In response to a listener question about teens, I speak with Dr. Jill Gross about her personal and professional experience guiding parents through this major transition. We discuss:

  • Snooping vs Privacy
  • Technology vs Letting go of Control
  • What books recommend vs reality
  • The transition to college and empty nest ideas
  • And what parents are trying to do right

The book referenced is “Untangled:  Guiding teenage girls through the 7 transitions into adulthood by Lisa Damour”

About Dr. Jill Gross

In private practice for over 25 years, Licensed Psychologist Dr. Jill Gross specializes in mid-life issues and grief, loss and divorce. You can see more about her at her website:


About Dr. Liz

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Winner of numerous awards including Top 100 Moms in Business, Dr. Liz provides psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and hypnosis to people wanting a fast, easy way to transform all around the world. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and has special certification in Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. Specialty areas include Anxiety, Insomnia, and Deeper Emotional Healing.


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Hey, hey everyone. This week on the podcast we are answering a question that was put into the comments when I ran the podcast survey in January of 2024. So the comment section people could ask whatever they wanted in there, make it, tell me something. They could ask for an episode topic to be recorded, all kinds of stuff. So that’s what this one is here. My husband just coming in through the front door Didn’t know I was recording right now.

So this interview is with Dr Jill Gross. She’s a licensed psychologist in Seattle, washington. She’s been in private practice for over 20 years and she also happens to be my best friend. So you will hear us laugh a lot, even while we try to dispel some wisdom around what to do with those teenagers. So I hope you enjoy it. Peace,

Hi Jill, welcome to the Hypnotize Me podcast. Hi, elizabeth, nice to be here. I know I finally have my bestie on, so I’ve already told the listeners you’re licensed psychologists in Seattle. How many years have you been practicing now?

03:14 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Before the iPhone. So I think technically 1999 is when I graduated and then I became licensed in Arizona and then promptly moved up to Seattle and really started practicing in earnest in 2002.

03:28 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay, so like 20, what is that? (Over 20 years, math, short, short, I know, right, yeah,) And you don’t see teens, you see their parents.(That’s right. Yes,) okay, same with me. But I did have you on because the survey that I did. Someone asked a question about dealing with older kids, so I’m going to read everybody the question and then we’re going to jump into how to answer it and why I had you on in particular.

They said dealing with older kids, like graduating teens, and how to let go and how to deal with sneaking out, partying, fake IDs, clubbing. How much can we quote unquote make older teens listen to us, clean up their rooms, etc. So that was the question that was asked. Oh man, I know, I thought about you.

I think I sort of had the acting in teens who got depressed really, and you had more of the acting out teens who were like party crazy here, so and then around that time you also started a mom support group and got all kinds of information. So I thought that would be really valuable, valuable for our listeners. All right, before we continue, I do want to say here that we’re not talking about any kind of like serious addiction or violence problems. We are talking about run of the mill teen stuff.

05:09 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, that’s good to, that’s good to clarify, or suicidality, you know yeah.

05:15 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Right, we’re not talking about suicidality, agreed. Tell us your experience with your teens and, before we do that, give us some hope. Where are they now and how old are they?

05:25 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I tell people I think they’re reasonably well adjusted. Yeah, they are, and actually next weekend my youngest will be 20. And then, a month after that, my oldest will be 22. Okay, yeah, and they’re both in college. One is a sophomore and the other one is a senior and will be graduating in June.

05:47 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yay, awesome, I know, all right, I’m so excited.

05:51 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I’m so excited to yeah, to not have them be living in my house anymore. I love them. I love them. Love to see them come, love to see them go.

06:02 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yes, so what would they like as teenagers?

06:06 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Oh, wow. Well, they’re both pretty different. So I have a daughter who’s the oldest and that my son is the younger one, and my daughter was how do I put this? I think she had an external facing side and an internal side, and I don’t think that her father and I really had any idea that there was a split between those two sides until some information came out and then it was just like kind of an instant unveiling of both of the sides, one of which, the interior side, was very different from what we saw.

So on the outside we saw a child who was excelling in school and learning ballet and, you know, making friends and doing all that, all the things that you would want your teenagers to do, but unbeknownst to us.

You know, she had recently gotten a phone and had kind of become friends with other kids who, I think, were in the process of testing the limits. So she started doing things like trying to sneak out and or sneaking out. She tried and failed, and then she tried and succeeded a bunch, but we didn’t know, you know, it just all sort of came to a head when the veil was pulled and it was pulled when we found out that she was sneaking out in the middle of the night, while staying the night at a friend’s house, leaving her phone there at the house that she was supposed to be, so that if we checked I wouldn’t check in the middle of the night, but if I did it would look like she was where she was supposed to be. But in reality she and this friend were sneaking out and they went to her dad’s house we live in separate houses and went to his house unbeknownst to him and had a big party, did not clean up thoroughly enough.

08:03 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, he was out of town. Yeah, so she had a big party.

