Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

How to Keep Your Cool When Kids Act Out with Dr. Laura Markham

August 20, 2021 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 1 Episode 2
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
How to Keep Your Cool When Kids Act Out with Dr. Laura Markham
Chapters
1:23
Introduction
2:58
Parenting Conversation
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
How to Keep Your Cool When Kids Act Out with Dr. Laura Markham
Aug 20, 2021 Season 1 Episode 2
Moms Meet and KIWI magazine

If you’ve ever struggled to keep your cool with your kids, this one’s for you. In this episode, peaceful parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham teaches us how to regulate our difficult emotions, stay calm when the kids act out, and create positive connections with our little ones. From toddler tantrums to moody teens, she shares the best methods to help families stay calm and collected through any emotional rollercoaster. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

If you’ve ever struggled to keep your cool with your kids, this one’s for you. In this episode, peaceful parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham teaches us how to regulate our difficult emotions, stay calm when the kids act out, and create positive connections with our little ones. From toddler tantrums to moody teens, she shares the best methods to help families stay calm and collected through any emotional rollercoaster. 

Chrissy:

Welcome to raising healthy families with moms need Kiwi. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and cast of life, little ones in the healthiest way possible.

Annie:

regulating your emotions during difficult situations with your kids can be a challenge for even the calmest of parents. If you've ever felt that you struggle to keep your cool when your kids are being challenging, this one is for you. we're chatting with Dr. Laura Markham, author of the peaceful parent happy kids series about regulating difficult emotions, staying calm when kids act out and actionable steps to take to keep your cool. Give yourself the gift of a peaceful home and heart with Dr. Laura's 12 week peaceful parent happy kids online course that begins in September. Every Thursday for 12 weeks, you will receive a new audio lesson from Dr. Laura along with a transcript journal prompts exercises to do with your child handouts, five short daily meditation audios and other bonus resources over the course of each week. explore and learn at your convenience. Everything is self paced, so you never need to worry about falling behind. And all of this is only 159 USD. Learn more at forces that aha parenting.com Hi, everyone. I'm Annie, the chief mom Ambassador here at moms meet we are so thrilled to have Dr. Laura Markham on with us today to talk more about peaceful parenting and how we can as parents regulate our emotions better. Dr. Markham is the author of the peaceful parent happy kids series. And she earned her PhD in clinical psychology at Columbia University and has worked as a parenting coach with countless families across the world. Her website, aha parenting calm serves up aha moments for parents of babies through teens. Dr. Markham, thank you so much for joining us today. Oh, I'm so glad to be with you. So we can't wait to dive right in into learning more about peaceful parenting. I have kids, three kids, ages six, nine and 14. And so they're spread out. And they're all you know, going through different stages in life. And so for me, this conversation is super relevant. Because I definitely want to learn more about how we can regulate or how I can regulate my emotions as an adult, and of course, how we can take those important steps to keeping our cool. You know, as we're parenting these kids at different ages. Of course, parenting each child is so challenging because they're so unique, not only each of my kids having their own personalities, but of course, their age range. So I'm very excited to be able to pick your brain today. So Dr. Markham, could you give us a brief overview of what peaceful parenting is overall?

Dr. Laura Markham:

Well, when parents hear peaceful parenting, they think, Oh my god, never in my house, you know, my house is pandemonium. My kids are lively and loud and exuberant, and I myself can tend to be a little loud. Many parents think so What the heck could be peaceful about it. But peaceful parenting just means that when we interact with our children, we're not increasing the drama. We're bringing a soothing influence, we're bringing an influence of compassion, of empathy, of love. Now, we can't always do that. We can't always do that we're human, but that we try to take responsibility for what we're bringing to the situation. And you know, as the medical folks say, Do no harm first do no harm, right? So it's true that there will be childish behavior if you have kids, but our job is to come into the situation as the soothing influence not to make the storm worse than it is and blow it up into a tsunami.

Annie:

Mm hmm. Yeah. Oh, that's so true. And, you know, speaking from personal experience, of course, right now, my challenge is with my youngest, who is kind of at that age, you know, still very, you know, strong headed and minded and, you know, she will throw tantrums when she doesn't get her way. And I know I found myself really struggling with keeping calm, because, you know, on the inside, I really try my best to recognize that she's still a child and she needs you know, she needs patience and you know, kind of a loving kind of, you know, a different approach. But when my emotion starts bubbling up on the inside, and I just don't have any real good tactics to be able to calm myself down, what ends up happening is this big outburst. From my side from the parent side, so I'm just very curious what your strategies would be to help parents Stay calm. When the kids are acting out.

