437: Live Event: How To Stop Yelling

Hunter Clarke-Fields

How do you really calm your reactivity? Over the past two years, Hunter has spoken internationally on how to stop yelling. In this episode, you’ll hear the audio from one of her live talks around the world and find out exactly what it takes to calm that parenting frustration. 

Live Event: How To Stop Yelling [437]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

The reason why I teach Mindful Parenting is because I was really struggling. I was very Tom Hanks in Cast Away, and I was, I was losing it with my child. I was very, very frustrated. So I realized that there's a piece missing from the conversation about parenting, and that is that piece about us.

You're listening to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 437. Today, we're going to talk about how to stop yelling in a special recording of a live talk.

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 have 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 international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present and Connect with Your Kids. Hey, welcome back to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, my friends.

So glad you're here. Listen, if you ever get any value from this podcast, please do me a favor and just tell one friend about it. Help me grow the show by just telling one friend about it today, and that can make such a big difference. And, and man, do I appreciate it. In just a moment, you are going to hear a recording of one of the talks I've given.

In the last couple of years, I have traveled internationally giving talks around the world on how to stop yelling. So if you want to know what it really takes to calm your reactivity, you'll hear in this talk an audio from one of my live talks, and you'll find out exactly. What it takes to calm that parenting frustration.

And before we dive in, I want to let you know that the Raising Good Humans guided journal is now available. For sale! It's out in the world! Yay! This journal offers simple writing practices to help you calm your own stress, work through difficult emotions, and set intentions for more mindful parenting.

The prompts will help you identify and explore your values. Challenge negative habits and help you interact and respond to your children in more skillful ways. It's really a space for you to unwind and reflect on what really matters. So get your copy now, send a copy to your friends. It's the Raising Good Humans Guided Journal.

And now Let's dive into this episode.

Thank you, everybody. I'm so happy to be here. This is so cool. This is the most Western place I've ever been. It's really neat. I was telling Taylor that it's making me think of this song. My grandpa used to sing this like Ragtime Cowboy Joe song to me when I was little, so now I'm all like Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

But um, before we get started, who has the youngest Who is the room? Who is the youngest child? Oh, sorry, how old? Oh, oh, oh. Second week's one day. Okay, you get a t shirt. You're the youngest child. Look at her. Aw, such a sweetie. Hi. Alright, um, Who has the most children? Who has the most children? I don't know.

I'm on. I have five. Five? Okay, five. Who can top five? Anyone? Five? Going once.

All right. You're going to teach her. Um, feeling. It's a lot of love. It's a lot of love. Um, well, good. I'm so happy that you're here. And I'm so excited to talk to you guys. And I think that we have to start with bliss. Parenting is really, really hard and it's important to acknowledge that in, particularly in the United States, parents are really under supported compared to other parents.

So we have a lot of stress and pressure on us without a lot of support. And I've learned, of course, now here about, and here in Laramie. How there is like, you know, we have a lack of childcare and a lack of indoor places, right, for kids in the winter, like the guys have snow sharers on the highways. So you need to get inside in the winter.

And, you know, a lack of mental health care. And there's a lot of isolation. A lot of us parents deal with isolation, especially if you have little kids. You're dealing with isolation. So I think we have to acknowledge that we don't have enough support, but also while we can acknowledge that, like, we may not have a lot of, um, ability to deal with all that, but what can we deal with?

What is in our control? So that's what I want to help you with. I'm very practical. I want to give you practical tools. So, because it's so easy to get so frustrated at our kids, isn't it? Like we just slip into that irritability because kids are loud, they're messy, they're obnoxious. They're just frustrating when they're going about meeting their needs.

They interfere with ours all the time. It's very frustrating. Um, and I think it's so funny to think about, what did you envision before you had kids? Like, what did you think parenting was going to be like? But for you guys, the seven week old, the Zeus is probably still in your wheelhouse. But this is what I thought of it.

I thought that myself and my daughter would just walk hand in hand through an art museum and just look at the paintings, and we would discuss the art, we would blissfully kind of walk through it. But anyway, parenting is incredibly hard. That, needless to say, That whole vision did not come through, the whole thing about the art museums, they hate art museums.

My kids are now 13 and 16, they hate art museums. It drives me crazy because I really want them to love art museums. But they don't. And, I think we need to, so I would, did anyone else have a vision like that? Just kind of check in with you because, who, what was the vision? I want to hear. Can I hear a vision of, of what?

What, what was the vision you had? Anyone have a good one? Was it the Art Museums? What? Okay, what was yours? I don't know if I need this. I'm the club chief. Um, I think I was really excited for Arts and Crafts. And they're just a nightmare. It's horrible. You know, Arts and Crafts. They're a noose. No, they're not.

They're a straw. Glitter is made up of all parents. Yes. Okay. I had to wait till the slide got up because the thing, the reality I think of parenting is really much more like this, where at 8am we wake up, we're all tongue hanged in cast, as Mr. Rogers, we're so patient, we're so kind, we're ready to go. And then, um, By the time your kids are asked, like, once they go to bed, they won't go to bed.

You're all Tom Hanks and Castaway. You're yelling for Wilson. And so they're driving you crazy. You've just lost it. That's a Where do you start, Adrienne?

So for me, I, I teach mindful parenting and it's important to talk a little bit about what mindfulness is and it isn't, but the reason why I teach mindful parenting is because I was really struggling. I was very Tom Hanks in Cast Away, and I was, I was losing it with my child. I was very, very frustrated, and I would follow all these wonderful parenting coaches who had really good things to say to me, really good ways to respond to my kids.

And then I would get in a moment with my daughter. And I would say, okay, the next time I'm with my daughter, I'm going to do this thing that they said to do. I will respond this way. And then I would get in that moment and I would be really stressed and it would all go out the window completely. And then I would feel extra guilty because I had just learned all of these things and now I couldn't do it.

