Play Therapy and Parenting with Brent Sweitzer | Episode 8

Play Therapy and Parenting with Brent Sweitzer

How important is it to play with your children? Can children learn to manage their anger and self-regulation? What can you do to make sure that you meet your children’s core emotional needs?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak to Brent Sweitzer about play therapy, parenting and how you can connect with you children and meet their emotional needs.

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Meet Brent Sweitzer

Brent Sweitzer, LPC, RPT specializes in helping distant couples reconnect and in helping children kids manage losses and challenges using play therapy. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist, which means he has received special training and supervision in using the medium of play to work with children of all ages.

He is also extensively trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, a well-researched approach that helps couples overcome longstanding conflicts in order to feel closer and communicate better. He runs his own private practice, Sweitzer Counseling that serves the communities of Cumming, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, and the surrounding communities in Atlanta, GA. He is married and has two young children of his own. When he’s not connecting with clients or his family, he’s often exploring the great outdoors or strumming his guitar.

Visit his website and connect on Facebook. Sign up here to be notified when his podcast launches.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • From marketing to therapy
  • Receiving compliments
  • A 30-second burst of attention
  • Playing with your kids

From marketing to therapy

I just felt this tug that said maybe I need to do this for other people. Maybe this is what I am made for.

After working in the television industry for a number of years, Brent found himself to be very discontent. At this time he was doing a lot of his own counseling to help heal from wounding and things with his upbringing. And as a client he found himself resonating with the work. The field resonated with him and he got so much help from it that he found himself thinking that he would like to do this for other people.

Receiving compliments

In his own therapy experience, Brent experienced a way his own therapist would acknowledge a compliment. Since then he privately started practicing this by rubbing his hand over his heart when receiving a compliment as a way of validating a gift that was given to him through a compliment or word of encouragement.

A 30-second burst of attention

As parents, when we get interrupted by our children we often tend to say ‘not right now’. This can unintentionally send a message to your child that what you’re doing is more important than they are. A way to acknowledge your child’s presence or meet their needs in the moment is by giving them a 30-second burst of attention by getting down on to their level and listening to what they have to share.

Playing with your kids

Play is a child’s world and a child’s language.

When playing with your children, a very important thing to do is to let them lead.

  • Make sure that you are communicating the fact that you are present and not being distracted by your phone.
  • Communicate what you see them doing and that you understand them.
  • Acknowledge their feelings if you can see they are mad, frustrated, or happy.

Children come into the world being a dependent. When we make ourselves available to be with children in their way of expressing themselves via play, and we make ourselves emotionally accessible in the sense of entering their world of imagination and play and the feelings that go along with that, then they feel safe. When they feel emotionally safe and connected to their parents, that meets a core survival need.

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

 

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

 

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Beta Male Revolution Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.-

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Hey guys. I am a therapist and between writing notes, filing insurance claims, and scheduling with clients, it can be hard to stay organized. That’s why I recommend TherapyNotes. This easy to use platform lets you manage your practice securely and efficiently. Visit therapynotes.com. To get two free months of TherapyNotes today, just use the promo code JOE, capital J-O-E when you sign up for a free trial at therapynotes.com.

Hey, Brandy.

[BRANDY]:
Hey, Boo.

[BILLY]:
We have a good friend on today – Brent Sweitzer. We’re about to interview him. The funny thing is starting out we get into an argument about the way I pronounced his name. I hope you guys enjoy that. We just left that in there for viewer enjoyment. But Brent Sweitzer is a friend of ours, he’s a colleague, he’s a licensed professional counselor in Cumming, Georgia. And he specializes in play therapy and he’s also trained in emotionally focused therapy for couples, and just a kind soul with a brilliant mind. If you want to check out his stuff, he has an awesome parenting email lists, you can go to sweitzercounseling.com.

[BRANDY]:
He also has a podcast coming out for the parents, like me, that have lots of questions about…

[BILLY]:
What am I doing with my children?

[BRANDY]:
Well, and how do I know if I’m doing a good job? How do I know if I’m on track? And it’s purposefulparent.co, and it’ll be coming out towards the end of the summer so be looking for that.

[BILLY]:
It’s just a treasure trove of information on how to hang out with your kids and get the most meaningful, impactful time out of the time you spend with them.

