172: You Are Not A Sh*tty Parent with Carla Naumburg

Are you a shitty parent?

 

Or do you ever think you might be?

 

Parenting today is so hard, and there are so many models of ‘perfect parenting’ available on social media that we can compare ourselves against that provide ‘evidence’ that we’re not doing it right.

 

Things can get even more difficult when we believe in respectful parenting, because we have a model for what we know we want parenting to be like – and every time we fall short of that ideal, the voice is there:

 

“You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“You’ll never be able to do it right.”
“You’re a shitty parent.”

 

My guest today, Carla Naumburg, is the author of the bestselling book How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids, which was conveniently released just before a global pandemic started when we suddenly all started losing our shit with our kids.

 

Now she’s back with a new book: You Are Not A Sh*tty Parent which helps us to understand:

  • Where these stories about ourselves come from
  • How we can stop believing these stories
  • Ways to treat both ourselves and our children with more compassion

Carla was kind enough to send an advance copy of the book to a member of my community who said that she would read a sentence in it and think:

 

“But you don’t know me; I actually AM a shitty parent!”

 

…and then in the next sentence it was almost like Carla had read her mind and was prepared to address the member’s precise concern. So if you ever feel anxious about your ability to parent in a way that’s aligned with your values and think it’s all about your failures, Carla has ideas to help.

 

Please note that some swearing is inevitable when you’re talking about Carla’s books but apart from that the conversation was remarkably restrained on the language front!

 

Carla Naumburg’s Books

You Are Not A Sh*tty Parent
Affiliate link to How to Stop Losing Your Shit With Your Kids (Affiliate links) 

 

References

Yarnell, L.M., Stafford, R.E., Neff, K.D., Reilly, E.D., Knox, M.C., & Mullarkey, M. (2015). Meta-analysis of gender differences in self-compassion. Self and Identity 14(5), 499-520.

Transcript
Jen Lumanlan:

Hi, I'm Jen and I host the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. We all want our children to lead fulfilling lives. But it can be so hard to keep up with the latest scientific research on child development and figure out whether and how to incorporate it into our own approach to parenting. Here at Your Parenting Mojo, I do the work for you by critically examining strategies and tools related to parenting and child development that are grounded in scientific research and principles of respectful parenting. If you'd like to be notified when new episodes are released, and get a free guide to seven parenting myths that we can safely leave behind, seven fewer things to worry about, subscribe to the show at YourParentingMojo.com. You can also continue the conversation about the show with other listeners in the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group. I do hope you'll join us

Denise:

Hi, everyone, I am Denise A longtime listener of Your Parenting Mojo. I love this podcast because it condenses all the scientific research on child development comparisons with anthropological studies and put it into context of how I can apply all of this to my daily parenting. Jen has a wealth of resources here so if you're new to the podcast, I suggest you scroll through all her episodes, I'm sure you'll find one that will help you with whatever you're going through or one that just piques your interest. If you'd like to get new episodes in your inbox, along with a free infographic on 30 reasons your child isn't listening to you and what to do about each one. Sign up at YourParentingMojo.com/subscribe. Enjoy the show.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. And just a warning before we get going there is going to be some swearing in today's episode, there's really no way around it. So if you have young children and you don't want them to hear it, then please do listen to this episode when they are not around. My guest today is Carla Naumburg, Ph.D. She's a licensed clinical social worker and author of the best-selling book How to Stop Losing Your Shit with Your Kids, which was conveniently released right before a global pandemic when we all started losing our shit with our kids. So now we're two and a half years into that pandemic and Karla is back with a new book, You Are Not a Shitty Parent. And she is here to talk with us about it today. Welcome, Carla.

Carla:

Thanks, Jen. I'm delighted to be here.

Jen Lumanlan:

So, let's kind of just dive right in. I know you write a lot about parenting and life in general and the struggles that come along with that. And the idea one of the central ideas in the latest book is that not all struggles are the same, so I'm wondering if you can start out by telling us about the different kinds of struggles that we face, and why does it matter if we can tell the difference between them?

Carla:

Yeah, that's a great place to start. And the first thing I want to say is that Parenting is hard for everyone for different reasons, right? We all have different challenges in life and in parenting. And there are two kinds of main challenges and the metaphor we're going to use is talking about arrows, and I would like to say that this story, actually, I did not come up with it—it comes from the Buddhist tradition, and while I myself am not Buddhist, I think Buddhist psychology is some of the most brilliant stuff out there, and I have a great respect for the story. So if I've misrepresented in any way, my apologies, I'm offering it with the deepest respect. But the idea is, and what the Buddha talked about is that we get hit with arrows in life and I think he talked about arrows because back then they didn't have guns and horrible things like that, but we get hit with arrows and this is just the bad, awful, painful, unavoidable stuff that happens, you know, we kid falls and breaks their arm or their leg gets a fracture, or we walk outside in our car has a flat tire, or a global pandemic happens and shuts everything down, right? These are just they can happen in small ways and in really significant ways, and they're just the things that happen in life that for the most part are fairly unavoidable. And while there may be some things we can do, you know, we can advocate for our children at school, and maybe that will prevent them from getting a bad grade in some cases, but in other cases, it's just going to happen anyways, right? But if that's not the first arrow that hits you another one will, so those are the first arrows of life—the yucky stuff that's unavoidable. The second arrows of life come at us right after those first arrows and this tends to be how we respond to and treat ourselves in the wake of the horrible stuff that happens, so let's say you have a child who's diagnosed with ADHD or learning disability or something like that, and you get this diagnosis, that's the first arrow, right? And then if you proceed to just braid yourself and feel like a horrible parent and descend into this spiral of shame and blame and guilt, that's a second arrow, right? And that arrow is actually optional, It doesn't feel optional, It really doesn't sometimes, but we don't have to do that, right? In the wake of our struggles and our challenges and these painful things that happen, we actually have some choice in how we think about them, and how we treat ourselves after we go through these awful things or while we're going through them, and we don't have to shoot ourselves with a second arrow. And that's what self compassion and this book is all about.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, so let me let me just pause right there for a second because we don't have to and “yet,” yeah, quote from a parent who's in my community, because we had a really rich discussion in our community when I mentioned that I was going to be interviewing you and parents like, “Yes, I need this so much.” And one parent, I want to quote her, she said, “I would like to accept all parts of myself, but it's hard when I know there's so much I would like to change. The times I have struggled to be kind to myself after losing it with my child. Acceptance feels like a betrayal of my children and their suffering. I deserve to ache and hurt as a ‘punishment’ for the suffering I've caused.” I understand these are second errors, but the conditioning runs deep. I mean, that's, that's heartbreaking, right?

