Sharoya Ham is a behaviour change specialist and founder of Embrace Behavior Change. She is also a licensed teacher with over 25 years of experience working with at-risk students and their families. Her favourite career, however, was as a stay-at-home mom. She attributes her three amazing sons who are now 18, 20, and 23 for teaching her endless lessons about parenting. Sharoya is an American who hails from the state of New Jersey. Over the past 15 years, she and her husband and their three sons have lived in six African countries. Sharoya’s husband travelled a lot over the years so she knows what it is like to be home alone with the children.
In this Episode:
- Sharoya’s general approach: working with parents at their wit’s end when nothing works to see relationships transform.
- Acknowledging what is going right and creating a vision.
- Embracing your own behaviour changes.
- Building what we want to see in our children in five/ten years from now. The difference between a compliment and building confidence.
- Focusing on positive behaviours
- Sharoya’s personal journey
- Recognising it is a lot! We keep asking our bodies and emotions more than they can handle.
- What dads say about parenting
- How we can invite our travelling partners to parent.
Resources mentioned in the Episode:
1. Personal permission card set “I give myself permission to …”
2. Marco Polo app
Website: Embrace Behavior Change
Facebook: Embrace Behavior Change
Twitter: Sharoya Ham
Rhoda Bangerter (00:06):
Welcome to Holding the Fort Abroad. The podcast for expats with travelling partners. My name is Rhoda Bangerter. I'm a certified coach and the author of the book “Holding the Fort Abroad. In this podcast, I interview men and women who live abroad and have travelling partners so that we can all benefit from their wisdom and experience. I also invite relationship experts to apply their expertise to this topic today. My guest is Sharoya Ham. Sharoya is a Behavior Change specialist and founder of Embrace Behavior Change. She's also a licensed teacher with over 25 years of experience working with at risk students and their families. Her favorite career, however, was as a stay-at-home mom. She attributes her three amazing sons who are now 18,20 and 23 for teaching her endless lessons about parenting. She also lived in six different countries. Sharoya welcome to the show. Welcome
Sharoya Ham (01:20):
Thank you so much. You know what, as you are saying, your surname Bangerter. . Bangerter. Is that how you pronounce it? Yes. Cool. I've been mispronouncing it all this time, I am delighted to be here with you today. Thank you so much for inviting me to share with you and your audience.
Rhoda Bangerter (01:43):
Well, thank you so much. I'm looking forward to talking with you about your perspective. You work with families to embrace behavior change. First, I'd like to hear from you about your general approach and then a little bit about your personal journey. And then I'd love to look specifically at how parents who are in different locations can work with you and can parent together. So can you tell us a little bit more about how your work with families and your approach of embracing behavior change?
Sharoya Ham (02:19):
Sure. You know, I love to work with parents who are at their wits end. I am the parent coach, not for the parents who just want to get better and learn all of these great techniques, there's place for that. But then there needs to be someone for the parents who are just overwhelmed, and they don't know where to start. And that is where I like to come in and help parents with behavioral issues. You know, for parents who are just frustrated of trying, they keep yelling, they keep punishing and nothing is working. I also work with parents whose children are not doing well in school, they are constantly trying to motivate their kids, having homework wars every night and they just can't figure out what to do. I work with those families as well. And then I think, one of my greatest benefits or just joys of working with families is to see how relationships transform.
I know there are many families who are struggling to love and like each other and some parents live in shame because they do not like their children. And there's nothing to be ashamed about. These are, we all have, challenges that we must go through, but it is all workable. It is all repairable. And so that is the journey I take parents on. To walk through these challenges step by step and how I do it is just simple three steps. N ber one, I welcome parents into a safe and calm space where we just take a time to acknowledge what is going right. Just one thing, if they can acknowledge one thing that's going right, then we begin to build that moment we need for optimism and energy to get through the next steps. That is so important.
Sharoya Ham (04:27):
I just invite parents in and let them know, this is not going to be a journey about doing more. It is going to be a time where you reflecting, appreciate what you're already doing well, and then we move on to step two, which is just to figure out: “why am I even doing this? Why am I parenting? Why did I choose to be a parent? And what do I hope my child will take away from this time with me?” So creating a vision based on your values and what you want long term for your child. Once we get that down and identified, that becomes the compass for which everything you know arranged around like your behavior changes because it's all about you embracing behavior change, not about getting your child to change. I guarantee you, if you embrace the behavior changes that are in line with your vision and values, your child will change.
