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Episode 98

Mother of 2, an Arbonne VP, (living off the grid), decides she won’t spank, but doesn’t know what else to do  

March 11, 2024
In Episode 98, Kyle and Sara, LPCs interview Bethany Jones about her journey raising 2 girls off the grid. Early on in their parenting, she and her husband Jimmy made a decision they weren’t going to spank their kids and they knew they needed some other tools. This is when they sought out parent coaching. Needless to say this was a huge shift for them, but the results speak for themselves. A surprising outcome was that the teenager years have been some of the best they have had. Listen in on this conversation about moving away from fear and into deeper connection as a family.

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Episode 98 Transcript:

Being a mom can be very difficult, especially when you're wanting to make changes in your parenting style, and especially when you're sometimes living in Japan, sometimes living in North Carolina, when you're moving all over the country on different occasions, and then finally when you're going off-grid in Colorado and trying to raise two little human beings to be amazing adults. So join us today as we talk to Bethany Jones, a vice president with Arbonne, as she talks about growing a business, raising kids, traveling all over the place, while also getting rid of fear and shame in their parenting. I think you're really going to benefit from this conversation.

Welcome to The Art of Raising Humans. Hello and welcome to The Art of Raising Humans. I'm Kyle.

And I'm Sara. And today we have a special guest with us. So today we've got Bethany Jones. She's a mom of two amazing daughters, married to a mountain man named Jimmy. They've moved multiple times all over the globe. Last count was 11 times in the span of like 14 years and lived in Japan for a while. She's vice president at Arbonne and sells some fantastic stuff. If you love Arbonne, Bethany can sell it to you. And so we wanted to have her on so she could share with you her journey. Her journey from where she was in a place before, where really was coming like you got to do the punitive approach. You got to use kind of control.

You got to make sure you're kind of guiding these kids with occasional fear and shame is all right. And that kind of thing to where there was a moment where that all shifted. So Sara and I were passionate about having you on, Bethany, to share that story.

So welcome to The Art of Raising Humans. Thanks, you guys. I'm excited. So Bethany, when we first were doing this, our heart in sharing these stories with other parents was we know people hear our story. They hear the journey we've been on. And Sara, I think just before we started recording, was articulating it really well about how we want other parents to hear that this is happening all over the place. And I remember for you in particular that there was a key moment where you reached out and you were seeking out another path. You didn't know what it was, but you thought you didn't want to follow the same old path that the kind of old school style parenting. And so could you share with the audience kind of where that all started?

Oh, yeah, sure. So I remember specifically actually there was two pivotal moments that really drove me and my husband to reach out to you guys and to really pursue this. So it's interesting because we were both raised pretty traditional with, you know, some punitive discipline and things like that. And then when we came together, my husband actually was like, I don't want to spank. And I was like, well, then how are we going to handle these children? And so our girls are actually seven years apart.

So they're a little older now, 12 and 19. But this started a long time ago. And I was like, so what are we supposed to do then? Because I mean, you know, if they if they disobey, you got to do something, whatever. So I do remember specifically when our youngest started kindergarten and she was in a little private school and the teacher, she came home and started telling me about the color chart. And the teacher had instituted this behavior chart with colors and it was a really small class. And I knew that one of the kids in there, he, you know, he was a boy. So he was had a lot of energy.

His mom had just had a baby. Like I knew I knew a little bit of the story and she started coming home and telling me about how bad he was because of the color. And I was like, this is upsetting to me because this like there's more to the story than the color. But I didn't really know how to approach it or even how to talk to the teacher about it or anything like that. So I remember reaching out to Kyle and I have to be honest, you guys, I've known Kyle and Sara since college and I knew they were doing this thing. And I was like, well, Sara, I can imagine as a peaceful parent. I can't quite imagine Kyle being so peaceful.

But they did something good. So anyway, but I did reach out. That was like a that was a pretty pivotal moment and he did help me with some verbiage and understanding. Like I knew I didn't like it, but I didn't know why exactly. Well, it was almost like Bethany, like you said, because you had some details. You understood the behavior had context. And what you were noticing was that color chart, which is pretty common. I'm sure a lot of listeners listening have seen this color chart that a lot of teachers use, but it's really an outward in model. It's like this idea of we're seeing behavior and we're now going to change the color. It's a it's a shaming technique of fear technique to then try to control that behavior. But you knew the story and similar to you Bethany as a school counselor for seven years.

