Samantha is a married mom of five- four of her own and one bonus step son, navigating this hectic season while transitioning to a healthier lifestyle all around!

465: What To Do With an Aggressive Son 

Mindful Parenting Coaching Call

Samantha is parenting five kids in a blended family in Montana.

She’s challenged by her 10-year-old son’s aggressive behavior.

Hunter coaches her on asking what her son needs, how to regulate emotions, how to respond to his hostile conduct, and more. 

[Mindful Parenting Coaching] What To Do With an Aggressive Son [465]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Samantha: So the biggest thing that I have a hard time with is I can listen to podcasts and I can read books and I can, you know, follow people on Instagram and get all these tips. But all this seems targeted toward people who have one child or maybe two, not five kids who react to different things differently.

[00:00:25] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 465. Today is an on air coaching session about what to do with an aggressive son.

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 Clarkfields. 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. Hello, welcome back. So glad you are here.

Um, listen, if you get some value from the Mindful Parenting Podcast, please go and grow the show by just telling a friend about it. Just tell one friend about it. Send them a quick text and you can make a big difference and I hugely appreciate it. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Samantha, a married mom of five kids.

And she's just navigating a hectic season while transitioning to a healthier lifestyle all around. In this on air coaching call, we're going to, I'm going to talk to Samantha about parenting these five kids in a blended family in Montana and how She's challenged by her 10 year old son's aggressive behavior.

I'm going to talk about, talk to her about looking at what her son needs, how to regulate emotions, how to respond to his aggressive, hostile conduct, and more. So if you have, are dealing with aggression, This may be a perfect episode for you. So join me at the table for this honor coaching session with what to do with an aggressive son.

So Samantha, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting podcast for this honor coaching call. Thank you for having me. Yeah, I'm happy to have you. And I'm excited to talk about the challenges that are arising, but before we dive into anything, even. Who your family is and all that. Like, what are your, some wins that you can acknowledge?

Like what, what are some positive things you can acknowledge?

[00:03:11] Samantha: Um, some positive things that have happened recently, I guess. We've kind of put in some family values and finally defined them and shown the kids what those mean and what's important to us. And so that's a totally new thing outside of. all of our boxes.

We've never done anything like that before. Um, and it seems to be growing really well. Um, the kids seem to really like it and it's nice to have something to fall back onto when, you know, we're having our difficult discussions and, you know, talking about rules and why we have them and why they can't go to this party and whatever.

So, um, it's been a really positive thing just that's just happened here lately. What are some of the values that you guys decided upon? Um, so they're kind of, I mean, we still maybe need to dial them down a bit, but um, so like respect and honesty is one of the bigger ones, uh, creativity and expression, because that's really important to us.

Um, Responsibility and Accountability is a huge one that we're working on that we have probably our biggest struggles with. Um, Health and Fitness and Safety is another one. Uh, we try to, we're leaning towards more of, you know, toxic free, more natural lifestyle and trying to make things at home more and, um, which kind of adds stress but releases stress in some other areas.

So that's one. Yeah. So everybody kind of seems to get why we're doing it and it seems to be helpful.

[00:04:45] Hunter: Sounds good. That sounds awesome. Like, that's cool that you defined them. You were like, these are things that are really important to us and our family. That's really a cool idea. I'm sure everybody is. I love that.

I love that. Cool. So then tell us now a little bit about your family.

[00:05:01] Samantha: Um, so my husband and I, I had two children before from a previous marriage. He had a son from a previous marriage. Um, and then we met, well, we met actually before all this. We've known each other forever, but once we got married, we had two more kids.

So a bit of a blended family here.

[00:05:20] Hunter: You're all Brady Bunch, five kids. You're one kid away from Brady Bunch. How old are they? 

[00:05:26] Samantha: Uh, our, my oldest is almost 13 and our youngest is almost three.

[00:05:34] Hunter: Okay, they're from two and a half to thirteen and ranging in the middle there. Can you go down the list of ages just so I have an idea?

[00:05:44] Samantha: Thirteen. So, uh, so my daughter's almost thirteen and then I have a son who is ten. He has a son who is also ten. They're about three months apart. And then our daughter is almost five this weekend, and then our youngest son will turn three at the end of the year. 

[00:06:12] Hunter: Wow. That's a whole bunch of kids. I'm going to have to let my, my 13 year old, we're in a, we're in a, we're in some situation where like there was some little kid going like crazy, just being crazy rowdy. Yeah. And I was like, don't you, aren't you, I was joking, I was like, aren't you sad you don't have like a younger brother? And she was like, gave me like great 13 year old eye roll.

