Difficult Conversations Podcast
Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician
Episode 119 | November 24, 2020
Difficult Conversations with Your Teenager
Family Coach and Youth Mentor
Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Today, my special guest is Joshua Wayne. For over 25 years he has worked with at-risk foster youth. Once a struggling teen himself, Joshua understands what teens are going through. He speaks across the country to schools and youth organizations on how to help kids today become successful young adults tomorrow. Joshua helps youth face challenges and make smart, empowered decisions as they navigate toward adulthood . He also helps parents, teachers, and others how to best love and support them through the process. He has trained police departments, school districts, state and local governments, and youth organizations on how to work effectively with teens and their families. He is the author of The Simple Parenting Guide to Technology and has been featured as a Life Coach on the Style Network, Joshua is the co-creator with Josh Shipp of the One Caring Adult online community.
Joshua shares his journey as a troubled teen. He explains the phrase, “Every kid is one caring adult away from a being a success story.” Dr. Orsini mentions two important words, “trusting relationship,” that are always brought up in his podcast interviews with people in business and in healthcare. Joshua explains the importance of having a seat at your child’s “board of directors” table. He explains the best way to let your kids know that it’s okay to come to you when things get really bad? Joshua shares some great advice about keeping the relationship vital, and current with your children. He explains one piece of advice that he finds helpful – “Can I let go of this?” He talks about the astonishing statistics of suicide in adolescents. Joshua gives advice on how to have a conversation with your children so they will come to you when things are getting bad. Dr. Orsini and Joshua discuss how important having father’s in a household is to the well being of children. Joshua shares his advice. Dr. Orsini talks about how important it is for boys and girls to get involved in sports and activities and to have somebody else in their life, like a coach. They discuss the ill effects Joshua has seen with COVID-19, and children not getting the social interaction with virtual learning. We end with Joshua telling us what he thinks is the most difficult conversation any parent or adult would have with their child.
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Joshua Wayne (1s):
And a metaphor that I use that parents tend to find helpful is this idea of a board of directors, right? So think
about every major corporation or major organization in the world that has a board of directors. It guides their
strategizing and their decision making, just like that organization, your kid has their own board of directors,
but for your kid, it’s like a virtual round table of the people who they are listening to and paying attention to as
they figure out what it means to be an adult. So I think about who is on that, it’s, you know, hopefully a
teacher or two it’s their friends’ for sure. It’s celebrities their following on social media, it sports figures they
idolize and musicians whose music they love.
Joshua Wayne (47s):
My core premise to parents Is that your number one goal is you want to have a seat on their board of
Welcome to Difficult Conversations Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr.
Orsini is a practicing physician and the President and CEO of The Orsini Way. As a frequent keynote
speaker and author Dr Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders. How to
navigate through the most difficult dialogues. Each week, you will hear inspiring interviews with experts in
their field who tell their story and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate. Whether you
are a doctor faced with giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or
her team member’s or someone who just wants to learn to communicate better this is the podcast for you .
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 40s):
Welcome to another episode of Difficult Conversations: Lessons I learned as an ICU Physician. This is Dr.
Anthony Orsini and I will be your host again today. You know, as parents, teachers, and caring adults in the
lives of kids, we all want the same thing and that’s to see them happy, self confident and ready for the adult
world. For over 25 years, Joshua Wayne has worked with kids in just about every setting imaginable,
including drug and alcohol treatment., With at risk foster youth community, mental health, private practice,
and as a director of special education at district of Columbia public A former struggling teen himself, Joshua
understands deeply what teens are going through. Joshua speaks across the country to schools and youth
organizations on how to help kids today become successful young adults.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 25s):
Tomorrow. He is the author of the “Simple Parenting Guide to Technology”. Josh helps youth face the
challenges in front of them and make smart, empowered decisions as they navigate toward adulthood. He
also instructs parents, teachers, and other caring adults, how to best love and support them through this
process. He has trained as a consultant across the country for police department’s school districts, state,
and local governments and youth organizations on how to work effectively with teens and their family.
Joshua holds a master’s degree in counselor education from Northeastern Illinois university in Chicago. And
is a nationally certified counselor. Has been featured as a life coach on the Style network. And is the
co-creator with Josh Shipp of the one caring adult online community.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 8s):
He currently lives with his wife, the Tina and son Hunter in Washington, DC. I’d like to introduce you to
Joshua Wayne. How are you Josh?
Joshua Wayne (3m 16s):
All right. Great. Thanks for having me happy to be here, chatting with you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 20s):
I’m so happy to have you today, you know, tha each and every episode I promise my audience is two things
and that’s to be inspired and to learn some practical communication techniques that will help them in their
life. And I think something that we all struggle with, I have three children now all passed their teenage years.