I saw the same thing that I would know that kids going through a divorce in their home or I knew there was a lot of conflict with the siblings and then the kid would come in the next day the kid was on red or whatever color a lot. And so I think that compassion in you and kind of started welling up and you thought there's this doesn't make any sense. Like no one's even caring what's going on in that kid's life, right? Well, not only that, but I thought in my kid a little mercy growing. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's my kid knows how to behave in public to get whatever accolades she likes and that's what was happening. So I'm like now she sees him as bad and her as good and this whole thing is not working. Yeah. Yeah, now we got kids judging each other and yes, just like I love how you pointed out how there are kids who learn how to stay green in front of people and when someone's watching you and yeah.

Yeah, I mean green meaning good. Yeah, I know Sara and I whenever we were thinking about having our kids go to the school I was at as a school counselor because it was considered a really good school and so people would ask why are your kids not going to come and I really didn't want them to come for that very reason Bethany. I didn't want them to be on green all the time and I figured they would be and so therefore they would come home and see that Johnny is a bad kid and I'm a good kid all by the colors that a teacher had and I knew these teachers meant well, I knew they were using the tools they had. They were doing the best they could but I also knew the days when teachers were having a bad day when teachers were going through stuff and when that happened they were more likely to have kids on red and you saw that correlation too that their interstate really disrupted the kids interstate and therefore kids got in more trouble and it was just sad to see. Yeah, it was upsetting. Yeah, so that was my first reach out and then I think second was our older daughter was kind of reaching that tween.

A lot of heightened emotions and you know, just I felt like I could handle it. Okay, like most of the time but I'm not saying I have it all together for sure, but I mean most of the time I could maybe understand where she was coming from or that she didn't even understand her own feelings right or couldn't even like she didn't have the tools to process them very well yet, but I saw her and my husband really butting heads and I knew what we wanted together. Like I knew the end result we what we wanted together, but I was like we're not in we're not handling it together through this growth period very well. Yes. Like we need help because I don't want I mean the last thing I wanted and thankfully that hasn't happened.

She's 19 and she loves us a lot. But what I did not want was a teenager or adult that was maybe just you know, didn't like their parents like yeah, didn't want to hang out with them, don't really be critical just you know, they don't understand anything. I didn't want that. Yeah. Yeah. Well and that's kind of the typical story you hear a lot of parents assume that has to happen that the teenage years have to be this constant conflict where they're like shut up mom and dad. I don't want to hear what you have to say right and they assume something in you said I don't want to have that for me and my kid. Right and I'll tell you I mean now that we have one that's 19. I can't say about the second one yet because they're very different and we're in the middle of it now, but I will tell you with a 19 year old everyone's like teenagers are so blah, you know all the bad stuff and I'm like man 98% of the time. I loved having a teenager.

You know, she's almost out of that now. I'm like teenagers are awesome. I don't know what people are talking about. So, you know, there's moments we all have our mom. I have my moments too, but most of the time I was like, I don't know people are crazy.

I think this is great. Yeah, because it's awesome because you're getting to really see them flourish and become you know who they are and you really get to be a part of that and witness it. Yeah. Yeah, it's beautiful, right?

That's what we want. We want to grow with our kids. Yes, completely. Were you nervous at all to step away from that those other ideas and do something a little different? Were you worried about an outcome? So I don't know that I was worried.

I just didn't know what to do. I mean that was my concern is I don't I don't I'm okay with not doing that. I just don't know what to do.

Like what can we do? I know my husband was concerned because he was like, well, you don't want someone that doesn't know how to handle authority. They're going to land in jail and I was like, oh my gosh.

Well, that's scary. I don't want that. But you know, that's a little dramatic that doesn't usually happen. But you know, I thought his points were valid and he didn't want to think but we didn't know what to do. So I don't know if it was so much fearful. It was just like I don't know what to do.

So we need help. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Can you tell me about that moment? I remember another key moment when you reached out and I think this was when our journey kind of started more intentionally was when you were going to a church at the time and they were going to teach a lesson about how to raise kids and that kind of bothered you as well. Could you share that?

Yeah, I mean, I've heard it. I heard that from the pulpit, you know, like you got to keep these kids in line. You got to do X Y Z, you know, all the all the verses that we've heard. You got to use the rod. And it was it was really upsetting to me because we had kind of started on this journey already and I was starting to understand.