Dr. Laura Markham:

Well, you will get your buttons pushed. If you live with children, you will get your buttons pushed. The question is how fast do you notice that? Are you already on the downhill slide? Or you know, before you even notice it? Or do you notice as you start to get irritated, right? Maybe you're having a hard day anyway, maybe you didn't get enough sleep last night, maybe your child's been really difficult today, because they're having a hard day or didn't get enough sleep. But the more you can notice it, the better. And when we can monitor what's going on with us, we can see when we're starting to get irritated. And I call that when we start to get irritated gathering kindling. You know, like, soon enough, you get enough kindling, you're going to have a firestorm. So the minute you start gathering, kindling, that child, she's so ungrateful this boy, he's so difficult whatever we do, right? No, or, or simply, life is unfair, my partner didn't do the dishes, again, you know, I have, we're running out of money, whatever your litany is, it doesn't matter. we all we all confined ammunition, we can all find kindling, right. And so the point is, when you notice you're in that state, you have to take responsibility to stop and try to bring yourself back to a more centered place. And you need a little repertoire of ways to do that. But the first thing you do is what I call, stop, drop and breathe, stop what you're doing. Drop your agenda, like maybe what you're doing is, you know, the dishes, but you're yelling at your kid across the room to Go brush your teeth, so you can get her you know, off to camp or school or whatever, right. So you stop what you're doing, you drop your agenda, and you take a deep breath, you basically stop engaging. And that deep breath, signals your body that it's not an emergency, you don't need more adrenaline to handle the situation, you know, you don't need to be in fight, flight or freeze. Take another deep breath. And then you go try a do over you go to your child and you say, Hey, hey, let me try that, again. I was getting a little irritated. Did you hear my voice? Let me try that. Again. I'm worried that we need to get out of the house in five minutes to get you there on time, I see that you don't have your shoes on yet. And I don't think you've brushed your teeth. Let's see how we can work together to get this done. Now, that's a very rational comment and approach with some sense of humor and your voice and some warmth. You can't do that if you're having a really hard time, but at least you can keep from being right now go do it, you know, which just provokes your child's digging in their heels and say no, I'm well, you're always telling me what to do or whatever. And then you have a full blown explosion on your hands. Hmm,

Annie:

that's so good. And it's it's such a simple strategy, but such a powerful one, I can definitely see that kind of that reset, really working. Now, it's just kind of that awareness, we need to start building up in ourselves. I think that sounds like it's the key just being aware of when you start being irritated. And I think that's going to take practice. I'm not sure if that comes naturally to myself or you know, many of our moms who are listening to this,

Dr. Laura Markham:

you know, what comes naturally going into fight flight or freeze. What comes naturally is thinking things are an emergency when we're in a bad place, right? It's like Einstein said, I think he said at least he's reported as having said that you can't solve a problem from the same state where the problem was created. So if your state is one of, you know, being alarmed, you can't solve that problem from that state, you have to restore yourself to at least, maybe not well being but at least not alarm, right. So here's the great news. When we do that, every time we do it, we're changing our own neural wiring. We're re literally rewiring our brain. You know, it's not as plastic when you're a parent as it was when you were four or 12 or even 16. But you can every repeated experience rewires the brain. So every time you get, not every time if often just increase your ratio often. When you get like that. You can say stop, drop and breathe. That's my pause button. I'm just gonna hit the Pause button here, I don't really have to freak out if she's five minutes late, what's the worst that can happen? Let's look at it. From her point of view, she's really trying to finish that Lego structure or she didn't get enough sleep last night or she, her, she's jealous of the baby, whatever it is, you know, we can remind ourselves to have a little patience there. We are actually training our brain next time to not flip out so quickly.

Annie:

Hmm, yeah, yeah, no, that's really good. And I know as moms and as parents were very hard on ourselves, you know. And so, of course, you know, I go, I would go through my day, and maybe I did have a follow up episode with my children. And, and then it's really hard coming off of that, too, and knowing how to approach the child and kind of make up, you know, and try to reset that way. I mean, do you have any examples of how, how to kind of reconnect, once you have messed up after kind of blowing up at your child?

Dr. Laura Markham:

