Connect and Conquer
Connect and Conquer
3ds - Raising Proactive Teens: Insights from a Daddy Daughter Discussion

[00:00:00] Cameron Watson: Hey, Rachel.

[00:00:03] Rachel Watson: Hey.

[00:00:05] Cameron Watson: So you said something, was it yesterday?

[00:00:09] Rachel Watson: Yes.

[00:00:11] Cameron Watson: And it, it caught me off guard, honestly. I did not expect someone your age to say it and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to come from you either. Not just your age, but also your personality. It was it wasn’t snarky and it wasn’t presented in a funny way.

And would you mind just sharing what you said?

[00:00:40] Rachel Watson: I made the decision to stop waiting for my life to get better and make it get better by doing what I need to do.

[00:00:51] Cameron Watson: Wow. See, even now when I hear that, I’m just, that’s a very mature thing to say. And where did that come from? How did that, how come, what, where did, why?

[00:01:05] Rachel Watson: So we actually did high school registration yesterday and my life is getting to that point where I’m going to need to start making decisions like where am I gonna work, what college am I gonna go to, like, all of these decisions.

And one of my big things is I want to be in good English classes because I want to go on to do something in the creative writing field. And with that, normally that would mean honors English for next year. But as we were doing high school registration, I noticed that my English was normal and that it was already locked in and I had no ability to change it.

So what I did was I talked to the counselor that was there and she told me. To talk to my English teacher, which I did end up doing, but before that, I had literally a million different speeches prepared in my head. And the reason for this was because I currently have an F in her class. I currently have an F in honors, and next year I want to be in honors.

So that math works out well. And so what I did was I completed a paper that I had been procrastinating. And as I was working on this paper, I was like, I need to stop waiting for something to change. Because the only reason that I’m not doing this is because I’m waiting for me to feel better. I’m waiting for a day where I don’t feel like crap.

I’m waiting for a day where I don’t have a headache. Where I don’t feel tired. Where I’m not depressed. And if I’m going to do that, then it’s just going to be a constant. Okay, so I didn’t do this yesterday, so now I feel bad. So I’m not going to do it today because I feel bad. And it’s just not working, and it’s not worth it anymore.

[00:03:35] Cameron Watson: What does it, what is it going to be different, moving forward since you said it, you’re still going to feel, you said a bunch of different things, you described some symptoms. And those aren’t going to change, so what is, what’s going to change then?

[00:03:53] Rachel Watson: I think the main thing is, before this it’s always been a, I can make this decision later, I can do this later, I have time.

I no longer have that time. And it was just, I no longer have that illusion of time, I should rephrase. There’s no longer an option for me to not do it and still be successful in all the ways I want to be successful.

[00:04:28] Cameron Watson: Do you think you would have changed if you didn’t have the goal to get into creative writing and do that in college and have an apartment with cats?

Wait, bunny. Bunny? Bunny. Bunnies, okay. Do you think that, you would have made the shift or the transformation without that goal?

[00:04:53] Rachel Watson: Knowing my personality, I’m a very, I’m a very lazy person. It’s not lazy, not determined, I don’t know the right word. It’s, I want things to be easy.

[00:05:09] 20240223RachelCameron: I

[00:05:09] Cameron Watson: think you’ll find most people want things to be easy.

You’re a very typical person.

[00:05:16] Rachel Watson: Yeah. I want things to be easy, but I’ll go to such an extreme where I want them to be easy that I don’t do the hard things. And I think that at some point, it would have occurred to me that if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be able to do this. And I think that point would have come had it not come yesterday, when I was about to Retake the senior year because I had Fs in most of my classes or something along that line.

I think it would have come eventually, just not in time.

[00:05:57] Cameron Watson: Okay, that, that makes sense. And I’m gonna repeat, basically, I’m gonna see if this is true for you. It sounds like you were saying you work really hard to not have to work really hard.

[00:06:11] Rachel Watson: Yeah.

[00:06:13] Cameron Watson: Okay. Yeah, I have, I’ve been guilty of that myself. Now that you’ve decided that you’re going to, Stop waiting for things to get better and start to work on things getting better. What are some things that I can do to help? What, do you see my role in? I’m your dad. I love you. I want to help.