So I realize that there's a piece missing from the conversation about parenting, and that is that piece about us, and that we can't just Without a wonderful response at any time, that kind of depends on us feeling grounded and feeling calm and having access to our whole brain, right? Having, being not stressed enough to have access to our whole brain.

And this is where mindfulness comes in because I started studying mindfulness when I was a teenager. Desperate for some relief from sort of the ups and downs of life. I'm a highly sensitive person. And, um, what mindfulness helps us do in some way, let's talk about what it isn't first. Let's talk about what it isn't.

In our everyday life, we're often on autopilot, right? We're going from one thing to the next while we're at lunch, we're thinking about something else. While we're in the afternoon with our kids, we're planning dinner, or we're planning the next five things, or we're thinking the next three days ahead, where often our minds are in one place and our bodies are here in the present moment.

Our minds can also be in the past, regretting something we have done as well, right? We're often on autopilot and that's totally normal. That's how humans work. That's okay. Um, but what happens sometimes is that, you know, our minds just when we're on autopilot are naturally sort of focused on the negative, often sort of judgmental.

And when we're on autopilot, when our minds are in one place and our bodies are here, that's when we can be very reactive with our kids. Because we're not thinking about how we want to respond. We're not consciously in that moment with our kids. So when we're on this, in this autopilot journey, this is when my mom's voice comes outta my mouth.

You know, or my, something my dad would say comes out of my mouth and, um, yeah, and my alone in this, or something happened to you. Okay. And then. What Mindfulness is, is Mindfulness is a practice of deliberately putting our attention in the present moment with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. So this is different from our kind of normal autopilot, our brains are in the future state.

And what it really does, it gives us a sense of awareness and perspective. It builds a sense of awareness and we will talk about how it helps us to lower our reactivity so that instead of the autopilot reactivity, we can actually be consciously choose how we want to respond to our kids, right? We can then say, Oh, I remember.

That wonderful thing they taught me in that workshop in Laramie last Saturday and I'm gonna, I'm gonna have access to this. So mindfulness helps us with this and it helps us bring us into the present moment. I think this is so important because the present moment when our minds are somewhere in the future or the past, when our bodies are here, we're not present.

And the present moment is the only place where we can love our children. How can you love if you are not there? I mean, we do this, right? We think, Oh, I will be present with my child. I'm going to work really hard. I'm going to get all the things done. I'm going to plan. I'm going to, you know, in the East Coast, it's always like, I'm going to get to the vacation in Mexico, right?

Like, people are like, always want to go. Anyway, I'm going to get to, I'm going to get to the vacation in Mexico. And that's, that's when I'm going to be present. With my child and I'm gonna it's gonna be blissful even though Vacations with kids guys are not blissful. Even with teenagers like it's just not it's not as much fun as you think it's gonna be But the thing is that we get to that place where we think then we're gonna be present and we were not we can't Because we've trained our minds through habit and repetition to always be somewhere else in the future, getting that to do list done, done, done, right?

So, mindfulness is important for that piece about being present as well. And this is what we do in the Mindful Parenting Method. Tonight I'm going to talk about This step one, calming, calming our reactivity through habits that study the heart, the mind, and the nervous system. Step two, the L is for listen, listening reflectively, which creates that connection, which makes your kids want to cooperate with you.

E is for express, expressing yourself honestly and effectively. A is for attend, being present, really practicing that, and um, R is for resolve. And when I talk about being present, guys, I just want to let you know that this doesn't mean, I'm not asking anyone to be present 100 percent of the time. This is not about perfection, and in fact, they've done research on this, how attentive parents are to their kids.

And the very best parent thing we can do in parenting, the very best we can do is good enough parenting. 'cause we're not gonna be perfect. It's not possible. It's actually not, wouldn't even be beneficial for our kids. If we always met every single one of their needs, that would be good. But they've actually done research on how often, uh, parents attend to their kids, the very best parents in the research, and you know how much it was.

30 percent of the time. So we're not going for a high bar here. We're going for always. We're going for just more. We can do this. This is achievable. And when we reduce our reactivity, it really creates closer relationships, right? We can, we can see, we have more awareness of what's going on for our children, what their needs are.

We can see what's going on for ourselves. And this is really important because cooperation is the product of connection. The reason our kids want to listen to us is because they're connected to us. It's because they care about us. So, this is really, really important. And I promise you can become less reactive.

It just takes some practice. It takes a willingness to be a little bit uncomfortable. I can do it. You can do it. It's, you can. And it makes parenting easier over our overtime because kids are more cooperative when we yell less. So, uh, so ultimately when we yell less, our kids resist us less. And they, we get more respect when we, we don't lose our brains.

And what this helps to create are emotionally well adjusted, confident kids. And we think about what we want for our kids. What I want for my kids. I want them to feel comfortable in their own skins, right? I want them to feel good in their own skins. They can feel comfortable in who they are, then they can get the grades, they can get the job, they can do the things, they can manage failures if they are well adjusted.

Okay, we're going to take a little sidebar here and talk about why we should stop yelling, why we should be stopping so reactive. And you might wonder this, you might have a parenting partner who wonders this, you might have some parents who watch your kids. Who wonder why yelling is so bad? Because parents all around the world shout at kids and it can appear to be really effective, but ultimately it's not effective.

It's not effective in the long term. And the reason why is because our kids begin to resent us over time, but it's also not effective in the short term. And I'll tell you why. So the major reason that yelling is actually not a very skillful choice is that yelling scares kids. And so when We are this big, shouting parent, right, and this kid, and so their nervous system instantly goes into their sympathetic fight, flight, or freeze stress response, right, and that is like the one part of the brain that's fully developed at birth, is that system, keeps us alive.

So what happens when that fight, flight, or freeze stress response kicks in, is that it actually, it instantly cuts off access to their upper brain, this part of their brain. And so We may, we're probably yelling at them because we want them to learn to do something differently, right? We want them to not do what they're doing and to learn a better way to do things.

