Dr. Cara Goodwin, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, best-selling children's book author, and a mother to three children. She specializes in translating recent scientific research into information that is helpful, relevant, and accurate for parents and caregivers through her Instagram account @parentingtranslator, her newsletter on Substack.

425: The Science of Less-Stress Parenting 

Dr Cara Goodwin

There is a lag time between the research on parenting and parents getting that research. What does science tell us about parenting? I talk to Dr. Cara Goodwin, clinical psychologist, about what the research says about topics like parental stress, perfectionism, even how to handle lying in kids. This is a must-listen episode!

The Science of Less-Stress Parenting - Dr Cara Goodwin [425]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Dr. Cara Goodwin: I, was trained as a psychologist before I became a mother. And then when I became a mother, I started to notice this big problem that was out there that, there's all this research on child development and parenting, but it doesn't seem to be reaching the parents who really need it.

[00:00:23] Hunter: You're listening to The Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 425. Today, we're talking about the science of less stress parenting with Dr. Cara Goodwin.

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

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course. And I'm the author of the best selling book, Raising Good Humans, a mindful guide to breaking the cycle of reactive parenting and raising kind, confident kids, and now raising good humans every day, 50 simple ways to press pause, stay present, and connect with your kids.

Welcome back, dear listener, and hey, if you are new, very special, welcome to you. I'm so glad you are here. Listen, if you are not new and you've been around for a little while, make sure, or if you're new, hit the subscribe button so you don't miss any episodes. Subscribe and you'll get all the valuable episodes every Tuesday in your podcast app.

In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Dr. Kara Goodwin, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist, best selling children's book author, and mother to three children who specializes in translating. Recent scientific research into information that is helpful, relevant, and accurate for parents and caregivers through her Instagram account, Parenting Translator.

And we're going to talk about how there's really a big lag time between the research on parenting and parents getting that research. what does science tell us about parenting? We're going to talk about parental stress, perfectionism, and make sure you stay listening to how to handle lying in kids.

We've got the research proven answer for this one. Totally a must listen episode. Before we dive in, I want to share that every week I talk to members inside the Mindful Parenting. Membership, and if we celebrate our wins, and I just want to share a couple wins that we've had inside the membership. D, meditated every day this week.

Woo, go mama! S, made it through module 8, and she said she hopes to do more win this weekend. The weekend is the best time to set the kids intention for the week so they can have a plan. I feel more organized and sleep better knowing we're all on the same page. Yay! Another S celebrated the win of waking up early one morning and doing a workout that really felt good.

And J is feeling a lot more confident and energetic this week because of getting an almost full night's sleep every night. Yay! So we celebrate all of these wins with our members, and we are in calls every week live with our members to celebrate their wins and tackle the challenges head on. We open up the membership twice a year, so if you are interested, make sure you get on the wait list at mindfulparentingcourse.

com or mindfulmamamentor. com. Okay, let's dive in. Join me at the table as I talk to Dr. Cara Goodwin.

Cara, thanks so much for coming on the Mindful

[00:04:01] Dr. Cara Goodwin: Mama podcast. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:04:05] Hunter: I'm glad you're here. So you are, you're a licensed clinical psychologist. You have three kids, number four on the way as we record this. So I'm curious, about, how you were raised and was it some, is your interest in all this something that you were like reacting against or you were like carrying on good works or maybe a mix of both?

Tell me about

[00:04:28] Dr. Cara Goodwin: that. Yes, I would say, like most parents, probably a mix of both. I, was raised in the 1980s,pretty typical 80s family. I was the middle of three kids. We were all super close in age. My parents both worked full time, and had very demanding careers. So it was a very chaotic, household.

I would say there was always a lot going on. And, I loved being the middle of three kids. I thought I was very close to my brother and sister. but we also fought a lot. I would say maybe even. and, my parents, there was a lot of love in our house. There was a lot of empathy, but it was the typical 1980s household in the sense that, you do what you're told and, there is, there was a little talk about emotions, but not a lot, not as much as,a lot of us parents do now.

