As the founder of Mighty + Bright, Sara Olsher creates books and tools to help parents put their family's mental health front and center.

420: How to Talk About Hard Things with Kids 

Sara Olsher 

When we parents are going through something hard, often our kids are, too. How do we talk to our kids about difficult things like divorce or a medical diagnosis? What if it’s cancer? Sarah Olsher walks us through talking to our kids about these big things in an honest way that promotes steadiness and resilience in our kids.

How to Talk About Hard Things with Kids - Sara Olsher [420]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Sara Olsher: I think learning how to have these conversations and about how important it is to have them, no matter how old your child is, has really just changed my life and it's made us a lot closer.

[00:00:21] Hunter: You're listening to The Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 420. Today, we're talking about how to talk about hard things with kids with Sara Olsher.

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.

Hey, welcome back. So glad you are here, as I always say, but I always am. I'm always really glad you're here. Listen, if you haven't done so yet, make sure you're subscribed. And if you've ever gotten any value from this podcast, please do me a favor. Go over to Apple Podcasts. You can probably do it right on your phone where you're listening to this.

You go and leave a rating and review. It's easy. It helps the podcast grow more, and it just takes 30 seconds. I hugely appreciate it. In Just a Mama, I'm going to be sitting down with Sara Olsher, the founder of Mighty Bright. She creates books and tools to help parents put their family's mental health front and center.

And we're going to talk about Sara's story going through not only a divorce, but also through a cancer diagnosis and going through that with a young child, having to talk about these difficult things like divorce or maybe a medical diagnosis, right? Sara walks us through talking to our kids about these big things in an honest way that promotes steadiness and resilience in our kids.

Whether you are going through something big like a divorce or an illness, or you're not, this is a very powerful conversation. I really love talking to Sara. It's incredible communication lesson, this episode, and I know that you are gonna get so much out of it whether you're going through something challenging or you're not.

I really got a lot out of talking to Sara and I appreciate her message and her story so much and her approach to kids and how to take in that information. So there's so much to learn here. I know you're gonna get so much out of it. Join me at the table as I talk to Sara Scher.

Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast, Sara.

[00:03:26] Sara Olsher: I'm so glad you're here. Thank you so much for having me. It really is an honor. Great.

[00:03:30] Hunter: Great. I'm excited to talk to you and I'm excited to talk about talking to kids about hard things because I'm all about communication. I realized my own lack of communication abilities really distinctly when I became a parent.

I was like, Oh, I'm not a great communicator. Not listening well. I'm always like eager to learn about this. And you say that like when parents are dealing with something hard, often our kids are too. And. You went through, you speak about this from very personal experience, you went through a period in your life where a lot happened when your daughter was really young.

Do you want

[00:04:09] Sara Olsher: to take us through that? Sure. Yes. Tough decade to say the least. It started when my daughter was a year and a half old and I went through a divorce. And she, I thought she's really small, how much could she possibly be affected by this? Yes. Turns out, research shows quite a bit, and then when she was six, I was diagnosed with cancer.

We've gone through quite a lot together, and I think learning how to have these conversations and about how important it is to have them, no matter how old your child is has really just changed my life, and it's made us a lot closer, and now she's 12, and I. I'm just constantly blown away by her emotional intelligence, and I really do credit that to all the things that I learned about communication and emotional intelligence, and, teaching these types of mental health skills to her when she was young and impressionable, and now she's in middle school, and I just can't believe what a difference there is between how she is at 12 and how I was.

Yeah, definitely personal experience for sure. And just a real passion for this topic. First is your,

[00:05:35] Hunter: your cancer in remission.

[00:05:37] Sara Olsher: Yes. Thank God.

[00:05:39] Hunter: My gosh. Yeah, that's that's amazing. So what you, now I imagine when a lot if imagine for a lot of people, if you went through a divorce when your child's that young, a year and a half old.

They're practically, they're basically still a baby. They're in the, a toddler, there's, you're not even sure how much the, that they're really aware of what, they're not going to remember anything necessarily or mostly. I'm sure a lot of people in that situation might be tempted to not really speak about the divorce and to just have a new normal that you're experiencing.

You think it's important for parents to, to discuss things like. that are hard for the parents as well as the kids like this. So can you talk to me a little bit about why that is?