Except when this stress response happens, they can't learn. They have now lost all access to their upper brain because they're afraid, because they're scared. So this sympathetic response makes it so kids can't learn when we yell. They can't learn whatever it is you wanted them to learn when we yell. And what's more, this stress response, fight, flight, or freeze, It can look like yelling, kicking, spitting, pushing, doing anything to get away, and more.

So, these behaviors that we see as bad behaviors, they're not misbehaviors a lot of the time. Sometimes it's a stress response in your child. They're not choosing those behaviors.

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

Also, the research shows that yelling makes kids more aggressive physically and verbally. And so we might see that play out in their relationships with friends or siblings or in their, they may yell back at us because Ultimately, yelling. We know that our best parenting is in modeling, right? Who knows this?

Your kids aren't that great at doing what you tell them to do, but they're wonderful at imitating you. I saw this when I saw my older daughter, my younger daughter as a baby, and my older daughter, she had knocked over something in the playroom. I see my older daughter march up to her and Stop that right now!

She's barking over to her kids and I'm just like, oh no, that's what I sound like. Uh oh, there's something's got to change here. But when we yell, that's what happens. Yelling teaches kids to yell. So we're modeling. We've shown them, this is how you get your way. This is how people get things done is we yell.

Um, so we can see that it's a pretty unskillful tactic. It promotes fear and stress. It actually promotes more bad behavior, and it teaches kids to yell. Okay, so you're, we're all looking very uncomfortable here because we yell sometimes, right? Like, who doesn't? I do. I still do sometimes, okay? It's It's really hard, going back to that first slide, parenting is really hard, kids do things all the time that are obnoxious and messy and loud, going about meeting their needs, and we end up like Jurassic Park instead of Barney.

The third time, we have so few resources, we're just like, oh my god, yes, we completely lost it. So, I know that there are more effective ways to communicate because beyond my master's degree and my two really intense kids, I, you know, I've created the Mindful Parenting course. I've been running the Mindful Parenting podcast, talking to experts around the world for 10 years.

They do a teacher training and of course, these are the books. But I don't do all of this stuff, as Rachel said, because I was naturally wonderful at it. Not at all. This is my daughter, Maggie, when she was almost two years old. Look how cute she is. She's so cute. This is when my temper was at its worst. And so, I, I, I, it was a very hard time for me.

She started walking and talking and talking back to me. She's a very highly sensitive kid, um, as I am. And my temper flared enormously. And this was Exactly what I didn't want to do. I mean, I remember being in the, in the upstairs hallway on the landing by the stairs, took her room and just crying these like big ugly tears.

My face was all red. I looked like a fighter because. You know, she was in her room right through the door. I could hear her crying because I had shouted at her again and I had scared her with my temper. I had scared her with my yelling. And this was exactly what I didn't want to do before I had kids.

This is what I had decided not to do because my father scared me with his rage when I was little and I didn't want that. I didn't want that experience. Can anyone relate? You didn't want to pass down this pattern. Um, but what do you do when you feel like a volcano about to erupt, right? It's like incredibly hard.

So I dove into, I wallowed in pity for a little bit, and I dove into learning and understanding. I dove back into the mindfulness I'd started reading about when I was a teenager. I started going into learnings and trainings, and what I found out was really interesting. And I found out that your nervous system sees your child in, as a threat.

So in those moments when you're stressed out as a parent, your nervous system is just, just like your ancient ancestors would see the saber toothed tiger and they'd be like, Whoa, stop everything. Then prepare, you know, prepare you to fight off a threat or flee to safety. This is what's happening with your kid.

Um, you know, we get these, you know what this feels like. This is like the tight muscles, the raised heart rate, all this stuff. It's the same exact thing. And just like in our kids, it's important to understand. That the stress response bypasses the slower parts of our brain. So, these are exactly the parts that we need to be able to respond effectively.

Namely, the prefrontal cortex. So, I'm going to teach you a great way to understand this and you can teach it to your kids. I'm going to invite you to make a fist by putting your thumb in the middle of your hand and then folding your fingers over. Okay? This is your brain and your brain stem. Your thumb is where your amygdala are.

These two almond shaped clusters in the base of your brainstem that are the centers of your fight, flight, or freeze stress response. And this, your fingers folding over the top, this is your prefrontal cortex, the area behind your forehead, the sort of later evolved parts of the brain, the slower parts of the brain.

And when we are stressed, when we're feeling a stress response, What happens is that you literally flip your lid, and that stress response, the prefrontal cortex is too slow, so you flip your lid, those parts of the brain no longer talk to each other. Because the PFC is too slow, your body wants you to be able to just react instantly, you know, grab your kid out of the way of the car, or whatever it is.

And so, unfortunately for us, This is, this kind of hijacks our brain. The stress response is hijacking our brain because the PFC is really pretty important. The prefrontal cortex is the area responsible for problem solving. Empathy, Verbal Ability, and Impulse Control. I'm just going to read that again because it's so important.

Problem Solving, Empathy, Verbal Ability, Impulse Control. These are all the things we need to parent effectively, to make good decisions. The prefrontal cortex helps us make good decisions and it doesn't, by the way, evolve fully in our kids until they're in their, maybe they're 25 years old. So, just, you know, keep that in mind.

So this, we can really see that when our stress response is happening, when we're stressed by our kids, this is impaired parenting, okay? And the yelling, the shouting, this is because We're having a stress response. And I think, and so just like our kids, like, just as I said, like our, that kids, kids behavior, yelling, kicking, spitting, pushing, that is a stress response, it's the same with us.

Like our yelling is a stress response. We're reacting to a threat. And I mean, you think about this, nobody really chooses to yell at their kids. Right. You don't wake up and say, I think tomorrow. At like 10 in the morning, I'm just going to scream at Sasha. I don't have a good idea, right? No, we don't do that.

