Ep. 109- Handling Tantrums with Grace and Dignity with Dr. Rebecca Hershberg

by | December 22, 2021

Ep. 109- Handling Tantrums with Grace and Dignity with Dr. Rebecca Hershberg

by | December 22, 2021

The Fresh Start Family Show
The Fresh Start Family Show
Ep. 109- Handling Tantrums with Grace and Dignity with Dr. Rebecca Hershberg
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Today’s episode is all about our little ones and their big powerful emotions. 

Wendy spends this episode with clinical psychologist, parenting coach, and the founder of Little House Calls, Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, Ph.D.,  PLLC and LLC to discuss those challenging moments in our parenting when our kiddos throw tantrums and we just don’t know what to do. 

Dr. Hershberg helps us recognize the root cause of tantrums and emotional episodes and will help families handle their child’s next tantrum with dignity and grace by helping us understand: 

  • What tantrums are and why they happen 
  • The importance of connecting with our kiddos and being on the same team 
  • The importance of self- regulation and self-compassion as a parent

Mama, are you are sick and tired of relying on hand-me-down parenting tactics like spanking, threatening, intimidating, and using harsh punishments that create a total relationship strain (and aren’t effective at all!!)
Join me for a free one hour live workshop where you’ll learn three steps to building up a firm and kind compassionate toolkit that works with kids of all ages.

I cannot wait to support you at class!


Episode Highlights:

  • Rachel’s journey 
  • What are tantrums?
  • Why tantrums occur
  • Recognizing tantrums are a normal part of development
  • How to stay calm and learn through tantrum episodes
  • Enduring tantrums with grace & dignity
  • What to do when tantrums get physical
  • Sample responses to make your child feel understood and safe

Resources Mentioned:


CONTEST TIME!

We want to give back to you guys for all of your support this year. We appreciate you so much, and our podcast would NOT be possible without you, so here’s our way of saying thank you! For your chance to win $250 CASH, here’s what you have to do:

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1.) Listen & share! Screen shot any episode (we suggest your favorite one) Share it on instagram + tag us @freshstartwendy (if your account is private, DM / message us to let us know you posted because we cant see your story even if you tag us.)

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You can use this money for yourself, a family member, groceries, to bless someone in need, or whatever way is helpful to you this season!

This giveaway is going on all December, and the winner (chosen by random) will be announced on New Years Day! Good luck!!


Not able to listen or want to read along with us?

Here is the episode transcript!

Wendy:
Well, Hey there families before we get started with today’s new episode, I wanted to tell you about a very special contest we are hosting this month. It’s the holiday season, and we are feeling extra generous here at fresh start family. So we are giving away $250 cash to one lucky winning family. Plus an Amazon gift card each week during the month of December, all the details on how to enter our on the show notes page for today’s episode. Good luck, happy holidays, and Merry Christmas. I can’t wait to see who wins. Just head to freshstartfamilyonline.com/109 to learn more.

Wendy:
Hey families, I’m so excited that you are here for a new episode of the fresh start family show. I am your host, Wendy Snyder, positive parenting educator and family life coach. And today we have Dr. Rebecca Hershberg on the show. Dr. Hershberg is the author of the tantrum survival guide, and she is going to be talking today about tantrums. And so I wanted to air this episode at this time of year, because with the holiday season, there is often a lot of overstimulation and a lot of over commitments. And we have a tendency as parents to sometimes feel and be a little stressed out. And often it is a season where you might see more tantrums than you’re used to.

Wendy:
So I want you to feel empowered and creative and confident that you can handle them with grace and integrity. So let me tell you just a bit more about Dr. Hershberg before we get going. So Dr. Hershberg is a clinical psychologist who specializes in early childhood social, emotional development and mental health. And she’s the founder of little house calls psychological services. So you’re going to hear just so much incredible wisdom from her today. So I’m excited for you to enjoy this episode. And I wanted to make sure that if you are not yet on our email list, make sure you hop on over to the homepage of the Fresh Start Family website. That’s Fresh Start Family, online.com.

Wendy:
We always have some type of free resource over there. So you can grab that and hop onto our email list so we can keep in touch with you. Each week, we have weekly podcast episodes that drop. We also send out encouragements and different ways of support all the time. So I want to make sure that I can keep into contact with you and hopping on the email list is the best way to do that. So the free guide that we have right now is called the free guide to raising strong-willed kids with integrity. And I promise you, it will support you big time. If you have kids that might push back a lot or say no, or just sometimes don’t cooperate when you want them to. So make sure you go grab that free guide. And also if you have not yet, make sure you push, subscribe or follow over on iTunes.

Wendy:
So you get weekly, new podcast episodes downloaded right to your phone. All right, guys, without further ado, enjoy this episode. Thanks for listening.

Stella:
Well, Hey there, I’m Stella. Welcome to my mom and dad’s podcast. The fresh start family show. We’re so happy you’re here. We’re inspired by the ocean, Jesus and rock and roll and believe deeply in the true power of loving kindness together. We hope to inspire you to expand your heart, learn new tools and strengthen your family. Enjoy the show.

Wendy:
Well, Hey there, families and welcome to a new episode of the fresh start family show. I am so excited to be sitting here today with Dr. Hershberg. Welcome Dr. Hershberg.

Rebecca:
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. Yay.

