Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a 

licensed psychotherapist, speaker,

and bestselling author who helps families develop healthy parent-child relationships.

450: Relisten: Shame-Proof Your Parenting (335)

Mercedes Samudio

We have all experienced judgmental looks and unsolicited advice from others about our parenting. 

Why does our society shame parents, who are simply trying their best to raise children?

Today, I talk with Mercedes Samudio, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist, speaker, and bestselling author of Shame-Proof Parenting: Find your unique parenting voice, feel empowered, and raise whole, healthy children, about the toxicity of shaming, the effects on our kids, and how we can shield ourselves against others’ critical eye.

Relisten: Shame-Proof Your Parenting-Mercedes Samudio (335) [450]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: Hey there, it's Hunter, and welcome to Throwback Thursday. Most Thursdays, we are going to re release one of my favorite episodes from the archives. So unless you're a longtime listener of the show, there's a good chance you haven't heard this one yet. And even if you had, chances are that you are going to get something new listening to it this time around.

[00:00:18] Mercedes Samudio: You cannot predict what's going to overwhelm yourself or your child out in the world. What you can do, though, is use each of these moments. to pay attention to what you might need to be doing at home. It looks like my child has a hard time with reading and lying. They usually start getting antsy. Maybe we need to do some practice on patience at home.

[00:00:40] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 335. Today, we're talking about shame proofing your parenting with Mercedes Samudio.

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, thanks so much for coming back to the Mindful Mama podcast.

I am so glad you're here. I'm so excited for this conversation, but listen, if you haven't done so yet, hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode. And if you've ever gotten any value out of this podcast, please do me a quick favor, go over to Apple Podcasts, leave us a rating and review. It helps their algorithm grow the podcast more, reach more people, get this information out to more.

It'll take 30 seconds and I really, really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Mercedes Samudio, licensed clinical social worker, a psychotherapist, speaker, and best selling author. She helps parents develop healthy parent child relationships. I had so much fun talking to Mercedes.

She is the author of Shame Proof Your Parenting, Finding Your Unique Parenting Voice. Feel empowered and raise whole, healthy children. We talk about the toxicity of shaming and how it affects our kids and how we can shield ourselves against others critical eye, like other people's shaming, too. So there's so much in this conversation that you are going to love.

Three takeaways I want you to look for. Every parent, every person, every child, every age deserves our empathy. And, you can help your child practice building the skills they need during relaxed times at home and how our current culture puts unattainable expectations on parents. This is an awesome, awesome episode.

I cannot wait for you to dive into it, so let's just do it. Join me at the table as I talk to Mercedes Samudio.

So, you wrote a book about shame proofing parenting. I'm really interested to see, you know, you're, you're, you're a psychotherapist. You help parents develop good parent child relationships. Is shame one of the big problems you're seeing, um, in the, in those relationships? Yes, and

[00:03:41] Mercedes Samudio: not so much in the relationship, but how shame influences the relationship.

It's really where the book is coming from. The idea of shame proofing our parenting isn't about never experiencing shame or never hurt. Being affected by it, but it's about understanding when that shame does come upon you as a parent or your family, how not to let it influence the way you react to yourself or the way you react to your children.

And so what I've noticed a lot in parenting is that it's not just about. How the parents feel about themselves, it's how other people in our society really place a lot of impossible expectations on parents. And so it's interesting that I wrote this book in 2017 and then the pandemic happened where it really, I think, shed light on just how hard parenting is and how much Parenting takes from us, even when you're trying to make the decision of, should I send my child back to school?

Do I get them vaccinated? Just all of the shame that comes with those decisions during a time when we're at our end, we're at our limits. And so, shame proof parenting really shows up again now in the sense of how do I make decisions for my family that aren't based in fear and shame, but are based in Pretty much 6 tenets of Shame Crew Parenting, which are like empathy, knowing our needs, being supportive of one another, our awareness of what's going on in our lives.

These are things that are really important to not allowing shame to infiltrate, but acknowledging. what Shane is doing so we can work together to get some resiliency around it. Another key tenet of shame free parenting.

[00:05:30] Hunter: So there's, so then there's like the shame from like the outer society or etc. But also, like, there's this way that shame is used, like, in parenting, too, and a lot of parents might say, um, you know, my child should feel ashamed for what they did.

You know, if they hit their, they hit their, they hit their, you know, he hit her sister, and he should feel ashamed for what he did, and I want to tell him that he's bad for doing that. Like, what about, what about that aspect? Uh, when, when parents are coming from it, from, from that point of view of, like, This is a useful tool.

How do you start that conversation and what do you say to them?

[00:06:10] Mercedes Samudio: I think we acknowledge the truth that society has made shame a useful tool. And I start with that with a lot of my parents, especially when they say, well, this is how it should be. We talk about how, well, duh, yeah, that's how society, think about how when your child messes up.