I think I read Jesus the Gentle Parent. Okay. Yeah, by LR Notes. I started reading that and I was like, oh my gosh, like we don't have this. We have a totally, we're interpreting things totally incorrectly and it was upsetting to me because this was coming from authority, right? And sometimes people don't always question authority. I mean, I feel like I do, but not everybody's comfortable. You do.

We do, Bethany. Not everybody's comfortable with that. I mean, it is uncomfortable. It's not, I mean, I do, but it's not like I like it, but I'm willing. Not everybody's willing or comfortable with that. And I thought, oh my gosh, like this is coming from authority and all these people are going to accept this as truth and I don't think it's necessarily the truth.

So I did reach out. I did reach out to the pastor and talked about it and it actually opened the door. I don't know that they changed their mind completely, but it did open the door for conversation and I will say, you know, it did help that our kids were not going crazy all the time and had good relationship with us so that there was some validity there a little bit, maybe.

Yeah, yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, yes.

But yeah, I remember that. Well, and the thing I think in your story that you keep coming back to as well, Bethany, is anytime you ran into these conflicts, like whether it was Jimmy saying, hey, I don't want to do this, let's do something else or this church situation or the school one, is you always reached out for help, you know? You always said, hey, I want to know more. I want to learn more.

I don't have everything figured out, you know? And so have you always been that way or was it just about this parenting thing or where does that come from? Oh man, I mean, I guess the older you get, the more you realize, the less you know, right?

Yeah, totally, yeah. I mean, it's kind of true, like the older you get, the more you're like, man, I really don't know as much as I thought I knew when I was 20, right? But I always feel like there's always room for growth, right, in life, whatever, if it's business or parenting or marriage or friendships or whatever. I feel like there's always room for growth. So I always have been the person that will ask for constructive criticism, you know, just because I'm, I feel like I can grow. I mean, there is, it's a good, I think that's a good heart posture to keep through life because if you get to a point where you think you know everything, well, you might be lonely. I think to do that, Bethany, you've got to like face the shame. I think a lot of parents are, they know they need help and yet there's a lot of shame and fear about reaching out for it, especially in the area of parenting. So what gave you the courage to do that, even to some idiot like me? You reach out to me and you're going like, Kyle can help me, what?

This is, I know what he was like in college. He was quick to anger and slow and little patient, right?

So how do you do that? How do you, I know there's a lot of moms listening who I know we've heard feedback at times from moms about, you know, about how it seems like we're presenting how to do it perfect and there's some shame that they're always messing up. And of course, you know, that's not our story. Our stories, we're constantly messing up, but how did you- Perfection isn't the goal.

No, it's not. So how do you, I know for you, that's never been something you've sought either, but how do you move through the shame and then still seek out help? Yeah, well, I mean, I think it helped that I knew you guys because I was like, well, I know that they're not perfect.

I mean, I know that. You knew Kyle wasn't, but you knew Sara. Right, but actually that was comforting because I felt like, because I knew you weren't gonna present a perfect face because we know each other, that I knew that Jimmy would probably be more willing to listen because, I mean, who doesn't struggle, right? Like everybody struggles at some point. And I just felt like that would be more relatable because a lot of times, Kyle, even when you guys share, you share your shortcomings. And frankly, it's a little comforting to know that I'm not the only one messing up sometimes.

And I think it's relatable. I think that makes it a lot more relatable, especially for dads. So that helps a lot. But I know, I mean, you guys helped us so much. Like the whole shame thing, because I'm not gonna lie, I've yelled at my kids before. It's not awesome. And you feel really embarrassed and like ridiculous when it's all said and done. And usually, especially with my youngest, because she's pretty fiery, so we can get fiery together. She is, she is fiery. You know, if I lose it, 10 minutes later, she's like, mom, that was hilarious.

Seriously, are you serious right now? And I'm like, you're right.

That was ridiculous. I'm so sorry.

Like, you know, so it is helpful to, you guys have helped us a lot. You know, kids are resilient. And I think it's so powerful to just own the mistake.

And look, I screwed up. That was really dumb. I'm sorry. I should have handled it different. And they are so much more willing and responsive to that. You guys encouraged that for us. And I've even seen Jimmy do that more and more as the years have gone on. You know, he'll lose it or whatever and come back and be like, I'm so sorry. That was not right. And you know what?