What can I do?

[00:06:36] Rachel Watson: Overall, I think the main problem has been me thinking that there was a an option to not go to school, to not to not do something, to not turn in my assignments, to not hang out with my friends, to not go to things that I have made, commitments to. And now, and you guys, you and mom have been telling me that’s, there is not an option, and I have to do those things, and in the long run it’s gonna be really healthy for me.

But I don’t think That I ever really Recognized that and was like, okay I’ll suck up my pride and do this. It’s always been they won’t drag me out of bed They don’t have spray bottles. I scoured the house. The spray bottles are gone I think I can just stay here and sleep type deal and It wasn’t me being motivated.

It was you guys being motivated because you guys knew what was best for me

[00:07:54] Cameron Watson: Okay, I see. And I love the idea of the spray bottles. By the way, can I show you this real quick?

[00:08:04] Rachel Watson: Oh man.

[00:08:06] Cameron Watson: Did I

[00:08:06] Rachel Watson: forget your office?

[00:08:08] Cameron Watson: Yeah, where is it at? Oh man. I was all prepared. I have no idea where you went. I have two brand new spray bottles.

All ready for ya. Oh not that I would ever use it. I’d be, I wouldn’t use, I would not use a spray bottle on you, but I would physically help you out of bed if you needed it. But funny thing, I just recorded a podcast with a friend of mine. His name is Mike and he broke his neck, 20 years ago 23 years ago.

And he was telling me, That he also wishes he had that a very similar realization as you did. He realized that he wasn’t going to be able to walk again, or he wasn’t going to be able to he, said it was focusing on things caused him not to do other things that would have helped him out sooner for a longer time.

And he’s a couple of years younger than me. But twice, three times older than you. So anyway, it’s funny to have two conversations in a very short period of time with people that I enjoy and they both are talking about the realization that it’s time to stop wishing life was better and start working on making life better.

So what would you talk? How would you if you’re going to give advice to other kids in your similar circumstance and maybe would you mind sharing a little bit about what it’s like to be your age in your body with your, family situation? Cause you, you have regular pain, right? And do you mind just talking about the symptoms of what you go through on a regular basis?

[00:10:17] Rachel Watson: Yeah, I don’t sleep at night very well. I’m an insomniac. I have, I get really bad nightmares that cause me to wake up and stay up for, you An hour at a time, and then I’ll go back to bed for 45 minutes and then wake up again. And that’s on a really bad night. On a good night, it’s more every couple hours, and only for a short periods of time, but it still is not very helpful.

On top of the lack of sleep, I have, I have a

I have depression, I’ve been decently depressed lately, I’ve been having a lot of suicidal ideation, self harm ideation, and so that, those two things by themselves are not good, those two things aren’t good by themselves and they make life miserable, but on top of that I, have the symptoms of those two things, and I have headaches.

I have really, bad headaches to the point where I’ll just be fine one second, and then the next I’ll be bawling my eyes out because I’m in so much pain. And, I’m a teenage girl. Which, for people who don’t understand what that’s it’s awful. Just Men. It’s horrible. It’s, it’s hormones, and it’s insecurities, and it’s hating your best friend but pretending that you still like them because you don’t want anyone to hate you and you’re insecure that wants everyone else.

If you let go of this one friend, then you’ll lose everyone else.

[00:12:24] 20240223RachelCameron: It’s,

[00:12:25] Rachel Watson: that happened to me, and it was horrible, and I stopped talking to that person. But I still see her sometimes, and we’re not, she glares at me a lot, I glare back, we’re not friends, we’re not openly mean to each other, we just silently We hate each other.

It’s a healthy balance. I have a lot of anxiety. Some might disagree

[00:12:50] Cameron Watson: with the healthy part. But, a balance.

[00:12:54] Rachel Watson: It’s a balance. I’m also very, I have, allergies. To perfumes, and colognes, and Axe body spray. And it is a joy when you go to a middle school and you have to go every single day.