You're and you know, one thing is that we have to remember, we were all raised in a punitive culture that uses a lot of sticks, some carrots, but a lot of sticks. Yeah. And what we've learned about children from the research is that they don't respond well to threats and stacks. Because it makes them feel worse about themselves. Yeah, if we give them enough support, they're more likely to be able to rise to the occasion and do what we're asking. Well, the same thing is true of us. So when we mess up with our children, using a stick is really not helpful. It makes us feel worse, you can't do better if you feel worse. Yeah. So instead, ask yourself what support you need. So if you if you lost it, and you screamed like a crazy person at your child. And you know, the thing is, it takes a little while to calm down from that, right, because your body is just flushed full of fight or flight hormones and, you know, stress hormones, and neurotransmitters. So you're in the car, you finally got your kid in the car, your kids need, even sobbing in the backseat. Or maybe there's just stony silence, and you're driving and you're like trying to breathe. So that's the first thing, try to breathe, calm yourself down, try to breathe. And then finally, when you feel like you can speak at a level voice, and you feel your, your eating with remorse, and you're like, oh, my goodness, I messed up again, you have to first talk yourself down, you have to first reassure yourself, my kids, okay? He's getting better parenting than I got. And I came out, okay, she'll be even better. That's a really good one, usually. And, and, you know, I am under stress, you don't have to be perfect. My child doesn't need a perfect parent, what she or he needs, is a parent who acknowledges when they did something that wasn't constructive wasn't skillful, you know, acknowledges it, apologizes, makes a repair how models how to be a gracious human under stress. That's what we want our children to learn, right? Yeah. So if you never made mistakes, your child would never learn that. So it's a good thing. You lost it once. Not everyday, but once in a while. And then you so you talk yourself off the cliff, and you reassure yourself, you say, I'm doing the best I can. As I I'm reprogramming my brain here, I'm rewiring myself, as I know more, I do better. It's okay. I don't have to be perfect. And then you say to your child, that was really hard. Hmm. And you're met with stony silence? Of course. And then you say, so you're the but notice, the first thing you did wasn't even an apology, it was acknowledging that it was a hard situation for the both of you, right? Okay. And then you say, I am so sorry, I yelled at you. I am so sorry. You don't, this is important. You don't deserve to be out that no one deserves to be out that you don't want to raise a child who thinks they deserve to get yelled at, because what is that going to do for the rest of their life? Right? You don't deserve to get yelled at. Now most of us is at this point, I'm really tempted to say something like, but if you would just get your shoes on and brush your teeth. When I tell you. You can't do that, that ruins your whole, there's no repair there. So just let that go. Your kid actually already knows that. And they're feeling guilty, right? Every child in the world when their parent yells at them, they feel like they they are not a good enough person. Even though they're angry at you for doing it. They also feel like they must have somehow failed at being a good person or you wouldn't have done it because you're perfect. After all, you're the parent. So you say I'm so sorry. And then you say I was really worried about being late. But that wasn't a good way to handle it. That wasn't a good way to handle it. I wish that I had taken a minute to calm myself down. Now you're modeling what could have happened. You're you're letting your child know you're not perfect. And you're thinking about a new way to do it next time. And you say I wish I could have done bad and your child might say it's okay mommy or your child might say you always say that and then you yell again. Right? So there's a whole range of how kids Mike respond here, I might still and if they are still angry, if you can hear that anger in their voice, then you say, you sound pretty angry. I understand. It's, it's upsetting when someone yells at you, and I guess I, I've been yelling a lot lately, or I wish I didn't yell so much, you know what, and you can acknowledge it. And you can say, I've been under a lot of stress, but it's not a way I want to be, I'm going to, I'm going to take responsibility for that I'm going to work on a plan to not yell so much. And this is, again, where you want to say, but you behave. And again, you don't need to do that you can say, you might say, I think mornings are our most stressful time. And I think we need to brainstorm about ways to have better mornings, so I don't get so stressed. And you don't get so stressed. Because, you know, presumably they were stressed to, or difficult or challenging or something. And you so you might say we're gonna brainstorm about that when we both settle down and feel better. But I'm sorry, it was so hard. And I'm sorry that you felt bad. And I'm sorry that I yelled that I'm gonna work on it. And that's a very sincere apology, that doesn't diminish your apology and repair by making the other person wrong. And it doesn't mean you won't work with them on, you know, when I asked you to put on your shoes, we really do need to do it. So how can we make that work? Right, which we'll do later, once everything's calm, but you're not going to do it at that moment. And now you're driving the car. But let's say you weren't driving the car, let's say you were in your home, then you would say, Can I give you a hug to your child can and you would give them a big hug. And then if you can't you get them laughing? If there's a way to, you know, make a little fun of yourself or whatever of the situation or, and you can get them laughing. That's great. If you don't feel up to that, and they don't feel up to it, that's fine. You can do it later. But laughter is the it's a great repair, because it is it reduces the stress hormones in the body and increases the bonding hormone. So you're connecting, you know, there's a reason that they say it's the direct line between two people the most direct line is laughter. Wow, I

Annie:

love everything you just shared honestly, it's it's so great. And what I heard you say a lot is like we How can we work together and kind of that, just that phrasing itself, I think, is so important. And that's I definitely want to start kind of shifting my wording in that way. Because it makes such a difference. Just hearing you say it to me, it's such a huge difference.

Dr. Laura Markham:

You know, I teach an online course a couple of times a year. And in that course, parents, one of the pieces of feedback I get the most frequently is the words that parents will say, you know, I didn't grow up with that tone of voice. I didn't grow up with these words. So listening to you say them during the course. I parents will say it really changed the the when I'm talking to my kids, that voice will come into my head those words, and sometimes they write them down and post the words around their house. It Again, it's a retraining process, where we learn in a way a new vocabulary, even a new emotional vocabulary.