We all struggle with those conversations that we have with teenagers, especially the ones who are going
through some difficult times. So this is a great episode. I can’t wait to air this and have my audience hear
what you have to say. You know, as coaches and counselors and trainers is so much of what we do depends
on our credibility, right? So I know what I’m asked to coach physicians, who are struggling with their
communication skills or to train doctors, how to deliver a tragic news.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (4m 2s):
The fact that I’m a physician and I work at one of the busiest neonatal intensive care units, and the country
gets me at least in the door with some credibility. So I think it’s probably best if we just start out by you telling
everybody your story and your journey on how you got here.
Joshua Wayne (4m 18s):
Yeah. It’s a part of my bio. As you read, I consider myself to having been a struggling teen. There was a lot
of questioning I did about myself. Teenager my self confidence was just very low as a kid. My self-worth was
really low or, you know, experimented with the drugs and alcohol in high school. And we were not for a
couple of significant adults that came in to my life at critical times. My life could have very easily gone down
a different track and into, into a self-destructive path. You know, you can go back a little bit further because
it’s funny how sometimes these things work out. But I grew up in a family, very, you know, comfortable
middle class upbringing, where I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted, but there was this
underlying discord in my parents relationship.
Joshua Wayne (5m 7s):
It’s kind of a classic. They stayed together for the kids kind of scenario. And there was a lot of fighting and,
and discord, even though it was, you know, we we’re loved. And they came to all my sporting events and all
of that sort of stuff, that there was an underlying thing that as a sensitive kid, really effected me. And it just
never having this feeling of like families should be a different experience. And a, when I saw my parents with
their marriage was Anyway, when I say, it’s funny that how have you seen this play out as it is incidentally,
then it became a family therapist, right? That it became the path that I followed. I didn’t intentionally map it
out. There was no equation in my head because my parents had these problems. I want to go be a family
therapist, but I think sometimes we’re instinctively drawn to work out our own issues.
Joshua Wayne (5m 52s):
There was something in me that I was still probably trying to figure out at a certain level and really learning to
work with at risk youth kids. They could have been me, you know, some years before operating on a similar
path that I could have gone down and then seeing their families, and then the problems that their families are
having. It just became this natural thing for me to want to really help them and apply myself there. And it was
just almost like an intuitive thing that just to get gradually, but definitely lead me to want to be working with at
risk youth and their families and helping the kids have the tools they need to feel better about themselves
and more competent about themselves and ready for the adult world. And then also, if I can’t connect with
the kid in my private practice scenario, then I found that I can also have to work with the parents and really
guide them to strengthen their relationship with their kid.
Joshua Wayne (6m 41s):
You know, if, if for whatever reason, I couldn’t make a connection with a kid, I could still help the parents
change their dynamic with a kid and get a totally different results in their relationship. And that really became
my mission was to help families thrive in it and improve their communication and, and build stronger
Dr. Anthony Orsini (6m 55s):
Well, there is something that you said during the last few paragraphs is that if it weren’t for a couple of adults
that changed it, and I heard you say once that it was in an interview, every kid is one adult away from a
success story. If we, can you elaborate on that? Because I love that.
Joshua Wayne (7m 10s):
Yeah. It’s actually where every kid is one caring adult away is the, the actual phrase. And that’s actually, you
know, I borrowed it from my a, a colleague and friend of mine Josh Shipp who has been a mentor and friend
of mine. I feel that you may have heard of him. The idea is that that every kid needs at least one caring adult
in their life to help guide the way, right? It’s like, it doesn’t mean some kids that can’t, or won’t figured it out
by themselves. But if there is at least one caring adult that shows up to provide guidance, to provide an ear,
to provide support, that can make all the difference in the world, but it’s really a relationship at the end of the
day that changes a kid’s life and helps them work through whatever obstacles are in their way.
Joshua Wayne (7m 55s):
Now, sometimes that is going to be the parent or the parent may be one of those caring adults. And
sometimes it’s going to be somebody else is going to be a therapist, It’s going to be a coach, it is going to be
a teacher. It’s going to be an uncle. It’s going to be a neighbor. It doesn’t really matter where it comes from,
but having those caring adults to, help show the way to help guide us, because someone’s got to show us
what it means to be an adult in the world. You know, we’re going to figure it out regardless. But I think one
key thing is who are those role models. We are the people that we’re looking at and adopting our values
from, as we are trying to figure that out. So, you know, for me, that was helpful because I had a couple of
really significant caring adults that came along. And, you know, as they said at critical times, but also really
put a certain focus on my work because now I am that caring adult for a lot of particularly young men.