Sharoya Ham (05:38):
It is just definitely going to happen. And so the last step is also one of my favorites and that is being your accountability partner. Just helping parents to implement those changes that they have agreed to, and then cheering them on. I just love it because progress does not happen unless you recognize when you're making it. Sometimes we tend to be bullies: We just go: “you did do that three times this week, but you should have done it seven times.” No, in parent coaching, what I do is help parents to acknowledge: “you did do it three more times than you did last week and we're going to celebrate that.”
Rhoda Bangerter (06:28):
That's brilliant. And that's what I loved when we were working with you because my husband and I worked with you. We'll talk a little bit more about that later, because we were in two different places when we worked with you. Actually the three of us were on three different time zones, which was quite extraordinary. We appreciated that very much, the encouragement that we received from you. But coming back to your second point, what you're saying is, is that it's the parent who's going to change their behavior
Sharoya Ham (07:07):
Yes. Before I go there, I want just say it was just a joy. I never worked with anyone who was in the time zone where it was a half an hour off.
Rhoda Bangerter (07:18):
Sharoya Ham (07:19):
It was always interesting. And when we would need to rearrange a session of making sure we're all talking about the same time that was a challenge, but we succeeded in that. It was just a delight to work with you too because you are so committed to what I'm about to talk about. And that is embracing your own behavior changes. You know? So often you hear the quote, you teach people how to treat you and the way you do that is by your own behavior, demanding from them, how they are to treat you. But if they treat you poorly, then you remove yourself away from them. Or there's very limited words. That's how you respond to someone who is not showing respect to you. You don't demand respect. And so I'm always trying to help parents understand: “what behavior you wish for them to show up more?”. And of course, we have to be the example.
Sharoya Ham (08:35):
You know, if you want respectful behavior, are you as the parent being respectful? But most of all, I try to take it away from just the immediate behavior you see today and connect it to what you want to see 10 and 15 years from now. So if you want to see a confident child, then when you wake up in the morning, you're already thinking about: “where I can interject some things in the day to build my child's confidence?” And once that positive energy and moment begins to occur, problem behavior automatically decreases. And I say to parents, the quickest way to change negative behavior is to focus on positive. When we are caught up and we don't have time to think and reflect on what our children are doing well, we stay in the cycle of always criticizing. And we tend to think that we encourage more than we criticize. But studies have shown, I think out of eight times of an interaction with kids, we tend to criticize five times out of those eight. What I try to ask parents to do is flip it, do not criticize until you encourage your child or acknowledge something they've done right. Five times.
Sharoya Ham (10:21):
Before you start saying what you didn't do.
Rhoda Bangerter (10:24):
Okay. So you're not saying: “speak the reality into the child” in the sense that, you know, you want them to be confident but they're not really confident and so you say: “you are so confident today”. You're not saying that. You're saying you see something that the child is doing well, and you tell them
Sharoya Ham (10:48):
And you build it up. Okay. You build them up. Let me just be more practical here. Let's talk about a chore, like taking out the garbage. Some of our kids do follow that. They take out the garbage, but maybe they leave their room messy, but you want to acknowledge what they are doing well in consistency. And here's how you do it. You simply say to them: “you know what, I've been watching you. And I appreciate that you have been responsible in taking out the garbage. Why? Because it makes our family go smoother.” You see? You are letting him know that he's being responsible. You're letting them know that's character development. You're also letting him know that they are adding value to your family. And I think this is what is so important. That's the difference between just a compliment and building confidence.
Rhoda Bangerter (11:51):
We have already dived into the subject big time but can you tell us a little bit about your own journey so that listeners can know a little bit about you. That you are speaking from experience also as an expat, as someone who's lived in other countries.
Sharoya Ham (12:11):
Yes. Well, I want to start with why I do what I do because I grew up with a father who struggled with alcoholism and I tell you, even now, I still struggle with the trauma, that brings with low self-esteem. Being very unsure and untrusting of myself as well as others, because I'm not sure of the expectations that they'll have of me or what I can expect of them. So I knew what it was to grow up with a parent whose behavior wasn't the greatest. But I also know that if he had the resources to improve himself, he probably would've tapped into it. And so my goal and my mission is really to help parents to demonstrate love in a practical way. What does it sound like? So love does not sound abusive in your words.
