Parenting Scripts

I’ve know for a long time to avoid “don’t/do not” this explains it a little better: Parenting Expert: ‘Do Not’ Doesn’t Work with Toddlers – Tinybeans

I think it keeps mattering because it’s easy to miss the “don’t” and only hear the rest. Plus it’s amazing how many ways people can follow directions while still not doing what you want.

Instead of ….. Try …..

Don’t run! – Walking feet! Walk please.

Don’t yell! – Inside voice. Quieter please. Lets turn down the volume.

Don’t go <place>! – Come back here. Stay right there.

Don’t climb/wiggle/stand/kneel on your chair. – Sit on your butt please.

Don’t touch that/things! – Hands together please. Keep your hands on your knees. Let’s try sitting on your hands.

Don’t <do this thing> without me! – Wait for me please.

Don’t <do this thing> without permission. – Ask permission and wait for an answer before you <do this thing>.

Don’t leave <thing> <wrong place>! – Pick up <thing> and put it <right place>.

Don’t forget <action/item>. – Remember <action/item>!

Finding a Good Therapist

Finding a therapist is pretty straightforward, for example you can use a site like:

Find a Therapist, Psychologist, Counselor – Psychology Today

Or follow instructions on who to call like these:

Finding a Mental Health Professional | NAMI

The harder part is figuring out if the therapist is actually helping you.

I only recently learned that they should be giving you homework – like something to practice or a question to think about.

You should feel safe and comfortable with them.
If you don’t feel that way with any person, then you might consider finding someone you’re willing to explore and address that with despite how you initially feel. You could also try a group setting where you can listen and learn or watch videos or read books to get started on healing.

Even there you should get actionable items to work on. For example, all the various 12 step groups have you work the steps of the program. This video mentions starting with breathwork which there a lots of different videos you can look through to find one that works for you. I try to do box breathing daily, especially while driving or other tasks like that. Books like Parenting From the Inside Out by Dan Siegel also give end of chapter activities to try.

If you’re just paying someone to listen to you vent, they aren’t doing a good job. They should listen to you vent sure, but then they should be asking good questions. How or why did you end up in that situation? What do you wish you had done and what stopped you? What do you want to do in future situations like that, and what do you need to be able to do that?

I once had a therapist cancel me as a client because “It seemed I had nothing to work on and was just venting which I should do with friends.” – I went along with it, but many years later I realized that the therapist didn’t ask if I HAD friends I felt I could talk about this stuff with or WHY I wasn’t talking about it with my friends. I knew I needed help, I just didn’t know what I needed and didn’t realize that my therapist wasn’t skilled at figuring it out either.

Another therapist I fired after realizing I was only ever venting about one topic again but not being given any actionable feedback on how to change my own behavior to affect that relationship and the venting was just bringing me down.

One I had to stop seeing because driving there after work ended up being so tiring I couldn’t think or talk about anything else by the time I got there. Thank goodness for all the remote options we have now!


My initial thought was that there were mainly two types of conversation. One where the person just wants to be heard and the other where there is a further purpose, like problem solving or asking for help. I think most of these ones listed below fall into the second category where there is a purpose beyond needing to express yourself and be heard.


In The Patterns of Effective ConversationDave Pollard lists ten generic purposes of conversation.

The list below is an adaptation of his list, in which I have modified or expanded some of the descriptions and added additional items:

Real conversation serves one or more of the following purposes:

  1. Information: to obtain, surface, or convey information or understanding of facts (know-what), processes (know-how), or contacts (know-who). To learn from each other.
  2. Sense-making: to make sense of something (beyond just obtaining facts), especially a complex issue.
  3. Perspectives or viewpoints: to obtain different points of view or gain consensus
  4. Change: to challenge and shift someone’s viewpoint or intentions (mine or others’)
  5. Ideas: to generate ideas, surface and imagine possibilities
  6. Collaboration: to enable the effective production of some shared work-product
  7. Deepening or creation of relationships: to connect with other people, to build relationships
  8. Entertainment or fun: to have fun, banter, gossip, flirt
  9. Recognition, attention, or reputation: to obtain it or offer it
  10. Appreciation, empathy, or reassurance: to get it or offer it
  11. Decision making: to make decisions
  12. Problem-solving: to solve problems or figure out how best to respond to them
  13. Reveal problems: to reveal hidden issues or unintended consequences of our actions
  14. Search for opportunities: to search for opportunities.
The purposes of conversation | Conversational Leadership (

Greetings Scripts

This started with a Bored Panda post.

How are you?

  • Acceptable.
  • Satisfactory.
  • Good for certain definitions of good.
  • Functioning.
  • Functional.
  • Upright and active.
  • Could be worse.
  • Still processing.
  • I’ll let you know later.
  • I don’t know, haven’t had my caffeine/coffee/tea/etc. yet.
  • Too tired to talk.
  • Still asleep.
  • I’m not all here yet.
  • I’m sleepwalking.
  • Do you want the standard answer or the real answer?
  • Do you really want to know?
  • Imagine I used the socially acceptable response of your choice.
  • Still on this side of the dirt.
  • Vertical and ventilating.
  • Alive and breathing.
  • Still surviving.
  • You don’t want to know.
  • Hanging in.
  • Hanging on.
  • Dressed and vertical.
  • Upright and taking in nutrition.
  • Up and not crying.