Joshua Wayne (8m 44s):
But a lot of young people to show up in their life is that person where they can just, hey, this is just, I, I just
had this fight with my girlfriend or this disagreement with my parents, or I’m applying for this job interview, or
I screwed up this job interview, what should I do better next time, just having a sounding board to say, Hey,
like, I don’t really know what to do. What would you do? Because there’s that trusting and caring foundation
and the relationship that they can rely on.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (9m 8s):
You know, as you know, I’m in healthcare and I teach doctors how to improve the patient experience and like
teach communication to nurses the single most important thing in healthcare right now is trusting relationship
between the health care giver and the patient. And that is often difficult to maintain in today’s society. But I
started this podcast back in August, we’d been wildly successful. I’ve interviewed people in business and in
healthcare. And those two words, trusting relationship comes up almost every single week when we were
discussing on how to be a true leader in business. When we are discussing how to be an effective doctor or
Dr. Anthony Orsini (9m 51s):
And now we are discussing how to bring up a teenager, that trusting relationship is really what it’s all about.
And it’s amazing. What I love about communication is that once you can learn how to build trusting
relationships with anyone, it will help you in your personal life. It will help you in your private life. And I think
you’ve said that it’s the single most important thing that parents have in favor is a trusting relationship. What
advice can you give to parents to help them build that trusting relationship, but not necessarily with the
troubled teen, but hey, I had three children. It was not easy, you know, and thank God they’re the youngest
one is 21 now, and he’s in college. The other two are working and you know, they’re, they’re doing well,
they’re successful adults, but my goodness, Josh there’s times when it’s not easy, you know, and my wife
and I have to different parenting kind of styles.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (10m 43s):
I think that they really helped because, you know, I was brought up more strict than she was, but speak to
that parent out there that’s going my 16 year old child, is just driving me crazy. How do I get her to speak or
him to speak to me
Joshua Wayne (10m 56s):
Right now? The metaphor that I use that parents tend to find helpful is this idea of a board of directors. So
think about every major corporation or major organization in the world that has a board of directors. It guides
their strategizing and their decision-making just like that organization. Your kid has their own board of
directors, but for your kid, it’s like a virtual round table of the people who they are listening to and paying
attention to as they figure out what it means to be an adult in the world. So think about who’s on that, you
know, hopefully a teacher or two, it’s their friends’ for sure. It’s celebrities their following on social media, it’s
Joshua Wayne (11m 39s):
They idolize as musicians whose music they love. My core premise to parents is that your number one goal
is that you want to have a seat on their board of directors, right? You don’t need to be the chairman, but you
need a seat at the table because that’s the only way you are going to be one of the people that are coming to
and seeking advice from when the big things hit and they always hit. Right? They’re not going to tell you
everything because we are talking about kids and teens in particular after all. But when those big things
come up, if you successfully get yourself on their board of directors, you can be one of the people that
they’re talking to you. Now, the only way to get in and stay there is to have back to your original question is
to have a relationship that they perceive as valuable.
Joshua Wayne (12m 22s):
Okay? Right. If they don’t, they can talk to you. And more importantly, that you’ll listen without judgment,
without lecturing. Then they’ll put you on their board of directors, but it is a relationship that we have to
constantly manage and constantly nurture and tend to, to stay on their board of directors in to keep that
connection strong. Now, in terms of just some practical advice, if my hypothesis is right, that getting in on
their board of directors is the most important thing. And that’s the strength of your relationships that will get
you there. One of the most sure-fire way to get yourself ex-communicated from their board of directors is to
be, is to be fighting the wrong battle.
Joshua Wayne (13m 4s):
Because if you think about it, what does Parenting, in some ways its the series of the decisions you have to
make around is this a battle I am going to fight with. My kid was about to close on the floor in their room,
right? About putting your phone away at the dinner table or is it something that I’m just gonna let go? And the
reality is as that parenting, it’s a balancing act between those two things between, Hey, like as a parent, of
course I have to have boundaries and structure and accountability. Like that’s a core function of parenting,
but we also know as parents that we need to give them room to figure things out and to fall down and learn
to pick themselves back up again. So really learning to navigate that and to walk that tight rope, if you will,
around what battles you’re going to fight really, really becomes one of the main things.
Joshua Wayne (13m 50s):
So we can talk about where some of the things too, that are probably the, the better battles to fight in some
of the things we’re letting go of it. But that really becomes it because if you are fighting the wrong battles with
your kid, you are going to waste all of your relationship capital. If you’re constantly fighting about school and
homework, for example, or about their room or about the people that are hanging out with you. Now, I’m not
saying that sometimes you shouldn’t fight those battles, but if you’re always in conflict with your kid, it is
going to weaken your relationship and they will increasingly tune you out. And you would the last thing we
want to have happen as quickly as their teenagers in the stakes get higher and they start to have to make
more sophisticated decisions around their behavior online and pornography in drugs and alcohol and sex, all
of these more high stakes decisions that they are making.
