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Episode # 87   Parenting without Power Struggles - Susan Stiffleman

About The Episode:

Natalie Ledwell speaks with Susan Stiffleman, who was recently featured on the Today Show for her book, "Parenting Without Power Struggles." This book is the current number 1 bestseller for "Motherhood" on A counselor for decades, Susan brings a unique perspective to the topic of parenting. In today's episode, Susan teaches you how to be the "captain of the ship" within your family.

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Episode # 87 Parenting without Power Struggles - Susan Stiffleman

Natalie: Well today on the show I'm talking to Susan Stiffleman, the author of the book Parenting without Power Struggles. She actually goes through some amazing communication techniques that not be used for teens, with children but with our daily life. So please enjoy.

Hi my name is Natalie Ledwell and this is the Inspiration Show. And today I have my friend with me, Ms. Susan Stiffleman, how are you Susan?

Susan: I'm fine now are you Natalie?

Natalie: I'm very grateful to have you here in the show because she has just recently been on the Today's Show and she has written an amazing book called; Parenting without Power Struggles. So congratulations! Did it hit the best-seller list?

Susan: You know I haven't been tracking it too recently and I know we reached about 200 on all the books on Amazon, so hopefully... when I came around the first time; it was number one on Motherhood, so I think we're going to see that getting there.

Natalie: Wonderful, awesome. So, tell us a little bit about your background, you know what's your story?

Susan: Well I am an American Family Therapist, and I'm based in Melbourne, California and I'm the parenting expert, the advice columnist for the Huntington Post's parent panel. And I just worked for kids as teacher and as counselor for decades. Over the quest of my work, I shifted from focusing on kids, working on problematic behavior or they are resistant having, they were having melt downs, tantrums, refusing to eat, whatever the particular manifestation of their challenge might be. And I realized that I could get much more bang for somebody's back if I work with the parents themselves, helping them become what I've come to call, "The Captain of the Ship in their Child's Life" where there is in-charge, this is the parent, this is the child, and it's a hierarchy. You know many of us, who are spiritually inclined, understand deeply that our children are equals. But that doesn't mean they don't need somebody to be in-charge, or that somebody to captain the ship and deal with the rock waters and stormy seas. So I really helped parents do that and it's some of that and lots of the works I do.

Natalie: Cause you know what, it's very interesting in my observation of you know, a lot of alleged work, I mean my forties, you know we had very strict parents and as we grow old and started to become parents, we are very lenient with our children, I mean that's really not the way to go.

Susan: Well, yeah your right, those kinds of things that swings from one end to the other. And what we have, what I seek parents to do is, first of all is listen to your entities, but also recognize that we're, we are formed in influence by how we were raised. So whether we fall exactly in the footsteps of our parents, whether strict or overly permissive, or we do the exact opposite, what I want parents to do is release the things from themselves and feel what is best for their children regardless of how they themselves were raised. And that means, kids really thrive when they know that you can handle what's going on without feeling that you have to fix it, you know this notion coming to that, this is the parent(upper part), and this is the child(lower part), it's very comforting, so the child here is like...(illustrates a parent-child conversation)

Child: I want cakes.

Parent: not now.

Child: why not?

Parent: because you won't eat your dinner.

Child: yes I will.

Parent: no, I gave you cake last night but you didn't eat.

Child: but that's because you made stew, I hate stew.

Parent: what do you mean you hate stew?

And now nobody's in-charge, this is where you have to use the power of pushing, and then it gets worse. And the child says, "Well, I'm not eating anything unless you give me cake." And you're down here, and the way you know you're down here is that you're bribing and threatened. You feel out of control, so you're scrambling to get back and control. But what I teach about control is about being calling and comfortably in-charge and yeah, when we are too permissive, it's very discomforting for our child.

Natalie: So how do you, how does the parent keep power in that situation?

Susan: Well it's more that they keep authority, power, for me it's a sort of a charge towards, because it means that you are either having power or you're powerless and scrambling to get power again.

Natalie: Yep.

Susan: I used to stay in charge with so many things that I teach in my book. One of the ways is that you, you come along side of your child rather that at her. Meaning that you... I teach one thing that is called, Act 1 Parenting, where we, most of the steward I caught act to which is very skip act when we go straight to the linear, rational explanations. When you're the captain of the ship, you're capable of the storm and you're capable and capable of letting your kid accept without feeling down here and you need them to be happy, so you feel, you can do better. One of the ways we do that is we, Act 1, we give 3 extras and you really wanted the cake. And it doesn't seem fair that I'm not letting you have it. You can't think of any good reason that you wouldn't be able to have cake and sell it on supper. And when you're acknowledged, you get YES, the child starts to relax, they recognize as somebody in charge. Help them deal with this storm of emotion and feeling that they're having. And they start to become receptive to our comfort and our guidance.