08:07 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
She had a big party and he came home and he saw evidence that there had been people in his house and naturally, understandably, was not thrilled about that. So you know, we had kind of gone with the philosophy of sort of trust your kids until they give you a reason to believe that that would be unwise. And then we just kind of started looking through her phone and found other evidence of things that she was doing, like drinking and smoking pots and sending pictures you don’t want your kid to send pictures to people that probably shouldn’t be seeing them. And all the things, all the things were happening.

08:48 – Dr. Liz (Host)
And how did she feel about you going through her phone?

08:52 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
She did not like that, she did not like it and I didn’t like it.

I felt terrible. One of the things I noticed about raising teens is it feels like in those moments of tension they’re just so rarely. Is a 100% clearly right answer.

09:17 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, yeah.

09:18 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
And so you know, you just have to do your best. And so we felt like if she didn’t do a thorough job cleaning up the scene at the party, there might be a part of her that was secretly kind of wishing for us to see that she was not on a great path. And so I kind of went with that and just felt like, well, if finding out what’s going on makes me better able to help her and help us talk about things in a way we clearly weren’t talking about them before, then that was a chance I was willing to take.

09:52 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay, but then you change your opinion later. (Yeah, that is correct.) It’s a big issue that parents struggle with, so I think in the past it was whether they read their kid’s journal or not. I had parents that read my journal when I was acting out as a teenager. I felt like such a violation. It took me years to journal again. I still hide them.

10:18 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, it’s the number one reason that people you know our clients won’t journal because they’re afraid of it falling into the wrong hands.

10:26 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s so true, but then in this day and age, it’s checking the phone, like how much access do you have to your kid’s phone and should you go snooping through it? Tell us about the change.

10:37 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
The change of when things kind of pivoted?

10:44 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Well, no, how did you change your opinion about going through the phone? Because you know, all the advice we get is like oh, having a phone is a privilege. There’s even like phone contracts that I even printed out and my kids were like we’re not signing this.

11:03 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
It was a rebellion, mutiny. We will not sign the contract!

11:07 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s a privilege and I have the right to go through your phone at any time and you know we have had discussions about how long do you track your kids at, like life 360, you know, like, when do you turn that off, what age, meaning not like what time of night, but what age do you turn that off Like? It’s a big question here.

11:32 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, it is, it really is. And we did, by the way, have all of those caveats in place that you know that the phone, she was using the phone, but the phone technically belonged to her parents and that you know, at any time we could go through our text messages or her text messages and such we wanted to start out with. We’re going to trust you until you give us a reason that that’s unwise to know that’s unwise. When the party happened and we sort of found out all the things that were going on, I put a bunch of parental controls by the way to your listeners. Parental control is a misnomer. There is really no such thing. I believe that you know, as parents, we now have the added expectation that we have a PhD in information science and technology and computer programming, and I don’t know about you, but I just I didn’t. And so I put the parental controls on there.

And one day I was having struggles with the parental controls and I looked up on YouTube how to fix it and there was one video for how to fix it and there were like 15 for how to go around it and in those little thumbnail videos the person in the video is clearly also 14. And I tell people this a lot because it was the image that came into my head. It’s like I felt like I was taking these corks and trying to plug the hull of the ship, one hole at a time, and that my daughter would just be behind me with a hand drill drilling little holes. I would have one plugged and she’d drill like three more, yeah, and it just got to be exhausting. And so I remember a colleague and friend of mine said to me when in doubt, always go back to the relationship and I could see that trying to control her behavior was hurting our relationship more than it wasn’t Like. I was, of course, scared that harm would come to her, so I was being very diligent about tracking her and following her and wanting to know where she was all the time.

And she had been lying. And I just one day said to her and I’m not recommending this as a formal intervention to anyone.. What I did is I told her that I was getting really exhausted by the game of cops and robbers that we were playing and that my hope for her is that if she lied to us, that she would have a natural consequence, which is to feel like shit, and I think I use those words. I think I said if you lie to me, I hope you feel like shit and if I find out, like if that information finds me, there will have to be consequences.

But unless or until that happens, I have to let this go and I have to trust you to make good decisions, and good decisions with technology, because I’m not always going to be there, yeah, to police your behavior. So you have to learn how to do that for yourself and I’m here if you ever feel like you’re in over your head. And that was a marked turning point in our relationship. I think she started to trust me more because I started to trust her more, and that trust beget itself. And I just don’t think we really gave her that much incentive to lie.

14:40 – Dr. Liz (Host)
OK, so quite the opposite of crackdown Like first you crack down, control. Yep, like I miscontrol everything, I mischallenge where she is and who she’s talking to, and all the time, all the time, yes. And then when you got exhausted, you’re just like letting go, which, when we were talking about this interview beforehand, we both remarked that’s the major task of adolescence Independence versus dependence, and for parents as too Like control versus that’s true Independence for them.

15:14 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
That is true. The tide starts to recede and our sphere of influence starts to shrink, yes, and it’s one thing to know that intellectually, but it’s another thing to be watching it happen, because I always thought I was pretty close to my kids. What I think the hardest part about the big reveal was that I don’t think, oh, I know, I really felt like I did know part of her, but there was a part that she was experiencing that she was keeping pretty well hidden from view. Yeah, and that was really tough.

