“We do messy well,” Kelly said when asked to describe how she maintains connection with all seven of her family members during moments of conflict. Kelly is a mom of four kids and the creator behind Connection Keeping, a website full of connected parenting resources and scrapbooking templates.

She very intentional seeks out information to honor her children’s culture and personalities in her parenting. She and her family are also amazing at reaching out and staying connected in the community. This conversation is full of helpful tidbits of information for families who have grown through adoption, families who have experienced trauma and multicultural families seeking to balance cultural awareness and connection.

Key Takeaways from Tips for Connected Multicultural Parenting

“When trauma happens in relationship healing has to happen in relationship.”

Blocks in connection are things our kids do that trigger us. Sometimes “bad” behaviors are just behaviors that annoy us as parents.

“Knowing you are completely precious to some person changes how you live.” 

Time-ins instead of Time-outs. when kids have trouble you sit with them, stay with them 

Behavior is a way to communicate a need. No behavior should be villified. Seek first to understand the why.  

Connected parenting means you do messy well. You say sorry and try to do better next time.

When you have a strong relationship with your kids they listen to you and can be guided by you. Taking out the fight mentality.

“Connected parenting is letting 90% of what I thought parenting would be go.”

Connected parenting means meeting everyone’s needs with kindness and respect in a way that honors each person’s personality. 

American society views kids behaviors as manipulative but really they are just seeking connection.

It’s not so much what you do {to foster connection}but how. Check out parenting untips to learn how to prioritize connection in your parenting.

Click here for some activities to help you foster connection in your family.

Tips for Connected Multicultural Parenting with Kelly Wardlow Podcast Transcription

Vanessa: Hello and welcome to the Families Embracing Diversity podcast today we are talking with Kelly from connectionkeeping.com. Kelly is the mom of four she is also a Cultivating Connection facilitator and today she talks with us all about how to keep and foster Connection in your family how to build connections with different cultures that may be present in your family and cultivate connection with your community.

Vanessa: What is connection and why is it so important to you and your family and in otherMulticultural families and families in general?

Kelly: General connection it’s just like a relationship and so um I think it’s important in all

0:47families and I feel like connection it’s not like specific time it’s every

0:52interaction you have with your kid it’s kind of like you know when they when you’re doing a zoom call and they’re

0:58there with you when you’re going grocery shopping there with you when you’re laughing hysterical about something

1:04someone said together like that’s all connection and so I think

1:11um I felt like it was always important but I don’t think I was ever intentional

1:17about it until um we kind of learned about trauma and you

1:24know when there’s trauma for a child that happened in relationship like

1:29healing has to happen in relationship so we started to learn more about

1:34connecting as like connected parenting like more of like a connected parenting style which we felt like we kind of were

1:41already but I think almost every parent can agree that there’s always blocks to

1:47connection like like if you were raised where um being on time is super important like

1:54say that was the culture of your family like you know your parents are always like this sometimes when there’s a kid

2:00who is curious about the world I mean what a great like what a wonderful thing

2:06like you go for a walk and they’re like let’s look at every blade of grass like let’s I have I have a kid like that and

2:14um and my dad I was raised by by just my dad and to him like I always have you

2:20showed respect to other people you know like he grew up in you know that was you know when he passed it down and it took

2:27me a long time to be like I need to change the structure of our house like we start getting ready an

2:33hour early or I need to like accept this because like it would cause me to have

2:39frustration which then can cause a blocking connection like and here’s your child and they’re just like well look

2:46how amazing this is or isn’t it funny when I put my shoes on my hand even though everyone else is dressing going

2:52around you know like this you know it’s a small example but there’s a lot of what we’ve learned about connected

2:58parenting is like our own issues and our own triggers and like when we started to

3:05become intentionally connecting as far as like our parenting style um it was learning about like

3:12the kind of seeing outside of that like seeing what’s my kids Behavior at the

3:18moment what do they need and like a constant cycle of meeting needs I mean because that’s kind of our connection in

3:24general like like we never even really got to spend so much time together but like we had similar passions so like I

3:31would you know write to you about your website and you drive and so that caused the connection because we were having

3:36these shared experiences together in a positive way so in

3:42parenting it’s you know it’s the same like that as in any relationship except the talk about like Mom pressure like

3:51the relationship they have with us helps them model all the relationships they’re going to have in the future it helps

3:57them in their interactions you know forever how they feel about themselves

4:02their self-esteem their self-awareness their confidence you know knowing that

4:07you’re completely precious to some person like changes like how you

4:16like just how you live and how you you know so we really found where I think a

4:22lot of that happens naturally when you have um a child and it could be through them

4:28being neurodiverse like a kid that um you know struggles with sensory issues

4:33or a kid that struggles with even a kid that can struggle with connection or a kid that has trauma you

4:41um you have to be more intentional than about this connecting time and I think especially what it changed is

4:48I think part of your parenting like list of things you have to do as a parent is like well I have to have my kid raise up

4:55to be like a good person you know so correcting is a huge part of being a

5:01parent like no it’s not okay to touch the stove or let’s use kind words and so

5:07um you know even with our youngest like we changed like how we I mean our our

5:13youngest compared to our oldest our oldest because she had very little trauma and I was home like there was

5:20very little issues but we would still do a time out you know every now and then like hey that’s not okay we don’t hint

5:26let’s you know where we changed it we’re um we do time ends like when our kids

5:32have a lot of trouble like we sit with them and we stay with them and so

5:38um it there’s been a lot of more intentional shifts that way so that

5:43um because our kid has both our kiddos have come you know

5:49that there is a separation they’ve had to deal with and so like you I don’t

5:55want them to think when we do something that’s not okay then we separate from

6:00the people that want less then that that’s like I can create the narrative that like I’m a bad person and um then

6:07I’ve been separated because I’m a bad person so we try to do a lot of like and I mean I’m not gonna lie some things

