Episode 50

September 22, 2023


#50 | Dr. Pauline Peck | Being Present In The Process of Caretaking

Hosted by

Tony Siebers Bina Colman
#50 | Dr. Pauline Peck | Being Present In The Process of Caretaking
Parent Projects - Aging In America
#50 | Dr. Pauline Peck | Being Present In The Process of Caretaking

Sep 22 2023 | 01:00:23


Show Notes



Today, we will be talking to Dr. Pauline Peck. She is a licensed Psychologist in California and New York. She has a Master’s Degree in Race & Ethnic Relations/Sociology, a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a Doctorate Degree in Counseling Psychology. She has a group practice located in Santa Barbara, California that provides in-person and telehealth services.

Instagram: paulinethepsychologist
Website: www.noortherapyandwellness.com

Other Relevant Links:
Boundary Setting with Your Immigrant Parents

Free Translation Guide for Communicating with Immigrant Parents

Free CULTURED Book Club (monthly curated picks on all things children of immigrants x mental health, e.g., intergenerational trauma, immigration, cultural identity development)

The Culture & Connection Transformation Program, a 1:1 month-long, high-touch educational program for the daughters of immigrants


Looking for information? Parent Projects takes the stress and intimidation out of the process for families relocating an aged loved one using our educational and self-help downsizing guides found at www.ParentProjects.com. Through our “Verified” Business Network, advocates can access the pre-screened professional services they need on their terms with the financial and personal safety peace-of-mind their families deserve.