[00:06:26] Sara Olsher: Yes, absolutely. I think what's fascinating about kids, because I have a background in psychology, but I studied adults. And if I had known how fascinating child development was, I would have gone for kids 100 percent because they're really, even though they can't necessarily communicate themselves, they understand so much more than we give them credit for and they recognize tension in the house.

They say a lot of trauma is pre verbal, meaning That we don't necessarily remember with our thoughts what happened to us when we were really little, but we keep that stress in our bodies. And the more that we can do to mitigate that stress and that trauma for our kids, the better they can cope going forward.

And I was starting to notice some signs of anxiety in my daughter where she didn't want to leave my side. She was struggling to sleep, which honestly she like barely slept anyway but it was like she needed to be like clinging to me in order to sleep she would cry a lot and I, and then I started to notice it developing into kind of what I would consider more like strange sorts of anxiety where she was afraid of the shadows on the ground.

Anything that was different would send her into just full on terror. And I thought, I need to figure out what to do to help her. And I talked to my ex husband about it and I said, I think we need to find a therapist. And he was like, what is a therapist going to do for a two year old? And I was like, to be honest, I have absolutely no idea, but she needs help and I don't know how to provide it.

And so I found a trauma informed child therapist and learned so much about child psychology. It really blew my mind and it was at that she really taught me a lot about validating my daughter's emotions, even though my daughter couldn't express them yet, but I could say things to her like. Yeah, you're feeling really scared those shadows on the ground are really different, and, you think they might be dangerous, but don't worry, I can touch them, see, it's okay.

Things like that that I didn't realize were so important, and that really sent me on, down a rabbit hole of research on child development and the way that kids understand things. And when the therapist went on vacation, she had pulled out this construction paper calendar that she'd made, and she said, I see you on this day usually, but then we're not going to see each other this day, we're going to see each other this day instead.

And I was looking at this and my daughter seemed to really understand what was being shown to her. And I thought, why am I not showing her what to expect out of her day to day life? If the therapist is telling me that missing one appointment with her is enough to cause stress. My kid is going back and forth between me and her dad, and some days she's going to daycare, and some days she's not, and that must be really confusing.

So I went home and created this calendar out of magnets and the drip pan that you put underneath a refrigerator that's leaking. And it was like night and day, her anxiety. She really just at two years old would go over and look at the calendar, we would go through it together and I would say, this is today and this is a mommy day and tomorrow is a daddy day and the next day is a mommy day.

And we would just go through it like that, and it was absolutely incredible how much it helped her and I recognized at that point that it doesn't really matter whether a child is going through divorce or not Most kids struggle with change, like little transitions during the day, toddlers and little kids are known for melting down.

I took it to another level and I created a routine chart, so I could say to her, first we're going to do this, and then we're going to do this. And I would take out a visual, like a timer, so that she could see the time counting down, so I could say, in five minutes, this activity is over, and then we're going to do this.

And it made me realize how important visuals are to the way that kids understand things, because they learn differently than we do. They learn visually and developmentally. They can't keep Things like this in their heads, like they have to see them visually in order to really absorb them. And so that was the beginning of...

I never really would have thought of myself as being, passionate about calendars, but this really just lit me on fire because I was so impressed with how much it helped.

[00:11:43] Hunter: Yeah, I could see that a little in my own life with my, when my kids were little, we had a rhythm to the week.

And Monday night was pizza night, Tuesday night was rice night, Wednesday was pasta night. It was like what we ate, right? So we had a rhythm. Like every, and then Thursday was soup, something like, I don't remember. It was yeah, I don't remember what the rhythm was, but we, and they would know exactly what day, they'd say, what night is it?

And I would say, it's pasta night, they'd be like, oh, or I'd say it's rice night. They'd be like, oh, it's one day till pasta night. Cause they'd be so excited for pasta night, but they knew exactly where they were in the week because of that. And they would check in on that regularly and it did provided them a sense of like predictability and rhythm.

That, yeah, it did really seem to like decrease, just provide a sense of steadiness and stability to their lives.

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

[00:12:56] Sara Olsher: Kids thrive with structure, absolutely thrive with it. And it, I think a lot of parents are like, why are my kids asking me the same questions over and over again? And it's because they can't keep it in their mind. They can't remember when pasta night is, so they have to keep checking it.


