Amber is a dedicated mother of three who's currently navigating the challenging world of boundaries with her children. Despite her unwavering determination, her kids often put up a strong resistance to the boundaries she has set.

427: How To Hold Boundaries With a Toddler

On-Air Coaching Call

What do you do with a toddler who is starting to test boundaries by throwing food? How do you handle the meltdown in the store? In this special On-Air coaching episode, I talk to Amber, mom of a toddler and a newborn, about how to set boundaries kindly without being permissive.

How To Hold Boundaries With a Toddler [427]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Amber: I know he's developmentally appropriate, but he's done a lot of food throwing, a lot of tantrums recently, and I don't know if it's like, you know, he's 18 months old and this is just kind of him who he is right now, or if it, you know, all of the changes that he's going through.

[00:00:24] Hunter: You're listening to The Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 427. Today we're talking about how to hold boundaries with a toddler in a special Mindful Parenting Coaching episode.

Welcome to The Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you get calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the best selling book, Raising Good Humans, a mindful guide to breaking the cycle of reactive parenting and raising kind, confident kids. And now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids.

Welcome. Welcome to you. Welcome to you if you're new. Welcome to you if you've been around here at the Mindful Parenting block for a while. So glad you're here. Listen, make sure you're subscribed. And if you get some value from the Mindful Parenting podcast, please go over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and review, and it just helps the podcast grow more.

It honestly really does only take like 30 seconds, and I really, really, really appreciate it. And in just a moment, I'm going to be having a special Mindful Parenting on air coaching episode with Amber, and we're going to talk about what do we do with a toddler who is starting to test boundaries by doing all kinds of things, including throwing food.

Amber has a one week old newborn and an 18 month old toddler. We're going to talk about how do we handle... His meltdowns in the store, and we're going to talk about how to set boundaries. How do we set boundaries with our kiddos? And you'll hear some metaphors, you know, we talk about her almost two year old as well as what it means in my life when we're setting boundaries with teenagers.

Some of the same principles apply, so you're going to hear how that works in this episode. A special thank you to Amber. It was so lovely to meet you and talk to you and rock on with your bad self. Thanks for sharing your life with us a little for this Mindful Parenting Honor Coaching episode. And now join me for my coaching session with Amber.

Amber, thanks for coming on this Honor Coaching call. Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here. Well, I'm excited to kind of get to know you and I know you're having some challenges setting boundaries with your son who's 18 months old and you just had a baby like a week ago, right? Yes.

[00:03:31] Amber: We had our second kid, a little girl, so we have a one week old girl and our 18 month old son, so it's been a madhouse.

[00:03:39] Hunter: Madhouse. Okay, and how, how are you feeling? You're recovering okay and all that?

[00:03:45] Amber: Yeah, I mean, it's my last baby, but if all births were that easy, I feel like I would maybe have more. I feel great as far as just like physically.

[00:03:53] Hunter: That's great.

That's how it went with, like, with me. My first one, Maggie, it was like, furious. And then the second one was like, calm water birth. Okay. I'm like, so glad that you went in that order. So if you're like, Oh, it feels like a gift. Um, all right. Awesome. So then what, as we do in all the coaching calls, when we do in Mindful Parenting, we always start with our wins because we want to lean into what's working.

So what are your wins, Amber?

[00:04:23] Amber: You know, I'd say we've done a good job of just incorporating our son into

[00:04:31] Amber: having a baby sister as far as like, you know, spending some one on one time with him since the majority of my time is spent with the newborn. So I think that's definitely been a win for us, just getting that one on one time with him, but, um, There are definitely some struggles still, so I'd say that's our major win for the last week and a half is just, um, undivided attention for him.

[00:04:54] Hunter: That's awesome. And I bet, yeah, this is a huge major change for all of you. For all of you. Um. Okay. Well, let's give us the lay of the land. You are, your son is 18 months old, almost two. Um, are you like working? Are you a stay at home mom? Are you, and, and what, uh, describe what some of the challenges have been?

[00:05:21] Amber: Yeah. So I am, I work, I'm on maternity leave right now, but I do work full time, partially in home, partially out of home. We have a nanny that comes to our home every day, which is also a recent change for him. We were doing date here, but. Just started with to do that. A nanny would just be a better fit for our family, so we're excited.