Annie:

Yeah, yeah, that's great. Now I we talked about how to maybe regulate the adults emotions during situations. On the flip side, when our children are having a hard time, whether you know, whatever age range they might be in, whether it's the toddler tantrum or a rebellious teen, do you have any tips on how we can respond to our kids when they're having those big emotions? Yes,

Dr. Laura Markham:

I think we start by acknowledging that when someone's having a big emotion, they do not want to be talked out of it, they want us to see and understand. I mean, if you think about it, we as adults, when we get upset about something, if we come home, we tell our partner, and they go, Oh, you're getting upset for no reason. Or even, oh, here's how you would handle that. Or, you know, what you call your boss and say, XYZ or even, um, you know, I can handle that for you, you know, whatever it is, I'll call the plumber. You know, it's, but you're mad because the plumber came, and they totally screwed it up or something, right? It's not going to help you. None of those responses help. What you want, you don't want somebody they handle it for you and imply that you're not competent. You know, you don't want them to tell you that you don't have a right to those feelings. You're getting too upset about this. You're overreacting. What you want is for your partner to listen to you, as you say, I can't believe that plumber did this or I can't believe that child did that, you know, or whatever. And then to say, No wonder you're upset. I can see why you'd be upset about that. Or that sounds really upsetting or those are words that could hurt your feeling or Yeah, you've been dealing with this a lot or there's been so much stress lately Are you really are having a terrible day, are you just something that acknowledges how you know you're All your responses are valid, all emotions are valid no matter what they are. Even when your child says to you, I hate my big brother, right? He's always mean to me, I hate him. I wish I never had a big brother or whatever. You know, you might want to say, Oh, don't say that about your brother. Right? But actually, those are valid emotions. Hatred isn't a feeling, it's just a position we take because we're mad and hurt. So we say we hate right to push that person away. But it's a valid emotion to be heard or to be mad, right. So if instead we can acknowledge rage, and every other emotion, they don't dissipate until they feel heard. But the emotions are there for a reason, they're there to tell us something. They're there to tell us our boundaries got infringed on, they're there to tell us what we value in the world that we just lost. That's grief. They're, they're there to tell us when something needs to change. But sometimes, it's the outside world that should change. And sometimes it's inside ourselves. Like we need to change our own response. So those emotions are all valid. But you can't actually understand what the emotion means. In that moment. You have to just feel the emotion, it begins to dissipate. And then you say, Hmm, to avoid this next time, maybe I could, and you see what could change. Or you maybe I could ask for help, maybe I really do need my partner to come home and they say the oil and not just go out with the boys after work and drink without telling me or whatever it is we want to know, right? So we might change our outside world, or we might change ourselves. But the point is, once we feel like our emotions have been felt, what's that's not even once we feel someone has seen and witnessed our emotions and validated them, then we can feel them fully. Then they dissipate, then we can make a wise decision. Same thing is true for kids. So when kids have big emotions, the first thing you say is, Oh, no. Oh, I see. Oh, of course, or, Oh, you're so upset about this. I didn't realize this is really important to you. I didn't understand, or whatever it is technology, emotions. You are so mad at your brother, you really wish I would say yes, you could have another cookie, you really wish I would say yes, you could go to that party unsupervised with the other 14 year olds, you know, whatever it is, you wish you want. Those are great things just describe if you don't know what feeling they're feeling, just use the word upset, or because a lot of times if you say you're really mad about this, aren't you they'll yell No, I'm not mad. Because somehow we mad is an angry, those are pejorative in our culture. Most people have gotten the idea they shouldn't feel those things. Yeah, but just saying you're upset helps. And you can also just say, this isn't what you want it to happen, you really wished we could go do X, you had counted on doing that today in here, I'm saying we have to go to why I hear you. Right, just acknowledging the feelings. Don't try to solve the problem, you will spend more time than you think you have to just listening and acknowledging. And finally your child will begin to change their emotional tone, that instead of being angry, there'll be a little defeated, they might even start to cry, that's good. That means they've hit that wall, where they no longer have to try to force their way through it, they realize that's not a wall, you can go through and they start to crumble, and they go out of fight or flight, when they start to cry. It's because the body is shifting from the sympathetic nervous system where it's fight or flight to the parasympathetic, where it's it's digestion and learning and immune system and all the other things we need to do to live. And to make that transition. One of the things that happens is the lacrimal glands of the I released some stress hormones in the form of gene. So when your child cries, that's Bingo. That's the best ever. And if you set a limit, and they cry, because they don't want to go do whatever you asked, they're not resisting you. They're actually accepting your limit and trying to work with it, even though they still feel all that sadness about it. So you don't have to be mad at them for crying. You just say, I know, this really isn't what you wanted. And then you can problem solve after that. Yeah,

Annie:

yeah, no, that's really good. Something that came to mind as you were, as you were speaking, was how different My children are, and of course, with their different age ranges. You know, where if my younger two children, you know, have big emotions, I could typically figure out very quickly why they were upset. Whereas my 14 year old we recently had a situation where she I could tell she was upset, but she was clamming up and not really talking and sharing. And then she started getting emotional. And I think I think I probably said it the wrong way or asked her the wrong way, which is, you know, Why are you getting so emotional right now, that's what I asked her, and she clammed up even more, and she wouldn't really share. A B on that, and I thought, gosh, that was definitely the wrong question to ask. Or maybe it was the right question, but maybe not phrased in the right way. Do you have any tips on what I could have said? Or how I could have approached her as as a teen who typically doesn't want to tell me things?