Carla:

You shared that quote with me prior to this conversation, Jen and I, I read it, and I resonated with it so deeply, like, I'd like to meet the parent who hasn't been there, right? Because I certainly have. And I had some thoughts for this parent, one is—you and me, were right there together, you are not alone in those feelings, another thought was, the psychologist Carl Rogers said this thing that has become quite famous and popular, they've probably heard before that this is the paradox of life that in order to change, we really need to accept ourselves first, which feels like such a weird thing but one can start to imagine when you say, “You know what, this is who I am. This is what I'm struggling with. This is what's going on. I'm not there yet. I'm not where I want to be yet, but this is where I am right now. And that's, that's okay.” All of a sudden, you can get a little headspace from the back-and-forth struggle of—I'm the worst, I shouldn't have done this, I'm screwing up my kids. And in that headspace and heart space you can start to think about other possibilities, start to behave in new ways, and we'll talk about that a little more later. But the other thing I want to say is, the parent in your community was so wise when they said the conditioning runs deep. Yes, it does and we'll talk about this later, as well. But I think of self-compassion as a language we are all learning to speak and almost none of us, especially in the West, grew up speaking this language because our parents didn't speak it because their parents didn't speak it, and if nobody in your family has ever spoken Greek, you're not going to suddenly be able to speak it. And learning a new language, whether it's Greek or self-compassion, when you are a busy, exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed-out parent, trying to raise kids and possibly have a job outside the home in the middle of a pandemic. That's an incredibly hard thing to do. And just because it's hard, that doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. That's just the nature of how it is.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. Thank you for that context. And so okay, so we talked about first arrows and second arrows, and there are also third arrows, right?

Carla:

Yeah, I don't know that the Buddha talked about third arrows but more recently, other psychologists and thinkers have talked about this third arrow, which is kind of this third arrow of denial and distraction. Because the thing is, we're always having these first arrows come at us, and then if we follow them up with constant second arrows of how awful we are, and how much we're screwing everything else, and how everybody else is doing better, at some point, that's just too painful to sit in for any of us. And so we go to this place of denial and distraction, and it looks different for everyone, for some folks, it's alcohol or substance use, for some folks, it's compulsive shopping, compulsive eating may even be just spacing out in front of your phone for longer than is really useful for you, and we, we all do some of this right? And it's not necessarily bad. The question is, when does it get to a point where it's really interfering with your ability to be present in your life and present with your children?

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. And so, you say that self-compassion can help us with these errors especially the second and third ones but before we get to what self-compassion is, you're pretty clear in the book about what self-compassion isn't. So can you help us see what isn't self-compassion and not?

Carla:

Yes. Such an important point, Jen. Self-compassion is not self-pity, right? It's not wallowing in how awful you are, and everything's terrible, and you totally screwed up. It's not self-indulgence. And I think some many people, including this parent, in your community, that we talked about earlier, feel like that self-compassion is some amount of like, just giving yourself whatever you want, or letting yourself off the hook, so you've done something wrong and in the response, you just are like—forget it, I'm just gonna buy myself a treat or whatever, or I'm never gonna think about this again, and that's not what it is self-compassion. Actually, there is research that self-compassion does lead to effective behavior change, right? So, it's very much being present with whatever's going on, taking it seriously, but in a way that treat yourself with kindness rather than contempt. It's not self-esteem and I know you've talked about this on your show before self-esteem really depends on doing things well, and comparing yourself to other people, and judging yourself, which means that if you're really struggling or suffering, or you've missed the mark, or you failed, which by the way we all have in parenting, we all will again, including myself, your self-esteem is going to tank, right? And self-compassion is not that. And finally, this is such a big one, self-compassion is not self-improvement. It's not. It's not about making yourself better in some ways, It's about noticing when you're suffering, and shifting how you think about your suffering, and how you treat yourself in response to that suffering.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah, it's almost like, I'm thinking about Casey Davis, who wrote the book, How to Keep House While Drowning, I think. It's super short and just sort of makes the point that when you're gonna, I didn't prepare this ahead so the question, the quote, isn't coming to the top of mind, but some something along the lines of, you're not required to improve, right? You're not required to look out and see, I need to improve, but if you're doing it for yourself, right? If it's true for you that it would help your life and make your life better, then that's a reason to improve not because you're comparing yourself to anybody else, or because it is required in some way to be better than you are right now. So yeah, that self-improvement and that comparison with other people is so pervasive, and in our culture, isn't it? And so, It's really what our culture is built on this idea of self-improvement.

Carla:

Absolutely. And the way I think about it is, you know, if you're really struggling and suffering, and you call up your best friend, this person who's just there for you, and they really understand you, and they accept you, would they say to you, “You know what's going to help? You need to go train for a marathon, you need to run a marathon, you're having a terrible day and feeling like a bad parent, and I've got this program for you.” And once you've run a marathon, then you'll know that you're a good parent. And the flip side of that is if this friend knows you and knows that going for a run, while chatting is a great stress reliever and kind of helps you recheck they might say, “Hey, you want to go for a run together?” And that those two things, even though they both involve running, are so different, right? In the way they're shared. So that's the difference really, between self-compassion, "let's go for this run together. I hear you're having a hard time, here's this thing I know you enjoy, let's stay connected even if you're having a hard time,” versus “You suck, and you need to run 26.2 miles before you can consider yourself a good human.” Right? Yeah, I'm not a fan of that.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay, so then what is self compassion?

Carla:

So, like I said, it's just noticing when you are suffering, and that's a huge piece of it, and I know, we're going to talk about the noticing but so many of us just, when we're having a really hard day, or for many of us a really hard two and a half years, you know, during a pandemic, we kind of tend to brush right past it, we've got too many things to do—we've got dentist appointments to schedule and report cards to read and, you know, shopping lists to buy and work to do and all these things that we just kind of ignore it, and then eventually, we have like a massive breakdown or get a terrible cold or something. So what I'm a big part of self-compassion is just noticing when you're suffering and not blowing it off, like this is real. And your suffering may not be as bad as other people's and that's okay, or your suffering may be totally debilitating and that sucks, but that's real and it's where it is right? And then again, once you've noticed that suffering, kind of shifting your perspective and taking action on behalf of yourself in ways that are not meant to fix you. They're not meant to make you feel better, it’s just kind of being kind to yourself in very specific ways because you're a human being who deserves that. And what I think about is how would you talk to your best friend? Again, it's kind of this best friend test—would you say to them if your best friend called you and said, “I absolutely exploded my kids today, and they ended up in tears and it was awful.” Would you say to them, “Yeah, you're a terrible parent and your kids probably need therapy right now because of all the ways you've screwed them up.” Like, you wouldn't say that. So don't say that to yourself.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and yet, we do, right? We do say these things for ourselves that we would never say to another person.

