Dr. Ann-Lousie Lockhart on Breaking Harmful Generational Cycles
This episode is about trauma and generational cycles, and more specifically, breaking harmful generational cycles in our families. My guest is someone I’ve been wanting to bring on the show for some time — Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart. Dr. Lockhart is the owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology in San Antonio, TX. She is a pediatric psychologist and parent coach for parents who have kids and teens with behavioral and emotional regulation concerns, those diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, as well as kids who are highly sensitive.
Dr. Lockhart has spoken nationally at schools, conferences, podcasts, summits, and corporate workshops on topics such as ADHD, anxiety, and executive functioning. She has been featured in multiple publications, including ABC News, the New York Times, and the New York Post. And she is also a Freelance Writer for PBS Kids for Parents, PureWow, and a contributor for The Gottman Institute.
During our conversation, Ann-Louise and I went deep into what generational cycles are and the impact they have on our families from both a parent and child point of view. We discussed the types of trauma parents can unwittingly pass down to our children if we don’t take time to heal and address it. And we spoke about the link between generational cycles and neurodivergence, especially among parents who discover their own neurodivergence as a result of raising a differently wired child.
About Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart
Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart is a business owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology in San Antonio, TX. She is a pediatric psychologist, parent coach, wife of 23 years, a mom of 2 kids and has over 16 years of experience in her field. She serves as a parent coach for parents who have kids and teens with behavioral and emotional regulation concerns, those diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, as well as kids who are highly sensitive. She focuses on helping parents adjust their mindset about parenting. Dr. Lockhart helps overwhelmed parents get on the same page and better understand their kids and teens.
Dr. Lockhart has spoken nationally at schools, conferences, online podcasts, summits, and corporate workshops for topics about ADHD, anxiety, executive functioning, emotional dysregulation, and racism. She has been interviewed and quoted in multiple online and print publications, including ABC News, the New York Times, New York Post, Pure Wow, MSN, Fatherly, Essence, HuffPost, San Antonio Magazine, Veronica Beard, Parents Magazine, and Therapy for Black Girls podcast. She is a Freelance Writer for PBS Kids for Parents, PureWow, and a Contributor for The Gottman Institute and 1N5. Dr. Lockhart also serves as a Board Member for the Verywell Review Board and Dadditude.
Things you’ll learn from this episode
- What generational cycles are and how they impact the way we parent
- What the most common, harmful generational cycles are that families are dealing with
- The impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)
- What prevents some people from exploring and healing from their own generation cycles and trauma
- How kids benefit when their parents invest in doing the work of breaking generational cycles
- The first steps someone can take if they wish to explore the impact of generational cycles in their family
Resources mentioned for breaking generational cycles
- You Are Not Alone: A Comprehensive Parent Approach to Helping Your Child with ADHD Thrive by Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart
- What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Special message from our sponsor
Progress Parade specializes in one-on-one online tutoring for differently wired kids through executive functioning coaching, Orton-Gillingham and Wilson instruction, specialized math tutoring, and educational therapy. Visit progressparade.com/tilt to learn how TiLT subscribers can claim a free tutoring or educational therapy session! Based on your child’s unique needs, Progress Parade will hand-pick a specialist to turn learning challenges into superpowers in the classroom.
Visit progressparade.com/tilt to learn more about receiving a free session. Join the Progress Parade!
Debbie Reber 00:00
Progress Parade provides one on one online tutoring for differently wired kids through executive functioning, coaching, specialized reading and math, tutoring and educational therapy. Tilt listeners can claim a free session at progressparade.com/tilt. Come join the Progress Parade.
Ann-Louise Lockhart 00:19
It’s about having an awareness and insight. But it’s also having an acceptance of what happened that I can’t change, which is really hard because people think if I’m accepting it, I’m saying it was okay. Like, no, you’re just accepting it for what it is because you can’t change it. And then you have to have this willingness to then move forward and say, Okay, I don’t like this history. I don’t like this part of my development. I didn’t like what I got from my family in this aspect. But I’m willing to change the narrative moving forward. So that way, it stops with me that this is no longer getting passed down.