Dr. Laura Markham:

Right? You know, I remember when my daughter was 12. And I said, the wrong thing. Every few days, I think, you know, I think it's just, you know, they go through these phases where it's hard to make that connection, and you're just not quite in sync. And, you know, it would get her more emotional. And then I would stop, drop and breathe, and retrench retract, you know, back back up a little and say, Oh, sweetie, I'm sorry, that was so insensitive of me. Of course, you're upset about this, or whatever. So I, so that's one thing you can always repair. But when your child seems overly reactive, over emotional, you know, it's not so different from when they were a toddler. They don't actually know why they're being so emotional. They just feel it. And it swamps them. And what they need is for us to empathize. So you thought she was overreacting and being Why are you so emotional about this? But you could just say, it's really upsetting? Hmm, even if you don't see why it's so emotional, right? And maybe she hasn't told you the whole thing? Or maybe she has, and she is overreacting. It's really, it's just like, the pent up stresses of the week or the month, right? Or, you know, everything coming down on her or something else is upsetting her that she hasn't told you, it doesn't really matter. What we're dealing with an emotional state, we just say, it's really upsetting, isn't it? That's all you have to say. And she'll take a deep breath, and she might cry a little bit, or maybe be she'll sigh. And she might say, I don't know why I'm so upset about it. She might say that, or she might say it is upsetting. You don't know the half of it. And then so and so said such and such. And besides I don't even such and such and such, you know, she'll go on about more, right. So why understanding, just saying it's really upsetting, huh? you've allowed her to feel safe enough to open the door to the open the floodgates to the rest of what's in their pride. I think they test us when they're, when they're teenagers, when they're young teenagers, especially. But even older, they'll often test us by getting a little emotional, or whatever telling us something maybe not even so emotionally, they'll tell us something and see if we overreact because with teenagers, they don't want us to solve it for them. If we if we jump in with our teenager, and we say, Oh, well, I see why you're upset. But you could just do XYZ his partner says that makes us feel like, Oh, they think I'm incompetent. Hmm. Well, you know, and even if we're right, even if we're right, it doesn't matter. Because then even if they try what we tell them and they do it, then they feel like yeah, my mom, she always knows what to do. But I don't know what to do. Right? They're not growing, the whole point of your life is, you know, for at that age, it's just to try to navigate it yourself with your parents as backup not with your parents in there pulling the strings like you're a puppet.

Annie:

Yeah, no, that that definitely makes sense. Do you find that the the strategies that you're talking about are kind of universal, regardless of the the kids ages? Or do you think that there is kind of some, you know, shift and some pivoting that we have to do because of the age difference?

Dr. Laura Markham:

I think they're definitely pivots. However, I think we tend to treat children not as human beings, I'm sorry to say young children, we are not as human beings, and we would, it would be better for our children's development, if we could with a three or four year old, say, just as we would to our 14 year old say, it's really upsetting, huh? You wish XYZ you want XYZ? You're trying to figure that out. And it's so hard. Now, they don't have a fully developed prefrontal cortex. They don't remember that last time, you know, the bad thing happened when they did it that way. And it's about to happen again. So we might want to say, do you remember, you know, or, you know, when you do it this way this could happen. You wouldn't do that with a 14 year old, probably, you're probably going to be a little more hands on with your three or four year old. And you know, sometimes we actually have to pick them up out of harm's way or when they don't want to go to bed or get in their car seat or those kinds of things. But it can, it helps if you don't manhandle your children, because every time you use your superior size, there will be pushback in some way that they will there will be later some sort of power struggle because they will have to reassert their autonomy because You took some of it. So I think being aware what children need, they need first of all connection with us to feel safe. Yeah, once they have a good strong relationship and connection, and they can renew that throughout the day, throughout the week, the next thing they need is autonomy, they need an opportunity to explore, to engage with the world to experience themselves, trying these things, and learn about the capabilities, they have developed those capabilities develop themselves, that's how they develop themselves. So if we're acting like our three or four year old is not a capable person, we're creating a dependent child who cannot function on their own later, better to let them make mistakes and be their backup, than to be in there doing it for them and showing them how to do it. So when you say, the different ages, in some ways, we could treat our younger children with more respect and allow them more autonomy, even though we're there as backup, and with our older children, also, also with that, but we're forced to do it, usually, by the time that they're teenagers.

Annie:

Yeah. But that also makes it kind of a lot easier for a parent to know that you know, what this is one strategy, I can apply it to all of my children, regardless of their personality type, and their age, and so on. So it, it gives me a little bit more hope that I can actually apply this into my my day to day life. Now, in terms of, you know, there's a lot of families out there, of course, that have, you know, different situations in their home, or they have different caretakers, maybe grandparents are more involved, or, you know, you have babysitters, or nannies or, you know, children might be moving from, you know, two different parents homes. What are your thoughts on how to maybe even get everybody on the same page with this type of parenting style? Or how do you manage? If you know that, you know, the other parenting styles or caretakers are parenting differently? So how is this it's kind of inconsistent with the kids in some ways.