Followed by:

  • How are you?
  • And you?
  • Hope you’re doing well?
  • Thanks for asking.
  • I need to go.
  • Please excuse me.
  • Nice to see you, I must be off.

The classic exchange goes along the lines of:

  • Person A: How are you?
  • Person B: I’m good thanks, how are you?
  • Person A: I’m good too thanks.

Then either move into more conversation or move along.

  • Person A or B: Since you’re here, I’ve been meaning to talk about…
  • Person A or B: It was nice to see you, I have to get going.

The initial exchange gives both parties a chance to feel out the other person to see if they are in a good place physically/mentally to talk or a way to signal that the relationship is valued even though they are not able to talk/connect at the time.

If we were computers it would be the handshake protocol before transferring data packets.

The purpose of asking “how are you” is context based.

  • Public/community/work/school
    • confirms/reinforces social constructs
    • allows signaling of status (regulated/dysregulated) prior to further interaction
  • therapist/doctor
    • request for information
  • friends/family
    • can be either depending on the situation – one on one vs. group interactions, close groups vs casual groups
    • confirms/reinforces social constructs
    • allows signaling of status (regulated/dysregulated) prior to interaction
    • request for information
    • offer of support

A Diagnosis is Just a Label is Just a Tool

I’ve talked about labels before. Today I was thinking about how a diagnosis is just a medically recognized label.

Like any tool it can be used or not, and used well or poorly.

Another thing a diagnosis or label is, is language. It’s shorthand that allows those who understand it to skip past a lot of repetitive description. And like language it’s usage and meaning can and does change over time.

So, is your diagnosis limiting you? Or are you using it as a tool to liberate you and access support? The U.S. medical insurance system sucks, and working to improve it is definitely worthwhile. At the same time, understanding and figuring out how to work within the existing system might be necessary for many of us until change does happen.

Time Blindness

What Time Blindness is: Could You Be Time Blind? | Psychology Today

Ways that human society have changed that have removed the nature supports for people who are time blind:

  • Developing electricity so that we’re no longer bound by the sun or lighting methods that visibly mark time by the consumption of fuel – like fires, candles and oil lamps.
  • The development of suburbs so that not everyone lives within hearing distance of the bells on a clock tower to mark the hour both day and night.
  • The development of digital and silent analog clocks so there is no longer an auditory cue of time passing.

It’s only in very recent human history that we’ve removed the supports that someone with time blindness used to be able to rely on. I’m not surprised that we’ve only recently figured out that some people are time blind. Honestly, I’m surprised that it isn’t the majority of people, but it’s likely tied into our circadian rhythms and we didn’t “invent” time, but rather invented a way to track and coordinate it.

ADHD Scheduling & Time Sense

Using the Restroom

Bio break, relieving yourself, whatever you want to call it.

Is it bad to hold your pee? – Heba Shaheed – YouTube TLDR: It can be.

Instead of asking if someone needs to use the bathroom, try asking if they can try to empty their bladders (hint – your kidneys are always working, so the answer will always be that there was at least something in their bladder, even if they weren’t feeling the urge to go).

Good explanations of why you should empty your bladder now instead of later? This bathroom is much nicer than the one at <location> or we’ll be traveling and stopping to find one later will be hard or might make you miss out on part of <activities>.

After using the toilet, make sure to wash your hands!


Figure out if your sense of thirst works (part of interoception). If you can go hours without getting thirsty, it might not be working so well.

If your “thirsty don’t work” then building in a hydration habit is important to avoid dehydration.

Ted Ed: What would happen if you didn’t drink water? – Mia Nacamulli – YouTube

Effective practice:

Water | Bunny’s Info-Dump (

Water Calculator: Water Intake Calculator – How much water should you drink per day? (

Link Tracking – Pain Treatment

I’m working on reconnecting with my body so that I can manage my pain appropriately and do my physical therapy exercises.

Post Covid Update

I haven’t updated in a while, mostly because I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself and accepting help.

I’ve been doing EMDR and it’s been helping me reframe my memories. At first I was doing it to recover from the trauma of being hospitalized for bipolar disorder. We’ve started working on my childhood trauma since then. This morning I was thinking about how Penelope said that the biggest impact for kids was when their moms got more support. This has been true for us because I’m able to be more regulated and present for my child, which I’ve written about before is their primary need.

One of the things that has come out of my bipolar diagnosis is being forced to focus on taking better care of myself and asking for or accepting help. I’ve been learning that ignoring my needs, such as disassociating from my pain, is one of my maladaptive strategies I’ve brought from my childhood.

One of the first stories I reframed with EMDR was about my elementary school worms.

The school I went to had one of those red dirt tracks out in the field. Whenever it rain the track would be covered in worms. During PE if it wasn’t raining, we would be told to run the track. It took me forever because I was avoiding stepping on the worms. Eventually I’d get in trouble for being squeamish. I was the only one reacting that way, so I was the wimpy freak. Re-examining it I realized that I was the only one sensitive and caring enough to want to avoid killing the worms by stepping on them. And instead of my kindness being honored it was dismissed.

I didn’t find out about the trait of high sensitivity until my late 20s or early 30s, so while I was able to do some reframing on my own, I didn’t realize how many formative memories I had with negative interpretations. And it was only recently working with my chiropractor that I realized how disassociated I was from my body and its pain signals.

I wouldn’t say I feel lucky to have bipolar, but I do feel lucky to have such a large caring network of friends and family to support me while I rewire my brain.