All right. So you have got this blended family and everybody's together. How long have you guys all been, have you been with your husband where everybody's been Um, about seven years. Oh, okay. All right. So, it's barely been a while. Okay. Awesome. And I know you're out in Montana, so you're trying to make your own food.

I'm getting a little bit of a crunchy vibe from you. Okay, great. Okay. Like, um, prairie is, I don't know what's in Montana. Mountains?

[00:07:05] Samantha: Like, I, we're pretty, in the city. Uh, we're not like homesteady. That's probably my dream. Um, but I mean, we have a garden, but we have a quarter acre lot. You know, our house is in a neighborhood, right?

We're not in the middle of nowhere.

[00:07:19] Hunter: Cool. Cool. That's cool. Yeah. All right. All right. Now I have a picture. I have a picture of what's happening. Great. We got the positives. We got the values, all kinds of things happening, but you're not here to talk about all those wonderful things. You're kind of, here it goes, sounds like with five kids, there are probably some challenges that are arising.

So what, um, what is a challenge that is troubling you?

[00:07:44] Samantha: Um, I mean, so the biggest thing that I have a hard time with is I can listen to podcasts and I can read books and I can. You know, follow people on Instagram and get all these tips, but all this seems targeted toward people who have one child or maybe two, not five kids who, you know, I don't want to say need to be parented differently, but definitely react to different things differently, right?

The way that we parent, like some of them are, my son's very aggressive and emotional. And so he, I have to kind of parent him a little bit differently than I do my stepson who is. Pretty sweet and pretty easygoing and pretty just rolls with everything. Um, you know, but he's also very emotional, sensitive I'll say.

You know, and it's, it's, none of these things seem to work for every one of my children, so it's exhausting to have to learn five different ways to parent five different kids.

[00:08:48] Hunter: That does sound exhausting when you describe it like that, and I don't think you do need to learn, I mean, you do in some ways, right, like, because each person is different.

But, I guess, um, what I want to push back on, you're right, each kid needs different things and you have to pave it, but like, what your, what the goal in some ways like should be, like, just, like, if, be present and open minded to whoever is there right now, right? And even if they're radically different, right, like, you are the same, you're you.

And that those communication skills and things like that, like I, I, I guaranteed like some of those are the same. So now the listeners can be like, uh huh, sure, Hunter, prove it. What? All right. So let's, do you want to, so the challenge is, I mean, I, I can imagine like when all, all these kids are together, do you want to talk about your aggressive son?

[00:09:43] Samantha: Yeah, he's pretty difficult. Um, I can sometimes calm him down. Him and my husband are the biggest stressor of our family. They do not get along. Is this your 10 year old? Yeah, it's our 10 year old.

[00:10:00] Hunter: Mm hmm. Go ahead.

[00:10:02] Samantha: You know, so even, and I try to give tips to my husband and we did the whole, uh, you know, we went through the questionnaire for each of our kids except for little one about their love languages.

Right. And so we discovered like, oh, you know, Axton actually likes physical, sorry, that's my 10 year old. He likes physical touch, right? Hugs are important to him and touches, right? And my husband is not that way. So even just lately, I've had to really drill in like. Maybe just like rub him on the head or give him a high five just so you can build that positive relationship because I feel like every interaction they have is negative.

My husband's always telling him what he's doing wrong or what rule he's breaking or not to do this or that's not allowed or just I feel like that's the only interaction they have a lot, um, which is hard on me because I always feel like I'm the referee and I'm choosing. Um, It sounds exhausting, talking about it.

[00:10:57] Hunter: Yeah. And you have four other kids that are demanding your attention. So the idea of like focusing attention on this is hard. You don't have the time to kind of sit back and do it. So, well, that's cool because we can take the time here.

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

So, I'm so sorry, it sounds like he's, you know, your son is 10. You said he's aggressive. Tell me about what are some, what kind of what's going on with him? Like what, what's he like?

[00:11:36] Samantha: Um, so he's been, he's through some, um, psychiatric testing, um, he didn't get, he has ADHD qualities, but not a diagnosis. Um, he has some executive function issues.

And then we did notice, or we have over the years discovered that he has a very, uh, high sensitivity to like dyes and food. So if he has a bag of Doritos, he is insane. Uh, he's very, uh, he's very, Um, physically aggressive, he will yell, he is argumentative, um, you know, so we really try to cut out all of the dyes in our food.

But, you know, at school, he slips it and I can tell, um, like, hey, you had something today because it's showing, right? And I feel bad pegging him like that, but, um, It's just a realistic part of our life, and so, for the most part, he's fairly good about staying away from those things, but even with that, he's very, um, I don't even know how to explain it.

Like, you have to give him the reason why that rule exists, or he doesn't care that it exists. He understands it's a rule, but if he doesn't understand the why, then he won't follow it. He's a questioner. Yes. And so I, and we praise that. That's part of our values is yes. Even if mom and dad are doing something weird and you're like, why are they wanting us to do that?