And there was a lot of,suck it up and keep going and you're fine. And this go to your room and

get over it. yeah. I would say pretty typical in that sense, but there was a lot of love and my parents, were very nurturing and warm. So I was fortunate to have that, having my own children has been,for so many of us, a real eye opening experience because it brings back a lot of your issues that maybe you didn't even realize were issues, from your childhood that,brings up a lot of these feelings that you had as a child.

And I know for me as a parent, my triggers, what tends to really stress me out is sibling fighting, and I think I experienced a lot of that myself. And in particular, when an older child is. I think that's being mean to a younger child. I think that tends to make me very angry. something else that's a trigger for me is when my children don't listen to me.

when I was growing up, that wasn't tolerated. and I think part of it too is as a middle child, I. often felt like my voice wasn't heard. So when even my children, and rationally, I know they're children, they're not developmentally capable of listening to everything I ask.

But emotionally, I have a reaction of they're not respecting me. They're not paying attention to me. And there's the rational thought of, I know that developmentally, this is normal, is hard to balance with the emotional reaction. so I think it's been really interesting having my own kids and like these.

stressors that come up from my own childhood. Yeah.

[00:06:55] Hunter: Yeah. I can relate to that in the idea of like our thoughts are like, it's like the rider on the elephant, our conscious train. I love that metaphor. And like the elephant, the emotions of they're not listening to me.

I'm not feeling respected like that. it's going its own way. And like in many ways, like the rider really has not so much influence on how the, where the elephant is going. if you're riding an elephant, it's not like you're riding a horse. if you're, if the elephant decides it's going somewhere, you, there's not a lot you can do to stop it sometimes, right?

And I think that for sometimes, that metaphor really resonates with me. Probably the listeners probably heard me say this before, but I think it's so funny. Or I grew up in the 80s, too, and I would wonder, you were a middle child. Did you have the book, The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo?


[00:07:39] Dr. Cara Goodwin: you have that? No, but it sounds like I needed that book.

[00:07:43] Hunter: I don't know why we had it, I only had one older brother that was just two of us, but we loved that book. It's so funny. It's a great book. yeah. You might want to have it with your... Your, your four,kids, it was a good one.

I'll look that up. what got you interested then in working with child development in psychology?

[00:08:03] Dr. Cara Goodwin: so I have always loved little children, which is why I'm having four of my own. So I always knew I wanted to work with kids and I was fascinated by how the brain works. So I was really interested in this.

psychology, cause it mashed, working with children, interacting with children, but also thinking about these broader concepts of brain development. and I,was trained as a psychologist before I became a mother. And then when I became a mother, I started to notice, this big problem that was out there that.

there's all this research on child development and parenting, but it doesn't seem to be reaching the parents who really need it. so I would be, when I became a mother, I would be talking to my parent friends and I would, we'd talk about a problem and we'd say, Oh, yeah, I'd say, about this research study and they would have no idea what I was talking about.

So I realized, a lot of the research that I was doing as a researcher. And that I was talking about with my patients as a psychologist was really not getting out there to a lot of parents. my goal, I have started a non profit called Parenting Translator and the goal is really to get all the research that's out there on parenting and child development and get it into the hands of parents.

To make their everyday lives a little bit easier, because I think we all need as much information as we can to guide this very difficult, process that we're engaged in every single day.

[00:09:26] Hunter: I couldn't agree with you more. And and I think this is true. Like we, as parents, we tend to be repeating the patterns of generations.

Like we tend to repeat,how our parents did it. Not many of us are taking a class per se, not many of us are diving into research, not many of us are trying to, necessarily like studying child development and all of those things. What are some of the places where you saw that parents general knowledge and what the research was saying, where they got into trouble with each other, where parents weren't, what are some of the places where parents weren't understanding things that, that research was now very clear about?