Wendy:
Yeah. So guys, you are in for a treat today, Dr. Hershberg, Dr. Hershberg is going to talk to us about toddler tantrums and you guys are going to learn so much because Dr. Hershberg is just a wealth of knowledge around this area. She’s actually the author of the tantrum survivor survival guide. And she is a clinical psychologist who specializes in early childhood social, emotional development and mental health, and the founder of Little House Calls psychological services. And prior to her current work, Dr. Hershberg was the director of training and quality for healthy steps at children’s hospital at Montefiore as a, how you say that hospitals

Rebecca:
Montefiore, it has like a Y sound in there,

Wendy:
Montefiore and infant and toddler preventative mental health program that gave national and international attention for its integration of early childhood mental health professionals within primary care pediatrics. That’s so incredible while at Montefiore, is that, did I do it better?

Rebecca:
You got it

Wendy:
Well done. Dr. Hershberg held an assistant professorship in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein college of medicine through which she taught both pediatric residents and medical students. So Dr. Hershberg is going to specifically help us understand today why tantrums happen, what they are, The importance of connecting with our kiddos and being on the same team. And then number three, the importance of self regulation and self compassion as a parent, which may be the hardest part.

Rebecca:
Always, always, always.

Wendy:
But before we get started, will you just tell us a little bit about your journey, how you got here when you wrote this book? Cause I know you wrote it in a time that was just a wild season of your life and why you are so passionate about helping and serving families in all the capacities that you do.

Rebecca:
Sure. So you forgot the most important part of my bio, which is that I’m a mom. I feel like that’s just informed everything and I want to make it very clear to listeners when I have these conversations that I am very much having them from, from within you sort of, I’m one of you and not kind of preaching from above, because I think as much as I know a lot, I hope, and I can provide some guidance that will be helpful. You are undoubtedly the experts in your own kids. So this journey I, yeah, there certainly was a long journey and it basically culminated in my feeling like a lot of the psychological training that I’d had and training and therapy and, and, you know, just didn’t focus enough on prevention is kind of the take home message of that part of my journey.

Rebecca:
I, I ended up after my internship, working in child welfare in New York city with a lot of kids and teenagers entering the foster system. And as I learned to do that work, I really just kept thinking to myself like, you know, we gotta, we gotta get at this earlier. We gotta be in general pediatrics, we have to sort of just make this part of the fabric of what we offer families. And so that’s when I moved to Montefiore and did that work. And then I started a private practice that did the same thing. And now I offer parent coaching as well, kind of nationally and internationally, which is such a treat. And an honor. And when you say I’m passionate, I mean, I just really feel not to sound, you know, too, too crazy, but that we can change the world based on how we parent our kids, frankly.

Rebecca:
And, and so that’s kind of what drives me in my work. As far as the book, it’s a funny story I had, I was on maternity leave with my second son. I have two little boys right now. Henry is six and the is four and a half. And so I had a toddler at home and he was off at daycare and requires about a month old. And I took him out to lunch as like the fruit was in January and I was like, we’re going to leave the house and we’re going to sit, I’m going to get myself something to eat. And I got a phone call from a number that I didn’t recognize. And so I didn’t pick it up of course. And it ended up being a voicemail from an editor at Guilford press asking if I would like to write a book.

Rebecca:
And I honestly, I looked around as if I was being taught. I mean, I, I, I had like breast milk, dried all over my shirt. I hadn’t shot. It was the first time I bought the house and I was like, write a book. Like I can barely remember our, you know, so I kind of wrote it off. And then I mentioned it to my husband and my husband said, look, it’s incredibly rare that people call you and ask you to write books. And so if it’s something that you would even consider now is the time to do it. And so I did it and I don’t totally remember doing it. It was a bit of an out-of-body, but it’s, but it got done. So, so I guess I did it. Oh,

Wendy:
All that is so awesome. Wow. That is so cool. I assume it’s available on Amazon,

Rebecca:
Amazon, and for people who are way too busy to read it on audible. And I actually read, I read it myself, which was a fun experience. So yeah, it’s on Amazon, it’s on audible, it’s on my website, you know, wherever you would normally get books that’s available and, and Dan Siegel actually wrote the forward. Yeah, exactly. That was, that was like a real dream come true. So yeah, go get it.

Wendy:
Yes. Well, we will make sure we put it on our sh our fresh, Fresh Start Family shop page. I have a little shop on the page that I curate all my favorite books and resources, so we will add it there because that’s wonderful families. Definitely go check that out. Okay, cool. Well, talk to us about tantrums, Dr. Hershberg, and I know I’m in my bond fair membership community. We have families from all over the world and it is definitely, this is a universal thing, right? I think parents that I work with are always trying to figure out, and we’re always trying to help serve them to, of what is really, you know, the difference between a lot of times, like almost a power struggle, misbehavior and pushback, and kind of, and then what is it when it actually turns into a full-blown tantrum?

Wendy:
And I feel like it’s such a different, some, you know, there are similar things, but it’s such a different thing that we’re working with. So will you take some time just to tell us what are tantrums? Why do they happen? All that good stuff.

Rebecca:
Sure. And yeah, I think the point that you’re highlighting at that moment when your child kind of goes off the cliff, that’s how a lot of parents have had described it to me, that kind of point of no return tantrums. First of all, they are healthy. They are normal. I am, frankly, I’m more concerned about kids and families when there’s no tantrums, you know, ever they are simply behavioral expressions of emotion. I mean, that is kind of the most basic we can get as far as the definition is that they are behavioral expressions of emotion, that little children, although frankly, it can also be age children, adolescents, teenagers, adults don’t have the capacity in that moment to manage in any other way.