[00:13:15] Hunter: I like the, and the idea with the visuals, it is so important. The vast majority of humans are visual learners, actually. Because we are such a visually oriented species that's incredibly important to us. I actually feel that. Can I just have a tangent on this? I feel super frustrated.

I used to teach yoga and there was this like idea in the yoga world that there was like esteem and the teachers who didn't model the postures and they just describe it and they would, and I would feel so frustrated that because I'm a visual learner and if you tell me like take my right hand and rotate it.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But if you just show me, it's so easier for me to understand what the F you are trying to have me do. I need to

[00:14:01] Sara Olsher: see it. Kids are pretty similar in that they're like, you can tell me this over and over again and I don't understand it. So you really need to show them.

And it really, the understanding just goes from like zero to a hundred so quickly. It's like magic. I would never have expected that. Okay,

[00:14:20] Hunter: so your daughter is anxious, you took her to the therapist, you learned communication skills, you learned how to make calendars, help her with this predictability and rhythm in her life, but you're dealing with all of this as a single mother, and then you get this life threatening illness as a single mother.

Can you walk us through that experience and dealing with it as a single mom?

[00:14:46] Sara Olsher: Yeah I really. I have a family history of breast cancer, and so I had really just been advocating for early detection, not thinking that anything was actually going to happen. And it was at, I had this like strange sensation that felt like breast milk being let down.

And I really, you Google that, nothing came up. I just thought, I don't know what I thought. I just. really felt like I needed to get it checked out. And so it was that initial screening that was supposed to be my baseline that found cancer. And it was supposed to be very early stage, they thought.

It took up a large portion of my breast, so I was going to have a mastectomy. And I immediately was like, just take them both, please. I don't want to deal with this ever again. But they thought it was very early stage. And so when I was considering what to tell my daughter I just wanted to explain the science of cancer to her because she was six and at this point I had gotten really good at explaining things in a way that was really simple and honest.

And so I was looking for a book that could assist me knowing how visuals are and how, kids really learn when you repeat the same thing over and over again. That's why they love books. That's why somebody who can't even read can narrate an entire book to you because they love that repetition.

So I thought if I can get a book that we can go through over and over again and the explanation will be the same every time, this is going to help her really understand what's going on. Because... The truth is that kids know something is going on. Even if you don't talk to them, they can feel the energy shift in the house.

They know people are whispering about things behind their back. They know something is not right. And so I knew I needed to explain to her that something was going on. And so I was looking for books and I couldn't find any. I would get these books and they weren't explaining what cancer was. They would just make it a little bit floofy.

Mommy is sick and she might lose her hair, but cancer hates it when you hug them, hug it. So if you hug your mom enough, the cancer will go away or explaining surgery with like really terrible knives and just, I hate it. And so I thought okay, I guess I'll just do this without a book.

And so I explained to her. That our bodies are basically made of building blocks like Legos, but they're itty bitty and you can't see them. And that the cool thing about the way our bodies work is that those little building blocks are called cells, and they can make a new one any time they want to, and so you're, it's like building and never running out of blocks.

But sometimes a broken one gets made, and it doesn't know what to do except to make more. And it basically decides that it's just going to build and build, which doesn't sound so bad, but when it's crowding out all of the other cells that are trying to do their jobs of making the body work, we really need to get it out.


[00:18:07] Hunter: explanation. Kuda, that's an amazing explanation. I'm really impressed.

[00:18:12] Sara Olsher: Thank you. Yeah, that was... It really helped, too, because it was a very, and I hadn't planned on this, obviously, but it was a really good foundation, because I could say to her, they've just found a couple of these broken cells inside me, so they're just going to take them out, and then it's going to be gone.

And my daughter, when you have a conversation like this with your child, they're very perceptive, and she said, are you going to die? And I thought, she's never heard, any of this before, and she's immediately going there, and I said, no, definitely not, and some people do have a really bad cancer, and I said I was determined to use the word cancer, and the reason is because I knew she was going to hear it.

Yeah. And if I, if she didn't hear it from me, then she was going to hear it from someone else and their reaction was likely to be very strong because I was 34. And so I said to her, cancer is a big word that means a lot of things. And when people find out I have cancer, they're going to have a really strong reaction because they don't know whether I have a little bitty cancer or I have a really bad cancer.