Debbie Reber 00:57
Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host, Debbie Reber. And before I even introduce today’s episode, I have to say, Happy anniversary. It is the six year anniversary of Tilt Parenting. And really, this is our anniversary because Tilt was created because of you. It’s here for you, and it has grown and blossomed with you. So I recently went back and read some of my notebooks from when I was first envisioning what tilde could be. And I just wanted to share what I had written down. My goal was in creating Tilt, I wrote, I want people to feel empowered and in choice in how they parent, have more peace in their daily lives and advocate for their children from a place of confidence. So our children can thrive in every way. I want differently wired children to be seen, embraced and supported in a way that honors their unique way of experiencing the world. I want families with differently wired children to thrive, have options and feel more fulfilled, which means shifting the whole paradigm. I loved going back and reading that and realizing that nothing has really changed, that is still my goal. That is still what Tilt is all about. So thank you for being a part of this Tilt revolution with me. Related to that, I wanted to share two quick things. First, just a few weeks ago, this podcast hit a major milestone of 4 million downloads. That’s a big number. And it fills me with so much optimism knowing that this show is reaching so many families and that it is actively working to shift that paradigm. The other thing is that my book Differently Wired, which first came out in 2018 is also about to hit a big milestone regarding the number of copies out in the world. And I would really love your help in reaching that. So first, if you have read differently wired and it’s been a valuable resource for you, please take a few minutes and leave a review on Amazon that really helps get the book visibility. So people will find it when they’re searching for resources. And if you haven’t read Differently Wired yet, I invite you to do so now you can read it in paperback, you can download it on your Kindle. And you can also listen to it on Audible. And because there are so many members of the Tilt community who may not have read my book yet, or maybe don’t even know that I’ve written a book for parents, I’ve decided to run a virtual book club over the course of four weeks where we’ll go through Differently Wired together. So starting April 25. We’ll meet once a week over zoom to go behind the book and I’ll be available to answer questions. I also have a downloadable workbook that will go along with the book club. So you can take notes and work through ways to apply the strategies in your own family. Oh, and this book club will be free. The price of admission is a copy of my book. So whether you’re buying it now or if you already have a well worn copy on your bookshelf, you are welcome to join me. You can get all the details about registering at tilt parenting.com/bookclub again, this will start on April 25. And I’m really excited to go through my book with a group of readers. So thank you again for celebrating this special six year anniversary with me. I can’t wait to see what we do together for differently wired kids around the world in the years to come.
Debbie Reber 04:31
Okay, now I want to get to today’s episode because it is one of those transformative conversations. We’re going to be talking about trauma and generational cycles and more specifically how to break harmful cycles in our families. And my guest is someone I’ve been wanting to bring on the show for some time. Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart. Dr. Lockhart is the owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology in San Antonio, Texas. She’s a pediatric psychologist and parent coach for parents who have kids and teens with behavioral and emotional regulation concerns, those diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, as well as kids who are highly sensitive. Dr. Lockhart has spoken nationally at schools conferences, podcast summits and corporate workshops on topics such as ADHD, anxiety and executive functioning. She’s been featured in multiple publications including ABC News, The New York Times and The New York Post. She’s also a freelance writer for PBS Kids for Parents and a contributor for the Gottman Institute. During this conversation Ann-Louise and I went deep into what generational cycles are, and the impact they have in our families from both a parent and child point of view. We discussed the types of trauma parents can unwittingly pass down to our kids and we don’t take time to heal and address it. We also spoke about the link between generational cycles and neurodivergence, especially among parents who discover their own neuro divergence as a result of raising a differently wired child. I haven’t covered this topic on the show before though we have definitely touched upon relational trauma in different episodes. But I don’t think this episode could come at a better time, as I am a big believer in the power of collectively uncovering, removing the stigma surrounding and talking about trauma more openly as a way to make room for more healing and joy in our family’s lives. This is a rich conversation. I hope you get a lot out of it. And now here is my conversation with Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart.
Debbie Reber 06:41
Hey, Ann-Louise, welcome to the podcast.
Ann-Louise Lockhart 06:43
Thanks, Debbie. I really am glad to be here. I’m excited about our conversation.
Debbie Reber 06:47
Me too. This is a topic that we’re gonna get into that actually, I haven’t covered on the show. It’s come up in certain conversations, but we haven’t really dug in. So I am excited about that. But before we get into that, you know, I’ve already read your formal bio, but just take a few minutes to tell us more about who you are, in your own words in the world. And I always love to find out people’s personal why for the work that they do. Yes.
