Episode 136: Raising Irresponsible Kids w/ Kay Bruner

December 13, 2021

Today we are talking about raising irresponsible kids. This sounds completely counterintuitive, of course. We generally feel pressure to raise kids who are responsible. However, I believe that there is a lot of nuance around this trait.

What are we responsible for? To whom are we responsible? Are there things we shouldn’t be responsible for? These are the questions I wish I had considered as I grew up. My responsibility contributed to much of my dysfunction now. Today, I have to unlearn being responsible for other people’s emotions and various other things that I should not be held responsible for. 

However, imagine if our kids never believe they are responsible for these kinds of things. What if they are never taught that they are responsible for other people’s emotions? Can we still raise them to be conscious and responsible citizens who care for others? 

This is what Kay Bruner and I discuss today. Kay is a therapist and former evangelical who has a lot of experience with over-functioning and codependency. I’ve asked her to join me in teasing out some of these nuances of what it means to be responsible. Tune in to join us!

Show Highlights:

  • The “savior complex” I grew up with.
  • How drawing boundaries made me a better mother and wife.
  • Kay’s struggles with taking responsibility for others’ emotions.
  • How this relates to her work as a therapist.
  • How evangelicalism contributes to this responsibility burden.
  • Why we need to learn to have confidence in other people.
  • How to make sure our kids aren’t taking responsibility for our emotions.
  • Why we shouldn’t teach our kids about loving others until they’re older.
  • The danger of making our kids be responsible for their siblings.
  • The importance of accepting all of our emotions.
  • Why play is so important for both children and adults.

Links (affiliates included):

Kay’s website, go book a Sedona Retreat! –

Parenting After Religious Trauma Membership –

Help keep the podcast going by joining the Parenting Forward Patreon Team –

Parenting Forward, the Book –

You Are Revolutionary –