Joshua Wayne (14m 37s):
The last thing that you want them to do is to feel alienated from us because we can’t even be part of that
Dr. Anthony Orsini (14m 44s):
Agree with you. Totally. So you, you really want them to come to you when they have an issue. And the only
way to do that is to establish trust with them. Is there a way that you recommend that, you know, this is my
practical episode, I’m getting practical advice from you right now. What’s the best way to let your kids know
that, you know, it’s okay to come to me when things get really, really bad. Is it just picking your battles?
Joshua Wayne (15m 6s):
Well, I mean, its it’s also the other, the flip side of the coin is, is that you have to keep the relationship vital
and energized and active and currant. You know, you’ve got to find some way to be doing stuff with them, to
whether it is throwing the ball around it, it doesn’t have to be super fancy or sophisticated, but you also, you
have to have a relationship where they can relax around you and let their guard down. They can’t just do
simple things. Would you like throwing a ball around, you know, geeking out on some scifi show on Netflix or
just hanging out riding bikes, if they can’t just do some simple stuff with you is going to be really hard to get
to the deeper subtexts of what’s really going on in their life. Kids need to be able to relax around you, they
need to feel that you’re not on their guard, that you are accepting them.
Joshua Wayne (15m 51s):
And so the other piece of that is, is that you have to find some way to keep the relationship active. You have
to find some way to keep the Just a sense of having fun together .
Dr. Anthony Orsini (16m 1s):
And to be positive. We had Dr. Helen Riess on an episode a couple months ago in she’s an expert on
empathy and Helen Riess spoke about a study of children who are brought up and the ratio of positive and
negative comments. If I remember correctly, she said three, two, one to five to one was the perfect ratio. You
don’t want to give them compliments all the time. You know, while you walk really well, you know when
they’re 15 years old, but giving them some positive comments for three or five of them for every one
negative thing. And there are some households, would you agree that the household is so negative all the
time? And I think the kids pull away, correct?
Joshua Wayne (16m 40s):
Yeah, totally. Totally. And I listen as a parent myself, it’s hard because there’s this quote, I’ll botch it a little bit,
but you get the, the intent when you have a child it’s to know what it’s like to have your heart go walking
around outside of your body, you know, and, and, and it is almost excruciating, but the love you feel and the
concern and the care and the desire to protect. And I get that. And the trick then is to not letting our own
anxiety, just overflow and everything, but we’re constantly correcting them, constantly telling them what to do
because the more we do that, the more we’re fighting against their natural need for autonomy. And they are
wanting to be able to spread their wings and take flight. And in some ways it, it, it requires a fair amount of
self control from us as parents too, the slow down to relax and take some deep breaths, you know, going
back to the whole thing around, you know, what battles to fight.
Joshua Wayne (17m 29s):
One question that I find really helpful fast to myself as a parent, but also is a piece of advice to parents is to
ask themselves this question. Can I let go of this? Look at all of the areas of conflict you have in your life
with your kid, their room being messy, not cleaning up after themselves, issues around curfew, issues
around just being respectful in the home school, all these areas where there are they take can, I let go of it?
You know, certain things that you probably can’t and you shouldn’t have like basic issue is around safety in
respect and knowing where they are following curfew, using the car only with permission. Those are always
non-negotiable, but there’s a lot of other things that we might get uptight around.
Joshua Wayne (18m 10s):
Like I keep going back to the room, cause this is a low hanging fruit that someone who is better off for
parents to let go of, you know, if they’re just, even their clothes are all over the floor, stop doing their laundry
for them. They have to figure it out sooner or later.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (18m 21s):
I think what really helped me is having a spouse to help me bring up my child who has a different way of
looking at things. I happened to be a worrier. So it was a lot harder for me to let things go. I’m the type A
personality overachiever became a Physician just by pure hard work. And my wife is also a very successful,
but she was brought up a very different, my father was on the SWAT team in Newark, New Jersey. So you
can tell how we’d been raised a totally different, and they really resonated what you said. ’cause I had a lot
harder time letting things go than my wife. My wife grabbed me sometimes and said, you know, you need to
let this go a little bit. And without her, I don’t think the kids would have had that balance.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 4s):
And so let’s pivot over to Difficult Conversations because that’s what, this is all about. One of the things,
well, many things scare me to death as a parent and to all parents. But one of the things that really want to
talk about is suicide and suicide in teenagers, I think, I heard you give some, some statistics about a study
that you did with suicide ideation, but that is something that I think for all the topics haunted me the most, not
that there’s any depression or suicidal my family, or it’s totally irrational, but I can’t imagine there being
anything worse for a parent and the kids go through difficult times and many of the people that are children
or commit suicide.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 46s):
Don’t tell anybody, tell me about suicide and some advice on how we can maybe pick this up earlier, that
conversation specifically that you have with your child to say, how do you approach the conversation? If you
ever have these thoughts, please come to me.