Ann-Louise Lockhart 07:12
Okay, so I am a pediatric psychologist. And I’m also a parent coach, I have a business in San Antonio, Texas called A New Day Pediatric Psychology. And I’m a mom of two kids, I have a nine and 11 year old and have been married 23 years. And I’m originally from St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. So I have a very unique perspective of living in the Caribbean. And then coming to the states for college in Buffalo, New York. So very different perspectives and very different cultural backgrounds in those areas. So in my why it has really been when I first got into the field, getting into psychology is actually my second career, I was in education in higher education initially. And a lot of people struggling with things that I felt like if it was addressed when they were kids, that maybe they wouldn’t struggle so much as adults. And so as I was doing my doctoral program and my work, and I was doing play therapy and sandtray therapy in groups with kids who were going through all kinds of circumstances, I’m like, this is the work I should be doing. And so it’s kind of evolved over time. And then my parent coaching really was more recent, because I found that if I can really address the parents to help them break cycles that they themselves learn when they were kids, then maybe we can start breaking all of these cycles. And so that’s really my why; just seeing all these hurting people. And it’s starting in childhood for most of them, and wanting to, I’m really committed to breaking some of those cycles and doing it from the child’s perspective. But then also equipping parents with the things they need to know about child development and psychology and childhood behavior, and why they’re triggered as well, too. So, and that’s why I love the work that I do so much. Because I think it’s so important. I don’t think, you know, I can ever work myself out of a job, which is what I’m trying to do — educate enough people so that I don’t I’m not needed in that way.
Debbie Reber 09:14
Right? I feel like the timing of your work is I mean, we are in this big shift I see as a society. So the timing is wonderful. And I’m so glad you do this work. And it’s very related to my overall mission of Tilt Parenting, which is, you know, when people find Tilt, and like, I’m not going to tell you the three strategies to get your kid to do this. But what I’m going to do is help you understand why you’re being triggered by this and how can you do your own work so that you can show up better as a parent. So I love this kind of connection and the overlap in our work. And so let’s talk about this idea of intergenerational cycles and breaking those cycles. Just kind of give us a big picture overview of what you mean by that when you talk about that.
Ann-Louise Lockhart 10:02
So for all of us, everybody that I’ve ever met, we have a set of beliefs and core values, behaviors, ideas about what it means to be an individual, what it means to be part of society, what it means maybe it’s part of your ethnic identity, your cultural identity, your family identity, your career, whatever it is that we all have a set of values and identities that come from where we were raised. And whether we had overly strict parents, or an abusive background, or parents who were very permissive, whatever it was, those start to shape how we view others, ourselves, and society. And then we repeat them. And what I found is so often when I’m doing parent coaching, and I’m meeting, it’s typically couples. And they’ll say, oh, yeah, my mom or my dad, or my grandpa was like this, and I vowed to never be like that. And then I turned out to be just like them, or they worked so hard not to be like them, that they went completely, the pendulum swung the complete opposite way. And yet, they got the same result. So they’re like, What the heck is up with that? Or it’s interestingly, a lot of times couples will then connect with somebody else, who’s their balance. So they’re overly emotional, maybe overly, very, very much in tune with their kids to a fault in their opinion. But then they have a spouse or partner who’s very stoic, and standoffish and no nonsense. And then they clash. And they think, oh, there’s something wrong here. But I’m like, Well, that’s what happens in families is that concept of homeostasis, that we try to maintain balance. And if they were both emotional, or they’re both stoic, that would be a problem. And so we often tend to seek out people who, in a sense, complete us. And they balance us out. And give us what we’re missing sometimes. And we don’t even realize we’re doing it, like, Oh, I love that you’re, you’re in touch with your emotions, because I’m not or I love that you’re so no nonsense, because I’m not. And so that’s where I see these repetitive cycles, and generational cycles continuing that are often not healthy. Because we’re doing it in comparison to what we got or didn’t get, rather than creating our own values are own family, rituals or own relationships, we’re always looking back and say, Oh, I don’t want to be like that. I want to be just like that, like, Well, how about creating your own? Taking some of what you liked, leaving what you didn’t like, but then creating your own?