6:13it’s a lot more energy like it’s a lot more time especially when like one is one here and one’s there and then we

6:19have to like sit and help everyone regulate like we kind of now see any kind of behavior as like a call or a

6:25need for something like it could be a sensory need like I am touching every we

6:30have a a wonderful like curious but also something that has like proprioceptic

6:36issues like you know the kid that kind of has to like rub his hand along the wall while I want and so sometimes I’m

6:42like sometimes his behavior which could be seen like he’s not paying attention or it could look like

6:48he’s not being thoughtful it’s just him trying to get sensory input and so we have to see we

6:55change how we see their behavior to see it as needs and then as

7:00our connection is us meeting those needs so we keep meeting those needs so like we have a son

7:08um who um really struggles with disappointment

7:13so like it can cause behaviors that I know that some parents would be like well

7:19like that’s not okay like that’s a punishable Behavior like that’s not okay but like I know that about him

7:26when he gets like 15 minutes of his screen time after like we have to do his

7:32um physical therapy so he gets 15 minutes he loves it stopping it he doesn’t love

7:37so like we started to like we know that about him he loves that it makes

7:42everything else for him you know more and like he he can buy into Physical

7:48Therapy easier with knowing that he gets this so then we sit with him that last minute of screen time show me everything

7:55you’re doing like oh what is this about and it doesn’t always make it great like but it has made it so much better and no

8:04matter what he doesn’t see us as like you can’t handle this so you just need

8:11to like stop well he’s like I don’t have the resources to stop I have no idea I can’t even like think right now and so

8:18it helps him like feel like connected so then he can be with us as we walk away

8:23from the screen and so I think connection um

8:30I feel like I feel like it’s even affected my husband on his relationship like

8:35um my husband grew up in a military family so and his you know his parents

8:40are amazing but just like respect is always it’s it’s just innate in his

8:46family like everybody but like you know all children go through disrespect and

8:52it’s never disrespect because I don’t respect you I mean they almost always

8:58want that person to adore them but it comes out of feeling dysregulated

9:03feeling unheard feeling unfair you know feeling just tired hungry you know like

9:09it’s any of those you know fill in the blank of this unmead you know unmet need

9:14and so you know that’s a that’s hard for him but I also know like now that I’ve learned we’ve learned through all this

9:21like sometimes like I could see how I was saying something to him and it almost

9:26seemed dismissive and then that’s really hard for him so then I I’m like oh like this was his

9:33need and then this is hard for him so like I know that about him so then you

9:38know we what we always like to say like people are like oh well you know

9:44you went to a parenting class or you did this or you know you do that and I was like you know when it comes down to it

9:50the only thing we really learned is to do Messi well like connection being that like

9:56yeah that did not go well that’s okay let’s try again let’s redo it let’s do

10:01it better like let’s try it to do it let’s try again next time and a big one is I’m sorry like we’re big in our house

10:08like not to force I’m sorry but we’re also big like sorry is for you didn’t do

10:14something wrong it’s because the other person is hurt so we try to take you know the pressure off it and try to like

10:20teach like we’re big on like we’re not saying you did this we’re talking about let’s find a solution you

10:27know like and just to always build Connection in that like there’s no matter what there’s like this you know

10:34with how your connection is with your kids and so um we’re kind of just always trying to keep

10:41it you know on the level of being um in tune with them you know and then to

10:48feel like there’s no Arabic and this is I don’t even know if this is something we should say a big thing that I say to

10:55our kids is it’s okay if you punched in me and punched me in the face I’d still love you like like no matter what like

11:03you can do anything it doesn’t matter we are here like um so in that Etc the cultivate connect

11:10one of them like my favorite things that they ever taught us was like here’s the behaviors

11:17that are um here’s the behaviors that need help that need fixing

11:23and sometimes traditional parenting puts you here the the behaviors here in your

11:30kid on the other side and you’re like you’re like telling the kid they you know that’s not okay that’s not okay

11:36that’s okay and so when we’re doing connected parenting we’re trying to take the kid and bring them to the same side

11:42as us and we’re both looking at these behaviors and be like what can we do to help this like you know you’re like on a

11:48team like man these behaviors that’s not really gonna work like that’s not gonna be kind or that’s not you know this

11:55that’s gonna you know and so we work together on doing it and I think

12:01sometimes with connection and connected parenting sometimes people um associate with permissive parenting

12:07and it’s definitely not like that because so much so like compared to

12:13um are we parents in the beginning sometimes we have something so structured we have very specific rules

12:19about screen times where we didn’t because our kids

12:25um they need that structure with the nurture they need like so in in our house

12:31like no unkind word is left just said

12:36who will say oh can we say that with kind words or can we say that again kindly or you know like

12:42everything actually is kind of addressed and nothing is addressed with

12:48um accusation shame or punitive like everything is addressed with we’re going to work on this we’re going to do this

12:54like we want others to do this so we’re gonna be this way or we want this of ourselves like that’s a big thing I talk

13:01with with my one son is I know you want this of yourself so then we actually have to change these behaviors so that

13:08you can have whatever it is like being a good friend or being this and so it’s no

13:13behavior that you have is vilified like even I mean and

13:19I think until you have a child with a lot of trauma I I think sometimes like

13:26your view of what is okay and what is not okay changes and so we kind of

13:31learned that like none of it like all of it’s gonna like you know later on something happens in a way that you know

13:38like like my parents could be like well that’s not okay there needs to be a straight punishment and I’m like well

13:45there needs to be some understanding why did this even happen like where did this come from like you know and

13:51and I you know I kind of went off on this whole connective parenting thing but I think what comes down to when you

13:57have a strong relationship with your kid you they

14:02listen to you and can be guided by you easier so the whole point of connection

14:08is for them to feel valued but also for them to I mean to feel valued to feel

14:14loved for who they are but also for them to really understand like how you’re guiding them as a parent

14:21and it’s like taking out like the the the fight mentality between parents and

14:27kids and the more like you know you know discipleship just discipline is like

14:33discipleship they both come from to train you know and so it’s kind of you know it goes along with that I think

Vanessa: What I’m understanding then is that connection isn’t necessarily in those big like let’s go on this trip let’s go do this it’s in the little moments it’s in like making sure you’re meeting their needs in a way that honors and respects their personality and still is within the limits and boundaries of your family correct?