Carla:

Absolutely. Yeah, and it's painful.

Jen Lumanlan:

And so why is treating ourselves with kindness so hard, do you think?

Carla:

I think partially because the human brain was not wired for kindness, the human brain was wired for survival and so we're always on the lookout, for things that are going wrong, for threats, right? Because way back when the human brain was still evolving, we needed to keep a constant eye out for things we were doing wrong that might put our children at risk, and that's put our you know, genes or genetic inheritance at risk, but also we were constantly the human brain was actually wired for comparison because way back when our lives, and I would argue they still do, our lives depend on being part of the community, but back then, if your tribe ditched you, you were like out in the middle of the savanna or wherever (I don't know ancient humans hang out), really at the risk of saber-toothed tigers or storms, or whatever was going to come along and destroy you if you didn't have the protection of your community. And one of the most powerful and effective ways to stay connected to your community is by comparison—by looking at what everyone else is doing and making sure you're not being the total weirdo who's going to do something offensive or problematic and get you kicked out of the tribe. The problem is, Jen, that we are no longer just comparing ourselves to the members of our local community who may have the same challenges and resources as we do, and I'm not saying that was like totally awesome because like if your local community was a bunch of straight white people, and you were LGBTQ or a person of color, like being stuck in that community sucked right? And it was not awesome, but what I am saying is, there may have been some benefits to sort of having our touch points of comparison, be people who are in some way similar to us, as opposed to now when we can, thanks to the glory of the internet, we compare ourselves to literally every other person on the planet, right? And that's just not helpful in so many ways. So that's one reason why it's so hard to treat ourselves with compassion. Our brains weren't wired for it. The other reason is, again, it's just a new language that none of us grew up speaking and it does not feel natural at all.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and a parent that I work with was curious about noticing, what are we noticing? Because we talk a lot about negative self-talk as being something we can notice and that's an indication that maybe self-compassion will be helpful to us in that instance. And this parent was also asking whether things like feeling angry or resentful toward their spouse, their child, and the world is an indication that self-compassion could be helpful. What do you think about that?

Carla:

With regards to the piece about negative self-talk. Yeah, practicing kind self-talk is a very important and significant, and powerful practice of self-compassion, and look, just because we think something that doesn't mean it's true, right? I can sit here and think I'm the president united states, I can think I'm a unicorn, I'm not either of those things and no matter how hard I think on it, it's not going to happen, right? So just because I think I'm a terrible parent that doesn't mean it's true, it’s just a thought that got jammed in my brain at some point and when we noticed that thought, which requires us to sort of get a little space and perspective from it, we can choose to start thinking something else, and it's going to take a while, takes a lot of repetition because if you have been thinking you are a terrible parent for, I don't know, 510 years, it's gonna take a while to unjam those thoughts, but it's worth it. The second point about whether feeling angry or resentful to people in your life is an indication that you need self-compassion, It could I mean, I think everything is an indication. We need self-compassion because we always do, right? It's never contraindicated, but first of all, what I would like to say is no feeling is ever wrong, so if you are feeling angry or resentful, it's not wrong, right? It's just our feelings and we can't control them, and sometimes they're giving us really important messages about what's going on. So feeling angry, and resentful might be an indication that there are some problems in your relationship, or that you need to work on some boundaries which is a huge self-compassion piece, setting boundaries for yourself may be an indication that you're completely overwhelmed, right? That you have too much on your plate, it may be an indication that someone's treating you poorly, right? I don't want to say that if we feel angry, especially as women, right, that if we feel angry or resentful that it means we need to be kinder, I think sometimes it means that things are really wrong and our voices aren't being heard, right? And I think that's part of it, too. So it's hard to say, right? There could be so many reasons.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. So to go deeper into this idea of noticing then because I think that's super, super important. We can notice when we're having a thought that seems as though it's not helpful to us and another thing that we can do, I think, came up as I was researching an episode on procrastination, which will have been released by the time this episode is released, and the ways that we manage our emotions, right? And the popular impression of procrastination is people who procrastinate are lazy, and they're not organized, and in researching that episode I really found that there's so much of it about is about emotion regulation, and so in thinking about procrastination, and also busyness as being about emotion regulation, and how both of those things help us to avoid dealing with things that hurt because if we are procrastinating, it's like, “Yeah, that's gonna be really painful. I'm not going to do that right now. I'm just going to put it off.” And if we're involved in this kind of excessive busyness, then it's like, if I don't have time, right, “I can't deal with that thing. That's going to be super unpleasant because I'm busy with all this other stuff.” And so, it seems to be that noticing is super, super important in this idea of separating ourselves from our thoughts and seeing that, “Okay, I think I'm super busy. I think I can't deal with that difficult task. I think that I'm a terrible parent,” and that we can create that separation and actually see that we are not our thoughts and we don't have to believe our thoughts. Can you maybe just elaborate a little bit more on how you see this idea of separation between us and our thoughts?