Joshua Wayne (20m 2s):
He will just have to first talk about the statistics in 2014 suicide became the second leading cause of death
amongst adolescents, only behind accidents. And it’s a real issue. It’s a real serious issue. It’s, you know,
we’re also having this conversation in the midst of the prolonged COVID experience and the CDC put out a
statistic. I think it was one in four young adults, seriously considered suicide in the last 60 days or something
like that. And it’s a major issue. You know, it was also interesting just by way of just current events in 2011,
2012, the adolescent anxiety and depression rates started to really spike.
Joshua Wayne (20m 44s):
That was the same point in time. And for those of you who, who can’t see me, it says I’m holding up my cell
phone. That was the exact point in time where we crossed the threshold where more than 50% of Americans
who were in possession of a Smartphones. So, you know, if you can’t say the cause is there, but the
correlation’s unmistakable. So all along that trajectory, that’s around in 2011, 2012, 2014, suicide becomes
the second leading cause of death amongst adolescents by 2017, three out of four teenagers have an
iPhone. So it’s an unmistakable correlation between device use and increased mental health concerns with
Dr. Anthony Orsini (21m 23s):
And they discuss that on a recent movie that I just saw called the Social Dilemma. I just actually watched the
movie last night with my wife and those exact statistics were brought up about the, really the relationship
between I-phones or social media and suicide. So how did we have that conversation with our child to let
them know that please tell me if things are getting bad because most parents don’t have a clue. Right?
Joshua Wayne (21m 46s):
I think it was a couple of things. One is that I go back to my board of directors metaphor. This is still the first
and foremost thing you have to work at. Because if you’re on their board of directors, of course there’s no
guarantees, right? But your chances of them coming to you when something serious is going on or are so
much higher, that’s why I say this idea of at least having a seat at that table is the most important thing is
more important than their grades is more important than their choice of friends. That’s more important than
what college they go to. It is a thing that matters most. I think they’re going to be okay if you have a good
relationship with you and they have a, a, a general sense of have decent values in life, they are going to be
OK. You know? So I think we have to just really do that inventory. Like, am I freaking out about my kid’s
grades and my kids school and worrying about what college or going to go to and, and bringing that anxiety
to my relationship with them, because that’s gonna chase them away.
Joshua Wayne (22m 35s):
Alright. So again, you have to go back to that inventory, of all the things that you have conflict with and your
relationship with them and find a way to reduce it. What can you let go of? So you can strengthen the
relationship and work on having a strong relationship. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is I think if
you have to have an explicit conversation with them, and I think with kids in general, with teenagers, very
often the way to have the conversation, it it’s just a call up the elephant in the room. Hey, I want to chat with
you about something for just a few minutes. That may be a little, a bit weird, but it’s really been on my mind. I
just need to talk to you about it. You know, I heard this statistic about suicide as a second leading cause of
deaths amongst kids and not trying to, you know, make you feel like they have to talk to you about whatever
is going on in your life right now.
Joshua Wayne (23m 17s):
But I just, I need you to know. And if you ever find yourself in that situation, that I am here, and if you don’t
think you can talk to me and there are other adults in your life, and you have to think about who they are, you
can talk to you and maybe it is it’s grandma or grandpa, or maybe it’s uncle John May be, it’s your teacher
there, our other adults, if he can talk to me for whatever reason, there are other adults out there who care
about you and love you, and you can talk and you just have to plant that seed and let them know that I’m
here for you. And for whatever reason, why I’m not the person for you to talk to you about it, please find
Dr. Anthony Orsini (23m 46s):
And is that the same angle that we would take when we’re concerned that are child is doing illegal drugs, or
maybe he be getting mixed up in the wrong, you know, how do you have that conversation? We are pivoting
off to the next topic, but how do you have that conversation? You know, I think my child might be in a, in a
bad crowd. He was having those conversations. Don’t go easy. Because how does it usually end dad leave
me alone. I’m fine. Nobody says, yeah, you’re right. That I am experimenting. Is that all about the
relationship again? And how do you have that conversation?
Joshua Wayne (24m 16s):
Yes. It’s about the relationship because of the stronger your relationship with them is, the more A. They’ll talk
to you about stuff, but B the more they’re likely to behave in accordance with your values when you’re not
around, right. You know, you don’t want to upset or disappoint mom and dad, they are less likely to behave in
a way, you know, you wouldn’t want. Drugs and alcohol is tricky. There’s no simple sugar coating. I don’t
think it’s just a matter of having some conversations with them. But, you know, I don’t think it’s a matter of
talking to them about how their brain is not fully developed until they’re 25. And if they smoke, like all of
those things are true, but you have been hearing that since their in sixth grade or whatever it is now that if
they just wait until they’re 22 to do it, and they’re out of college before they have a drink or experiment with
marijuana, for example, then their chances of becoming an addict are 80% less.
