I have my friend, Dr. Laura Froyen with me today. She has her PhD in Human Development & Family Studies with a specialization in Couple & Family Therapy. She’s a peaceful parenting and relationship expert as well as a self compassion advocate. Today we are going to talk about parenting and kids, and how to handle our own emotions and empower our kids to handle their emotions. I am obsessed with this kind of parenting and I’m so excited for you to hear this conversation! Let’s dive in!
In This Episode Allie and Dr. Froyen Discuss:
Emotions are not a problem
Kids are inexperienced with feelings
The best practices for toddler tantrums
Helping kids deal with big emotions
Coaching kids through sibling disagreements
Tools to prevent bickering, big emotions and lack of peace
Mentioned in this Episode:
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Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages. We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard, it is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself, the idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life, where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hello, my beautiful friends! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show podcast.
Today we are going to talk about parenting and kids. We’re going to talk about emotions—handling our own emotions and empowering our kids to handle their emotions.
I love conversations like this. I was listening to these kinds of conversations on other people’s podcasts years ago when I didn’t have my own podcast. And I was learning about this idea of respectful, mindful, peaceful parenting, without it basically leading to kids running the show, taking ownership of everything, and honestly (for lack of a better word) becoming bratty.
Everyone has kids in their lives where they’re like, “Oh my gosh. I want to be a respectful parent. I want to have a good relationship with my kids, but I don’t want them to become entitled to always getting their way. Where’s the balance?”
I am obsessed with that kind of parenting and that kind of discussion where there is a give and take, where there is a good relationship with your kids and you are feeling like you’re a respectful, peaceful parent, but you are still the parent and you are doing what’s best for your kid. You are technically in charge, but you’re coming at that ownership from a place of love and care, and your kids feel safe and protected. You’re not just saying, “You have to just sit down, shut up and do what I say because I’m the mom and I said so. Be quiet. You’re bothering me.”
We’re going to have a conversation about that today with my friend, Dr. Laura Froyen. She has her PhD in Human Development & Family Studies with a specialization in Couple & Family Therapy. She’s got so much wisdom and lots of experience. She’s a peaceful parenting and respectful relationship expert and a self compassion advocate. I love her so much.
She’s also on a mission to help parents reclaim peace, joy, and connection by helping them find the root cause of their triggers and heal them once and for all so that they can finally trust their intuition and parent and partner with confidence. She helps families all over the world reconnect to their purpose, each other, and themselves so they can show up in their lives and relationships with openhearted authenticity and balance.
Laura is amazing. She was actually in my mastermind, the mastermind that I ran with my friend, Kendra Hennessy. She was one of our students and we got to know each other really well throughout our six months together.
I’m so happy to have her here, so welcome Laura! I’ll point you in the right direction to following her and connecting with her outside of this episode. Guys, this is a really, really good one. Let’s welcome Laura, and please enjoy this incredible conversation!
ALLIE: Hi Laura! Thank you so much for spending time with me and being willing to come and talk to all of these beautiful moms about parenting and emotions.
LAURA: Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to share with you guys!
ALLIE: I’m so excited for this conversation!
I was telling Laura (before we hit record) that I don’t talk a ton about parenting. It’s not something that comes out of me naturally. I just do my own thing with my kids and I don’t really like to share because I don’t feel like I know what I’m talking about.
But I know you guys have so many questions, so I want to use this platform to bring other experts to the table that have something to say. Laura is definitely one of those people. So tell us about your family and then about what you do.
LAURA: My name is Laura Froyen. I’m a mom to two girls. They’re 7½ & 5. I’m the partner to an amazing man.
I have my PhD in Human Development & Family Studies with a specialization in Couple & Family Therapy. I used to be a professor of human development and family studies. I researched various ways that family processes like marital conflict and parent depression influenced child development.
I left my tenure-track job at a big university in order to seek a more balanced life for my family. Now, I have the incredible honor of supporting other families in finding more balance, more connection, more joy. I’m a peaceful parenting and respectful relationship coach. I help parents come home to their core values and goals for their kids, and start parenting from that place and in alignment with their higher purpose as parents.
