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275: How to Thrive This Summer with Kids (with Kira Dorrian and Deana Thayer)

Vibrant Happy Women with Dr. Jen Riday | How to Thrive This Summer with Kids (with Kira Dorrian and Deana Thayer)

How awesome would it be at the end of this summer to say, “Holy cow! That was the best summer we’ve ever had”? For you to feel connected to your kids and to see them growing in their ability to take on responsibility while having a ton of fun? That’s my hope for this summer, and my guests today are here to share how to make it happen.

Kira Dorrian and Deana Thayer are both parenting coaches and the founders of Future Focused Parenting. They’re experts on helping parents raise responsible kids who will become responsible adults, all without adding more to your plate. Their podcast, Raising Adults, teaches parents how to thrive on their parenting journey, not just survive.

Listen in today for my conversation with Kira and Deana all about parenting, responsibility, and how to make this summer your family’s best yet. They share their framework for giving kids of all ages more responsibilities and we talk about the importance of feeling part of a team. Learn how you can start empowering your kids this summer to become functioning, successful, and responsible adults.

If you’re tired of not feeling good enough and letting anxiety and depression rule your life, you need to join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Club. The doors won't be open forever, and we have tons of new and exciting features inside. It’s time to make your own happiness a priority, and the Club is where you’ll learn how. I can’t wait to see you there!


What You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of delegating responsibilities.
  • How much of your normal routine you should follow in the summer.
  • Kira and Deana’s framework for introducing new tasks to your kids.
  • Why summer is the perfect time to give new responsibilities and privileges.
  • How to promote a sense of teamwork and community.
  • Kira and Deana’s advice for helping teens learn to manage their time.

Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 275. We’re talking about how to thrive during this summer vacation with your kids and not just survive. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.

Hey there my friends. Welcome back. So the pandemic is coming to an end in many places in the world. And we in the northern hemisphere have summer vacation ahead of us. I don’t know about you, but there was a moment when I realized I should plan some fun things this summer. And then I had a bit of an overwhelmed feeling of, “I spent so much time with my kids in the past year, how am I going to do this in a way that I don’t feel completely burned out by the end of our summer vacation?”

So I have two amazing guests today, Kira and Deana from The Raising Adults Podcast and from Future Focused Parenting. And they’re going to teach us really cool ways to help our kids be responsible, become responsible adults one day and to get some things off our plates in a way that works. I found this episode to be very unique. I haven’t heard messaging around this in quite the way that Kira and Deana talk about it. And I think you’re going to find it very, very powerful like I did.

Well, before we dive in there, I want to share our review of the week from Arlie K. She said, “This podcast is a breath of fresh air. Listening to Jen and her top notch roster of guests is like chatting around the kitchen table with family. Their warmth and positivity is much appreciated.” Thank you, Arlie K, I appreciate that.

If you have not yet left us a review we love them, they help our podcast to reach more people. Please leave your review on iTunes by going to, plural, Apple Podcasts, I might read yours on the air. So leave that there and thank you so much in advance.

Well, Kira Dorrian and Deana Thayer like I talked about are my guests today. And we’re going to be talking about raising our kids, not just to be kids but to become functioning, skilled, hopefully, successful adults. And sometimes that can sound very intimidating to parents in that way. Sometimes we get locked into the idea that we’re just surviving. But what could it look like for you and for your kids to parent in a way that they are learning those skills? You are having more fun. You as the mom are having less on your plate. Yes, please, right? Sign me up!

Well, my guests today, Kira and Deana are experts of this. And I found this episode to be powerful. I have personally already implemented a few of the ideas and I think they’re great. I’m happy to pick up new ideas wherever I can. So here’s to all of us thriving in our parenting game and in our fun game throughout the summer. And I’d love to hear how this goes for you. So if you implement this and have success send me an email at I’d love to hear about it. So let’s go ahead and dive in.

Jen: Hey everyone, I’m with Kira Dorrian and Deana Thayer today. They are co-founders of Future Focused Parenting, the groundbreaking parenting philosophy that starts with the end in mind, encouraging families to make intentional parenting choices, together they co-host The Raising Adults Podcast where they discuss various topics related to parenting with a long range view. Both Kira and Deana are parent coaches and are passionate about preparing families to thrive rather than just survive on their parenting journey.