[BRANDY]:
It’s a lot more than that, I think, it’s just about, I mean, he’s really looking at what parents want, what are their questions, and cataloging all of that together and answering those questions about what does he see that comes in his office and what are the questions that most parents are asking? And every time I’ve ever talked to Brent, he’s so kind, and validating, and affirming, and doesn’t judge me when I ask crazy questions, and doesn’t tell me I’m a bad mom. But he’s just so good at being kind about it and helping me along the way. I’m so grateful for him and grateful for our conversations. So, let’s get in it.

[BILLY]:
Hey, Beta Male Revolution. Hanging out here with Brandy and we have a dear friend, colleague, therapist, husband, father with us today that we are so looking forward to having a conversation with. Brent, welcome.

[BRANDY]:
It’s Brent, so we’re going to start over.

[BILLY]:
Why? I said Brent.

[BRANDY]:
No, you said Brett.

[BILLY]:
I said Brent. I did not. I said Brent. We can… we will go back and listen to this. What did you hear?

[BRENT]:
I heard Brent, but with…

[BILLY]:
I said Brent and…

[BRANDY]:
With a lot of roll. I’m sorry.

[BRENT]:
With a little bit of twang. I like the twang.

[BRANDY]:
That’s what it was.

[BILLY]:
It’s the Southern twang. Are you gonna stop me mid podcast?

[BRANDY]:
No. Let’s keep going. Let’s roll with it. Hey, Brett.

[BRENT]:
Keep in mind, I’m from Georgia.

[BRANDY]:
So, you understood him – it was just me that didn’t.

[BRENT]:
Of course, the California girl.

[BRANDY]:
All right. Hey, Brent.

[BILLY]:
Well, we’re just gonna put it all in there with its glory and it’s choppiness, but Brent. He’s like, my friend, I talk to him every week. Like I don’t know his name.

[BRANDY]:
You just said it again and it sounds like you’re saying Brett.

[BILLY]:
From Flight of the Conchords?

[BRENT]:
Did you know I lived in New Zealand? I don’t know if you knew that.

[BILLY]:
No.

[BILLY]:
What?

[BRENT]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
Right, quick. Go into that. Why’d you live in New Zealand, Brent?

[BRENT]:
Well, I’m a wanderer. Not all who wander are lost. The short version is I had traveled and backpacked in Europe, and just, I was like, I need more of this. So, I decided to quit my job. I did research beforehand, but New Zealand was the only place where I could get a work visa for a year without actually having a job. It so happened that the Lord of the Rings was still being filmed there as well. So that didn’t hurt, but yeah, I lived there for a year.

[BRANDY]:
Did you go and see where they were shooting it? Did you see Frodo?

[BRENT]:
I did. I haven’t told you the story yet?

[BRANDY]:
No.

[BRENT]:
Oh, my goodness.

[BILLY]:
Do tell.

[BRENT]:
Yes. So, I had a friend that was working on the film. He was a digital modeler, so he was working on the visual effects. He worked on Treebeard and stuff. And so, I befriended him somehow through a friend of a friend, or whatever, but they needed some foley artists. So, foley artists in films are the people who do the sound effects and they were doing some sound recording for the third film, and he did some crowd recordings for various scenes in the Return of the King. So, he got me into that, and then I got to do some dying man sounds in the third film.

[BRANDY]:
You have to give us a dying man sound right now.

[BILLY]:
Can we get a live…?

[BRENT]:
Of course, so it’s something like [dying man sounds].

[BILLY]:
So, this is on Lord of the Rings somewhere?

[BRENT]:
This is on Lord of the Rings. It is in the movie, and I can tell you the scene if we’re watching it together.

[BILLY]:
Do you get royalties for that, or is that for speaking parts only?

[BRENT]:
I do not. It was speaking parts only.

[BILLY]:
Do you have an IMDb…? Brent Sweitzer, dying man.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, are there other dying man noises, effects, out there that we don’t know about?

[BRENT]:
That’s it. Although I do have a credit on IMDb because I was a gaffer in a short film that was filmed here in Atlanta.

[BILLY]:
Wow. Well, and you do have this amazing story because you worked in advertising. You worked for Turner Broadcasting, correct?

[BRENT]:
That’s right. Yeah.

[BILLY]:
And you are now a play therapist who works with couples and children. That’s a bit of a leap for me. How did you get from marketing to therapy?