That transition has been going really well. Yes, typically I do work out of the home full time and um, have my little 18 month old and then a brand new baby girl and we are certainly wanting to do, you know, the Mindful Parenting, I've been, I've read your book, I've listened to pretty much all of your podcasts, so I'm just excited to be here and, but that's a little about our family and we're just looking to keep on moving forward.

That's awesome.

[00:06:14] Hunter: Yeah, that sounds good. And that's like, if you have the resources, that's a great use of the resources to like, see your child being cared for at your home. Like, that's so wonderful. And if it's someone you trust, it's like building that Aloe, it's like that Aloe parent community, right? The, the, all the, building the village, right?

That we don't, Necessarily always have access to. 

[00:06:35] Amber: You know, we've had some issues with daycare just with like, you know, biting and things like that. It just wasn't a great fit for us, so we're super excited that she's here now and she's just fitting in.

[00:06:46] Hunter: great. Okay, so 18 months old was when I started going from like, I, I, so I do it, sometimes I speak to groups and I, I, I have a slide up where I have, I show like Barney.

And then, um, like T Rex. So I turned it on and I heard it. And it's like, at 8am, we're Bernie. We're all like, happy, we're skillful, we're at right, developmentally at the right level. And then, like, by the third bedtime, we're T Rex. Sounds like, I'm just like, and 18 months old was when I started, my temper really came out with my daughter, and it can be a really frustrating time.

So let's dive into what are some of the challenges coming up around like setting boundaries and stuff like that with your son. 

[00:07:34] Amber: Yeah, I think, you know, he definitely, I know he's, He's developmentally appropriate, but he's done a lot of just food throwing, a lot of tantrums recently. And I don't know if it's like, you know, he's 18 months old and this is just have him who he is right now, or if it, you know, all of the changes that he's going through.

I swear he had all of the teeth that I think that he has had coming in. He had like four full sets of teeth. It feels like there is somewhat of a shift. Now that he's a little bit older where it's just, you know, redirecting doesn't always work and he thinks that, you know, throwing food on the floor is funny and he's just a little daredevil.

So I'm just struggling to step those boundaries. Well, still, you know, I don't want to move into permissive parenting where it's just, he has a meltdown. So I do whatever that, that looks like to fix it. I just want to make sure that I'm holding myself accountable for him so that she knows what's appropriate and what's not.

I'm making sure that he can actually understand what I'm, what I'm saying or what I'm trying to do because I know, you know, still at 18 months he's not. He's still a toddler. He's little. He doesn't know. 

[00:08:48] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. He's basically an infant. I mean, developmentally, you know, he's basically still in his infancy, which is, is sometimes I think that's a nice way to think about a two year old or even like three and under.

They're basically still babies at that point. Right. Like we have, sometimes we can, or at least I had like crazy expectations. I was like, Oh, you can do this. You can pull on your pants. Now you will do that forever. All by yourself, right? No. Okay, so he's having tantrums, he's throwing food, you don't want to be permissive.

He's having tantrums when, what and, and when is, when is this kind of thing happening? Obviously the food is when you're eating.

[00:09:33] Amber: Yeah. It feels like it's almost like a landmine. You never really know, you know, anytime of the day if something doesn't go his way. Sometimes he's easy to redrag and sometimes it's all old.

Fawny, crappy, flopping. Um, with Laura. Yeah,

[00:09:52] Hunter: yeah, yeah. Well, this is like very, like you guessed, like very, very normal toddler behavior. Toddlers are super ego, you know, they're very egocentric, like they don't, it's hard for them. They're just realizing, like, this is when they're realizing that you are actually sort of a separate being from them, you know, like, I, like your infant has no sense of that.

Like this is just, you are all, you're all sorts of. Still One Being, which is kind of cool, like they still feel that incredible interconnection with you, which is there, but your son, he's starting to realize that separateness. He's starting to realize his, you know, he has some power, he has some agency over things.