So wait, now that summer is coming do we need you! Welcome to the show Kira and Deana.

Kira: Thank you.

Deana: Thank you for having us.

Jen: So tell us how can we have a fantastic summer with our kids, those of us in the northern hemisphere? Everyone else in the southern hemisphere, you need a fantastic winter, whatever, especially now that we’ve just ended a pandemic and we’re all probably confused on how our routines even look. Where would you even tell us to get started with figuring this out?

Kira: Yeah, that’s a great question I think. Well, we have lots of ideas but because we are future focused and we always come at it from that lens. I think the first thing I would suggest is that you’ve got to think about what do you want the summer to look like? And where do you want to be by the end of the summer? And are there going to be maybe things that fell by the wayside during the pandemic? Of course they did. I mean even in our homes there were things that fell by the wayside, that maybe you’re like this is the time to start looking at putting those pieces back together.

And how am I going to do that? And how am I going to be intentional and strategic in beginning to set up those systems again, and using the time that we have to make those things possible.

Jen: Okay. So I have an idea. As you said that statement of deciding what you want by the end of the summer. An idea popped in my head. So I want to share it with you and then you can work backwards with me. I assume you work backwards from there.

Deana: Sure.

Jen: Okay. So by the end of the summer typically in August I will be surviving, not thriving because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, if I have to hear one more fight or one more person whining, I just want them back in school.” And I’m being honest. Some people don’t feel that way but that’s me. But this summer I truly envision that I want to be able to say, “Holy cow. That was the best summer we ever had. We had so much fun we didn’t even have time to fight, or whine, it was just amazing.” What do you think? What do you do with that, is it even realistic?

Deana: Yeah, I mean we all that want summer, Jen.

Jen: But I’m going to have it.

Deana: Yes. I think you’ve just described the main goal for most families. And I think one of the first places we can start with that so that we don’t end up by the end feeling frazzled, and overwhelmed, and burnt out, and actually kind of done with even all being around each other. Which I mean, let’s be honest, we’ve had an extra dose of being around each other this year, right? It is looking at what are the things I can delegate? And I think as parents it’s really easy, and I would say I think there’s even a higher propensity toward this for moms.

There is this idea that delegation somehow means we’re weak, or we’re admitting we’re failing in some area, or that it somehow robs our children of their summer experience. We want them to be having fun and splashing in the sprinkler. And it’s like a Kodak moment. I mean does anyone even use Kodak anymore? I’m totally dating myself here. But truly it is so easy to fall into that and I think especially as moms. And so looking at those areas where we can look at our kids and where they’re at age wise, developmentally etc. And say, “They can help.”

And what I love about this is it does two things, not only are you helping them engage in some of that responsibility and taking it off your plate, which is a lovely byproduct, but it actually leaves more margin for that fun that you’re envisioning. It leaves time for that.

Kira: Yeah, because if the house is tidy and the things are done that need to be done and they’re done in a way that feels good and feels like we’re on top of it, exactly what Deana said. Now I have the space and the time to put on the sprinkler and not feel like I want to put on the sprinkler but the dishes didn’t get done, or this needs to be done. It’s like no, things are done. And now I can put on the sprinkler and enjoy it and be present.

Jen: So kind of training kids that we have our work done before we have fun or try to?

Kira: Yeah. And even in the summer, this idea that it’s summer and there should be nothingness actually doesn’t set our kids up well for a good transition back to school, especially after everything we’ve just been through. And it doesn’t set them up for life. The summer can be so joyful and it can be 98% sprinklers, and joy, and Kodak moments and all of that.

But it’s really important that kids get that consistency over the summer too, that there’s just that little bit of consistency that they can rely on, that we can rely on to give everybody space. And to slowly, depending on their age, grow them in responsibility. We’re big fans of raising adults. We’re not that interested in raising kids. I want to raise fully functioning, healthy adults who contribute to the world in a beautiful way. Well, that learning happens over the summer too.

Jen: Well, yeah, that’s a good point. So what’s the amount of time that we should aim to be spending on tasks and managing our house? I mean it’s different for everyone, I get it. But with our kids’ help, what’s realistic?