[00:10:05] Dr. Cara Goodwin: there are so many examples like there are simple examples like,there's a lot of research now showing that pacifiers don't interfere with breastfeeding and yet almost every parent is told, don't start pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established. And there's also just a lot of misconceptions out there.

one that will, a study that we'll probably get to later is, there's a really interesting study looking at whether or not you should hide stress from your children. So they found that the parents who were hiding stress around their children, it actually really interrupted the parent child reaction and the child was more stressed as a result.

there's this idea that we should, shield our children in every way from our stress. But, this study suggests that actually we should tell our children when we are stressed and let them know. So there's a lot of research studies like that are just examples of, the fact that like some of the mis some of the ideas that we have about parenting, generally in our culture are actually not backed by research and research gives us other strategies that might be more effective.

[00:11:13] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah, that's fascinating because that's something I talk about a lot is it's okay for you to have your feelings about your kids, and we'll talk more about that. But that's so interesting to hear that, that there is research about hiding stress. Oh my gosh, you're making my day.

But it's interesting. It's like, why is that? Is it like, cause we have this idea of the role of. Parent or the role of mom and we still get these ideas of Donna Reed or like whatever in our head that we think of this, we want to mold ourselves to fit this role, which is always perfect, always knowing the right thing to say, all that stuff.

So then we want to not be, so then it ends up, so we're not real, we're not authentic around

[00:12:03] Dr. Cara Goodwin: our kids. Yes, I definitely think it's this idea of perfectionism and also, this idea that we want to give our children like this perfect life that's completely stress free. But what the research really tells us is that it's not ideal for children, even if we create an environment, which is.

That had absolutely zero stressors in it. That's actually not ideal for children. if we want to raise resilient children, we need to let them be exposed to minor stressors. you don't want to expose your child to, throw them in the pool and say, good luck. but, you don't want to expose them to a major stressor without

[00:12:41] Hunter: Yeah, we don't have to manufacture stuff for them to have to get over,

[00:12:44] Dr. Cara Goodwin: right?

yes. You don't want to, leave your baby for three months and hope that helped makes them more resilient. it's more just you want to allow minor stressors to occur. and a common example is. your child is just stressed because you're leaving for an hour, that stress, although it's very painful for all of us to see our children upset, that stress is good for them.

if you know they're in a situation, you've talked through the coping strategies that can use, they're safe, they're with somebody who, is a good care provider and you leave them in a, for an hour and you. You, this is a minor stressor for them. It's not going to feel good for either of you, but having these minor stressors in their lives and learning how to cope with them, is what helps create more children, more resilient children.

So we don't, I think a lot of us are like, I don't want my kids to ever. experience anything hard and that's a very wonderful intention, but it's not going to prepare them for the real world where there are a lot of stressors, unfortunately. Yeah. And let's

[00:13:46] Hunter: talk about that. what would happen, right?

If we are, our kids are super protected. Julie Lithcott Haines talked about this on the podcast a long time ago, the idea that in college. admissions, they call, they're calling the kids like teacup kids because they're like fragile little teacups that are just going to break at any like difficulty and that's why it can happen if we're like protecting our kids too much from the normal stressors of

[00:14:11] Dr. Cara Goodwin: life.

Yes, exactly. you have to really know your child and kind of know what they're ready for,you don't want to put them in a situation that where they can't handle it, you want to gradually and,research also shows this is an important treatment for anxiety.

If you have a more anxious child, you want to make sure rather than you Protecting them and making sure they never experience whatever it is that makes them anxious. You want to gradually and gently expose them to the thing that makes them anxious while coaching them on coping skills and being aware of where your child is.

what are they ready for? so just thinking about, where is my child and how can I support them in challenging them. in their anxiety, in their stress,to become more resilient. And

[00:14:56] Hunter: to me, that really speaks of the middle path of being conscious, being aware, being curious, right? all of those things, that, like that we teach in Mindful Parenting, right?

That we need, that parents need to be able to navigate. These are nuances, right? We're not saying it's either one thing or the other, it's like you have to walk this messy middle and that really requires us to be awake and alert to your own needs and your kids needs. yeah, I love this.