Kelly: That is 100 because and ironically and I don’t know like we have a kid that has sensory issues and big trips are so overwhelming for him we’re

15:08and I’d like to tell you about like well it’s not like a mom fail but like we go

15:14every and this is like um kind of gonna like go into the Multicultural families

15:19and how that’s important you know because um we try to provide because I am a

15:26white parent of a black son I have to realize just like there’s blocks to

15:32connection like like like I’m blocked to meeting some of his

15:39needs because I’m not I don’t have a lens of seeing you know through being a

15:44black parent so like I have to do research I have to follow Listen to Black voices listen to voices

15:52um on he’s from South Africa on culture from where he’s from like I have to be intentional about that so we have always

16:00tried to do that mostly in the ways of like I think authenticity is important

16:05so mostly in the ways of relationships so we have um we have a really good friend and we always go to their Haitian

16:12New Year um which is their Haitian Independence Day which is on New Year’s Day it’s

16:18always the first generation Independence Day and they celebrate with soup which is um traditional

16:24um way to celebrate and so we always go well we went this year and

16:29um uh like it was so much bigger than normal and so like I’m like Oh my son’s gonna

16:36you know make friends like there was there was no voices age which like at this point being a boy like trumps

16:43everything so there was no boys his age only girls but I was you know like here

16:48is you know um just another and it’s something we do yearly so here’s this experience that

16:54and he was like done after five minutes and so like and he was starting to get like frustrated and like well because I

17:01also you know parents like I feel like here’s my friend we haven’t taught so long we are having this like great

17:07conversation our other friend who I hadn’t seen in years like her son had just gone to college so we were talking

17:13about you know that process and he’s just like I am all done he wouldn’t talk

17:19to anybody he was just sitting there and I was just like all right bud so what do you think can we have like five minutes

17:24or ten minutes left he’s like I need just five minutes and so we left after five minutes and so we were there for

17:30like all of 40 minutes it’s where like sometimes we can park there for hours and it was just done and so

17:37like the lens of like parenting I would been like I want to provide opportunities and relationships

17:44for you but also like at that point like like I can’t get so hung up on what I

17:51think he needs as much as like what does my kid need like I love the way you said it

17:56like honoring and respecting like where they’re at because I mean don’t isn’t that what we all want like someone to

18:03really see who we are really like value US like the good and the bad but then

18:08also on our Us in it and so it was I I can’t say I did that super cheerfully

18:14like I’m like okay when we left but like I was just like all right well like

18:19because then we have to like everyone has to leave like you know there’s not all six of us went but you know it was

18:25more than just him and I and so then everyone has to go and so it is that like balance of

18:32um yes knowing and understanding them and ending them there

18:39okay so this brings me too another question then so there are six of you you all have different needs you

18:46have to prioritize one person’s needs over the other how do you maintain connection with every like everyone

18:54you don’t and I think that’s why we say we do messy well and and honestly

19:00I mean our girls are in high school so that’s made a huge difference but like when they’re little like in the place

19:07you’re at sometimes so it’s usually like who needs immediate like regulation with

19:13a parent like who needs like code so like I’m like oh yes right and so

19:20that kind of like it’s like triage nurse like every mom is like all right I have to assess all the situation but I I mean

19:27we’ve been so blessed then I can ask my oldest um who is super laid back and chill and

19:33she’s really good of accepting like behaviors where our other one who is

19:39awesome and she’s so good at getting stuff done can sometimes be like oh no that’s Lane she’s more of an introvert

19:45like that’s a lot of feelings you know but I can send my oldest to be like can you just sit with your brother while I

19:50sit with her you know and so I have that opportunity and if I don’t we sit

19:57together and sometimes we sit in the same room or I you know like everyone’s

20:02safe and then like can everyone get back we call have you ever done like

20:08um they call like how you do your engine so like you’re flip like oh like flip

20:14your Lids like flip your legs like your brain research to that so you’re in red right we talk about yellow where you’re

20:20coming down from red but it’s really easy to be triggered you know and then there’s green and then

20:26there’s blue which is like your low energy and you’re kind of like you need like Extra Care you need to have be in

20:33the the backpack on the back you know like there’s there’s different levels so sometimes I have to be really

20:39and this is born of having done it so many times is that like if my son is you

20:45know we’re out of danger zone he’s not red he’s yellow I usually then take an

20:51opportunity for him to do something he really likes like hey you can go listen to music on my phone or you can sit in

20:57my because him trying to re-enter everyone else’s feelings right then is too much so he

21:04needs like space so I I think the answer to your question is you don’t

21:10like I don’t think there’s a possibility I think you do the best you can at every moment and I think you have put in all

21:18the time with the little moments like my husband laughs because my my boys wake

21:25up first and they just talk so like on Saturday night they talk straight there and they tell me things and sometimes

21:33it’s like the same thing over and over and over again but like I always I always make it a priority to listen and

21:40ask questions like oh I hear this I hear this and I I think what it sets it up is for the future

21:47that they’re going to talk to me because they know I’ll listen even when I listened when it was a name so when

21:52they’re older they’re I’m still going to listen to them and so I’ve put in all those moments so when all the wheels

22:00come off and everybody is flipped and like life was just hard

22:06they know they’re going to be safe they know they’re loved and so we just have to kind of get through it

22:12so we can’t I can’t prioritize it you know like um in the summer and a lot of connective