And of course, the things he has the most power and agency are over, um, like eating and sleeping and booping and peeing, those kinds of things, right? Um, but also he has zero, like his zero ability to regulate his emotions at this point, right? So, um, just like your baby, our toddlers can't, they're not really capable yet of self regulating, right?

Like, so like with the baby, we need, we know we need to soothe them and soothe them, soothe them, right? And eventually, like, we soothe them and they learn how to... They learn how to sort of self soothe through that process. And it's kind of like all these things, like the learning process, it's like, first I do it for you, then I do it with you, then I watch you do it, and then you do it on your own.

Right? Like, that's like the learning process for everything. So the other thing about his tantrums is that he's, since he has no ability to regulate his feelings, it's just like, You know, if he feels upset, it's just kaboom. You know, that's it. It's just, this is emotional expression.

Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.

How does that feel for you? How is it affecting you? 

[00:12:05] Amber: You know, I try to remain calm, but some, it's hard. It's hard just because I don't want to be frustrated that he's flailing on the ground, but then he hurts himself and then I feel bad. So it's, it's hard to just stay present with him. I, you know, I let him know I'm here with him.

But it is, it's frustrating. So it's hard sometimes to just maintain my own. I regulated myself when he's going into that whole screening meltdown.

[00:12:32] Hunter:  And when it's hard, when you're getting triggered and feeling frustrated and, and stressed in that situation, what do you do? What happens for you? 

[00:12:43] Amber: I usually just try and take a couple of deep breaths, but you know, sometimes I, you know, you want to snap, and I've done a pretty good job of not at this point, but I think now that there's two of them, I just get nervous about my patients getting thinner and thinner with, you know, two, an infant who may potentially be screaming and then a toddler throwing a tantrum beneath me as well.

So I'm hoping you had some advice on not to just stay regulated during this time. 

[00:13:12] Hunter: Well, yeah, that's definitely going to happen. That scenario will definitely happen. Yeah, we can talk about how to stay regulated, but I want to also offer to you that you don't have to be perfect and stay calm every second of every hour all the time, like that actually wouldn't be that helpful for both either your son or your daughter, because then they would never live up to that standard.

You're allowed to be human. And what I'm offering, I guess, is like. Obviously, you don't want to, like, when we yell at our kids, it, like, stresses them out, it, they feel unsafe, it triggers their fight or flight, you know, stress response, they can't learn, whatever it is we want them to learn. When we yell, it's not a skillful tactic, it doesn't work, it creates resentment.

But it's not like we're never going to yell at our kids, right? Either. So we want to just, like, reduce as much as we can. And then, um, yeah, and, and you're looking for the tools to do that, you know, so how to, how to reduce as much as you can. But I also, before we even go into any of those tools, Amber, you're allowed to be human.

And when kids are driving you freaking bananas, like you're, it's, it's okay if you lose your cool sometimes.

[00:14:33] Amber: Thank you know, you, you bring a brand new baby home and your toddler starts having all these meltdowns, I'm like, I'm willing to play.

[00:14:41] Hunter: You know, it feels so, that's

[00:14:43] Amber: a, for me, it's been one of the hardest adjustments is just not having, like I miss him,

[00:14:49] Hunter: you know, having him to your, having that, being able to

[00:14:54] Amber: spend or, you know, the sole attention on him and it's been a tough adjustment that I didn't see coming, you know.

[00:15:04] Hunter: Yeah. And one of the things actually, like what you're identifying, like you're identifying like your connection to him and this closeness with him. And I think that's great because actually one of the best things that can kind of reduce the tantrums is like just having one on one time with each kid.

And because you're in the position where you have a nanny and you could say, here, hold the baby for 15 minutes while I play with my son or here play with him while I, you know, whatever, vice versa, you can do that. And I think that Would be a nice sort of pattern to do with your family, you know Maybe like transitioning from work or whatever like to get say here Take this child take the baby for 10 minutes while I say hey, buddy What's time for some special time?

I'm going to set a timer. Get that big time timer. You're going to need it anyway to get out of the house later, um, so just get it now. Set the time timer and say, okay, we can do whatever you want besides screen time and I'm yours and you're going to practice just like just completely set everything aside and be with him for 10 minutes and that will help everything.