When everyone is wearing all of the things that make you feel like you’re going to either vomit, sneeze your head off, or just die. And, I’m, that’s great. I get sick a lot. I’m rambling at this point, and I recognize that I’m rambling. That’s okay.

[00:13:39] Cameron Watson: You deal with exhaustion because it’s very difficult to get a decent night’s sleep.

You deal with headaches and you deal with, does your body hurt or is that somebody else?

[00:13:54] 20240223RachelCameron: I

[00:13:55] Rachel Watson: think that’s all of your kids.

[00:13:57] Cameron Watson: Yeah, they all have been blessed with growing pains cause they all grow, but. So now, what would you tell, how would you, let’s say you were talking to yourself a year ago, so you today talking to yourself a year ago, is there anything that you would share with yourself that would, that you would hope would be helpful?

[00:14:25] Rachel Watson: It wouldn’t be helpful to my biased self, but I would probably say something along the lines of suck it up. It’s gonna be awful, but you don’t have any other option, you don’t have any other option, and there, if you don’t start now, it’s not gonna get better. I feel like if I had made different, a lot of different decisions back then, I would not be in the same position I am in right now.


[00:15:00] Cameron Watson: was. I was talking to, my buddy Kyle about, vision and a vision plane and the ability to, give consequences in the future is dependent on how far in the past someone can see. In other words if they only have the ability to recognize the Consequence of an action that they took two minutes ago, then you have to reinforce things that every in a very short period of time to reinforce that behavior or to discourage that behavior.

But if they can look back a year and say, man if I had made different decisions, my life would be on a different plane or my life would be different. Then you can start also talking about the future. In, years and in not just months, but years and in the future, and that’s something you’ve always been able to do very well is to, have a plan or a projection of what you want your life to be or what it could be,

even if it’s some of it is a joke, like the bunny named George, right? Is that not a joke?

[00:16:13] Rachel Watson: Nope.

[00:16:14] Cameron Watson: Okay.

[00:16:15] Rachel Watson: Not in the slightest. I’m getting a bunny. I’m legally registering it as a therapy bunny, and I’m naming it George Fluffington Weasley.

[00:16:24] Cameron Watson: Okay. See, to me that’s, funny, as well as being true. But, how do you want, what, how do you want the rest of your school year to go this year?

And what do you want your freshman and high school freshman, sophomore, junior, senior years to be like?

[00:16:47] Rachel Watson: Academically, this year, my goal is to, go on to high school with a 4. 0 with all A’s, and that is my current academic goal. It was my goal at the beginning of this year, but after a couple months, I lost track of that, but after yesterday, it was like a, okay, yeah, no, you need to go back to that.

But, Socially, for the rest of the year, I want to keep hanging out with my friends, my ginger gremlin, that’s my best friend, Victoria. Yeah. I want to talk to more people within my classes, so I’m more comfortable talking to, new people, cause I’ve gone to school with these. Kids for three years and I don’t talk to most of them anymore, so that’s fun.

So you

[00:17:50] Cameron Watson: have academic or education, you have social, do you have physical and spiritual goals as well?

[00:17:59] Rachel Watson: I definitely have physical. I’m not very physically strong right now. I’m, lacking a lot of endurance and It’s causing me to, just sit down on the couch and lose even more endurance, and then gain weight, and then makes me sick, and then causes back pain, and then insecurities, and so my goal is that I want, to lose that extra weight that I have, which.

[00:18:33] Cameron Watson: I saw you the other day using the rings.

[00:18:36] Rachel Watson: I did.

[00:18:37] Cameron Watson: You inspired me. I went and hung. That’s all I can do. I can’t lift myself up, but I can hang for 20 seconds at a time. Someday I want to be able to do a pull up.

[00:18:51] Rachel Watson: Same.

[00:18:53] Cameron Watson: Okay.

And then, yeah, so it’s interesting how close I was talking, do you remember Albert, our neighbor? And I don’t remember his wife, but they had a little baby. They ended up borrowing our trailer for that youth group and then they all got sick and we didn’t have our trailer for an extra week because they were stuck up in the mountains vomiting.

