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Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live

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Let It Be: Handling Teen Distancing and Disconnection

teen boy sunset

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

What if we didn’t take every darn thing in life so seriously? What if we did not analyze every word and nuance? What if, God forbid, we were not mindful every second of the day? As a person who defaults to living the well-examined life, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in ignorant bliss like others seem to do.

I saw a TedTalk once where a woman explained that having stress in our lives and believing stress does damage to our bodies increases our chances of death. The belief that stress damages our health adds to the damage of our health. Which made me think, all of my awareness regarding alostetic load and the epigenetic wounding trauma and stress cause, probably are adding to the alostetic load and epigenetic wounding in my body. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could just turn off the knowledge and awareness and dumbly stumble through life?

Teens don’t care?

I’ve been dealing with emotions and fears about my relationship and level of connection I have with my oldest son. He leaves for college in the fall. I want to be close to him. I want him to feel secure and solid about our relationship.

He couldn’t care less. He rarely talks to me. Often does not respond to my texts. He even said he does not want me to drop him off at school. Most days, all I feel from him is rejection, which hurts and gives me stomach aches. Stomach aches I am sure are ruining my long-term health…

Avoidant attachment style? 

I spoke with my therapist about my son’s behavior. She said he is avoidantly attached and to let him go. I should stop putting so much energy into trying to connect with him.

Avoidantly attached people stifle emotions and strive for self-reliance because a primary relationship in their past (often with a parent) did not provide security and reliability. Naturally, I assume I am the reason for my son’s distancing and coldness.

Or typical teen? 

Enter Dr. Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist specializing in parent education and stress on children and adolescents. I first heard Dr. Mogel on Dax Shepard’s podcast, The Armchair Expert. Her calm, practical and humorous take on parenting is a breath of fresh air. She has a link to Over-parenting Anonymous on her website.;)

In Dr. Mogel’s book, The Blessing of a B Minus, she allays some of my fears and shame regarding my son’s behavior and our relationship. Dr. Mogel says rudeness, vanity, impulsiveness and carelessness are typical teenage behavior. Teens seek independence and ways to disconnect safely from us. If our teens are reasonably well-behaved with other adults and have nice friends, then they will be fine. Parents are the dog they get to kick after being nice and restrained all day at school or at their summer jobs.

Maybe we know too much

On the podcast with Dax Shepard, Dr. Mogel said she constantly tells the parents of her patients to be dumber. “Your kids are dumb, so you need to be dumb too.” It is so tempting to use our intellectual arguments and knowledge when dealing with relationships but not all problems resolve with logic. In some cases, the answer is to step back and let the natural process unfold.

The teenage brain is not fully developed until the ages of 24-29. Specifically, the prefrontal cortex the part of the brain that directs executive functions like planning and impulse control, is last to develop.

Dr. Mogel did a survey and found that kids most want their parents to stop worrying about them and relax. They also want their parents to listen to exactly what they are saying, instead of jumping ahead thinking about how to solve something or how something could go wrong.

Lightly child, lightly

older woman in sombrero

Photo by Alex Harvey 🤙🏻 on Unsplash

If we lighten up and keep our inner-turmoil and ambivalence to ourselves, they will relax and respect us more. They mostly need to know what the rules are and that we are there for them.

An accepting parent tries to guide a child toward great maturing, but tries not to panic at immature behavior, or take it too personally, or mistake it for a permanent character flaw.

Dr. Wendy Mogel

We can ease the situation by joking a little. Humor is a lovely source of relief for parents and children. Use it, but avoid snark. According to Dr. Mogel, snark is thinly disguised criticism.

Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.  — Aldous Huxley, Island

Wisdom from a sage

I watched James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke episode with Paul McCartney this week. I encourage you to watch it for the joy of it. In the episode, they sing a rendition of the classic Beatle’s song, “Let It Be”. Paul McCartney wrote the song after a dream he had where his deceased mother came to him while he was worrying about life matters. Her words to him? Let it be.

As a sensitive person who believes her intuition is flawless, it is not easy to stop over-thinking and projecting. I love to treat every relationship snag as fodder for research, discussion and worry. Perhaps I should simply lighten up and let it be.

Are you over-analyzing? Over-parenting? What would happen if you could laugh and relax? 


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  1. Michael Buley July 2, 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

    I had to smile at your words, Brenda. It’ll all pass. They’ll come back to you. Your son will return. Maybe not for awhile. But he will. You may have a warm, close relationship with him in the years to come. You may not. No way to predict it, plan for it, or create it. You just love him. That’s all. Love him. Let him be where he is. he has his own journey, his own path. And little of it has to do with what you’ve done or not done. You’ve loved him. As the saying goes, something like, We give our kids roots so they know where home is, and we give them wings to fly with.

    Love him unconditionally. Express your belief in him no matter where he is and what he is doing. Visualize good for him; I think our thoughts about another, are our prayers for that person. Speak well of him; see well. And tell him you love him and believe in him always and forever.

    It won’t fix anything. But they are words that he will hold and remember. Life has a lot of hard stuff for each of us. Knowing that at least one person believes in us — because she acts like it, and says it — can change everything.

    That’s my take having raised 3 very different kids, the youngest of which is 30. I love them all. I tell each of them, often, that I believe in them. I send them cards and I write those words. I encourage always. I tell them they are beautiful and precious to me. They have their struggles, and always will. I do, too.

    And laugh!!! lol … laugh at the craziness of all of it. The beauty of all it. And on we go …!!

    • Brenda Knowles July 5, 2018 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the worthy advice. I know I do not tell or show my son that I believe in him enough. I will make an effort to make that more obvious. It’s hard to exude that sentiment when someone seems to want to disagree with and distance from you all the time. I need to rise above it. Thank you again Michael. I needed some senior parent wisdom. 🙂

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