And it usually happens to older people, so I don't want you to be scared. And it was really good that I told her that because her... A second grade teacher was new to teaching, and the class started doing some project for a little kid who had terminal cancer, and his dying wish was to get cards from other kids.

So they put together this whole project, and the teacher, who was very well meaning, pulled my daughter aside and said, Are you okay? And my daughter was like, yeah, why? And she said because this kid has the same thing your mom has. And so then imagine if my daughter hadn't had that baseline of knowing that the word cancer can mean a lot of different things.

And when you don't talk about these things, it becomes taboo. Your kids think something's going on that they can't talk about. And so she would have internalized that. Not shared it with me or anyone else and would have worried about it. And that was the last thing I wanted. And then the other thing is most of the time when something is going on and parents don't talk about it, the kids not only don't feel like they can ask about it, but they usually blame themselves.

So there's a lot of books on divorce and they are. Always have in there, it's nothing that you did. Because kids usually think, I did something and that's why my parents are getting a divorce. Or, I did something and that's why my mom is being really quiet and not talking about something. I must have done something terrible.

That's why it's so important to have these conversations. Because they're telling themselves some kind of story. And you want to be the one to tell them what that story is. Otherwise, it's gonna, they're the main character. And it's all their fault.

[00:21:11] Hunter: Wow. There's so much there, Sara. This is, this reminds me of so I, in Mindful Parenting, I teach people to, I message us to tell their kids how some behavior makes them feel and how it affects their lives.

And a lot of times people say, I don't wanna, I'm worried about like making my child responsible for my feelings or dumping my feelings in my child. People are really worried about that. And my answer to that always is. Your child knows what you're feeling, like your child may not know what it is, but they know what's going on.

You can't just be like, oh, they're kind, honey, and you're like irritated or frustrated or scared or whatever it is because we feel each other's emotions. And then if you don't talk about it, if you aren't honest about what's happening, In an age appropriate way, yeah, your kids will make up some kind of thing, right?

Like they, things that we don't resolve if we have conflicts, which is so normal and we don't talk about them your child will make up something, who knows what they'll make up. And this also reminds me of talking to Amy Lang about, she's been in past podcasts about sex and sexuality issues with child, and she always says what we want is we want our kids to be the most informed kids on the playground.

Because then all this, then you're like inoculating them against all the BS and all this other things that are scary and confusing out there because they're informed with real knowledge. This knowledge isn't something that's going to add to their anxiety and difficulty, or telling your feelings.

These are things that are like. Informing your kids and information is ultimately,

[00:23:00] Sara Olsher: Helps them. Absolutely. And I would also just add on to that you're modeling for your kids. You're modeling honesty. You're modeling strength. Because hiding from most of the parents that I talk to are really terrified to have these conversations because You don't want to break your child's heart.

You don't want to see that look on their face. And you're worried you're going to do it wrong. And it takes bravery to have the conversation. I will say, just as an aside, this is not a one and done perfection sort of conversation. It is an ongoing conversation, which I think is what the benefit of having books and visual charts and things is.

It's a reminder to your kids that they can ask you questions, that you can, go back to them later and say, oh, by the way, I wish I would have said this, or I wish I would have said this, or how are you doing? But we're modeling for our kids what vulnerability looks like with a safe person and we're giving them...

We're giving them the opportunity to have someone to help them through all of these hard feelings, and that's really important. We don't want them to go through their childhood feeling alone or like they have to deal with it themselves. And when kids are not informed, they're often trying to figure it out on their own and wondering.

Why it isn't safe to talk about whatever it is. So we don't want them to feel that.

[00:24:33] Hunter: So let's give our kids that information. Let's give like our kids that information in as many ways as we can, verbally, visually, repetitively. Absolutely. I love this. So you talk to her about your diagnosis. I'm wondering though about you in this situation.

Sorry, you're, you've got Cancer Diagnosis, you've got breast cancer, you've got a six year old. What did you do? And we live in a country that is notoriously terrible at supporting parents with young children. We, we are all siloed into our nuclear families and, we're not.

Connected to the community in a really like concrete day to day kind of way, and we don't have, the financial support, all of those different things. So what did you do, at least that they have in other countries, what did you do to support yourself and your daughter through this situation?