Debbie Reber 12:40
Oh, my gosh, I have, like 20 questions came up, as you were saying that. But I will share that I distinctly remember, you know, I have one child, they’re 17 now, and I distinctly remember, you know, when Ash was maybe like, two, when my parents were visiting, and I just grew up in a house where the word love was never used. And I, I kind of made it a point to say, I’m going to make sure that my child hears me say, I love you, every day. That’s just, you know, and I kind of almost threw that in my dad’s face. Right? It was just really important to me that he knew, you know, so. And as you’re, you’re saying this, I’m realizing that was just me reacting right and trying to do the opposite of wasn’t me thinking about what’s true for me. So I’m assuming that’s not an uncommon thing. And that you probably see that and I’m wondering if there are some, you know, what are some of the more quote unquote, common harmful cycles that you see in your work?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 13:38
Yeah, yeah, what you’re mentioning is so common, because we’re like, Yeah, well, you know, this is an item get this from you, Mom, this isn’t I didn’t get this from you, dad. So you know, there. And, you know, we think we kind of feel vindicated in a way because now we are you No awakened to this sense of, you know, what, we didn’t get how this person deprived us and I’m going to be a better person, because you were horrible, are you because you didn’t give me what I needed? And so yeah, I see that a lot. I mean, I think some of the common things that I see maybe are mean, there’s so many things, but individuals who didn’t have an affectionate parent, like you were mentioning me, they didn’t say that they love them. Or people who had parents who provided for them financially, they worked hard, but they were never present. They’re like, well, but I was, you know, I gave you everything you needed. Yeah, but you weren’t present. I hear a lot from parents who had parents who were very dismissive or harsh. And the way they interacted, so whenever they would ask them to learn how to fix a car, or how to do something that they knew how to do, how to cook something that the parent didn’t have much patience for them. And a lot of them grew up in households where kids weren’t valued in that way. Like you didn’t have conversations and interactions with kids in that way. Just you had a kid and then their kid just grew up. You No. And so many times people feel like that was missing, or lots of people who came from homes where parents were divorced or lots of domestic violence going on. And they’re like, oh, yeah, I don’t ever want to have conflict in my home, I don’t want to have fights in front of the kids. But yet the kids still pick up on the tension, because you don’t want to have a fight so badly. That now you’re giving each other the silent treatment, or you’re fighting behind closed doors, but the kids still pick up on the tension. So I see a lot of that stuff. And it could be really intense. But I also see some of the quote, like more mild stuff. So even like my husband, we’ve been married 23 years, like I mentioned, and when we first got married, we waited 12 years before we had our first child. And we’re both babies, the youngest in our families, and we just wanted to enjoy married life before kids. And when we finally had kids, we would say things like, he would have dinner and he said, Okay, let’s eat in front of the TV while we have dinner. I’m like, No, we’re supposed to turn the TV off. Because in his family, they just ate on the run, nobody sat down to really eat lots of dinners, they kind of, you know, tucked in, went to their rooms or whatever. And my family, we had one TV in the entire house, and it wasn’t near the dining room. And we always sat down for family dinners. And so that’s a simple little thing. But he came in with his idea of what family dinners are like, and I came in with mine. And I said, Well, we don’t have to do either. We could create what our own is and talk about why it’s important, like actually talk about what is the benefit of doing these things. And I think when we can get on those same cycles, we can stop those old patterns of thinking it has to be a certain way or it shouldn’t be that way. And I think it’s important to express it and talk about it. Because otherwise we’re just repeating the same cycle of, oh, we’ll just go through the motions and hope no one notices.
Debbie Reber 16:50
Right. And as you mentioned earlier, some of the cycles are heavier, they’re bigger. They involve trauma and things like that. Can you talk more about I’m sure that you work with families who have, you know, childhood with aces, and maybe you could explain what that is and talk more about that aspect of your work?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 17:09
Yes, I love talking about this topic. It’s a really important area that was researched in the mid 1990s. And it was a large study that was done. And they highlighted and found that there are 10 ACES or adverse childhood experiences that people could experience in their childhood. And these are areas related to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, parental mental health, illness, divorce, homelessness, substance abuse. So there’s 10 different areas that they found that if individuals had four or more of them, they’re more likely to pass it on to their children. And so there’s this like transmission of an epigenetic material that we give to our kids if we don’t deal with our own past childhood trauma and history. And so when people and I, and I’m so glad when I first learned about this, because when I was a beginning doctoral student, and I would see how I would meet with families who there was generations of abuse, and I’m like, but you don’t pass on abuse, like, you pass on eye color, and skin color and personalities, like what happens that we’re passing on something like alcoholism, or abuse or homelessness. And it’s that whole epigenetic ACES thing, that when we are traumatized, and we haven’t healed from that, we will pass on those cycles to the next generation, without even realizing it, and without them even being exposed to it themselves. And I think it’s so fascinating. And that’s why, as parents and adults, we really need to do our own work if we’re trying to heal our family lineage. And we have to make a decision that it stops with me that I am not going to continue. Oh, it’s because everybody just does things this way. And I even had a conversation with my mom about this, because I grew up in the Caribbean. And a big part of my family history, as well as in the Caribbean is you don’t talk about problems. You don’t talk about issues you don’t talk about if someone offended you, you just do it out of obligation. You do it and you don’t even talk about it. And even as a little kid, I always had issues with that. And I would talk about things and ask my mom about things. And she’s like, oh, yeah, yeah. And I’m like, But shouldn’t we address that? Or why are we going to their house if we feel uncomfortable? Or why is this and she’s like, we just do it because we just do it, Emily’s and I’m like, but those are like filler phrases. You know, and as an adult, I’ve been able to speak to her about it’s not healthy, that our family doesn’t talk about stuff. It’s not healthy, that we don’t address things where there’s family tension between individuals in the family. And she’s like, Yeah, you’re right. You’re right. It’s not healthy. And I’m like, it needs to stop and that’s why it stops with me. And that’s why it was such a weird profession for me to go into As a psychologist, because there’s nobody in my family who does this kind of work, because it’s just not normal. We don’t talk about stuff, you know?