Because connection drives cooperation. All right. So how do we set boundaries, but also how do we stay calm? We've, which one do you want to talk about more?

[00:16:29] Amber: Gosh, I mean, honestly, I feel like the setting boundaries is the one that I, that I just struggle with, you know, like I said, it's so easy to just give into a top RTM term and just.

Whatever makes them happy. 

[00:16:41] Hunter: I can give you other episodes where we've talked about how to stay composed. So, I mean, you get lots of those.

[00:16:47] Amber: That's right, that's right. I've been doing all of that, you know, the different meditation that you have from your first book. So I've been working on those. 

[00:16:56] Hunter: Oh, good, good.

You're building that non reactivity muscle. Yes. I'm

[00:17:01] Amber: building that, so yes, I think the boundaries

[00:17:04] Hunter: would probably be the best. Okay. Let's talk about a specific boundary that you had challenges with recently. Tell me what happened. 

[00:17:12] Amber: Um, so again, a lot with the food throwing, we've done a lot with that or had a lot of issues with that, but I think honestly, it's just in general, you know, when we go out in public or, you know, we took him to Target the other day and he was starting to, you know, it was later at night, so he was definitely in more of the T Rex than the Barney load.

But it was really just, you know, him starting to have a meltdown. So I just made sure, or I put on this Rachel on my phone to just kind of distract him while we're going through. But, you know, again, I just, I feel like I'm just doing whatever I can to distract him and not really like getting to the root of.

[00:17:55] Hunter: 

Okay, so I, I also want to offer here that distraction is okay. And it's actually pretty, it's kind of a skillful thing, like when your kids are three, four and under, like it can work pretty well because there's no point in like poking the bear. If you can distract the bear, that's fine. So it's totally okay.

But like, so with these situations. Um, these situations are a little bit different, right? So with the food throwing, what does your son need to learn in that moment?

[00:18:31] Amber: I, to me, just that it's not okay to waste food and we don't have to necessarily eat everything, but that's not an appropriate behavior, just throwing it all over and making amends.

[00:18:40] Hunter: Okay, so he needs to learn that when you throw food, it has to go in the garbage in the way you can't eat it. Yeah, and that I, you know, it costs money to buy food and farmers grow food and a lot of effort goes into food and. Yeah. Then, then we waste it and we don't like wasting. Okay. Have you talked to him about some of these things a little bit at his level?

I haven't. Okay. So this is a great place to give information because for a lot of our behaviors with our kids we want to think there's kind of, and your two examples show these two things perfectly. The first one is with the food throwing example is like, what does my child need to learn? Right? And if we think about discipline, the idea of, of the discipline, you know, comes from the root Latin word, discipulus, it means to a leader or to follow, right?

To learn. And so if you, when you're disciplining your son, you're teaching him, you want to think about what does he need to learn? Right? Because he's like a. He's like a little chaotic monkey, like a little Neanderthal, and you have to teach your little Neanderthal, like, what is, what do you need to learn to get along in this life?

Basically, like in a lot of situations, what do you need to learn? So like. When something gets, like when they make a mess, we need to learn how to clean up a mess. So that's what they need to learn. When they throw food, you're saying he needs to learn that then we can't eat the food and the efforts of the farmer and the efforts of mom and dad to spend the money, then we, the food is wasted and it's so sad to see the food go in the garbage, right?

Mm hmm. Okay, so how do you think you could help him learn that in some of those moments? Oh, gosh. And also actually maybe before or outside of the moment, too?

[00:20:35] Amber: Um, you know, I think I can explain it to him. I don't know how much. He almost treats it like it's a game at this point. Uh huh. You know what I mean?

So I don't, I don't know. I've been struggling with this one. This is like my time. I honestly, my toughest challenge, there's so many harder things as a parent, but it's one that I just cannot  crack. 

[00:20:56] Hunter: Okay, um, so you can try to teach him it outside of the moment with like board books about farmers and food.

When you, when you go to the grocery store, go to the produce and talk about how the produce grows in the ground. If you have a garden, go to the garden, take him to a garden, show him how the vegetables are grown. Right. And, and then, so you were kind of like on an education campaign about this. Right, like he's learning and you know, this is why, this is why this is such a, a wonderful carrot.