Sharoya Ham (13:20):
So my goal is to help you embrace change, if you're struggling in that area, there's no shame, but there is a way you can change. And so I'm encouraging parents to do that. Your love, it's not communicated when you are beating your child in the midst of your anger. And so my job is really to help you come up with another strategy that communicates the love that you really want to give. So I tell everybody: “I want children, in every household throughout the world to know what love feels like, what it sounds like, even what it tastes like” and so that's what I do practically in terms of my work every day. But how did I get to this place of being a parent coach? Well, I say to people all this time: “who wakes up and says they want to be a parent coach” you cannot develop an expertise in this area.
Sharoya Ham (14:24):
It is just endless. You learn every single day. But what happened for me was that my son was diagnosed with ADHD in the seventh grade. And I was in total shock, in denial. And to be quite honest, my ego was bruised significantly because we carry a lot of ego when our kids are successful, we feel we are. And when they're not, we feel like we've done something wrong. And so here I am trying to get help for him. And luckily for me, in my background in education, I was able to figure things out fairly quickly to get him the support he needed, but on that journey, I met with other parents and I recognized they carried a lot of frustration because they've been trying to do different things and nothing was working. , they carried shame because here they are.
Sharoya Ham (15:24):
, many of our colleagues in the expat world are very educated, you know, , I don't want to say successful, but they have a lot of achievements (I believe we are all born of success). So they would confide in me and tell me what they were going through. And I would kind of help them just go through and help them get unstuck and get the resources their child needed. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a title for that. I eventually started calling myself a child advocate because I knew in all of it, I was really advocating for the kid. Because if I could go back and advocate for myself as a little girl. I would say to my dad: “come on, dad, get the help you need.” And so then it kind of evolved and I realized what I'm actually doing is teaching parenting skills. And so I went into parent coaching and went back for a master's degree in applied behavior analysis. Many people are familiar with that, how it helps children with autism or children with defiant behavior. But, it can be used in so many different ways. And I use it to help parents change their behavior.
Rhoda Bangerter (16:55):
And in the end it helps the parent as a person as well, right?
Sharoya Ham (17:02):
For sure. You know, Rhoda, I say this all the time: “parenting is a gift, not a to-do list”. And the gift in it for us is as we humble ourselves and recognize that, wow, “I'm getting angry at my child because I'm actually angry that I see myself in my child. I see things, in my child that I don't like about myself.” It happens to us all, but the gift happens when we humble ourselves and say: “you know what? I'm going to address that issue about me.” And then addressing that issue about you, you just inadvertently begin to teach your child how to address it in themselves. And to me, the gift of you improving is the gift you give to your child and of how they can improve and more so the gift that is given to your grandkids, because you are giving them a parent who will not struggle with the same issues.
Rhoda Bangerter (18:15):
Now sometimes as well, the struggle is with overwhelm as a parent, as a person. And if we're talking about expats, living abroad with a spouse who travels, maybe 80% of the times still, it’s the moms who are with the children, and the dads who are travelling, I've got episodes where I'm interviewing ‘holding the fort’ dads, which is cool. fI think it is changing, but it's still a lot the moms and there's overwhelm and sometimes parenting is hard in the overwhelm. Can you talk a bit about that?
Sharoya Ham (18:59):
For sure. And I think your book does an awesome job in addressing resentment. And so I want to just frame it, it's not just overwhelmed, but it's trauma-induced overwhelm, trauma induced fatigue, and that trauma is resentment.
Rhoda Bangerter (19:18):
Does that mean? Can you unpack that a little bit?
Sharoya Ham (19:21):
And what that means is that we have been asking ourselves, our bodies, our mind to do more than it's capable of doing,
Sharoya Ham (19:33):
And our bodies are pushing back. Our emotions are pushing back and saying: ”I don't want to do this anymore. And the reason I don't want to do this anymore is because I'm resentful. I'm resentful that I have to do this. I'm resentful that I'm expected or that I don't know how to do this, or I don't know what to say to escape, to communicate to my partner that I'm tired.” And so when you are waking up every morning, it's like your body gets a hit every day to do something it doesn't want to do. And so there really has to be a slowing down and you being able to say: “what is bothering me? What is sucking my energy and why?” And the best way to do that is through journaling. And I want to say to some people you just might be so fatigued, so overwhelmed.