ALLIE: That was so well said. I love what you do. I love when you talk about it. You come into a very calm and centered place. You’re made to do this, and I love the way you speak about what you do.
I have so many things that I want to do in this interview, but I don’t want it to feel sporadic so I’m going to try to contain myself. I would really love to focus with you on emotions, and handling difficult emotions in particular. If we have time I would love to talk about that on both sides as the parent and also in our kids.
I’ve got four kids. I’ve got big-emotion kids and stepping down kids that just don’t care, or they act like everything is fine and then they volcano later and you’re like, “I had no idea anything was even bothering you.” I’ve got a mix on the spectrum.
My husband, Brian, is very relaxed, really chill, easily frustrated, but very light. I’m an all-or-nothing person, a hundred percent. It’s really beautiful how we’re each made so different.
As a parent it’s very difficult when you have multiple kids to have your own emotions and your own personality and then also be balancing theirs and trying to figure out where the sweet spot is in your relationship with each of them. It feels like a full-time job. I’ll just stop there and let you lead us in the way that you think we need to go, but I would love to cover all those things today.
LAURA: I would like to make sure that we talk a little bit about two really important things. Well, three really. One is that emotions are not a problem to be solved. They’re a part of the human experience and your kids—and you—will experience all of them. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to experience the full range of human experiences, right?
We’ll get the sadness, the pain, the joy, all the highs and all those lows. None of those are a problem. Most of us have the challenge of learning how to sit with all of those, learning how to be with them, how to feel them in our bodies, how to stay present with them when they’re happening. And that’s the work of a parent to learn how to do those things themselves and to teach your kids how to do those things.
The second thing that I think is really important for us to understand is that all of those feelings that we experience kids experience themselves, but they’re inexperienced with them. When they experience loss for the first time or grief for the first time, it might be over something small like they lost their “lovey.”
Or a classic story from my own daughter is that we went to a little fair at a fire station and my oldest daughter—who was three—got a balloon. It was tied to her wrist, but it came untied and slipped away. She was standing on the sidewalk, watching it go and it was right in that moment that she experienced loss for the first time. True loss.
In that moment it seems so easy as a parent to say, “Oh no, don’t worry. We’ll just get you another balloon. It’s not a problem.” It seems so easy to push it down, push it aside, to solve it, and see it as a problem.
But if we look at that as her first time experiencing loss—and she will experience a bigger loss in her life, she went on later that fall to lose her grandfather, she will lose a beloved pet probably pretty soon, she’ll experience big loss—in that moment when she experiences it for the first time we have an opportunity to give her a narrative, to give her a story, to give her tools for coping. We have the opportunity to not minimize it, to not shove it down, to not push it away, but to actually sit there and hold it for her.
My younger daughter was there. She was one and a half at the time. She offered her balloon to her sister and said, “We’ll share, sissy.”
They’re just an experience. So much of what kids experience, we think that they’re overreacting or they’re melting down over nothing, but in reality they’re just an experience. They have underdeveloped brains. The parts of their brains that will help them regulate all of those big feelings haven’t come online yet for the most part.
They literally can’t because that part of their brain is either not there yet, hasn’t been developed yet, or when they’re triggered, if they’re really angry about something or if they’re afraid of losing a toy or something that’s important to them, like screentime, they get triggered and they’re in fight or flight and then those resources are also offline, too, at the same time. I think that those are important things for us to understand about kids and their feelings.
ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I have a question right out the gate from what you said about when you’re dealing with toddlers. I really hate the phrase “terrible twos.”
LAURA: Oh, me too. I don’t call them that. I call them “transitional twos.”
ALLIE: Okay. There we go. Thank you for giving me that. I’m going to borrow that.
Emmett is 5 now and he still has meltdowns, tantrums, and what feels like, “Wow, take it down 59 notches. We’re turning off games right now. We’re not moving away from everyone you’ve ever known and loved and you’re never gonna see them again.” He’s still in that phase.
In that chunk of time when they are underdeveloped, they are having these temper tantrums and as a parent you’re there, you’re at the store, they’re melting down, they’re screaming, they’re freaking out and everyone’s looking at you, what we’re thinking is what the experience is for us. What is everyone thinking? The gazes, the glares from strangers and all these things.