What do people first say? Where are their parents? Does that child have any home training? That's the first thing we say when we see children mess up. And so our society is built on, let's shame somebody in an effort to get them to change their behavior. And so if that's the society our parents live in, why wouldn't they project or impose that on their child?

Their child. Is going to be living in that society. And so what I often tell people is we end up inadvertently parenting our children for the current world as opposed to parenting children for a world that can be better. And that's difficult to do when there's so much shame on you because people are saying, why does your child have any home training, as opposed to acknowledging that whatever the child is doing might be their own individual needs showing up.

It has nothing to do with the parent's training or not, right? When a parent sees that, I often teach them to think when your child does this, whatever that behavior is, taking a moment to think about, are they safe? Or do they have needs? If they're unsafe, you definitely want to jump in and support them because it's a safety issue.

But if you realize, ah, my kid does this when they're tired. Ah, I noticed that my kid does this when they're having, when they're overstimulated. Then it becomes an issue of, I'm not trying to shame them into being better. I'm trying to help them get that need met better. Hey buddy, looks like you're tired and you're starting to spit.

You usually do that when you're tired. Do you notice your body feeling a little tired? Right? Really helping them to understand, right, when I'm tired, I do things like this. It's not a punishment. It's actually now I'm bringing awareness to my child. You're noticing that when you're tired, you start to hit, you notice that when you're overwhelmed, you start pushing people because you don't know how to tell people to get away from you.

It's okay. Let's do, let's try better, right? And I say that to say this, in the moment, I always tell parents, be safe in the moment. You cannot teach your child a new skill in the moment. Outside of the moment, later on, just go back to hey, it looked like you were getting really overwhelmed with all the kids next to you, and you started kind of flailing, and you hit one of the kids, and I know you were sorry because you said so, but next time you're feeling overwhelmed, let's try this.

And so now, if you realize we dealt with the issue, you flailed, you did hit another kid. Right, but we still have to talk about that, but it's not because you intentionally wanted to harm them. It's because you overwhelmed and didn't know what to do. And so you started flailing. So let's do something different.

[00:09:05] Hunter: No, I love that. I'm all in on everything you said, but for the parents who are like. But I'm letting my child get away with something, right? I'm letting them get away with it. That's a thought that comes to their, to mind is I'm not being a good parent if I'm letting them get away with it and I know, you know, it comes from this whole behaviorist Great.

Background. Oh, we're dealing with the behavior and you're talking about the things that underlie the behavior, but what do you say to those parents who feel like, but am I letting my kid, you know, or the, or the partner who may be listening to this episode, who, who may say, but you're letting the kid get away with it and aren't they going to turn you to a sociopath ultimately, right?

Like that's what we're asking. What do you say to that?

[00:09:47] Mercedes Samudio: I say behavioralism actually has it right. And so I never discredit the behavioralism, because it's true. We tend to mimic people's behaviors. We tend to use behaviors to get our needs met. It's true. So I don't actually tell parents who say, but I'm letting them get away with something, feel like that's the wrong sentiment.

You actually are letting them get away with that behavior in that moment, but I'm telling parents to think it is past that moment. There's in the moment reactions, and then there's we have to reflect and talk about this kind of, you know, moment as well. And so I try to teach my parents to do both. In the moment, both of you are responding to what's happening.

Neither of you are wrong, you're just responding. After the moment time is to talk about that. Hey buddy, when you started fiddling, I got scared and I started yelling at you, and that probably made you feel more scared, but I was really worried you would hit another kid, so I started yelling, right? So we're both talking about it.

Again, we're not saying it was right for your child to hit the other kid, it's just thinking about long term, you know? In the moment, your kid did do that, and it's more important to get them out of the situation than to reprimand them because nobody's listening, nobody cares, it's nothing's going to happen there.

And so, yes, to the parent listening, you are letting your kid get away with the behavior in the moment because it's more about safety and it's more about getting people out of the activated moment. Once the activated moment is over for you, too, because that's scary to watch. Your kids flail about and possibly hit someone, and again, we're going with hypothetical examples, right?

But it's scary, and so you also deserve a moment to get out of that situation. If you're at a birthday party, that's embarrassing. If you're at Target, that's scary, too. I teach parents, you also deserve a moment to get out of that, too. So if all of you go to the car, if all of you go to another part of the house, It's not because any of you did anything wrong, and I think that's the first step that I try to teach parents who are moving out of kind of that old school parenting, where it's do as I say, not as I do to that kind of newer idea of positive parenting or mindful parenting is that your reactions are not wrong.

Don't start being like, I should have learned positive parenting 50 years ago. No. You responded the way every human responds. This is why it's so important to realize whatever happens in the moment happened. If you choose not to reprimand, that's a good choice. After the moment when everyone is out of those intense emotions, that's the good time for everyone to talk about who that was hard.