No one consciously chooses to lose it at their kids. This is not what's happening. It's not really your fault. So that's the good news. The good news is it's not your fault. It's not something you chose, but it is. Your responsibility to take care of it, right? This is not something you decided. It wasn't a choice you made.

It's your evolutionary biology. And maybe it also has to do with your upbringing a little too, right? Probably. Um, yeah, I could say that. Um, it's not your fault, but it is your job. It's our job as parents to, as the ones with the fully developed brain, to be the ones to down regulate our nervous system. But it's incredibly hard, especially when you have a kid who's screaming or having a tantrum.

You know, it just freaks our nervous system out. And, but the problem is we want to remember that we can't, we get into those situations and we just want our kids to be able to regulate their emotions. But your kid can't. Do that. You can't expect your kid to do that if you can't have who's done this. Have you yelled at your kids to stop yelling?

Yes How did that go? No, no that didn't go well Because we can't expect our kids to calm down if we can't remember the best parenting is in modeling We have to show them how to do it We have to model that emotional regulation for them, and if we want to have access to our verbal ability, impulse control, and good decision making, we have to be able to do it ourselves, okay?

So how do you do it? How the heck do you do it? This is what I wondered. So, it basically comes down, we have to calm our overall reactivity, and we have to calm our reactivity in those moments. So we're going to talk about both of those things. We're going to talk about overall and in the moment. So, first we'll talk about overall.

The first, the most, I'm going to give you three really important ways to calm overall reactivity, and the first and the most important way might be the hardest way, and this is the That you need to reduce your overall stress. I know, that's easier said than done, isn't it? Because back to the beginning, we have, we're under supported as parents.

We don't live in a village that's gonna take care of our children anymore. We can't just like, walk next door aunties take our child when they see we're getting stressed. It just doesn't work like that anymore. So, but we do have to, you know, this is really one of the best ways to reduce our yelling is to reduce our overall stress.

So how do we do that? Think about it. We've gotten to do those things like get a good night's sleep, get regular exercise. Have time with family and friends. And so we're going to do a little assessment here on your sheets. You have a place where you can write it down. Self care assessment. You have to take care of yourself.

You taking care of yourself is a foundation for being able to parent effectively. There are more sheets in the third row if you don't have one. I got extras. I see, sir, you need one. I'll get it. I'll get it. I'll get it. Okay, so, first let's talk, this is the 0 3 scale. Zero is you never do this. One is occasionally.

Two, making an effort. Three, you're consistently rocking this. Okay, how are you on sleep? Write it. Circle your answer. The solution to all these is don't have children. Who's got a 3 on sleep? Who's got a 3? No? No 3's on sleep. Uh oh. Who's got a 2? 2 on sleep? 4 on sleep. Alright! Good, good. Um, 1's and 0's? Okay, alright.

This may be an area that you need to identify for yourself and ask for help in and do all the things, right? We don't have time to go into all the things that take place here, but Okay. Do you get exercise that feels good in your body, that supports you feeling good and healthy and energized? Okay. Where are you on the assessment for this exercise?

Circle your answer where we got it. Who's a three

Good club. Okay. We got some two. Who's a two? Okay. Great, great, great. Okay. Good, good. Like two. All right. One's and zeros. Where are you? Where are you? Once it's yours, uh oh. Okay, alright. So this may be in place Tanya. That's fine for some. Also some support. Get some garden. And now Finally, time for supportive family and friends.

Notice I can say all family and friends. Seriously. Just supportive family and friends. Um, where are you others? Three. Three, because of teens? All right, yay! Two, drinks. Juice? Juice? Okay, excellent. Okay, good. Good, good. Ones and zeros? Okay, so this might be, it might be next to impossible. You might live hours and hours away.

Um, but this may be, what I want this to do is to help you identify some of the places, areas of growth that you have, okay? Areas of growth. Um, now we have all these challenges, it's probably really hard to go running in the winter here, I bet, and nobody's going out for walks and jogs in the winter. You know, you'll go skiing, I guess, right?

There's a lot of skiing. There's winter mountain biking. No, okay, great. All right, all right. There are lots of ideas for the ones and the zeros. There you go.

Um, there's a lot of barriers for us getting all of these needs met, but we also have to acknowledge that for some of us. We don't want to, and some, there's some part of us that doesn't want to do all these things, um, because often we were taught by misguided traditions. Self sacrifice is noble and wonderful, and that is a very toxic idea because self sacrifice leads to feeling overwhelmed, to yelling, to feeling burnout and resentment, okay?

We really need to start to understand and remember that self care is not selfish. Self care is the very foundation for kinder, more skillful parenting. And plus you have to think about, remember, modeling, right? The best parenting is always in modeling. So, if you're one of those self sacrifices, um, I'm not convinced self sacrifice is actually noble people.

Think about what you want your kids to do. Do you want them to self sacrifice all the time? Then maybe you shouldn't show them that, okay? We need to take care of ourselves, and that is the one of the, that is like the number one thing you can do is reduce your overall stress. That is the number one thing you can do to reduce your reactivity so that you can actually have your whole brain available to respond to your kids.

The second thing you can do is then explore a mindfulness practice. Now, of course, I've talked about mindfulness. I love mindfulness. I think that mindfulness is amazing. It's like this crazy brain hack that they figured out thousands of years ago. It's very cool. And the research shows there's a lot of very highly regarded research from places like Johns Hopkins Medical Community that shows Mindfulness practice decreases depression, decreases anxiety, increases emotional well being, helps you sleep for those zeros and ones on the sleep scan, um, helps you sleep and more.

Um, and what's really important for us to realize is that it helps us to, it helps us, it really builds that pause muscle, it helps us to regulate our emotions. And in fact, it's so cool that So they have all this research, but they've also done research on MRI brain scans, and do you remember the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex?

Well, the amygdala, that seat of the stress response, what I sometimes like to call the oh crap response in our, in our brains. Uh, they have shown that after, um, a few weeks of a mindfulness practice, starting from numbing and then, and then practicing a mindfulness meditation regularly for a number of weeks, um, can actually shrink the gray matter in the amygdala.