Deana: Sure, yeah, I have a framework for chores that can be really helpful, especially if you’re introducing a task that’s new for even olders. I mean I have olders and we still have to sometimes follow this model. But I do want to address kind of your question about where is the ratio here? How much should be fun? And how much should be, you know, we’re still engaging in those family systems and routines. And I do think it’s fair to acknowledge that particularly in the summer you’re going to see that ratio shift and it’s absolutely okay and a welcome change.

That maybe it’s going to be more like three-quarters fun, and fluid, and spontaneity. And only 25% is still those rhythms of life. But I think what Kira was kind of hinting at earlier is that if we abandon the systems entirely it makes it really challenging to get back on track when school gets going again. I just wanted to say, I think it’s fine for that to shift and be a lot more fun and a lot more room for those three, four moments and experiences. If you’re looking at this and saying, “Okay, where do I even start?” This can be a helpful framework.

I’ve got to introduce this job to my grade schooler and I’ve never done it before. What we do in our house is something called I do it, we do it, you do it. And it’s exactly like it sounds, the I do it is the parent demonstrating the task. Take making a bed for example, the parent shows them, here’s the expectation in our house, here’s we tuck in the sheet, we put the pillow in the sham. They show them how it would be done with excellence.

And that part is key because we want to teach our children to do it correctly and the way that we expect otherwise what happens, we all know, we come behind and then we end up doing it again anyway. And we didn’t actually delegate, it actually saved us no time. We had to go back and fix it. So that’s I do it, we do it, exactly how it sounds again. This time you’re doing it alongside your child. You’re pulling up the comforter together and really smoothing things out. And you’re doing it as a team.

And then when they’re ready you do the handoff and that’s the you do it. So I do it, parent demonstrates, we do it, you do it with your child, you do it, your child now owns the task. And the best part, they know how to do it correctly in the way that you would expect.

Jen: And for the we do it, do you keep doing it with them until you see they can do it with excellence?

Deana: That is such a great question. And the short answer is yes. And that is actually going to look different depending on the age and frame of your child. An older, I mean I’ve got teens still. And sometimes we only need to walk through something together once, like when I taught them to balance their checkbook, they got it. But I did sit alongside them and help them that first time. Now, if it’s a six year old learning to do the dishes or load the dishwasher it may take a few times of kind of learning where things go on the rack and here’s where we put the silverware.

And when you see that they’re definitely capable of handling it then you handover the you do it, so exactly.

Kira: The cool thing is once you’ve handed that off then that becomes their task, their responsibility. And depending on the age of your child they could – mine are nine, almost ten. They have nine responsibilities, we do one every year. And that’s another great thing you can do and we do it with their birthday because my kids’ birthdays are in the summer. But you could easily do a summer version of this. So every year my kids on their birthday, they get a new birthday responsibility. You’re a year older; you can handle one more thing.

But they also get a new privilege. So as you grow in responsibility I’m also acknowledging that you are earning privileges in our home, you’re earning freedoms. And so they look forward to it every year. They’re like, “Bring it on”, because they want their privilege. You could easily implement something like this over the summer. At the start of every summer we look and say, “Okay, what are you going to be in charge of this summer to help the house run smoothly? But here’s a freedom I’m going to give you in exchange for that.”

And then they’ll have something positive that comes alongside of it and they become a part of that team and they feel like as I contribute to my household, look at what I get, look at the freedom that I grow into.

Jen: And then do you attach that freedom with them continuing to complete that task well?

Kira: Yeah, absolutely.

Jen: That’s good.

Kira: Yeah. I mean in our house, I mean I’m pretty strict. My job is to love you, and feed you, and clothe you, and provide shelter, and education, and pretty much everything else is a privilege. So, no, you don’t have to clean your room but I also don’t have to let you play video games today. So it’s up to you. But my kids are really – they see the correlation I think because that’s how we’ve always done it is you’re earning it because you are growing in your responsibility here.