We were all scared. We were all overwhelmed. And

they're not, like, quote, getting away with it. You're taking the time to close the loop on that situation. You're processing it together. You're saying, this is, this is, the old school way may have been like, I'm gonna, you know, make my child hurt because they did something I see as bad.

But the, uh, The more enlightened way of doing it and the, what research shows is more effective is to say, is to help your, you know, your child needs to learn something in that moment and to help them close the loop. And you're talking about teaching them, helping them learn what can. And I think, you know, one thing that I'll, I'll, I'll reframe too is It's not actually more like, what I often tell parents is this, the reason why we respond the way we do is because of what we've been taught ourselves and what we've learned.

No one can respond from some unknown understanding of the world. We're all responding to what we've learned. And so, as you learn better, I teach my parents in the work that I do, my shame proof parenting intensives, my workshops, as you learn better, it's also about forgiving yourself for those past reactions too.

You cannot hate yourself for the past reactions while trying to walk forward. You have to say, wow, I did pop my child once and I did not like that, but I learned that's because of my own anger, my own embarrassment, or this. And then forgive yourself as you move forward. And as you move forward on this parenting journey, even if you've completely embodied mindful parenting, you're human.

And so there can be times when it's just too difficult. If you don't believe that, look at your life over the past two years. Right, trying to be mindful while everyone's in the house 24 7. Oof, cool, getting you to cut yourself some slack, right? And I teach people that mindful parenting, positive parenting, whatever parenting, shameful parenting, it's not one, two, three.

It's a way of living. You're just thinking, I don't want Shane to. Infiltrates to let me go back and talk to my child. Oh, I didn't like how I said that. Let me take a deep breath and then go back. That's actually what this process is. It's not that you nailed it and you've got it. It's this constant decision that after behaviors, you're going to reflect.

During behaviors, you're going to reflect. Sometimes you're going to mess up. Sometimes you're going to have hard days. And realizing that all of that, if you're committed to this new type of parenting is that. It is mindful parenting, even when you yell, it is shame proof parenting, even when you let your mom's comments change the way you see your child.

That's why it's happening, to help you become more aware of, wow, we just finished the holidays and I was more hard on my kids because we were around my parents again. Huh, I don't want to do that next year. Okay. Ooh, and you just did Shame proof Parenting right there. You just did Mindful Parenting right there.

Yeah, yeah.

[00:15:38] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

It's like all about, oh, we're not going to erase adversity, right? No. Instead of having some compassion for ourselves, having awareness. Where we're coming from, having a, you know, compassion for, you only know what you know, you know, you're raised with the way you're raised and, and all of those things. And so that's, you know, to, to, you know, that's the shaming is like, what I would call that is like, you're shooting the second arrow, you know, you're, you're, so that you're, you, you have a wound, you've had some hurt and so you may have acted badly.

And then you shoot an arrow right into that same wound, telling yourself you're bad for it, and you're shooting an arrow into a wound you already have. And so we can't heal if we're constantly shooting ourselves with arrows.

[00:16:33] Mercedes Samudio: I agree. I agree. And I think that's something that once you start parenting, It becomes really apparent.

I think before, and I often, I find this with the families that I work with, before you start parenting, you're not always aware of how those wounds are affecting you because you've covered them up really well. Right? You got a job, you went to college, you did this, you did that.

[00:16:54] Hunter: Yeah, yeah. And you don't have any children in your life.

Like, there's no, like, there's no one in your adult life who's going to trigger you as much as children do. I think you got it all together before you have those kids. Right.

[00:17:05] Mercedes Samudio: Right. And I think that's why it's so important for parents to be delicate with themselves because of what you just said. Before you have kids, there's not really this direct, constant mirror of who you are, right?

And so when I do my intensives, that's what we're clearing with my parents. We're not just talking about parenting skills because I think almost every parent has a semblance of skills to help their family stay alive, right? They might not be the most skilled skills or this skill or that skill, but they've got enough to say, hey, we're alive, we're getting through.

And In My Shape of Parenting in Texas, what we do is we spend a whole day going through how did you become you and do you want to heal the parts that may have been damaged or hurt or wounded because those are the parts that are helping or that are stopping you from really being the parent you've always wanted to be.

Those parts that we need to heal and accept and forgive and love. Those parts of you are the parts of you that everyone in your family is going to need and you're going to need. You're going to need those parts when things happen in your family or when, you know, things get really rocky. You're going to need the support of the whole person, not just the parts of you that you think are the nicest or the prettiest, right?

You're going to need your whole self to deal with your child, not some nice parts that are going to develop as they, as they grow. And so. I talk about these because I think it's something that as I've done parenting work, I've realized that parents are whole humans, and that parenting is one identity that interacts with every other aspect of who a parent is.