22:18parenting like I um a lot of parents parents talk about special time

22:24say they do 10 minutes of individuals so we do that on the summer on like days when they’re home so they get to pick

22:30and because we’re like the parents that don’t want those screens it’s always watch stuff on

22:35YouTube so I spend like 40 minutes even my older daughter we started when she

22:41was 15 watching Gilmore Girls Together she’s like well let’s just do 10 minutes of cover girls and I’m like okay like I

22:47like in my mind I envisioned we’re gonna do like we’re gonna go out and play or they’re gonna wanna do like a board game

22:55or do this every single one of them like 90 and I just had to let that go like I honestly think connected parenting is

23:01letting like 90 of what I pictured in my head going and just being on board and

23:06good to go with whatever as long as it’s kind safe appropriate

23:13so we kind of yeah I think connected parenting is like a bank you’re putting

23:20it in all the time so when everything goes like and you can’t prioritize

23:27it’s never gonna go so bad because you’ve already put the investment in like you’re not gonna go broke because

23:32we filled it up and so kind of like that way

23:39that’s yeah that’s so she would feel good so then when you refer to block the connection is that the same thing is

23:45triggers like the things that for us are like okay that’s okay the Buns it’s so

23:51funny and so Kevin and I had to do this like it was like a 10 week like we had to

23:57read all these books and then you went for like a three-day intensive to get trained to be the the um cultivate

24:04connection facilitators and so there was a whole week and then it turned out to

24:10actually be like a second week when they were like the way they had it was like you know how kids push your buttons well

24:16they’re your buttons so if you didn’t have those buttons there’d be nothing to push and I was like

24:24and so I was like not that like you should like be a perfect person but you

24:30need to be aware of all your buttons because when there’s a behavior I sometimes ask myself

24:36am I upset about this Behavior because it’s a behavior that you know isn’t going to be something that’s going to

24:41serve my kid later on it wouldn’t be good socially or you know it’s not okay respectfully to people you know something like that or is it just

24:48because it annoys me and then I’m like if it just annoys me I need to let that go

24:54and I I also think because I’ve I mean

25:00there’s so much on parents now that doesn’t mean you should have to listen to annoying things so like you find

25:06something that works like our one son that loves to touch things also loves to make noises and so I’m

25:12like that is so great can you do that in the family room while I’m cooking so I can you know listen to Caleb or

25:18something or you know like something where and it I think a lot of also connected parenting is like phrasing and wordy

25:25things that it doesn’t sound like oh my gosh please get away but like hey I need

25:31this you need this let’s do this you know in a way that’s different you know so yes I feel like a

25:39lot of it is the triggers that like that we’ve had to work on and like your own

25:44trauma and it comes and it can come you know in ways that you didn’t even

25:51know it like if in school you tended to not

25:56be what you thought was cool or like maybe you felt like you weren’t social like or anything and then your kid

26:03rejects you like no I want Daddy to put my vet to bed you can sometimes hurt a wound that you had from a kid that you

26:10didn’t even realize you had it wasn’t a big trauma it just happened to be maybe that you were more on the you know Shire

26:16side of things and I don’t like the label kitchen but like you as a you know intentionally you know and then all of a

26:22sudden like you know you’re feeling this rejection and then it feels like a rejection again and you’re like no at

26:28the moment like maybe daddy is reading a book with words like with a good voice or something you know you have no idea

26:34and when you have two little boys nobody knows what they’re thinking like

26:40I mean sometimes they do but sometimes you’re just like I don’t know and so like really like oh that was probably

26:46just me and being able to like think about that recognize it and move on and stop putting stuff on our kids

26:53like their behavior a lot of times it’s their behavior but like sometimes it’s just our perception

26:59of their behavior so I think one thing I really struggled with when the girls were little was being embarrassed like I

27:06think because I was raised by my dad like being a really good mom was something that I really wanted

27:12like really badly so then sometimes I’d be embarrassed and then I don’t think I parented my best self when I was being

27:18embarrassed and so now we can have like all our tantrums and I’m like I know it

27:23stinks we can’t get that and I’m like I’ll just sit here with you let me know when we’re gonna go on and we’re just sitting and people can think what they

27:29think because you know like that was you know that my kid is having a hard time

27:34I don’t need anyone else to like I can’t let other people make me have a hard

27:40time because I need to be there for my kid and be the one that can help him regulate or her regulate so that we can

27:46you know move on with the rest of our day and so I really had to like shut that down yeah

27:52I think there is that stigma at least I’m I felt it too with my with my oldest

27:58like oh if he does something bad then I’m a bad mom and it has nothing to do with it he’s a human person I am my own

28:05person he has bad days I have bad days at the end right and it’s so funny and I

28:10think like I think parenting is so stressful now

28:16because there’s just so much out there to know right and so then being someone that wants to be like you

28:23know educated and you want to do all those things but nobody can do all those things like you can’t do everything so you just

28:31have to you know be as real as you can be and and be okay with that

28:36and so yeah I can’t remember where I heard this but someone was saying and as

28:42long as you get 60 percent you’re good you you’ve succeeded and I was like oh that’s that’s still feeling

28:48I can do that right right yeah no it is so funny we were driving

28:56to my daughter’s field hockey practice yesterday and it’s like far away at night and um

29:02she’s really like she just gets good grades and she really cares and she was like head she’s like I have to go home

29:08when we go home it’ll be late and she’s like well I have to study and I was like babe like do you really have to study is

29:13it a big deal like she’s like yeah but it’s towards the end of the semester I need and I was like I don’t actually

29:19care with your grade she’s like I know you guys never care about the grades you I was totally wasted on you guys with

29:24being such a good student I was like babe maybe having the freedom to be who you

29:30are just helped you have good grades and she’s like honestly that’s it but like you know what I mean like I feel like