It actually makes it smaller. And it actually shrinks the connectivity between the amygdala and the rest of the nervous system. And what's more, does it, and it's more than that. And actually the prefrontal cortex, that area responsible for good decision making and impulse control, it actually makes that part of the brain more dense in gray matter.

It actually increases it. So it, I know mindfulness has kind of a Hairy fairy idea and maybe even especially out here in the list. I don't know. Um, but there's real research that shows that is like a very, there are real actual changes that are happening in your brain. It's really building that pause muscle.

And I really saw that in my own life as a life changing practice for me. I've seen that in, you know, thousands and hundreds of people that I've worked with. That it can really, really change the way they experience, of course, we're talking about parenting, but really everything they do in their life as far as more awareness, perspective, and clarity.

And what's important for us to really understand is that mindfulness practices increase your ability to regulate your emotions, right? So, we want our kids to calm down, but we can't just say, you calm down, kiddo, with your undeveloped brain. We have to show them how to calm down. And this is one of the things that can help us kind of build that calm down muscle.

Remember, we're talking long term. We're talking overall. Um, so I'm a big proponent of a mindfulness practice. If you have five minutes that you do spend on social media every day, who does not have five minutes that you can spend on social media? Surprisingly, no hands are being raised. Um, if you have five minutes, you, you can make a practice that has all of these wonderful effects in your life and literally zero side effects, right?

It's literally zero. So a mindfulness practice really, really is a really powerful thing. And just to add in one more plug for it, it's really being practiced. People are noticing how powerful it is, but you know, they, they have, they're teaching it to kids in school. They're teaching it to prisoners, but they're also teaching it to people like CEOs.

Um, Surgeons and active duty military personnel are practicing currently. People in very high stress situations that need to use their whole brain are using a mindfulness practice to help them get there. Stay

tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

So the third thing you can do to calm your overall reactivity is to become aware of your triggers. Who has noticed, have you ever had an outsized reaction to something little your kids did? Oh, no, never, Mama. This is what happens, right? Our kids trigger things in us from our childhood. So I had a mindful parenting member, Sam, and she noticed that when her two year old Spilled orange juice on the floor, which is like a very normal two year old behavior, we know that it drove her cuckoo bananas, like it drove her crazy.

And she realized that this was a really big outsized reaction. So she, we did some work to dig into how she was raised. What was, what was going on here? Why was she having this outsized reaction? She journaled with it and she worked with it. And what she realized is that when in her growing up perfectionism and appearance was really, really emphasized in her life and that when this mess came in her house, it made her feel not good enough, unworthy, right?

And so this very innocent, very normal behavior by her kid led to this outsized response. But she had to make this thing that was unconscious, conscious to be able to do anything about it. Right? If it's just sitting there and she's not aware that this is what's driving her, she's going to have these big reactions.

So for me, when my daughter, who is highly sensitive. When my mom had a tantrum, when she yelled, when she had big feelings in my body, it felt unacceptable to me. It felt like, oh, this, I can't accept this. This feels unacceptable. And it felt unacceptable to me because when I was little, I didn't listen or I had big feelings.

My father yelled at me and he was bigger and louder and scarier and sometimes hit me too. And so I learned. Deep in my bones, that this was unacceptable to have these big feelings. And so therefore, when she had these big, these big feelings as an adult, I'm perpetuating the same pattern. I'm getting really upset at her.

And this is how these patterns keep going through the generations. And this was a lightbulb moment for me. I had to, I had to, I realized this. And We have to make these things conscious. In fact, you know, we have to talk about them. We have to understand them. And in fact, one time, my mom and dad, they're in Rhode Island.

They came down to Delaware and they came to visit. And dad was like, Hey, we had this heartfelt conversation. I remember he was sitting on the futon. And, um, And he said to me, Oh, Hunter, you know, I think it's great. Like, you're doing all this work with parenting. When I was a kid, my father hit me with a belt.

And when you were a kid, I didn't do that, but I spanked you and now you're trying not to fit your kids. And I thought, yes, yes, definitely. And I want to do more than just not hit my kids. But yes, yes, like we were talking about how. These, these go through these family patterns and it's really important to understand that this is not like, I, once I understood this, I could see that this isn't, wasn't my fault.

My temper wasn't my fault. I didn't choose to have a temper. I didn't want to have a temper. It was in me from my nervous system, our evolutionary biology, but also from my upbringing. Right? And I could even see it wasn't my dad's fault, you know, and as we went back and I was able to talk to my grandpa and my grandma.

I always see it wasn't their fault either. You know, we pass these things on. It's not our fault, but it is our responsibility. Okay, so we can make, can become aware of our triggers. We have to make these things that were unconscious, conscious. If we want to have a chance to deal with them. So to calm overall reactivity one, we want to reduce overall stress.

Consider a mindfulness practice. Yes! And become aware of our triggers. Now, this is all well and good, you might say, but what about later today? I take these kids home, I have to do bedtime, and they're driving me crazy. What do I do right away? So, let's talk about how to calm down in these moments. Ready?

That's not even that bad. They could have been worse. They could have been worse. So, to calm your reactivity in the moment, I really think it's important to really calm your reactivity overall, right? Don't just count on us in the moment, but in the moment you do need these tools. So there are the three R's I'm going to teach you here.

Recognize that you're triggered, remove yourself, and use your resources, and I'm going to share some resources for you, okay? So the first, the most difficult piece of this. is to recognize that you are triggered. Now, this is, this is really important because when we're in a difficult moment with our kids, our brain wants to blame others for feeling badly.

If you stop crying and just go to bed, I would calm down and feel better. If you would just get in the car, then I will calm down. But we can't meet that frustration with more frustration and anger 'cause it just makes it worse. It makes it grow bigger. So we have to recognize that we are triggered. We are the adults in this situation.