Rebecca:
So it is not willful. It is simply a child. And again, back to toddlers, being overwhelmed by some emotional or sensory, or just some sort of experience that they can’t put words to camp out language to regulate in their brain. And so the result is a tantrum and there’s a misconception that tantrums are only resulting from what you mentioned, kind of a power struggle or defiance. A tantrum is a child being stubborn. And actually, you know, tantrums happen when kids are anxious. They happen when kids are sad, they happen when kids are exhausted when kids are hungry.

Rebecca:
And again, I don’t think we have to look further than ourselves and adults to know that that’s the case because that’s happens to us as well. And so they’re really nothing to worry about. And my book and my approach with families is not about thinking about how to eliminate tantrum, because we can’t because they are simply feeling. And similarly, we don’t want to punish tantrums or think about them as something to discipline, but there are ways to prevent the freak, you know, to sort of affect the frequency of tantrums, the duration of tantrums and the intensity of that.

Wendy:
This is so good, Dr. Hershberg. So I think everything you just spoke to is so beautiful to kind of normalize the MIS, like the behavior, right. And at the same time, I know so many listeners are thinking in their head right now. I always kind of love to be their voice, right. It’s like, yeah. And they suck. They suck like, and you know, I have, so my little, my kids are nine and 12 now almost 10 and 13. And so my, my little girl is a lot of the stories. You know, she’s the reason she’s like such an angel to our family and the world. She’s the reason why I’m a positive parenting educator. She caused me to learn and grow and expand in ways that I would have never dreamed.

Wendy:
Right. If I wouldn’t have been blessed with this little strong-willed very sensitive little girl. And when she was a toddler, holy smokes, she was the type of kid who would go like 30, 45 minutes. And I even hear from some families who say, you know, their, their kids tantrums will last like an hour or two. And so when you’re, when you’re in it and we have, so it’s like this first step that you so beautifully spoke to of like, kind of understanding that they’re, they are normal, they’re healthy development. These kids are learning life skills and they’re learning how to communicate their emotions, even how to identify all their emotions. Right. And what, you know, how do we actually stay calm and, and work through it?

Wendy:
I think that’s what listeners want to know. It’s like, well, what do we actually do? And I’ve always, you know, in my, in my learning is really kind of thought, and what I teach members is, is it’s not about ending it or making it going away, go away, but it’s about enduring it with grace and then being more preventative in the future, right. To kind of pick up what, what does kind of set my kid off? What are they the most sensitive to what times of the day are they most likely to fall into this? But what are your thoughts on that? Your second point for us is about The importance of connecting with our kiddos and being on the same team. But what can we do? You know, cause we, we don’t want them. I know, I see they’re healthy and they’re part of development, but holy smokes, they are, they can be gnarly, especially if you’re in public or at a family gathering or even they’re just, they’re hard.

Rebecca:
They’re really hard. And, and I think that’s exactly right, and that it’s really beautiful to just acknowledge that and hold space for that both now, as we’re thinking about them, but also in the moment, I think, you know, in some way you just saying the word that you did is a place to start with is when your child starts having a tantrum. And again, I do think there’s an important delineation. Not that it’s linear per se, but between kind of when you’re in the stage that your child is still able to listen and problem-solve and hear anything you’re saying, even if it’s just empathy and when they have kind of gone past the point of no return, when they’ve gone past the point of no return and they are screaming or yelling or crying, I think saying to yourself exactly what you just said to your listeners, which is in some sort of a mantra form, my child’s having a hard time and I’m having a hard time.

Rebecca:
So things are true. This is hard. This is a hard moment. This moment will pass, right? There’s little things that you can say to yourself that normalize it, and that also provide a lens of compassion, both for your child and for you, because there’s a difference if you are sitting there and you are kind of feeding with resentment and looking at your watch because you’re running late and kind of, you know, like science, you know, that that’s, your child is picking up on your energy. And if you can sit there and really just stay to yourself, like I’m here with my child as my child’s having a hard time, and this is hard for me and we’re going to get through it together.

Rebecca:
And even just repeating those types of things to yourself, do so much to calm your child. Just non-verbally, it doesn’t mean they’re going to, you know, notice you feeling that and then cheer up within a minute, as you said, that’s not the goal, but I think it’s, it’s evolutionary that, of course it sucks as you said, because our kids are in distress and we want to do everything we can from a biological standpoint to get them out of that. And yet there, they, the best thing we can do is just sort of sit there and hold cousins. And then when we’re going through it later, as you said, not only to think about what was going on for my kid, but what was going on for me, there’s a, there’s a page in the book.

Rebecca:
That’s kind of a worksheet based on Marshall Linehan’s kind of chain analysis or DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy. And it, and it really is looking at, you know, what was going on earlier in the day for my child, what was going on for me was my child hungry. Was I hungry? What you know? And so it’s looking at the fact and the book talks a lot about, and I talk a lot about how tantrums are interactions and a tantrum may play out very differently, depending on what state of mind you as a parent or as a caregiver are in. Even if the set of triggers is exactly the same for your child. And that’s a really key point to keep in mind as well.

Wendy:
It’s contest time, $250 cash is up for grabs. Do I have your intention as a way to celebrate Christmas? I want to give back to you guys for all your support this year, we appreciate so much. And this podcast, the fresh start family show would not be possible without you. So here’s our way of saying thank you. As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, this is a contest for a chance to win $250 cash. Here’s what you have to do, listen and share. All you have to do is screenshot this episode that you’re listening to right now, or you can go screenshot your favorite episode. I know you have many and then share it on social.