But what do you do? How do you get your head where it should be? What are the best practices for toddler tantrums?
LAURA: The reason I call it “the transitional twos” is because when kids are about 2 they move from being other-regulated to being self-regulated. They start that process.
When babies are born they need us to regulate their physiology. They need us to meet their need for hunger. They need us to put clothes on them when they’re cold. They’re very other-regulated. When they’re in the 3-5 range they become self-regulated.
When they are completely dysregulated they need to borrow self-regulation from us. They need to borrow that regulation. We need to loan it to them, but we can’t do that if we’re not calm. We need to lend them our calm instead of joining them in their chaos in those moments.
Take a deep breath. In the conscious discipline world we say, “Take a breath for yourself, and then take a breath for your child.”
What’s amazing is that as primates we have these beautiful things called mirror neurons that, when we start breathing in a regulated way, trigger the same neurons in their brains that would make them start breathing in a regulated way. And they actually down-regulate. Our physiological systems synchronize with each other, and so when we start to calm ourselves they start becoming calm.
When you’re in the line at Target and your kid’s flipping out over not being able to get the My Little Pony toy that they put there, hold firm. If you’re going to say no then say no and hold firm with it, but with compassion. Then get your kid somewhere private. Finish checking out while you hold them or rub their back. Get them somewhere private.
Respect their emotions. Nobody wants to be a mess in public. Toddlers don’t want to be either. Get somewhere private where you can hold them. Hold them gently with compassion.
Empathize with them. Label what they’re feeling. Validate what they’re feeling. Say something like, “You really wanted that and you’re really disappointed I said no. Now you’re thinking about it. You would like to have it, but we are not going to go back to get it. I know that’s really hard.”
And sometimes those same kids who are really upset don’t say anything at all. All they really needed was to hear, “Yeah, that’s hard.” They don’t need you to say anything. They just need you to be there. They need you breathing so that they can breathe.
ALLIE: That’s so good. I’m not going to repeat the quote cause I’ll butcher it, but there’s this really popular quote that’s always floating around within the mom space that goes something like, “What your kids are struggling with now if you’re not there for them the way they need you to be they won’t come to you when they’re older and things are more important.”
I’ve been thinking about that so much because my oldest is 11 and my youngest is 5. Right now, when Emmett is flipping out about whatever it is and it seems like I have so many things to do that quote really helps me to pause. I wish I would have really understood this when my other kids were really little, because I did push through and do things that I wouldn’t do now.
Really understanding that when he’s having this meltdown about this situation, this game, this toy, or what his brother did that really wasn’t a big deal but he’s really upset about it, being there in that moment for him, making him feel seen and valued is going to equal him feeling safe, talking to me, and coming to me about the bigger stuff when he is 11.
Bella does that, so along the way I got something right even though I made so many mistakes. I hope that gives hope to moms. It’s so important. It’s so true.
You can see it in their demeanor with you that those little things—that they couldn’t have another cookie and they’re freaking out—are the same as when they get older and they’re heartbroken over something that a friend said or something. They will come to you with the bigger things because you were there for the little things. To them it’s relative. At that point in time that was truly the biggest heartbreak that they couldn’t have another cookie after dinner.
LAURA: Of course it was because they’re inexperienced. They don’t have very good memories either. They don’t remember.
And just to reassure you and your listeners, there is no one right way to do this really complicated job of raising good humans. There are many different paths to the same outcome. The path that’s right for one family is not going to be the path that’s right for the other.
I think you should question if some parenting expert comes up and tells you that this is the only right way to do it. That’s not my job at all. My job is to help you deeply question what your goals are for your kids and for your relationships with them and then help you start parenting in a way that supports those long term goals and whatever that truth is for you.
ALLIE: It would be silly to say that there is a right way to do it when there are so many different kids, so many different moms. You have your own kids on purpose. Your kids have been given to you for who you are for a reason, and really fine tuning and bettering the traits you naturally have to show up in the beautiful way that you were made to be for your kids.
LAURA: I think our kids call us to healing, too. If you have a kid who triggers you, who is always getting under your skin, who you’re always butting heads with, they are your gift, your greatest gift. They are showing you where all those little wounded places are in you. They’re calling you to heal so that you don’t have to be in pain anymore.