And I’ve seen you, you know, and we talk a lot, Deana and I about really catching our kids when they’re doing stuff right. So we spend a lot of time acknowledging, “Wow, that was so responsible.” Or, “You showed such initiative right there. Thank you for doing that. And when I see that, when I see you behave that way, wow, it makes me so comfortable to open up those privileges to you and so comfortable to giving more freedoms because I really know I can trust that you’re a responsible kid.”

Deana: I think summer is a great time for that, don’t you Kira? Because when we talk so much about tying responsibility to privilege and there’s a lot of opportunity for fun privileges in the summer, going on different outings, eating different food, going on vacation. Having that play date with a friend which hopefully we’ll start to be able to do those things again. There is a lot more opportunity to say, “I would love to offer you that time to go to the splash pad today, but unfortunately you didn’t complete your chores. I’m not going to be able to offer you that.”

And so it’s a perfect way to kind of practice flexing that muscle when there’s a lot of chances for fun privileges before we’re back into a little more of a lockstep routine as school gets underway and things like that.

Jen: I love how you phrase, “I’m not going to be able to offer you that”, instead of, “I’m taking it away.”

Deana: Right.

Jen: Yeah. What are some examples of privileges? I mean you listed vacation, play dates, splash pad. So for you Kira, each year can you remember the task and the privilege that they got?

Kira: Yeah, let me see if we can go. So okay, I started at four. So when they were four they had four jobs. They had to make their bed, clear their dishes after meals, do an hour of quiet time and tidy up their toys at the end of the day. I didn’t come up with the privilege thing right away. It took me a couple of years. So I don’t think they had privileges at that point beyond they got 30 minutes of TV every day. I tied it to quiet time, that’s what it was.

They had to do their hour of quiet time and they only got their show after they’d done a successful hour of quiet time which was brilliant, if I do say so myself. Because it meant I actually got an hour and a half of a break.

Deana: Yeah, a way to milk it, Kira.

Kira: Yeah, I’m all about the self-care. So their tasks have included as they’ve gotten older, things like stripping their sheets. And then last year I think they started actually then, so they’d strip the sheets, I’d wash the sheets. And now they actually then put the sheets back on and make their beds. They clean the bathrooms. They empty the dishwasher. They do some basic cleaning on the weekends as well. They fold their own laundry. They put their own laundry away. But those were two steps.

So it was first they put their laundry away and then as they got older and I knew they were capable of folding it, then I taught them how to do that. That was pandemic year. In fact they got their chore early when the pandemic hit because I was like, “Guys, I can’t do this all by myself. So it’s time to learn how to fold your own laundry.” And then privileges have been things like last year was a later bedtime. One year they get an unlimited reading night on Friday nights where they can just read until they fall asleep or 10 o’clock.

Privileges have included, this is my favorite one, one year I asked them, “What would you like your privilege to be this year?” And they said, “Can we be in charge of our own snacks?” And I was like, “What, what do you mean?” And they were like, “That we don’t have to ask you, “Mommy, can I have a snack?” Like, “Sure. You mean I do less? Yes, absolutely, you’re privilege could be that I do less.”

And then this year, there’s a big green space behind our house that they have not yet been allowed to roam on their own. But they are now going to be 10 years old and so out they go into the unknown as they call it. And they’re so excited. I mean what an enormous privilege, that level of freedom for them. Mom’s not going to feel like she has to watch or I just get to roam that area all by myself. And then I haven’t yet figured out, their birthday’s in August, I haven’t yet figured out what their chore’s going to be but they know what their privilege is.

Dean: And, Jen, I feel like this is such a great question because recently we had a listener ask about this because I think we can get, again, kind of locked into privileges always means screen time or ice-cream after dinner. And we don’t always think about how many intangibles are also a privilege or parts of our day are a privilege. To a young child the three books before bedtime is a privilege. And if they dawdle while they’re brushing their teeth it might be I can only offer you two stories tonight.

I mean there’s so many things that we maybe don’t think of that actually are privileges beyond just what we’re required to do as parents like Kira said. I’ve got to clothe you and feed you but the rest is almost all privileges. And so special time with a parent like a one-on-one date with mom or dad can feel really special, there’s a lot of things that we don’t always tap into or see as privileges that really are and that kids love.

Jen: So how does this work for your teens, Deana, your older kids?