Wendy:
Making sure you tag me. I’m @FreshStartFamily on Facebook and @FreshStartWendy on Instagram. Now, if you have a private account, make sure that you DM or message us to let us know you posted because we can’t see your story. Even if you tag us, when you have a private account, we’ll compile all the families who enter throughout the month of December. And we’ll choose a winner by random on January 1st. And we’ll announce the winner on January 3rd. You’ll get 15 extra entries when you leave us a comment review on iTunes and share on social. Again, being sure to tag me important before you push, submit on your review, make sure you screenshot first so you can easily easily capture your review and then share.

Wendy:
If you are not on social, you can email us at [email protected] to let us know you left a review. We will choose one winning family each week by random, during the month of December to win a $20 Amazon gift card from families who post a review winners of this week, we contest will be chosen and announced each Friday at noon Pacific. Just remember reviews need to be new. So use a hubby or pals iTunes account. If you need to. Now, if you want even more entries, head on over to Instagram and find my posts that says giveaway tag as many friends as you want in the comments on that post to let them know why you love our show and that we are giving away $250 cash.

Wendy:
And for gift cards this month enter each friend is a separate comment. Each friend you tag is an extra entry. You can use this money for yourself, a family member groceries to bless someone in need or whatever way is helpful to you this holiday season. And don’t worry, I’ve documented all of these contest rolls over on the show notes page for today’s episode. Good luck, happy holidays, and Merry, Merry Christmas. I cannot wait to see who wins. Yes. Oh my gosh. I love that you bring in the what’s going on for me because, and, and all of those kind of mantras that you said, because it is so powerful to be able to endure with grace and integrity and dignity when you’re not kind of feeding those monsters, so to speak that are like my child’s going to grow up to be an entitled brat.

Wendy:
I have no control over this kid. This kid is purposely pushing my buttons and like all of those things that aren’t truth that aren’t rooted in actual psychology and truth will just cause you to not be able to move forward with any type of endurance. Right. And then I love so, and, and you mentioned the trigger, you know, mentioned the triggers a little bit, and I want to make sure if there’s any others that I’ve kind of missed, but I always, I always think of it as hunger, thirst sickness, tiredness, and then often I will put in their powerlessness is, can be a trigger for tantrums. Is that, is that something you would agree as there more, or

Rebecca:
You’re talking about triggers for, for the kids, for us also, you know, have changed in routine, all her stuff, sensory overstimulation, right? So big box stores or, you know, supermarkets, why are they, you know, so difficult. Cause there’s just so much coming at them from a sensory perspective, travel the mood and state of the caregiver. So when people say, why does my toddler always have a tantrum around my in-laws may well be because you’re anxious around your in-laws and you feel like you’re being judged and that translates, you know, and you’re a very different parent when your in-laws are around because you’re kind of trying to do what they would do.

Rebecca:
And so you’re, you know, and so I think, you know, when I talk about tantrums, I kind of talk about you’re walking through a supermarket. Your child is demanding that you buy the Oreos. You say, no, the child has an antrum and, and or maybe you observe that in a supermarket and you could easily say the child is having a tantrum because you said no to getting the foil. But then you could find out that the toddler, you know, only slept for seven hours last night, or you could find out the toddler is getting over a really bad cold, or you could find out that the toddler had a new baby sister born four days ago, or you could find out that the mom who’s taking the toddler shopping, grew up really food insecure.

Rebecca:
And so always feels a little bit stressed and agitated when she gets to the supermarket. All of those things are likely contributing. It’s a question of kind of panning out and in your individual parent child dynamic thinking about what is contributing to this tantrum. And so it’s not as easy as kind of listing all those things, although that is a good place to start. It really is just thinking more globally about who am I, who is my kid? What is our family going through right now? And might any of those things have contributed to an increase in the frequency, duration or intensity of Patrick’s?

Wendy:
Yes. And so many times I think when the triggers happen, you know, we, we are that choice moment, right? Where we match it, or we respond with the kind of response that you’re talking about. And so I would, you know, it sounds like you could even go through that list in your own, your own head to cause the moments where you have reacted like a volcano are probably because you have a lot of this going on, hunger, thirst, tired sickness, powerlessness change in routine overstimulation, travel the mood stage of the planet right now, like all of it, right? Like, and so if we’re going to be more likely and more at risk, probably of matching the tantrum and not being able to get through it.

Wendy:
So I love kind of looking at both sides. That’s so important. And then a few more questions about tantrums. You know, just the nature of them is so many times I’ll, you know, I’ll hear from families that their toddlers get really physical in those tantrums. And that can be almost the hardest part, right? So it’s like the yelling and the screaming and the crying. And I know when Stella was little, she used to like break out in rashes all over her face. And it was so sad, right. I mean, there was so much physicalness to it, but, but the hitting and the kicking and the biting, and even like the self harm that comes in with like the headbanging sometimes, what are your, you know, your words of just comfort for families, as far as like, you know, we’re talking about this endurance with grace and holding space and being there, it like ups at a level when that’s present.

Wendy:
Right.

Rebecca:
Absolutely. And I think, you know, there are some red flags when it comes to tantrums that do indicate there’s possibly more going on. Not definitely. And aggression is one of those things where it can be a red flag. If every time you’re a toddler or child has a tantrum there’s aggression. And it’s not just like, Ooh, I’m going to push you in frustration, but it’s kind of persistent and potentially intense aggression. And so in those situations, if there are families listening where that is a regular and ongoing part of your child’s tantrums, then I do think it might be time to get some help and some guidance, not necessarily any more than, for example you did with your daughter.