It’s not on them. That’s not their job. Their job is to be a kid. It’s on us. It’s our job to deal with that feeling. But thank God they’re there to call us to it.
ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. I love that.
Let’s talk about emotions with kids. When my kids are experiencing a really big emotion usually what happens is they act out of it in a way that’s not what I want them to do with that emotion, whether it’s hitting or freaking out in whatever way it is (every kid has different things). They do something that is not kind, or something that is really a teaching moment of, “This is not what we do when we have emotions.”
I’m being vulnerable with you guys here, so if you think I’m a terrible mom, it’s cool. We’re cool. But I sometimes get in a position where I’m like, “We do not do that when we get upset.”
And then it’s kind of like, “What do we do? I got nothing, but don’t do that. Don’t hit, don’t push, don’t take his snack away. Don’t say that you don’t love him (or whatever it is for their age.)” What do we give the kids to do? I think that a lot of us as moms could use those tools in our belts. Do you have anything that would help with that?
LAURA: I think it’s a good idea to overtly teach them about why when you’re hurting you lash out and seek to hurt others. I teach that through a game called, “Emotional Hot Potato.” I don’t know if you’ve ever played that game where the music is playing, you have a ball that you’re tossing to each other, and you’re singing “hot potato” and you’re passing things along. We all do that with our emotions.
Sometimes we get an emotion, it comes up, it’s uncomfortable. We don’t want it anymore, and so we pass it off. I do that with my partner. Sometimes if I’m grumpy about something else I might snap at him or pick on something that he did. In our house we call that emotional hot potato. My kids totally call me on it when they see me doing it with someone.
Teach them about our tendency to do that and how to say, “Okay, you just played emotional hot potato. You are mad that it’s not your turn to play the game and so you hit your sister. How can we help you—instead of hitting your sister—sit with that feeling of, “I don’t like this. I don’t want to have to wait. I’m tired of waiting.” Then they actually have the practice of sitting with it.
You can play a game like that where you name emotions, you’ve tossed them to each other and they have to hold them and talk about how their body feels. Now they’re holding the feelings. You can do this with a balloon. You can write a feeling on it and just toss it around.
Older kids can say them out loud. Have them practice delaying tossing the ball. If they have anger and they’re tossing anger around, make sure that they hold it for five seconds before they toss it to the next person.
This also helps them understand the effect that playing that emotional hot potato has on other folks. When we pass our feelings along, instead of sitting with them, we hurt the people that we love, even if that’s not really what we intended to do.
ALLIE: Yeah. That’s so powerful.
I was listening to Dr. Caroline Leaf talk about emotions recently and she was saying how emotions pass. There’s 90 seconds or something where you’re really feeling an emotion and then it just passes. That really helped me, but how can I communicate that to my kids?
What a powerful tool to give them. This is temporary and you’re not supposed to wish it away, pretend it’s not there, or act out of it. You’re supposed to sit with it, let it work its way through, and then you can make a decision more rationally, which is so funny because that’s just not nature. That’s not our nature at all.
I think the emotional hot potato thing is kind of like that. Sit with it. Let it be yours. Don’t put it on someone else. Don’t do anything rash. Just let it be. It’s so powerful.
What is the age that a kid could understand that game?
LAURA: We’ve been playing that with my kids since they were 2 or 3. When they’re 2 or 3, when they’re young and they get an impulse to hit, they need help stopping themselves to do that. If you’re seeing that they’re really feeling some big feelings about whatever’s happening and you know that they’re in a place where they can’t stop themselves, you’ve got to be there close to stop them for them.
You can have these conversations outside of the moment. You can see that their emotions are coming up and you can say, “I’m not going to let you pass these feelings on. We’re going to sit with them and hold them. I won’t let you hit your sister.”
You block them. You hold that boundary for them. You help them stop themselves until their brain is wired up to be able to stop themselves.
There are a few other things that you can do to bring that wiring on in a faster way. Kids who are in their twos and threes are incredibly impulsive. They have very little impulse control. The part of their brain that is going to stop them, prevent them, inhibit them is not online yet.