Look how precious this food is. It grows from the ground. It makes our bodies strong, you know, so you want to teach him that as much as you can outside of this situation. Okay. Just kind of teach him about food and, and you can talk about it in different situations. You know, if, um, Even it's fun to have play food, right?

Like, I don't know if you have that yet, but like, if you have play food, you can talk about how the food grows in the ground and you can pretend to be a farmer. Um, you could have puppets pull the food out of the ground and you could even also have puppets or stuffed animals, like say you have a play carrot, say.

You know, you could have, like, one puppet throw it on the ground and the other puppet say, oh no, that food is so wasted, it's so sad, we have to throw it in the garbage now, I'm so upset, right? Like act out that stuff. Sure. That's a great way to do this. He'll eat it up, it's fun, right? And this is, play is how he processes his world.

So if you can play what's happening, that's great. That's awesome. It's like a step removed from him, and so he can really absorb it. Sure. Okay, so books, real life lessons in the world, and playing, playing it out, right, with stuffed animals. But then, in the moment, food throwing, how do you react, generally? 

[00:22:56] Amber: I always, you know, usually I, I don't, I don't want to say get super frustrated, but I just try and not react at all.

Yeah. I've heard that, you know, if I overreact, and if I do, if I'm like, uh, then he thinks it's funny, and he's doing it more. 

[00:23:10] Hunter: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:23:12] Amber: So I try and have a little reaction as well. 

[00:23:13] Hunter: Okay, I could see that. I mean, I think, yeah, you don't want to feed it with like a lot of energy, right? That's, yeah, that's a good idea.

But basically what you could do is say, Oh no, all this food is on the ground. This is too bad. And help him get down from his high chair. And this, now this food is, we, this is too bad. We can't eat this food anymore. And so everything stops. Until he and you together throw away the food and clean up. Okay?

So, basically, he gets involved in what has to happen after that. But yeah, you're just gonna help him, Oh no, now we can't eat any of this food. And you're not gonna, you're not gonna laugh. You're going to be serious about it, but not over, you know, just a little bit removed. So it's not like you're feeding it too much.

You're going to try to just like, and, and when you feed him, just imagine that the food has already been thrown. This is like a Zen thing that they say, the cup is already broken. Right? So if you have a beautiful teacup, they like in the Zen world, they like to imagine that the teacup, they say the cup is already broken.

So that way, like. You just expect that everything's gonna fall apart because that's how life works. Yeah. It's

not everything falls apart. And then when it doesn't, you're okay. Or when It's not a, it's not a big deal either way. It's just a cup. It's gonna break eventually, right? So you're going to go into the situation like the food's going to get on the floor. If it doesn't, cool. But, if it does, you expected it, no big deal, and you just calmly get him down, oh no, this food, we can't eat it anymore, and now we have to clean it up, ok, here we have to go and get the dustpan, we have to go get the sponge, we have to, you know, whatever, right?

And Ashley, it's a nice idea for you now that he's this old, you can actually have like a rag and like a spray bottle with like a little vinegar and water, like very mild vinegar and water, so he could literally eat it. And, um, at somewhere at his own level that he could get to, so he can just go and help clean up with stuff.

I love that idea. Yeah, yeah, it's great because then, you know, you don't have to do it for them. I, I recommend, um, in Raising Good Humans Every Day, I talk about like how to like make things more accessible in your home. So that's one of those things. Okay, that's food throwing. And how does this land with you, Amber?

[00:25:41] Amber: It feels comfortable. It's not like, you know, it feels like something that's doable. We already grocery shopped together, so just adding some of that commentary for him I think would engage him too, so I think that'd be perfect.

[00:25:57] Hunter: Yeah. Good, good. Sweet. So let's go then to setting a boundary around a meltdown in Target.

You want to describe the situation a little more? This is just like he's, I'm sensing that this is like a, he's overwhelmed and tired and basically has no resources left at this point.

[00:26:14] Amber: Basically. Basically, I mean, yeah, it's, it's just, you know, you're going about your business and you're doing great. We're looking at stuff and picking up snacks.