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00:00 – Intro

01:11 – Welcome to the Show

01:51 – Introduction to Dr. Pauline Peck

03:50 – Pauline’s Call to Action

10:39 – Ad Break

10:43 – Commonality with Their Sense of Honor

17:28 – Slow Down

22:44 – Tips for Handling that First Conversation

28:11 – How to Assess Expectation

33:34 – Conversing with their Community

39:00 – Senior Technology

49:11 – Ad Break

49:17 – Wrap Up

56:14 – For More Info

59:19 – Outro



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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Because you are the bicultural, multicultural being. Whereas most of their lives they've lived a monocultural understanding. And a lot of immigrants, regardless, is called cultural encapsulation. Regardless of how many years they've been here, especially if they've moved to an immigrant enclave, they haven't needed to leave that framework. You're the one that's gone off to college. You're the one navigating, like I said, multitude of identity. So you are going to have a greater perspective, and so you getting out of your own way. [00:00:35] Speaker B: As our parents grow older, it can be difficult to guide them through their golden years while still respecting their autonomy and fitting it into our already complex lives. Welcome to the Parent Projects podcast, where our guests share practical wisdom to tackle the issues that impact adult children of aging parents. I'm Tony Siebers. Thanks for joining us today. We've had a lot of conversations with folks that come from different angles of the world. And in the United States. One of the most brilliant parts that I love about this country is somewhat of that combination of cultures where we get to see how other people deal with things and how our cultures look to theirs altogether. Though we tend to get this opportunity to see that different people handle aging very differently around the world. And in the United States, with the age of technology moving as fast as it is, there's never been a more dynamic time where adult children or the go to kiddos have had to step in and help a family member just handle some of their basic needs. Today I've got Dr. Pauline Peck, and she is going to work down a lot of first of all, she's a licensed psychologist, northerapies and Wellness out in California and Santa Barbara. She's got a brilliant way to help understand and break down some of those barriers about, is it all in, is it all out? How do we get through some of those difficult conversations? We all come from a different place. [00:02:11] Speaker A: Dr. [00:02:12] Speaker B: Pep, thanks for joining us today. I really appreciate you coming in to offer your perspectives in here and to help us get through these complexities for our projects. [00:02:22] Speaker A: Thank you, Tony. I've never been more excited to delve into a difficult topic. I'm really excited to be here and to share and if nothing more, just to give some encouragement to those that feel like, man, I'm handling so much on my own. Just for people to feel you are not alone, and there are people handling some of the exact nuances that you're handling. So I can't wait to dive in. [00:02:48] Speaker B: Well, me neither. I know in preparation before we got you and I've had a chance to talk, but I've looked at some other stuff that you've done, and obviously some of the work that you have with Instagram and others you had. A wealth of experience by kind of getting dropped in that college scene where you got just a massive amount of clients in order to see things and start extrapolating what this might look like. And I know that seems to be a lot of your formation where you started recognizing, oh, not only do I have this journey, but you're getting to watch so many other people work through this. I cannot wait to see how that reflects in the guidance and the tips and the tricks that you can pass forward today. But I'd like to kind of dive in. I mean, this is, like you said, it's a difficult situation, it's a difficult conversation in the first place. And we are both after our prep. I'm excited to dig into this. What brings you into this? What informs your understanding? What did this look like for you, for a parent? [00:03:49] Speaker A: You know, just for some context. I was born in Iran. I'm Iranian Armenian, and I moved to the US. At the age of four. And so I grew up in America, but with this Iranian Armenian family that very much still had ties to both Iran as well as a nonprofit that my dad has run for Armenia for years. And so while I'm kind of growing up in America, that's kind of one culture, I've got this other Iranian culture, this other Armenian culture tied to two other nationalities. It felt like I was doing a tightrope walk of navigating all of these different cultures with their own norms, their own ways of being, and I found myself continuously switching between those. Of course, you don't know how you are. Growing up is any different than others. And it wasn't until college where I was exposed to so much diversity as well as when I was trying to make sense of myself, that I realized, wow, this is not an experience. Everybody has native people that have been here and kind of are native to the US. Generations and generations back. They don't experience feeling like there's so much of a culture clash in their upbringing. And so it wasn't until my own kind of identity, as well as mental health struggles, that I started to ask, what makes my experience unique? How can I understand myself? And so I began slowly. Education is kind of where I've always found the answers. And I started in sociology, and then I pivoted to psychology. And even as I was in my PhD program, I felt like I didn't have a lot of the answers to the questions that I was asking. Early in my first grad program, my mom was diagnosed with cancer again, and she'd had it previously. And I was young. I was in junior high, and she chose not to go through with chemotherapy again. And things got really bad really fast. And so I found myself in my early 20s, not having answered a lot of these questions that were beginning to form for me. Who am I? How does my identity shape? How does my culture shape my mental health and how I'm navigating family dealing with the parent project I was definitely not mature enough to deal with. And so it all kind of came together, and the PhD program, like I said, was years later, and I was still trying to figure out, what was that, right? How did my family deal with that? Why did I feel so much pressure? And really always asking the question that I think you always ask when you struggle with something, are other people struggling with this, too? Is this a me thing? Is this a phenomenon? What is this? And so it wasn't just my own studies, but it was when it really started applying to clinical work, as I was seeing so many daughters of immigrants, like you said, especially at the college level, I was just seeing so many of my experiences, whether they had been through or were going through a parent project. And I have a little bit more to say about that in a little bit. But I started seeing so much of my story resonate, and I realized, did. [00:07:04] Speaker B: You have other family that was either still back in the east, that was still communicating in? Was that a part? How did your culture play out? Was it a community that you lived within? Was it just what sat within the house? What was it that felt the pressure? What's the totality of that, generally to get a feel for what that might be, if that's even possible? [00:07:29] Speaker A: Yeah, so when my family moved, it was after there'd been a military coup. The entire country had gone into this upheaval, changed government, and then we were in the middle of a civil war. That's what I was born into. So when we moved, there was no going back. And all of our family at that point had fled. So either to the US. We went to Los Angeles, where my mom's side of the family was, but my dad's side of the family was all in England. And so on the ground, we had my mom's family, as well as my parents were pastors, so they had the church community around them, but there wasn't anybody back in Iran or even in Armenia. That was kind of part of the mix. It was that everybody