And so, in my Shane Pre Parenting Intensive, that's what we do. We talk about this, we go into it, I introduce my parental identity development model that helps parents to understand more about where they are in their own parental identity development as their child. I think, you know, in the parenting world, there's a lot of discussion on child development and very little, if any, on parental identity development.

[00:19:08] Hunter: And that's even more crucial, right, because if we're, when we're not, you know, for acting from old triggers, we're not aware, right? We can't change what we're not aware of.

[00:19:17] Mercedes Samudio: Which, if I can say something Hunter, I think that's where those discussions of, I'm letting my child get away with things. I always ask my parent, were you allowed to get away with things?

No, I would never, and then we dive into that. How that must have been difficult to be held to such a high standard as a child. To never be allowed to get away with anything. And then to sit with yourself and realize, right, as a kid I was like six or seven and I couldn't even make a mistake. Ooh, there's the end there that we talk about that if we don't clear that or talk about or at least acknowledge that it's there.

You'll never have the space to allow your kid to get away with anything because in your mind, that's dangerous. That's unsafe. Mm hmm. Right. It's an acceptable field. Right. There you go. Right. So there's those layers there that I like parents to understand, not because I think it shows them that they're wall or bad, because I think it shows them that you are actually going to be raising or currently raising a whole human.

Don't you think you deserve to be a whole human too? Yeah. 

[00:20:26] Hunter: And, and if they're going to be a whole human, we're going to say, yeah, I want to accept my kids. I want to accept them for who they are, even in the difficult moments, right? I want to be unconditionally accepting. The truth is we have to do that for ourselves first, right?

We, we can't just be like, Oh, I hate myself and I'm going to love my kid to death. That's not fortunately how it works, right? We have to do that healing work ourselves. We have to, it is that, that process, you know, otherwise all this unconscious stuff comes up. As you said, it becomes these, these things we.

Oh, we do feel ashamed of, but if we can start, I like this saying, um, we can walk with our shadow in front of us.

[00:21:06] Mercedes Samudio: That's beautiful, I really like that.

[00:21:08] Hunter: I love that too, and the idea that like when our shadow's behind us, right, like it's big, it's scary, like we don't want to look at it, I don't want to run away.

If we can just walk with it in front of us, like you can say, yeah, like there it is, I got a shadow, it's there. Hello. You know, it's not, it's not so scary. It is, these are things that. We do need to deal with, otherwise we act from these unconscious, unconscious patterns and, and shame, shaming is definitely one of them, like I'm definitely heard it come out of my mouth, that whole like, that shaming pattern that, that we want to pass on, but it, it's, it's something, it's something that we, obviously we don't want to pass on, right, like it's that, those are the things that create those, those wounds in us.

[00:21:49] Mercedes Samudio: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think that shadow work is part of it. It's not my modality or my training, but there are a lot of Jungian shadow work stuff, and I'm a huge proponent of it because I think it does help you to become whole. Because I think if you're like, I love that analogy that if your shadow's behind you, it's huge, it's big, it's scary.

But if you're walking next to you or in front of you, you can see it and you can be more aware of how it might be showing up for you in your parenting, in your life, in every aspect of how you show up. And I think that's something that I always reframe. It's not you need to do it, it's don't you deserve to be whole.

I go back to that because a lot of parents will be like, what do I need to do this? And I say, what do you need to be whole? And you know what parents tell me sometimes? They don't always say they need more parenting skills. Sometimes they'll say, well, I just need my husband to care about me. I'm like, that sounds like marriage counseling.

Or they'll say, I just miss my girlfriends. Like none of us see each other anymore because we all have kids. I'm like, that sounds like you have a need to belong. And so when you really pare down what parents need, if you're always like, here, Hunter, here's some more parenting skills, it's like, actually, why don't you ask her what does she think she needs?

Because it might not be more parenting skills. The kids might be fine. Yeah. I just be going through other stuff. Like I need more excitement in my career. I feel stalled or I do miss my girlfriends or heck, I'm tired of being in the pandemic and I'm just overwhelmed. You know, like. And so that idea of, it's not that you need to do your shadow work.

I always ask my parents, what do you think you need? What do you think you deserve? And then we drive into that because some parents are like, girl, I don't know when's the last time I asked myself what I need or deserve. And that becomes a discussion, right? Yeah. And so I say this because my work with Shane Pre Parenting and it's starting to evolve is this idea of how do we treat this whole human who we're expecting to raise a whole human?

We're saying Hunter. You have to raise a whole human, but then we're shaming you in every aspect of your humanness. And I think that's such a disconnect and why we're still seeing so many disconnects with families and parents. It's not just because. Parents don't have enough parenting skills. It's because we say, hey, you've got to raise a whole human, but we're not going to let you be a whole human.

We're going to ship you of that while you have to also make someone else be whole. That's like, that's an interesting expectation we have for parents. 