Like, please question us too. Like, well, why are we doing this now? Which they do because over the last five years we've been like, oh, we're, we're not doing dyes in our food anymore, right? We're not buying Doritos anymore. We're not doing this. Like maybe we're going to start going to church now. And so they definitely do question us and, um, I'm rambling now.

[00:13:21] Hunter: No, no, no. Okay. So, your son, he sounds like a really highly sensitive kid. And he, you know, he obviously went through the divorce from his dad, his new dad, they're not getting along. There's a lot of kids in the house. He has mood sensitivities. He has a lot going on. He, you know, he's still developing.

He's a, he's a tween, you know, he's on his way into adolescence. So there's a, a lot going on with him. Now, I want to just ask about, like, his interactions in your parenting. So, like, he, he has all this going on with him. You say, you say, he gets aggressive. He questions the rules. What happens? Can you give an example of, like, when, when it went wrong?

Like, where he, where you had a hard time with him with something?

[00:14:09] Samantha: Oh, my gosh. It's like, it's always so, I, I mean, and sometimes it's, it's hard to point it out and because my husband and I have different ways of parenting, I'll say. Um, you know, we try to be on the same team, but sometimes. I'm on my son's side because I'm the same way.

Like, forever we had a rule that was, you know, no shoes in the house, no shoes in the house. And that was fine. But I, I think I am undiagnosed ADHD if we're being honest here. So I have a hard time with like, well, why? Why? Like, I understand that it's, you know, the floor's going to dirty or whatever, but I can clean it.

So what's the point? And my husband would walk around with the shoes in the house. So after just constant fighting with my son, like, He's just going from the front door to the back door. Why does he have to take his shoes off? Um, you know, cause that was a huge fight. I ended up just making it that the rule isn't that anymore.

You're allowed to wear shoes in the house now because I was just so exhausted of that fight. You know, so that's a very minimal one. It's my husband, you're not allowed to lean on the walls or lean on the counters. I'm making him out to be a bad guy, which is not what I wanted, but I lean on the counters.

I'm constantly. 

[00:15:24] Hunter: Yeah. Why, why no leaning on the counters? I'm with your son here. Like what's going on?

[00:15:27] Samantha: Oh, I know. I know. So, um, that because, well, so for one, like our Island isn't, it's a new house, but our Island is not very sturdy. So when you do lean on one side on the bar side, you can see that it's like lifting the  countertop.

[00:15:39] Hunter:  So I kind of get that. Um, but like leaning on the walls, lean on the walls to discuss the walls and. 

[00:15:40] Samantha: Oh, I know. So a lot of, I think this is a big part of it too is to, you know, or even manners at the table, you know, you have to sit like this and you know, your feet have to be down and I understand why the rules are there.

And my husband obviously is a much more mannered person than I am because I wasn't grew up, I didn't grow up that way at all. There was very minimal rules in my house. So I want rules for my kids, but I also need some relaxed stuff too.

[00:16:16] Hunter: Yeah, you don't want to be constantly criticizing them. That is incredibly, that makes it a real unpleasant place to live too, right?

You want to have and balance those needs, right? Your need for neatness and tidiness and balanced countertops with a need to have loving, comfortable relationships.

[00:16:42] Samantha: Yeah, so I think that what happens is none of the other kids are arguing it. So, you know, then he's the fighter. He fights back. You know, so then it just seems like he's this bad kid and it's like, well, he's not.

[00:17:02] Hunter: All the other ones are just agreeable. They're, they're compliant. It sounds like. Hmm. I mean, so this is, this is a, this is a hard place for you to be in. Like, I can see that you. Can identify with your, see things from your son's position, and obviously you're in this, you know, you're a partner with your husband, you're, you're in the, you're, you feel in the middle, it seems like, in this situation.

[00:17:26] Samantha: Yeah. And it, it backfires both ways, right? Cause then I'm arguing with my husband and then my, my daughter is like, Oh, Axton's the favorite. You're always on his side. And it's like, well, that's not always true.

[00:17:39] Hunter: Mm hmm. That's what's. And you said he's aggressive. It sounds like, I mean, so I'm wondering if your son is stressed by this situation where he's, you know, he's maybe being criticized and he's, he's not like he's, it's hard for him to comply with everything because Do you, do you think, I mean, so one of the things we know, obviously, about our kids is that they, they have very little executive function, not until maybe their late 20s.

We may, we know, right? Like they, they have very little impulse control, you know, that's executive function, right? Good decision making skills. We have to help them with all that stuff. What we also know is that the stress response, Fight, flight, or freeze is yelling, kicking, spitting, pushing, running away.