This is so validating to talk to you, Kara. It's amazing. okay, so let's talk about parenting stress and why do you think that parenting has become so

[00:15:32] Dr. Cara Goodwin: stressful? Thank you, Kara. It really has become so stressful and I think it's easy for, older generations to tell our generation of parents,you're helicopter parents, you're too stressed out.

But there are just, there's a lot of pressure on us. we have higher expectations than previous generations of parents have had. In some ways that's good. In some ways, it's bad. the social media world out there creates this highlight reel where we only see, other parents successes and we don't see other parents challenges, so I think a lot of us, who, as we become Mindful parents are more on the Internet and unfortunately more socially isolated.

We think that other parents are, succeeding and everything and they're skating along and it's easy. And I think it's very important for parents to feel stressed and be like, I'm failing because this isn't easy for me. Also you know the obvious, The COVID pandemic created a lot of increased stress for parents, the pandemic in itself and the stress and the social isolation, but also all of the events that kind of were, it came as a result of the pandemic.

So it's really increased, stress in parents and it's made a lot of us feel, Very uncertain about the future and what, what we can expect. so I think parents are more stressed than ever and we have valid reasons to be more stressed. Okay,

[00:16:53] Hunter: so we're more stressed than ever. This is making me understand like when I started to talk about when my kids were young, how I was Yelling at my kids and how shamed I felt about that and how frustrating and hard that was.

People responded to that to me in a big way. It was like, oh, it's not the highlight reel. It's someone's actually being real about this is incredibly frustrating. And I was like, sometimes I don't like my kids and that's normal, right? and how we can even imagine that, right? but the stress that we're all experiencing, like of the pressure.

High expectations, all this stuff. How is our stress

[00:17:27] Dr. Cara Goodwin: affecting our kids? so our stress has been, so there's a lot of research showing that parents,being and stress is maybe the most important factor in their child's mental health. So I think that's so important for parents to keep in mind that your well being is so important for your child's mental health.

And because of that, we should be looking out for our own mental health and being. Just for in its own case, but also it's important to remember if you don't have the motivation to take care of yourself for yourself, that it's also having a huge impact on your child. it's okay to make decisions if they are decisions that improve your mental health and your well being.

making decisions such as, taking breaks from your. From your children, choosing to be a working parent because that's better for your mental health. So making sure, I think it's very important for parents to make sure that they consider their own mental health and their own well being.

when they are, coming up with decisions for their family.

[00:18:31] Hunter: That is so validating. and I've heard this and I've talked to, Dr. Dan Siegel a couple times about it. He talks about parental presence being so important in our mental health. I'm reading, Gabor Monte's book about,the myth of normal right now and that's talking about this.

And I think though, that this is. You're right, like this is taking a long time to filter into most people that our mental health and our sense of well being. is perhaps the number one factor in children's mental health. I have a couple questions about this. so first,maybe this is not in the research, but I'm just wondering, what is the mechanism that you see in this?

Like, how is our own well being and our own mental health translating into our kids mental

[00:19:13] Dr. Cara Goodwin: health? So there is a little bit of research on this, and stress tends to make parents and some of us have experienced this in our own lives at times when we are really stressed, it tends to make us less responsive, and less present with our children.

So we're more distracted. We, are less likely to, respond to our children. so stress tends to have this negative impact on parent child interactions. And because of this negative impact, children are more likely to develop their own mental health struggles, whether it's Depression or anxiety. and of course there can be a genetic component of this as well.

So parents with mental health struggles are more likely to have children with mental health struggles themselves. But there is something that we can do in the moment as parents, which is, to work on our own stress. So that way we are at least not impacting, the interactions that we have with our child in a negative way.


[00:20:10] Hunter: the way, when I think about that,if I'm stressed, it takes a lot less, I'm stressed, I'm partially in fight, flight, or freeze, to some degree or another, my body, my nervous system is in a state of fight, flight, or freeze. And so then any kind of stress of parenting, a child not doing what we want them to do, a child, being upset about the shoes they're going to wear, not wanting to go to school, all of those things, it just takes a little bit more than to push us into a fully reactive

[00:20:40] Dr. Cara Goodwin: state, where we're yelling,

[00:20:42] Hunter: we're literally in that place of fighting, right?