[00:25:33] Sara Olsher: I think most of us, I was notoriously bad about this. I never asked for help. And I think a lot of single moms are that way. I worried about being a burden to people. I felt that I had made these life choices that meant I needed to do everything alone. And I was diagnosed with cancer at 4 p. m.

on a Friday afternoon. And By six o'clock, I had worked at a startup at the time and my CEO knew that I was going to have this screening and she texted me to ask what happened and I was in shock. And I said, I have cancer. And she said, what can I do? How can I help? And I was like, immediately, nothing. I had no one.

My daughter had just gone with her dad. I was alone and I was like, I don't need anything. And then she said, please, can I help you? Can I bring you something? Can I bring you groceries? Can I do something? And. I said, you know what, actually, yeah, that would be great. And she brought me flowers, she brought me three grocery bags full of all kinds of random stuff, and she was just like I'm so sorry this is happening.

And that was the first time I ever accepted help. And... I called my mom, and I feel like she must have flown to my house from another state. She was there very fast. She must have been driving really fast. So I wasn't alone for very long and my parents really supported me. My friends would show up and do really kind things.

For me, one friend put parfaits in my refrigerator and didn't tell me. So I just had, like people who were just giving me things. With no expectation of anything in response, and it taught me so much about how important it is to allow yourself to relax and receive, because the giving and receiving is a cycle, and if you say no, you are stopping that cycle, and it really is a beautiful thing that your village can do for you.

And that you then can do for them when you're able. And I'd never had that. So it was really quite a lesson for me and it changed my life totally. So I, I allowed my friends and my family to help me and I never would have thought that I would be happy to be divorced. But my ex husband and his wife, they had just had a baby and he was like the most wonderful distraction for my daughter because she could go to their house and play with her baby brother, and we would switch our custody schedule around.

And I say this, and I know that there are parents out there who are like, that could never be me because I have a horrible relationship with my ex husband, and he would be like, good riddance, I hope you die, or something terrible. And I would have thought that would have been my experience, but when someone is diagnosed with cancer, like in real life, It changed the entire dynamic in our co parenting relationship, and everybody just was out to help my daughter, help me, and and it really just changed my life.

I would never wish cancer on anyone, but it really did help with every, with everything. I just became a much better person more willing to ask for help and be graciously accepting it. I hope that people can learn to do that without having cancer. It's great. Yeah.

[00:29:27] Hunter: Yeah. No. And when people receive like sometimes it feels like such a gift to be needed.

To give something to somebody who needs it, like it, sometimes it feels really good to do an act of service rather than give money or whatever it is. Like I want to do a thing rather than, it's just, I want to like that connection is valuable on

[00:29:52] Sara Olsher: both sides. Totally. I think if I had said no to my CEO, she would have just been sitting there all night feeling terrible.

Like, how do I, what do I do? How do I help my employee who is a single mom and was just diagnosed with cancer? And by saying yes, she felt. good helping me. I felt good in that I didn't have to figure out what to eat for dinner. And, it was a gift to both of us. And I have been on the other end of that now, with other friends who have needed help.

And it really is, I would have been so sad if they had said no and not allowed me to help them, pick up their kids and take them to school for them or whatever the case. Yeah. So it really is a gift to accept help. I agree.

[00:30:38] Hunter: Did you end up having to talk to your family or your ex husband or anyone about how to talk about the cancer with your daughter?

[00:30:48] Sara Olsher: Actually, no, I didn't. I mostly ended up having conversations with other people about how to talk to their kids about it because I became really passionate. When you are young and you have cancer, you start meeting other people who are young with cancer and, having conversations and support groups or whatever where they're coming in and they're saying, I'm not talking to my child about this, or I don't know how to talk to my child about this.

And so I would have conversations with them about how to introduce the topic. But but no I think I did the explanation to Charlie and I did not ask any, give anybody else any advice on how to do it because she already knew, yeah. You

[00:31:42] Hunter: had given her the information. Stay

tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Is this what led you to write your first children's book? This

[00:31:59] Sara Olsher: experience? Yes. Yes. So I, you talked earlier about, what we do to help people as a country. And I was very privileged at that time. I lived in California and was immediately able to take a year off of work and go on a temporary disability.