Deana: Well, and it’s very different because I think even though we know this is technically true even for younger people, it becomes much more evident with olders that really you can’t make them do anything. When I had a two year old if there really was something going on that was inappropriate or unacceptable, I could pick them up and remove them. I cannot do that with my six foot tall son, it’s not going to happen. So we really have to tie it the responsibility that they’re demonstrating.

And something kind of unique in our home is we work toward having no rules by the time you’re 16 so that they have a couple of years to practice independence and decision-making while they’re still under my roof so that if they do biff and make a mistake we’re there with that support and to help work with that. And how do we do better next time? And what was maybe not so great about that? So that their first time really having autonomy isn’t once they’ve moved away or gone off to college or what have you.

So that’s one way we’ve done it is really pointed them toward that even from when they were younger. Remember, that time is coming when you’re going to have more freedom and so we remove the scaffolding slowly. We had driving contracts, cell phone contracts, internet use contracts. And every year on their birthday we would remove some of the things in the contract and re-sign it so that they saw no longer am I going to ask you to give me your password. Or no longer are we going to do cell phone spot checks where I just say, “Hand me the phone”, whenever.

And they slowly got more autonomy over those things and so they saw it growing. And I think that motivates them, then if I do need to say, “You know what? The cleaners just came today. I really need you to take off your shoes right when you walk in and not do that thing you usually do where you get halfway to the kitchen before you kick them off.”

They’re more than willing to do that because they’ve seen us offer those increasing privileges and freedoms. Or if we ask them to pitch in around the house, or for instance with the no rules, they don’t have a curfew. But if we maybe have a family event the next day and I say, “You know we have that event tomorrow, we need to get up early. Tonight I do need to ask you to be home at 11.” They’re more than willing to do that because they’ve seen how many times we offer the freedom.

Jen: Learning moments, what are the worst ‘learning’ moments they’ve had with this method, because I like the sound of it?

Deana: Yeah, we have definitely had learning moments. And you know what’s interesting? I welcome them because it lets life be the heavy instead of me. So I have had for instance times where my children chose to come home at a time that really was too late for what they had going on the next day. And then when they’re scrambling to get out of the door, or they’re maybe late to their job, or they’re just totally sluggish and not feeling their best, we’re able to point to the situation instead of well, that’s the rule.

We can point to, “You know what? What might you do differently next time if you’re out with friends and you know you have to take a final the next morning?” Then they come to the answer themselves, which is really powerful to say, “You know what? I should probably police myself a little bit and come home earlier and get some rest.” Which is so amazing when they get there themselves, it’s a powerful decision-making skill.

Jen: Okay. I like this, this is really inspiring. Are you going to do the same thing, Kira?

Kira: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s, I mean I think it’s a wonderful idea. And mine are a little bit younger but they know that that’s coming for them at 16. And the growing responsibility thing, every year is setting the stage for them. And I would say even at nine they experience some of what Deana was describing. They are so willing to participate because they are so aware of what they have compared to a lot of their friends.

They have some freedoms their friends don’t have and that’s because they’ve shown me time and time again they are responsible and active participants in our home. So I think when you come at it from that positive, you mentioned this a minute ago, Jen, and I think that that’s exactly what it is. It’s from this positive angle, it’s I’m giving you more. You’re growing in responsibility, look at what you’re achieving, look at what you’re doing instead of I’m punishing you by taking this away.

They start to develop this wonderful sense of self-esteem and sense of capability when you empower them in that way. And I would say for anybody who’s thinking, wow, I’d like to start thinking about it this way or this is the summer I’m going to start implementing this. Deana and I are big fans of bringing your kids into this conversation.

It is always, always okay to sit your kids down really no matter what the age and say, “We’d like things to run a little differently around here. Here’s how it’s going to look. This is what we’ve noticed isn’t working. We’re going to try this instead. Here’s how that’s going to be for you. Here’s the privilege we’re going to offer you.”

Bring them in, let them be heard and seen, let them be a part of that dialogue with you because that encourages that sense of team as well, and encourages them to feel like wow, I’m really a part of this. This isn’t just happening to me. I’m a part of this dialogue and a part of this conversation.