And we can be, it can turn on that all very normal, very natural human aggressiveness, right? That we don't have to shame ourselves for this is just how we're wired, but it can be very normal and natural, right? But if we are Taking, we have the, the support around us and all the things we need around us to be able to take plenty of breaks.

We don't feel guilty about taking plenty of breaks. We, can do those things then if we can be at ease, it's like we just seem to forget that our emotions are contagious, right? if you're feeling really stressed, I'm feeling that. My husband recently in the last year or two went through a bunch of panic attacks and I know in my heart, I know the best thing for that is for me to be as calm and relaxed as I possibly can, but it is dang hard when somebody is having a panic attack, Because we just feel each other's emotions. We inter are as human beings and we, we are like,the most social species of, of mammal on earth, right? So I can see how that, that can really happen. And I imagine one of the things that, you know, and I know one of the things that is causing a lot of this stress is our struggle for perfectionism, right?

Like that idea that we have to be a certain way, we have to fit this role and I should be calm all the time or I should be this or I should be that, like that's adding to our

[00:22:08] Dr. Cara Goodwin: stress too. Yes, definitely. research definitely finds that perfectionism causes. Parents Increased Anxiety and Stress, which then causes increased anxiety and stress in their children.

And it also makes them more likely to, have these perfectionist tendencies themselves, which any one of us who have struggled with perfectionism, and I'm one of those people, the let you know the last thing you want to do is give that to your child. yeah. Thank you. It's very important to remember that, these, this idea that we have of being the perfect parent and wanting and striving to be the perfect parent, may have a negative impact, not just on our mental health, but also our children's mental health.

and I understand how hard this is. we all love our children so much and wanting to be a perfect parent comes from such. Good place. we just want to do the best for our children, but it's so important to remember that, being the perfect parent, shouldn't even be the goal for us because even if we were capable of that, which we are not, no human being is.

It would not be a good model for our children because they can't be perfect because they're also human beings and they need to see us mess up. They need to see us make mistakes and know that it's okay and to see how we repair and how we cope with those mistakes because that's how they will learn how to repair and cope with their own mistakes.

[00:23:26] Hunter: This is so important. I feel dear listener, we need to just underscore these things. Your well being, it could be, might be the number one factor. And your child's mental and you're taking care of your stress. So this really speaks to taking care of our needs as the number one priority. So then we can be responsive to our kids so that we can use our whole brain so that we can see clearly and our kids can borrow our calm if

[00:23:55] Dr. Cara Goodwin: they need to.

Yes, exactly. And research finds some really. relatively easy ways of taking care of ourselves and reducing stress. I love that your book goes into mindfulness because, there's so much research on mindfulness. it could help parents to accept negative life events. It can help them to understand the emotions of themselves and others.

It can help them to control their own emotions, to have more compassion for their children and themselves. So research finds there's just so much consistent research showing like all of these benefits of mindfulness. and I know that can, it can be It's an annoying suggestion for some busy parents, but it doesn't have to take a lot of time.

and I think you give some good suggestions in your book of not, you don't have to do this for hours a day, just. Have it be a part of your day. and of course, seeking out social connection is a huge one. I think a lot of us lost our village during the pandemic.

And so trying to find that village of support is very important. and of course, Prioritizing your own sleep is very important, which I can totally get how hard that is as a parent, but recognizing that,little things like making sure you also, all of us, a lot of us are really good at making sure our kids follow a bedtime routine and get to bed at the same time, but not so good with ourselves.

just making sure that you use. some of the strategies that we know work with kids, like the bedtime routine and not using devices and try to use some of that with ourselves to make sure we're getting the sleep we need to.

[00:25:22] Hunter: Okay, Kara. So you have currently a two and a half year old, a five year old and a seven year old and one on the way.