15:45 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, and I would say pretty normal for adolescence too. Yes, yeah, they have to wall us off. Yes, yeah, we had talked about that, as both of us, as teenagers, had pretty tough times. And then the moms in the support group. What happened to the support group when you all came together? What was it about? 10 moms?

16:12 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I can’t remember the number, but I think it was pretty close to that. Ok, the same colleague who said come back to the relationship recommended Lisa DeMors book which I would highly recommend to all of your listeners who have teenage girls, and then she’s since read in a book called the Emotional Lies of Teenagers, for that, I think, is more gender non-sufficiency.

16:31 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Oh, she has! Interesting. Her first one is called Untangled. (Untangled, exactly).

16:36 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
And it’s about raising all of the emotional tasks that teenage girls are trying to sort through and figure out. And having that as a framework was really helpful for me and so I started recommending it to other moms and they started of same age who had same age daughters, and they started reading it. And then one of the other moms and I just thought, you know, if enough people want this information, would anyone be interested in a support group? And we got quite a bit of interest. So I think there was between like eight to 10 core members who would come to the meetings and we would meet like once a month in somebody’s house and the first meeting was probably had the biggest attendance and we all kind of went around the room and introduced ourselves and talked about kind of what life was like for us as teenagers.

And these women told these crazy stories, myself included, about the crazy things we were doing. You know, we were sneaking out, we were having sex, we were trying drugs, we were riding in the back of pickup trucks unrestrained in the middle of the night, when our parents thought we were sleeping over at Susie’s house, hypothetically speaking, and I looked around the room and I said to myself, if my daughter turns out like any of these women who did crazier things than the things she’s doing now, and myself included, I would be OK with that. It was a big relief to know that, you know. If anything, I think we had more freedom to experiment with things that, frankly, were not wise ideas.

18:14 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
now I think kids have less physical space to get into things, but they have more access to the world at large through their phones. You know, like if we were having an inappropriate relationship with a creepy man three times our age, like we’d have to really be clever about orchestrating that in a way that our parents wouldn’t see that person or know about the person he’d be calling the home phone because we wouldn’t have cell phones Whereas our kids have access to people all across the world of all different ages. You know they can buy drugs on TikTok. I mean it’s crazy. And so we just didn’t have. We had to work for our access. We did.

yeah, we had to work for it.

19:01 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s interesting. I did have an inappropriate relationship, but he wasn’t too much older than me, like I think I was 15, he was 18. At the time it was a huge difference, yeah. And so he would pass messages or through one of my friends and, like my parents, thought I was at the church youth group on Sunday nights and he would come and pick me up in his car  and then take me back Before it ended. My sister knew what was going on, because there’s no way she didn’t know she was at the youth group.

19:37 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Wait a minute. Elizabeth wasn’t at the youth group???

19:40 – Dr. Liz (Host)
She would cover for me. I don’t remember even how she covered for me, but yeah, it took a lot of effort and eventually I dropped it. It was just sort of too much effort really, whereas these days it does not take a whole lot of effort for something like that to happen.

19:56 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, they have a lot of access and they can do it all from their bedroom with the door closed, whereas we had to kind of go out in the world and seek it and work hard for it. Yes, so yeah, I mean I think that the moms group ended up being all these roomful of wonderful women who were telling a version of the same story and all of their children, like mine, were delightful and I thought, okay, you guys.

20:20 – Dr. Liz (Host)
There’s hope. Yeah, great, great yeah. When she started concentrating on the relationship, things really began to turn.

20:31 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
That is 100% true. Okay, and she I noticed just out of fear I would be kind of restricting her access to phones and things like that, and she finally started saying things to me, like one time she I wanted her to go to bed earlier than she wanted to go to bed, like people pick the hill you’re gonna die on.

20:51 – Dr. Liz (Host)
That was just not that’s not one of them.

20:53 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I gave that up one a long time ago, yeah, and so I would take their phone away and all that I was asking them to. I’m gonna make up a number. I think I was asking them to go to bed at like 9:30. And I didn’t expect they would fall asleep. But I make the space for sleep Like you can read a book, you can have quiet time, you can draw whatever. I’m not the boss of when you fall asleep, but I am the boss of your technology. So please give it to me and then you have at least the space quiet space to fall asleep when you’re ready. And what she explained to me is that space. When I’m done with my homework and all the noise of the day has turned off, that’s when I really wanna connect with my friends the most, because they’re available all their activities are over and I’m often feeling like I’m not part of a conversation that they’re having and I feel really left out.

Oh yeah, and that was very different from her kind of yelling and screaming and having a tantrum and demanding that her needs be met, and so I was willing to meet her halfway and we ended up making a compromise and I let her have her technology for a little longer and when she was ready for bed she would put it out in the hallway and charge it there, and that was a reasonable compromise. So we just started listening to each other instead of reacting to each other.

22:04 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, so that felt a lot better. (Definitely yeah) So this went on over a couple of months, years?


22:20 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I think all transpired over the course of sophomore year. Sophomore year was a really tough year for my daughter and then I think the wings of the plane started evening out for sophomore year.