[BRENT]:
Yeah, yeah. Well, I like to think that I just sort of tried lots of things that seemed to fit for me, trying to find what my thing was, tried lots of things and… I think I tried not to be a therapist for a long time and it just kept drawing me in. But the short version is that I worked, as you mentioned, in television. I really wanted to work in moviemaking. Not many people that wouldn’t love that, you know, to somehow be involved in that cool thing. I just love movies. But worked in television for a number of years out of college, but I think I found that the deep part of many people that are in mental health, and therapists that want to kind of get at more of the human condition… helping people sell more insurance, or get people to watch more TV, you know, more reruns of Andy Griffith or whatever, it just wasn’t a fit for me. I found myself just being discontent and so actually, that that led me… I worked at Turner and then I quit that job to go move to New Zealand. But also, during that time, my 20s and in my 30s, I was just doing a lot of my own counseling to help me heal from some wounding and just things from my upbringing. And I just found myself really resonating with the work I was doing in terms of as a client. And it was just, there’s a resonance – that’s a word that I like – the field resonated with me and I just got so much help from it that I just felt this tug that said, maybe I need to do this for other people. Maybe this is what I’m made for, is maybe why I’m alive. So here I am.

[BILLY]:
I love those stories of people sitting on the other side of the couch as a client, and they have this epiphany of, oh my gosh, I’m not only benefiting from this, but maybe this is what I should do in the world. And they found that place in themselves in a therapy office.

[BRANDY]:
Aren’t all therapists… what I’ve always heard is therapists become therapists so they can work their own stuff out.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I would think there’s some of that. How about you, Brent?

[BRENT]:
Yeah, I mean, I think people are… there are certain people sort of drawn to the field because they know there’s something in them that they haven’t been able to figure out on their own. And so sometimes it’s like, it’s a little scary to touch that directly through doing your own therapy, but maybe starting just with either reading some books about it or even go into school about it. I think, you know, lots of people get drawn for different things, and I think you can be working through your things while you’re learning. I also think one of the best ways to prepare yourself for being a therapist is to do your own therapy. Sort of helps, particularly when you think about fostering empathy of what it means to be on the other side of the couch.

[BRANDY]:
Well, I have two beta male people on this podcast right now and I’m feeling a little Alpha’d out, so I’d like to… I’m talking in my beta voice. Brent’s voice is very velvety. Talk about how you both met and how the bromance began to [unclear].

[BILLY]:
Estes Park, Colorado. Brent and I, we were at a conference and he was speaking and I remember hearing him talk and coming to find you – you were there, hanging out with me and I just knew you had to meet this guy. And it wasn’t so much I loved the topic he was talking about, but Brent, the way in which you talked about it, and the way I could see, just through the way…

[BRANDY]:
What was the topic?

[BILLY]:
It was ‘Getting things done’. Right, Brent?

[BRENT]:
Yes, that’s right.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, systematic way to get more done. Go ahead.

[BRENT]:
Well, or code with, maybe if I teach this, I’ll learn it. Not that I’m very good at getting things done, but it was a book that I’d stumbled upon that really helped me think more clearly and have more focus in my life, particularly at a time where being the sole provider and young children and really wanting to finally like, make a go at this career as a therapist and really lean into it and I was struggling. And I was not getting the productivity or the results I wanted, and I said, I need help. So, I’ve heard somewhere that you learn or retain 90% of what you teach. So, I was like, well, maybe that’ll work. And it did, it helped.

But I remember chatting – it might have actually been with you, Brandy, first, when we were sitting at a meal and talking about, you know, I think somewhere in there it came up that I was a speaker, but then I also mentioned that I was a play therapist. And then somehow that connected about that we’re both parents and that we both are, you know, the struggles of being a parent. And then, you know, Billy and I got to know each other as a bridge from that, I think, but I think it started with you.

[BILLY]:
Yeah.

[BRANDY]:
I think I do remember that conversation. I don’t know if I’m willing to actually tell you what that conversation was about. But I do remember asking you a question about my four-year-old.

[BILLY]:
Maybe one day we’ll go a bit deeper on that, but we were concerned about some of her behaviors. And we brought it up to Brent and he had such a kind, compassionate way to let us know we weren’t off the mark as parents, and our child wasn’t, you know, just…

[BRANDY]:
Jacked up.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. And I think that’s what we’re all looking for – man, am I missing the point? And so, I mean, child and play therapy. I love how you talk about Carl Rogers and Person-Centered therapy, and to get to play therapy from that – kind of tell us that.

[BRANDY]:
Wait, I have to interrupt both of you. I’m so sorry. I have to tell the listeners that the two men on this podcast, the two therapists, they bonded over their love for Fred Rogers and Carl Rogers. And there was a lot of bonding over Fred Rogers and Carl Rogers, which is.. both of those people are very important to you two.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. And Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, his movie had just come out. We talked a lot about that. Carl Rogers is a therapist who was a person-centered therapist, who really was about holding presence with an individual and, you know, empowering the person in front of him. But yeah, I don’t know that many people sit around and talk about these things.