Yeah. So how are you able to implement all this knowledge, about parental stress and what are you doing in your own life to, to reduce

[00:25:39] Dr. Cara Goodwin: your stress? Yes. Yeah. I think it's a really, it's a daily challenge, of course. and I, before I became a parent, I fell prey to a lot of these perfectionist thoughts.

So I, I thought I have a PhD in child psychology. of course I'll be the perfect parent. I know everything. And I very quickly learned that it didn't matter how many books I had read, how much training I had. it, this is extremely challenging and. like we were talking about earlier, like what you know rationally is very different than how you operate emotionally.

So I think a big thing for me has been accepting that I can't be a perfect parent and that's actually better for myself and my children. I also really strongly believe in mindfulness and that's something I try to practice. I try to do things, I've gotten better with this with more, as I've had more children.

And let go some of the mom guilt, but try to do things that are good for me and my own mental health, even if it means, leaving my children more often. Or,doing, for example, if I've reached the end of the day, I used to be,very strict about screen time. but, if I've reached the end of the day and I realize, I need a moment.

I just, I'm at a point where I feel like I'm close to losing my cool. It's okay. Put on a show, that might be the better choice in that moment. if I don't use screen time at this moment, I'm at risk of losing my cool. I'm at risk of,doing something that is not the kind of parent I want to be.

So be aware of and recognizing my own, status and taking care of myself when needed has been really helpful.

[00:27:17] Hunter: I love that. I'm so glad. And you talked about, we talked, you mentioned earlier, should we hide our stress from children? You said the research says we should not hide stress from children.

And like I said, this is, Something, so in Mindful Parenting, I teach things like iMessages, where I say, I'm, yeah, when you leave your, cooking mess all over the counter, because my daughter's 13 now, when you leave the cooking mess all over the counter, I feel really frustrated and I'm not able to use the kitchen.

A lot of people have trouble with this. They have trouble with the idea of letting their kids know that they're feeling irritated, they're feeling frustrated, they might even feel like they're about to lose it, right? But, what I've said to parents is that your kids can see it, right? back to feelings are contagious, like your kids can see it, they know anyway something is up, and if you try to stuff it down, then your kid learns not to trust you, right?

that's like a, it's like a, it's incongruent, like it's not, you're not really being honest in that moment. talk to me a little bit more about what this research says about us.

[00:28:25] Dr. Cara Goodwin: Yeah, so research finds that when parents try to suppress their stress and we've all done this occasionally, just acted like everything's fine in front of our kids.

It actually hurts the quality of the interaction between parent and child like we talked about earlier, when you're stressed, you're distracted, by your stress. So it's going to negatively impact the interaction you have with your child and it also even increases the stress in your child because like we've talked about, it's contagious.

It doesn't matter if you're verbalizing it or not. They sense your stress. And it's harder for them because they don't know why. a lot of times it has nothing to do with them. we're worried about some work deadline and we're snapping at them and they think You know, there's something I did wrong and it's important to clarify.

I, unfortunately when I'm pregnant, tend to be more irritable with my fourth grade, I've accepted that,and it just, it is what it is. It's hormonal. I can try to take care of myself, but. It just is what it is. and I think it's important for me to explain to my kids, especially if I, especially the first trimester when I was having very nauseous days, I could tell my kids that mommy's tummy is really hurting today.

So if I seem a little grumpy, that's what's going on with me, I really wish I wasn't grumpy, but it's hard when my tummy hurts like this. and just verbalizing that and also, verbalizing the coping strategies that you are using as a parent. my tummy is hurting, so I think like this afternoon, like we're just probably going to lay low and maybe watch a movie because I need to make sure I rest so that I feel better and can be, a more fun mommy at that time.

so just verbalizing what you are going to use to cope and verbalize, verbalizing what's going on with you so that, you're giving children the language to express that themselves and to learn how to cope with it. So you're giving your children all these skills. that you wouldn't give if you were just pretending like everything's fine.