[00:24:12] Hunter: It's bananas. I mean, like, let's talk about that, like the external world and the shaming from. You know, Society, Grandparents, Friends, etc. Did you hear about poor Bean Man?

Bean Dad. Bean Dad. Okay, so I read about it in the New York Times at the end of the year thing. This guy, maybe it wasn't a super smart choice, but he, his 9 year old was struggling with opening a can of beans and he like, TikToked it or something. And, uh, he was, he let her struggle, you know, like, he's like, you, you know, like, he, he just didn't go in and rescue her.

And he let her work on this. And eventually she opened the can of beans. But man, people freaked out. He had 12 people call Department of Children and Family Services on him because he did let his nine year old struggle with opening an antebeans. And he, they came to his house. I mean, that's crazy. Like the craziness of the outside world right now, uh, of the society and what we think parents should be doing is the levels of it.

are insane. I mean, we need to, so I don't know, like, maybe you can react to that. What are your thoughts about the sort of external shaming that happens in this culture?

[00:25:38] Mercedes Samudio: Well, I think we're now getting to a subsection of external shaming that you and I And our parents and I grew up with, which is social media.

We grew up with our community maybe shaming and our family shaming, but people on the other side of the world cannot tell my mom how horrible she was, right? They didn't know, right? And for better or for worse, some of it was that because our community was so tight knit, maybe our stuff was ignored because they just believed their parents, right?

And I think now with social media, I could get on social media and tell everyone how horrible my mom is being to me, and get validation and get support, whether she is or not. And I think that comes with layers that we have to pay attention to, and we have to actually address in our parenting world. We can't ignore it and blaspheme to say it's horrible.

We have to realize that social media has opened the door to more awareness, whether that's good or bad. And I teach parents this. Your kids are using social media, and so you've got to be aware of it as well. For this dad, I have no idea who he is. I might now go back and look up what that was about and see more about it.

But knowing that I don't know the whole story, I would say parents need to also be really mindful about what they choose to share and with whom they choose to share it. Not because what he did was wrong, but because when you do that, you invite a lot of misconception. You invite a lot of chaos into your parenting world.

And so what I teach my parents is the first thing you should always do is pay attention to who's in your support system and what you get from those people. If you're a social media influencer, be mindful of what you're projecting out because they're going to give you back. A lot of stuff, and it might not always be what you want.

And so for people who are out there showing their parenting selves as part of their influencing or their social media branding, be mindful that not everyone you're sharing with cares about you or your parenting or who you are. That's number one if you're going to be on social media sharing your parenting struggles.

Number two, because of that, make sure you've got support. When a post goes viral for good or for bad, make sure you've got support. Make sure you have people that truly know who you are, truly know how you raise your children, and truly see who you are, for good or for bad. And then thirdly, Be mindful as you're on social media because your kids are still watching you too.

They're watching how you respond to comments. They're watching how you respond to people. They're watching how you respond to the viralness of your posts. It's important to pay attention to that too. So for this dad, it's not that he messed up or did great or wrong. It's I now have something to share with my daughter about being scrutinized and being shamed.

I can now talk to my child about, I put you on display and then I got myself put on display and how do we deal with it? And I share that knowing how difficult it is to face ourselves if we haven't, which is, again, it goes back to why I do the work I do. We constantly ask parents to know that they're wrong while we're shaming them.

And I've never known someone to change because they got shamed. I've never known someone to do that, and so we have to. Understand that when parents do things like that publicly, it's our choice to shame them or not. And we can definitely choose to do that, but we can also choose to show compassion. We can also choose to gather around and say, this is what happens when we're trying to mix our identities with our world.

Sometimes our parenting identity doesn't always mix well with social media. And that's just part of the curriculum of learning. How do I show up as a whole human? Some parts of me don't need to be on social media. That dad probably learned that. Some other parents have probably learned that themselves.

[00:29:20] Hunter: Well, we could take this from, no, no, no, we could take this into a more maybe relatable example, right? Like of like, you know, you, you do something, a drop off and you know, you say something that's not so great to your kid, a drop off or your kid has a temper tantrum in the grocery store, right? Like that's like the classic example.

We're feeling embarrassment and shame and things like that because You know, we're, we're, we're reflating our parenting success with our child's behavior, eh, which is like never, like, a great idea, honestly. But, um. Uh, you know, what are, what, when we find ourselves, is there any way we can kind of like prepare for a situation like that or like, you know, shame prove ourselves from that, those kind of moments?

Like what are some, some of the ways, what are some of the things that we should Like, parents should expect to maybe feel in some open public places, and then, and then what, what, how can they kind of counteract any kind of negative or whatever stuff that's going down?

[00:30:30] Mercedes Samudio: Yeah, yeah. Talk to us about that. So the good news is that I have a chapter in the book, uh, in Shane Crew Parenting called like, Shane Crew Parenting Emergency Kit.