The girls are like, it's okay. We love you. It's okay. You know? Whereas if you just keep pressing in and trying to power through, man, it just is worse. That's where you see that distance grow and you see them pulling away. But that coming and being raw and real with them brings you closer.

I love that. Yeah, for sure. And I think we're definitely not perfect, for sure. But I feel like we have grown in that a lot because there's less screw-ups, but when they come, we're quick to say, I'm sorry. On both sides, even the kids, too. So good. Yeah. And that repair is so good to model because what a burden for a kid to have to have perfect parents. They'd be like, wow, now I have to be a perfect kid in order to match up to their example. But to have imperfect parents is actually relieving because then it's like, oh, the goal isn't to be this perfect kid. I can mess up. Yeah. Mom and dad can still love me in that mess up because they still love themselves when they mess up.

And it actually can bring a lot more intimacy in the family than constantly doing everything right. And they will. They'll take it into their future relationships, friendships, marriage, their own children, just because they've seen that experience that and they know what the authentic relationship is, where we own our stuff and we forgive each other and we're all growing and learning together. Yeah. What areas, Bethany? I know you're a very vulnerable and honest person. What areas are you currently still trying to improve or grow in? Because I know you don't stay just you're always looking for ways to be a better mom, better parent, better person. So what ways are you trying to grow? Yeah. So, I mean, I'd say practically one of our kids is not home anymore, which I think is great.

She's doing wonderful. Jimmy is a little sad. I think it's a little harder for the dad, maybe because the mom spends so much time. So we're like, yes, fly those wings. I want her to come back all the time too, but still he's a little, he's struggling more than I am, but we still have one at home and I'm like, it's just one, right? It's just one we have at home. And so I have known, I've learned about her that we hang out a lot because we homeschool, we're in 300 square feet off grid. I mean, there's a lot of togetherness, but just because you're together in the same space doesn't mean you're actually like growing and spending time together, right?

Like it's different. And so I've learned that with her, she's like, well, I know we did school all day, but I want to hang out. And I'm like, we've been hanging out all day. So, but I've learned, I'm learning to understand what she needs, right? Even if it's just like 30 minutes of game time at night or watching a movie together once a week, like those kinds of things for her matter a great deal. And so I think I'm just trying to learn and grow. Like I really do believe that raising our kids is the best and hardest and biggest job because I mean, frankly, we're trying to get, you know, humans that are going to survive and function well in the world, right? And I mean, that's a huge, a huge job.

That's the biggest job for us. And so with her being the only one at home now, I'm really trying to be conscious of, you know, what does she need for me? Like what, how can we actually come together and not just do school, right? What's meaningful to her in this growth period? And so, I don't know. It's, I will say for me, the hardest ages have been like this tween time because, you know, they're trying to wrestle from being a kid to being an adult. And it's like this pull in both directions and they kind of want both. And I'm kind of, I'm a little like, what's all the drama?

I don't get it. It's a lot of drama. So I am trying to grow in that too, because patience is good.

Patience is good. I'm not always the most patient. When you look back in the change that you and Jimmy made, what was the hardest thing to change? You know, when you think about how you originally pictured parenting being, and then you're making this shift and you're reading all this stuff. And I know you and Jimmy are very intentional about, you know, we got to get some new tools, but what did you think was the most challenging to change in that time? So, you know, we were like, okay, we're not going to spank, but also we're not going to do time out.

And also we're not going to take away stuff. And also, and I'm like, wait a minute. Okay. That was, I think my mindset shift from, okay, so what are we going to do? The shift from that to, okay, like, how is this human?

How can I relate to this human? And what is going on inside of them? And how can I help them work through it?

It wasn't like, oh, it's my kid. And I got to get them to do the thing, right? It was the shift from that to this is like, I mean, you Kyle were always like, would you do this to your husband? Like, would you take his phone away? Would you? I'm like, no, that's weird. He's like, yeah, but this is a person.

Like it's a person. It's just a small person. Like that whole mind shift to, okay. It's a smaller person, but it's still a person that has all these feelings and all these emotions and maybe just not the tools yet. And how can I help them process through that? That shift, rather than just do what I need you to do, please. Cause you know, sometimes you're like, just do it.

Cause I said, yeah, exactly. Do it because I said so.