And so I did not have to go into my work, which was great because it turned out I needed to have chemo and then radiation. And I have three surgeries. So it was a lot. I couldn't work. It was really just, it really consumes a lot of your mind to have all of this. There was no way I could concentrate.

And not everybody is that way. Most people that I talk to are. So I was very lucky to not have to do that. But I also have a difficult time sitting still and I need something to, occupy my mind. I needed some kind of a distraction. I couldn't stop thinking about how terrible the children's books were and, that there really was a need for somebody to explain what cancer is to kids.

And so I, before my divorce, I was actually an illustrator. I would do wedding invitations for people where I would draw them in front of their wedding venue. So I had the skill of being able to draw and I started sketching out what. Cells would look like, and I wrote a book called Cancer Party, and basically this book was, it didn't feel quite right to me, I thought, there's something not right about this book, but I felt like it needed to be in the world, and so I started pitching it to I started pitching it to different publishers, and I started getting rejection letters that didn't say anything about the, they were like, this is a fantastic book, we really like it, but I We don't feel that cancer is a big enough niche, and that made me mad.

Because I thought, oh my gosh, cancer's not a big enough niche. Do you know how many young people with kids have cancer? It's I think the statistics were over a million children under the age of 18 have a parent with cancer. And I had included those statistics, and apparently that wasn't enough people.

So I started researching, What would it look like if I published it myself? Cause I felt like compelled to get it out into the world. And so I ended up self publishing it and it became an immediate bestseller on Amazon. And I thought, this is the point right here. I don't care if I never make a single cent from this.

There are people who need this book as evidenced by the number of people who bought it. But there was something that didn't really fit, sit right with me. And I realized afterward it was that I really wanted a book that would explain how cancer affected the child and their life because developmentally, kids, the whole world revolves around them, and they want to know that you're going to be okay, but they also want to know what does this mean now, like what does this mean for our lives?

And so my second book is called What Happens When Someone I Love Has Cancer, and it explains the science of cancer. Which is what Cancer Party did. But it takes it a step further and says, when someone has cancer, this is how they feel, this is how they act, they might not be able to do these things, this is what your life will look like now.

And it uses a calendar to show kids, some days might look like this, some days might look like this. And it was a total game changer for so many families. And those were my first two books and they were both about cancer. I now have similar books for children with cancer and their siblings because a lot of the time if a child has cancer, their sibling has no idea what's going on and they're left behind to try and figure it out as the parents and the community rally around the sick child.

And then I have a book about divorce and then from there started writing books about, Teaching emotions and helping kids accept change no matter what it is. Because... Everything from starting a new school year to getting a new backpack is a change. And some kids don't cope very well with that.

So it really did start a whole thing for me.

[00:36:37] Hunter: That's awesome. That's such a great way to channel that experience to teaching, this thing to make it this great teacher and helper and things like that. Can we have a sneak peek into helping kids cope with change? What do you tell them in that book?

[00:36:53] Sara Olsher: That book is called Nothing Stays the Same, But That's Okay, and it basically goes through, that there are big and little changes little changes happen every day, and big changes happen every once in a while, and that It's a big change until you get used to it. And I use the example of like, when you were a baby, being a human was a big change.

And that's why babies cry all the time is because, oh my gosh, there's so many big changes. And then it basically goes into feelings of overwhelm and how when you're feeling stressed about something, you might not know in your mind that you're actually thinking about it. But it can come out in being cranky or, like the, in the book there's an example of like the main character Mia is trying to teach her cat how to hula hoop and she's really overwhelmed.

about some of the bigger changes that are happening in her life. Wait,

[00:37:52] Hunter: Wait. I want to guess. I want to guess. Does she yell at the glooping cat? Does she like get angry and yell at the cat? She sure does. Of course.

[00:38:02] Sara Olsher: The cat is looking, the cat's looking at her and is I think you might need to take a break and also cats can't hula hoop so it really just goes into the whole this is what overwhelm feels like and here are some things, introducing some different coping skills.

That you can try in order to deal with those big feelings of overwhelm, and that all of these feelings are normal and you should ask all the questions, even if they're super weird, like in the book, Mia is worried what if I start a new school and it's on a boat in the middle of the ocean and The teacher is a dolphin and the lunch is like purple dinosaurs and I don't like purple dinosaurs.