[00:30:27] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

What does the research say about making amends and apologizing in shortcuts?

[00:30:39] Dr. Cara Goodwin: This is something about parenting that I think has changed, since we were being raised. And, there is a lot of research now showing that apologizing to our children is really important. apologizing to your children is associated with, improved attachment security, suggesting that it improves the parent child bond.

so apologizing is very important because it, not only helps repair the relationship, but also models for your children how to apologize. and it's very important that,I think a lot of parents know now that apologizing is important, but not necessarily how to do it. there's even research on how to apologize most effectively, so that there's five parts to it.

So you want to make sure you acknowledge your wrongdoing, so acknowledge your part. so this, make sure you don't say something like, I'm sorry that you feel that way, which usually just makes people feel worse. so acknowledging what you did wrong, expressing remorse or regret, I'm sorry I shouldn't have done that.

Acknowledging how it impacted the other person, and a promise to do better in the future and a way to make up for the wrongdoing in some way, which,can be called making amends. showing your child. a way that you can make amends for something you did. And I think that, that idea of making amends or repairing the relationship is really important for children to learn.

research shows that when children make amends, after they've had a conflict with another child, it is, it makes more progress towards repairing the relationship than just giving an apology. so making sure. that as a parent, you're teaching your child to even take that next step.

[00:32:23] Hunter: I love that.

do you have any examples of, how you've apologized to your kids and what amends you might have offered?

[00:32:29] Dr. Cara Goodwin: Yeah,a common apology is, I'm sorry that I yelled, I'm sorry I lost my cool. And, an amends, it really depends on the child and the situation of what works best. it could be as simple as, do you want a hug?

Do you want to, play your, whatever their favorite activity is at the time, you could even ask them, what would make you feel better right now? so any of those strategies can help towards making amends and can teach your child how to do that, use that same strategy in their own relationships.

[00:33:03] Hunter: All right. This is amazing. I love this. What does this research say about how to handle lying in kids?

[00:33:09] Dr. Cara Goodwin: Yeah. So lying is so tricky because I think as adults, we see it as like this moral, issue of like, how could I have raised a liar? But it's so important to remember first and foremost, that lying is completely developmentally normal.

And That, often it is just testing the bounds of what they can get away with, and to know that,first remembering to stay calm, that lying is not a sign that your child, is morally off tracker, they are not a liar. So just knowing that this is developmentally normal, this is something that children do, and to, try to understand like why they are a lie and get to the root cause of it and help to address that and talk to that about with your child.

you also want to discuss at the same time the importance of being honest, and praise them for being honest, especially when it was difficult to be honest. for example, did you eat those cookies? And they say yes, knowing that you might be mad. making sure instead of, you instantly jump to, letting them know how wrong it was to eat the cookies, just first, taking a deep breath, acknowledging that they were honest, when it was hard.

because if you jump right to, Getting mad about it. And you can't eat cookies before dinner, blah, blah, blah. They're going to think, Oh, next time I'm definitely not going to tell the truth because I got in so much trouble. so looking at the root cause and. and helping children to understand, the importance of being honest, just talking about it and why honesty matters for our relationships.


[00:34:49] Hunter: Awesome. So it's normal, stay calm, try to understand why they're lying. And then the importance of being honest. And I'm not hearing you say anywhere in here, like ground your child or send them to their, send them, take away their screen time. Like the idea is we are teaching our children, right?

We're coaching them and teaching them. This is, and so that they can learn better for the future. We don't have to make them feel bad to have them do better. Yes,

[00:35:15] Dr. Cara Goodwin: exactly.

[00:35:16] Hunter: I love this. and then real quick, because we've just been talking about this in a couple other episodes, but what does the research say about whether we should choose a play based or more academic preschool or kindergarten?