Joshua Wayne (25m 8s):
Again, all these things are true, but it doesn’t really address, I think how most kids are making decisions
these days. So I think the first thing we have to do is also just check her own values on this. You know, I
mean, I have worked with parents who are literally range from, you know, talking about lets just say
marijuana is a common and, and obvious example. You know, I worked with parents who felt that their kids
smoking pot would be the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen. It would be a surefire, a predictor
that their life is going to go off the rails. And I worked with parents who were upset that their kid found their
own stash and took it without asking in it and everything in between. So I do think that there is some level of
just checking our own values around it in having, you know, just honest conversations about it.
Joshua Wayne (25m 52s):
I mean the reality is unless you lock your kids in the house and in their room, there’s no way to absolutely
completely prevent it. So I think the better play is to try to keep the relationship strong, try to see the world
through their eyes and just have honest conversations with them about it. If, if you found out they’re
experimenting instead of freaking out and yelling at them and getting punitive, I think the more generally
speaking in a better conversation is, okay, so what did you think of it? Or did you like it? What did you like
about it? What didn’t you like about it? That’s a tough one. They were requires us to be in an uncomfortable
position, but if you’re having that conversation, there’s at least a conversation.
Joshua Wayne (26m 34s):
If a reaction is, if I catch you doing this again, you’re going to be grounded for six months. You’re not leaving
the house. I’m taking the car away. I mean, the reality is is for some kids you might scare them out of doing it
for a period of time. But for a lot of kids that they’re just going to become craftier at hiding it from you. And
then again, it’s back to my original point is when your out of the conversation, you have no ability to influence
them because they had made a decision that this was something I want to do or my friends are doing and it’s
okay. And by the way, there’s this whole other thing with, you know, marijuana, which has been, you know,
besides alcohol, the most common drug kids are using today and it’s now being legalized all over the
country. So there’s this whole other conversation. Whether we want to acknowledge it are not going on in
their head around whether it’s actually a harmful thing or it’s really just a plant in an urban and all that.
Joshua Wayne (27m 19s):
So there’s this whole other conversation going on in their head, our job is to try and be a part of the
conversation so we can love them, support them, help guide them, help them think critically about the
decisions their making. And in particular, if they do find themselves in a tough spot or is it becoming
problematic so that we can be one of those caring adults in their lives, that’s there to help them. You know,
they get the train back on the track. If things are starting to slide off
Dr. Anthony Orsini (27m 44s):
In going back to the Technology, you’re also fighting a lot of stuff on the internet. That’s not necessarily true.
In my case, I’m a physician, so I’m having talks with my kids when they were a younger about
neuro-transmitters in a real science about why it’s not great to do drugs. And then I get an iPhone little thing
on Twitter that goes, see dad, that’s not true. And I’m showing them real medical studies and they are
looking at me going, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just read this on Twitter. So you’re fighting the
technology too, right?
Joshua Wayne (28m 15s):
For sure. For sure. You know, like, and again, with some of these things, you’re fighting a whole kind of
cultural momentum, the movies they are watching, glamorize it, all of these stoner comedies and stuff that
they are watching them make it seem funny and cool. And again, there’s this whole legalization
conversation. So again, like that’s the conversation that they are in with their friends and internally, if we want
to be able to influence it and we have to be a part of that conversation,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 40s):
Part of the board of directors, love that.
Joshua Wayne (28m 43s):
A conversation that we think we should be having around them. But the conversation that they’re really
having around that this is the conversation we need to find a way to be a part of it. And it’s not always easy.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 52s):
Okay. Now you work with a lot of troubled teens and I want to get your opinion on this because one of the
things that’s really in the news right now in really front and center is the role that fatherlessness plays in
troubled teenagers. And I really like your comments about that. How much has important is that, and there
are a lot of young teens that are growing up without fathers is either a divorce or have never had a father
that was in the house. How do we best help those troubled teens?
Joshua Wayne (29m 21s):
It comes back to be, to be the caring adult in their life,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (29m 24s):
Right? They need a male Adult somewhere. You know, I know mothers are doing a great job, but they
cannot do everything. So they need somebody else in their lives to help out with it. Right?
Joshua Wayne (29m 33s):
Yeah. And in my opinion, I agree with that a hundred percent. I think that, you know, it was, again, this is not
in any way undervalued the importance of mothers or, or the, women in the lives of young men, but at a
certain point, from my experience, they need a man to show them what it is to be a man in the world. You
know? And it’s, it’s the things that, that man says it to them. It’s just watching how that man behaves in his
own life, how he conducts himself, whether its, you know, it in a restaurant and how you interact with the
server, to showing up for work to, how you relate to and take care of your own family. They just need those
role models to see on a day in day out basis, to see how men Adult healthy, strong men behave in the world,
they are absolutely essential a need that I’m not going to get those statistics, right.