22:31 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay, all right. And what about Jacob, your son?

22:34 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
He was more, as you said, an acting in word kid. He was well and he had the unfortunate experience, as many of our teenagers did, of being right in the middle of high school when COVID happened. He was already a kid who had just fewer friends because he’s just more internal, and then the access to those friends completely stopped. All of his school was online, and so I think in retrospect oh, and he also doesn’t really talk so you know.

He asked him a question. You’re gonna get about three words, and that’s a lot of words. So he wasn’t really forthcoming with his feelings, but my spidey senses suggested that he was probably a little bitter, a lot depressed. I would try to talk to him about it and he wouldn’t wanna talk about it. But I could see that he was sad. So I talked to his dad and we agreed to find him a counselor and he of course, was resistant at first. So I just remember saying listen, you know, all I’m asking for is an hour of your time and an open mind to see if having someone that you can talk to, who’s not me or your dad, might be helpful, because this has been such a hard time with COVID and all that.

He agreed and he liked the counselor and so he kept going and I think he went for several months and then COVID kind of started lifting and you know, we were able to see people outside and we were able to find ways to get him reconnected with his friends and he was able to start fencing again. Eventually he was a big fencer and still is. I think reconnecting with that fencing community was really a big part of a turnaround for him. He could do it in person. That was his family, away from his family, and continues to be and has really been. I think it’s the thing that’s kept him up to the max. They are drugs. Kids, just don’t be on drugs.

And so for him, fencing was a healthy alternative to what he could have been getting into. I think that he had more unstructured time.

24:39 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay all right, that’s a common question I get from people is whether to make your kids go to therapy, and I used to work with adolescents like child and family specialists, so that includes adolescents. Did you ever work with adolescents or no? Was it always adults?

24:59 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I think I did for a hot minute when I started in Seattle with a group practice and wasn’t really able to pick the people I worked with. And then I just discovered that when I became a parent myself I was way more identified with the parents than I was with the teenagers. So I think because I had a lot of empathy for how frightening it was to be in that in-between space where they’re not adults but they’re not little kids anymore. Yeah, so I sort of receded from that area of practice and started working with adults only.

25:29 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay, all right, and I stopped seeing adolescents because they just lied to me a lot during school.

25:37 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
No, adolescents don’t lie, not to their counselors, not to their parents, not to their teachers!

25:45 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, While we’re recording this, my youngest is still at home. She’s a senior in high school and the other day we were having a conversation with some of her friends were over and one of her friends said it was really nice when my therapist finally said to me why are you lying to me?

26:04 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Whoa mic drop therapist.

26:07 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I know right, I was like, wow, like you appreciated that, and she’s like, oh, yeah, because then I felt like, oh, maybe I can tell her the truth here, yeah, so it was really interesting and this is like a great kid, let me tell you, okay, yeah, yes, yes,  I love it when she comes over, I just love her to death. And I usually tell parents there’s only one time that I force my kids to go to therapy. Like usually I say if the teen wants to go, then you take them. If they don’t, you don’t make them, because they’ll sit there and say nothing or they’ll lie. They’ll just straight up lie and make up stories and then you’re really just wasting your money.

But I said when Eva was suicidal, I said you have to be in therapy, even if you sit there and just stare at them. You have to go and you, let me know, those feelings lift or get better and we will talk about it again. So that’s really the only time that I say you don’t make a team go to therapy. Is that situation? And that was during COVID for her as well? Yeah.

27:15 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
That was so rough on our young people and it was rough on all of us, but it was really rough on them.

27:21 – Dr. Liz (Host)

27:21 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Their whole life is defined by social activity and where they fit in a group outside of their family. And then suddenly they were just stuck with their families all the time.

Yes, and it wasn’t a natural process for them. My daughter was going through it when so COVID happened, or she was not able to graduate in an informal graduation ceremony and didn’t go to prom and all of that got canceled. So it was a rough time in our house. They were both, I think, dealing with a lot of grief and anxiety and it was real hard on them. I always try to be careful to say my job is to make the space and their job is to figure out how they want to fill the space. So I thought, well, I’ll set up the counseling appointment and if it’s a yes to counseling but I don’t know how I felt with that specific person, we can find a different person. My only request of you is that you will make an honest attempt to try to make this something that could be useful for you, and deep down I sense that he really wanted that. But I think his natural inclination has always been this kind of kid, Like his first response to anything new is always no.

28:30 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, no.

28:32 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
No, no, no, no, yeah, yeah. So I think when he met the person and realized he didn’t have a horn growing out of his head and he wasn’t weird or anything, I think he kind of felt like he could rely on that person. They had, I think, a pretty decent stretch and he started feeling a little bit better and then things started coming back online and it naturally headed in that direction, got it.

28:55 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Got it All right. So let’s look at the other part of that question. What about letting go and college? What would you like to know?

29:04 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I know I’m still figuring it out.

29:08 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, I mean, I had clients that are older than me, obviously, and I always appreciated when their kids went to college, but I really truly did not understand what a grief process it is when they leave the house and they’re gone in, how the whole environment changes in the house. And I remember crying and crying that months before me was going to go and she was going off to Italy, so she wasn’t just going a couple hours away.