Jen: Yeah, I love this. So if we were to do this for the summer would you recommend maybe adding one privilege and one task a week based on age, something like that?

Kira: I would make it a smaller goal. And a lot depends on where you’re starting from. So if you’ve already got pretty good systems in place you might only feel like I really just need to add a couple of things this summer like, “Hey, these are the two new things I’d like you to take on this summer. We’re going to spend the first couple weeks learning how to do it and then you’re going to take off running. And then in exchange for that I’d like to offer you this new privilege.”

If you are starting from scratch and you’re like, okay, the pandemic hit us; we need some systems in play. Then you might think of something it’s more once a week or we’re going to set five goals for the summer, or 10 goals. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. We would so much rather that you start with a few things and get those really solid so everyone sees and reaps the benefits of it, to want more, instead of here’s the 15 things we’re going to do this summer. And it’s too overwhelming and then everybody feels yucky. That’s not what we want for you.

Deana: Yeah. I mean the nice thing with summer is you could even do something as small as three and say, “For June we’re really going to work on tightening up our evening routine.” And that’s all you’re really focusing on in June. And then maybe July it’s adding a chore. I mean you could even do it by the month. Give some time to really lay a foundation before moving on to the next thing. And Kira’s right, it’s way better to have some things going really smoothly to build on than to have 20 things that are going okay. That’s probably not what we’re aiming at.

Jen: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense, not to overwhelm. So a lot of people like to schedule a couple of fun special things a week in the summer. How would you tie those things to a task? Instead of the one-to-one thing can you just say, “When you’ve done these things here’s what I can offer this week”, can you change it up or is it better if it’s the same thing every time?

Deana: I really think there can be room for variety there. And summer again is a great time for that. And I also think it’s worth saying that if there is a thing you have planned and you need to honor it, you need to honor it. I mean there’s a time and a place to say, “Hey, I can’t offer you this because of what happened.” And then there’s other times where maybe that’s going to impact other members of the family and it’s more worthwhile to take that child aside and deal with the lack of responsibility you’re seeing in a separate way. And not have other people miss out on a family event.

So there might be times where they’re going to still – it’s going to almost feel like you’re rewarding something that didn’t go great because they’re still going to get that family barbecue but that’s important in the grand scheme. And summer is a time where that might happen. You might find those things kind of bump into each other a little bit.

But there’s almost always still a way to work out that tie between privilege and responsibility even if it’s like everyone gets to go to this fun thing on Saturday. But you know what? I can’t offer to let you stay late at the water park party because this morning you really gave me a lot of grief about loading the dishwasher and so we’re going to have to come home at the time we originally agreed on. There’s a lot of room for flexibility. But I do think you can certainly tie some of the things to those fun events.

What you want, though, is that the bulk of those things are tied to things that happen regularly because that also produces consistency for the kids. If they’re like sporadically I get rewarded when it goes great, that could be a little bit more confusing for them. But if they know, wow, I can count on getting my 30 minutes of video game time when I complete my morning routine smoothly. That’s going to build that more consistent foundation, if that makes sense.

Kira: Screen time, video game time, those are privileges. Kids are not born being owed TV time or video game time, they’re not. And yes, they make our lives easier because they’re occupied for a little while. But Deana and I are all about doing what is best, especially in the long range view, and not necessarily what’s easiest or most expedient. So thinking about it like that. It’s okay to say, “You have a daily task, you’re not getting it done, you don’t get your daily privilege.” That’s okay.

But I would also say if you have older kids it is great to bring them into this conversation. “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this thing. What privileges would you like this summer? What would you like?” That could be on a weekly thing, bring them into the conversation because then as Deana likes to say; they have some skin in the game. They have said, “This is what I want.” And so now they’re much more likely to want to participate because this is what they have asked for. So having older kids can help with that dialogue too.

Deana: Well, and you might be pleasantly surprised like Kira was, “What? You just want to be in charge of your own snacks?” I can get behind this.

Jen: Yeah, it’s easier that way, for sure. Now, a couple of other questions, my 16 year old son, I noticed the amount of time his friends are on the computer and he would like a similar amount. But it almost seems like they have zero limits. And that’s what you’re talking about, Deana, with your kids not having the rules. So if your 16 year old son wanted to be on 12 hours a day what would you do?