Why are you asking? Just do it. But you know, moving from that to, um, or just like not. Yeah. Cause like I said, we're like, well, we're going to spank, but we're also not going to do this and we're not going to do that. What the heck are we going to do? But shifting to the mindset of, okay. It's just a smaller person.

How can I help them work through this? So that later in life, they're going to be a well-adjusted adult that can function well, has emotional intelligence and can really live this life fully. Right. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. As you were explaining and I'm like, yeah, that was really scary. I remember Sara and I feeling the same thing. It's like, here you take your entire parenting toolbox, throw it out. Yeah. Well, and I think there's that wrestling too, of if I throw it out, then I'm saying my parents must've been evil and bad people.

Like, no, we're not saying that. We're just saying that we've got more information that our parents did the best they could. And they used the tools they had. Wonderful things. Lots of wonderful things. A lot of tools we still keep and use. Yeah. And it was just like, how do I add to this toolbox? When you have those go-tos, at first you think it's just getting rid, like you said, of the spanking and the timeouts. But then you're like, wait, it's shifting from an entire mentality that I need to control you, that I need to change you. You even mentioned, I need to do something to you to now make you change, as opposed to a marriage, I don't think I need to do that to Sara.

I think my goal is to have a closer connected relation with her and invite her into the change, not just make her change. A hundred percent. I mean, that's a huge shift.

That's a huge mindset shift. And it requires practice all the time still. Yes. Yeah. Well, you speak a lot about neuroplasticity and changing the brain. It takes a lot of intentional work to rewire your brain to see that differently. And I think that also was a big part of your story too, of realizing my brain can change. I just need to do some stuff different, right?

Do some new programming on repetition. Well, in light of that, Bethany, you obviously know we've gotten the chance to journey with you and obviously give coaching to you and Jimmy throughout the years. If somebody's listening and they're kind of on the fence about parent coaching, what are you talking about? I think that, like, you know, I know life coaching, I know business, what do we do in your life? If someone was on the fence about that, what advice would you give them about maybe going towards that or seeking out that help? Oh my gosh. I'd be like, what the heck are you waiting for?

Just do it. No, but honestly, I can honestly say it was one of the best time and money and energy investments because, you know, parenting your kids is really about learning about yourself. I mean, it's a lot about learning about yourself. You know, your insecurities dribble out into that parenting and all the stuff, right?

And so, why would you wait? Like, it is not worth waiting for. Just do it because not only will you get some tools, of course, to help your kids, which is wonderful. And that's, like I said, the biggest job we have, but shoot, you're going to get better. Like, who doesn't want to get better?

I mean, I'm not trying to change who I am. I'm trying to make myself into the best version of myself, right? Because not only is that going to trickle down into our parenting, but it works with our marriages, our friendships, our businesses, you know, it's everything. So, I mean, it trickles into every part.

And I don't know. Well, and that's actually what I love. Our journey, we've seen that with your family. We've seen that in our own family that these little human beings who seem to sometimes bring the worst out of us have actually shaped me into a much better person. You obviously bringing that to life from who I was in college to now. So, like, I'm obviously, I mean, you know the testimony. I'm obviously a much better person now than I was then. So, yeah. For anybody who's listening, I hope that really touches your heart, that story that Bethany's sharing and just the advice she's saying, that if you need help, parenting is not meant to be done alone.

It's not meant to be done in isolation. This, I think it only works in community with other people who actually can help you achieve that vision, that goal you're wanting to have for your family. So, we'd love for you to go visit the website at Go on there, reach out to us, tell us you're interested in knowing more. And I'd love to set up a call with you to talk about how we can coach your family and help. And like, I'm sure Bethany, you'd say it's like, help your marriage, help all those types of relationships. Because when you're approaching it as we're not against people, we're for each other, it helps all the relationships that you have around you. Yeah, absolutely.

Well, Bethany, thank you. Thank you so much for it. Thank you. Yeah, I know you're off grid and I know you still have time to come do this. I know you have Wi-Fi that comes through solar panels, which is awesome. So, you're able to still connect with us in your small town there in Colorado and really enjoyed just hearing your story. And I'm so glad we've been able to journey with you all these years. Yeah, thanks you guys.

Thanks for the opportunity. The Art of Raising Humans podcast should not be considered or used as counseling, but for educational purposes only.

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