29:37I feel like as I’ve had in each new kid I have let

29:42more go like you’re talking about the six percent I have let like I used to hold the line here and I I really think

29:48I probably was a helicopter parent and then like you have this and then this and as I’ve let more go I feel like my

29:55kids have felt more free to like be who they are and so 60 sounds good

30:03I feel like we all are safe everyone knows they’re loved and everyone eats

30:10Foods so everyone’s alive and love to the end you’re good it’s so funny when

30:16we first like did our training it was all like oh my goodness how often or is it just that my kids are hungry

30:22like if we have like an open policy like my big thing is we have lots of food allergies in our house we have a gluten

30:30dairy-free child and a gluten corn-free child but so like we just like say you

30:35can have anything you want but if you have like an unhealthy treat you also have to have a healthy one so like yeah you can have the granola

30:42bars but like then have some carrots like you know just take the next one then take something and then you can have another one right after like and so

30:49we felt like we were always like food was always available but sometimes they don’t even think that they need food

30:55like no I think you need a meat stick like they ate a bunch of sugar and

31:00they’re crashing and they just ate so they’re not hungry but they’re crashing right right all the time

31:07yeah like this is like every healthy like option they picked was like like a high sheer fruit like a banana and then

31:13an apple and then an orange and so like everyone is like yes we my husband and I our new thing I’d say like within the

31:20last year is like speaking out loud to ourselves we’ll be like oh

31:26I’m starting to get cranky maybe I need to drink something or like because like

31:31our pins are they’re all done with the connected parent lingo they’re all done

31:36with like oh I see that you’re upset do you think you know like so now we start

31:42saying it to ourselves and hoping that like them hearing it like you know is we still use the lingo with

31:49them but we try to say things different ways and and so now it’s caused us to talk to ourselves

31:56but that’s a great tactic because there’s yes it’s not like directed at them but it’s still like um she might be

32:02right I’m just one wondering like oh I’m really wondering if I should call my friend I haven’t talked to them in a

32:09while I should keep up the relation you know like you’re just like mine I don’t know how your boys are but

32:16I guess this is true of my girls too they love to be the expert

32:22so like if I ask them for advice that’s like that’s like a connection win every time like oh man I am struggling with

32:29this can you help me fix it like that’s always a perfect thing so we’ll ask them questions

32:36you need to try that let’s think that’s he does want to be right

32:41and and for my husband too one of his tricks

32:47trigger me right you know like and so oh right and so then you have to be like this is what I always I remember talking

32:55to a parent that was in our class and I’m like guess what you actually have all the power

33:00they can’t like get food they can’t drive you literally are in control so anything you give out think of it as you

33:07being magnanimous like don’t act like it but like if it needs to like help you be right be like I’m being right because

33:14I’m sharing this power with them or I’m being you know like I had to like like you’re still like in control you’re

33:22handing it out and so because it’s a mind chip sometimes so yeah

33:29yeah that’s true that’s a good point so you alluded to this a little bit but um in Stanley’s way let’s say there are

33:36different cultures or yeah different cultural backgrounds how do you provide that connection with

33:44each culture that makes up your family and I think it’s actually super important because well and I think it’s

33:52very important in like a situation where not every culture is represented by a

33:57parent you know that it’s really important to have like other like adults that can

34:03represent that culture in a relationship in your family like I think that’s really important

34:09um I think it’s like we said 60 like you do the best you can so like I feel like the thing that’s most

34:15helpful is following and supporting voices and

34:21people that represent the cultures that we find Value because that’s the only way I can find out about opportunities

34:28like we’ve talked I follow um the culturally fluent families

34:33with Valerie like like listening and constantly being hearing you know

34:40um I can like research you know different things but

34:48unless I’m hearing voices I don’t know what I’m missing like I had to tell my son like in the black community like

34:56we always put on our cream you know like we always have to do that before we go out like like that you know

35:03like and we talk about like in the community and it’s funny I follow this woman um

35:09raising culturalist families she is um she was a

35:14foster mom and I had followed her but she’s and now she’s you know an adoptive

35:20mom and she is a black mom with a white son she has four kids but and she talks

35:27about the cultural differences and every morning her son puts on his cream and he

35:33does his hair and these are things that are passed down to him because of her culture and because

35:40like I don’t have that experience I won’t be able to pass on that culture to

35:46my son so the only way to do that is have an understanding in a like a real

35:52way of understanding of what it would look like what’s important what you know what will you need to know like and just

35:59giving him like value not just the tools to like hey you know like you need to do this

36:06you need to do this because this is important in the black community but also like for him to have pride and

36:11value in it and see that we have prior to value in it and some we follow links I actually fall

36:18and I love her her name’s Leslie it’s um latinx parenting have you ever heard

36:23of it he’s on Instagram I don’t I did find the culturally families has a a

36:29Latin group and these groups are so good I learned so much from them but I don’t think I found Leslie I’ll have to look

36:35that one up so it’s um it’s I’ll send it to you but it’s latinx parenting and it’s end

36:50yeah and so like our values line up her and I because she’s very connected in

36:56her parenting but hers is through the lens of how she also has the lens of her culture in it and how that affects then

37:03you know what it would look like to parent and so um like following people and listening

37:09you know to different cultures helps me try to be a better thing but again

37:14like I can’t use every you know like it’s all about

37:19like like I think and always being open and the thing that like Valerie talks

37:25about in the culturally influent families is like not to send her myself I think sometimes as a mom and I think

37:31just like like the guilt and fear and shame and also knowing that like I am

37:39I am my son’s mom but he needs more than I can offer you know

37:46and and understanding and so not centering myself in it so that it’s like well I did this and I did this as much

37:53as like you know we were doing this this didn’t work or this didn’t work or this worked and and then continually have to

38:02go back to listen to um from people that have the same ones he has and trying to help him have that as

38:10much as possible

38:16if we’re being honest I think all of us all of our kids do more than just one person can offer so

38:23right well and I think it’s more like I sometimes feel like as a mom like I want

38:28to be able to like not that I could ever do it on my own but like knowing that you know there’s a loss there like no

38:35matter what like not only you know is there a loss of his

38:41birth mom where you grieve the actual loss of a person but a loss of a culture

38:46and a racial identity that I don’t want him to lose so I want to do everything I can but

38:51knowing that I’m not the best person for it I just have to keep have to keep learning and growing in

38:58that to offer him the best I can in it

Vanessa: Another thing that I really admire about your family is how good you guys are at connection and community with other people how can you talk about why/how that started? Why you started prioritizing connection with your community and how you guys do that?