Debbie Reber 20:08
Yeah. And I imagine that there are so many people who know that there was trauma who know that this is something that they carry, they just don’t want to go there. They’d rather they’re like, Okay, I know it’s there. I’m making different choices. I can white knuckle my way through this lifetime, because it’s too much to open that door. Is that something that you see? What is it that ultimately helps people take that step and make that choice to really go there?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 20:39
Yeah, that’s a great question. And I see it even in comments when people, I have several colleagues and friends who do trauma work on Instagram, Tik Tok, and educating people about it. And even the comments that I’ll see them get about, like, we’ll just get over it. Yeah, your childhood sucked. It’s not a big deal. If we keep talking about the past, and then we keep living in the past, like this, this mindset, that, just grin and bear it and move forward. And I’m like, well, but you can’t move forward. That’s why you’re triggered by the post. Because if you had moved on from this thing, you wouldn’t be so triggered by them talking about it. And so I think that it’s about having an awareness and insight. But it’s also having an acceptance of what happened that I can’t change, which is really hard, because people think if I’m accepting it, I’m saying it was okay. And like, No, you’re just accepting it for what it is because you can’t change it. And then you have to have this willingness to then move forward and say, Okay, I don’t like this history. I don’t like this part of my development. I didn’t like what I got from my family in this aspect. But I’m willing to change the narrative moving forward. So that way, it stops with me that this is no longer getting passed down. So something as simple Well, that was simple. It may be simple compared to other ACES, but divorce. My parents divorced when I was three. I’m the youngest of three. And my siblings, and I had this thought, well, a lot of people in my family were divorced. So we always thought, Well, why get married, if it always ends up in divorce, that was our narrative. marriages don’t work. People don’t remain faithful, things don’t ever last. And so that was the narrative. And so the people that I chose to date were people that I shouldn’t have been dating. Because it was always this mindset of, oh, they’re going to leave or never last anyway. So why choose quality people? Because it’s never going to work out. And so the people that I dated my mom never liked, ever, because they were probably just a repeat of failed relationships based on that narrative. So when I found my husband, and we found one another, he was completely different from anybody else. And I couldn’t accept it. I gave him such a hard time in the beginning. Because I was like, there is no way any man could be this good. There’s no way. There’s no way. And he was such a good person to me. He was so sweet to me. And it was so hard for me to accept that. So when I finally did, I was like, well, there are there, there actually can be a good relationship. And I think people doubted it. They used to wonder like, Oh, is it just a front, you’re just pretending it’s like a legit good relationship. But I’m like, wow, these do exist in life. How fascinating, how amazing. And I think that’s where we start to realize, like, I deserve to be treated well, I deserve to have someone who loves me, as much as I love them. I deserve to have a best friend that I’m married to. Like, I can have that. And this is something that now my kids are learning that they they’re not being raised in an environment that I was raised in, because it’s different now. And I think that’s how we make that change. We say yes, this is the way it was. But now I’m going to choose to do things differently. So whether that’s through therapy, whether that’s through self help, whether that’s through our own process of healing in some kind of way. I think it is important that we change that cycle because although we may have a bunch of aces, it doesn’t have to stop there. I think people need to realize that you can heal from that. You can change that. That’s the good news about ACEs is that it doesn’t have to stop at the trauma and you can actually move forward and heal from it.
Debbie Reber 24:19
And now a quick break for a word from our sponsor. Progress Parade specializes in one-on-one online tutoring for differently wired kids through executive functioning coaching, Orton Gillingham and Wilson instruction, specialized math, tutoring, and educational therapy. Visit progress pray.com/tilt To learn how Tilt listeners can claim a free tutoring or educational therapy session. Based on your child’s unique needs, Progress Parade will handpick a specialist to turn learning challenges into superpowers in the classroom. Visit progressparade.com/tilt to learn more about receiving a free session. Join the Progress Parade. And now back to the show.