Sharoya Ham (20:48):
You're just like, I don't even have the strength to journal. And I want to say to you to think of a person who lives this lifestyle that you can call and chat with. If you don't have that, I would also encourage you to go to my website or even a therapist. Usually, they give a 15 minute consultation. And I say to you, at this point, if you can't journal, you need some support. You just need somebody to hold your hand. And, and when you do the 15 minute consultation, if you feel relief afterwards, that just lets you know it's time to invest in getting someone, getting some support for yourself to navigate through those emotions, to navigate through what is causing that trauma that is blocking energy, that you need to do other things to get out of that position of overwhelmed. You know, so if you are able to journal, is it like: ”I just feel that I'm never alone. I can't get time to myself.” Then that is something you can take to your spouse and just say: “I recognize I'm resentful because I can't find time to myself. Can you help me figure this out? What can we do?”
Rhoda Bangerter (22:31):
Because sometimes it's not the kids who are the problem, it's the overwhelm, that's the problem. And then it shows up in our parenting. That's what I experienced, you know, and a lot of moms experience, but also a lot of moms will tell me: “there's something wrong with me because I'm not coping” which I think is completely wrong. It breaks my heart. I'm like: “don’t think there's something wrong with you. This is a lot.” And it's what we discussed just before the recording started. What was a big aha moment for me was when, what I write in my book about going to the doctor and the doctor listening to everything that was going on in my life and kind of looking at me and going: “don't you think that's a lot for one person?” but no, I was adamant: I was supposed to do it all.
Rhoda Bangerter (23:26):
I think if we talked to someone who's external, a third party and they listen to everything, they go: “no human can do this all and not feel that overwhelmed at some point or another, or the fatigue at some point or another.” It's also important to get help, right. Sometimes we need help to figure out: ”where can I find that space if I've got little children and my partner's gone all the time, where can I find that space?” Because sometimes it's just impossible, you think it's impossible to find that space, so how about that part?
Sharoya Ham (24:14):
May I just interject? The two points that you just made; the doctor’s visit you describe in your book. It really shook me when I read it because I've experienced the same thing where someone is looking at me like, well, you just said: “you moved to a country, you have three kids. , you don't know the language, your husband is travelling several times in a month.” They're like: “why shouldn't you be tired?” So sometimes we need people in our lives to mirror that for us. When we started this journey, we're very ambitious and that's why we started on this. We've been on this journey of expat living for 15 years. We both had big dreams and that's why we committed to doing this.
Sharoya Ham (25:19):
And so with those high expectations that would've been good. We probably would've done really well in one spot. But when you add all the changes in each move, it reduces the amount of things that you can accomplish that you probably would've been successful if you stayed in your home country. Right. And I think you do an awesome job of explaining this in your book. So kudos to you for that. So lowering expectations, if you can do it yourself. The night before you wake up say to yourself: “what don't I need to do? And taking that off your plate. But again, when you are at that place of trauma induced fatigue and overwhelm, it is even hard to pinpoint what you should not do.
Rhoda Bangerter (26:23):
And if you're seeing parenting as a to-do list, that just adds to it. And I think that's an important point to bring in at this point as well is like you wake up in the morning and you start saying: “I've got to do this and I've got to take the kids here and I'm on my own and I'm exhausted and I'm overwhelmed. And I feel angry at my spouse because they're not here.” And it feels like an endless cycle where there's no way out. And I think what was so powerful when we worked with you was this sense that we had a third party who was kind, and who was looking into the situation and bringing fresh eyes. And it allowed us to talk. What I loved is that you talked to us individually first, and then you talked to us together as a couple, and then you talked to our kids and then you brought it together.
Rhoda Bangerter (27:32):
And I love that approach. And I think for the dads who are far away, or the moms who are far away and who are travelling, they come in, they unpack a bag, repack a bag, they're off again. When do they have the opportunity to talk to someone about what their dreams about being a parent is? What their dreams for the kids are, how they would love to be involved, what they would like to be involved with. And I think it gave my husband an amazing opportunity to just have a moment out of his career life, where he could say: “How do I want my relationship to be with my kids when they're older? How does that reflect on my relationship now?” And, and there were lots of things that he could do from afar, right?
Sharoya Ham (28:33):
Yes. You know, Rhoda, I, sometimes I wish that, , us moms could be flies on the wall, , during my coaching sessions with dads and you would just hear their sensitivity, their concerns that they feel like they're failing. They feel like they're failing us as a spouse, they feel like they're failing the kids in their effort to provide for their family. Like they want to provide, not just financially, but in every way. , and so a lot of times it's being stuck in “this is how I've seen it done. This is how my father has done it. This is how he has provided for the family. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to provide this emotional support particularly while I'm far away.” , and so when I'm in there, I'm listening to what dads want, , and how they want to be more present in their children’s lives, even though they might not be physically present.