We are the ones who must model regulating our emotions and we, and part of this is just acknowledging it, recognizing it. I'm feeling really frustrated saying this to yourself. So it's, this is going to be a really simple thing saying to yourself, either out loud or silently, I'm really frustrated right now.

This is a win because you're interrupting kind of autopilot response. Sometimes the autopilot response goes like this. Okay, Hunter said I should be calm, so I'm gonna be calm, and I'm calm, I'm calm, I'm calm, I'm calm, and he said we're really trying to pretend to be calm, and that just doesn't work, and then we exploded our kids that could be so pretending to be calm.

It doesn't work. Okay? Has anyone, has it really, has it worked? No. Have you noticed this, the pretending? It doesn't work. So we want to actually acknowledge and recognize it. I'm feeling frustrated. I feel like I'm about to yell right now. I feel like I need a break. And when you do it, when you say, I feel so frustrated, you say, I feel like I'm about to yell right now.

That's like a bell of mindfulness moment. You're interrupting the pattern. And in your brain, the autopilot, and you're making yourself aware, Oh, I need to maybe remove myself and use my resources, right? So you're going to recognize it. And this is what Dr. Dan Siegel calls name it to tame it. And they've actually done research on this and it really does.

Lower the emotional temperature for you to just acknowledge the feelings that are already there. Just recognize them, okay? And then as you recognize them, you're going to look at where do you feel it in your body. And you're going to stay with the discomfort. You're going to notice my throat hurts, my jaw is tight, my chest feels tight.

You're going to notice all these things. And this is mindfulness. This is being in the present moment, even through some discomfort. But this is the moment. This is what the pause can feel like in the uncomfortable moments. And this is a real win to be able to do this. And this is actually what Holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl talks about in this very famous quote, saying, Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Okay? So if we think about, we don't want to be reactive, we want to actually have the brain space to choose, when we can stay, recognize, and feeling. I'm feeling frustrated. We can stay with it. That's really giving us that space to make a choice.

The second step is, and this is optional, is to remove yourself. Now many parenting coaches will tell you To stay with a kid through a tantrum to help them navigate it, and that is really good advice if you can do it. If your kid's gonna have a tantrum, and you're gonna have a tantrum yourself, that's not a good idea.

I give you permission to remove yourself. It's much better to remove yourselves than it is to scream at your kid. I remember one time, my daughter, my second daughter, Sora, She was like two years old, and I was just, she was driving me crazy, and I could feel myself, oh, I knew, so I, I put her, I put her in her crib, and I walked up her door, and I closed her door, and I walked in my room, I closed my door, and that wasn't far enough.

I walked out onto, we have a little balcony porch, I looked out there and I closed that door and then I breathed, I used some resources that I'm going to share with you. Because it is, she was safe and it was much better than to take a moment to remove yourself and take care of yourselves than it is to scream at your kid.

Okay? So, you have permission to remove yourself. It's optional. This is the optional step. The third step is to use your resources. This is the non optional piece. Or if you want to be able to calm down, this is, this is where you use resources to calm down, understanding, now, you know, it's a nervous system response.

It's triggers. It's all this stuff. I'm gonna use some resources to calm down and I recommend that you take like a couple weeks, you write these on sticky notes, You make a little menu and you visualize yourself using them. You put them up in like a strategic places around the house and you practice. I'm going to give you four resources that I think are really effective.

Slower exhales is the first one. So the breath is cliche because it works. Each inhale, when you breathe in each inhale in your body, you can think of it as a mini sympathetic stress response. Each exhale is a mini parasympathetic opposite rest and relax response. So, whenever you may take a longer exhale, it is like a biological hack to take you out of your stress response, and we can try that right here, okay?

So, are you with me? We're all gonna practice just a very simple 4 6 breathing. So, I'm gonna ask you to take a deep breath in for 4, exhale for 6.

Again, breathe in 4,

exhale 6.

Last time on your own, breathe in.

Exhale longer.

Can you feel the difference? Who can feel the difference? And you can see, yeah, it works. It's just effective. So, do some slower exhales. You can do three to five or more. Whatever you need, okay? You can shake it out. Um, so I have this book on my bookshelf now, um, called Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky.

And I think this is really interesting, why don't zebras get ulcers? They are like, on the savanna, and this, some, you know, pride of hungry lionesses comes and chases them, and they flee, hopefully to safety, and their stress response has kicked in, they're in flee to safety, why don't they almost stress out?

Well, if you watch zebras and other animals that sound very close to you, you'll see that they shake it out. Alright, so you can try this. We're going to try this. So I invite you to try to shake out your hands. Shake out your hands. Okay, and then watch out for your neighbors, but you can shake like all birds.

Okay. And then if you're home, and your kid's driving you crazy, and you need some help, you just go in the bathroom, you go, Oh, I'll see you. Shake the whole thing out. Feels good, right? The reason this works is because the stress response tightens your muscles. And then you've got these tight muscles. What do you do with all that?

That's an energy that's in your body. You've got to move it out of your body so you can just shake it up. This is something you can do. The next thing you can do is do something like a forward fold, okay, or put your body like our child's pose in yoga. When you put your body in a calming shape, it helps to calm you down.


Yeah, so you can just do your forward fold and take your deep breaths. And this has the added benefit of being a little silly if you do it in front of your kids. And that's good, because the more you can lighten up the situation, the better it's going to be. So you can do a forward fold. And then finally, you can either do some calm down mantras.

And I do have a slide for these. Yeah, alright, we'll see. Go, Rachel, go! Okay, so these first three are like using the body to help the mind, right? But it's all interconnected. We can also use the mind as well. These are three that are my favorites. Say to yourself, this is not an emergency. You can imagine, like, close your eyes, just picture you with your child, just picture yourself saying, this is not an emergency.