Debbie Reber 25:05
Can you talk about for parents who are listening who have kids? Obviously, it’s important to do this healing work for ourselves, right? So we can lead happier, more fulfilled lives, because we do deserve that. But the stakes are so high when we’re raising kids. And so if there are parents listening who feel like I’m doing okay, with this stuff, I’m doing a pretty good job of breaking this cycle. I’m raising my kids differently. But they haven’t kind of really fully explored and done this kind of deeper in our work, you know, what’s really the benefit for their kids? Or how does it support our kids in the way that they then? I mean, you’ve talked about this a little bit, but I’d love to know a little bit more about really what’s at stake here?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 25:47
Yeah, I think what’s at stake here is we have to pay attention to what is it that you want to model for your kids? What do you want them to get out of you about how to treat themselves, how to allow themselves to be treated in relationships with other people, whether it’s a romantic relationship, or a friendship or a work relationship. It’s about giving them the message about their self esteem, their self worth, their future, their goals, their values like it, it really goes much deeper than just you breaking the cycle. It’s what your kids see when they look at you when they see Oh, yeah. You know, Mom was dealing with this situation. Like years ago, I was dealing with a workplace bullying and discrimination situation. And it was really killing me slowly. Nosebleeds and depression and massive headaches. And remember, my son was really little. And he was about two. And I was playing with him one day, and my nose was sort of bleeding. And he was like, Mommy, that’s not right. And I was like, No, it’s not right. And I was, I was like this, this is ridiculous. Like, I’m not even fully present because of this. And as they got older, I was able to explain to them how this place did not treat mommy well. And I chose to leave after a long time of just putting up with it, because I realized I deserve better. And it’s really giving them that message. And I hear them saying that even in their lives when it comes to friendships or other situations that they’re like, Yeah, this person wasn’t nice to me. And I didn’t deserve that. So it’s even that rhetoric, when they hear that and see that being lived out in your life. That’s what you’re passing on. To them. It’s something that’s really powerful. And that’s where a lot of our sense of self worth, and self confidence and self compassion comes from, is looking at our own parents, what do our own caregivers, what are they doing in their life, not just what they’re telling me. But what are they modeling for me? And that’s why it’s so important, because we want to raise the next generation who’s more self aware and more kind to themselves and to other people. And it doesn’t make them soft, it makes them compassionate. We need more of that, in this world, people who are compassionate towards themselves and gracious towards others. And so I think it makes a huge difference in that I see that in my life compared to my kids, and how different they’re being raised, and their viewpoints about things that are different.
Debbie Reber 28:16
And you talk about modeling, and I that is a huge part of you know, what I believe is so important. Our kids obviously are watching everything. And you also had some conversation. So when parents are doing this work, what do you advise parents kind of in, I guess, maybe an age appropriate way to just talk out loud to narrate what they’re working on, or when things come up? Is that part of the process?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 28:39
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think one of the big things that I do when I’m posting on Instagram, or Facebook, or when I’m doing presentations to different schools or agencies, is I always wrap up my presentations with a script, whether it’s a self script, or parent script, about things. So if you have a child who is very highly sensitive, and you realize you were too, but everybody told you to suck it up and you’re too soft, and you want to raise them differently, then you educate them on their temperament. If you have a child who is very introverted or more on the shy side, rather than making them want to feel like they have to change their personality and how they interact with the world, you educate them on it. And I think it’s really as simple as really saying, hey, you know, you are so in tune with the world and yourself. And you just notice all the things around you. And you really love good food, or you really love time by yourself or you really love to interact with other people. Whatever it is, is that you come from a very strengths based perspective. And you tell them what you see about their personality that you think is amazing. And then you can say, on the flip side, though, this is where sometimes it’s a challenge for you, because you’re so aware of your environment. You notice if someone gives you kind of a stink guy, or you Notice when someone isn’t when you feel more likely to feel rejected when people aren’t accepting you where you’re at. So that way they understand this is what’s good about me. And these are where my pitfalls can be. And I need to look out for those things. And I think we educate them. So whether it’s a temperament, whether it’s a diagnosis, if they have ADHD, or dyslexia, or anxiety or depression, or Tourette’s, autism, educate our kids and their siblings on those things, so that they understand this is why daddy takes your little brother to appointments four times a week, because of this, because we’re working on this. And this is how you can help. And this is how you don’t even need to worry about this, because and then and then making time for that other sibling. And I think that’s how you speak to your kids and speak to all the people in the household. So then again, it’s not this hush hush secret thing, that it becomes this taboo stigma, again, that it’s something that’s actually talked about, because one of the biggest things that I have as a challenge is when I’m meeting with someone for therapy or parent coaching. And I asked them about family history of depression or ADHD, a lot of times they don’t know. Because they’re like, Well, we had an uncle who was a little off, or my mom never left her room. And I had a dad who drank a lot, but he was functional. Like, they just have these vague ideas about what was going on. And it’s really about educating and taking that shame away. So that this next generation knows, okay, yes, I had a mom, a grandma and a sister who were all depressed. I had a dad with OCD, like they have an idea. So that way, they know where’s their predisposition to potentially developing these diagnoses and these problems, and they can stop them because they’ll be aware of them.