What do I do? So just go ahead and ask all of the like really weird questions. All of these feelings are okay and you will end up getting used to the change, but that doesn't make it easy while it's happening.

[00:38:58] Hunter: That's beautiful. I love that. Nothing stays the same, but that's okay. And that's such a great example of like why it's so important for us to share.

our feelings, honestly, with our kids so that they can see that, yeah, mom and dad they go through difficult feelings. Like they feel overwhelmed, they feel sad, they feel worried and embarrassed at different things and they're okay, and ultimately it just helps them that whole emotional intelligence sort of cycle.

It sounds like with your daughter, you're very open, very honest and, in a way like very vulnerable with her, can you talk about the idea, the benefits of being vulnerable with her and admitting your humanness and your mistakes and all of these things?

[00:39:45] Sara Olsher: By my being willing to be vulnerable and open with her, I give her permission to be imperfect because none of us are perfect and Attempting to be perfect or thinking that we need to be is a source of so much suffering.

And when I mess up, I go back to her and I say, I really wish I had handled that differently and I'm sorry. I'm now modeling to her that it's okay to make mistakes, that I am not beating myself up for the rest of my life. I'm repairing what went wrong. And I see her doing that. I see her doing that now. When I think about what I want for her life, I know that she's not going to have an easy life because none of us do.

And if I can walk her through these hard things, And show her coping skills and show her what it looks like to ask for help, to graciously receive it, to express to the people around me what my needs are, then when something hard happens to her, when she's a grown up, she now has those tools. that are so necessary to get through difficult things.

So it really is one of the best things that I have been able to give her. I'm really, and our relationship because of this is very close. And I know that she feels she can come to me when something goes wrong and that I am going to help her through it. I am going to listen to her because I've developed these skills and then I've taught them to her.

the ability to, I have learned to regulate my emotions and not fly off the handle. And if I do, I can come back to her and say, I am so sorry. That was not the reaction that I wanted to have. I am really stressed out over all these other things that have nothing to do with you. And you didn't deserve that.

So it really does, it helps it helps our relationship, be closer and she's getting to be a teenager. And that's when all of these things start to pay dividends because she will come to me with her issues instead of, hiding them from me because she knows I'm not going to yell at

[00:42:08] Hunter: her.

Yeah, that's beautiful. I think that's such a great explanation of, like, how perfectionism is harmful to our kids because so many people may come to Mindful Parenting, they feel so terrible when they make any kind of mistake and I say, no, it's You have to make mistakes. It's important for you to be human and mess up and to and do what you're doing.

And to practice at least doing what you're doing, Sara, which is like offering yourself compassion and starting anew. Like they need to see all of that. They need to see us go through that whole cycle. It would be terrible to have a perfect parent because then you wouldn't know what to do with yourself being an imperfect

[00:42:51] Sara Olsher: human.

Absolutely. A lot of the things that feel really hard. To me, I recognize are a product of the way that I was raised, and so many of us want to do differently by our kids than, our parents didn't know what we know now, and so it's a hard thing to break generational cycles. But when I think about the things that I find challenging and the things that are really difficult for me and the quest for perfection, the quest for success as, financially or whatever these things are, if it feels bad to me, I don't want my daughter to experience that as an adult, and so I think, this feels bad to me when I am looking in the mirror and don't like the way that I look because I've gained weight, or, whatever it is that is a product of the way that I was raised, I think, what do I need to do so that my child grows up and doesn't look at the mirror and think she sucks because of the way that she looks?

Or what do I need to do in order to, have her be able to ask for help because doing everything alone is really hard. How can I model to her as a single mom what healthy relationships look like because I don't want her growing up and making bad decisions that end up making her feel bad or, being around people who say mean things.

So these are the kinds of things that I try to be really conscious and mindful of and make a different decision in the way that I am presenting it to her.

[00:44:40] Hunter: That's beautiful. It's funny as you were talking I glanced at the time, I was like, oh my god I feel like I could talk to you.

I could sit down and we could just talk for three hours about these things. But but I, I really enjoy talking to you. I think that I'm definitely going to check out Nothing Stays the Same, but that's okay. And Just as a final questions for wrapping up, what advice do you have for people who are going through something like, something really difficult with their kids like a divorce or like a cancer

[00:45:10] Sara Olsher: diagnosis?