Sharoya Ham (29:42):
And the one thing that dads can always do when they talk with their spouse in the morning or in the evening is just: “what can I take off of your plate?” Oh my goodness. Just lead with that. I would be so excited, what can I take off your plate? And just pausing, because sometimes we, as women, we're not even ready to advocate for ourselves and we say: “nothing”. My job is to teach men to just say: “okay, I'm going to wait for an answer. You can send it to me by email. You can send me a text, just know that I want to take something off your plate. You let me know what it is and I can figure out how to do it.”
Rhoda Bangerter (30:38):
Whoa. That's the best part. Right? As moms, we don't have to give it and figure out how they're going to do it.
Sharoya Ham (30:45):
Exactly, exactly. And you know, because they do want to solve the problem. They don't want to see us hurt. I mean, there are times where I would cry so much and I look at my husband and I feel bad because I know he doesn't want me to hurt. So I'm feeling bad because he's hurting because I'm hurting. I definitely didn't want him to tell me what to do, how to fix myself. You know? So, if a dad is listening, I would just encourage you to try that one thing. Every time you talk to your spouse to simply say: “what can I take off your plate?”
Rhoda Bangerter (31:23):
That's nice. So you're supporting your spouse as the implementing parent as well. Right. As the parent who's there 24/7.
Sharoya Ham (31:34):
Yes. Because that's the role of the spouse who is working. the implementing parent that they know they are not alone, that they are doing this on their own at the moment, but they're not alone that you're going to be there for them.
Sharoya Ham (32:10):
And also showing up for the kids as well. Of course, when they're older, it's a lot easier to show up. When they are younger, it's more challenging because the kid is not going to want to be on a video call. Here is a practical one. If I can just share this story here. I had my three sons and my husband was travelling like six months in a year, not straight but total and I just was so overwhelmed. And I said to him: “I don't understand, like when high level visits come and you prepare for them, you have a book. And it's so detailed with every little thing that they're going to do.” I'm like: “I need to be sorted out that way.” And he took that and ran. I couldn't explain what I was really asking for.
Sharoya Ham (33:10):
But I was just saying to him: “I'm envious that you spend so much time at the details of your job. And here, I feel like I'm in total chaos.” So what he did was the next trip that he took, he had a binder. He had called several people and arranged for us to have dinner with them, lunch, and activities. Before he left, he sat me down and he says: ”listen, I put this together, this binder for you, I've called all of these people. And they said, they are willing to have you and the kids over to do the activities listed.” Oh my goodness. I was so happy because you know, you don't want to keep asking people for favors, but people want to help.
Sharoya Ham (34:06):
They want to help you. And they knew their role. Their role was not to wait for me to do the confirmations. They were to call and invite me and just do all of the confirmation. So I didn't have to reach out to them. I mean, just how amazing
Rhoda Bangerter (34:23):
Oh, what a great gift.
Sharoya Ham (34:28):
But remember it wasn't his idea. I mean, I gave him something because you know, again, I got that, that trauma out of my body, that emotion that was like: “I am resentful. You can do this for them, but not for us.”
Sharoya Ham (34:45):
And good for him that he did pull back for a minute and think: “how can I show her that I'm willing to do the same for us, for our family?”
Rhoda Bangerter (34:59):
Wow. And that's saying a lot that he heard you.
Sharoya Ham (35:06):
And you know RHODA, we were talking before the interview actually started and I was saying to you how I want to share with your audience, my husband and I, our story, our oldest is 23. So we've been parents for 23 years plus nine months, and we are still figuring this thing out. As we now begin to transition, we are empty nesters and now we're returning home. My husband will retire in 2023. And so I would like to share a video where the two of us are reflecting about our journey in hopes that it becomes a love letter to dads.
Sharoya Ham (35:55):
I would like for moms, you can listen to it, but not feel like you need to do anything. We want to speak to dads and just let dads know that we see you are trying, we see the frustration and here's what we want to share with you and how you can actually take a step forward to repair your relationship with your spouse, to bring back excitement as you father from afar, with the kids and to create that space so that when you return home it can go smoothly, because you've done an exceptional, Rhoda, in the book of talking about that returning home and how difficult that can be. But the questions you outline in the book are exactly what families need to consider during those transitional periods.
Rhoda Bangerter (36:57):
Because your husband traveled a lot. Right.
Sharoya Ham (37:01):
You know what, he traveled more when we were state side, which is our home country, the us. And so I actually agreed to this lifestyle so I could spend more time with him. That's what I tell him.