Debbie Reber 31:45
So I’m so glad you brought up neurodiversity. And because that’s, you know, the audience for this show, are parents raising neurodivergent kids. And I’m wondering about that intersection in this breaking generational cycles and neurodivergence. I hear from so many adults who are discovering their own differently wired this through going through this process of figuring out who their kids are. And there’s for many of them, that is, it’s difficult to hear, it’s freeing to hear, you know, but there is I think, a lot of healing then and reflection that needs to happen on you know, how they were raised and how their differences were perceived. I’m sure there are aces, I don’t know if there’s an ace related to trauma that can happen in school based on kids who had behavioral problems. But I’m just wondering, what you see in clients that you work with, where their child is neurodivergent. And the parent of the adult is, as well, and they’re kind of healing together?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 32:43
Yeah, that’s a great, great question. And perspective, I think, I see it often because, again, it wasn’t talked about, or they weren’t assessed, and they didn’t have an awareness of it. That’s why often, especially when I did a lot more child therapy, when I would do the intake and talk to parents about their kid and then talk to their kids, many times, I would notice that the parent themselves based on their history, their reporting, they also likely like, for example, from seeing that kid that they think has ADHD. And as I’m talking to the parent, I’m like, so then you struggled with this, too? Yes. And you had a hard time making friends, too. Yes. And you were seen as immature and loud and hyper. Yes. And you were this? Yes. Okay. And then as we talk, they’re like, Wait, am I ADHD? And I didn’t know it? Or did I have some signs of autism and didn’t realize it? Or did I, and, and so then when I’m doing, I would do a lot of the interventions with the kid, I would also do them with the parent present. Because then they were using a lot of the tools for themselves to help with their own regulation, and increase their understanding and empathy towards their kid. Because again, if your kid is acting in a certain way, and it was a trigger for other people in your life, when you were a kid, you are likely to be triggered when they do the same thing. Right. And I also see where parents resent the child because they’re like, you’re getting all these resources, you’re getting all this help, I didn’t get any of that, you should be better. Because of all the things I do for you, look at all that I do for you, that wasn’t done for me. I’m like, well, that’s even better, that you could do these things for them. And it should make you happy that you now have the education and the resources and the knowledge to be able to do that. So yeah, I do see a lot of times whether it’s a temperament style, or a diagnosis, how many times it’ll trigger a lot of those same feelings in the parent, they’re kind of reliving a past thing. But it also provides an opportunity for healing for them, because they can get the tools that they didn’t get. And I see that especially with parents who have kids with anxiety, and then they also had anxiety, a kid with depression and they also have depression. And so it’s very much it’s amazing how as then your child heals, the two of them can heal together.
Debbie Reber 35:00
I love that. Yeah, I mean, I think the knee jerk reaction often initially is like, Well, I was like that, and I turned out fine. Or a lot of in-laws, or, you know, our parents might say that, well, you were the same way. It’s nothing to worry about like it, you know, but the truth is, maybe we didn’t turn out. Okay. And so this is definitely work worth doing. So if there are people listening to this, who this is really resonating with them, and they’re like, Yeah, I kind of need to do some work around this, I deserve it. My family deserves this, what would be some of the first steps to exploring these generational cycles?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 35:35
There could be a lot of different ways you can go about this one could be maybe just starting listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and looking at articles that are around the topic that you think you might be struggling in. But don’t do it with an open mind to the point of, there’s going to be a lot of things that you read and listen that you can be like, Oh, my gosh, I have that. And so don’t allow yourself to just get lost in the information. Because then we can be over informed and identify with everything, but just kind of do some research into looking into, okay, is this anxiety that I’m dealing with? Is it depression? Is it just a trigger? Is it co regulation, just kind of getting a sense, and not flooding yourself with all that information? And then I would say, then maybe looking into even seeing a professional, who can give you some insights based on this history, based on these triggers, based on what’s going on in my family or with my kid? What do you think could be going on, I see lots of parents for one or two sessions in parent coaching, just getting a lay of the land, getting all the background information, what’s going on, and then telling them, Hey, what you’re describing is typical development, highly irritating right now at this stage. But so typical, there’s nothing wrong with your child, there’s nothing going on that I would recommend a further diagnosis at this time. And it’s just about you learning the tools to understand that this developmental stage at four, for example, is what this is what’s going on. And this is how it would be: this would be a better way to respond. And then that’s it, and then we follow up. And then they’re like, oh, my gosh, that helped to know that this is normal. And I need to respond in this way. And then we’re done. And so sometimes just being able to seek out a professional who can give you a different set of eyes, a different perspective, can provide, you know, a sense of relief. Or on the flip side, there are times when I’m like, you know, there’s a lot of sensory things that I’m hearing a lot of meltdowns that I’m hearing this is beyond what is typical for this stage, I would recommend you follow up with an occupational therapist, where I recommend you follow up with a pediatric psychologist or a neuropsychologist for an evaluation, and then putting them in that direction to see what is going on. And let’s get some more information. So that they can decide, okay, this is the next step. So I think sometimes you just need to get a different set of ears and eyes, to give you a different perspective to see like, okay, is this really normal? And I just am not equipped? Or is this beyond what is typical for my kid and my family?
