey Ryan..." Because now Mark and Ryan have this great relationship. "Let's go do something together". And Ryan wants to go do something with his dad because he thinks his dad is cool. 'Cause he likes his dad because his dad sees him in the best light, and he likes hanging around with someone like that.

So he says to Ryan, "Hey Ryan, let's go do paintball". And that's fun. And guess what? It's active too. And it also is kind of like World of Warcraft, isn't it?

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:12:43]
I guess so, yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:12:43]
And so, what happens? Ryan goes with his dad and now they build a better relationship. And now maybe they spend more time together. "Hey, Ryan, let's go for a bike ride". But the reason that Ryan goes is because he likes hanging out with his dad. Right now he doesn't like hanging out with his dad.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:13:01]
Makes sense.

Kim Ades: [00:13:02]
Right? And so, we don't want to go from a 10% light to a 100% light. We want to go from a 10% light to a 15% and 20% and fully, gradually, gradually. And the way we do that is by only focusing on what's good and right about our children.

Unfortunately, parents believe that their responsibility is to make sure that their kids are behaving as they "should" behave. Then we get distracted, and we get confused. And then we end up stepping in and creating rules and regulations and impositions and all kinds of things that our children will resist and end up hiding in lying. So the very thing we want to create backfires on us with this approach.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:13:55]
So you said that we think that this is-- or parents think that this is their responsibility. What is their responsibility as a parent?

Kim Ades: [00:14:01]
Their responsibility is to love their children unconditionally. Their responsibility is to see the best in their children. Their responsibility is to model the behavior they want to see in their children. And their responsibility is to build this amazing relationship so that they have a high degree of influence.

And also, because I'm a parent, the greatest gift or wealth that I have in my life is the relationship I have with my kids. So I don't build a relationship just for influence. I build a relationship because truly that's what makes my life awesome. So that's what a parent's responsibility is.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:14:39]
Nice. And so, let's say you do take Mark and, you know, he's in this position of like, he only sees his son as this lazy slug, as you called him. How do you go from that vision of his child to fully unconditionally loving him and loving every single part of him? Because that's a big job. How do you go from A to B?

Kim Ades: [00:15:01]
Yeah, that's a great question. And I don't. I don't go there from A to B in one step. What I do is I say to Mark, "Hey, is your approach working?" And he'll say no. And I'll say, "okay, great. Let's talk about an approach that could work".

And then I talk about him and his parents and what he would have liked from his parents. And then we talk about loving someone unconditionally and what that entails and if he's capable of doing that.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:15:26]
And what if he's not?

Kim Ades: [00:15:28]
Well, we do our best to get him to a place of love. And we move him along the spectrum from being judgmental, the finding more and more and more and more things to love about his son. And so, again, there's a concept called what you focus on grows, and right now he's focusing on what he doesn't want to see in his son.

And what we want him to do is help him focus on what he does want to see. And so that requires focus, it requires effort, it requires muscle. And that's what we want to help Mark do with his son.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:16:04]
So I have two more questions.

Kim Ades: [00:16:06]
Okay.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:16:07]
The first one is a bit personal, you know? So you say that you have to love your child unconditionally, see all the best parts in them. Does that mean that you don't see any flaws in me?

Kim Ades: [00:16:18]
Well, I see... Do I see flaws in you? I don't like the word flaws. I see a person who sometimes uses approaches or sometimes has a way that doesn't always coincide with her deepest desires or goals. So it's not about flaws. It's about sometimes I see a person in front of me who doesn't always behave consistently with her desires.

So sometimes I definitely see that. Unfortunately, I'm a coach, so I always want to help you achieve your goals and have everything your heart desires with the greatest ease. And sometimes I feel that you make it a little harder than it needs to be. But I still love all the parts of you.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:17:08]
Thank you. So I guess my last question is if you were to give Mark a one piece of advice, one set of words that were to get them into the door, what would you say?

Kim Ades: [00:17:20]
I would say to him: "is your action, is your strategy helping you achieve your goal? If not, let's revise the strategy". And for someone like Mark, who also seems to be very driven and goal oriented, that would open his mind to say, "yeah, what I'm doing, isn't really working. Fine, fine! I'm open to suggestions". Right? And that's where I want to get Mark.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:17:47]
Makes sense. Awesome! Well, thank you so much.

Kim Ades: [00:17:50]
Thank you so much! Great question. Great problem. I suspect that there are parents who are listening, who are going "my son is Ryan!" So if you are listening, I hope that you got something of value from this conversation.

If any of you want to join me on the podcast with a challenge that you want to share, please reach out to me.

My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

And if there's a challenge that you're not so willing to share, but do want to talk about privately, please reach out to me as well.

My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

For those of you who are listening, we want your feedback. We want to hear what you think about these special episodes. Please leave a comment, do all the things you're supposed to do with podcasts. Like, share, all that stuff.

In the meantime, thank you for tuning in. We will see you next time.

Ferne, thank you for joining me.

Ferne Kotlyar: [00:18:43]
Thank you.

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