That’s a pretty big time change she’s going to cross the world and one of my friends finally said to me she’s like it’s OK to cry, it’s OK, but she’s like there’s going to come a time when she comes home for Christmas and then you can’t wait till she leaves. Yep, it’s like no, no, Not my precious child. Oh, yes.

30:09 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Well, you pick up enough socks.

30:11 – Dr. Liz (Host)
And it’s like yeah.

30:12 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, I’m tired of picking. I’ve had my lifetime maximum of picking up other people’s socks. Yes, like I. Just if I never had to pick up another sock again in my life, it would be too soon.

30:23 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s true, it’s true. So I really appreciated what a grief process that is when they leave and you really start to pre-grieve, like thinking about it and imagining it and planning for it and trying to figure out what that’s going to be like. Yeah, yeah, as a grief specialist, I know typically that’s not what you’re seeing people for is their grief over their kids that are going to college. But that does happen, it does, oh sure, mt Nostra is a big thing yeah it’s a big change.

30:57 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Because you think about how much space your children or one’s children occupy in one’s life. That is a big part of what gives adult life, when we are parents, structure, yes, and meaning and purpose, and you know what’s happening in the future. The grade is followed by ninth grade and then we’ve got the summer vacate. We just always know where things are, roughly where they’re headed, and all of a sudden that just stops. Yeah it does.

31:28 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Right, yeah, I think the structure around that is a big, huge change.

I know it has been for me. My again is spending some weekends with at her boyfriend’s house, but he doesn’t live on his own with his parents. But she’ll go and stay a Saturday, sunday or something overnight and I’m just sort of left like, oh, this is what it’s really going to be like. Yes, like the one child lunch from college, graduated from college, did all of that, and now this one’s next there’s about four and a half years between them for listeners who don’t know that and it’s like, oh, this is pretty boring. That’s what I felt like this weekend.

32:10 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
What am I going to do?

32:11 – Dr. Liz (Host)
with all this time, exactly, yeah, I think Saturday. I watch TV all day and I was like, oh, this isn’t really good for me, it’s really not, like it sort of makes me feel down and depressed and I’m like, ok, tomorrow I’m making the list Like I got to get some stuff done, you know, yeah.

32:27 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, I mean. You said it because I remember when I had a baby, I was pregnant and my own mother said you are not going to realize or a no, or understand what you did with all that free time before your baby comes along. And sure enough, the baby came and I thought, gee, she’s right. Like I can barely get away for a shower or trip to the grocery store. And then adolescence is sort of a slow return to that life. Only your knees don’t feel as good when they leave as they did before you had that.

That’s what I’ve been feeling. I’m like, oh, I love my knees to be 25. Yes, but then all of a sudden it’s returned back to you and I think you and I are pretty lucky because we have a profession, we have something to do. But I know some folks who raising kids was their profession and so when the kids left, it really did create a pretty big gap. Oh yeah, but it’s hard. It’s hard to know how to fill in the space when they leave, and it’s a learn as you go process for sure.

33:29 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yes, yeah, I think it does take some intention, really Sure.

33:34 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Absolutely Right now. If you’ve ever wanted to do something, now’s the time to do it. You want to learn French? Go learn French. You want to take up knitting? Take up knitting. Travel A lot of people travel, yes.

33:46 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Starting a quilt was on my list yesterday.

33:48 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, you make beautiful quilts too.

33:51 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I was watching a lot of Alone too and I was like the show Alone and I was like you know what I could take a wilderness survival course.

34:00 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
There you go. Take outside the box, Dr Liz. I love it.

34:09 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I’m never spending more than two days in the wilderness alone, probably.

34:12 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
If you can help it right.

34:14 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Like, I’ll take a course about how to.

34:18 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
You know it’s interesting. You never know when you’re going to have to make me need to make a broth out of tree bark.

34:24 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Well, the season I happened to be watching one of the women’s like 57. And I’m like she’s three years older than me. You could do this?

34:32 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yes, you really can. We can pretty much. We’re fortunate enough to have the gift of mobility and we can move around the country, the cabin, the out of doors, wherever we want to move around, and sometimes in a way that I think that adds what feels to me at a moment like the burden of choice, like when you have kids, you don’t really choose. You’re just like, well, I got to be at the soccer tournament on Saturday and all the things, yes, and then all of a sudden you’re just really, I’m just was really aware of this is my choice now, like this is my choice and I don’t really know what to do. Help me, somebody, help me.

35:12 – Dr. Liz (Host)
What’s interesting? Because you’re much more of an extrovert than I am. I’m far more of an introvert, and so I felt like, oh, I’m going to do fine with time on my own. And whenever I first started doing that and I’m like I’m going to be happy as pie, but I did not find that, I found like, oh, I actually probably should go out and get some like social interaction. And Stacey, my husband, I think he played golf that whole day or something. I was on my own the whole day.