Carla:

Yeah, I think you spoke so beautifully about it. Look, we in the West, are raised and trained to believe that our thoughts are super important, right? That they are core and Central, like, was it Descartes? I don't know. I'm not a philosopher, I think, therefore I am. Come on, but like, you know, and I am a clinical social worker which means I was trained in a tradition as a person who has been on both sides of the therapy couch, right? I was trained in a tradition where we are told that it is worthwhile and valuable to pay a significant amount of money and spend a significant amount of time sitting in a room with another person talking about our thoughts, and digging deeply into those thoughts, and working hard to change those thoughts. And there is some brilliance in there, right? There is some really good stuff in there, but I will tell you, Jen, the life-changing moment for me was in my Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course which I took, I believe I started after I'd finished my PhD., so at that point, I had a bachelor's in psychology, masters and a doctorate in clinical social work, and it was the first time someone ever said to me, “Your thoughts aren't reality. You don't have to believe them.” And I was like, “I'm sorry, what?” Like, somebody might have told me that multiple have said the gravity was a sham, right? I just could not comprehend this. But when we start to see our thoughts—not necessarily as truth, and not necessarily as grounded in anything real, and not necessarily as skillful. Now, I don't love the words good and bad because there's a lot of judgment in there, and again, the brilliant Buddhist psychology talks about skillful and unskillful, and skillful is something that brings you closer to your goal, so if my unskillful, excuse me, takes us farther away from our goals. So if my goal is to be as present and patient as I can with my children, then walking around thinking about all the ways in which I am a crap parent is very unskillful because those thoughts make me feel tense and upset, and confused, they make me feel like I don't know what I'm doing, anxious, right? And so, they're not true, like, I might have a bad parenting moment, for sure I have bad parenting moments. Absolutely. I've had them, and I will have them again, but that doesn't make me a terrible parent. The problem is, our thoughts live in our brains, right? And they feel so real, and it's so easy to get caught up in them that if we never notice, we can't choose anything different. And noticing is a practice, and when I say practice, what I mean is, it's something that when we start, we're often pretty bad at it, it feels hard, and we don't know what we're doing. But the more we show up and do it, then meditation is a great way to do this, the more we're literally strengthening those neural networks that are going to help us notice and say, “Oh, I'm having the thought that I'm a terrible parent. Do I want to believe that thought? No, not today. Maybe tomorrow, not today,” you know, so noticing is crucial to all of it, there is no self-compassion, there is no mindfulness, there's none of it without the noticing. It's the first step.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so we can almost kind of notice these signals that we're avoiding noticing something, I'm trying to be extra busy, I'm procrastinating, I'm doing all these other things, as I'm noticing, oh, there's something to notice, and then we can notice our thoughts. And I think this has been really key for one parent in my community who has found self-compassion so difficult over the years, and she has just shifted from saying, “I have failed again,” to saying to herself, “I'm thinking I have failed again,” and what she's finding is, that's that opens up the possibility for the idea that that's one possible explanation for what's happened today, but one possible explanation is I have failed, and then there are many, many, many other potential explanations and so that opens up the idea that there is more than one explanation, which is that I'm having a hard day that anyone in my situation would find this difficult to cope with, that there are so many other things going on, and so I think she's found that to be a really important practice. And then I think the final part of this that I want to touch on is the idea of our feelings and we sort of get this impression that our feelings are going to last a really long time and we're going to have a hard time for a really long time when actually that's not always the case, right?

Carla:

Absolutely. And I think that this is so important and for some reason, until very recently, none of us grew up learning about our feelings, right? And so some of the core work that clinical social workers and psychologists and folks like us do, is just giving people basic education that feelings are not thoughts, they're often connected, right? But they're not thoughts and feelings are not behaviors. And thoughts tend to live in our brains and take the form of words, and feelings tend to live in our body, there's a reason they called feelings because we feel them, but often, we don't really notice the feeling that goes along with them, what we notice is the thought that goes along with them, as opposed to noticing the bodily sensation. And the best way that I like to talk about feelings is they’re like the weather and I don't want people to get caught up in like, disastrous storms that destroy everything, that's not the right analogy for feelings, but they come and go, sometimes they are predictable, we can look at the sky and see the big storm clouds growing and we have a sense it's going to rain, and sometimes they come out of nowhere, and we have no idea what to do with them, right? And there are things we can do and choices we can make in our life, that are likely to influence our feelings—for example, I live in Boston, and so living in the northeast, I know it's going to be colder and snowier in the winter, and I know it's going to be warmer, but not as hot in the summer, whereas if I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, right? The weather's a little more predictable, but even so, there is unpredictability, and just as we can't control the weather, we cannot control our feelings, right? We can make choices again that might influence them, so I no longer watch Law and Order Special Victims Unit because it makes me anxious and upset, right? So, I can make that decision and that's going to lower my anxiety, or at least not spike it, but the anxiety will come anyways. And so the point about feelings that we need to know is we can't control them—they are like the weather, they don't last forever, they change and they're often unpredictable, they come and then they rise like a wave in intensity, and then they end. And the last thing I want to say about feelings is they are meant to be felt not fixed and by feeling a feeling sometimes all we have to do is name it and acknowledge it, “I'm feeling sad, I'm feeling scared, I'm feeling angry,” sometimes we need to give our moment to feel our feelings, whatever that looks like for us—listening to music that kind of evokes that feeling for us, moving our body in some way, just sitting and crying or sitting in me, whatever it is, however you are present with your feelings, journaling, drawing art, whatever, and they will pass, but when we try to fix our feelings that doesn't work, and it often ends poorly, and for many parents, it ends in losing our temper with our kids.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah, because we're sort of shoving it under the rug, right? And pretending that it's not really there and keeping a lid on it, I guess to mix metaphors, and eventually, it comes exploding out. And then also what are our children learning about feelings at that point? Our children learning the same lesson, right? That it's not okay to feel your feelings and that they're too scary to feel, and we shouldn't feel them. And they end up doing the same things.

Carla:

And the truth is that sometimes we do need to battle our feelings, right? Sometimes if you're in a professional moment, if you're trying to run out the door like that, you know, I literally said to my daughter the other day, “You can't cry right now, so save your tears and we'll find time to cry them later. Like, your tears are important but now is not the moment when we can do this.” And so I was trying to it's this balance, right of teaching our kids creating the space for our children to fully experience their emotions and know it's safe, which by the way, is so hard to do because in order to do that, we have to know how to feel our feelings and trust that it's safe, and many of us don't know how to do that. So, if you as a parent are listening to me, say that your job is to create a safe space for your kid to feel their feelings, that can be a lifetime in therapy, and it's something I am still working on in therapy so please don't assume that it's just a switch you should be able to flip and do it, it can be incredibly difficult, so have a whole lot of compassion for yourself on that front. But we're also trying to keep teach our kids how to be functional people in the world and that having a massive meltdown in the middle of you know, your cousin's wedding, if they're old enough to handle it, that's a time to say now we're going to take some deep breaths, bottle those feelings up for just a few more minutes and then when we get home, because I do believe that our children also want to feel confident and know that they can handle challenges in public spaces, and I'm thinking about my daughters who are teenagers, right? So that's important to them and I want them to know both, right? How to calm down and manage themselves in the moment and then also create space for those feelings to come out when it's safer.