[BRANDY]:
No, I have to set the scene a little bit because, Brent, how tall are you?

[BRENT]:
I am 6’3″ and a quarter.

[BRANDY]:
Okay, so Brent is a very tall, slender, good-looking man.

[BILLY]:
No one knows how tall I am.

[BRANDY]:
Billy is not tall. But you are good looking, for sure. But anyway, I see these two gentlemen…

[BILLY]:
5’6″.

[BRANDY]:
On a good day. I see the two gentlemen, and we see 6’3″, and Billy 5’3″.

[BILLY]:
Did you say 5’3″?

[BRANDY]:
It was so cute. It was so sweet to see these two men who, both of you are kind and good and patient. And the two of you just nerding out on Fred Rogers and Carl Rogers and this sweet little thing that happened between the two of you, and this bromance, and this friendship that started in Estes Park has just grown. And both of you are patient and kind and good. In my first meeting with Brent, we’re telling him about our daughter, and he’s so sweet and he’s listening and he’s kind and he continues to be that way. And I just kind of wanted you to talk about that part of it.

[BRENT]:
Yeah. Well, I wanted to say too, when you guys were talking about your child, one thing that I appreciated about you then, and that I’ve only been further confirmed and more deeply appreciating, is just the vulnerability and the willingness to be real and transparent about hey, I’m a human being, I’m a parent with these struggles. And that’s magnetic, you know, there’s a… you know, when I sense it on people, I’m like, I have to know that person. That’s part of my tribe. And that’s what I felt. And that’s why I think Billy and I have resonated because, you know, I think generally women have an easier time being vulnerable with one another; men have a hard time with that. And I’ve been in, over the years, in men’s groups and things, I’m finding myself being the only one that takes those vulnerability risks and I’ve gotten hurt sometimes because of that. But I felt such ease with Billy, and getting to his story, just how there’s seemingly like a lot of similarities in what he’s been through and what I’ve been through and yet our stories are very different. But I think that’s where we hit it off.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I think in early recovery, for me, they started teaching me how it was okay to give another guy a hug and tell another guy you love them. And I find it still, at times, there’s a bit of tension and awkwardness there before I say it, but you know, we’ll have a conversation and get off the phone, I’ll say, I love you, Brent. And I mean that, and I don’t know why we have to feel like we can’t say that or why we have to be ashamed that we admire another human being, respect them, and we want them to know that they hold that place in our heart.

[BRENT]:
Yeah, yeah. And I think a lot of it is just old tapes, old models that say that’s not strength or that’s not masculine, and that’s part of why I resonated with what you guys were wanting to do with this podcast to say, wait a minute, there’s a different way of being a man than what we may have learned with John Wayne movies and, you know, Sylvester Stallone and everything, and I love me some action movies. But I experience in you guys, and specifically you, Billy, such strength and such authentic masculinity in being able to talk about what’s inside of you, being able to talk about your shortcomings, and more fully embracing all of who you are. I mean, I think it’s sort of on the bleeding edge of redefining what it means to be a man and a person.

[BRANDY]:
Wow. You guys are gonna fill the whole show was just loving on each other. It’s so good.

[BILLY]:
And I don’t think there’s enough of that in the world and to go back to that Estes Park moment, we picked up a skill from you that we still use to today. And just placing our hand over our heart when someone pays us a compliment, and basically just rubbing that in, and there was a time I’d paid you a compliment and you had your hand on your chest and you’re moving it in a circular motion, and you went on to explain what was going on. You want to share that with us?

[BRENT]:
Yeah. Yeah, I remember in my own therapy experiences, gosh, 10, 15 years ago, I remember my… I think maybe I complimented my therapist about something that she had done or said, and she puts a high value on authenticity, and she I think said, I’m gonna rub that in, and described it almost like lotion, of something that’s sort of a soothing balm, or just goodness. And there’s something about physical touch and being on good terms with our own bodies that just resonated with me, so I started more privately practicing that. But when I… you know, I don’t share that with everyone, but there was a safety with you and I was like, it fit for me to do that in your presence. And I’m glad that it resonated, because it’s just part of me also, almost sort of physically showing and validating the gift that was given to me through a compliment or through some word of encouragement.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, absolutely. I use it so often now because I find it hard to take compliments and I want to shun them away or downplay them. And I’ve had friends like you and other people show me, you don’t have to do that. And here’s actually an act you can take as a physical representation that I’m going to hang on to that and let that sink in and embody that gift that’s just been given to me. And so, I really appreciate you opening up and sharing that with us. And there’s so many more, and we could go on and on, but I really want to get into the depth of your work as a play therapist. We’ve got three kids, you know, during this time of isolation and COVID and just trying to be good parents, you’ve given us so many little ways of handling our children. And there’s a story you tell of the 30 second check in. And that’s been such a helpful thing for us. I can’t help but think it would be helpful for our podcast audience. Would you mind sharing that?