was out. Everybody was out. Everyone was really in La. Or my dad's side of the family in England. And it's interesting is like, regardless of whether your community I'm putting it in quotes is there is still the psychological pressure of the community at large, which knows no distance. And so I felt it, even with this larger oh, my goodness, there are people in England, my dad's side of the family. What will they think? Is something every child of immigrants has asked themselves in a decision making process. It's like, what will they think? The aunts and uncles doesn't matter if they actually live there. It's just the idea that this larger community, which you grow up hearing, no, don't wear that. You can't look like that. You're an extension of me. You don't say that outside. Don't tell people we're doing that. You continuously culturally uphold your family's honor in the face of a spiritual, metaphysical, psychological community, whether they're physically there or whether they're just an embodiment. It's just ingrained in how you think. [00:09:16] Speaker B: Well, and that's the sense of honor. I think especially maybe that'll be a great topic for us to start diving into after the first break, when we get into, particularly towards the end of life, two topics that we see resonate a lot with our parents and a lot of parent projects around the country are the loss of autonomy or, like, legacy. Not sure what legacy is going to happen, although they're two of the big drivers that seem to be out there with the parents, both of which could really be at ODS with sense of honor, and particularly if that's a driving factor of your cultural values and trying to figure out, what does that mean? What are you communicating, what do you share, what do you not share? When can you reach out to somebody outside the group as the inside the group? That has got to be complex. In fact, actually, I think what I like to do, I'm going to jump into here. We're going to take our first break so we can get right back, because I want to get right back into that and have that conversation with Dr. Pauline with Dr. Pauline Peck. And it is going to be an amazing one. We're going to open up handling some of the cultural sensitivities, helping you be present while caretaking with your family, both respecting all sides of that, but taking care of you. Stay tuned for the Parent Project Podcast. We'll be right back right after this. And welcome back to the Parent Projects podcast. Dr. Pauline Jegnazarpeck, thanks so much for joining us out of your Santa Barbara home and your practice. We were just diving in here to handling some of those pressures that might sit on top of us, of the community, of what's acceptable, what's not acceptable. And I kind of started leaning into one of those common problems, which is that sense of honor, maybe being at ODS with asking for help or reaching outside or how you determine what's okay for you not to be able to do and to call on somebody else to step in to be able to do. I guess maybe we would start with, is there a commonality with that sense of honor that you've seen or that conflict between what parents do or don't want to share, particularly if they're a family that's maybe first generation or second generation here where they don't want to go outside the bubble? Is that something that we generally kind of expect and see here in the United States? [00:11:46] Speaker A: Yeah. I mean, partly the way that we're talking about it can be understood with survival. If you come into a country that is not built for you, whose systems you don't understand that already, you feel like you're marked as an outsider. It makes sense then to stick to your tribe. When we're afraid, we want to stick to our tribe. And I think that when you feel the system is not for you or you don't understand it and there's fear, maybe you're here trying to gain citizenship. There's so many different pieces to it. It makes sense to kind of stick together and feel like that's going to be your best bet at survival. And then fast forward to whenever that parent project is coming up. It's the survival mechanism that the family used is at odds with maybe getting more resources, more hands to help and all these other pieces. And the children of immigrants, they're in this place where they grew up here partly hearing the survival mechanisms from their family, but also developing new coping mechanisms because they could assimilate in ways, maybe they could understand the language. Maybe they've been like me, educated here. [00:12:55] Speaker B: Higher education here, met people in college, right? [00:12:59] Speaker A: And so interestingly enough, what I said earlier that I'm going to talk about in a little bit is that it's not usually a new role for the children of immigrants to take on parent projects. Many times we've had parent projects their entire lives translating documents, navigating certain things, saying, hey, this is what this form says. Doing certain things like taxes or other big things that a lot of people whose parents grew up knowing the system would never ask of their children because it would be something they could handle on their own. And so I think that they've had that role for a long time. And then it's like, let's stick together because this is what our parents have known in order to survive this. And so it is quite a clash to figure out, okay, how do we navigate the real needs that we have and give ourselves as many choices and resources? But how do we do it in a way that doesn't create a direct clash between us and our parents? And that's where the kind of sophisticated dance begins. [00:14:03] Speaker B: Is that a dance of it sounds like maybe a dance of privacy or is that oversimplification of that issue? [00:14:13] Speaker A: Well, if you think about the reason that family members, first and foremost, they'll say you can think about honor in a number of different ways. Honor is a value. And when we're talking values, the possibilities for how to enact that value are multifaceted. And so then you've got to think, I also want to honor my family and yet my parents also want to be honored. We don't know that these two are at ODS with one another. The value is the same. The particulars might be different. So then if we go back to a lot of times family wanting that privacy because it is like that. Survival mindset hunker down. Don't go outside. There's not trust. What do your parents need? They need reassurance. So a way to navigate that is to what I talk about a lot is the translation. When a family member says, don't talk to someone outside of this, the translation is, I'm afraid they may not understand. I'm afraid what it will be like if they come in. I'm afraid of being judged. I'm afraid of all these other things. And if you can find out what the actual fears are and, you know, values wise, we're actually aligned. I want to honor them. I don't want to, and so do they. Okay. [00:15:29] Speaker B: Right. [00:15:30] Speaker A: You might say, what are their particular fears? Which takes kind of slowing down, taking note of your own activation. Of course I want to honor you. You want to kind of go back and you go, wait a second, wait. What are your fears? What are your particular fears? If I told this person, what would that and each family member's fears are going to be a little bit nuanced, a little bit unique. Then you can offer reassurance or brainstorm how to be able to handle privacy in some arenas while giving enough information to bring in that help. And so really, it's about recognizing that the privacy and the don't tell anybody oftentimes comes from a survival mechanism, because actually, in collectivistic cultures, relying on a wide network of people is very culturally acceptable. There's actually less privacy than a lot of Western cultures where it's like, you don't tell ant, blah, blah, blah. We have family members that are ants to us, and they have family members. [00:16:30] Speaker B: Absolutely. That's exactly I was thinking, like Kamade and Kamada, how you use that in the Italian culture and the Sicilian culture is the same way. I mean, they're an aunt and uncle, but that is a right. And everybody knows everybody from that, really. Privacy isn't the issue of all of that. It is what's