Jen Lumanlan:

So, we're not talking about a two-year-old here.

Carla:

No, I wasn't talking about a two-year-old. I don't expect your two-year-old to hold it together in a public space. And if you are a parent of a two-year-old, I don't expect you to hold it together in a public space either. It's too hard. It's too hard.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. And so, one of the tools that you use to help parents to dig deeper into this idea of self-compassion is curiosity. And we've talked a good deal about noticing already and some of the tools that we can use once we've noticed what to do involve grounding practices, and I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about grounding practices, and then we're where do we go from there with curiosity?

Carla:

So a grounding practice, I think of is anything that is effective for you in bringing you back to the present moment—so that means noticing when your brain has swirled into the past maybe feeling regretful or ashamed about all these things that have happened in the past, maybe it's zoomed into the future, feeling anxious, worried, concerned, confused about what's going to happen. So grounding practice is going to take your brain out of both of those and come back to the present moment, and it's also going to bring your body and your brain and your thoughts into the same place, so it's really hard to do a grounding practice if you are like trying to cook pasta and stare at your phone at the same time, right? (Which we've all done and I'll probably do tonight, to be honest, but it doesn't work for grounding). So again, you're trying to be in the present moment, and have your thoughts and your body doing the same thing, and so for me what that looks like, and everybody needs to find their own thing that kind of works for them, I often put my hands flat out on the counter and there's something about just sort of feeling that hard surface under my hands that feels very, like firm and supportive, and it's just a very noticeable feeling for me, and I roll my shoulders back, you can see me doing this because I like to do this and I can literally walk around the whole day like this, and then when I suddenly notice it just I can feel kind of the relief happen, so I drop my shoulders and then I take some breaths, and I really try to notice my breaths, and sometimes I can only get one or two breaths in and then my thoughts, and then I do it again, so for me, it's this and this, right? And then I try to get curious about what's going on, and I think of curiosity as the opposite of judgment and in really painful moments many of us rush to, I'm a terrible parent, and we judge ourselves because that's what the human brain was designed to do, It was designed to make judgments, Judge—Is this safe? Is this dangerous? Is this what we want? Is it not?” And in that moment, I really encourage folks to try to shift to curiosity and this doesn't have to be some like, “What is happening? And why did this happen? And what came up from my childhood? And how did all my trauma impacting me in this moment?” That can get very overwhelming very quickly, and if you're trying to ground, that's not what you want. So again, the curiosity, I want it to be very present moment oriented in that moment, “So what am I feeling in my body? What am I thinking? What do I need right now?” And for so many parents, we brush right past that question and zoom to what is my kid need. And if you aren't exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out angry, whatever, insert your adjective here mess, you're not going to be able to give your kid what they need and that's okay, that's not you failing as a parent. That's just the reality of being a human. And so sometimes in that moment, I love curiosity, because it can give us some clarity about what's going on, and help us think creatively about what to do next, right? So sometimes in that moment, the answer is, “Oh, I'm really hungry. I haven't eaten all day.” I'm not a complete wreck of a human, I just need a sandwich, right? And like, that's such a dramatic shift in our thinking, and sometimes that curiosity actually lands us that, “I got nothing. I am depleted. I have nothing.” And so, in that moment, can we call it a parenting partner? Can we put our kids in front of the TV with a pizza, right? And so many of us have this moment of like a pizza in front of the TV is the ultimate parenting failure, but my daughters love it! Like when we do those moments when I actually let them eat in front of the TV, which happens like two or three times a year, and I would like to also acknowledge that I have a parenting partner who does all the cooking, so that's a real privilege that I have that I need to say, who's also much more emotionally stable than I am. So that's also a privilege. But when I feel like a total failure is apparent when I'm like, “I don't want to have a conversation with you so here's the TV. Here's the clicker and the pizza, leave me alone.” They feel like it's this awesome moment, so I just want to offer that to parents that, again, like can we let go of that judgment around these parenting decisions we need to make? So, when we get curious about ourselves, we can get some clarity, and then once we have a little more grounded, Jen, right? We can then turn to our children and get curious about their experiences, and sometimes we might come up with some pretty useful and insightful ideas about what's going on with them, and sometimes we have no fricking clue, and that's okay, too. It doesn't feel good, right? But it's okay. And that's when maybe we just let the moment go, it’s just something that happened. We need to move on. And sometimes we need to work with folks who are professionally curious, by which I mean counselors and therapists, and teachers, and all these people who can help us think through what's going on with our kids.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, I love the idea of getting curious with our kids and what that can bring to us, right? Because just the same as we have these narratives in our head about how I'm a crappy parent, and you know, “I can't cope with all this stuff.” We also have these narratives about our children and if they don't learn to do this thing, then they're going to be irresponsible, or they're never going to be able to do whatever or you know, this, people are going to judge me, and when instead we can get curious about our children's experience, then we can see, “Oh, it's not actually about any of those things. It's just my kid was hungry,” or they were worried about something that was going to happen at school today, and that's why they didn't want to get in the car, or, you know, whatever it was that we didn't know about. And when we get curious, we can actually find out what was going on underneath that difficult behavior that may have seemed like it caused us to snap.

Carla:

Absolutely. And the only caveat I would offer to parents in terms of curiosity is to be careful of why questions because often we're so tempted to say to our children, “Why did you do that? Or to say to ourselves, “Why did I do that?” And the truth is, often we don't know, and that's when our story-making minds, right? Our brains want to make a narrative about whatever happens, because that makes things more predictable in our brains, like predictability, often that narrative is not helpful, and not accurate, and it's, “I did it because I'm a terrible parent,” you know, or my kid or your kid might come up with some story about why they did something when in truth, they have no idea. So instead of why questions, what I really like, is, “What happened? And what do we need to do differently next time? What do you need? Right? But I think these what questions about, you know, let's go back and review what happened, and let's talk about what we need differently next time can offer much more useful ideas than a why narrative, which often we just don't know.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and also, I think why comes out is really sort of accusatory, especially if you're doing it in the moment, right? It comes out, why were you doing this? Even if It's not our intent, even if our intent is I want to understand your experience, it very often comes out in that judgmental way that isn't very helpful to us. Yeah, that leads us into sort of how do we direct more compassion to our children, what you mentioned a number of tools in the book.