Ask for help, ask for support. And when it comes to talking to your kids about it, there are so many professionals out there that are willing to help. I realized pretty quickly that people needed some support in how to have those conversations. So I created a download that's on my website and I'll give your listeners a coupon to get it for free.

And it's basically like how to talk to your kids when something really hard has happened. And it basically goes through here's how you set up a conversation. Here's how you make sure that conversation is ongoing. Here's, how you can help your broader community help your kids.

So like talking to the school, talking to, other people in your kids lives. And I think that just having that foundation of how to have the conversation. Take such a load off, so don't avoid it, because if you avoid it, then it's just sitting there on your back, making you feel like you are carrying the world, and you don't need to do that.

The sense of relief that you have when you have these conversations. I can't describe it. It's it's such an enormous load off, so just please have the conversation.

[00:46:35] Hunter: I think that's beautiful advice. It's always better to process these things, right? Like we need to be with each other and process these things.

We need to digest it. Sara, it's been such a pleasure to talk to you and sorry to hear about the ways that you suffered, but I'm very grateful for it in a weird way in that it's made you grow. I don't, you're such a beautiful person. You've thought so deeply about these names and you've put this out in the world in a really cool way and I think that's really wonderful.

Thank you. So where can people find out more about you and get their conversation cheat sheet?

[00:47:17] Sara Olsher: Yeah my website is MightyAndBright. com and if you use the coupon MindfulMama, you can download that e book for free. I have a whole lot of different calendars for all kinds of different changes that kids go through, whether it's divorce or cancer, or they're part of a military family, or the child is autistic.

I have all kinds of different visual supports for kids. And you can find them all at mightyandbright. com. And I'm also on Instagram and TikTok at mightyandbrightco. Wonderful.

[00:47:52] Hunter: Thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast. I really appreciate you sharing your time today.

[00:47:59] Sara Olsher: Thank you so much.

[00:48:07] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I love talking to Sara. I feel like her communication style is so honest, authentic, and helpful for kids. I hope that you got something out of it, too. If you did, I would love it if you could Leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts that makes such a big difference.

If you enjoyed this episode, just click over right on your phone where you're listening to this. There's a place that you can review and you can, if you loved it, leave a five star review. If you didn't love it, yeah, maybe not. Such a great time to leave a review. But it makes a huge difference.

And I want to give a shout out to the five star review left from Texas Mama 1975, who said, love this podcast. I've been a subscriber to the Modern Art of Parenting blog for a year and stumbled upon this podcast there. I'm so glad I did. I have a seven year old with Down syndrome and these podcasts have provided great information.

I am so glad this helped you. Thank you. And thank you so much for leaving that review. So that is a great thing to do today and I'll make a big difference. And also, hey, I'm so glad you're here, just listening and being part of this. I'm so glad that you are filling your cup with information that is gonna make you a more thoughtful parent, right?

Like we're just watering the seeds here, like I think of us as good gardeners, we're watering the seeds of awareness and compassion in ourselves. We're, as we water them for ourselves, we're watering them for our kids. And that's what we want to do. We want to be good gardeners and we want to selectively water, right?

You got to think about that. Like all the media that you take in, that I take in, right? All the media that we take in is It's like food, right? It's either nourishing or body mind or it might be planting seeds of worry and fear and things like that. So my intention for this podcast is that this podcast will plant seeds in you of peace, of thoughtfulness, of awareness will expand your perspective on things.

That is my goal is to help you be a good gardener. And so you're listening to this right now. So I know that this has watered some beautiful seeds in you. So let's continue to water these seeds together and of course share it with others so they can too. And hey, have a beautiful week, my friend, whatever's happening in your life.

I know that life never stops, right? Like until it stops, there's always stuff coming up, no matter how old our kids are, and no matter what's happening. It's not easy to be a conscious human on Earth, so be kind to yourself this week, and I will be practicing that too with you. So thank you so much for listening.

I can't wait to connect with you again next week.

[00:51:12] Sara Olsher: I'd say

[00:51:13] Hunter: definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will

[00:51:18] Sara Olsher: 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. Definitely

[00:51:27] Hunter: do it.

[00:51:28] Sara Olsher: I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connected. 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 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.

[00:52:16] Hunter: 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 Clarke-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 Mindful Parenting 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.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside Mindful Parenting. 

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