So I was like, all right, I should go to the grocery store and be around people period, I’m not even necessarily friends. I could have called a friend to hang out too, but it is making that effort, I think, to make sure that you’re having something to look forward to. I found some structures to the day, so now you’re creating your own structure. I was thinking, I think, just this morning about how people who love to cook probably have an easier structure to their day, because they’re like shopping for the ingredients and then they’re looking forward to making the ingredients, yes, and then they’re looking forward to eating the nice meal, and it just gives a structure that it’s like someone, I’d like to cook some, but I’m not like I don’t love to cook like some people do, like you do, so it gives it the structure that is really intentional, again like someone’s making an effort to do that.

36:42 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I think that’s a really good observation too in terms of being like one has to be intentional and how one provides a kind of structure that makes sense to them. And you’re right, and that is a big love. A part of my love of cooking is I have to sit down at the computer. I use a computer to find most of my recipes and I find the recipes and I always try to challenge myself to make something I’ve never made before and see how it goes. And it’s an incentive to have people over, because cooking for one is so much more challenging than cooking for three or four people, it’s true. So I have incentive to make the effort to reach out to social folks, my social support system, and invite people over. And who doesn’t like free food, I mean, come on.

Yeah well, it’s also nice for people to be like oh, this is really good you know, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly, you know, and yeah, they do and they’re like, so I’d really feel lucky to have such, you know, when you were one of them, one of the like lovely people in my life, and I think having the kids gone has really sort of brought that more sharply into focus. Yeah, and I’m grateful for it. You know our job is to put ourselves out of a job. Yes, yeah, that’s our job, and I think you and I probably felt like we didn’t need our parents at a younger age than I think kids do now. You know it’s not common for kids to move back home after college or not to live on campus and to live at home and you know, the runway of launch is so much longer now than it used to be, that’s true.

And I think it’s because we had the freedom and the space to make our own decisions and we didn’t have cell phones where we could call. We could rent a frontal cortex from our parents, that is true. I meant to bus stop and the bus didn’t come. What should I do? Well, they can call, but before we would go, well, what should we do? And then we’d sort of problem solve it out, and we didn’t have Google, yeah, and they just don’t have that. So I think they just seem to need us for a little bit longer than kids our age did when we were that age.

38:46 – Dr. Liz (Host)
That’s very true. Yeah, they can either Google it. I mean, my kids actually don’t. They call me and I’m like why don’t you Google it? I was like nice.

38:54 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I’m so glad. Let me show you to Google.

39:00 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s like no, I’ll tell you.

39:01 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I’ll tell you, yeah, sure, and then Google it and see if that’s the right answer, because I don’t know. If I’m right, I’ve got Google everything too.

39:08 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I’m a big old hypocrite. Yeah, no, google this and see.

39:12 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, like I have literally remembered thinking, because when my parents divorced, my parents divorced when I was 12 and I didn’t know anything about chores or anything like that. I should have, but I didn’t. And I learned, right, I learned how to clean a bathroom with somebody handing me a container of Comet and a sponge and some gloves and saying clean the bathroom, yes, and I realized like I had never taught my kids how to clean a bathroom and I sent them to college not knowing this information tragic. And then I thought, well, I’m sure there’s a YouTube video I can like, I can outsource that to YouTube. Yeah, there’s gotta be somebody teaching kids how to clean bathrooms somewhere on YouTube.

So, I guess technology is not always a bad thing.

39:56 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s not. Oh, I still watch cleaning videos on YouTube there you go See. I’m 54 and I’m like let’s look at a new one. I don’t know, they fascinate me. How do I get that?

40:07 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
smell out of clothes Totally, thank you.

40:09 – Dr. Liz (Host)
YouTube. Yeah, there’s stuff that I try and I’m like this did not work on the glass stove top Like nope.

40:16 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I mean you’re right. I mean, youtube is a. It’s a treasure trove of instruction for how to do the most basic things and sometimes the not so basic things. So yeah, but I do wonder about that, I do. I recently was hanging out with a colleague who’s probably about so. He’s 68, I’m 52. So older, I can’t do the math. He told me a story about how he and his friend took their bikes.

He lived in Michigan at the time and one summer he was 15 and he and his friend took their bikes and loaded up a canvas tent, okay, and some air quotes supplies those were maybe a bag of Cheetos and some Diet Coke and put it on the back of their bike and rode those bikes to Canada.

Whoa, yep. And then they paddled. Then they found they came to some lake of some sort and then they found a canoe and got a canoe and canoed out to this little remote island that was like in the middle of this local lake, and they were the only two on the whole island. They camped, and Lord of the Flies did, for a whole week until they ran out of supplies and then they loaded the canoe back up and then paddled this canoe back to their bikes which miraculously were still there they did not lock the bicycles up this was a different time and day and time, yeah and loaded their bikes up and bicycled back to Michigan and they were gone, he said just a little over three weeks, 15 years old. His parents had no idea where they were. They knew he was gonna be gone, that he was gonna go on an adventure and he had a general idea of where they were gonna go.

41:52 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay, and he didn’t tell this is the island we’re playing and going to. No, no.