Deana: Yeah. I’m grateful that this hasn’t been a desire of my kids. But we do have one super gamer of the five. And left to his own devices, that’s always what he would pick in his free time. And so what’s interesting is we have the dynamic as well where we’re a blended family. And so that particular child is not my biological child. So they didn’t have the whole no rules at 16 and all of that.

But with my two I can tell you that when I’ve seen times of slipping into a pattern where they’re maybe, I don’t want to say abusing, but maybe misusing the privilege of all of that freedom. Then we do talk about what might need to happen. And what I mean by that is just because they’re 16 it was never automatic. It’s based on your maturity and your responsibility. We really aim for no rules by 16 but I’m going to be gauging your readiness. And so readiness is a great tool in parents’ pockets if you’re a parent of teens.

So the thing I might say is, “You know what? You’re now in charge of your own free time but some of the ways you’re spending it show me you might not be ready for that much freedom over your free time.” And then it’s not an assault on who they are. It’s not like you’re lazy and irresponsible. It’s like maybe you’re showing me you might not be ready. Let me help you get ready. And the way I’ll help you is for a while we need to go back to having some boundaries around this. And I just don’t apologize for that because it’s helping them grow up to be able to manage their time beautifully.

And let’s face it, even as teens a lot of our teens are juggling multiple things. They have school, extracurricular activities, they might have a job. They may have just learned to drive. They also probably want to see their friends sometimes. And so if we’re looking at that, the skill of time management, the long range goal of building a skill of time management is worth an intervention right now that might not be their favorite.

And when we pose it as readiness, it’s not an assault on their character. It’s like you’re not ready yet but let me help you get ready. Here’s how we’re going to do that.

Jen: Wow, that’s powerful.

Deana: And again, I would be with Kira, I also invite their ideas. So if you’re showing me by what you’re doing, what I’m seeing, what I’m observing. I always point out what I’m seeing. “I’m seeing that when you have four hours of free time, three hours and 58 minutes of it is on the Xbox. What are your ideas for how we can mitigate that to get you more ready to handle free time?” And they often come to the table with great ideas. So I would invite them into that conversation as well whenever possible.

Jen: That’s really great. Well, you gave me an additional question so I have two more now. College kids coming home, they’re 18, they’re on their own, what’s an appropriate way, say they’re home for the summer, how would you handle that?

Deana: I have one home for the summer right now. So I’ll tell you. The way that we start to frame this is around courtesy of living with other people. And what’s great is in college, many and certainly not all, but many students in college have roommates. So you’re framing it in a way that they have a frame of reference for that. Just like you need to be courteous to your roommate about not barging in loudly at 2:00am, we expect the same thing here.

And also keeping your room nice or your apartment, say they’ve moved out and they’re sharing a home with other roommates. Same thing, you’re going to all pitch in or take turns cleaning the kitchen. We’re going to ask the same thing. You’re going to pitch in while you live here this summer. And actually they’ve been very amenable to that because we’re framing it not in a way of you’re going back to being under our thumb. No, it’s when you’re here you’re living with several people and everyone’s needs need to be taken into consideration. And now you’re now part of that group.

So another thing that we do that they have taken to very well is we say, “When you’re home we don’t expect you to go back to asking, may I go out tonight. But we do really expect communication so that we know where you are and we aren’t worrying. Because when you are under our roof we are going to wonder if you’re not home.” So things like just letting me know, “Hey, a quick text, I have finished dinner and now I’m headed over here with this friend. So I at least know what’s going on. That is a courtesy to the other people you live with.”

And when we frame it that way, it’s a very grown-up attribute. It’s not, “You have to tell us what’s going on because we’re your parents.” It’s, “You’re being courteous to the people you live with.” And that is a privilege and a special feature of being a young adult.

Jen: Yeah, that’s perfect. It’s a privilege. We care about the needs of the group. That’s powerful. And I think more 20 something’s need to figure that out. So thank you for the words. I needed those. One quick final question for both of you, is there such a thing, do you have a list, have you created a list of all the skills that someone should learn to become an adult, to raise an adult?