Do you know that story?

[00:19:15] Rachel Watson: Trying to think. How old would I be?

[00:19:19] Cameron Watson: It was just a couple years ago. So Albert and his wife they’re a cute couple, young couple. They just had their second baby. And they just live down on, I think it’s Lena, so just down the road. We had him over for dinner.

[00:19:39] Rachel Watson: Okay, I’m going to pretend I know who you’re talking about.

[00:19:42] Cameron Watson: Okay, that’s fine. Yeah, I’ll stop trying to get you to remember somebody you don’t remember. Anyway he is a, I can’t remember what type of doctor he is, or going, he’s like a

Something, but his focus is on psych psychiatry or something like that. Anyway, I’m getting it all messed up, but he was telling me about a study that said, m medicine, will help this much. And physical exercise will help this much. Medicine plus physical exercise helps that much. And I thought that was

[00:20:22] 20240223RachelCameron: I

[00:20:24] Cameron Watson: thought that was interesting.

I caught your cold. That you had the other day. It’s official.

[00:20:31] Rachel Watson: Yeah.

[00:20:32] Cameron Watson: Thank you for that.

[00:20:34] Rachel Watson: You’re welcome, of course. Yeah it’s so

[00:20:37] Cameron Watson: nice that you share. You’re so generous.

[00:20:40] Rachel Watson: Sharing is caring.

[00:20:43] Cameron Watson: The anyway. And when I was in my car accident, and I thought before I started going to physical therapy, I thought, man I need to be careful.

I need to not move because moving hurts. And then at physical therapy, they’re like, no, you need to move. Let’s just teach you how to move so you don’t damage yourself. And so I started moving and things started getting better. And it was. It was pretty amazing to have the experience where I knew this before it, but having it reinforced that in life, if you’re trying to protect something that hurts by not moving, it damages everything else.

And you described it earlier that when you’re not feeling well, you sit on the couch and then you’re going to just continue to not feel well, it’s going to actually get worse. And it’s a. A positive feedback loop and for, me this last year has been really interesting as now I’ve, I move far more than I ever have as an adult and when I feel pain or, when I hurt instead of avoiding it like I used to, now I okay, let’s see, is this damaging hurt or is this healthy hurt and if it’s not damaging hurt, then I lean into it a little bit and do more and I’m hoping Because by the way, hanging, it hurts my hands right here.

I, it’s I, why does it hurt right there? But it does. My, but I know it’s not damaging. It’s just like I’m not strong there. My skin’s sensitive. So I’m hoping that over time that’ll get tougher and then it won’t hurt anymore. So anyway, that’s fun. Okay. So you’ve given some advice to yourself from a year ago.

Now, what advice would you give to other parents who have, has a child who is, spirited strong willed, maybe a little challenging for them to understand?

[00:22:55] Rachel Watson: Just understand that in the end, if you love them and if you do what you think is best for them. And if you talk to them about what they want, and how they want to accomplish it, and then negotiate by telling them how you think they should accomplish it, and then working that out, I think that’s really all you can do.

Especially if they’re stubborn, and they want to do things a certain way, or if they don’t want. Certain things to come into contact with them, just understand that one day it’s, it will get better, and one day they’re going to call you crying because they don’t know how to do taxes, because school never taught them how to do that, and one day they are going to come to you.

To you for help, and what you can do right now is offer that help, and if they don’t take it, they, they don’t take it, but you keep offering it to them, you keep, doing it, you keep being a parent, and then One day, once they get past the of life, which won’t really happen, but there will be breaks, then it will most likely turn out good for all of us.

[00:24:32] Cameron Watson: That is some great advice for parents. Rachel, thank you. Do you have any questions for me?

[00:24:39] Rachel Watson: What’s your opinion on My, lack of,

I wanna say enthusiasm? My lack of the ability to Function on some days.

[00:24:55] Cameron Watson: Okay.