Right. It's kind of like that adrenaline shot of like, what do you do when it's happening? Like, yay, all the wonderful reflectiveness at home. Exactly. What do you do when it's happening? Right. And so in the book, we talk a little bit about how oftentimes what we do to kids is we put them into things that even we ourselves have a hard time dealing with and then expect them to have the skills for it.

Tantrums at Target or in the grocery store happened with us as well. Right. You can have tantrums too. If you've ever gone for something and they don't have it. If the lines are too long. It's just we don't fall out on the floor and start yelling. And so I often tell parents, when you notice this, it's important to stop and think, okay, do we need to keep going or do we need to leave?

I tell parents all the time, what you said, and I'll reiterate because you kind of said it and move into your question. Your parenting skill set is not based on how your child behaves in the world. Hers. How we behave in the world is always going to be unique, is always going to be new, is always going to be unpredictable.

You cannot predict what's going to overwhelm yourself or your child out in the world. What you can do, though, is use each of these moments to pay attention to what you might need to be doing at home. It looks like my child has a hard time with reading in line. They usually start getting antsy. Maybe we need to do some practice on patience at home, right?

So in the moment, I can't make him practice, but I can realize that's what's happening. Hey, let's just get out of the store today.

[00:32:11] Hunter: Start to play Mother May I at home. I don't know if anyone ever plays that anywhere, right? Mother May I? White,

[00:32:17] Mercedes Samudio: white, white, gray light. Yes, exactly. Exactly. Right. And I say that because oftentimes parents freak out.

And they don't take a moment to think, wait, I don't have to freak out right now. We can actually leave. You could even leave your cart and go to the car and just get everyone to calm down and then come back to your cart. I've often even told parents, if you have the financial space to do it, Use ordering services.

If you know grocery stores are overwhelming for your child, it's okay. If you don't, I understand that. But if you do, use Instacart if you can, right? I've given so many parents the permission to say, it's okay to use meal prep services. It's okay to hire people. You don't have to keep forcing yourself into overwhelmed as soon as you're a good parent, just like you don't have to keep forcing your child into overwhelmed to prove that you've got great parenting skills.

Overwhelm trumps everybody's skills. It trumps coping skills. It trumps parenting skills because everyone's overwhelmed. And so putting yourself or your child in overwhelmed to prove that you guys can do it actually is the worst way to prove it. The best way to prove it is to be working together at home on things that you're noticing they're having a hard time with out, so that way when you go out, you can't predict what will happen, but at least you'll have some tools to say, hey buddy, let's come over here, and they'll actually listen to you because you've been practicing at home, it's safe to listen to me in this situation.

If you say, hey, we only have five minutes in the line, you've been practicing Mother May I at home, and so they can manage the five minutes. They can manage it. And so what I'll say is this to concise that up a little bit for you. It's okay when things go awry in the world. It's not a reflection of who you are as a parent.

What I want you to start doing with yourself is to acknowledge what's happening and maybe give yourself a mental note that when you get home, you might want to practice more with how to help your child not be that overwhelmed in that situation, whatever that might be. And here's a really good tip for that.

Even if that practicing includes getting an assessment. Getting them some type of help, getting them in home care, that's practice too, right? Some kids can practice with just you and your family. Some kids might need help. Some kids might need assessment. Some kids might need medication. All of that is practicing because you're helping them learn how to deal with the overwhelm in their bodies.

So when you go out to the world, they'll be safer and they'll feel safer. And I like to add that caveat, because I think a lot of parents are like, but what if I can't do it myself? That's what I'm here for. That's what Hunter's podcast is here for, right? Like, that's what these things are. It's all part of you practicing for you and your child.

[00:34:59] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah. Yeah. You're not supposed to, it's not just supposed to be you and a little kid. alone in the world. Like, that's not, human beings are not, not designed for, for that kind of situation. We, we need support. We need it. I mean, the isolation. Oh yeah, yeah. Well, that is not, not a road we're going down now. But you, so Mercedes, you're, you're obviously You know, you, you, you study this, uh, where does, where does, I want to just pivot gears and switch gears a little bit here.

And I'm curious about you, like, was your upbringing, I mean, I kind of, what I tend to notice is that those of us who teach this, right, like we teach what we had to learn, we, we needed to learn. And I'm wondering if for you, that was true, like if this, if your, what was your upbringing like and did this, was it like, yes, this is awesome, I've got to teach what I know, or I've got to like start to transform some of these things that weren't so helpful or skillful from my upbringing?

[00:36:04] Mercedes Samudio: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I actually opened the book with. A really traumatic moment in my life because I was raised by my step grandmother and not by biological parents for a lot of different reasons. Drugs, incarceration, just a lot of different things going on. And because of our relationship, lots of physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse.