You know, do it. Those are all stress responses. If we're, our kid is in a moment of stress, it's not just like you wouldn't, you're not like gonna, you know, consciously be like, I'm going to scream at him right now when you're upset. It's something that happens because you're stressed, right? That's your stress response.

The same thing with him. So I think that's, that's important to kind of understand. So when I throw this idea of like, do you think he's, do you think he feels safe, protected, nurtured, you know, or is he feeling a lot of stress or, you know, what's the proportion there?

[00:19:13] Samantha: Yeah. You know, I, I feel like he's definitely feels more stress.

Um, and I don't think he feels unsafe or unloved, but I do wish that more of his interactions at home were positive instead of negative. So yes, probably more stressed. And it's because he'll do things, even, even do a siblings, um, you know, if something weird happens, like, Oh, Hey, I was gonna, you know, I'll say, Oh, Hey, can you go put the garbage bag in there for me or whatever?

And my littlest daughter just wants to help all the time. So she'll run and she'll beat him to it. And he's like, Hey, mom said me, you know? And I'm like, she's only four, right? Just let her do it. You know, which I don't know if that's right or not, but I'm just trying to pick my battles here. And so. you know, then he'll be like, Oh, fine.

But then he'll like shoulder check her, you know, or trip her, like kind of do things like that as she walks by. And I'm like, Hey, like that's not necessary. Like, I realize you were upset about not being able to do that, that I asked you to do or whatever, but you can't, you know, he just like does things like that a lot, you know, or if anybody kind of says something, he'll just like run into them on purpose.

And so then he gets in trouble for things like that. Um, And he does things like that at school, which is starting to come out a lot more this year than it has in the past at school. So I know that he probably does things like, you know, it's never his fault though. He says, well, well, they did it first. You know, we try to just take it now.

Like it doesn't matter if they did it first, then you need to tell, you don't get to do it back. So it's, but he doesn't care. He just, he wants to, for some reason he has it in his brain that he will, you know, vigilante solve these problems and not get help from anyone.

[00:21:05] Hunter: Yeah, yeah, um, that's incredibly frustrating and hard to, hard to fix.

You're seeing a pattern, that's incredibly hard. I'm wondering if he, you know, like, we want to think about, like, well, what are, what are we modeling, right, for him, like, and are we modeling, like, the one The strongest one makes all the decisions. I'm curious about that. I want to just kind of throw that question in there for your brain to work on, but I'm also kind of thinking about like, what our kids need, right?

And what are, what our kids want and need and like, what's, what is this behavior telling us a story? What about him? And it sounds like he needs to feel some power. Maybe he's not feeling heard. Maybe he's not feeling seen, right? He's, he's, he's being heard and seen when he does something bad. He's getting a lot of negative attention.

But so there's a couple of things there. And so when we have a situation, let's look at that situation with your daughter, you know, where you were like the bag in the garbage and she came over wanting to do it and you said, let her do it. In a situation like that, I, I would encourage you to go over, you know, whoa, I s and describe what you see.

I saw, I saw that you were upset and I saw you hit her with her shoulder and ha and so Sam, how did that make you feel when you saw that?

[00:22:36] Samantha: I mean, it, it hurts that he thinks that that's, like, okay, especially, it just

[00:22:41] Hunter: No, no, no, no, no. What is the feeling that you felt? What is the feeling? Frustrated? Okay, yep. Yeah. And underneath your frustration and annoyance, was there another feeling under there? You saw that happen?

[00:22:59] Samantha: This gets so deep and this is a failure. I mean, I feel like I've obviously shown him helplessness, but that's the way to react to things like that, which, I mean, I don't feel like that.

[00:23:14] Hunter: It's,

[00:23:15] Samantha: I don't know.

[00:23:17] Hunter: Yeah. I'm sorry. Um, and I imagine like there's some like sadness there, right? 

[00:23:23] Samantha: Yeah, for sure. I, I feel sadness. A lot, because a lot of what he gets in trouble for, I also feel like I have struggled with my entire life, and I'm just an adult, and I've figured out how to, you know, cope with it, I'll say, um, but, you know, I'm not coping well enough, obviously, to teach somebody else.

But I've just dealt with it. And so it's frustrating and sad because I know how he feels, but I barely, I just ignore it and I deal with it. So I don't know how to help him deal with it. I guess.

[00:23:57] Hunter: We're going to go down the rabbit hole a little. So you've, you've learned to push those feelings down, to suppress those feelings.

That's your coping mechanism.

[00:24:06] Samantha: Yeah.

[00:24:08] Hunter: And how's that working for you?

[00:24:11] Samantha: Not well.

[00:24:13] Hunter: Yeah.