Debbie Reber 37:59
Right. And for parents who then want to start doing their own deep inner work? Is it starting with a therapist, you know, what is that kind of first step for them in that capacity?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 38:12
I think if you are a parent who feels like you have a lot of ACES, there’s multiple traumas in your life, and you want to work through a lot of those triggers, then I think a trauma therapist is probably the best way to go. Because if you do have multiple aces, that means you have multiple points of trauma, that are going to be areas of triggers for you, whether that’s sensory or body or mental, and all those things should be worked out. So seeking out a trauma therapist can be a really great way in that there’s lots of resources now, especially for really good online therapy resources. Or you can go seek out therapists in your area by looking up through like Psychology Today, or just Googling trauma therapists near me. So you really want to look for someone who’s a clinical psychologist or therapist who’s licensed in the state where you live. So that way and then looking them up, looking up their profile, finding out about them online, just making sure that you connect, because especially if you’re talking about really, really personal past stuff, you want to feel comfortable with the person that you’re seeing.
Debbie Reber 39:19
Yeah, and it seems like trauma now, more than ever, something people are finally talking more about, you know, the Bruce Perry book, What Happened To You? And I just feel like it’s even saying the word and acknowledging there’s trauma can be freeing for so many people and but yes, so important then to work with someone who, who has specific expertise in trauma because it’s its own thing, right?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 39:46
Debbie Reber 39:47
So Well, before we wrap up. This has been fascinating. And you know, we could have talked about so many things because you are very busy in many different areas. You’re an expert on ADHD. Your Instagram could be its own episode, because I just love your Instagram so much. And you’re doing such cool things there. But can you just tell us a little bit about some of the other resources that you have that, you know, my listeners would be especially interested in?
Ann-Louise Lockhart 40:14
Yeah, definitely. I saw, like you said, I have a lot of interest, a lot of different areas. I think that was the hardest part about niching down as an online provider and a psychologist, because my background was working in the military. And I got trained as a civilian in the military. So I have a lot of different expertise in areas of interest. And so the things that they can find most on my platform, and in on my website are related to ADHD, executive functioning, anxiety, and highly sensitive children, I think those are probably the ones that I really enjoy talking about the most, and that I have lots of different resources on, and I speak about over and over again. And listeners can go to my website at a new de sa.com. And I have several courses that deal specifically with those areas that were all recorded live, and that have q&a, as well as downloadable handouts for them. So those are all different things that I have going on. And they can just go to my website and just look to see if they want to do a deeper dive into what’s going on? Or is my kid highly sensitive? Do they have ADHD? Is this anxiety that is going on, and I’m always adding new courses every month. So that’s a good resource. So that way, they can at least have a sense of what’s going on. And that’s how I get a lot of my parent coaching clients. They take a course and they’re like, oh, I need more help in this area. And then that way, they can have more insight, it can be very freeing for people to have that insight into themselves and their kids.
Debbie Reber 41:37
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much. I just love the work that you’re doing in the world. And again, listeners, I’ll have links to all of the resources and all the places you can find and Louise, including she has an e-book called You’re Not Alone, which is specifically about supporting parents who are raising kids with ADHD. So many resources. And thank you so much. This has been just a fascinating conversation, and I just really appreciate you taking the time to share with us today.
Ann-Louise Lockhart 42:07
Thank you for having me, Debbie.
Debbie Reber 42:08
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