Rebecca:
It doesn’t mean there’s something horrifically wrong with a child. It just means, okay, something here isn’t working. And we have to kind of go beyond that and really think about either how we’re parenting or, you know, evaluating the child, whatever it is because aggression, although parts of it are absolutely completely normal and every child goes through it. And it’s part of and expected to be part of some tantrums. Sometimes we’ve been as part of every hand from every time that might be something to look at. All that being said, I think kids get physical when the yelling, the screaming, the falling on the floor, even that doesn’t kind of express how awful may feel.

Rebecca:
And part of the reason that they’re, that they’re aggressive. And again, I don’t mean reason that they’re consciously thinking this out, but first of all, they’re completely dysregulated. And second of all, they just are what they’re trying do. But if you’re as communication, they’re trying not necessarily constantly to convey how much they are struggling, how angry they are, how sad they are, how completely just unsure they are. And so the most reassuring that you can move is to say, wow, I, I, you know, I get it. You are, you are really feeling some super big feelings. And then that coupled with, I cannot let you hate, I cannot let you hit me.

Rebecca:
I can’t let you bite me, kick me whatever it is. My number one job is to keep you safe and you’re not being safe. And then you can hold your child, whatever it is you need to do to prioritize physical safety. But that is not, oh, don’t you start kicking me right now. You know, that’s going to make that, you know, or, or like, oh, now, you know, and now you’ve hit me while they’re ghosted on the chair because that right. They are in such heightened state. It’s just that their feelings. I have a colleague who says, and I love that their feelings are coming out of their body, their body, their body wasn’t enough to hold the feelings. The feelings got so big.

Rebecca:
And you can say this to your kid. Oh no, no. Their feelings are so big that they’re coming out of your hands. I’m going to have to hold your hand because my number one job is to keep this family safe and I have to do this and then add that to their feet, to their teeth, you know, whatever it is. So you’re hearing from boundary. You know, the book talks a lot about, about love and limits, about how all research shows that kids thrive. When they’re high levels of love and high level of limit and limit those sort of boundaries and ways in which your child knows, no matter what they throw at you, you can take it, not take it like a doormat, you know, not being hit, but it’s just like, oh, now you were up the ante.

Rebecca:
Okay, I’ve got that too. I’m your solid, steady parent. I’m here. I’ve got the ability to handle this also, as opposed to your feelings and your frustration and your physicality is too much for me. And now it has affected how I’m asking and feeling. That gives kids a sense of power. That’s kind of the opposite of the sense of power. We want to give them. That’s like, whoa, I have so much power that I’m influencing this whole, this whole show. And that’s too much. And even, you know, kids feel that at their core and it’s anxiety provoking shit.

Wendy:
That right there, I feel like it’s so powerful. We could add right now, is that like, is the biggest takeaway ever is parents don’t realize right? That when they, they react and they feed into it, that it actually is helping their child feel that need to feel powerful in a way that we don’t want them to learn. Right? It’s like a, almost a false pseudo sense of power. But over time that starts become the norm and starts to almost become w w is that, is that accurate that they, they learned.

Rebecca:
And they can either learn that they’re more powerful than they are, or they learn that they are as powerful as they feel in your family. And it changes the dynamic in the hierarchy in an unhealthy way. I mean, I think about it and a lot of parents can relate to it. When you think about older kids and you think about curfew know, so if a kid screams and yells and calls you a B or whatever it is, they have to come home at midnight. And let’s say, you say fine, forget it. You know, okay, enough, you can, you can con you don’t have to have a curfew. And then in the moment, the kid’s like sweet. You know, I rock, this is awesome. I’m out with my friends. And then all the friends have curfews and they’re kind of left out and they’re a little bit like, wait a second, beat down.

Rebecca:
I would never say it out loud to my friends, but I kind of wish I had a curfew because it means that someone else is in charge and cares enough about me to be in charge. And that analogy is very similar again, in the moment they’re going to love it. They’re screaming for more cookies than you give it to them. Mission accomplished. Fantastic. But over time, they need to see that you’ll hold a boundary in order for them to feel safe. They won’t feel safe if you can’t hold a boundary, which is different than saying, I’m like on a rule. I think that’s different from saying you can never give in because that’s the other thing.

Rebecca:
That’s a myth. There’s a real misconception that once you say, no, you can never change your mind. You can never get parents in my office when I was doing in person sessions and they’re exhausted and they’re miserable. And they say, they argued with their kid about taking a bath for three hours and I’ll say, oh my gosh, why didn’t you just skip the back? And they’ll say, I didn’t think I, I thought once I said we were doing it, that I was sending a bad message. It’s like, no, none of this is, I wish it were that black and white. It would be easy, but it’s not. You still have to use your intuition. And you still have to think about trends. You’re trending toward having boundaries and being a safe person and being someone that can set limits.

Rebecca:
That doesn’t mean you can never say, okay, you know what? I’m exhausted. I have a splitting headache. We’ve had a long day. My kid is getting over a cold. I’m going to give her another cookie so we can just move on. That’s okay, too. Yeah.

Wendy:
We call that bending with parameters.

Rebecca:
Right? Exactly.

