Gitta Sivander: Brad’s Class Clown Epiphanies Along with Parenting Insights
By Brad Kearns
I stay true to his mission on the Get Over Yourself podcast and record the stuff that happens after the stop button is usually pushed on a formal show. Sure enough, Gitta and I kept rolling after wrapping up our previously published show. After a few minutes, sensing the momentum, I reflexively pushed the record button again and away we went. I explain how at the end of the first show, I experienced an epiphany about why I was alternatively a painfully shy teenager in normal social settings, but a brazen class clown inside the confines of the classroom. I could pop off with abandon, perhaps emboldened by the notion that the teacher would eventually reign me in. However, I could never close any deals outside of the classroom, which required being more authentic and vulnerable than I was capable of at that age. Gitta delivers some winning tips about how to overcome adolescent shyness; alas, 35 years too late for me, but whatever. The discussion flows with a shout out to film and television star Robin Wright (whom I reparteé’d with at high school high jump practices), my epic quip in 8th grade sex education class that launched my career as class clown, and how I decided to transform my personality with a snap of the fingers upon leaving for college. Parenting is the next topic tackled head on, particularly the disturbing trend of helicopter parenting and over pressurized childhoods. Compare and contrast with Gitta’s German and Swedish cultural influences, where kids are less sheltered, less pressured, and given more responsibility and accountability (you won’t believe what Gitta allowed her kid to do in the kitchen when he was 18 months old!) Gitta explains how she attempts to reconcile personal and cultural values with the guilt and pressure elicited by prevailing parenting and cultural values in the affluent Marin County scene (former hood of Robin Wright, yo.) I mention the fabulous New York Times article that instantly transformed my attitude about parenting, and that he thinks about every single day since: How Not To Talk To Your Kids—The Inverse Power of Praise. This piece, which we will discuss further in future shows, honored the revolutionary work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, promoter of the growth mindset over the fixed mindset. With your kids, praise the effort, not the character attributes. The provocative suggestion is offered that you might never want to tell your child, “I’m proud of you.” OMG, horrors! Instead, consider reframing to say, “You should be proud of yourself,” so the kid can own their own accomplishments instead of become a show pony for parent amusement and cocktail party fodder. Gitta speculates that we have most influence over our children when they are ages 0-6. After that, we have much less than we might think. Plug into this unplugged show and see what you think!