the fear? And maybe to really drive that home off of a simplification if that didn't click yet, it sounds very similar to in discovering when someone's maybe afraid of a dog, that they're maybe afraid of being bitten by a dog or being tackled by a dog or being pulled fast by dog or something. Once you understand what that one thing is, you can start overcoming the fear of what that might be there, asking those questions to them, boy, that takes a great presence of mind. Any good tricks to help remind yourself of that when you're getting in that moment? [00:17:27] Speaker A: Yeah, slow down. Which is so hard for me. I'm a fast thinker. I'm a fast processor, so I have to just take that breath. None of these big decisions are going to happen super fast. Very rare that a parent project is like, overnight. Everything needs to change. Sometimes that happens, but you have time to adjust, even care. There's a way to slow it down. Usually, unless you're in the life or death situation right in that moment, you don't have to respond immediately. So taking a breath and not responding from your automatic going back to the we want the same things. They want to be honored. I want to be honoring them. They want respect. I want respect. We all universally, as much as I talk about the nuances of culture and the differences culturally, there are also universalities that everybody wants love and respect and dignity. And these are things that everybody, to differing degrees, everybody wants. So when you say, okay, we want the same values, then you can dig in with curiosity. So it's like when you feel this is a good trick that I use. When I'm feeling that activation and I'm trying to slow myself down, I lean in with a question. It gives me a second to both calm while the other person is giving me more information. And it's like, okay, I'm calming down, and now I have a little bit more information, which usually then expands my, oh, I thought they wanted privacy. Now they want oh, they really want to be in charge here. It's a loss of control for them. Okay, then my next thing, then you can strategize. Who would be best? Who would you like to let me give you some choices? I don't mean to patronize, but I do this with my toddler. It's like if I feel he's in this where he is wanting control, what's going on? I don't want to wear that. Okay, do you want a choice? Wow. Now I've got choices. And we're collaborating again because ultimately we want the same thing. He wants respect. I want respect. Same thing with a family member. So slow down. Ask the question. You catch your breath when you hear more from what's going on. Then you'll actually have the next steps, which takes not scripting these things completely by yourself. It requires you to be present and be strategizing as you're taking in the information. So you might say, okay, so for you, this is what's important. You're paraphrasing. It might seem like, okay, why am I slowing down so much? But you will notice that that kind of slowing down reframing, paraphrasing. Did I get that correct? Mom and dad, those basic things, that's literally what you spend two semesters working on when you're studying to be a therapist. Those are actually very high level skills. They're simple, but they're not easy to implement. [00:20:27] Speaker B: And many of us, though, you bring up your kids in that technique here. By the time my oldest was maybe four, maybe four or five, I learned that when those questions came in and I need to buy that time, I started learning to ask the question, well, why do you ask? Yeah, why do you say that? Where does that go? And I'll be darned if probably 25 or 30% of the time or so they actually were asking for a very different reason than what I thought they were asking me for to the same degree. I can see that in my own conversations, my own parent projects with grandparents as well, when something would come up, they might do something or ask something. And I would add, Why do you say that? I think I know the answer off of that, and maybe it's reconfirming it, but there's a good amount of times where it comes from some other direction. I really like what you're saying with the slowing it down, whether it be your EMDR or I hear the other psychologist side that comes in to understand it's okay to feel the way you feel when that comes in. As that comes at you, if that stresses you out, if it frustrates you, if it comes through, if you got some anxiety against that, it's probably based off of something that's happened to you before, and it's okay to feel that way. But that doesn't mean you have to act right away. And I like slowing it down. My guess is that's where professional, like you say, okay, this is where you start introducing those questions to accept it and say, okay, well, I feel that way. That doesn't mean that's the situation. Let's start challenging what I think I know about what's going on here, but that also helps buy us time to what I'm hearing is it can help us buy time to understand what's the real challenge in their need for privacy or their need for secrecy, or to not share this over here to get through it. Am I picking up what you're putting down? [00:22:30] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:22:32] Speaker B: Yeah. Okay. So once you've got that, you've heard those objections that come through, you've been able to rephrase that. You've collected yourself from what we've seen in the parent projects, too. Very rarely is it life and death at every single moment, but oh my gosh, does it feel that way when it starts going through one thing to touch you talked about talking a lot, especially with daughters that are working through. Men and women seem to handle that conversation of fixing something a little bit differently. Right. Just in our human condition, it seems like as men, when something's coming down, we're immediately trying to solve the problem when it comes at us. And so that might even be even more difficult. Is there any tips or things that you can coach us through and being able to take that moment or other people around us or something to handle that a little better? If that's not something that just in our being of who we are doesn't make us really great at handling that first conversation well, it really does come. [00:23:43] Speaker A: To emotional intelligence, and emotional intelligence really holds both of them. That neither an emotional nor a completely logical solution is going to be the best thing moving forward. It feels so urgent because the emotions are high. And so when everything is so heightened, it can be really hard to think clearly. And yet you want to be sound of mind. And what I like to say also connected to your heart and those two coming together are what you're going to have as a kind of optimal toolkit for navigating, arguably multiple layers of difficulty here. I'm not going to code, I'm just validating. You have maybe been in this role, especially daughters or eldest daughters of immigrants already. You have been kind of the emotional caregiver and really had a lot of emotional labor that you're used to carrying for the family and now you've got another flavor of it in adulthood and maybe you've got your own kids, you've got other things going on in your personal life and now that's happening. And so it's really hard to kind of hold some of those pieces together. And what I like to say is, if you have, let's say, like in my family, two girls, one boy, if you've got differences, sometimes family members, when they get into something like this, want everybody to be on the same page. I like to say use the differences for your benefit. Like you said, for some personality, socialization biology, an entirety of those things is going to make one person really lean in and say, oh my gosh, they're really struggling and feel from the heart. Another person's immediately going to think of a solution, somebody else is going to hear something differently. Those differences are not threats in a family system. They're actually benefits. If you think of a family like an organization, you don't want to hire ten people that have the exact same skill set and the exact same way of thinking. You want that difference because that's what's going to help you get that 360 view and make the best decision. And