41:57 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
And that he did not call home once. Oh my God, yep, you know, he got home and everything was fine, and he said that that was one of the most instrumental experiences and the most memorable experiences and the most positive memory that he has of his childhood was the three weeks he spent away from his parents. Wow, yeah, and I thought wow man, I wouldn’t even let my kid walk up to the Fred Meyer and it’s like four blocks away.

42:25 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I complains about that, that I wouldn’t let her go to the 7-Eleven forever. Yeah, I’d be like. You gotta be really careful. You gotta be aware of your surroundings.

42:32 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
You know all this, yes.

42:34 – Dr. Liz (Host)
And it’s like, oh, yeah, yeah, and he’s on a bicycle, see you later.

42:39 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
And he’s living in Detroit. He’s not just living in Michigan, he’s living in Detroit which is not exactly known for its low crime rate. So, yeah, and he did it, and I just you know, we all sort of came away from that meetup with the impression that, you know, if you let kids do more for themselves, it really helps them figure out how to do it. And if we’re there curating their lives for them and making those decisions for them, they don’t have the space or the ambiguity.

You need ambiguity to help make order, like just don’t have that anymore, and so they don’t know how to think. Yeah, our kids don’t know how to think.

43:16 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s funny, but it’s true. It’s true, like, take away some of the certainty and resources at hand resources and they’ll begin to think differently and think for themselves and try things out, and yeah.

43:32 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yep, absolutely, and it’s always hard to know where to cut the cord, you know.

43:36 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It is.

43:37 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
If you have the little phone app that you can look and see where your kid’s blue dot is. You know, there are ways in which I think that generates anxiety and questions that we wouldn’t have if we just didn’t have that information and our parents did not.

43:52 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I mean this 15 year old’s parents did not have that information for three weeks, yeah, and I’ve never had it on my kids, like even when I think of me. I got her first phone in middle school because the bus didn’t show up when it was supposed to show up because it had broken down somewhere and you know. But eventually, of course, they brought her to the bus stop. Eventually you got where she needed to go. Even then I never turned on that whole tracking thing because I don’t know. There’s just something about it for me that I don’t need to know. That’s part of my own. Like they can live their lives and I also had an older friend that said and bad news will always find you.

44:39 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
It’s true, if it’s an emergency, they’ll come knocking on you. Someone’s gonna come knocking on your door.

44:43 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It will, and it’s weird.

44:44 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I don’t leave my phone on at night either. I don’t. I feel like you know, sleep at 52 is a oh, my God precious and rare commodity. Me too, and you know my kids keep different hours and if they want to send me a text message at one o’clock, that’s you know. Hey, what are you doing tomorrow? I’m gonna hear it. So I just turn it off and trust that if it’s a real emergency, people know how to find me. They can come out on the door and I’ll hear them.

45:06 – Dr. Liz (Host)
It’s true, I turn mine off too. I mean, I pay for that sometimes because they think it was over the holidays. They both said to me oh well, you know, we always put dad down as emergency because we know he’ll pick up his phone. He even picks up spam calls. He picks it up at 2 am. Blah, blah, blah. I’m like you know, that’s fantastic. I’m glad you have that dad. Yeah, I’m not doing that. You don’t have that mom, I’m not doing it. I’m always that. Yes, I had two professions where I couldn’t keep my phone on. I’m not keeping it in the laundry session as a therapist, and when I was a yoga teacher. It’s like nope, phones are off. You know, no one’s interrupting me then, so you can all tolerate it for a little bit.

45:46 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
But that’s the thing. I think that having instant ratification and instant access to answers and clarity has reduced our capacity for tolerating ambiguity. Yeah, and life I mean control, and that maybe we kind of bring it full circle with this is like control is an illusion. Yes, and all the parenting books. What I loved about Lisa DeMora’s book is that it’s not about control, it’s about understanding.

46:11 – Dr. Liz (Host)

46:12 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Which is, you know, pertains to the how to have a better relationship with kids, but I think we respond. Many parents, and I was one of them, responded to the fear of letting go by trying to convince myself that I could control things that I couldn’t control. Yeah, and so I would invite any parent who might be in that situation to ask themselves you know, how can I foster an environment of communication? And I may not always like what my kids are doing, and I have told them. You know, pot is legal in this state and so I had kids.

I have two kids who like pot on occasion to smoke pot on occasion and they don’t lie to me about it and I always say I really wish you weren’t doing that. I think there are some risks that we know about and maybe some risks that we don’t, but it is your life and it is your decision and I’d rather you be honest with me about what you’re doing than lie and hide and sneak behind my back.

47:07 – Dr. Liz (Host)

47:08 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
So careful, you’ll hear a bunch of stuff you don’t want to hear. Yeah, it’s refreshing. I mean, when you live in a house with secrets and lies, that energy is there somewhere and I think everybody feels the tension but nobody knows how to name it or talk about it. I think that’s very true.