Kelly: So we always do it in well I mean we’re big on like

39:29wherever you are like you need to be there like and I think it comes because we feel connection so important so we

39:36we’re the parent the like the parents that we’re the family that like talks to the neighbors and tries to like you know

39:41go and like be in community and we’ve been blessed to be in

39:48um a couple of things when our kids were younger that were so strong on community

39:54and so we try to adopt that like um I think sometimes white culture can

40:01be very independent and like like in a bubble and what you do here in your house and I mean part of

40:09like you know where like if you think of African culture like it’s very communal

40:16and so trying and you know um we you

40:21know trying to make sure that we’re always in a community where it would be easier to just like hang out together

40:28you know like trying to reach out to do that and to so that that’s something that our kids will do when they’re older

40:34but we always do the other thing is like our kids are

40:40you know they have a lot of um like all their needs are met

40:45and so it’s really important to us that they say so you know much was given like

40:51hey we have to give back in any way that we can and so um and not just like give back but to

40:58like understand and know what you’re going to so we usually pick an organization that we’re supporting

41:03and we’d have a big event so every Christmas we have like an ornament making and so

41:09um like we did one year Justice Rising which is an organization

41:16um specifically to help uh stop child um like armies like in some countries

41:22where children are kind of you know and so we you know learned about it and

41:29talked about you know what that looks like and sometimes it blows our kids Minds like

41:34they can’t even wrap their mind of what that would be like and so I feel like

41:40it’s those conversations and understanding that’s really important so we’ll do that and then we try and invite

41:46our friends over and they’ll donate to the cause well we’ll have like so like ornament making we have like about 60

41:52people and they come and we put out all the stuff to make ornaments and it makes a big mess and they pain and they do

41:58that and then we give like little tags that says hey this room was made with a donation to and then they’ll say about

42:04organization’s name and they give it up and so you know our kids are kind of just I mean we’ve done it every year for

42:0912 years except kovid we were in our garage and we handed out little bags to

42:15people but like just kind of the whole um like

42:20like I want them to feel empowered and so like you are in this world and you know

42:27when you’re a kid you’re kind of self-centered you can’t I mean when you’re an adult you’re kind of self-centered but like when you’re a kid

42:33like you really only see you know so like hoping them to see like I want them to know you’re powerful like look you

42:40can do this thing and it may just be a small thing but then it can help this person and that could be something that can help that person so we’ll do that

42:46and then we do a kindness in the summer and it’s like kind of the same thing we have an activity where there’s Community because we invite people and it’s always

42:53great when people come that we don’t know like a friend will bring a friend and we’re like hey hey like yo it’s nice

42:59to meet you and so then like then they come and they’re part of it and so

43:05um we want our kids to know they’re not an island but also know that like they’re

43:11strong and powerful and so the things they do can affect the world and so we do it in ways like where it’s Community

43:17related that they’re able to do and able to handle

43:22um so how what made you guys decide to start doing that like when when we first moved

43:30back we lived in well we moved back to like we lived in Norristown but we had to move away to Virginia for one year

43:36for my husband’s work and we came back our girls were around five and three you know like yeah like

43:44somewhere around five and three or six and four and because we had lived in Virginia we had like no we had like my

43:51in-laws but we didn’t have like a community and so we had missed all of our friends that we had been in

43:56communities so when we moved back to Norristown we started it and we just invited everybody and at the time we had

44:04a friend um she runs an organization in Rwanda where she supports artists so then we

44:09you know raised all the money for her and then we were like oh well the next year let’s do it for this organization or this organization and I think

44:17and especially for um depending on the kid like they each love

44:24a different aspect of it and so it’s a great connecting activity because they all have a part in it and it’s something

44:30that’s I really am a big fan of traditions like not like like or rituals

44:36like something that kids do like a lot of times what they remember is the things you do all the time not like the

44:42specific moments but like every year you know we always like well we always have

44:48one of making or you know you like for the for everybody’s birthday they have to sit there and everyone else tells the

44:55things they love about you you know like all those things I think are what really you know makes them anchored and be like

45:01I’m part of this family like this is the things we do all the time and so

45:06um I felt like we started it thinking you know it would be this one thing we

45:11would do for our friend and we could see all the friends we haven’t seen because we just moved back and then it turned

45:17into a community and more and and it turned into tradition we have a friend and his kids her son doesn’t come

45:24anymore but her daughter is like 16. and she’s like well this is on our list of

45:29activities to do every Christmas you know so it’s you know and they don’t we we moved and they moved so like it’s

45:35like a 40 minute job you know so like it’s nice that like um I feel like that connection

45:43that we now have with these families because I think there’s something about when you serve together like there’s

45:49like a bond and like when I say serve I’m saying that Loosely like they’re literally making ornaments and it’s fun

45:55and like at this time our one son was so excited because they played downstairs in the basement like the whole time so

46:01it was like a big play date with all of his you know friends so like it’s just that it’s a strengthening but knowing

46:08why you do it they all know why they do it there is that sense of being connected to us but I want them to feel

46:14connected to the world feel connected to other people like not like it’s just us we do things just for us and you know

46:20kind of movies which I think can be a very American type thinking and so growing up American