Okay? And this is brilliant because you're just telling your nervous system, which is all freaked out and thinks it is an emergency and thinks you're under threat, that it's not. It's not an emergency. So we can calmly, down nervous system. You can calm down. When they yell, I get calmer. You can imagine, just try to imagine yourself saying this when they yell, I get calmer.

And this has the added benefit of being a little bit silly, right? So, if we can line up, we are definitely better parents. And then finally, I'm Helping My Child. This is, the idea of this one is you're going back into that role of helper, of a nurturer, rather than into like, threatened adversary. Okay? So these are our calm down mantras.

So to calm your reactivity in the moment, you want to recognize that you're triggered, remove yourself, and use your resources. Write them down. I invite you to imagine, like, actually take a moment to visualize yourself getting really upset, and then saying to yourself, I'm really frustrated, and using the resources.

Like, take a moment to think it all through. When you practice it in the mind, it's just, it really helps you get to actually being able to do it in real life. So you can, you can become less reactive, you can choose to be more thoughtful. It takes practice and a willingness to be a little bit brave slash uncomfortable, right?

That's what bravery is, the willingness to be a little uncomfortable. You know, cause you're just trying something new, you're doing something different. Um, and when you do, it creates closer relationships and more cooperative, respectful kids. When you yell at them less, 'cause they are learning from you, you're modeling for them.

And the benefit of this is that parenting gets easier over time. So I don't wanna brag on my kids, but I have 13-year-old and a 16-year-old now, and people are like, oh, you have 30, you have teenage girls go. And I like my teenagers, I like having teenagers. I like spending time with them. We have good relationships.

We, they have, they're bigger kids. They have bigger problems, that's true. But it's not the parenting. It's not, it's not like things have escalated that that compoundedness, you know, from the old school ways have escalated so that we're at war with each other or not. And I really like it. It does, it can get easier over time.

So I want you to take some action. I want you to prioritize your self care. And I want you to practice calming your stress response, okay? And I'm going to leave you with a beautiful poem. Because I think about parenting and it's a very, um, it's very in the trenches. But when we step back and we look at it, it's, it's the most important work we could do.

And it's very, it's very spiritual work. It's very important. So I'm going to leave you with this poem by Dana, Dana Faulds called Awakening Now. The moment your eyes are open, seize the day. Would you hold back when the beloved beckons? Would you deliver your litany of sins like a child's collection of seashells prized and labeled?

No, I can't step across the threshold, you say, eyes downcast. I'm not worthy, I'm afraid, and my motives aren't pure. I'm not perfect, and surely, I haven't practiced nearly enough. My meditation isn't deep, and my prayers are sometimes insincere. I still chew my fingernails, and the refrigerator isn't clean.

Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door? Forgive yourself. Now is the only time you have to be whole. Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true self. Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain. Please, oh please, don't continue to believe in your disbelief.

This is the day of your awakening. We can change. We can become less reactive and take some time and take some practice. You will make mistakes. You won't be perfect. But what you practice grows stronger. Okay? That's as simple as that. And when you do this, you'll have more clarity and more choice. You'll improve your relationship with your kids.

And also you'll be part of a movement. Of people that are changing generational patterns and making things better for the generations to come.

Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break. Do we have any questions for Hunter? And then we can, um, go ahead and ask additional questions about parenting classes afterwards. Can you talk a little bit about your mindfulness practice? You mentioned it makes you more like a person who already practices mindfulness.

What does that look like? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, absolutely. So, I started reading about mindfulness that helped enormously. That was great. But, it turns out, just like things like tennis, it's much better to do something than it is to read about it. You get a lot more benefits. So, um, uh, when I did a yoga teacher training, Um, in my twenties, and then I came back and I was like, okay, I'm ready.

I can do this thing. And I, I, at that time, there were fewer resources, but I set a timer for 10 minutes and I sat. Um, I sat in meditation and I, I followed my, you know, followed my breath, all the instruction that you may have heard. And we have more resources on this, on mindfulmamamentor. com, but, um, the funny thing about the mindfulness practice was that, so you're doing it for like two months and after about two months, I was like, man.

All I do is I sit here for 10 minutes and I'm just thinking the whole time. I can't do this. I'm not doing it right. What the heck? And I, then I realized, I looked back at my, the rest of my life. And by the way, the point of my mindfulness meditation practice is not to stop your thoughts. That's, you know, that's like saying like stop your ears from hearing or your eyes from seeing.

The brain just thinks. But I looked back at the rest of my life and I realized that there had been an impact, and I had, you know, I'm a highly sensitive person, and I used to, you know, when I'm up, I'd be up, but I'd go into these pits every week or two, and I would just feel overwhelmed with my life, and I would just cry in my bed, I would, it was too much, life was too much for me sometimes, like, for an afternoon every week or two, whatever.

It was a lot, and I realized, So I did this meditation practice and then after this, I, I questioned it and I looked back and I saw that I hadn't fallen into any of those pits for like two months. I was like, wow, that's really different, you know, and it sort of allowed me to, you know, and I, what it allows you to do is you start to, um, you start to see when you, you, you can interrupt a spiraling down, which is nice because you start to see the thoughts.

That you're having. So normally, when we're thinking in everyday life, our thoughts are kind of like this waterfall. They're just like happening. They say there's a certain like, I don't know, 80, 000 thoughts we have a day, and we had 80 percent of them the day before, but they're like a waterfall under the water.

And what a mindfulness practice does, it helps us to kind of step out in front of the waterfall and see like, Oh, these are the thoughts so that we don't. Oh, I'm having that thought. We don't follow it down. But anyway, my practice. I like to do first thing in the morning, but I work with parents to do all kinds of different times.

I recommend starting with a guided meditation. I recommend starting really, really small on MindfulMamaMentor. com. We have a three minute guided meditation. And I recommend, like, get up, you pee, you meditate, RPM, Rise, Pee, Meditate. And, um, and this is so, because You know, by the end of the day, like, sometimes I'm like a little more ready for like a glass of wine and then a, you know, like a meditation.