And then I think it was just that I wouldn't open the box with the snacks in it right that second. That just kind of set them over the edge. And I had other snacks with me, so I offered them those, but I was just like, it's too late. Too far gone. So it was just, you know, it's just. 

[00:26:38] Hunter: Yeah, sometimes their toddler meltdowns are like, you got the pink spoon and not the green one.

And I didn't read my mind and do exactly what I imagined that you were supposed to do exactly. And it's just, I can't handle it. Right. Like that's what those are. It was one of those

[00:26:56] Amber: where it's just. It could have been anything at that point,

[00:26:59] Hunter: truly, and he probably would have melted down. Yeah, so you can see in that situation, he's not manipulating you, he's not, he has no control over this reaction at all.

He's just... You know, toddlers are, like, holding it together and holding it together and holding it together. And if they're, if they're, you know, the, the not holding it together is probably the more natural state of the, you know what I mean? It takes so much effort. In this situation, where, what do you think that you should do if he melts down in Target?

[00:27:36] Amber: It's embarrassing, you're in the middle of public, there's people looking at you, and you know, it's, it, it almost puts me into like a flighter type mode, just like, oh my gosh, I gotta get out of here. It's too much for me to handle too. But, you know, typically, I just tried to redirect him in that situation.

So I, I used the distraction. I'm like, all right, I have my phone here. Page appropriate show that I can put on for him, which did help after he settled down a little bit and I got him a different snack too, but I mean, it, it took a couple of minutes of just kind of letting him do his thing and me kind of panicking in the aisles.

[00:28:18] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah, um, yeah, I mean, and with those kind of things, like, I would just encourage you, if it's at all possible to leave your kid home, just don't take them to Target. Don't take them to Target at night, like, anything past 4 p. m. in the afternoon, you're just like, it's, you're done. Too

[00:28:36] Amber: much. Too much. Nope.

I totally am. I get that. I was like, you know what, it'll be a fun just mommy and me outing.

[00:28:44] Hunter: No, no, it's not. It's never that. And I feel like there's also like a window where it's so stressful to take your kid to a meal. Like, somewhere around between 18 months and three years old, it becomes like, that's like a window where it becomes so stressful to eat out that it's not worth it.

[00:29:05] Amber: You know, before our daughter was born, we did just that. We took him out to eat. I think it was at like a Texas roadhouse and it was just, yeah, it was not fun for anyone.

[00:29:14] Hunter: No. No, it's really, it's really not. Yeah, I mean, honestly, my honest advice is for, like, those kind of, like, avoid taking a child that's 18 months to 3 years old to do as many things as possible.

Really, like, in that age, them just having a regular rhythm of things at home. Not a lot of, they don't need anything exciting, to do anything exciting. They don't need any water parks. They don't need any, like, you don't need to take them to Disneyland. Like, nothing, like, none of that stuff, like, regular life is interesting enough.

And there's enough to learn there. Just the regular, like, learning how to fold laundry with mom is interesting enough. Like, going for a walk around the block is interesting enough, or whatever, right? Um, yeah. Simplify, simplify, simplify, I guess is what I want to tell you. It's like, for preschoolers, like, less is more.

Like, less stimulation, less Less stuff, less like, and um, you know, less like literal stuff, less stuff in the schedule, all that is more. Um, you cleaning up the food that he throws is going to take 15 minutes or 20 minutes because he's 18 months old to help you do that, right? It's going to take a while.

Yes, it will. Just going through your everyday life of stuff. It's gonna be plenty. You don't need... Simplify, simplify, simplify. Um. Sure. But then if you're in and out in public and in your, if you're in Target or wherever, you know, there are the moments where even if you simplify, you know, life happens, you end up in these places.

Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

He's starting to melt down. Let's imagine that, you know, we know that we want to reduce screen time as much as possible, you know, for preschool and, and, and two and under. So say. You know, I would encourage you, if the tantrum is starting to happen, I would encourage you to just, okay, hello, put a hand in your heart, just say, hello, hello to the embarrassment you feel, right?