Dr. Laura Markham:

So first of all, we know from research that children have a different working model, internal working model of each relationship. By the time they are 13 months old, we can test them in a lab and see with every, you know, with grandma with the nanny with mom and dad with anybody in their life, we can test and see if that baby who's not yet verbal, thinks that that parent or caretaker is going to be responsive to their needs. Isn't that amazing? and responsiveness, responsiveness is the most important predictor of a child's emotional well being. When the parent or caretaker responds to the child's needs, the child feels safe. They feel like when I, when I need them, they'll be there for me, they see me they're there. When I get upset, they'll soothe me that's secure, that child feels secure. That's a secure relationship, secure attachment. And the relationship is different with each person, right? So when it's different, when the child is eight, and grandma or grandpa or a nanny, or dad or mom, parent differently from each other, the child already knows Oh, okay, this is what mom does. This is what dad does. This is what grandma does. This is what the nanny does. So first of all, they're okay with that, you're there's no confusion there on their part, if you're divorcing, your child goes back and forth to your ex partners home. And it's different there, your child would may have some feelings about it, right? They go to the other home. And they may be like, you know, I like on air because I get to watch a lot of Watch, watch a lot of TV, I get to have a lot of streets. But on the other hand, if I'm, you know, grumpy, nobody listens to my feelings. And in fact, I get spanked, right? I mean, there could be like a big difference, right? They may have some feelings about it that are not so great. And they may not feel safe to share those feelings at the other home and they may come back to your house and fall apart completely. And you're left with the fallout. That's very common. But they do know the difference. They know that you're going to be the safe place to say, Oh, you had a hard time. I'm right here. I know you love your other parent. And I also know sometimes it's hard to go back and forth. Right? So you're offering that understanding and they work it through and they're like, Okay, this is my safe place. Right? Yeah. If you do have some control, if it's not another home, if it's if it's your partner, right? You can't control your partner, but you can talk about it. You can say, you know, I noticed that when x y, z happens, it really seems to push your buttons. And when I try to support you, you feel like I'm disrespecting you by stepping in with the kids. I wonder if we could talk about what you do because I will With them too, sometimes I would love you to step in and say, Okay, everybody, let's, let's all take a breath. We can work this out. And I wouldn't feel criticized, I would feel supported. Especially if you said, Oh, sweetheart, I got this, you take, you know, don't worry, take a break, I'll, I'll do this, right? Especially if you said something like, well, this seems to be really important to your mom. It sounds like you've ever listened to her, I see, you're having a hard time I see, you're having a hard time here. I hear your mom really wants you to x and you're not doing it seems to be really burned her, you know, so. So learning how to step in is good to support each other, but having those conversations with our partner about our differences, because no two parent people are going to ever parent that we're not identical people, right? We're not going to parent alike. So that's an important thing to do. Now, when you have more control, like with a nanny who's in your employ, or a grandparent who frankly grandparents think they know everything. The truth is they had their chance here with your with your partner, they had their chance. And if they want to see their grandchildren, they do have to respect what you're doing a little bit they have to maybe not internally respected. But they have to observe your methodology to some degree if you're saying we never spank our kids or you know, we've decided we don't use timeouts, we listen to our child, we do a time in we stay with them, we help them with their feelings. When they're ready for a hug, we give it to them. And then we ask them to make a repair. So I know this isn't the way you raised your kids, grandma, grandpa, it's certainly not the way you were raised. But But we ask our kids to make a repair. If they hit their sibling, we don't just let them get away with it. I know that's what you're afraid of grandma, grandpa? No, we say to them, you know, that really hurt your brother's body and it hurt his feelings. And he loves you because you're the big brother and and I wonder what you could do to make things better with him again, right? We ask our child we expect to repair. So it's different than than a punitive punishment. But it's still we're not just not remarking on or we're not just saying it's a free for all, and you can hit your siblings. So grandma, grandpa, it's different than what you would do. But we've done a lot of research, we think it works. We'd like you to try it with us, because we think it's gonna work better. Because I think when we punish the child for hitting his brother, there's just more resentment. He's sitting over here on the naughty step saying, I hate my brother. It's all his fault. No one ever listens to me, no one cares what I want, you know, and then he just comes out of the naughty step. He might tell you what he did wrong, the hitting, you know, we might act, okay. But the next time they have an altercation, he's even more angry. So we think it makes it worse. Now, grandma, grandpa might say to you, you're just wrong. We raised three kids, and they came out great, and you're just wrong. And you know, you can see they don't know anything. And you can say, you know what, I hear you. But they're my kids. They're our kids. And we love you very much. And you're very important to the grandchildren. But we're going to ask you to do it our way. You had your chance, let us make our own mistakes.