I have no willpower by the end of the day. It's all right there in the beginning of the day. And all these things will get in the way if you don't. But people do it, like, like, if you have a newborn, if you have a child, like this baby's age, sometimes you can do it while they're numbing or while you're, um, feeding your child, you know.

If you're nursing, it's like, it takes 45 minutes, so long, to set a timer for five of those minutes and practice to be, and when you're practicing, we'll go into this more in the workshop tomorrow, but we'll, we practice to just be aware, bring your attention to the present moment with an attitude of kindness and curiosity.

So that could be the sounds you hear, it could be the feeling of your breath. And when you do this, it's not like, Nodgable rainbow sparkles, like, shoot out of your ears and you're just on a cloud of bliss, like, that's not what happens. You just notice how crazy your mind is and how it's like all over the place.

And you think, God, my mind wasn't like that before I started this meditation thing. But that's the thing is that it is. We start to see it's reality. It's real form. Um, and the, what the practice is all about is like the 500 times to bring your attention back to whatever it is in the present moment that you're attempting to, to stay with.

And that's like the bicep rep of mindfulness, right? Like, you're building that muscle of being able to come back. So then when you're in Mexico on a vacation, you can be there. I'm the friend of mom for a year. Mind if you don't mind? You might. Does that help?

I'm ready. Do we have any other? I

have one. And I have an idea of what the answer might be. One of my triggers is when my kid bites me. So, they act, right? Makes sense. They are a saber toothed sweet panther. Hi, sweetie. So, I was trying to reply like, okay, I can have a mantra. And I do know, like, he's responding to any sort of escalated situation.

And that's his way of soothing. Doesn't work out well for me. That's probably his stress response. Um, so I can tell myself that I do not take it personally, but like when he literally is a saber toothed tiger. Yeah. It's for like. How to stay calm in that? Well, yeah, that's an incredibly hard situation. So I think, yeah, when, when one child is like attacking another child or if your child is like hitting you or biting you, you know, that's stressors.

Your, your body's nervous system just takes over to keep you safe. Yeah, that's really hard. I think what I would. You know, do, if you were a mindful parent in my mind, I would say like, let's, let's visualize this moment. Let's practice with this moment. So I would invite you to visualize getting, you practice being in the moment and get your body and your tend, until you're like feeling them.

And then you practice doing, you know, a skillful response, like stop, I need some space, right? So that might be it. Like, biting hurts. Biting hurts. I need some space and you walk away with me. Or whatever works for you, right, in that moment. But I would try to practice, practice it in your mind before you get to the moments.

And I would also, I would also forgive yourself for the moments that you have reacted not as you would like to, to them. Because that's incredible. And you need to have a lot of compassion for yourself. This is, I mean, for all of us, this is so important that we have compassion because it's incredibly hard, but forgive yourself because you didn't, you know, whatever responds.

Your body is reactive. It's not a choice taker. So Thank you for It's a mantra that helps me sometimes, but I can manage to remember it, is my child is always doing the best that he can. So even if it's fighting, right, that's the best he can do. Sometimes it helps because no one kicks and hits me a lot, and like, I have to be in that mode of like, he's doing the best that he can, like, he's not doing it to me, he's, like, he's, this is terrible about what he's doing.

So, yeah, sometimes that can help me. The famous, beautiful moment really thank you for being vulnerable and sharing my well. It's really nice. King,

trust . Um. I feel like at home, I'm better at this than myself, but in public when other people are watching, I really am like, good God, get to the cards. Do you have, um, suggestions on how to deal with things in public when your kid isn't necessarily triggering you with the other results? I think in those moments, we go back to like the three R's.

Recognize it. Oh man, you're doing this and I'm feeling embarrassed. I'm feeling embarrassed because this is happening. So you, when you say to yourself, or just say out loud, or maybe even touch your heart and say, Ooh, embarrassment. Hello, embarrassment. I see you there, friend, right? Just acknowledging what's happening can help take the temperature down in those moments.

Um, and then, so when you're embarrassed, you know, then you want to practice, you know, your resources. Okay, embarrassed. What does embarrassed feel like? What does embarrassed feel like in your, your body, your throat, chest, all those things? And, um, and then, you know, go back to the longer extensions, all of those, all of those resources, right?

But first acknowledge, like, embarrassment. You know, and if you can, just stop, you know, don't, don't try to put the cereal in there. I mean, you know, there will be moments you have to leave. You're too embarrassed. You know, you're going to have the crappy moments. That will happen. We'll have the unfortunate, you know, moments.

But, um, but yeah, that's what I would encourage you to do is to acknowledge that. That nervousness for you. And think about, think about, you know, think about it ahead of time. Oh, I'm sorry. I don't want to make all you That's good. That's good. It's real. This feels like a good space to end and conclude. Um, thank you so much.

Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode. There's a lot there, right? Like, uh, it's amazing how much just reducing our own stress, making that a priority is so, so important. for calming down the flames of parenting frustration. Yes. Anyway, if this episode helped you, if you found it helpful, please just do me a favor.

Just tell one friend about it today and that would make a big difference. And so obviously I give these talks around the world if you want me to come to your town. Uh, your school district. Let your school district know you've got a great idea for a speaker. Then we can hang in person. I'll come talk to you and do Q& A right there.

Um, but otherwise, share it with a friend and that would be amazing. I hope it helps. I hope it helps you to know this stuff about our Our biology and ourselves and to, you know, just deal with that frustration so that we can be more present. It's so, so important. Yeah, I really hope it helps your week get better and thank you.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for being part of the Mindful Parenting community and crew. I really appreciate it. And I'm glad you're here. I'm glad we get to connect this way and I will be back. I'll be back again next week. And I hope to see you here. So I will see you in your podcast feed and have a lovely week, my friend.

Thank you 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 being a better parent to your children and feeling I feel 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.

Were 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 mindfulparenting. org MindfulParentingCourse.

com 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. MindfulParentingCourse. com

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