Carla:

So first, it has to start with us, it has to start with this practice. And the analogy I like to use is, it's kind of like teaching someone else to swim, right? You can read all the books about swimming; you can watch all the YouTube videos about how to teach someone else to swim, but if you've never gone underwater and had that sensation both of not being able to breathe, but also, the awesome feeling of being underwater, you cannot effectively teach someone else to swim. And so, if you don't speak the language of self-compassion, you're not going to be able to speak it consistently to your children, and again, please don't beat yourself up about this, none of us grew up speaking this language, right? So having said that, there are parents out there, I think, who are actually much more patient with their children than they are with themselves, but I think that if you are trying to create more compassion towards your children starting with your own practice, is the first step. The second step is practicing your self-compassion out loud, right? This is a very internal experience. And when my thinking shifted from, “I'm a terrible mother, who's screwing up my kids” to “I'm having a bad day. It's okay. Every parent has a bad day sometimes, but that doesn't mean I'm a bad parent, what can I do differently?” That's not something my kids are going to see from the outside, right? They have no way of knowing that happens so I'm trying to now speak my compassion out loud to them, so they're much more likely to hear me say, “Well, that's a bad day,” or “Well, I totally screwed that up,” or “Okay, that happens, right?” And so I'm literally speaking this language that I want them to learn. And so for some people, I'm realizing as I'm thinking through this, Jen, it's such a great question, for some people also, they might find it easier to start with compassion for their kids, and then turn it to themselves that might be their practice, which is noticing when you are saying to yourself, “My kid is a screw-up, My kid totally messed that up. My kid is not nearly as good as those other kids, my kid will never achieve X, Y & Z things I want them to.” Can you notice those unhelpful, unskillful, almost certainly untrue thoughts, and switch those around. And as you start to practice that maybe that will bleed back onto you, If you're really having a hard time practicing compassion for yourself.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. And so, I want to kind of link into some questions that I have about sort of macro-level factors that are going on the book and maybe get there by talking about friendships, so moving outside of our tight family circle into friendships. And so many of the parents that I work with, wish that they had friends with whom they could just be their whole real selves and it just seems so ironic to me that so many people will want this. And so, I'm wondering, you know, is it the problem not a lack of people who want genuine connection, but that we don't know how to genuinely connect, and I'm curious about your ideas on how to form these real genuine friendships that are so deeply fulfilling to us.

Carla:

Absolutely. And again, I want to say to all of the folks in your community who have experienced this, yeah, we're all right there. And I remember so my daughters are now 12 and 13, and I remember when they were babies, and I was trying to make friends in the like, sort of world of stay-at-home part-time working mothers because I was working part-time, and I felt like I was in high school again, it was really hard, it was really painful too because I was trying to figure out who I was as a mother and how to be present with other people, and so I think that often just acknowledging that this is hard for everyone, and it's not you, it's not a problem with you, it's just a hard thing to do—to find those true friends when you're really struggling in parenting. And I think that the first step is to try to be honest and accepting about who you are, what your style is, what you enjoy, and how you parent. And the world of parenting is so judgmental, right? That if you're a gentle parent or a helicopter parent, or tiger, I don't know, whatever, like, it's okay. What are you doing? It's okay and I think it'll be. I hope that it will be easier to make friends when you can acknowledge, you know, what, I'm a tattooed, rock'n'roll parent who just wants to, like, raise my kids on (Oh, gosh, and I'm gonna betray the fact that I myself am not a rock and roll parent, I can't name a single rock and roll—Led Zeppelin! There I got one!). I just want to raise my kids on Led Zeppelin. And all I want to do is hanging out with other people who want to raise your kids on Led Zeppelin, and there's nothing wrong with that. But when we are holding our own preferences and styles and deepest joys in a space of judgment—we're not going to be able to go out and connect with other people about that. The other thing I would encourage parents to do is remember that for the past two and a half years, so many of our avenues of connection have been cut off to us, right? So when my daughters were young, I was going to a lot of new parenting courses offered through the Jewish community where I live, and that was a really powerful source of connection for me, but in the past two and a half years, all those meetings were canceled because we weren't gathering in person. And so, for parents, I would say, have a lot of connection and remember, we can always start again, and then I would encourage you to try to be vulnerable in a way that feels safe. Now, I'm not asking you to go up to the first person you meet on the playground who looks nice and dump all of your deepest secrets and fears, and a secret passion for I don't know, cross stitch? (I love cross stitch, that's on the secret) But like, you don't have to dump them right away, that's not going to feel safe, it's not going to feel like a good source of connection, but if they say to you, “How's it going,” instead of just being like, “Fine, I'm great,” maybe you can say, “You know, this is a hard time.” That's not overwhelming, right? You're not dumping a huge amount on someone else, but it's a place to start, it's authentic. So, finding safe places where you can be authentic, and you know, connecting with people who have the same style or preferences, or joys, or loves, or whatever is you may be a great place to start, and also realizing that friendship takes work and energy, and a lot of us don't have a lot of energy for extra stuff right now. So someone recently said to me that I was complaining that I wasn't getting something done, and she said, “That's not the season for this.” And so just acknowledging that we have different seasons for different things and if this is not the season for you to make a new deep friendship, that's okay, that season will come. But if it's important to you, then something else gets put aside for now, and that's okay, too.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and I love that idea of seasons, and I've been thinking about that myself recently, as well, and maybe even sort of celebrating what is here in this season that is not in this season, but maybe more time with family is here in this season, and the next season will roll around. And the example that I was thinking through was if we get attached to this idea of this season needs to look a certain way, and I need to have these friends, and I need to do all these things, then when life doesn't look like that then it's the second arrow, right? When we can accept that this is the season, I'm in right now, and here are the ways that this is beautiful, and also, I know this season will pass and there'll be another season to come, then we find a lot more acceptance and possibly self-compassion too, I don't know.

Carla:

100%. And yes, everything you said, Jen, I totally agree with it. And just finding the time to hold that the past two and a half years have been a really long and really hard season, and for many of us, that still happening. I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer here, right? I'm not trying to be a pessimist or all depressed but when we can just acknowledge that it's been hard for all of us, somehow it feels a little less hard for each of us, I think.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah. And also, I think the idea of having compassion for other people is really important, and you mentioned a little bit about being vulnerable to other people and offering something to them as well. And a parent in my community realized recently that she's has historically not been able to offer self compassion to herself, but she can show up in our community and offer compassion to others, and it was through doing that, that she realized, “Oh, I can express compassionately people, maybe I can say those same things to myself.” And being vulnerable towards others, then enables you to see “Oh, that's how this works. That's how I can talk to myself.”