Annie:

Well, that that sounds like a really great way to handle it. I mean, I think, you know, whether it's your partner or your acts or your grandparents, having that calm, open conversation seems like it's the key rather than, you know, being reactive when something really actually happens. So that's really great advice. I did hear you mentioned timeouts. And that kind of got me thinking, gosh, you know, timeouts, threatening timeouts and threatening, you know, bigger consequences, you know, losing something a device or you know, what have you or even a spanking or something like that. Is such such a common thing, common thing that parents say? And do you I mean, do you think there is a place for you for those items? Or do you think that we should just completely eliminate that from our parenting strategy?

Dr. Laura Markham:

So the reason timeouts were first began to be used in parenting is that before that most parents use physical force, they snapped, and they thought that would teach a lesson. But it turns out that that spanking, we have 50 years of research on it, and it just always is bad for the kid that the child has, you know, here's the parent who is their protector, and is hurting their body. So it always has a bad effect. And I totally see why parents bank By the way, I think they get at their wit's end and they're furious and they don't know what to do. But pediatricians began to say, you know, slinkys actually really bad for kids, and it gets out of hand and you have to keep escalating. So let's tell parents to do timeouts instead. They separate they calm down. That's perfect. Right? And it is certainly a lot better than spanking. But here's the thing about timeouts. Let's go back to that kid on the naughty step. is he sitting there saying, Yeah, I was bad. I hit my brother. I want to be a better Big Brother. Next time that happens. I'll say, little brother. Why don't we work this out amicably? No, he's not sitting there on the naughty Stop thinking how we can be a better person. He's furious like any other human being would be. And he's, he's spinning fantasies of revenge. So timeouts actually do do help everybody who's separated, calm down, they help the parent Calm down, and they help the child calm down. But actually, when you think about it, he's that child actually working out their feelings. They're very upset. That's why he hit his brother, his brother wrecked his tower. He was so upset. Yeah. So he's on the naughty step thinking this is he actually, we know he's not trying to be a better person. But is he actually even working out the feelings? No, he's he's trying to calm himself down, because he knows that's the precondition to get off the naughty step. He's, he's, I'm not gonna be I'm not gonna be upset about this, but he wrecked my tower, you know, and he's not actually have anyone listened to his feelings. He's not having anyone acknowledged his feelings. So what do we know about feelings, they need to be acknowledged, so that the child feels safe to feel them, and then they dissipate, this child's not getting that acknowledgement. So what's really happening, he's trying to stop the feelings. So the next time there's an altercation or interaction of any kind with the brother, those feelings are ready to burst out. Because you know, when we suffer them, they're no longer under conscious control. That's the whole. That's how stuffing works. As Freud said, it's repression, right? We're repressing those feelings. And then repression means you're not aware of them consciously. So you're, they're not under your control. So that's when you hit. That's when the brother hits the brother again, right? So I think if we really want our children to be able to work out their feelings, we know the research is pretty clear on this, what they need is what we call emotion coaching. Emotion coaching is when we acknowledge the feelings, we don't guilt trip the child, we don't shame them. We don't blame them. We say, of course, you're upset when your brother knocked down your tower. Now, we might not be able to say yet you might be so angry. And the truth is he hit his brother. First, we tend to the brother, right? We ignore him, we just, you know, you don't drag him by the ear to the naughty step. You go first to the kid who's hurt. And you say, Oh, ouch, that really hurts. Oh, you know, and you take care of that child, once he's all fine. You put him with his toys, you get him started doing something, you go back to the perpetrator, and you say, Now, this is what most parents think they have to be screaming at him yelling at him dragging into the naughty step, teaching him what to do that they usually do that before they even tend to the hurt child. As we we're in fight or flight ourselves, and we have an urgent need to set things straight. But you don't need to do that. You know where your child lives? You know, you can come back later. Yeah. So you come back later. And then you say, Wow, that was really hard. Hmm. And your child's like, Yeah, he knocked out my tower. You commiserate about the tower, and you help with those feelings. And then after he's got metal off his chest, and you've got a few exchanges about you love that tower. You built it so high, it was so hard for you when it came down all the things, then you say, and you were so upset that you hit your brother, and your child looks at the ground shamefaced in the psyche. And you say, I understand why you were so upset, but it's never okay to hit right. Um, you could you could quiz them, is it ever okay to hit but you know, your child knows it wasn't okay to hit. Yeah, you say it's never okay to hit that really? Who? Your brother? I know you're upset, and it's never okay to hit. I wonder what you could have done instead? Right? And once you do that, your child might say, Yeah, but what could he have done instead. And if the little one is old enough, you might bring the little one over and say your brother or something, you might say to the older one, you have something to tell your brother, it sounds like and you say, let's go over to see your brother and you go sit down with a little brother. And you say you put your arm on both kid's hand on both children. So they both feel connected to you and safe. And you say to the little one, your brother is something important he wants to tell you. And the older one says I don't like it. When you knock down my tower. I'm sorry, I hit you. But you shouldn't have knocked down my tower. And the little one looks at him with big eyes. And you say your brother was pretty upset. And he hit you which which wasn't okay, it really hurt you. And he's saying he sorry. But it sounds like he was pretty upset about his tower. Right? And you can and if the little one isn't old enough to know or doesn't offer it, you can say you want to tell your brother that you're sorry, you knock down his tower. Now if the little one is still angry, he would say I'm not sorry. But by now he's not angry by now. He's like, I'm sorry. You know? And what have you just done, you've created good feelings between the children instead of bad feelings. So the timeout would have done nothing compared to what you just did, which is you use this difficult interaction between your children to bring them closer. And you can do that. Anytime there's a conflict in your home, whether it's between you and a child, you and your partner between the two children, you can always do that. And it always works better than a threat of a consequence or a timeout or losing screentime or whatever else you might threaten.