It put me into a really negative path with my own mental health and things like that. But on the surface, no one knows that. On the surface I was a really good kid, straight A's, gotten to UCLA, did everything right, and I think one of the things that I realized when I got into my psych degree and then later on into my social work degree was that a lot of the trauma I experienced was because my mom had trauma.

And because her mom had trauma and really looking at what happens when you start or even decide, I want to raise a child, what happens to all that trauma? What happens to all those life experiences? And as I start to look at that, here we come with the shameful parenting, where I always thought to myself, I wonder what would have happened to my mom if she had space.

To talk about being a grandmother to someone who had actually, my mom had really been really hard on her and, and they didn't have a great relationship. What would that have been like for her to have a support system of people who understood her space? Would she have been better to me? I'll never know the answer to that, but I think that's what constantly drives me of.

What happens if we change the way we create a world for parents? Will they reach out more? Will they try more? Will they think more? Will they, and I think we're starting to see that with this positive parenting movement, that yes, when we change the social consciousness around how parents identify with their role, it changes the way they seek out behaviors and resources.

And my mission is to get to a place where our whole world sees parenting differently than they currently do. Where we stop putting such horrible, impossible expectations on parents. Where we start to answer the question, at what age does a child no longer deserve our empathy?

And so that's, that's kind of my story. That's, that's how I got here. I was not raised in a traditional home. I was not raised with loving parents at all. And at the end of the day, I know why. And I want to help other parents not hate themselves for it. I want to help other people understand that if you came from not so great upbringings, it's going to probably be even more work for you to accept who you are as a person, which is even going to be more difficult if you decide to be a parent, because then you've got to accept that you're raising a whole human while you're still trying to work on your whole humanness.

And so there's so many layers that I think when we just talk about parenting skills, we miss. When we just talk about positive or mindful parenting, we miss. I think we need to really change the way we see how we raise humans, how we raise parents. And so that's kind of, it comes from my own story of realizing that I wish my mom had more support.

I wish she had more representation. Right? Uh, kinship families are not represented enough in our world. And so I just would love, I think for me and my upbringing and for what I've seen to really change the way that happens for other people and for other families. Wow.

[00:39:29] Hunter: Um, that's beautiful. I'm just like absorbing what you said.

Your story, and uh, there's a lot of healing that had to happen for you there.

[00:39:41] Mercedes Samudio: But still healing, still happening, still going, a lot of healing, still on it.

[00:39:46] Hunter: Yeah. What, what were some of the things that, um, what were some of the most powerful ways you healed?

[00:39:54] Mercedes Samudio: Um, personally, I think diving into academics and diving into that space, that space was always really safe for me.

I know it's not always safe for everyone. I know school can be really hard for a lot of people in academics, but for me, it was not. It was kind of my safe space. And so I noticed that now, and I really honor that part of me, that part of me that loves learning, that part of me that continues to want to be a lifelong learner.

I know it's because as a kid going through a lot of trauma, it helped me to stay safe. It helped me to stay present. And so I often tell people when I'm working with them, what helped you to stay safe? Don't hate it as much, even if it made you somewhat maladaptive, right? Sometimes I get called a know it all or a nerd and those things aren't always fun, but I also know that.

It's part of what made me feel safe, and so part of helping my parents understand that is that that's part of your identity, what helped you feel safe. It might have turned into something not so great as you got older, but that doesn't mean it wasn't. a good thing when you initially started taking all, taking it on.

And so to answer your question, it was diving into learning and just really diving into how can I learn more? How can I understand more? That always helped me to kind of just keep moving forward. Well, I think that that wraps up.

[00:41:04] Hunter:  So, um, like the whole idea of the, the shame that we write about shame proofing.

Because, you know, academically even, there has been, like, over history and time, a lot of parent blaming, you know, in this, in this world of psychology, right? Like, we're blaming parents and caregivers for everything, kids, right? We're, we're blaming them for all of this, and, and we do live in kind of a judge, we live in a really judgmental culture, really kind of blame, blaming culture, and, and, and you take this and say, well, you know, let's.

You know, what you're, what you're describing, Mercedes, is the movement from judgment, and this is what we work on in the mindfulness world, right, from judgment to curiosity. You know, like from saying, I'm making a decision about what this is, and I'm just closing my mind to it too. Let me be open and curious about what is here and why it's here.

And, and when we open ourselves with the attitude of curiosity, then all this, this understanding can come. And, and that's exactly what you're describing and, yes, yeah, yes. 

[00:42:19] Mercedes Samudio: Hmm.

[00:42:24] Hunter: So, I think this is a beautiful, what do you see for, you describe this beautiful vision of, Um, moving away from shaming parents, from moving into this place, I mean, I kind of see it as moving into this place of learning, right, of openness, of curiosity because when we are in a place of shame, we're not in a place of learning.