[00:24:15] Samantha: It's, it's hard life, right? Like I. I feel like I have to, because there is so much going on, and you know, we're talking about him, but at the same time, there's four other kids that I'm not paying attention to at that time, or.

You know, whatever. So even if I was having a feeling right there, like it's brushed aside immediately because now my littlest one is, you know, stuck in his shirt in the bedroom or something, right? Like I'm constantly just like whisked away. So I don't, and I don't know if they're, I'm sure they're, I don't know what I'm asking for.

I don't know if there is a solution, right? To give me more time in the day to be able to be present in those moments when he's having those hard, Times, like there's just not time to sit and do it.

[00:25:06] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Okay. So you were, you were telling me about your son and you're seeing that he doesn't have a way to kind of deal with his difficult feelings. And then you're saying, I know exactly what it feels like and I don't, I don't have a way, like I've had to suppress 'em. You're, you know, you're feeling this sadness and seeing him and you have to suppress them.

So, what I'm seeing here is I'm seeing generational pattern, right? Like, probably you weren't taught how to take care of your difficult feelings. Probably you were taught, don't cry, go to your room, right? Like, don't have those feelings or don't have them around me. And um, so then we can often feel ashamed for our feelings, we suppress them, we push them down, and then they come out.

in awful places, and sometimes if people are really good at suppressing them, we get things like, you know, the body is keeping the score of those things, and it can come out in ways in the body, right? We know that. Um, so, there's a lot here, and I'm really glad we're talking, and I'm so sorry that you're dealing with all of this.

This is a, this is a lot. And you're also saying, like, oh, what do I do, like, I don't, I have five kids, I don't have time, all of those things. So, One of the things I wish I could, I want to wave a magic wand for you and get is like you having a break from your kids every single day. And I wonder if you brainstormed with your husband, if you figured, you know, if you tried to write down 10 different, a list, this is one of my pieces of homework for you is to write a list of 10 different ways that you could try to get regular breaks.

For you in your life, because you are handling an enormous amount right now, and it's too much for any one human being. 10 is going to be an impossible number. You're going to be like, after four, you're going to be like, well, there's nothing else. What the heck is she talking about? Yeah. By the time you get to seven, you're going to be like, this is crazy.

I want you to keep going to 10 to just really push yourselves to think outside the box of like, if. You know, I were a doctor and I told you you were gonna have like a, you know, a debilitating illness unless you've got some time to yourself and some time to have breaks from all your kids. What would, how would you make that happen, right?

If it were that much of a priority, okay? All right, so that's one of your assignments. And what I'm hearing is that you don't have this digestive system for dealing with difficult feelings and therefore He, and, and he wasn't either. Your son wasn't taught how to take care of these difficult feelings. He was just told.

You're wrong for having them, right? Okay. I'm not saying that to blame you, and I'm not saying that to blame your husband. This is the way, this is the water that we swim in, right? We're like fish in the water, and that's what we were taught, and that's how it is. So I, I'm just want to say that. So, what, cause what I'm hearing is that he needs, he needs some, to be, he needs some, he needs some strategies to take care of his difficult feelings but he also needs to be seen and heard and so this is kind of like the big picture is kind of what I'm hearing is that he needs more positive, positive support.

like interaction, more like acknowledging and seeing all the good things he is doing, right? Really acknowledging that. But also, he needs to have his emotions be named, seen and heard, validated, whether, whatever emotions they are. And, um, he needs some strategies for how to take care of these difficult, and what else to do, right?

Because what we need to think about in this situation is what does he need to learn? He's like, little kids are like little Neanderthals, they just don't know how to write, like their behaviors are frustrating, loud, messy, annoying, aggressive, right? So instead of saying, you're bad for doing that, we need to say, this isn't okay because it hurts her and other things, here's what we can do instead when you're feeling that way, right?

Um, how is all this landing with you, Sam? 

[00:29:42] Samantha: Yeah, no, it, it's, it's good as long as I can remember that in the moment. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:29:49] Hunter: That's the key. That's why, that's why we want to, that's the way we want you to have some, some time, some breathing space and some room. So I'm hoping that your partner will be listening to this episode too because you're on it.

So he's going to take all this in too. So this is for you too. Um, great. Okay. So in those moments you, you catch him with near the garbage cans of bags. He, he shoulder checks his little sister. First step is describe, just describe, and this means describe non judgmentally. Oh, you're upset, she's upset, I saw this little shoulder thing, and then what you're going to do is, you know, when, you know, when you, I saw you do this to your sister, and then we're going to, this is basically an iMessage, and a good iMessage has three parts.