Joshua Wayne (30m 18s):
I’ve read about them and seeing them. But I would say the, the recall what it will be tough, but if you start to
look into the literature around it as a father in the home is one of the greatest predictors of success, just from
a sheer statistical standpoint, you know, a child without a father in a home is something like nine times more
likely to wind up in jail, you know, 8 times more likely to be poor and to be on some kind of public assistance.
There’s a whole litany of statistics like that. The number one predictor is a father in a year in the home.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (30m 46s):
Well, I read a statistic about 30 years ago. It was a study that said, if you have a father in the home that
actually played, but we were talking about sons that does, for lack of a better word, rough housing play, play
wrestling. I used to wrestle with my sons. We pretend to roll around and the way that those children were
much less likely to be violent when they were adult males. Because during that rough housing, the father
actually says, okay, that’s a little too far. Right. You know? And they learned that. And I thought that was a
fascinating thing. And my two boys would love to play wrestling with their dad when I got home. And, but I
welcomed it. It was fun. And first of all of it, but I also welcome it because they knew about that statistic.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 27s):
And I think that’s really emphasized as how important it is, but there are so many young kid’s not growing up
with fathers, but there’s also a great organizations like big brother And and other organizations like that, that
I think we really all could help. And I don’t think there’s enough for them where they’re funded enough are
Joshua Wayne (31m 44s):
That’s probably not. But I agree with you back to your point. I think the rough housing, there’s a very healthy
aggression that men have, you know, but it needs to be tamed that needs to be channeled in the right
direction. I mean that can also be in an enormous attribute towards a being successful in life. If you have that
sense of assertiveness, let’s call it. And I think a lot of times you can you learn that from your father. And I
think you can learn that from wrestling and in the thing that you mentioned, I’ve seen similar studies where
that is where they learn healthy boundaries, right? You learn that you can be forceful and assertive, but there
is an appropriate time and place for it. And you learn that from your dad, rough-housing with you when to
turn it on when to turn it off, what’s going too far or what’s appropriate.
Joshua Wayne (32m 25s):
And that teaches young boys, these very, very important boundaries that they can later translate into other
relationships and, and to work life and then to all kinds of stuff. But they have a healthy outlet for that natural
assertiveness or a regression. However you want to call that healthy aggression. And
Dr. Anthony Orsini (32m 41s):
That’s why I always think boys and girls, it’s so important for them to get involved in sports or get involved
with something because now they have somebody else in their life as a coach and how many children, and
we’ll tell you that the Coach turn their life around. We’re a family that we are all my sons and myself, we all
played football. And whether you’re a football fan or do you want your kid to play football? I’m not going to
get into that. But if you think about it, football is a very violent sport, but what happens? The whistle blows
and every one on the field freezes, they just stop. And so it teaches these boundaries and it teaches just like
the father rough housing. There’s another example of, okay, we can get our aggressiveness out. And then
what happened at the end of a football game? Do you know, what’s the only sport we’re at the end of the
game, both teams shake hands except for the Stanley cup in the NHL, but that’s only during the Stanley cup.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (33m 29s):
So, you know, I think you’re right. So this is, you know, having that person who can teach you those
boundaries is really, really important. We’re running out of time and you brought up COVID earlier before, but
I want to get your opinion on this right now we have these lockdowns and we have many children and
teenagers living at home and doing remote schooling. How have you seen any ill effects of this as far as
suicide or drugs or depression or anything with the children who aren’t getting that social interaction with that
person to person way .
Joshua Wayne (34m 5s):
Anecdotally, yes. There’s that one study that the CDC published that was talking about young adults. And so
they may be talking about more, you know, 18 to 24 year-olds type of thing. But I see it and I want to see,
my son is six. We’re on lockdown in doing distance learning and he is struggling. You know, he is craving to
go run around on the playground and tackle his buddies and exhaust themselves and then come home and
sleep good. You know, he’s definitely missing that. I think a lot of kids are missing that. Some kids
interestingly, and I don’t know what the percentage breakdown is, seem to actually respond well to distance
learning or in the region. I think it was a personality thing. And I think certain kids, it actually helps them
focus. There’s less distractions in the classroom and just sort of being one-on-one with the computer helps
them. So I am hearing some anecdotes that for some kids is working really well, but I know for a lot of kids is
really, really difficult.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 49s):
Okay. I’ve read that it’s really affecting adversely the lower socioeconomic kids because you know, maybe
they have it as a single parent, right? The mother’s got to go to work the teenagers home by himself. Maybe
they don’t have the technology that they need to do all the online learning. And if they do, there’s no one in
the house, you know, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to stay home with your teenager and say, you
know, please, you know that you have, you have a class go in front of the computer. My wife works at home.