Annie:

Yeah, yeah. And it sounds like learn, you know, being able to teach your children how to resolve conflict in a healthy way. When They're set when they're young, is only going to help them as they become adults. And that, to me, that just sounds like, it's so worth that extra time that you spend during that month during those moments with your kids, because you know, it's going to be more like a lifelong lesson, you know? Yes,

Dr. Laura Markham:

yes. And also, you know, it doesn't go on forever. You're involved. If you haven't urinated this way before, you will have to do it fairly intensively for about three months. But your children will learn to do it, you'll hear them from the other room saying, you know, excuse me, I was still using that. Can I have it back? Please? You can have it after me? Or will it be my turn? Will you give it to me when you're done here, they'll actually say things, it's if you haven't experienced it, you're like blown away when it happens. You You're role modeling will teach kids those skills, and you're right, they will use them in every relationship they ever have.

Annie:

Yeah, that's awesome. Well, I have one more question to ask, Dr. Markham, you know, what resources are available to parents to really learn more about these peaceful parenting methods? Hmm, well,

Dr. Laura Markham:

I have a newsletter, it's free. It's every week, you sign up on any page of my website, which is Aha, parenting.com ha parenting.com. Every page at the bottom has a sign up. And that's designed to just bring it Top of Mind every week support, you give you examples. So you start to learn, oh, in this situation, I could say or do this, when my kid is snippy with me when my kid hits the other kid, it gives you you know, it's all about the examples, and the hands on application of this kind of approach. So that's the first thing that's free. And My website is 1000 pages. And it's, there's a there's a section for every age, so you can go and you can look about your 14 year old or your six year old or anything, any age child, even if in fact, it starts with pregnancy, because your relationship with your child starts in pregnancy on you. So those are resources that are there and are free. I also, as I mentioned earlier, I have a course that I teach. It's pretty inexpensive. It's sort of a boot camp for parenting. And but the great thing about it is that it's intensive for three months, but you have access to it for the rest of your life. So you do this, and then many people will take the course. And they will then revisit it. You know, they go back to the sibling week to listen to the sibling examples when they hit a rough patch. Or when they're hitting a rough patch on their own stress, they go back to the self care week, or their self regulation week for them, or the discipline week is one of the favorites, right? So people people will go back and use that. And there's also a very developed a Facebook forum, private for the course. But anyone who's ever taken the course is part of it. So there are people who took the course three or four years ago, who are at this point, they've been doing this kind of parenting for four years. They're really good at it. They have great advice. And so when you say to them, well how do I handle this? I'm carrying my era, they say Oh, don't worry, try this. And they're so it's such a supportive, beautiful community. So you know, I think it can completely transform your parenting, you pay one fee that's not very much and further rest until your child grows up. You have this supportive community, as well as this resource to go back to.

Annie:

Well, I love that I'm gonna have to join right away. I need a lot of help. But thank you so much. I learned so much today. I know all the moms who are listening to this. I know that they've probably you know glean so much wisdom from from what you've shared with us today. Back school season, especially with multiple kids can be chaotic. Between sending them to school with the right lunchboxes making sure they have the supplies they need, and keeping their stuff all together. It's a lot to handle. mabels labels makes back to school season a breeze. They make the very best personalized and durable labels for kids. There's laundry safe, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe. personalize your labels labels and stick them on your kids clothing tags, shoes, water bottles, lunch gear and school supplies to keep them coming home day after day. Here's what's new at mom's meet and KEANEY magazine. Don't miss key magazines fall issue dropping August 31. We're covering how you can create a more connected family through peaceful parenting and back to school tips, tricks, supplies and so much more. We've got some amazing sampling opportunities going on in mom's knee. Right now. You can apply to try now kids liquid akinesia SOS hydration daily lifestyle and immunity support drink rebellious plant based nuggets, and Malibu milk, unsweetened vanilla flax milk. And yet thanks everyone for listening and make sure that you hit the like and support Sky button to make sure you don't miss the latest podcast episodes. We're just so excited, you know, Dr. Markham to have these new tool sets in our parenting toolkit, and really appreciate all your time. So thank you so much. It was my great pleasure. And thanks everyone for being with us and helping you know, thanks for joining us as, as we're conquering, healthy living at all ages and stages of life.

Introduction
Parenting Conversation