There are lots of different reasons kids hit—out of anger or just for fun, to be silly. They get an impulse to hit and then they hit. There’s very little time and space between the impulse and the action. Being there to prevent them and being their regulation for them, stopping them from hitting, it hardwires into their brain this stopping.
I get the impulse to hit and I can’t; I’m prevented from hitting. I get the impulse to hit and I don’t hit. It helps them start hardwiring, “I stop myself” into their brains.
There are other ways you can hardwire impulse control into their brains. You can play games like Freeze Dance, Simon Says, or Red Light/Green Light. There are lots of different games that are really fun and kids love that encourage the development of impulse control so that when they are feeling those big moments, big feelings, they have self-regulation resources at their disposal that they can use to stop themselves.
But always know that with very young kids, we are going to have to be their source of regulation for a while as those things are coming online. Even for five-year-olds, those things are still coming online.
ALLIE: What about when it’s happening and you hear the noise and you go in to deal, is it too late?
LAURA: It’s not too late.
Having the environment be the second or third parent in your home is always a really good idea. Your environment should be setting your kids up for success. I know, Allie, that you talk a lot about how important the environment is, but your environment can be a parent with you holding boundaries.
If you have a five-year-old who’s super into building Legos and a two-year-old at home who’s super into tearing apart Legos, they need separate places where the two-year-old can’t get to the five-year-old. A place where the five-year-old can have space and freedom to work and play. Use the environment when you can’t be there, maybe with gates.
When our kids were younger and much more impulsive we always had separate spaces for them. They could see each other, but I could gate the little one away from the big one to protect both of them, so that the little ones didn’t get hurt.
ALLIE: So much of parenting for me has been the older ones getting frustrated with the little ones. How do you balance, “Be patient, they’re littler than you,” with, “I get it.”
LAURA: If you aren’t able to prevent it, you weren’t able to keep them separate and they’re fighting with each other. Go in telling yourself this is not an emergency. No one is dying here. I can have time to be calm. If you run in there with a sense of urgency that energy is going to amplify things and bring the energy of the room and the energy of the kids up higher.
You should walk in purposefully but calmly towards them. Use observation as your first tool. Say, “I see two kids hurting each other. I see two kids pulling on the same toy. Both of you want this truck.”
You can even say their names. “I see Cooper and Jackson holding on for dear life for this truck. You both really want it.” Get close, get low with them. Then you can say, “Okay, what’s going on?”
Then you coach them to have a disagreement that’s productive. “Oh, Cooper, you were using the truck and Jackson, you decided you wanted it. Then Jackson took the truck and now Jackson has it and Cooper wants it back. What should we do?”
Help them figure out what’s going on, and figure it out holding both people’s desires. You’re not taking sides. Put it back on them. If we want our kids to be problem-solvers, siblings are a great way to learn how to do that.
It’s their relationship. We can confidently step out of their relationship and let them work together to solve those problems. Oftentimes kids have great ideas for how to solve those problems.
If Cooper had the toy (and maybe Cooper’s the little one) and Jackson wants it you can coach the older one by saying, “Jackson, I see you really want this truck right now. Why don’t you offer something to Cooper? Why don’t you trade him? Make it good because he had the truck first.”
Coach them through that negotiation process. Or you can even ask them, “Do you have any ideas? What do you think Cooper would like to trade so that you can have the truck?”
Help them with that while preventing any hitting or grabbing that’s coming. If somebody is hurt always go to the kid who’s hurting first, but also remember that hurting kids hurt others. So if one kid is physically hurt, yes, of course, comfort them, make sure that they’re safe, but just know the kid who did the hurting, did the hitting, is probably also hurting for some reason. So, come at them with compassion and empathy too.
ALLIE: Yeah. That’s so good.
I feel like you’ve given us some really solid tools for sibling bickering, anger, and heavy emotions. But outside of that, more in preventing heavy emotions, bickering, or a lack of peace in our homes, especially with young kids, are you a fan of mediation for kids? I know you’ve mentioned EFT. Could you talk about other tools and introducing them into your lifestyle to cultivate peace?
LAURA: Yeah, absolutely.