It takes a lot of discipline. And as you know, to really at home, there’s so many distractions and for a
teenager, that’s a lot worse. And then while you’re online, you know, you got the tweets that pop up and that
the instant messaging it’s so easy to get distracted.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (35m 30s):
And so, yeah, I really worry about what, you know, the social interactions, you know, I spent my life teaching
them how to form a human connection between two different people. And, and there’s so many good people
out there that don’t know how to build that rapport. And I’m a big person on body language and non verbal
language, trying to build a rapport. And I can teach somebody how to build a relationship with somebody in
less than a minute. That’s really hard to do on the internet. You know, it’s so much better to do it in person
and have a big smile. So I worry about our kids who are already having trouble communicating in-person
because they’re growing up with the iPhone and now we’re in the era now of homeschooling.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (36m 10s):
So I’m praying that we get through this COVID and we can get back to normal as soon as possible.
Joshua Wayne (36m 15s):
I agree with you completely, I think kids need to be in school and around other kids. And you know, if your
doing distance learning and, you know, remember when you’re in class, when I was a student, if you fall
behind on something that you’re in a math lesson or something, and you have to get distracted and you
follow the behind, if you don’t find a way to get yourself back on track, you can lose the whole lesson, you
know? And it’s hard enough in class. There’s a raised your hand and ask a question, but online it’s such as
another again at a totally different dynamic.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (36m 40s):
Yeah, I agree. So we’re running out of time, but I want to ask one final and Difficult question that some
people have trouble answering. Now, I’m going to ask you because it’s only fair. What do you think is the
most difficult conversation that any parent or an adult would have to have with their child? And what advice
can you give them? We kind of touched upon that, but what do you think is the most difficult one?
Joshua Wayne (37m 3s):
Okay, so I’ll answer, but with a bit of nuance, I think Difficult one is the one that is most difficult for you. Okay.
You know, for some parents is going to be the drugs and alcohol thing, because that’s something that gets
them very anxious and uptight, but maybe sex is not an uncomfortable conversation with that parent or vice
versa. So I think just depending on who you are and what is your personality is in what your values are. It
can vary. I mean, I think it’s going to be, is definitely going to be about choice of friends, behavior, online sex
slash porn, drugs, and alcohol may be mental health. I think I am, again, my biggest advice is just to lean
into it, just to say, hey, look, I want to talk to you about something that might be uncomfortable for both of us,
but it’s on my mind.
Joshua Wayne (37m 43s):
I’ve got to talk to you about it because I love you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (37m 45s):
I love that. Well, great. Advice funny story. My father was not a very verbal person. You know, the typical
stereotype cop. And I remember it was 13 years old. He came into my room and said, mom says, I have to
have the sex talk with you. And of course I turned bright red and he turns, even redder. And he said, do you
have any questions? And I said, I looked down, I got no Dad. He goes, okay, tell Mom we spoke. So I don’t
recommend that, but that’s just, as you said, it was a difficult conversation for him. So it was just funny.
Joshua Wayne (38m 19s):
I want to just a little pro quick, quick practical tips, that also would be helpful. A lot of times when you sit a kid
down, particularly an adolescent, do you want to have that face to face conversation? It’s going to feel more
like an interrogation than the conversation. So sometimes the more nonchalant it is, your driving in the car
when They don’t have to face you when you are facing, if you’re out on a bike ride or you’re walking or you’re
throwing the ball around, there’s something else that it doesn’t have to be this eye contact, awkward, all your
chips on the table, right? In this moment, Conversation sometimes it can work better when you just diffuse it
a little bit with some other environment or some other activities.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (38m 56s):
That’s great advice. And I think it makes us as parents and we are comfortable too. Cause we don’t have to
look at the kid. And as my father turned really red and also we’re playing basketball in between shots. Yeah.
So, you know, tell me about what’s going on. Josh this has been really, really informative and it’s been
inspiring and you’re just an amazing person. The name of Josh’s book is “A simple Parenting Guide to
Technology”. Josh, what’s the best way for people. I mean, they can visit you on Joshua wayne.com or the
best way for people to get in touch with you because they could do so many great things. And I’m sure that
you and I can speak for hours and hours and hours about teenagers. Cause there’s no book and it’s not
easy. What is the best way for people to get in touch with you if they want you to speak at their event or just
need some advice.
Joshua Wayne (39m 42s):
Joshua Wayne.com Is the place to get in touch with me. I’ve got some free resources for parents there or
information about my speaking in counseling it’s all right there.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (39m 50s):
Thank you Josh. This has been great. If you enjoy this podcast episode, please go ahead and hit subscribe.
Where on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, and many other formats and Google podcast. Please go ahead and
download all the previous episodes. If you want more information about the Orsini Way you can contact
firstname.lastname@example.org. Josh thanks again. This has been amazing and I can’t wait for my audience to go
ahead and hear this episode.
Joshua Wayne (40m 16s):
Thanks for having me.
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