[00:24:56] 20240223RachelCameron: So

[00:24:57] Cameron Watson: there are two parts to answer that question. There’s two parts. One is a capacity part and the other part is a drive part. And that’s the capacity that is not a static. A lot of people think capacity is like a bowl if you have a bowl that can hold five cups of water, that bowl always holds five cups of water, but that’s not how capacity works in people capacity in people.

is like a balloon and some days you can feel the balloon is full of water and in other days it’s just not and then some days you try and overfill it and it bursts and it breaks and so when you ask my opinion about your ability to do things the capacity is the part that’s really hard to judge.

It’s the part that I’m not ever comfortable making a declarative statement that she has the capacity to do this. We need to make her do this. My instincts are always to be to, to figure out where you are from your own perspective, and then encourage you to use up as much capacity as you have.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for your siblings. And so they’re suffering years later because I didn’t know how to be a better dad back then. And now I, do know how to be a better dad. I’m still not perfect by any stretch, but I do understand that I should be helping you hit as your full capacity as often as I can.

So that’s the capacity side. When you’re sick, when you’re, when your back is hurting. When you’re exhausted, your capacity might be just to sit there in school, because if you can sit at home, you certainly can sit at school. The thing that is the part that people sometimes forget is that school doesn’t just have physical presence, it also has other people, and that can be exhausting to someone who has diminished capacity for social engagement and stimuli.

So it’s, always hard, and I don’t know I don’t know what it is like on your side, because I ask questions and then I do a lot of thinking and sometimes I’ll be like, Hey, I’m not going to decide right now because I need to figure this out because I am trying to measure capacity on the drive side.

On the motivation side, you’ve always been someone to set goals. You’ve always been someone who’s wanting to. To hit the top of the mountain. And I’ll give you a, some real life examples and, it might sound like I’m picking on you, but it’s actually really satisfying. Cause you’ll say something like, you know what, I’m going to get up at 5 AM and I’m going to do this, and this, get this homework done.

And then I’m going to go to school. Now, do you actually get up at 5:00 AM

[00:28:22] Rachel Watson: Sometimes.

[00:28:23] Cameron Watson: Okay. So sometimes now the times that you don’t, some people would think, ah, that’s just horrible. I’m excited that you wanted to get up at 5:00 AM. And when I ask you, what can I do to help? And you’re like, can you wake me?

Yes, I will get up early so I can wake you. If I’m not going into work, I will. I can help you physically get out of bed. I’m, buff now, so I can and get you out, right? But, that’s not what you say. You say, when I ask what can I do to help, you say, I don’t know. I don’t think anything, and I hope at some point you’re going to say, will you wake me up at five and stay with me until I get out and I get into the, if I get out of bed and get into the room and maybe head walk me to the shower or the, to the bathroom door, anything like that, I’m totally get down for I’m more than willing to help out.

So you have this drive, but the reality is we all, have grand delusions of grandeur to quote Star Wars. But the thing is, that’s far better than to just say I’m not going to, I refuse. I’m not going to, I don’t have any motivation. So you’ve always had this drive and yes, it ebbs and flows. Yes. It sometimes is grandiose.

Like I’m going to Get up every day at five and go make 10, 000 a day and all of those things. Yeah, great, right? The more realistic though, is that if you’re striving to get up at five? My question is if you don’t get up at five, will you still get up at 630? And for some people if they miss five it just ruins them And they’re not going to get up at 6.

30 and then 7. 30 comes around. They feel awful because now they’re going to be late and if they’re going to be late, they might as well not go. And if they might as well not go, they might as well just stay in bed. And if they’re going to stay in bed, there’s no reason to shower. And if they’re not going to shower, they’re not going to want to be around people.

So I’m just going to isolate in my room. And so they hit this trajectory and that’s awful. Go ahead. Were you going to say something?

[00:30:50] Rachel Watson: I was going to say, that is the most appealing idea I’ve heard all day, to just stay in bed, not shower, not talk to people. That sounds great.

[00:31:03] Cameron Watson: I can I, know what you’re saying.

There are days, but, unfortunately we know where that leads. That’s just you waiting for life to be better instead of trying to work on making life better. Which, what a great message that you had to share. Thank you, Rachel.