Carla:

I love that so much. And I think one of the many gifts of showing up and being vulnerable and honest with other people in ways that feel safe and appropriate, right, is that we are giving them a chance to practice compassion, to treat us with compassion, and when we can hear that and hold it and not just blow it off, again, that's us learning to speak this language we are, you know, if I want to speak Spanish, I gotta go out and talk to people who speak Spanish and listen to what they say, and if I want to learn to speak compassion, it'll be great if I can hang out with more people who are going to respond to me and speak that compassion back to me.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, okay. Okay, so starting to sort of transition to these broader societal issues, and you talk a lot about the idea of things being hard, and a couple of different levels to that, that I'm saying, you know, firstly, we grew up in, a lot of us grew up in difficult circumstances. And then secondly, parenting today is hard, and so just kind of taking those things in turn, you know, you talked about how we grew up in an imperfect world, whether we experience really, really tough trauma, or just sort of the garden variety, teasing and bullying at school, and parents who didn't understand us. And I think that your book speaks really well to treating children with compassion, which then shows them how to go out into the world and treat other people with compassion. And I kind of relate that back to patriarchal power structures, and in our families of origin, and in school we learned that we are not good enough until we bury shoved down those parts of ourselves that our parents can't handle, that our teachers can't handle, we have to look a certain way, be a certain way and make sure we don't make mistakes. And we also learned that people in power should use that power over others, but I don't think that we can use power over others, when we truly have compassion for them. Do you see it that same way as well? Do you see it as sort of a sort of patriarchy healing practice, in addition to just helping ourselves and our children every day?

Carla:

Jen, you sent me this question before, and it's such a good and important question that I have been struggling with, I tend to think of things on a micro-scale—that's kind of how my brain works, and so I'm going to start by talking about my family and then let's dig into it and bring it out broader. So, I have power over my children, I just do. That's like the nature of the situation. I can choose to drive them somewhere or not, I can choose to buy them something they need or not, I can choose to all these things, and I think, developmentally that's important for children to have someone in the family who is older and hopefully a little wiser, and like manages the show and sets limits, I think kids need that. But I can also have compassion for my daughter, so last night, for example, she was begging for more ice cream, and she really wanted it and, on some level, like when my daughter gets going on this ice cream, it feels like a soul level need for her, like she really gets hung up on it, and I was exercising power by saying, “No, you've had enough ice cream,” even as I was having compassion for her, right? Even as I was saying, “I get how hard this is. And I get that you really want this ice cream,” and I didn't blow her off. (Sometimes, I do when I'm exhausted and overwhelmed, and just sick of the whining for ice cream.) But last night, I was in a pretty good headspace and I said, “Look, kiddo, I get it, and you're gonna have more desserts again in the future but right now it's a hard No. And you nagging me isn't going to change that,” and so that felt like a balance of power and compassion. And so I think that in an ideal world, I don't see us getting rid of power structures, right? I hope it's not patriarchy. But I don't see us getting rid of power structures and I'm not a political person who thinks about this stuff is perhaps deeply as I should, but what I think is when we have true compassion for other people when we truly see their suffering, and I don't know that I could ever truly see the suffering, for example of someone who had been enslaved. I don't know that I can really imagine that. But I can get as close as I can and work as hard as I can to understand the experience of people of color in this country, and maybe I draw from my family's Holocaust history to help inspire me to dig deeper into the experience of people of color in this country. I would hope that that would lead to people in power making more informed and thoughtful, effective, and skillful decisions, and creating more space for historically oppressed people to move into positions of power. So, I did this to answer your question? Are we getting closer?

Jen Lumanlan:

I think we're getting closer. Yeah, the idea of are there always going to be power structures is interesting and probably outside the scope of our conversation, but yeah, the idea that we can use compassion to inform how we're going to interact with other people, right? How we're going to perceive their struggles, that their struggles have some, you know, the same weight, the same importance as our struggles, that their needs, therefore have the same weight, the same importance as our needs. And to me, that's where this all of this stuff, you know, the magic happens, that it's not just an inward self-directed practice of benefits ourselves, but that it is something that helps to heal society.

Carla:

Yes. And I think that when we're not so caught up in our own internal battle of, I suck, and therefore I have to reach out for some expert, I have to find the expert, I have to find the book, I have to find the thing that's going to fix me when we're not so caught up in that, you know, then there creates space for gratitude for everything we have, which also creates a more solid foundation, I think, to look out in the world and see, and again, this is a seasonal thing, I think. And if you are a parent, for example, with a young baby, this is maybe not your season, but soon you will have this season where it's your opportunity to say, “What is my role in the current structure we have? And how can I make a difference?” Whether it's making a commitment to buying books for my family that features children, who look like all different colors, and all different abilities, and all different gender identities and all the things whether it's a commitment to working in the food pantry with my family, whether it's a commitment to becoming as anti-racist as I can, so I can then use anti-racist language and perspectives with my children, right? So sometimes, if what you can do is in your own home, that's important because we are raising the next generation and we want them to be as anti-racist, and all the things and for some of us, it means moving outside beyond the home and engaging with our community more in our schools in our local elections, all those things to do this work.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and I think you're actually speaking it a little bit to the second part of the question as well, which is, you know, we talked about how Parenting is hard, and part of that is linked to the systems that we live in, where we all live in separate houses and care work isn't valued, and we don't think that we can show vulnerability to anyone else, and so, I think self-compassion can help us to see how we are not responsible for why things are so hard. And I know that parents in my membership have found it really helps them because they finally know that it isn't their fault that things are so hard, and yet if self-compassion does is helps us to make our lives easier, and to me, that means we've missed something important, and so, I think that it is important to find a greater sense of ease—yes, through self-compassion. And also, in addition, work to change the systems that are making this so hard because otherwise, we're always just kind of trying to heal ourselves within this crappy system if we don't actively work on changing the system.