[00:35:28] Dr. Cara Goodwin: there's a lot of research that's come out about this recently, and I think it's a common misconception. research is really supporting the more play based, preschools because, play based preschools. really help children to learn these more abstract concepts, such as creativity, problem solving, and these skills, so these more abstract skills are actually more associated with later success than these more academic skills.

knowing different letters and the letter sounds and knowing math concepts. So these more abstract, creativity, problem solving, social, emotional learning, these are associated with later success. and we also know that young children tend to learn best through play and interaction with others.

So it's more important for your child, they're going to be, even though it doesn't feel that way to us, it's hurts, they're going to be learning more. When they're playing in the mud with another child, then when they're sitting at their desk doing a worksheet. So play based preschools are really what is more supported by the research.

[00:36:33] Hunter: I love it. I love it. Thank you so much, Kara. This is so beautiful. Kara also has, she has some many more resources on her website. She talks about hitting and has a great children's book, What to Do When You Feel Like Hitting. This has been so valuable. This has been so validating for me today and exciting.

Where can people find out more about what you're doing and continue the conversation?

[00:36:58] Dr. Cara Goodwin: Yes, so my website is parenting translator.org and I have a lot of free resources for parents, on all sorts of different topics related to the research on parenting. I'm on Instagram at Parenting Translator and I put out, translations of research, several times a week on Instagram.

I'm also on TikTok and I have a sub stack newsletter. for people who want more information on the research, which is, Parenting Translator on Substack as well. And I, have a new podcast too, which is, audio versions of my newsletter for people who prefer the audio format.

[00:37:34] Hunter: thank you so much for taking the time to come on today.

I know you might be feeling grumpy, but you weren't grumpy with me, which I appreciate. And, and now I really appreciate what you're doing. And I think it's so valuable.

[00:37:47] Dr. Cara Goodwin: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:37:57] Hunter: Wow, this was a very helpful episode, wasn't it? I think so. we need to have that research to show, help us know what's going on because we've had a lot of bad habits in the past and we're making new changes, yet the path isn't totally fully paved for us, right? Like in some ways you may have older family members who are worried that you're messing up your kids by talking about their emotions rather than...

putting them in timeout or spanking them or something, right? that definitely happens. So it's really helpful to know that mindful parenting processes are totally research backed. And I can say that now as my daughters are 13 and 16, the work I did when my daughters were little That I put in, I worked so hard to change my habits, my reactivity, and my language through all the stuff I share in Mindful Parenting really helped, really worked.

Our relationship is so close now. They don't hate me as teenagers. We're not getting like the big teen rebellion. Yeah, they've got teen moments. And there are definitely challenges, but it's not in our relationship and not necessarily in the parenting part. So anyway, I hope this episode was really helpful for you.

If it was, I would be ever so grateful to you if you could leave an Apple Podcast review. It's super easy to do. You just open up where you're listening to the podcast on that purple app, go to the Mindful Parenting Podcast and scroll down. And you'll see a purple link that says write a review, and it just really does take 30 seconds.

I'm going to give a shout out here to a five star review from She Who Rides Far. They wrote, Simply amazing. Hunter gets it in me. She covers so many great topics to keep it fresh and digs into the modern questions. I can't quite get guidance on from previous, the previous generations. Thank you so much for that review.

All right, that's what I got for you today. I would love to see your feedback. I'm on Instagram at MindfulMamaMentor, and I hope you have a great week, my friend. I hope that you have all the hugs you need. If you're having a hard time, I hope you get to see some of the Light and the Joy. I hope this has watered those seeds of ease, of peace, of enoughness in you because you are enough.

Exactly as you are. You don't have to be perfect. You, it's okay for you to make mistakes. I make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It's okay. And all we can do is we begin anew again and again. And so that's why we do this podcast and I hope it does it. Helps you. Helps you begin anew. Okay. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening, my friend.


I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better.

[00:41:00] Dr. Cara Goodwin: It will help you

[00:41:00] Hunter: communicate better and just, I'd

[00:41:02] Dr. Cara Goodwin: say, communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

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

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

[00:41:58] Hunter: Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

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

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindfulparenting. org. MindfulParentingCourse.

com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. MindfulParentingCourse. com

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