Wendy:
Yeah. And then next week you can tighten it up and not buy cookies, the limit. So strong, just how about don’t buy cookies, but back to the curfew example, I think that’s so beautiful Dr. Hershberg and like, yeah, it’s the giving in thing. Right. But, but, and I feel like it’s so powerful what you spoke to though about even just the reactive interaction feeds into the sense that that is us a way to feel powerful. Right. So if you’re screaming and getting a rise out of your mom and calling her a B, and she’s like, you know, you know, so PO that she’s like in your face and then like, there’s, she’s awake, right.

Wendy:
And you’ve, you’ve had this interaction and you maybe don’t get your way, but you woke her up, you caused her to get arise. You she’s screaming. She, you know, you made her angry, right? Like all these things that the next morning are like, not what, how we want to help our kids feel powerful. And if you know, so I love that. I love what you spoke to as far as like, it’s going to, it’s going to feed needs in a way that we want it to, or in a way that we don’t want it to, and we’d rather get creative and find ways to help them feel powerful and healthy ways that are actually like, and creating that calm response where we don’t fly off the handle, or we don’t engage, or we don’t become part of the Trinity, I think, teaches them like, Hey, you’re safe.

Wendy:
And this is not how you’re going to, this is not going to work for you to feel powerful because it’s not gonna affect me, which is easier said than done, but so beautiful. So, okay. So I think you just spoke so well to the importance of connecting with your child and being on the same team, because so many times it is us and them in the same learning season. I don’t know if this rings a bell to you, but for me and to my students and my bond, fair members. So many times that their child’s really going through something kind of in a season where they’re having a lot of tantrums. It’s, it’s often mirrors what’s happening in the adults lives. And, and again, they’re learning together.

Wendy:
And I think I always encouraged my, my families that I work with. If you can see it as a beautiful opportunity to be together in your learning, because when you learn and when, whether it’s processing emotions or how to take care of yourself or get better sleep or eat healthier, stop eating so much sugar or caffeine, then your child almost naturally absorbs that without you having to make them learn a different way, would that be accurate?

Rebecca:
Absolutely. A hundred percent. And also just being on your child’s team, even in the individual episodes. I mean, I think there’s a misconception when I talk about love and limits that when one goes up, the other one has to go down, you know, that if I’m going to be sort of loving and nurturing and warm to my child, then how could I possibly set a limit or vice versa. If I’m going to show my child who’s saw and that they can’t get away with this, then how could I possibly also be loving and warm? And in fact, all the research shows that when both things are high can do best. And so by all means, if your child is screaming for another cooking, start with a loving limit, you know, a limit that has lumps.

Rebecca:
So, sweetie, I know you want another cookie and men, do I get that cookies are delicious. You only want one other cookie. If I could, I’m going to have 10 more cookies. They’re so yummy. I have to say no though, because they also are not super healthy. And so if you’re hungry, we can have healthy food. Again, I get it. I’m with you. We’re on the same team. And I’m setting a boundary at the same time is I think one real pitfall that parents fall into or trap or whatever is the sense that those two things can’t be true at the same time. I can’t be on your team and fed a boundary at the same time. When in fact that is the best way to show your child, you are on there is to be loving and, and hold firm to your boundaries.

Wendy:
I love that. I love that you use the word and I feel like this is such a simple word, that when we change that in our language and take the word, but out then things can be, you know, inclusive or complimentary. And it doesn’t have to be negated, you know, but it’s such a simple tweak and it really, I think affects our mindset around it. Like, I love you and no, we’re not having cookies, right? Yeah. We had an episode and it, it feels like for such an incredible wise and doctor it’s like, it feels funny to just be like, have you seen this viral social media or this viral video, but it was so beautiful that I actually reached out and had this dad on our podcast is his name Joel.

Rebecca:
And where he, yeah, I missed the one where the child was having a little bit, it was like an 18 month old having a tantrum. And he would put it to music and

Wendy:
Music. She was like, I think she’s two and a half. Yeah. But it’s, it’s probably the same person, his name’s Joel Mitchell. And it was a beautiful representation of what we’re talking about. And at the end was you could, without any words, you could just feel how the storm had passed. And he took time out of his day to spend a half-hour on the ground with this little girl to not react when she would, you know, try to smack his little, his back or his head or, you know, and he just held space for her. And I don’t know, I would think, and especially in like your work, your work in your field, that video feels like it was very revolution, evolutionary, revolutionary, and like showing how to actually do it.

Wendy:
Right.

Rebecca:
Yeah. It was very powerful. And in fact, I had done a podcast right then for I’m off the clock, I think is a, is a product, another podcast, a mental health podcast. And, and because it had just come out and it was going viral, they linked it, you know, in the, in the show notes. So, you know, they linked to my book into that video because it is really telling, and also the song that he picked is so perfect. And I mean, I think I cried because, and I think that speaks to that speaks to the fact that this is how we all want to be held. I mean, as you know, I’m not, you know, on the floor screaming and crying, but right now I am having some really big feelings a lot.

Rebecca:
And the idea that I can have those feelings and there can be a safe person. Who’s not scared by my feelings and is not overwhelmed by my feelings as we can decode my feelings, even just talking about it, just, I feel my whole nervous system kind of settling. And so I think part of the power of that video is how much we could all relate to once this little two and a half year old was going through. And I think the more that parents can remember that their kids’ tantrums are not really all that different from what they would be doing, if they didn’t have the capacity, you know, if I didn’t have the capacity to, you know, manage my emotions and behavior, I’d be having tantrums quite regularly these days.