46:27like you know I want to reach out past that and still

46:32give them that opportunity and so easy to do like it just takes

46:39planning and intentionality and yeah I think it helps for us because we love

46:46crafting but it doesn’t have to be that so like our summer activities like one year we

46:52had our actually our first summer of kindness we um had everyone bring food for the food pantry and then we had like

47:00we called it the Family diner and we served hot dogs and mac and cheese and stuff so like we set up all these tables

47:07and then we brought out and cookies and cakes and stuff and we like the kids

47:13served them and then the other kids just played in the backyard and it was such a great it’s such like a a fun thing and I’m not

47:21a great cook but I’m sure like if if your passion is cooking then that would be such a great way for you to

47:28connect I do think there’s something like there’s joy in the delighting of

47:33like who someone is so like if your kid is Crafty like doing crafts like talks

47:40to their soul you know like it’s more of a connection and like if your kid is like the nature kid even if you’re not

47:46if you do that that is such a connecting activity because it’s not just spent time but it’s really seeing them for who

47:53they are and valuing that and I always I like to say it’s like the art of delighting in your child like

48:00singing them and choosing to love that person even if it’s different than you

48:09and like you said doing things even if that’s not what you expected like sitting and watching TV for your fun day

48:14right exactly like that but I do think if you’re gonna do something like like a big event definitely do something that’s

48:21in your wheeled house because then it’s like giving to you too I think sometimes as a mom you also have to remember like

48:29if you are and I think that’s why the triggers are so important if you’re

48:34worn down or exhausted or you don’t feel seen or

48:40heard it’s hard to then give that space for your kids to have you know issues

48:46because you’re already at like this level so like doing things and being aware of that and then doing things that

48:52make sure also feed into you I think is important to

48:57I feel like patience is born out of like a full cup and and honestly like I don’t know when

49:03the last yesterday was that a full cup but usually you know we’re we’re running at like you know not a whole cup so if

49:10things start like pouring out your bucket then you really need to take time to do that

49:15and have a community to help you do that or and I’m and I’m a big fan of this

49:20like like we’re pretty struck about screen time but like we got it was we got covered like before

49:28there was vaccines so like in March of 2021 I have a medicine that’s got coven and

49:35the kids like one or one son didn’t get it at all which is crazy because I fed him you know that our other son got it

49:42but was completely asymptomatic and then our two girls were sick for like I’m gonna say like two days my husband

49:48and I were sick for like a week and a half so like we let them watch TV we let

49:54them draw like it was like No Holds bar like haven’t and sometimes like I feel like that’s just necessary like we had

50:00zero to give like we would get up I would make sure they were fed I would let them lay with me you know like there

50:06was no you know like we could do anything you want like I think

50:12um when you have like certain things like sometimes you just have to let anything be in a way so that you can get

50:19back to who you are and I think kids know like like none of our kids were like

50:26like if even if like we’re having a tough day or a sad day or something like we could do something a little bit

50:32different our kids know that’s not the way it’s always going to be they’re not like I know sometimes parents are like well if I let them do it once then

50:38they’re always going to want to do it and be like you can say we’re just gonna do this today because I feel this and sometimes you’ll get a kid that’d be

50:44like I’m really sad today Mom I might need to watch TV and depending on the

50:50kid at the time or whatever you could be like all right well maybe I can’t watch TV but do you want to sit in my lap and I’ll read you a book you know what I

50:56mean like when you say those words like hey we need to do this because it’s just a tough day or I have this then your kid

51:03can then like they get to negotiate their needs like hey and and it’s funny

51:09because sometimes parents are like well why are you upset but like I feel like you know their whole life is like at

51:15school like some kid could have said something mean or you know some they could be worried about something you

51:20don’t know and so I mean I I guess it could become a thing where they’re

51:26always upset at something but then like I realized like oh well you know you need time then

51:32I I think sometimes because America is such an individually like listic Society we see

51:40kids sometimes being as manipulative but really all they want is connection

51:45like their behavior is seeing if they can try to get you to be with them like they’ll say oh that’s just attention

51:51seeking yeah it’s potentially seeking because their body’s saying they need attention so maybe you know they’re

51:57asking for it in a way that’s not okay so you don’t let that happen but he says oh it looks like you really just need to

52:03be with me right now like let’s go do this or let’s go for a walk and so I think changing that

52:10um mindset can help us parents be less full because if you see it as a tension

52:15seeking in a negative way that will empty your bucket because you start to go down the circle of oh my gosh I’m not

52:22doing a good job with my kids look oh they’re they’re being selfish or something but they’re not they’re being

52:27wanting to be loved and here look they’re trying to negotiate their need by trying to get that feeling right now

52:33so like if if I can change that view of it then I can change how I respond and

52:38then I don’t get as exhausted from it because I see it for what it is like you know like sometimes I need to get a hug

52:44from my husband you know like I just go you know it’s like the kids are the same way and so

52:50I think um helps everything I think is kind of a

52:56belief mindset and so I think that’s why it’s really important in Multicultural families because you have to take into account your culture and what your culture like what you’ve learned from your culture and then how that then causes you to interact with other people

53:13so like if you’re you know like it’s the same in relationships right like

53:19I have a friend and our cultures are different and so we learn often

53:25different things from each other she didn’t you know she came to America when she was in college

53:31the like sense of time sense of time for her it’s very much like well this

53:38section of my day finishes when it’s finished not at like five o’clock when

53:43we were still doing this thing so then I didn’t come until seven o’clock and so like that whole concept is new to me

53:51but like so I I feel like when you’re a multicultural family it doesn’t change the fact that kids

53:58have needs that need to be met and we need to connect with them by Meeting those needs but also then realizing you

54:04know what culture am I bringing to them what culture do I you know want to give to them and how does that affect how we

54:09need needs and how we see how they’re asking for those needs and we don’t have to pay to pass down

54:16the culture we were given we we can we can think and choose and make changes

54:22based on what we learn from our kids cultures from other cultures like you said we can’t do all the things but you

54:27have your core family values that can guide you and help you to do that

Vanessa: If I’m not mistaken I think you use scrapbooking as a connection tool in a way?