[BRENT]:
Not at all. Yeah. So, this – I think you’re referencing the 30 second bursts of attention…

[BILLY]:
Yes, that’s it.

[BRENT]:
Which I learned about from Garry Landreth who’s a play therapist and really a giant in the field. And how he describes it is just, you know, as parents, we get interrupted a lot. And so sometimes, you know, when our children come up, we just kind of want to say, I’m talking, you know, not right now, not right now. And that can sometimes unintentionally send the message to the child that whatever you’re doing is potentially more important than them. And of course, we all have to get work done and have things, but a way to acknowledge the child’s presence and tune in to them, meet that need that they may have in the moment, while still living your life and getting whatever done you need to. So, the idea is just giving the child a 30 second burst of attention. So, say you’re on the phone or doing a task that requires some focus, and then a child comes up and maybe they’ve been trying to get your attention and say, okay – you get down at their level if they’re smaller children or you know, if you’re seated, but it’s best if you can make eye contact and really have your face and your body all be in alignment, so you’re really giving them that body language attention. And then just let them share with you what they need to tell you for 30 seconds, you know, give or take, how long it takes, like, hey, yeah, go ahead and tell me, I’ve got 30 seconds or I’ve got a minute, whatever fits. And then once they share that with you, then often they go back to what they were doing, and you can get back to your conversation or whatever you’re working on. But it’s just sort of a little bit of a shift of thinking of like, that gift that we can give our children, specifically or particularly of our attention and our presence, I’ve found through experience and also looking at research, that that’s one of the most valuable gifts we can give another person.

[BILLY]:
Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And another area right now, we’ve been doing a lot of play at home with our kids. And it gets to feel overwhelming at times. And I love how you explain play and kind of being a conscious observer of what our kids do. Our five-year-old loves to play with dolls, and we get in there and we start doing it, and I think… I go in there and I think I’m gonna have to do this for hours. But, you know, just giving our audience an idea and permission – when you’re playing with your kids, is it helpful? Is it valuable? You know, what’s a good amount of time? And what are you doing when you’re playing? I like how you talk about therapy; adults have words to talk through. You do play therapy because that’s how children express themselves. When I kind of conceive that play with my kid is a way for me to see into their world, it’s more than just playing – they’re sending me a message. Could you talk about that?

[BRENT]:
Yeah, yeah. Well, I love the way you described it. They’re sending you a message. I mean, play is a child’s world and a child’s language, particularly younger children. Up from two years old, even younger than that, you know, small babies, games like peekaboo and things, those are all a form of play. That is the developmentally appropriate way of a child interacting with key adults, or key people in their lives, but also just working through things. And so, in a nutshell, playing with your children, really the most important thing, I would say, above everything of really when you’re trying to intentionally engage with them, is letting them lead. Because, similar to an adult, if somebody wants to have a conversation or wants to talk to you about something, and you just talk the whole time, the person is not going to really feel all that heard. And it’s sort of, you know, it won’t feel good. We’ve all been in conversations like that. But leading the play for a child is kind of like that, it kind of runs over them. But when they get to choose the direction and choose the theme, and again, you wouldn’t want to let them lead something that would hurt them or you, or damage toys, but apart from those limitations, letting a child lead is one of the… if your audience takes nothing away from this, just think being more mindful of the next time you’re playing with your children, letting them lead. That’s such a gift you can give to them.

[BRANDY]:
What is an example of that? So, I’m playing Barbies with my five-year-old, what is it that I can be doing that’s beneficial to her?

[BILLY]:
Other than wishing I wasn’t playing Barbies with my five-year-old?