Natalie: Right, and I could imagine that, like there must be a given different personalities of children out there, and they sit next and work with all children?

Susan: Honestly, I worked with thousands of families and now that I have the right of getting posts every week, I get letters from parents all over the world, it's pretty universal that kids, once you give them somebody in charge, they wanna know that they're seen and loved, so a lot of my work is built on attachment, and which is a sweet and beautiful piece in it. And they want our help not in fixing all their problems but in learning to navigate through frustration, to adopting or accepting life complications. So this is amazing how quick the kids will respond, they are so ready for us to be the one that you know, that reaches for them, and helps them with their challenges. I am repeatedly surprised by how forgiving and ready am kids are until we connect to some kind of falling step.

Natalie: Yeah, of course. You have your parents, you love your parents, you know. What are some of the common challenges that you come across with families?

Susan: Oh my gosh, it's so; let's start with getting shoes early in the morning. This is the simplest thing, how do you put your shoes on, how do you get them to go to bed, or turn-off the video game, how do you get them to come to dinner, how do you deal with homework and the melt-down that might surround that. Even if we're on the spiritual path, which many of us are, or we're really committed to growing, kids are still kids. And their passion is about what they want and what they don't want. They have to, you know, both say the course with our own inner calling and also respond to their practical ways to these issues. You know with a 4-year old that might be refusing to get dressed in the morning for school, with a 14-year old that might be, you know, smoking, smoking pot 3 times a day, whatever it is, kids need us to be their captain.

Natalie: Yeah! Right, so what are some of the great, you know testimonials and stories that you got from families that you've worked with?

Susan: I have so many great testimonials. I had a woman whose 17-year old daughter absolutely refuse to talk with her, or have anything to do with her, so much that even when they were in the same room, the 17-year old would text her mother, wouldn't communicate with her directly. And the mom came to hear me speak cause I do speak all over the country and she emailed me a couple of days later with this incredible story saying that, she had been somehow rested the feeling in the way and she invited her daughter to go out to dinner with her to the favorite restaurant and somehow the daughter agreed, and as this girl started to mention one tiny little thing, the mom said, "I kept hearing her voice in me." And she restrained herself; she managed the conversation differently than she was having at the past. Sort of coming at her daughter with advice that her daughter wasn't interested in hearing already and caught crashing in the party, she was able to just keep asking questions that got her to keep talking. And in discovering, just the incredible things are that her daughter was going through this time. And when they got home, she said, "My 17-year old would come and cuddle with me." It took so little, this intractable, apparently similarly intractable situation. And the daughter was just so ready to respond when the mom start with the treatment.

Natalie: Yeah that's amazing and you know what, it's fantastic that you're focusing on the parents as well. And you know what I hate to, to draw this analogy with dogs and puppies but my husband and I just got a new puppy, and we went to puppy school and the puppy school has nothing to do with the puppy, all to do with us. On how we can learn to interpret, you know the signals and her language and what you know, how to deal with her and how to you know, not others, supposed to train her in a way that she knows what her limitations and her guidelines are, it's just you know, so I think it's a fantastic work that you are doing. The book that you've written is just amazing. And you've been getting high coverage all over the country which is being great. So Susan, if people wanted to purchase the book, if they wanted to find out more about you, where can we send them?

Susan: So send them directly to my website which is and there they can sign-up for my free newsletter, they can actually get the first. I have a module, a sort of modules for guiding parents who are walking through my materials and they could get the first one for free and they can also find out those audio download for those recordings on worst and worst things scenario and like that. Be able to follow me on Facebook, they can be a fan, they can be a twitter follower. I'm certain they can read and present articles on having to post where I have a weekly column where soon they could be able to post questions. They can get the book, here the book, make sure you could get a copy, Parenting without Power Struggles, very connected. And they can get the book on the site or local bookstores and actually out on the tables right now, actual bookstores under new non-fiction and of course and all the online retailers. I'm all over it, I do fun sessions with parents from every part of the world now, thanks to Skype and people like you that help me share the message.

Natalie: Wonderful, thank you so much for joining me today Susan. So that was And remember if you click on the banner to the side then you go actually go straight through to that site of Susan. And I encourage you all to share the information in this video by clicking the Facebook and the twitter share buttons above. And if you haven't done so already, make sure that you put your email on the box above there. You'll get 6 pre-made Mind Movies and we'll get you up to date with all of the upcoming shows. So until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We'll see you soon.

Susan Stiffleman



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