so if you find yourself being an eldest daughter or an emotional caregiver for your family, know that if you've got a brother that comes in with the solutions, right? Love you, Patrick, but yeah, love to come in with those solutions. It takes taking a breath and saying, okay, when I'm anxious, when I'm activated, difference is a threat. When I calm down, difference is a blessing. Difference is an asset. [00:26:19] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:26:20] Speaker A: And then you can have different family members in different places hearing different things. And all of it together is going to help your organization, your family unit, whether it's just your immediate family or whether it's a hodgepodge of extended family, which we had, we had lots of church family coming in, lots of people during the hospital days afterwards, like we had a big network. Those differences are actually assets. So if you feel that it is life and death, if you feel angry and resentful at those differences, if you're feeling like everyone's got to get on the same page, you're probably activated and operating from this purely emotional and anxious place. And that's a good cue to kind of do what you need to do to take care of you. Step back so that you can see, oh my goodness, lots of different people are coming at from different angles. How great. Because then we're going to land in something that's much more creative because we've kind of outsourced it to a bunch of people with a lot of different ways of thinking. That's what a boardroom wants to do, right? [00:27:24] Speaker B: Okay. So therein also might lie something that can be unique into working your way through those intercultural families or communities or even migrant communities where you've got a large group of people that play other roles in mom and dad's life. And as we maybe you're the next generation, and that doesn't look the same way for how your experience has been, right? You've gone off to college and you've got friends that you've got a network, but you might not share the same types of things or relied because you didn't rely on them when you first came here, or to that degree, is there a way to assess what that looks like? Or is there a conversation to have with your parents to understand what their expectations look like for that? It kind of feels like you're building an airplane while flying it in some cases, right? [00:28:22] Speaker A: There's no roadmap. And about having direct conversations about culture. I always say culture is like water to a fish. You don't know that these are expectations that are any different than what somebody else expects. You don't even know how to name them. It's just what is culture is? What is it's hard to assess for, hey, mom and dad, what are your particular one that requires direct communication? And in a lot of immigrant families, direct communication, especially to someone that's older than you, is already a little bit taboo. And then the second is asking somebody, what's your framework? Whereas, like, I don't know, just the framework. I've always seen the world through. It's hard to articulate that one way of kind of navigating that is you as the adult child, knowing that you are seeing things differently than they are. And it sounds simplistic, but it's you recognizing the culture rather than asking them about the culture you recognize. The thing I say to every single child of immigrants that I work with is you're going to have a greater perspective and a broader perspective than your parents do because you are the bicultural multicultural being. Whereas most of their lives they've lived a monocultural understanding. And a lot of immigrants, regardless, is called cultural encapsulation. Regardless of how many years they've been here, especially if they've moved to an immigrant enclave, they haven't needed to leave that framework. You're the one that's gone off to college. You're the one navigating, like I said, multitude of identities. So you are going to have a greater perspective, and so you getting out of your own way. I'm remembering when. You were talking about that my beautiful Aunt Mimi, not really my aunt, family friend Aunt Mimi. And she said after my mom and died, she said, I want to come over and I want to iron your dad's shirts. She lives like 45 minutes from my dad's house in La. On a good day, I'm thinking, absolutely. And I had to get out of my mind frame to think that is something that she feels she can offer and something that my dad is feeling really good about accepting as a way caring for him in this period of grief and loss. And so it's never something I would have come up with. And if I'd said to my dad, what are your expectations? Never would he have said, I expect Mimi to come iron my clothing for me. But her offer, I was open to it. I thought they get the camaraderie. This is something that feels like if they live next door, she would be doing for him back in Iran. Of course, it feels culturally normative. That for me feels like, oh, I would never have come up with that. So I think that I can offer is know that your ideas are not going to be their ideas and allow for the ideas of the greater community to come in and bounce them around and see is there a way to honor it because your community may step up and say certain things. Or if your family does say, hey, I really would like someone to help with this, then you can get creative. But sometimes it's hard for them to articulate those expectations directly because they've just grown up seeing it done. Oh, that's what you do when a family gets sick. That's what you do when you're going through really tough times. One way of getting to that is, how can I make you feel most loved? How can I make you feel most honored? What's the part that feels the hardest for you in this? These kinds of questions might get at it without doing the direct talk. And it's a way of saving face. A lot of collectivistic cultures value harmony. So anything you can do that makes it easier to have these difficult conversations, you're going to work together rather than feeling like you're working against your parent. [00:32:17] Speaker B: That culture as it steps in and it's context there, is it ever toxic? And if it is off of that, what do you do as you start encountering that? The obvious I hear in this is to give time to make sure you're understanding what's going on. You've got a context that's very different than theirs trying to understand, okay, this is my context. This is their context, asking these questions of where these things are. But let's say you find that challenge where the culture is not going to let you go to get the help you need. Or I hear some people talk about, our community will never let me pull in somebody out from the outside to help do this. And today's pressures everything I've got to manage with. And this is literally what I've heard from family. I've got two kids that I just got one off to college. I've won their senior year. I'm trying to work through all of this. I've got my job, I've got all this other stuff. I can't do the things that they're expecting and the culture is not going to let me go out to the outside of that. But nobody's stepping into that. How do you start are those conversations that you can have with that community? Is that a conversation you have your loved one have with their community? Is there a trick to even starting to break that down? [00:33:40] Speaker A: Oh my goodness. So individualized. Okay, I'm going to give an answer to some of this, but I will say that there's no roadmap for that. And I think you know best trust whether you are able to effectively have some of those conversations. I've known children and immigrants who can say to their parents, hey look, on one hand you want all of this done, on the other hand, I can't do it. And we don't want help. You don't want to go outside of the family, what do we do? And just open it up as a question. And then there can be brainstorming and others whose family can't talk like that. And so I would say trust in your gut, your intuition, can a conversation like this happen? And if it can't, it's not the only pathway to moving forward. I think there is no way to have every single member happy in the exact way that they imagined. And