I have a video for kids with anxiety that teaches some mindfulness breathing practices that’s on my Facebook page. Those practices are fun things that kids like to do, and they help them learn to trigger a relaxing breath—in through the nose/out through the mouth. Research tells us that when we practice that breathing that when we need it during times of stress our brain and our body already know how to do it, so they will do it automatically.
Mindfulness practices are great and if your kid is willing to engage in them, wonderful. There’s lots of cute little ones like belly buddies, where you take a favorite stuffy and you put it on your belly and you make it move up and down. Some kids are resistant to that sort of thing. My kids know that their mom is a “feelings doctor.” That’s what we call me. They have no desire to learn about feelings from me or mindfulness.
EFT—Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping—is where you’re tapping acupressure points on your body. As I mentioned earlier we have these mirror neurons. You can use tapping as a calming strategy for yourself, which you should absolutely do. If you’re triggered by your kids, start tapping. You don’t have to do it perfectly, just hitting the general points.
There’s lots of instructional videos out there. You can teach yourself easily how to do it. Say over and over what you are feeling and that you can completely love and accept yourself as you go through the points. “I’m feeling really triggered by my kids and I completely love and accept myself.”
Your kids seeing you hit those points, the neurons in their bodies that correspond to those points will fire and they will get the relaxing effect of them too. They don’t even have to do it with you. Sometimes my little one will let me do it on her. She likes that, and she lets me do it. I always believe in getting consent from kids before you do those kinds of things to their bodies.
ALLIE: I love that you have a very respectful approach to parenting from the environment that I came from. Not in my home growing up but in the environment outside of home—the school I went to and the church we went to—that was not the case. It was very spare the rod, spoil the child.
I’ve come so far from that. I’ve seen such a connection built between me and my kids from going far from that and having these conversations. I was fed all this fear that if you don’t do things this way, then your kids are going to rebel. They’re going to be awful. They’re going to be brats.
And actually, in my experience, I have seen so much of the opposite in other kids that are being raised that way and in my kids who are not. We have this relationship. We’re all very close. They come to me with everything so far and hopefully will continue to do that.
We have these amazing conversations. I know who they are because I’m not silencing them for having feelings or doing something that I dislike and then punishing them in a way that’s like, “You are not good unless this, so go away from me until you comply.”
It served me zero when I was doing that in the very beginning of my parenting days. And so, I just love that you have that respectful approach and that there’s really this mutuality in the way you seem to parent and the way you teach others to parent.
LAURA: Thank you for that, Allie.
I think it’s so important that we sit down and ask ourselves what is the currency through which we want to gain influence over our kids. Do we want to gain influence through power and control? Or do we want to gain influence through our connection and our relationship?
I don’t know of any healthy relationships that are built on power and control. If we were thinking about that just from a relational dynamics standpoint where the currency of our influence is power and control, that’s not a recipe for health.
ALLIE: That’s the number one sign of trouble—leave don’t stay. It never made sense that this is what is being taught to so many parents to treat their kids this way.
LAURA: Power and control are sneaky. When we were raised in that scenario, growing up hearing, “Don’t say no to your mother. Respect your parents. I’ll give you something to cry about..” it’s hard to let go of those things. It’s hard to not get sucked into control.
Control is seductive as a parent, and it’s sneaky. The love and logic program is supposed to be more respectful and more peaceful, but it’s very controlling. It’s very manipulative. We have to be really good discerning consumers of those products and those approaches, too.
ALLIE: I’m thinking about my listeners who may have kids that are a bit older, that maybe clicked play on this episode because they were having an awakening as a parent. Their kids are ages 9 to preteen and they’re feeling like they really missed the mark, they really messed up. What would you say to them?
LAURA: It is not too late to change. It’s not too late to reeducate yourself. It’s not too late to apologize to your kids. It’s not too late to go to them and say, “I’m starting to realize that I don’t think I did things right.”
If your kid’s lying to you, go to them and say, “I’m really sorry I created an environment where you didn’t feel safe enough to tell me the truth.” If your kid is sneaking out, say, “It’s clear that I made a scenario where you couldn’t tell me where you needed to go, express your needs, and feel like you were going to be heard and listened to in a fair and balanced way.”
Repair is always a possibility. And it’s not on our kids to repair that, it’s on us.