Acknowledge it. Yeah, okay. Okay. Hello, embarrassment. I see you there. Okay, and you're going to tell myself, tell yourself, he's not doing this to me. I'm just helping my child. Okay. I'm just helping my child, right? Like, so it's okay to acknowledge that there may be embarrassment. But all you gotta do is help your child.

And with a tantrum, there's not really anything to do when it's like, I have no resources left and I'm just an emotional expression tantrum. There's nothing to do except keep them safe. And if you're able to like, just, um. If it's like all flailing on the ground, it's, that's okay. Like, everybody in Target has seen that before.

Just F them if they want to judge that or have a problem with that. Like, forget it. Like, you don't, you don't care about their opinion if they're judging that harshly. That's because that's normal behavior for a two year old. It's okay. You're just gonna keep them safe. You're gonna crouch down. Okay.

Embarrassment. You're gonna slow exhales. You're going to just keep yourself grounded, breathe in, I am a calm mountain, breathing out I feel solid. You're going to be the calm mountain. And when he's ready, you're going to say, wow, you know, hey buddy, that was a lot. You want a hug, right? Like, and if you're able to hug it out before it gets to that point, you know, you're going to do all the soothing things that you would do for your baby.

But it doesn't work so much to, like, shush him in his ear and shake him like we've read H. R. A. So you can't do that. So sometimes, you know, you're just gonna, like, it's gonna happen. That's okay. Like, you're gonna remember my words and say, it's okay. It's normal. You know it's normal behavior. It's the more you can regulate.

yourself, the more he can borrow your calm. So your job is to just regulate yourself. And the more you regulate yourself, the more he learns how to regulate. The more you can regulate yourself, and then he can feel the calm energy when you offer him that hug or when you pat his back or whatever it is. The more he's like, you know, you're, you're soothing together, right?

It's like at first you soothe him 500 times and then he's, you know, you soothe together, right? This is soothing together. So it, you, there's nothing to do until everybody's nervous system calms down. And that's really the only thing to do is to do everything you can to just help yourself let go. Calm yourself, and then be that calm, soothing presence for him, and then get out of Target.

Afterwards, abandon the pillows that you, that will never, you won't see again. Let them go.

[00:34:20] Amber: 100%.

[00:34:22] Hunter: 100%. Abandon the bananas and the, the, you know, the tinted chapstick, whatever. It'll be there

[00:34:30] Amber: tomorrow when I go back by myself. Yeah.

[00:34:33] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. How does this all land with you, Amber?

[00:34:38] Amber: Really good. I'm, you know, it's.

It's just nice to know that sometimes there's nothing you can do, you know, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to fix and rectify every situation for our kids and sometimes you can't.

[00:34:52] Hunter: No, you can't. I mean, and, and sometimes like when, you know, when I'm talking to parents in mindful parenting and they're, we, we want, we talk about whose problem it is and if he's about to lose it in Target because he can't open the snacks.

That's, whose problem is that? It. That's not your problem. And you can be a supporter, you can be a nurturing, loving, support person in that situation, but you can't fix or change that, right? And you shouldn't fix or change necessarily all your problems, like you shouldn't solve all his problems. Sometimes he can come, come to you upset, something happened.

As he gets older, he's going to come to you. He's going to be upset that little sister knocked down, messed up his stuff. Definitely going to happen. Yup. And it's not your job to fix and solve that problem. That's his problem. Your job is to then listen. To reflect back, to offer empathy. Oh, that must have been so frustrating.

Oh my goodness, right? I know it's so frustrating that you can't open the snacks and Target. I know, but you wish you could. I wouldn't you love to do that? I know that's hard, right? You might say that before the offer that empathy before the meltdown stops. And this is really the key in some ways to setting some, some healthy boundaries as you go forward in that.

You're going to set some boundaries, like, I know you, you have to wear your seatbelt in the car. I know it sucks. You don't want to wear your seatbelt. It stinks. Yeah. We still have to, right? Like, well, yeah, we had to have to do this, right? So we can be kind and firm, right? Like where you can offer empathy that they have a problem with this and that we can be firm and, and this, you know, this challenge keeps going in this way and because it's, it's challenging forever.

