'Talk To Your Kids So They Don't Feel Bugged' with Kaela Austin

By Kaela Austin
WebMD Live Events Transcript

Marriage, family, and child counselor and talk show host Kaela Austin will offer practical advice about how parents can understand and communicate with their children.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Event_Moderator Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we will be discussing "How To Talk To Your Children So They Don't Feel Bugged," with Kaela Austin.

Kaela Austin is a licensed marriage family and child counselor. She was the former membership chair for the Los Angeles chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Austin was the director of outpatient services for Charter Hospital in Hermosa Beach, California, where she specialized in the treatment of sexual and physical abuse, child abuse and substance abuse. She has previously been the supervisor of clinical group programming and the marketing coordinator of marriage family and child counselors for the women's program at Pine Grove Hospital in Canoga Park, California. She was the program director at Cold Water Canyon Hospital, a non-profit psychiatric facility, and was a participant in the Los Angeles-based Santa Monica Superior Court Program in conjunction with numerous judges and probation officers pertaining to battered women. Austin has been quoted in L.A. Parent magazine, Ms. magazine and "Home Show," "The Suzanne Sommers Show" and KIEV Talk Radio's "Straight Talk with Kaela Austin." Austin can be reached by e-mail at: toparent@aol.com.

Kaela, welcome to the show.

Kaela_Austin Thank you. It's nice to be here again.

Event_Moderator {question presented} Why do parents typically have difficulty talking with their children?

Kaela_Austin Parents have difficulty talking with their children, because when they were children themselves, they most probably had difficulty talking with their parents. There is a tendency to do what was done to you in the way it was done to you. That's the bad news. We can change it. That's the good news. Most adults who were children in the 1950s on up were parented by people who were never permitted to identify their needs and their feelings. In those days, it was considered back talk. In those days, when a child spoke up, and I'm talking about your parents, when these parents of yours, my mother, Allison's mother, Phoebe's mother, when these parents spoke up to their parents simply to say how they were feeling, simply to say what they may have wanted, they might have been slapped across the face with the back of a hand and heard "don't talk back to me young lady/man....and go to your room, we don't talk like that in this family." What happens to those feelings of frustration, hurt and anger? Those parents grow up and they're holding within them resentment, anger and frustration. They take it out in the strangest ways. Sometimes they hurt little children. Sometimes they kick the copy machine because it isn't giving copies fast enough. And sometimes they pick up a weapon and destroy a total stranger's life.

Event_Moderator {question presented} What steps can parents, whose own experiences growing up were unstable or uncommunicative, take to break the cycle and communicate effectively with their own children?

Kaela_Austin I'm really glad to hear somebody ask that question. I would really like to interact with you in person. But, I will tell you this much. Since the early 1960s, there have been small groups of people gathering together who have this idea that we have to take parenting from the amateur job and part-time work that it has become to a professional status. These people are called Parent Educators. They work all over the world, all over the U.S., and they are available if you want to find them. And, we must create arenas and venues for people who have studied how to be professional parents to teach us the effective communication that I teach. One of the things you and others may do is listen to my radio show called "A License To Parent with Kaela Austin." It is on AM870 KIEV at 7:00 PM (PST) on Sunday night. And it can be logged on at: www.870AM.com.

Let me share something with you users. A year and a half ago I was a semi-retired person, playing golf twice a week and loving it. I was interacting and playing with my new grandson and loving it. And then, suddenly came shootings in Philadelphia between children, shootings in Atlanta of a child against another child, the Columbine caper, Oklahoma City, and I could no longer sit by semi-retired when I know how to teach parents to talk to their children, and how to teach children to talk to their parents, so that both can feel heard. I am doing WebMD. I am doing seminars. I am working with the Los Angeles Family Magazine. I am doing some pal work with them and writing some work with them. They are a very serious magazine and are one of the best resources for services, information and products. I am very proud to be connected with Los Angeles Family Magazine. And I'm not going to stop talking to anybody in any place that will listen to me so that we can stop the violence, stop the anger and deal with it. And I'm not talking about motivation. I don't do motivation seminars. I do real "how to" seminars. Margaret Mead said we must create new paradigms to teach not what to learn, but how to learn. That's what I do. I teach real "how to," and I'm going to teach it until the day I die. You keep asking your questions, and as long as there is a breath in me I will answer them.