You describe what's happening, describe the behavior, non judgmentally, not like when I saw you being a brat, right? Yeah. Okay? Non judgmentally. You, you tell him how it made you feel, and you said, frustrated, annoyed, helpless, and sad. Okay? Now, uh, you, this is, this is okay if, if you're not, you know, you might not have remembered this in the moment because you're going to practice some of these and then they'll, the same situations will come up again and again and again.

So you're going to say, I felt so frustrated, I also felt sad to see that happen. And what's nice about something like A feeling like anger or frustration is that, that's like a secondary emotion, right? The first emotion, the underneath it, the iceberg emotion is sadness, right? And that's why you feel frustrated.

And so if I, my 13 year old gives me some attitude and I say, and I'm, and I kind of meet it with some of my own attitude, she's not going to care, right? It's just fight against fight. But if I open up and I'm a little vulnerable and I say, I feel sad when you talk to me like that. You know, that makes me, and I don't, you know, makes me not want to help you or whatever, right?

Then it's more human. It's not, you know, I'm not being defensive. I'm not meeting her defensiveness with defensiveness. I'm opening up and being honest and vulnerable. And that actually makes our kids care about what we're saying a little bit more. It feels like counterintuitive in the old authoritarian model, which is not very effective actually, but it's actually much more effective to be honest.

So, hey buddy, when I saw this, I felt really sad. And then how does it affect you? Not the sister, but how does it affect you? Like if I were, what are the consequences on you when you saw that thing happen?

[00:32:52] Samantha: Um, I mean, well now I have to go make sure that she's okay. Well and that's kind of what we run into is because I have to go make sure that she's okay.

Cause she just got hurt. She doesn't understand. And so I have to. That's honestly what happens a lot is that he gets brushed aside because now I have to direct my energy because she's hurt or she's sad and crying and, you know, and.

[00:33:13] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's great. So if you say to him, if you said to him, Hey, but whoa, whoa, I saw this and you're upset.

She's upset. I saw this. When I saw this shoulder check, I felt, yeah, I felt really frustrated and I felt really sad and, you know, now I have to spend my time, you know, making sure that she's okay because of this. And you just give him that message. How do you think that might land with him? He gets mad. He gets even more mad.

So he gets even more mad. So then how do you respond to him getting more mad?

[00:33:47] Samantha: Usually just like a go away type saying, like, you know, like, I can't deal with you right now. So what might he say? He'll usually say anything. He'll usually storm off and slam the gate or slam the door or stomp downstairs.

[00:34:04] Hunter: Okay, so if you gave him this iMessage.

And his habit, his current habit and the way it's going now is that he gets mad. What does he say or how does he indicate that he's mad? Say you gave him this message, I feel sad and now I have to take care of her. What does he say? Imagine it.

[00:34:21] Samantha: You know, he'll just blame her. I mean, which it was her fault and he'll say something like, well, I was doing it.

Why does she have to come in here and do that? Why does she have to mind? No, I can't. She mind her own business. That's a common phrase he says.

[00:34:36] Hunter: Great. So this is where you shift gears. Because now he has a problem, and you're gonna validate, you're gonna like, you're gonna reflectively listen to him. This is the tool in Mindful Parenting.

And you're gonna say, you're really, you're really upset right now because she did it for you. I get it. You're not gonna tell him he's wrong for having his feelings, you're gonna say, yeah, that really sucks. You're, you're upset that she, she did it instead of you. It's not like you're agreeing with him, you're just saying, like you're reflectively listening.

Like you're holding up a mirror and you're saying, yeah, this really sucks for you right now. I get it. I hear you. It's like a message of, I see you and I hear you. How do you think he might respond to that?

[00:35:21] Samantha: He doesn't care. I mean, cause I feel like I have tried to say things like that. I mean, even last night at dinner, I feel like we were trying, you know, there was an issue and.

I was like, ah, you're allowed to say what you feel and, you know, you're allowed to feel upset that way. And

[00:35:33] Hunter: I mean, well, that's really different though, Sam. You're allowed to say what you feel and you're allowed to be really upset right there. Feels really, um, feels really like you're up here, way up high talking down to me.

You know what I mean? Can you imagine that if I said to you, Samantha, you're allowed to say how you feel? You're allowed to feel that way. That doesn't feel so good, right? It feels like you're not on the same level with me. You're not really hearing me and seeing me. So instead, what I'm asking you to do is actually, like, really see him and hear him.

Like, hear this, like, show it in your face. Like, don't be all, like, calm, cool, and collected and removed. Be like, God, you're really, this sucks for you. Like, this is hard for you right now. I get it, buddy. Right? And that's all you have to do. It's not like you have to give him permission to do anything, like you're allowed to do this, or you tell him, you just, you are, rather than being like role to role, like I am mother and you are child, I want you to try to get soul to soul, like, yeah, like this is hard for you right now, you know, as if, you know, if you had a good friend who is feeling that way.