Rhoda Bangerter (37:16):
You mean going abroad in another country, so he'd actually be home more, but in split location where there was a time where he was in another country? No.
Sharoya Ham (37:27):
We never did split location.
Rhoda Bangerter (37:31):
Right. Okay. But you know what it is to have a husband who's gone a lot while you're raising kids at the same time.
Sharoya Ham (37:36):
Exactly. And I also wanted to say, I know what it is to have a husband who's gone for a long period of time, to raise three little kids under five years old and make sure my mental health stayed well. As that was a huge part of my life as a kid, as an adult and more so as a parent. So working with mental health, , my own mental health, , I think has really given me a level of sensitivity of understanding how deep and dark it can be to parent.
Rhoda Bangerter (38:19):
Sharoya Ham (38:19):
All the while your spouse is away.
Rhoda Bangerter (38:22):
Yes, And I've learned this year, this past year, how intricately the mental health and physical health can be related because if you're depleting your body, it can have a huge impact on your mental health as well. , and then if you're struggling mentally, it can have an impact on your physical body. How those two are related and how it's important. You know, one mom I was talking to said to me, I can handle it all. It's just, I get squeezed out and I'm like that: “That's not the point either is it?”
Rhoda Bangerter (38:59):
So I’m working on, I'd love to have your eyes on it actually before it really comes out, on a guidebook for getting help, asking for help. What do you need to knowledge, mindset, shift, how you actually get the help that you need, what to ask for, that kind of stuff. I think that's a big part of having young children, having spouses away and, not being able to see how on earth you're going to get out of this situation of overwhelm. , the last thing I would love to cover with you is, is we can't force our husbands to parent. And what would you say to that? I'm not going comment. I'm just going to leave it open,
Sharoya Ham (39:56):
You know, you can't force it, but then ask yourself how can I invite him? Not what I can ask him, but how can I invite him? , you know, if there's a parent conference, , letting him know that there's a parent conference, just asking him: “how would you like to engage the teacher? Would you like for them to write you? Would you like for me to schedule a, a meeting, , for us to have online together”, , let’s think about some other things. You can ask them: “are you feeling connected to the kids? in what ways are you feeling disconnected?” Our pain points are so strong, , because we're there with the kids, but theirs are also, and it is hard for us to feel to get in touch with theirs because ours are raging.
Sharoya Ham (41:02):
But I tell you, if any mom today listening is just feeling like I'm so tired of giving. I understand that. , but if you're committed to stay in your relationship with your spouse, then you can never give up on giving. So if you can just muster up the courage, the energy, just to say: “are you disappointed in any way with the connection you're having with the kids right now?” If they're not engaged then they're probably not feeling connected. And so you want to let them know that, okay, there is a way to connect. Maybe we need to look into the Marco polo app where you guys are, you know, sending messages at your own time convenience, but right there in the moment. So I had one child who likes to cook and wanted to have more opportunities to cook with his dad virtually, but the time, the time difference was a problem. And so the dad just simply makes a video of him cooking, showing the local ingredients and going out and finding different fruits and, , you know, meats that are not available where the child is located and using the video to explain while he is in motion, it almost feels like they're together. , and imagine the dad is making that video at night when the kid wakes up. That's the first thing they see in the morning.
Rhoda Bangerter (42:47):
. , exactly. And I remember speaking to someone for the book actually, and they said that just having a “good night” every night from their dad is one of the memories they have. And, and they had other memories like from holidays that they would take on one on one or, , different things like that, where the dad had made a, an album of where he grew up and what he liked to do. And then the kid had this album that they could, you know, get to know their dad, because sometimes we assume that the kids know the dad as much as we know them. But if the dad's been travelling since birth, sometimes it can be a fun idea to do that. , but I think also if we don't ask them how they want to be involved, we won't get an answer, will we?
Rhoda Bangerter (43:42):
Sometimes I feel like we exclude them without meaning to just because we're there with the kids, we're 24/7. We know where the dance class is, and we know where, you know, what's happening with the teacher. And if we don't find a way of sharing that with them or inviting them in, like you say, then they might feel excluded, I know that I've excluded my husband without meaning to, and it's only because I've asked him: “how do you feel?” And that's one of my questions when he comes home, after a trip within those first few days, I ask him: “do you feel excluded?” And sometimes he says: “yes” because you have all your activities. And it doesn't mean that the family has to stop the activities. It just means that this is a reality that the dad is living, that he's feeling like he's coming into this bubble, this ready-made kind of family reality and having to reconnect is it's sometimes it's hard.