so I will say take some of the pressure, even if you're feeling it from the outside off of yourself, to figure it all out seamlessly and perfectly. The children of immigrants oftentimes feel like it's their job to meld these culture classes. And you can't. I mean, when you get up, you pluck yourself out of your community of origin where everybody thinks in a similar fashion, given the diversity, but in a similar fashion, has grown up similarly and they are able to age there with all their community around. That's very different than being plucked out, being disrupted with your family trajectory and development and doing later life in a different country. You are not going to be able to solve that gap. That gap exists and your family may have very big feelings about that. And it's not your job to navigate making sure that's seamless and the other piece is not your job to also make sure your family is as healthy as possible. There can be some toxic elements and you get to decide how you're going to engage or not engage with certain things. But there's trade off. If you don't engage, you may get more pressure, you may get more guilt, you may get some of that disappointment, and you've got to have the support you need to say, I know that there are people that see what I'm doing and see that it's impossible to do it all and they're stepping up to support me. And it may not be your family. They may not be the people that you are serving. And at the end of the day, while that is painful, that's where I come in to say, I see the impossible place you're in, and your family is yelling at you, and you're doing it with such value and grace, and nobody's giving you credit. You're learning to draw your boundaries. You're learning to act with integrity. You're operating with emotional intelligence, and sometimes your family is not going to be able to see that in the same way. And that's a grief, but it's also a reality, right? [00:36:44] Speaker B: I mean, you look, even Christ went home. It was thankless nobody was going to respect it. But I think that things are moving so quickly, you get removed from a situation and you tend to recall the fondness of what that is. And I can just see all too often, even the memory of, well, what this would have been like back there is all like rainbows and unicorns. It's not there's a reason everybody left. There's a reason that things fell apart. And that's not even thinking about just the realistic, I guess, the situation that we really have here with aging. I don't know that we talk a lot about this, but one of the driving factors in why I think we see so many families like adult children stepping into this is that societies in general have been moving very quickly in technology, and they've been adopting technology at this rapid scale, and there wasn't a lot of thought into age friendly technology adaptation. We had banks, like four or five years ago that jumped into, well, you're going to have to get your statements via email, right, if you're going to do this business off of that. But I know that the last thing I wanted my grandmother at that time to do was get in front of a computer where everybody was attacking her and where she was falling susceptible to fraud and these things were happening. That was like the one place I really didn't want to go, and she didn't want to go, and she couldn't pick that up. That divide is a real thing. And so as perfect as we think things may be and the pressures that the community puts on us of, well, it would have been like this or it should come from that, just being real about the situation. This is hard because technology has taken off and we've adopted it in so many different ways that we've really left an age group in the dust. It hasn't been designed for them. I do believe we'll write that ship. I do think that over the course with baby boomers, especially being so insistent about things working well for them and how things work for them. I think they're going to demand that that technology take into account their ability to use it as they get older. But the generation right now, 70 plus there's a high likelihood that this is hard because there are things they just can't do for themselves that they used to do or would have been able to do in the last generation. [00:39:17] Speaker A: And then add that, like you said, add that to the culture shift. You moved here in your thirty s. Forty s. And now you're starting over where maybe there's oftentimes a loss of prestige. My grandfather was a renowned dentist and then all of a sudden nothing. Right. I think there's also that piece. And so the power tool that you have and it doesn't feel like a gift that I'm about to give you. You're like, what I have to do. That is compassion. When it feels so frustrating, when you're feeling squeezed and pressurized with all of the things that you said you've got to do with your family, emerging family and now your parent project, it can feel like you want understanding. Don't they understand? And yet you may never get understanding because your parents actually have not lived that if you're a child of immigrants, they've never had that demand. Plus the technology piece that you're adding in a different country, they can't relate. They literally cannot relate. So they're not going to understand. You're going to understand them more than they understand you. Your power tool that unlocks so much is compassion. I had a friend who worked in an impatient kind of set up and she said there'd be patients that would get upset and angry and the worst thing you can do is come in with a calm down, you're going to get activated. Yeah, you are really upset. And I would match their tone and I would get right in and do what in therapy we call joining. You join them. When you join someone, you say, I get it, mom and dad, you are growing up now. You need dialysis. Oh my gosh. You're thinking about how it would have been better in Iran. Oh my goodness. Tell me about what neighbors would have been around. You would have had all that help. The bank was right next door. You knew the father of the bank. Oh my goodness. That would have been easy for you. See how I am not saying don't you understand that now I've got to take on your digital banking on top of all the other roles I already play versus jumping in with compassion. It is devastating to be navigating. What is scary for all of us, I mean, Freud talked about death. Anxiety is like we all share that in common. Regardless of where you come from, culturally, everybody got some of that anxiety. It's partly literally the source of many anxieties. And here they are navigating that in a foreign place with these rose colored glasses, with the cultural encapsulation, thinking about what it would have been like. I remember when my grandmother was in a nursing home and she passed away a few years ago. I was very close to her. And when she would get into these, oh, my gosh, and you don't visit and nobody visits. And I would say, tell me about what it would have been like. Tell me about what it would have been like to grow up in Iran. This is so hard for you. This is so different. And I would have that compassion, but I would also use imagination. When you have compassion for your child who's hurting you come up with a story that then makes it fun. Same thing applies with your parents. Use imagination. What we imagine our brains perceive as real. It is the root of EMDR. Visualization all sorts of hypnosis, all sorts of magical somatic modalities for therapy. I would say to my grandma, and she and I would talk on the phone sometimes for an hour, and we would imagine what growing old in Iran for her would have been like. And some of those conversations, I could get teary eyed about that because they were so sweet for me to see this parallel life that she may have had. Probably not in the same way she's imagining, but it's almost like a gift that I can give her rather than sitting on the phone and rattling off to her. All the reasons why me with a young family can't come see her and why she's in a nursing home, it's like, don't rationalize, compassion and empathy are going to be your key tools for navigating that. And that does not mean you have no boundaries. You say, this is so hard that all of us can't visit. You