Rebecca:
And so what would I want, what would, I mean, and just thinking that way, you know, can really open so many doors when it comes to parenting and particularly parenting through these moments when our kids have really big feelings.

Wendy:
Well, Hey there, families, I want to take a moment to tell you about Troomi wireless and why I am so excited to be teaming up with them to support you and your family. When you use the code Fresh Start before December 31st, you’ll get a free Troomi kid safe, a12 device. Yep. Free parents. And with service starting at only $15 a month, this really is a great way to stay connected to your kids. And don’t worry if you’re listening after December 31st, you’ll still get $50 off with any Troomi device when you use the code Fresh chart. Now, I can’t tell you how excited I am to now officially be partnering with Troomi because I’m just so dang passionate about keeping iPhones out of kids’ hands, as long as possible, because I’ve seen firsthand just how fruitful this strong limit is for kids and families.

Wendy:
Both of my kids are now rocking Troomi phones instead of I-phones out in the world. And it gives me the ability to call them when they’re at a friend’s house. And I want to say goodnight, and I love you, or I’m late to pick them up from volleyball or skateboarding. And it helps me feel like they’re safe if they’re riding their bike to school. And they were to need me at any time. So for example, a few months ago, when my son broke his wrist, he was able to call me from the skate park immediately to come get him. But with Troomi phones, parents, kids are kept safe from the dangers of untethered access to the internet, social apps and online gaming plus all the other stuff that comes along with regular smartphones. And trust me, parents, there are many the addictions, so many kids have to I-phones and the awful stuff.

Wendy:
So many get exposed to from such a young age is something we can all prevent. If you can just find the courage to be different and go the trimming route, just head to troomi.com and enter this special code Fresh Start at checkout to get this deal. Trust me, this will be one of the best investments you make to make sure that your kids are safe and that you’re able to stay connected to them. Okay. Back to the show. Yes. I was trying to find the episode of that one. Okay. You guys listeners that one is, of course, I’m not going to be able to find it, but it’s called detaching from tantrums and misbehavior with love and integrity.

Wendy:
And it might be, I don’t know, it’s, it’s an educative.

Rebecca:
You need to write a book with that title.

Wendy:
Yeah, that’s right. Go over to the fresh start family show page and you’ll find it. It might’ve been episode. I don’t know. I can’t read the number, but it’s a good one that would really be complimentary to this episode today. That’s really nice because he spoke about how she was just coming off of a really big road trip and just about to get sick. I think that’s kind of what contributed to it. Or she had just come off of a sickness and, you know, a few things and, and we’ll discuss our last point here, the importance of self regulation and self compassion as a parent. But I’m thinking back just cause I always love to give listeners like really specific examples, you know, to be really, really actionable and real and tangible.

Wendy:
But two things that I remember Stella really struggled with when she was little that were so hard, one of them was, and I’ve always tried to like apply this and had trouble with it. But she, when she would wake up from a nap from the time she was about three to four, probably around three and a half to four and a half, maybe she would fly into tantrum mode and we could never figure that out. What is that? Talk to Hershberg? Because I hear it from a lot of listeners or a lot of families I work with, but you would like, she’d almost wake up from her nap on the wrong side of the bed and then be so inconsolable that we were just like, whoa. And I remember being like, does she need, is her blood sugar low?

Wendy:
Does she need juice? Like, does she need a snack? But it was, we were never able to figure it out. Any, any words on that?

Rebecca:
Yes. So my, my older son was like that as well. And the way that I came to understand it was that because it was in keeping with kind of who he was more generally, it’s a, it’s a really big transition going from being asleep to awake. And it’s also, if you think about your own nap back, you know, when maybe one time you were able to take one,

Wendy:
Oh no, I still love nap. I’m a napper to that day.

Rebecca:
He’s saying I just, I haven’t been able to put one off with, I should be, cause again, self care is really important, but it’s pretty disorienting to wake up. And sometimes you don’t know like, wait, is it the next day? Is it that day? Like what, you know, again, if you fall into a deep sleep and for kids who are sensitive, that’s again, that’s anxiety producing, that’s overwhelming whelming. It’s like, here’s this feeling. And I don’t understand enough about sleep states and wake states and napping and time and space to really put them into words. And so I’m just going to take this feeling and kind of let it out in the best way. I know how, which is kind of the screaming and the crying. And they’re just helping to orient your kid, you know, get ’em right here. Look out the window here we are in your bedroom.

Rebecca:
And again, just to ride it out because I think in that moment, because back to what you know, we’re beating a dead horse a little bit, but you know, if, if you come at it with the energy of what is it, D does she need a snack? Does she need music again? It’s, it’s sending a signal to our kids that there is something wrong with how you’re acting. And also I can’t handle it. It, it must be as scary as it feels because I am bending over backwards to make it go away as opposed to, oh yeah, these are called big feelings and they pass just like waves in an ocean. Oh, you know, you may not be familiar with them.

Rebecca:
I’ve had many big feelings and I know exactly what’s going to happen, which is that they’re going to go away soon.

Wendy:
That is so beautiful. Because looking back at that time, there was definitely exactly like you said, the energy was all about fixing. And I mean, that is just amazing to think back and to think about exactly what you did. It felt very unsafe. We were very uncomfortable with it. We were very annoyed, irritated, worried something was wrong. For sure. And so I think, you know what I’ve learned and when I’m hearing you say too, is that when kids aren’t allowed to totally move through something, it kind of stunts the ability to get out of it. Right? So like I see this a lot in the families I work with in all misbehavior is as long as they’re still fixing and using the external controls, whether that’s fear of Forrest, bribery, rewards, permissiveness, whatever, it, it kind of like the, the, the misbehavior will persist.