And that's a shift I want you to try to make, like, with this, with him and his feelings. So, is this idea of really seeing him and really hearing him and really, like, validating what he's feeling rather than kind of trying to block it or tell him he's bad for having these feelings. And there, we as adults are often afraid of, like, you know, validating our kids feelings as if we agree with them or something like that.

We're allowed to have all the feelings. We're just not allowed to have all the actions on the feelings, right? Because you know how hard it is and how hurtful it is and how it hurts you inside to have suppressed those feelings and to not have an outlet for them, right? Yeah. And you don't want that for him, right?

So if you imagine how great it would be if somebody every day, you know, came You know, you had a friend every day who you could talk to and say, Oh, I'm so frustrated. This is hard. And she would say, Yes. Oh, I get it. Uh, right. Like that is really healing. Cause then as we share those feelings, right. So you can almost be that in that for your child, for him, where he can say, it's really hard.

This is really hard for you. I'm really frustrated. Right? Yeah. So we're gonna, uh, we, we can't go too much deeper than this, but, uh, then you also want to think about, uh, the, the next step kind of from here is then obviously like having those positive interactions with him, and then also like having times when it's not a problem zone, when nothing much is happening, where you can give him other tools.

to express his feelings, right? So when, and then the beauty of this is when you validate his feelings and say, yeah, you're feeling really bad right now, I see it. You're giving him language for him to use language instead of aggression, right? To say, I'm feeling really mad right now because then you're modeling it, right?

And even when you go in and say, when I saw you do that, I felt frustrated and sad. Like then again, you're giving him the language of feelings to express it verbally rather than. You know, you have to show him that you're doing it. You can't just be like, here, you do this thing and I'm going to do this other thing.

You know, that doesn't work. Everything, all the things we do are modeling. He's picking up on what we do, not on what we say to do, right? We can say, you know, we can talk about all these things, but it's actually how we live and respond day to day and moment to moment that they're, that modeling that they're picking up.

So, when you model it, you're giving him the language for him to model it. And then, you might go and talk to him. You might go to, you know, the school and say, what, how, maybe we can coordinate. I want to tell him. You know, offer, you have a conversation with him. What do you think you should do? And what, what do you think would be a good idea to do instead of, you know, shoulder checking or, or touching somebody when you feel mad, what, you know, and maybe talk to the teachers and, and, and, but I love the idea of talking to him, you want to bring him into these conversations, not just give it to him.

Top down. He's 10. He's got to start really be a part of all of the, when the problems are happening, he should be. You should ask him, like, what do you think we should do here?

[00:40:09] Samantha: Right? Yeah. And I feel like, you know, depending on, depending on how I react or how the situation kind of goes, like sometimes, you know, I'd say 25 percent of the time I can, I feel like I can get to him and he gets teary eyed and I understand like, ah, he's like getting it, you know, like I'm almost, I feel bad saying that, but I like when he gets teary eyed because then he, it's showing me that.

He is feeling it and he's showing his sadness, right? Just like you were saying, instead of his empathy, it's care, it's stress relief, right? The tears are good. Those are all good. Yeah. So, and so I like that, you know, and when he does show that it's, it's hard to get in there, but I feel like once I get him there, then he can usually, yeah, usually kind of chill out and take a breather.

But, and in my brain, so I'll ask you this. So once I'm there and we've kind of worked through this and You know, we sit down and we try to just carry on with our day. Usually my husband will say something like, Well, you know, I'm glad you worked through that, but you still can't slam the gate or you still can't shoulder check your sister or whatever, you know, and it's like, well, yes, like we've already gone through this.

Like he knows that your kid knows that already, but it's not helpful. You know, like let's give him, we've already like, we've calmed back down. So let's just like, let him fully chill before we bring it up again. But. It's just, you know, my husband is very like, you can't just let him get away with these things.

[00:41:40] Hunter: You're not letting him get away with anything. Dear husband, when you talk about these things, I'm talking to him right now. I'm talking to you. It is not letting him get away with things. So, when, what, it's not about getting away with things or not getting away with things, right? It's about what does he need to learn in that moment.

He has a strategy that isn't working. That's not a good strategy. He needs to learn a different strategy. For him to be able to learn anything, he needs to be regulated. He needs to be emotionally regulated. If he's dysregulated, we're back into that stress response. Fight, flight, or freeze. We're not, nothing, there's no access going to the prefrontal cortex, right?

So kids can't learn anything when we yell. Kids can't learn anything when we, when they feel super stressed and they're punished. They're not learning anything. They're just learning resentment of you, and then it makes them less likely to want to cooperate with you in the future. So, in those moments, you may think, what does he need to learn?