grew up at a time where everybody was visiting Grandma. This is so different. I can't visit right now. I really wish that I could. And I look forward to seeing you next month at that visit that I planned. I can hold that boundary, but not rationalize, not try to snap her into some sense in her and tell her about technology. [00:43:42] Speaker B: Don't you understand how hard my life is and where we have to get. [00:43:46] Speaker A: Into historical why life is hard for a lot of people, your generation that's going to miss her. At the root, I can bring compassion and I've let go that my grandmother is going to understand my world. Now it's like I barely understand my world. And I went grad school three times. I'm still wrapping my mind around my own world. My aging grandmother is not going to be able to understand that. [00:44:09] Speaker B: Yeah, there's a brilliant practice that one of our guests had really worked through in helping, especially when if dementia had started to step in. And one of this just it really was an AHA when she came out because I hadn't heard it before. It was original idea to me. She said when someone with Alzheimer's in particular comes out and they do something or they say something, it makes sense to them. Someplace, somewhere it makes sense to them. They could be out mowing the lawn with a toy, and it makes sense to them. So when you go to approach that and I mentioned this because this is, I think, an epitome of empathy, of putting that into play from this perspective. So when you go to approach that and they're doing that not what are you doing? Why would you do that? Or getting embarrassed against that? But it is understanding, okay, if that made sense to me, if that thing that they were doing, if I was doing that and that made sense to me there, what would I want to hear next? [00:45:13] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:45:13] Speaker B: Where would I want to go? And the application of that, that's an extreme right, and that's not something all of us will have to deal with. Many of us, unfortunately, will deal with some level of that. But I think there's an application there. If you're having a hard time grasping the empathy there, you don't understand where they're coming from or you're just not sensing they're grabbing on from that being able to just take a moment into yourself and say, okay, if this did make sense to me, this crazy statement and this expectation they're throwing down, what would I want to hear in that moment? And maybe start at that element of just to chip away at it, just to show that we're on the same team here. Yeah, I'm here with you. [00:45:55] Speaker A: It's validation. It's being seen when you are accurately seen, when you're not judged, when you're accepted. That non judgmental, curious, open, validating stance in and of itself is healing. So when you start a conversation from there, there's lots of different ways to navigate it. I will say that in order to have that kind of presence and in order to give that level of compassion, you have to take care of yourself because it requires energy. It's not our knee jerk reaction. And so just like a parent of a young family, just like when I was religiously, going to the gym and taking time away from my family, even in the throes of my mom being in the hospital and the aftermath of my dad and multiple physical surgeries, mental health, things that went on. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It's a necessity for those moments because it requires energy. It requires okay, it makes sense to them. And another layer, and it requires getting into your body. And if your body is tense, underslept, over caffeinated, you're literally living at the edges. It's going to be really difficult to do that. Another additional piece I will say is it is so important to find your community, not the community that your parents are going to be embedded in, hopefully. And everybody now with globalization, people go all over. Some people don't have that larger community. And so I want to that clear. But I will say you need your people. I have my daughters of immigrant, fellow daughters of immigrants who I can call. And I went through something with my family this past weekend. I had two women I knew I could call and who could resonate different Middle Eastern families. But they know what I'm talking about and they can resonate and they can just see things in a way that I don't have to explain. And because your parents are not going to be able to understand, and you're going to be giving more than you receive, especially if you've had some neglected childhood needs coming up, too. You need that support of the self care of the time away from that system, as well as people who understand and see things as you do. Because that resonance is like giving you fuel to be able to do some of the higher level order stuff we've been talking about in today's episode. [00:48:16] Speaker B: That is, I think, a brilliant landing against that tribe. In fact, we're going to take our last break here. And when we come back from that, I think that's how I want to really land this plane is that little bit of the tribe that's around you, some of these other safeguards that you can have, they're going to help shore you up. We've uncapped or we've uncovered and worked through a lot today with Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck over just being present while caretaking how to work in honoring the culture, not getting stuck, of letting yourself go or having to be one way or the other. Stay tuned when we come back from this message with our sponsors. And we are going to just land this plane, bring it home, and talk about things that you can do just in reinforcing all these messages we've had. Stay tuned. Parent Projects podcast will be back right after this. And back to the Parent Projects podcast. Thanks for joining us. We've got Dr. Pauline Yegnazar Peck that's joining us in adding some context to how it is that we will find you someplace here. There you are adding some context to when we've got this intercultural multicultural, maybe multigenerational intercultural multicultural influence that's working over our Parent Project. You've got extended family. You've got those that have just kind of you've got that community that's in around your parents. We've talked about in the last segment. We really went through a lot to start breaking down. We broke down. It doesn't have to be all in or not all in ways that you can really honor that sense of honor and work through some of that sense of honor by asking some of those questions, to understand really what the sticking point is, and to get through, given that time, to let your parents speak into what they really might mean. You talked a lot about understanding that your experience is not going to be their experience, but you've got a couple of great benefits with that. Number one, you get to see their experience. If you're empathetic enough, you can probably learn from that. And then you get to layer on a second layer of experience and you get to recognize that you've got family members who might tackle this differently. And that's not just an okay thing. That can be a real asset to people coming in if you get slowed down. You talked about or being easy on yourself and understanding how to hold those healthy boundaries in where things are at, in how oftentimes slowing things down instead of trying to push back how you feel or where this is. Taking time to open up and ask questions allows you the time to process yourself to be okay and to let them continue to voice, to where it's got to be, and then find a place to move together in. Into mutual respect and in some cases, maybe learn a little along the way of what maybe some of their fears and those losses were or what they thought the expectations would have been that they've missed or that's changed so much in their life from where they've been to where they're going. How am I doing so far? How do we do off the notes. [00:51:37] Speaker A: Yeah, this is great. As you're talking, I'm thinking this is optimal and we are human, which means imperfect. And as long as you're striving towards this, it's enough. Nobody's going to hit it. I do not hit it perfectly this past weekend when I got