Sharoya Ham (44:44):
And I would say to moms, whatever you feel like the issue is that you're feeling insecure about. Whether it be finances or, you know, the kids, intimacy and just again, journal. But I want you to just think from your husband's perspective, put yourself in their shoes. journal while your eyes are closed and think, you know, what if I were you and I was married to a woman, you know, you're going detail some of the situations that are happening. And I had three kids and I lived outside the country and I'm doing my best. I would feel, do, do, do, do do. But you really, you are not trying to say what you think your spouse is feeling. You are really trying to imagine actually being them, living their life and what are they feeling about the finances and write it all out and then send an email, and just say: “I was trying to imagine how it might feel to be you. Can you read this and let me know if any of this resonates with you? “And again, I want to just push past that, that feeling of: “I don't want to do this. I just want him to care about me” because ultimately what you want is your family to be healthy and loving and well. And if this is the step to get you there, and I'm going to tell you it will help. , because again, when they have to just read it, and they have the space, the safe space to be alone by themselves and think about: “wow, she did nail some of these things”, and then they can clarify some things for you. , that is a place to start.
Rhoda Bangerter (47:37):
Fantastic. Because they might not voluntarily say that if they feel that on the other side, noone's going to be listening necessarily.
Rhoda Bangerter (47:47):
That's brilliant. Sure, sure. , we're coming to the end. Is there anything else that you wanted to specifically tell parents at this moment or otherwise, can you tell us where we parents can reach you where they can find you
Sharoya Ham (48:05):
Sure. If your children are able to express their feelings, I would just ask every parent to ask their child right now: “tell me, what would you like for me to do differently?” That's it And then the kid might look at you like: “what do you mean?” You just say: “answer it any way you want”. And moms and dads, I want you just to stop what you're doing and just say: “I hear you, and I'm going to figure out a way to do that.” Do it better, do it less, do it more, whatever they asked you, that is the most important thing to them. That becomes your most important.
Rhoda Bangerter (48:50):
So what if they say: “I want you to be home more?”
Sharoya Ham (48:54):
Okay. So you, you say “yes”, and “I hear you”, and “we are going to talk about how we can do this”. They don't need to know that it's going to happen tomorrow, they need to know that you heard them, that they want you home more, and you are going to work towards that. You can't do it in this year, but you can start beginning to talk. You know what you can tell them is “I have got to finish this out. And after this, I am really going to look for jobs that only allow us to be together.”
Sharoya Ham (49:33):
And if you can and not say that, then I want you to really recognize you're struggling with an issue. And that is going to block you from being the parent that you need to be. Because we just have to get to a place where we can transition. We can grow and to what our family needs, not to what we need as individuals, but everybody in the family must adapt according to what is needed, because remember, , I'm always also telling kids like, listen, your mom is the only one there. Your job is to help her to fill her cup. That's your job As it is the reverse way she fills your cup. Okay. And so a parent who says “No, I can't do that” There’s a problem, because whatever, however, your child finishes that sentence. That's what they're saying:”That's what I need to fill my cup.”
Rhoda Bangerter (50:37):
Okay. Okay. . But they might not say that. It might be surprising to parents. They might not say: “I want you to be home”. They might say: “I want you to say goodnight to me”, or “I want you to read more books with me when you're home.” Or it could really be a surprising answer,
Rhoda Bangerter (50:57):
Completely be something you don't think about, you know, but for them, it's what, like you said, it's what they're missing, what they need. , I think it's a brilliant a question. I'm going to ask my boys when they come home.
Sharoya Ham (51:11):
And you know, the last thing I think, you are so right because a lot of parents hesitate to ask because they're afraid of what is going to be said. And I was working with a client one time who was having a lot of friction in the relationship and she just didn't want to ask and finally asked. And all the child says is: “I just want you to apologize when you're wrong.”
Rhoda Bangerter (51:31):
Oh see, uh, I know, right? It's all, I'm gonna write these questions down on, in the show notes so that people have them and I'll, I'll go through as well so in the show notes, they'll be the different topics that we covered. please let the listeners know where they can contact you.