47:27 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yes, yeah, like I grew up wanting to hide a lot of who I was and what I was doing, and it’s there. It is led to a lot of conflict and in pain. Yes, I foster the same type of environment with my kids is like come to me and talk to me and we’ll have a discussion, and I may not agree with it, but you ultimately made the choice Not this weekend, but I don’t know. A couple weeks ago her boyfriend was sick. She wanted to go see him. I’m like I don’t agree with that choice. Like usually you stay away when someone’s you know, but it’s like has COVID not taught us anything? It’s always like, but it’s your choice. So you know you make the choice. If you can convince your dad to take you up there, I’m not taking you up there, but convince your dad to take you over to his house and go for it.

48:18 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I think that’s a really great example, because what it speaks to is your boundary of. I can’t make this choice for you, but I’m not going to drive you to see a sick person. You know. I told my daughter you know, you can go to these parties in the woods that she was obsessed with going to for a while which by the way, are still going on. Really her high schoolers who are that age I’m like, really they call them Spotties. That’s a whole nother thing. Look it up on Google, but they have their space.

48:48 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, yeah, it’s a third space for teenagers hanging out. Yeah, and he has said to me the other day, like we don’t have a lot of third spaces, no, as ever for teenagers, there’s not a whole lot of places for just us to hang out. Oh, you’re right.

49:03 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
I kind of like that. That’s a nice reframe and the big pull for the Spotties is that there’s usually one kid who has access to illegally purchased alcohol, yeah, and then upsells to all the people and they pay their $5 and get all the free gross electric Kool-Aid they can drink. And it was happening in the woods and she said you know, I’m going to be at the Spottie and I said you can go to the Spottie and I can take you there, which was very hard. But as soon as I drive away I want you to know I’m going to call the police and tell them that they’re underage kids drinking in the woods.

49:37 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Did you or did she like? Never mind, don’t take, I did, I did, and this is bad, I’m sure.

49:43 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yeah, I’m like, okay, I’ll drop you off and you’re probably going to have to come, I’m probably going to have to turn right around and come get you because they’re going to.

You know, I’m going to call the police. Like I can’t not say anything about how woods full of children, teenagers, drinking illegally, like I just think that’s not okay. And then so that went on for a little while and before I had figured that out, I said I’ll drop you off, but I’m going to honk and wave as I drive away All your friends. I’m embarrassed you, I think. Eventually the Spotties became unpleasant enough. That, or the idea did.

50:24 – Dr. Liz (Host)

50:26 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
So I wasn’t really telling her she couldn’t go and some could say taking her. There was a mixed message, but I didn’t want her driving in a car with other kids who’d been drinking. That was a big no no for me. So I said I’ll take you and I also have a responsibility, if you’re among those children, to let the officials know that there’s illegal activity happening in the woods.

50:44 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Yeah, Great, great. Well, we’re coming to the end of our time here. I think we’ve had some good advice for people. I’m hoping that it’s helpful for people, some good laughs, and I’d like to end with a quote from Mike Bundrant. I interviewed him actually in 2019 on the podcast on a self sabotage, so it’s a good episode. At the very end, I said, hey, mike, you have six kids right? And he said yes, I do. I said do you have any advice about adolescents? And he said this, too, will pass.

51:22 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Oh, that’s great. Well, and Lisa DeMore also said which I think would be helpful for the listeners to know if they haven’t read the book that there are, I think she said, like 101 ways to get it right. Oh that’s really nice.

And I really remember that being comforting because, as we said earlier that in adolescence it’s just so nothing feels. So nothing feels good when you’re making these decisions that are really hard to make. Sometimes you just have to make the best of the lousy options you have. Yeah, and hearing that there are more ways to get it right than get it wrong, I think might be just helpful to tuck away in your heart when you’re parenting teenagers. That’s true.

52:02 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom and advice with us. Oh, you’re very welcome. If someone wants your advice let’s say your wisdom or wants to work with you, how can they contact you?

52:15 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
The best way to get in touch with me is probably email Jill JLL at drjllgrosscom. So Jill at Dr Jill grosscom, and if they want to find out more about my practice they can look me up at wwwdrjllgrosscom.

52:35 – Dr. Liz (Host)
All right and you can work with people in the state of Washington. They have to be located there, but you can do a one off consultation or something for someone in other areas.

52:45 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)
Yes, yes, okay. If the services the client is seeking kind of falls outside the rubric of therapy, I’m able to talk to them if they’re not in Washington state. But if they want therapy or ongoing therapy, they do have to be physically located in Washington.

53:00 – Dr. Liz (Host)
Okay, great Thanks for joining us and have a wonderful day, thank you.

53:07 – Dr. Jill Gross (Guest)

53:43 – Dr. Liz (Host)
I hope you truly enjoyed today’s episode. Remember that you can get free hypnosis downloads over at my website, drlisshypnosiscom drlizhypnosiscom. I work all over the world doing hypnosis, so if you’re interested in working with me, please schedule a free consultation over at my website and we’ll see what your goals are and if I can be of service to you and helping you reach them. Finally, if you liked today’s episode, please subscribe to the podcast or tell a friend that way, more and more people learn about the power of hypnosis. I write everyone. Have a wonderful week, peace. This podcast is not mental health treatment, nor should it replace mental health treatment. If you need therapy or hypnotherapy, please seek treatment from a trained professional.