Kelly: we talked about like passions I and it was like by chance well it’s not by chance I should

54:52totally give the credit where credit’s due I always did love crafting so I had scrapbooked but our son came to us at

54:59age of six and his child care facility um when you know we stayed there for six

55:07weeks with them they gave us a scrapbook this thick it’s like this by this of his whole life

55:14from three to from like three months old so right right until we you know brought

55:21him home and I can tell you the blessing that it is they also gave us a zip drive

55:27so we made him another book because it’s getting fragile because of how much so like we printed him out a book that we

55:32just made with all the same pictures and so like it is a blessing to him all the time

55:39like it is a um like a regulating um connecting activity for him to sit

55:44and look at it see pictures of him as a baby connect to that um I always say like you ever look at

55:52your kids when they’re sleeping and they’re you’re like oh my gosh that’s magical like look at that like it

55:58doesn’t matter what happened at the day they’re just so precious like when they’re sleeping they’re like oh my goodness I feel like a scrapbooking as a

56:06mom or dad is powerful for you as it’s a connecting to you because you see these moments of

56:13your kid like when your kid is having a tough time it can make you have a tough time you see these moments that helps

56:19you remember like this was wonderful or my kid is such a good big brother and

56:24you can see evidence of it and you see pictures of it and you’re living it all the time A lot of times trauma affects

56:31um the memory part of your brain um sometimes you have children that need to have a story repeated a couple of

56:36times sometimes you have kids that because of trauma can and some people

56:42will see it lying and you have to kind of address the line part but sometimes it’s just fantasizing because they’ve lived in a fantasy you

56:49know land a lot as they you know as they’ve been without someone to connect

56:54to and they’re you know doing that it helps a child feel like like it’s it um

57:02like cements their memories like they may forget something but then they see it again and they see it again and they

57:07see it again and they’re like oh I am part of this family I am loved we do fun things you know we do silly things we do

57:15things like there’ll be pictures of us when like you know like never anything that’s embarrassing you know never

57:22anything but like there’ll be times when like we had a hard time so like people look sad but we’re all just laying

57:28together you know like things of like reminders like our kids know we do stuff together if we

57:36are a value that we have is being together and so we look through these books and it really helps so most of

57:42like so like the connection keeping most of it is and I took um the shop down

57:49because I’m working on a different way like I created a way so any parent can kind of like

57:54be a scrapbook like just using like free Adobe and they can click on put a picture and you know but I’m kind of

58:00revamping it um right now but that’s my passion but on the website connection keeping I made

58:06a whole bunch of um I call it the connection kit and so it’s just a free printable and if you go under like gift

58:13keeping and you go into um and it’s under parenting and then you do printable prancing things I made like 30

58:20little activities you could do that take like a couple minutes and you do them with the kids and you print them out and

58:25then you get a shoe box and you look whatever like sometimes you might need a Band-Aid or you know Q-tips or combos

58:31whatever you need and you stick them in the box and then when you want to have time especially with your kidney you don’t know what to do you can just take

58:37out one of the activities and so you reread it and you’re like my kid would not like that and you kind of go through it and figure out what would be good you

58:44know what is something that actually would work and so um we you know do those things we do

58:49these connected times and then we take pictures of it and then we put them in our scrapbook so we have like

58:56oh no we from 2015 so seven scrapbooks for each

59:01year from 2015 on and so we kind of you know that’s something we value and it’s

59:07something that’s been a blessing for the kids but it is also something for me that I enjoy and I find that when

59:13we’re not doing it like I it always reminds me of all the things I love about my hair which is nice you know

59:20it’s like every morning you’re like oh I love this stuff again sometimes those reminders are helpful in our

59:26helping us to be our best parents you’re very true very true but where you

59:32mentioned a little bit but where can people find you find that um principal is

59:38so it’s www.connectionkeeping.com and when you

59:43go there it’ll have like some ideas and it’ll talk a lot about scrapbooking but like across the top on the menu one of

59:50them says parenting and if you click that there’ll be a drop down and one will say printable connecting ones

59:56um one of them in there is called parenting untips so

1:00:01um originally when I started is I create all these activities you could do with your kid I’ll also send it to you it’s just like

1:00:08a PDF of like and this one was like all outdoor activities and so like it would just be like ways to have fun times with

1:00:15your kid like some things you do and then it would be ways to like memory keep it but the one thing that we

1:00:21learned um and the thing is it doesn’t matter what you’re doing it’s kind of how you do it so like if you are

1:00:29teaching your kid like how to make a fire or something and it’s something you learned and then but there’s so much

1:00:34like anxiety about it because it’s a fire and they can get hurt and you spend the whole time being like don’t do that

1:00:39don’t do that you have to do it this way then it’s not actually a connecting activity there’s teaching times like

1:00:45sometimes you have to teach your kids stuff but there’s connection time where you like you kind of have to like enjoy

1:00:52each other so just like the parenting and tips are kind of ways to do it like if you look at like my personal social

1:00:59media I very rarely actually post pictures of my kids because two of them loves to have their

1:01:05picture posts so I tried it but two of them don’t and so I want to respect that like I wanted them to respect themselves

1:01:12when they get older and how they take care of their pictures and how they use them online so I can you know everyone

1:01:18thinks their kids are the cutest I would love to post like many pictures of my children but like

1:01:25it’s very you know like that’s what they feel and I should

1:01:30respect and honor them in that way so I make the Scrapbook and I got the book so you can look at it I can look at it so

1:01:39that’s great well thank you very very much for all this information

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