Sharoya Ham (51:53):
Okay. I'm going to say to go to embrace behavior change, especially if you feel like you just don't know where to start. My heart is in this, Rhoda. It is not for me about money. It is about again, that child that I was, in the corner afraid, scared about what was happening to my family. I want parents to know that your child is being affected, , by behaviors that are not supporting their confidence and their security. And it's no need for shame. . Just reach out for help. And in 15 minutes, just to know you got somebody to talk to for 15 minutes. Sometimes you don't need more help than that. You just needed someone to hear you and say: “girl, you doing good. Keep going, slow down, but keep going.”
Rhoda Bangerter (52:46):
Sharoya Ham (52:47):
Absolutely. But embracebehaviorchange.com and simply, if you wish schedule a 15 minute free consultation.
Rhoda Bangerter (52:57):
. . And I know you bring videos out as well on Facebook. Are you still doing that?
Sharoya Ham (53:01):
Rhoda Bangerter (53:02):
Right. Yes. And the beauty of this and of working with you is that you can do it as parents, even if you're not in the same location. And I just asked my husband, I said:” listen, I want to do this. Are you prepared to do this together? So we can talk actually finally have an opportunity to talk about parenting and parenting together, get on the same page.” We also intercultural couple. So sometimes there are differences there just also just the way that we were raised, you know, I was raised a certain way, very chaotic, very like noisy. He was raised an only child, very, very organized and quiet household. So we are, you know, we are clashing even in our styles of being, , so just being able to have conversations about that and realizing, again, it's not a to do list it was helping us in our communication about expectations, but what we expected of the other a person and the dreams that we had for our family, which was beautiful. And again, just thinking, wow, he was 6,000 kilometers, one way, and you were 6,000 kilometers the other way. And we were all on the screen together talking about our family. It was just, I cannot recommend it more. So thank you
Sharoya Ham (54:27):
Can I just say too before we, I keep saying, can I just say, but, uh, what I loved about seeing you two on the screen, it was like, in the beginning you could see distance.
Rhoda Bangerter (54:39):
Sharoya Ham (54:40):
And as we went into maybe three sessions, it was almost, even though you were on separate screens, I could see a lean-in towards each other, like a lean-in, towards the camera, as he was talking, there was, there was joy on his face as you were talking, you know, and vice versa. But I also want to say, men tend to excel in parent coaching. Can you tell our audience who did the most homework?
Rhoda Bangerter (55:06):
I don't know you
Sharoya Ham (55:07):
Rhoda Bangerter (55:09):
Oh, he did.
Rhoda Bangerter (55:13):
It was his opportunity. I don’t think anybody had ever asked him these questions before.
Sharoya Ham (55:19):
And so I want mom to know in parent coaching, I back off of you, you do your assignments, but usually the men, they do all of them,
Rhoda Bangerter (55:31):
, well, he certainly did. And I think it's definitely helped us get on the same page for certain things, but it also gave each of us separately, the opportunity to talk about it and then talk about it together, which was incredible. And like I said, I don't think he'd ever had the opportunity to actually say everything that was on his heart, you know? it was beautiful. I normally ask my guests if there's any parenting resource, they would recommend. Now, obviously I would recommend people contact you and do the parent coaching, be coached. Is there any favorite resource or anything you can share?
Sharoya Ham (56:20):
There's one thing I would like for moms. We tend to not give ourselves permission to do whatever it is we need to do that day. And there is a parent coach, she calls herself mentor for moms. Her name is Susan Seay and she has cards that say: “I give my permit myself permission to…”, you can get the cards or you can just do it every day just, or whenever it comes across your mind. And you just say, I keep them on my desk. Okay. Because when I look at, at them and it's a day where I'm just feeling, blah, then I just pause and say, “I give myself permission to watch TV. , I give myself permission to only do what I want.” It just helps you to lower those expectations.
Sharoya Ham (57:18):
I think it's worth the purchase because again, if you have to write it out each day or on a piece of paper or your journal, you just may forget. I just leave them on my desk, leave them in the kitchen, leave them in your bedroom. And just whenever you see it and you go, I need to give my myself permission right now. Cause I'm feeling angry. So what do I give myself permission to do? I'll give you the link for that. I just want to share our story, my husband’s and my story of how we got through these 23 years of parenting and 15 years of parenting abroad and what we wish we could have done over.
Rhoda Bangerter (58:07):
That would be brilliant. And I will link to that as well, so that we’re hearing from a couple, from both sides, , brilliant. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for your wisdom, your insights, and thank you so much for being here today and answering all my questions.
Rhoda Bangerter is a coach who has lived abroad with a travelling husband for over 16 years. She helps home based mums and dads live an intentional life and build family togetherness even when their partner is away a lot for work.