He needs to learn not to do blah, blah, blah, but he already knows that. That's why he feels bad. You already had that kind of conversation. At this point, for him to want to cooperate with you guys, for him to be able to take in what you're saying. You need to build that connection. Connection builds cooperation.

Connection, it's because our kids care about us that they cooperate. You can use all the tools, right? Like, you can say, you know, I'm, well, I'm just going to take away his iPad, and then he'll do it. But what that'll do is, over time, it'll build resentment, and that resentment will build and build and build and build.

And then he's gonna, it's just gonna, it just makes it worse. Over time, that's how you get like a teen rebellion, and then you have no influence. So the more you use techniques that use power over, the more you lose your influence. You lose your influence. So instead, building that connection, building that, Hey, that was a hard moment for you, buddy, you know, like, pat on the back, right?

Like having those times where they play, you know, putting, you know, our, our, it's like the relationship bank account, I think is a great metaphor that might be helpful here for, um, everyone in the family to hear, like, you need to put five times as many positive deposits in as you do withdrawals. If you're withdrawing every single day, you got nothing in that bank account to withdraw from, and you're not doing it.

So you have to put those deposits of connection in so that then when you have a withdrawal, our kids care, right? And it's really that care and connection that builds it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Alright, well, we covered a lot today, Sam. I appreciate it. This is helpful. You and your five kids, oh my gosh, and, and our, our little sensitive, sensitive kiddo.

Um, we talked about your son and your husband and five kids. We talked about different ways to respond to those moments. We talked a lot about validating feelings and having those conversations. Talked about iMessages. Um, what for you is your biggest takeaway from talking today?

[00:45:03] Samantha: Um, I think my biggest takeaway would be we're working on my iMessages where I'm stating facts more equally across the board and more compassionately to him instead of in a judgmental way that I probably do.

Not on purpose, but I probably do. Yeah. Okay. Awesome.

[00:45:24] Hunter: You can do it. You can definitely, I mean, the thing about the whole thing. is that you just, you've, you gotta offer yourself some compassion because it's so freaking hard. You're in a, a moment with, you're in a situation with five kids demanding your attention.

It is incredibly hard. It's not going to be forever, but right now it feels like forever. It feels overwhelming. Remember the assignment about the 10 ways, right? Um, and you just have to begin anew again and again. And so, Give yourself permission. You have permission to be human. Okay? Husband, you have permission to be human too.

Do this too. Like begin again. When you learn better, do better, right? Just, and you're going to mess up. That's okay. Just begin again. And we got to give our kids the grace to begin again and to learn to, and to be messy learners. Nobody learns anything the first time we say something. No adult does ever. So let's like figure out our expectations for kids.

It takes a while. It takes a lot of patient repetition and that's okay. Um, You rock, Sam. Thank you for so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting Podcast and sharing a little bit about your family with us. 

[00:46:33] Samantha: You're welcome. Thank you for having me. Like I said, this is an incredible opportunity.

[00:46:46] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening. I hope you appreciated, uh, this episode and I hope it helped you. If you would like to apply for, to do an on air coaching session, you can go to mindfulmamamentor. com and there is a link under podcasts to apply to on air coaching calls. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. So I'd love to talk to you, and we'll get your call on the air.

Thanks for being here. Thank you so much for listening. If this podcast helped in any way, I would love it if you could just tell one friend about the show today. That would be amazing. And while we're at it, I want to give Jennifer Hadley a shout out. A shout out for her review, her five star review on Apple Podcast.

Thank you. Um, they said it's fantastic. This podcast is fantastic. I'm so happy I found it. Society is in a gentle parenting era. Most of the time I just feel guilty and like a less than stellar parent after reading or listening to what I'm doing wrong with no advice on how to fix things. Hunter offers upgrade advice, steps to handling the situation, and ways to focus on internal reflection before addressing external situations.

Thank you. Thank you so much for that review. That's also an incredible way to support the podcast. I love those. We read all of them. We really, really appreciate them. So thank you for any support you can give, whether it's telling a friend or leaving a review. Thank you. Thank you. We appreciate it. And I appreciate you.

I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for being here and thank you for being part of the change, changing things and, and, and, um, yeah. and nourishing the soil of your mind and your heart so we can grow good things there. I will be practicing that too. I, I feel really grateful for, that I can do this work and make something that was so hard for me and make it, Something that helps other people and helps me and helps, helps all of us become less reactive and become those calm leaders that our kids need and change things.

It makes me really hopeful to be You know, that I can focus on this work makes me really hopeful for the world of tomorrow. So I hope you feel that way too and I hope you have a great week. Thank you so much for listening. I will see you next week. 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 like you're connecting more with them. 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.


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?

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