[BRENT]:
Like, can’t we like, play with, I don’t know, like a TV remote or something like that? But yeah, that’s a great question, Brandy. I mean, in our play therapy training, in terms of what play therapists learn, some of the foundational things are sort of creating these… you want to do things that communicate a certain attitude and one of them is, I’m here, I’m present with you. So, I’m not distracted with other things. So, you know, putting your phone away or, you know, trying to give your full attention, even body language. So, I’m here, I’m with you. So, I’m with you can be expressed or communicated through kind of this term of tracking, which is essentially just… I like to tell parents kind of saying what you see in your child’s play, like, oh, you’re grabbing, oh, you’re taking Barbie and, oh, you’ve got her going inside the house, or she’s going in the house. Kind of just communicating that you notice her, or him, and what they’re doing.

So, I’m here, I’m with you, I understand. So, communicating comments of, let’s say a child is really excited about something in their play, their voice gets bigger and their body language gets… you know how children – particularly younger children – when they’re excited about something they kind of will jump up and down. Their emotions sort of take over their body, and saying something like, you’re really excited about that, or you’re really glad. Or if you see on their face something of frustration, of just naming that, whatever word fits, you seem a little mad or frustrated, or that’s frustrating to you, that communicates that you see something beneath the behavior. You see the feeling, you see the attitudes, the intention, that’s where that core attitude of ‘I understand’ can come across. So, I’m with you, I see you, I understand, and I care. And ‘I care’ is just sort of a summary of all those things, but as you’re present, as you’re attuned through noticing what they’re doing, tracking their play, and naming and resonating with any emotions or feelings or intentions that you see, that overall message of I care about you – and your play is part of expression of you – that comes across. So, I hope that helps to [unclear]. And also, there’s no perfect, there’s no right way to do it. It’s really more about the attitude.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I think we get caught up and it’s got to be this grand thing. But one thing I’ve learned from you is a little bit goes a long way and just that undivided attention, being present with them, not just proximity, not just being in the room, but actually engaging with them and blocking some time for your children. And just so we can kind of let the listeners know, without getting too technical, what does this do for a child? How does it benefit them in the long run, having parental engagement around play? What does this do for a kid?

[BRENT]:
Yeah. Well, I mean, we think about that children come into the world dependent – that’s one of the most frustrating things about being a human maybe, is that we don’t get to come in all grown up. We come into this world dependent on people in our lives and sometimes they’re dependable and sometimes they’re not. But when we make ourselves available to be with children and their way of expressing, via play, and we make ourselves emotionally accessible in the sense of entering their world, not necessarily expecting them to enter ours but entering their world of imagination and play and also the feelings that go along with that, that our children are born with the same kind of big feelings that we have as grownups. But as we’re able to be with them in that, and we serve as sort of co regulators for our children. Obviously, you think of Maslow’s Hierarchy, how important is for children to have safety, physical safety, and have food, and those kind of things as we move up that hierarchy. That when children feel emotionally safe and connected to their parents, that that meets a core survival need to know that they’re safe, so that they can then participate in learning in school. They can learn to self-regulate their own behavior. Children learn to manage their anger, manage intense feelings, to practice self-control, through how we relate to them, and the kind of modeling that we do and also the kind of connection, the relationship that we have with them. So that’s kind of maybe a long explanation, but that relationship is the vital part.

[BILLY]:
It’s so good, and it’s so needed this day and age. Ah, Brent, thank you so much for being here with us today. I can’t wait to have you back on because, you know, you also work with couples and you’re trained in emotionally focused therapy and you have so much to offer. You’ve been a dear friend, a colleague, someone we can bounce ideas off of and talk to. You’re someone I talk to on a weekly basis, I reach out to for just that camaraderie and someone to talk to about business and life and struggles we all go through and I appreciate your friendship there.

[BRENT]:
Very much ditto.

[BILLY]:
Well, Brandy, do you have anything to leave us with?

[BRANDY]:
No, thank you, Brent. You’re always so kind and gracious and validating and giving permission to just do the best we can. So, I always appreciate that about you.

[BILLY]:
You’re a kind soul and you make the world a better place. I love you, Brent.

[BRENT]:
Well, love you too, Billy.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, talk to you soon.

[BRENT]:
Okay, sounds good. Oh, real quick, in terms of, I too am starting a podcast. And mine is gonna actually be for parents, helping parents, equipping parents to manage and support their children in their emotional and social development. So, if anyone is interested in that, they can learn more about it at purposefulparent.co. And they can sign up for email and there’s an email course there, and then be alerted when the podcast launches later this year.

[BILLY]:
That’s awesome. We will link to all your stuff in the show notes and look forward to having you on again, Brent. Have a wonderful day, my friend.

[BRENT]:
Thanks, you too, Billy. Thanks, Brandy.

[BILLY]:
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