We're just like, you know, we're, we're just in a hole in the ground, we're, we're crying on the floor and we're helpless, right? Like we can't, we can't. And we can't move and grow and do something different if we're shaming ourselves because then we can't do something outside of our comfort zone, right? And that's what, that's the definition of growth.

It's like to get outside of our comfort zone, right? So, what, um, what do, what is your vision for, like, imagine where we are with parents like 20 years from now?

[00:43:23] Mercedes Samudio: 20 years from now, the Parental Identity Development Model will be a part of our Vernacular and lexicon, which I think will lay the foundation for that world, where we have a different expectation on parents, because we truly now understand the developmental process that a parent goes on, and we truly understand that a child never reaches an age that they no longer deserve our input, and that's kind of where I see us in 20 years of parenting.

[00:43:54] Hunter: The parents, yeah, I know I was thinking about that question that you asked. And it's true, it's like, I don't even think there is an age of human being that no longer deserves our empathy. We can start to understand where they're coming from and what do they need to learn. And that model of saying, Not I judge you and you're this and I'm done now I don't have to think about you anymore, but that model of instead saying who are you?

Let me understand Let me be curious about what you need why you're you're in this situation What you know that the whole attitude of curiosity like we could take that from parenting into All areas of life, you know, like I think of, I think of, you know, the, the whole incarceration system. Like, like, why are you here?

What do you need to learn? Right? Like, rather than you are bad, boom, you're done. You don't even get to vote anymore, but who, who are you? Why? And what do you, what do you need? Right? What are your needs? If we can take that question to a two year old. Who's flipping their lid. Can't we take that question to ourselves and then to everybody in society?

[00:45:11] Hunter: Mercedes, is there anything that we missed that the parent listening to this or the partner listening to this might, uh, might need to hear before we close up? 

[00:45:24] Mercedes Samudio: Yeah, I think no matter where you are in your parenting journey, it's never too late to change the way you respond to yourself as a parent or to your children.

And I say that because I often get people who say, Oh, I wish I knew you when my kids were younger. Instead of realizing that if they're still here, and you can still talk to them, as soon as you realize you'd like to change your responseis you can now.

[00:45:43] Hunter:  Never too late. Absolutely. Absolutely. I, I taught Mindful Parenting to a group of, in the, in our local, um, community here, that was this, uh, it was a grant, low income community, and this, a grandmother was there, actually, who's raising her grandson.

Because she wanted to help with her grandson and she, you know, at the end, it was, it was beautiful. She talked about what happened with her grandson, but then she told me, she said, I, I healed my relationship with my adult daughter. And I was like, Oh, you know, like, Oh, right. Like that's, there is, it's never, never too late.

What you're talking about is being in relationship with, and that's the most valuable thing in our lives. Yes.

[00:46:34] Mercedes Samudio: Agreed. Agreed.

[00:46:37] Hunter: Mercedes, thank you so much for sharing your time and your insights and your wisdom with us here and your book. I really, really appreciate you taking the time to talk and, and be with us today.

Thank you.

[00:46:50] Mercedes Samudio: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:46:59] Hunter: I loved, loved, loved this conversation. I hope you did, too. Listen, if you've ever gotten some value out of the Mindful Mama podcast, you got value today, do me a quick favor. It really, really helps if, for you to go over to Apple Podcasts and leave a rating and review. It just helps the podcast grow and it just takes like a minute of your time.

Makes such a big difference, and I really, really appreciate it if you do. And hey, if you want to let me know how you feel about this podcast, about what your takeaways are, a great way to do is take a screenshot while you're, where you're listening, like on your phone or whatever, post it in your Instagram stories, tag me.

I'm at mindfulmamamentor. And we can take this conversation further, talk a little bit more about this. I mean, I think this is so, so valuable to be open about shame and what, you know, and, and, and this transformation, right? We're in the whole transformation in our parenting. You're part of it. You're listening.

Good for you. Rock on. So make sure you do that. It's, it's awesome. It helps to, helps to spread the word about all these awesome, awesome things, right? Like these, these are powerful conversations. I at least, I think so. I hope you do too. Anyway, thank you so much for listening. I'm, you've listened all the way to the end here, and I'm grateful for you and grateful for your presence.

And I can't wait to connect with you again next week. In the meantime, you know, breathe in, breathe out. Find some time for stillness, for peace. The more you do that, the more you can spread that peace to everyone around you. As you have more calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children and everybody else.

So, let's practice that together. I'll be practicing with you and I can't wait to talk to you again soon. 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

[00:49:16] Mercedes Samudio: 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 and not feeling like you're

[00:49:39] Hunter: yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't

[00:49:41] Mercedes Samudio: things 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 when someone's there. I'm very thankful

[00:49:55] Hunter: I had this.

[00:49:56] Mercedes Samudio: You can continue in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift everything in your parenting.

[00:50:12] Hunter: 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'll 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 mindfulparentingcourse. com 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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