into a family thing and we're talking about my dad's house and he's 70 and he's getting I didn't deal with it perfectly and I do this for a living. And I say that because it is so important. As children of immigrants, we already have perfectionism, partly because our parents want us to meld those two pieces that will never quite go and they want us to seed in a way that will make every sacrifice they've made worth it. They've got these fantasies and many children of immigrants just step in and think, okay, I guess I got to just be. And this is one area where either by choice or by crisis, perfectionism is not going to work for you. And I encourage you, I invite you to begin the work of self, compassionately feeling good enough as you strive toward these things to guide you. And that, I think, is going to be crucial as well as, like you said, making sure you've got people in your life who understand the impossible task and can resonate in ways that maybe somebody whose parents have already set up. What's going to happen when I'm older or fine with living in a nursing home and never going to give you grief about that and understand you got the family is like those people might not, they might be supportive in other ways. But you need people who understand the particulars of the immigrant experience and some of the expectations because their family has some level of that too. And that resonance is so critical for being able to navigate what is really difficult. And we talked a lot about parents fear and how that comes out in certain rigidities. And your fear is going to be there too. It's hard to see your parents. It was so hard for me to see my mom be progress. It was hard to see my dad and how he was going to navigate a new life. It was hard to see still hard to see how my family is different than I thought it would be. So if there's anything to be said of this, is that there is all that coming up for you too. So whether it's leaning on friends and supports, whether it's getting professional support, even if your community tells you that's not okay. I clearly exist and I didn't grow up with a model for psychologists. So finding a psychologist of color, a psychologist who's a child of immigrants, we have more of these voices coming out to say our particulars matter. And if you have somebody that as a therapist can understand, that's going to be another layer of having that support feel nourishing to you. But it is impossible to do this without that layer and community of support. [00:54:31] Speaker B: Yeah. And it's not a realistic expectation to put on ourself. I remember hearing one of our guests talk through you might do this maybe four times in your life. If you've got your mom and dad and your spouse's parents, you're not going to be great at it. Just the expectation of knocking it out of the park isn't a real expectation. I love that you say strive. I mean, I know that from the time we coach young men and women, you don't have to be perfect, just striving. Strive for where you're going, know what it is that you want. And not for a perfection off of that, but strive to be doing the best of where you can and recognizing that you feel the way you feel because you've had real experiences in life. It's a real human condition. It's okay to feel that way. Give yourself that. I love giving yourself that tribe also where I don't have to explain why I feel the way I feel about my parent in this multicultural situation because my tribe are people who already have that in the background. So now we can get to the crux of that or I can on the fly be able to ask someone how they might have handled that a little bit differently. And it gives me that time to trust. I love having a network that way. Any networks or things that you can think of. Do you point people into a direction of let's say you're having a hard time connecting it or finding that community that's maybe people that understand that is there any obvious places to go out or maybe not obvious places to go out and look for help. [00:56:13] Speaker A: Like I said, this is a new thing. My Instagram started because I didn't see much of that out there. And so my account is a great place to go. There are other accounts that are out there that are for the children of immigrants and really are speaking about some of these particulars of how our mental health is impacted by having to navigate things that someone know has had generations here in America isn't doing in the same way. I run a book club monthly where we talk about identity issues and even if it's not particular to parent projects all the time, just even bringing in, oh, the way my mental health is impacted by being in this bicultural experience, even just that offers some resonance. And we choose a book that has to do with the experiences of the children of immigrants. And so those are a couple of places that online and digital communities are really big because this is frankly pretty new, right? This enclave saying we need some particular support because the way that we're taught to set boundaries or to be with our family members, the white models or the Western model don't quite seem to fit like the direct communication piece or setting boundaries in this way. How might we do it differently? I've even actually got a course that is all about boundary setting with immigrant parents. And so the fact that I'm hopeful that I'm adding to these voices and online social media places are opening up now, I'd say that digital resources exist for this type of thing. [00:57:45] Speaker B: Highly valuable. Highly valuable. Especially with, as we talked about, the acceleration of technology gaps that are just throwing a lot of that 50 to 65 year old group and even younger in a lot of especially as you mentioned, for multicultural families where it's just a part of grandkids taking care of grandparents and then vice versa. Having that influence or that impact at a younger age. Absolutely encouraging people to get involved. Even if your parent projects hasn't quite kicked off yet, start building that community. Know where you're going to lean, at least over the course of the next ten to 15 years here into the United States. I can just continue to see need for it. And really, I think the country is blessed that people like you, Pauline, have stepped up and have started opening up those conversations and that dialogue. And I know we are absolutely blessed to have you on the show today. Thanks so much for joining us and sharing your time, talents and treasures. [00:58:44] Speaker A: I so appreciate this and what you're doing. I mean, this is just probably so encouraging to people that are listening and feeling afraid and overwhelmed and feeling like, oh my goodness, this is. A lot to take on. Just the fact that you are offering them hope and bringing in people to encourage them and keep them going. It makes me feel really good that I was able to offer the little bit that I was today. [00:59:08] Speaker B: Well, thanks be to God and thank you again for joining us. [00:59:11] Speaker A: Thanks. [00:59:16] Speaker B: Well, that's it for this team this week and thanks for joining us. If you've enjoyed the content, remember to subscribe and to share this episode on the app that you're using right now. Your reviews and your comments, they really help us expand our reach as well as our perspective. So if you have time, also drop us a note, let us know how we're doing for tips and tools to clarify your parent project, simplify communication with your stakeholders, and verify the professionals that you choose. You can find us on YouTube, follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks again for trusting us. Until our next episode. Behold and Be Held. [00:59:48] Speaker C: Thank you for listening to this Parent Projects podcast production. To access our show notes, resources or forums, join us on your favorite social media platform or go to this show is for informational and educational purposes only. Before making any decisions, consult a professional credentialed in your local area. This show is copyrighted by Family Media and Technology Group, Inc. And Parent Projects, LLC. Written permissions must be granted before syndication or rebroadcast.

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