Kira: It’s so funny you should ask, Jen. We actually have a freebie that we have for your listeners. And it kind of ties into a lot of what we’re talking about today. And so we know that you are big on having values, personal values. And we’re big on having family values. And the way we look at that, it kind of ties to our three pillars of our philosophy. And one of those is having overarching why, like who’s the adult that you’re trying to raise? What do they look like?

And then what are the stepping stones to get there? What are the character traits that you would want to see them embody? And that’s going to look a little different for every family. But a lot of the things that most families come up with are things like integrity, things like empathy, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, diligence, tenacity. These big words that really come together to create this healthy fully functioning adult. So we have this freebie and if people go to you get a video called Three Essential Strategies for Raising Adults. So there you go.

And then also you get a 12 month kind of values list where every month we take a different character trait, like some of the ones I just mentioned, integrity, wisdom. We break it down, there’s resources, how do you model it? What are activities you can do with your kids to foster it? What are books you can read with them? It’s super robust. And then of course it puts you on our newsletter list. And a week later you get an email that has all of the chores we’ve just been talking about. So what are the age appropriate chores, how do you implement them in your home?

So kind of collectively the freebie covers almost everything we’ve been talking about today and really helps to get people thinking about who is that adult, what are the character traits that we’re looking for.

Jen: That’s amazing. Okay, we will have that on our show notes page for all of you to click on. I can’t wait to get it. Thank you.

Kira: Yeah.

Jen: Well, as we close, what’s one last piece of advice from each of you and then also tell us how we can follow you and learn more?

Deana: Sure. I would say a really great takeaway is to – I’m going to actually borrow from something Kira said earlier — is when you’re doing this, when you’re looking at your summer, when you’re thinking what can I delegate, how can I get going. And maybe even that thought feels overwhelming, my advice is really to start somewhere but start small. It is better to start small than to get analysis paralysis and not start at all. So start somewhere, I mean definitely take that step, but start small. And you can build on that from there, it’s really powerful.

Kira: And I guess mine would be around creating a team dynamic in the home and how important that is. Kids want to feel like they belong to something. And so actually the benefits of doing this kind of thing that we’re talking about goes way beyond just teaching them responsibility. It also creates for them a sense of teamwork. I belong to this team. Deana and I actually both named our teams. So I’m team Dorrian, our family is TD7. And so coming up with that sense of we work together for our home to run smoothly.

And then we celebrate as a team and we go do things as a team and the team analogy, that’s fine. But it’s that sense of community and belonging. And so when we do this work and we encourage our kids to participate and we celebrate their participation and celebrate how they’re growing in responsibility. They feel like they’re a part of something, like they belong. They feel seen and heard, and really, really validated for who they are.

Jen: Also powerful, Team Riday, I’m doing this. I have Team Riday for my business and I’ll have one at home too.

Deana: That’s awesome.

Kira: I love that.

Jen: Awesome. And then your website?

Deana: Yeah. So people can learn more about Kira and I and also find resources, online courses and just information about us as parent coaches at our website which is And as you mentioned at the top, we co-host a podcast, Raising Adults and that is on all major podcast platforms. And we’re also on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, a newly minted Pinterest account. And our handle is @Future Focused Parenting.

Jen: Cool. Thank you so much. This was powerful and amazing. I can’t wait to have you write a book, hint, hint. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Kira: Thank you for having us.

Deana: Our pleasure.

Alright, I hope you learned some nuggets that you can apply in your lives with your kids, whatever age they are. I feel like I learned something I’m going to use with all of my kids who are currently seven and a half to 20, so the goal, consistency, delegation, for me more fun.

And it seems like a no brainer to attach all of these privileges, these fun things we already probably let our kids do or they’re already doing, attaching them to some responsibility, something that proves that they are an adult and able to handle things. And that they’re ready, that idea of readiness that Deana talked about. Well, I loved that, I hope you did too. Again, if you try it out, shoot me an email and let me know how it goes. We love to hear from our listeners at

I will be back again next week. Until then go try this out so that your summer is one of thriving and not just surviving. I will see you again next time. Take care.

If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at

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About jen

Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.

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