Carla:

Yeah, and look, Jen, you and I went back and forth over this on email, and I 100% agree with you. And I am also when you sent me an email with that question, I had this moment of thinking of myself as a parent when my daughters were like two and three years old, and I was neck deep in blame and shame and overwhelm and feeling like I was a horrible parent, and if I had heard those words from you back, then I would have just fallen deeper in that whole thinking, not only am I not showing up for my kids, but I'm not showing up for my community. And so, what I want to say to parents is, wherever you are in this moment, let that be okay. Jen's words have so much wisdom, and I agree with them, and I want to balance that absolute importance of those of us with privilege, using our privilege to make the world a better, more equal, more open, more egalitarian society and also acknowledging that if that is not the work you can do at this moment, but that be okay, right? So, I think it is so hard to hold both, and yet, we must, right? But yes, Jen, I think the work you are doing to inject this perspective into every single conversation is crucial, and I'm grateful you're doing it and grateful for the community of parents you have created who are continuing to struggle with these conversations because I'll be honest, I'll be really honest, in my hardest moments—I want to retreat from all of it and just take care of me and my family but that's not who I want to be, right? That's my instinct, and so, for example, my family belongs to a synagogue that identifies as actively anti-racist, and for many years our Rabbi gets up in front of the whole community on one of the big holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and talk about what it means to do anti-racist work, and when she first started doing that, I was like, “You have got to be kidding me, I can't hear this. I don't want this,” and now, years later, after listening, listening, listening, I'm like, “Right, that's the important reminder I need. This is how we're going to like; this is the piece of work we can do.” And so what I would say to parents, I guess the lesson I'm coming to for myself is if, if you can't find it in yourself to do this work or even join this conversation right now, can you find a community who's having this conversation, where you can even just show up and listen, and get those reminders because if you are a person who lives in this world with the privilege of able bodies, and white skin, and being a straight sis human being, it is so easy to step out of those conversations and not be reminded and not hear them. And so, setting up a structure where you're going to be reminded of this work, of our privilege, of all we have, I think, is a really powerful way to keep yourself connected to the conversation which we all need to do.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much for that offering. And I also want to point out that even those of us who have a lot of privilege are being hurt by the current system, we're not being hurt as much as people who have less privilege, but we are still being hurt by the current system.

Carla:

And I think that you know, my husband talks about the hierarchy of suffering and there are moments when I'm having a really hard time, and then I think to myself, “Oh, my gosh, I have a parenting partner, I have a roof over my head, I live in a state where we all have really great health insurance, like what the hell am I complaining about?” And in a really compassionate way, my husband will say, “Yes,” and it's all still hard. It's both. And so, if you are a person with a lot of privilege, whatever that looks like, for you, it's okay, if things still feel really hard, because they are hard for all of us in different ways.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, Great. Thank you. Okay, so as we wrap up, I'm thinking, okay, parents are listening to this and they have a lot of internal resistance to the idea of self-compassion, maybe they've gotten past the idea of sort of seriously, how could this really help them? They're like, “Yes, okay, I see that self-compassion could help me,” but maybe they haven't been able to practice successfully yet. I'm curious about where you advise that they start and as a sort of illustration of this, you were kind enough to send an advanced copy of the book to one parent that I work with who has particularly struggled with self-compassion over the years, and she said that she would read a sentence in your book, and she would think that you don't know me, I actually am a shitty parent. And then in the next sentence, she said, it was almost like you'd read her mind, so she's starting to get an understanding that things could be different but it hasn't quite fully sunk in yet. So, what are some practices that can help her and other parents who see, yes, I think this can help, and also, I don't know how to do it.

Carla:

So, the first step is shameless plug here by my book, right? Because I have been that parent, and the first time I learned about self-compassion, I rolled my eyes so hard, I thought they were going to fall out of my head, I had a huge amount of resistance to it, and so it wasn't until people started talking about it in an accessible way that I was able to kind of hear that. So, I think the book is funny and accessible and that was my goal with it, so the book should help—You Are Not a Shitty Parent. But I would say the first step is just to notice (That's our Word of the Day, right, Jen? We're having a little like word of the day thing here). Notice when you're having a really horrible thought about yourself, and I would say do one of two things, either, let's, let's take some wisdom, Jen, from your community member, either stick those words in front of it, “I'm having the thought that.” Right? So, you don't have to give up on that thought yet if you're completely attached to it, but just throw those little words in there—I'm thinking, I'm having the thought that or just replace it with, “I'm having a hard moment and every parent has hard moments, and just because something is hard, that doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong.” You’ll find your language, but I think starting to sort of get some space and disentangle yourself from these really negative thoughts is a really powerful first step that hopefully doesn't take a huge amount of time and energy, although will take practice. And when we first try to do it, it's not going to be easy, It's going to feel weird, but stick with it and see if you can stick with it, because over time it will feel a little more natural, and it'll come easier, and it just makes parenting so much better when you're not constantly berating yourself.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, yeah, it really does. And that in turn creates space for all the other practices to follow, right? If you can create that separation from yourself and your thoughts, then all of a sudden, it's not the massive emergency that it seemed in that moment when I am a shitty parent, and from there, we open up the space to potentially respond to our child instead of reacting out of that story that isn't actually potentially true.

Carla:

Absolutely. I totally agree.

Jen Lumanlan:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here, Carla. It's so much fun to explore these ideas with you.

Carla:

And Jen, thank you for everything you do on behalf of parents, and for this amazing community you've created, I'm very grateful for the conversations you're having and the perspective you're bringing to everything. It's really important.

Jen Lumanlan:

Thank you. And so listeners can find the references to studies that I've looked at on self-compassion as well as a link to Carla's book You Are Not a Shitty Parent, and also her previous book, which was How to Stop Losing Your Shit with your Kids at YourParentingMojo.com/YouAreNotaShittyParent.

Denise:

I'm a Your Parenting Mojo fan, and I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do. If you found this episode, especially enlightening or useful, you can donate to help them produce more content like this. Just go to the episode page that John mentioned. Thanks for listening.

Jen Lumanlan:

Thanks for joining us for this episode of Your Parenting Mojo. Don't forget to subscribe to the show at YourParentingMojo.com to receive new episode notifications and the free guide to seven parenting myths that we can leave behind and join the Your Parenting Mojo Facebook group for more respectful research-based ideas to help kids thrive and make parenting easier for you. I'll see you next time on Your Parenting Mojo.

About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

1 Comment

  1. Rabab Hamdan on November 21, 2022 at 7:32 PM

    Thank you Jen for this episode..I just listened to it, and you can’t imagine how how much I needed this..this morning was hard and all I wanted was to put my kids in front of a movie.. I didn’t do that, though, because I have a toddler who just turned 2 and I was worried about him watching for 2 hours. I wonder if you have any suggestions for parents who have young kids ?!

    Again, thank you for this episode, I managed to listen to it while my kids were playing and I did end up getting Carla’s latest book:)

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