So, so. Practice it when the stakes are lower because then they'll, they will get bigger, right? Like, for whatever that, that, that boundary is. Absolutely. All right. So, Amber, we talked about your son, 18 months, big change, the, Baby at home. You guys are doing great in that you're really giving him some one on one time.

You're prioritizing, you know, him being home with you. You have the resources for the nanny. I love that. You know, you're taking care of baby. How long is your leave, by the way? 14 weeks. Okay, good. Good, good. So 14 weeks to do all this. Um, and we talked about Food throwing, you got your education campaign.

[00:37:45] Amber:  I will start it now, it starts today.

[00:37:47] Hunter: And um, and we talked about what to do in those meltdowns. So for you, what, what are you going to take away from this conversation?

[00:37:58] Amber: I think, honestly, I love all of the advice, but I think the biggest thing for me is just knowing, like I said, just knowing that it's okay that we can't fix everything and not everything is my problem, because I think I've done a lot of that the last couple of weeks with.

You know, again, breaking from another little baby and just feeling like, I don't know, not that I've ruined his life, you know what I mean? But just that the split attention is having a far more negative impact than I think it really is. So it's just been helpful to kind of hear that piece.

[00:38:35] Hunter: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

And yeah, and you can think about the new baby in a lot of different ways, you know, you can look at it and see that. It is taking attention away from him. But you can also look at it and see that he then has this family member that he'll have the rest of his life and that, um, and that maybe they, you know, well, hopefully another sort of campaign I would encourage you to do is that he's really lucky to have a baby sister and he, they're so lucky 'cause he's gonna have a friend that he can show their, that them how to do things.

So. Uh, as much as you can, kind of, this is like the bonus advice for siblings, don't ever compare them. Don't ever blame anything on the baby sister. I can't do this because your sister needs me. Don't say that. You know, just, I can't do this if you can't do it, right? Don't blame the baby because you don't want him to be blaming the baby, but talk about the, always talk about the baby as.

Like a real blessing, and how lucky he is to have a baby sister, and how lucky he is to how he's gonna have this friend later, and um, And, uh, you know, just really, if you can, get those books about good sibling relationships and all that stuff. Right? Like, that's another, like, kind of education campaign.

True. I love that. That, that breaks the, the chair to

[00:40:03] Amber: my eye, honestly, to just think about it

[00:40:06] Hunter: that way. Yeah. Yeah. Because both are true. You can have influence in that and, and reframing it for him and stuff, how you frame it. All right, uh, I think that I, I look forward to hearing how it goes. You can let me know how it goes.

And, and with this 18 month old and holding these, holding these boundaries. Firm and kind. You got this, Amber. You could do it. I've got it. What the fuck.

[00:40:36] Amber: Thank you so much. It was truly a pleasure chatting with you.

[00:40:48] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening. Did you get something out of this? Was this valuable? We've been noticing people are liking the Honor Coaching Sessions. If that's you, let me know. You know, a great way to do that is you go over to Instagram. We put up a little image for each episode or, and you can go over to that image and say, Hey, I really liked the 100 coaching sessions.

Just let me know if you do like it, we'll do more of them. And you know, you can apply to be in the on air coaching sessions anytime we have the application open. It's all just up on the MindfulMamaMentor. com website. So you can apply to be on an on air coaching session if you'd like to. So I hope it helped.

I hope this talk about setting boundaries and how to set the boundaries Firmly and kindly without being permissive. I hope it helped you, uh, today. And, uh, and if it did, yeah, do let me know. I appreciate it. And I'm wishing you a great week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being part of the positive change that this is all about.

Um, I'm so thrilled you're here. Hey, if you know someone, by the way, with a toddler, this is a great, great episode to share around with your friends. If you, if you think it was helpful for you, share with us some other people who will be helpful for them too. So, yeah, wishing you a great week and I hope you have lots of, you get to sniff a baby head.

Do you like doing that? I love sniffing a baby head. I hope you have time out in nature. I hope you have time to read a novel. I hope you have some chocolate in your life this week and good night's sleeps and I'll be practicing to do those things. And I can't wait to connect with you again next week.

Thank you again so much for listening. Namaste.

I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better. And just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from it. Being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it.

It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can. Learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift everything in your parenting.

Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields. And if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You will be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.

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