ALLIE: Where is the balance between taking ownership and saying, “I’m sorry that I created this environment where you feel the need to do that” and also being a parent, being a solid leader for your kids. When do you play the parent card? Where is that balance of, “You do need to follow the rules of our home and I am the parent” but also having that respectful relationship? I think a lot of parents struggle to find a balance between those two worlds.
LAURA: I think the balance comes in collaboration. Sitting down with your kid and saying, “These are the expectations right now that you’re having a hard time meeting. Do you understand them? Do you know why I have them there? How do you feel about them? What’s getting in your way of meeting these expectations? Why are these expectations hard for you? Do we need to adjust them for right now so you can meet whatever expectations we have a little bit easier? How can I support you in meeting these expectations that we have? Do you fully understand what my concern is?”
So often we set a rule in our family because we have a concern and we might be better served to actually go to our kid with the concern and work together to find out what the rule needs to be. If we’re worried about our kids are spending too much time on some kind of game, we can go to them with that specific concern. Instead of oftentimes we go to them and say, “You’re spending too much time on screens so I’ve decided that we’re only going to do one hour a day.”
I think if we were to be honest with ourselves about what our concern is and we went to them and said, “I’ve been noticing you’ve been spending a lot of time on this game a lot lately, and I’m not seeing you get as much fresh air. I’d really like you to spend more time outside.” I think that that’s a completely different conversation.
I think that we as parents have to take responsibility of getting clear on what our expectations are, why we are having those expectations, what our worries are, what our concerns are, what our priorities are, and what our values are. Then we need to communicate those and then work together to find out how we can go about meeting those expectations.
ALLIE: That’s so good. And you speak so clearly. It does make sense to me. I feel like because of the way that you’ve spoken here, everybody is going to want to obsessively run to you, so where can I send them so they can learn more about this kind of peaceful, respectful parenting that you teach?
LAURA: I have a course called Respectful Parenting 101. It’s an intro course. We have folks in there who have kids who are one year old all the way up to kids who are who are tweens. That course is the best place to work with me. You get office hours with me every week and four great modules.
I also have a podcast where I go deeper into how to achieve balance as a parent. It’s called The Balanced Parent. We do a lot on self, identity and inner child healing in order to be the parent that we want to be.
I also have a little freebie for your listeners, too. We talked about building self-regulation skills and emotional regulation skills and you asked about how we can proactively help kids build those skills, so I made you guys a list of games with instructions and details on what parts of the executive functioning those games build. You can download those if you go to laurafroyen.com/selfreg.
ALLIE: Thank you so much for that! That’s so nice of you. We’ll put that in show notes as well, in case anyone has trouble spelling.
Thank you so much, Laura! This was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had on the show. This is so valuable and people need help with this. It’s so crazy that the most important job in the world comes with no instruction manual and you have to find what’s gonna speak to you and what’s going to help you be the best parent. There’s so much searching and diving in.
I’m sure that so many thousands of women listening to this today found you as their person who can really guide them to what they want to be versus what they’re being right now based on just their reactions to their kids. Thank you for setting so many people free with this conversation.
LAURA: Oh, thank you for having me!
Kids don’t come with a manual. We don’t get a parenting manual, but we do have the option of trusting them, trusting ourselves, and listening to them and to what they need. Our kids can guide us, and we can guide us if we learn how to quiet the noise, stop the comparison, ditch overwhelm, and just be present with ourselves. Figure out what we really want for our family, and refuse to parent from a place of fear. Because we get so caught up in fear, and that’s not how we want to make parenting decisions.
ALLIE: Thank you so much, Laura! I appreciate you so much. Everybody go to show notes, find all of Laura’s free stuff that she’s giving, get her course and be empowered to be the mom that you were made to be!
Thanks so much for hanging out with me! In case you didn’t know, there’s actually an exclusive community that’s been created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions around The Purpose Show episodes. It’s designed to get you to actually take action and make the positive changes that we talk about here. I want you to go and be a part of it. To do that, go to alliecasazza.com/facebookgroup.
Thank you so much for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about me, how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more into your life to make it simpler, better, and more abundant, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, online courses, programs, and other resources to help you create the life you really want.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See you next time! I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
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