Wendy:
But when they just say, like you said, it’s safe. You’re okay. It’s a storm. It’s going to pass I’m over here. You’re strong, you’re capable. I’m here to support. I’m here to hold space. We’re in, everything’s cool. And it’s hard, but we’re together. Then they get through it. And then on the other end of it, they’re like, oh, I got through that. Is that accurate? Like, it’s more of a sense of empowerment. And

Rebecca:
The only thing, the only thing I would tweak in my guesses, you’re just thinking about the families you work with. Because the only thing I would tweak here is that it’s not misbehavior. I know, I know what you mean. That it’s it’s behavior. That is not that you don’t love, but it’s, this behavior implies like doing something wrong. And I think what I would add is that in our culture, we are so bad at having feelings. And speaking of what I said in the beginning, which is if the world could be a better place. I mean, I feel this having been raised when I was raised or whatever, if I start to feel mad or I start to feel sad, I immediately think to myself, you know, what can I do? I should call a friend. I should journal. I could do some yoga. I could go for a run in my less healthy moments.

Rebecca:
You know, I could have a glass of wine. I could have a bunch of Oreos myself instead of what we all need to get better at is, oh, I’m fat. Yeah. Period. Like maybe I can just be with that sadness or be with that anger because again, it will pass. And so we have to, again, we can really shift, I think the world not to get all, you know, grandiose, but if we can just help our kids, not panic when they have a feeling that doesn’t feel so good and not have to get rid of it, because if there’s no way to go through life without having feelings on, like you’re sending them every time.

Rebecca:
And then they’re just going to get bigger and bigger and come out and come out in more and more destructive way.

Wendy:
Beautiful. Such a good clarification. Thank you, Dr. Hershberg. One more question about that. And then I think we’ve talked mostly to the self-regulation and self-compassion, but if there’s any other points we want to add as we finish up, but I know a lot of times with my families, you know, we talk about the importance of teaching in a calm time. You know, when it’s not the amygdala that’s lit up and everyone’s, everyone’s like, oh, it’s like, when everyone’s calm, everyone’s had a moment to come down off the roller coaster. But with tantrums, I often get a little confused on this one because it’s like, do we really need to even teach later? Like, you know, when you have a two and a half year old and a three and a half year old, a four year old or whatever, like, do you really need to come in and teach with redos or rope?

Wendy:
Like we, you know, we compassionate discipline, logical consequences. Like role-plays redos, makeups, all these things that for, For more like the misbehavior of like, Hey, you were seeking power and then you to feel powerful and then that didn’t happen. And then you got hurt. You turned it to revenge. You smacked your brother in the face. He’s got a huge wealth like that kind of stuff. Versus you had a tantrum. You had a lot of, I w I held space for you. We did it. And then now we’re on the other side. It’s bedtime. Do we do any teaching around like, Hey, what we learned from today is that I love you shaking your head already, right? There’s no need to, right. There’s no need to attend to

Rebecca:
Because you’ve already because you’ve already taught them it again. It’s not that there’s no need for teaching. There’s no need for kind of cognitive problem-solving because that’s not the part of the brain that’s online during the tantrum, you may call it the unconscious level that a loving presence is there when you’re really upset and that you can get through something, that’s all the deep thing you need to do. And you’ve already done it.

Wendy:
And the firm boundaries of like, I won’t let you help me hurt me. I’m here to keep you safe. That’s my number one goal. So it’s like all of the teaching is in your actions

Rebecca:
And what they take in and their nervous system. Because then if that happens enough times at home, like that’s what they take into the world. They take into the world, I can handle our thing. Someone will be here to help me. The world is a safe place. All these things that we know are associated with many positive outcomes down, down the road. So it’s not that you’re not doing the teaching. You’re just not doing the teaching and that typical kind of didactic way.

Wendy:
I love that. That’s such a good clarification, Terry and I just recorded an episode called you can do hard things and that people loved it. Cause it was so good. It was actually like all of sports analogies to surfing, but it was, it’s so true. Like we need to have the confidence that we can do hard things. And then lately I’ve been loving learning, you know, kind of settling into this, like, okay, well, what is do we do? We sometimes make it harder than it is, right? Like we view it. It’s going to be so hard. So that’s been fun to explore that lately, but okay. Dr. Hershberg, will you finish this off with just this idea of the self-compassion part? Because obviously our kids are going to have messy moments. We are not going to perfectly be able to respond to every tantrum or misbehavior.

Wendy:
We’re going to have those triggers that come up. So how, how can this help us? And why is it so important when we, when we’re talking about tantrums?

Rebecca:
I think self-compassion is so important because this is really hard. And so that means we’re gonna mess it up all the time and we need to then be gentle with ourselves. I mean, again, self-compassion has just been shown to be so helpful when it comes to fighting against depression, anxiety, those sorts of things. And the way to think about it is the way that you would speak with your best friend. You know? So if my best friend called me and said, oh my gosh, I, you know, I totally lost it. My kid was having a tantrum. I used the F bomb. I grabbed his arm too hard. Mike, what, I’m the worst on, I think in the entire world. And I would say, sweetie, are you kidding me? Like you you’re doing the best you can.

Rebecca:
You’re exhausted. This is hard. Your son is so lucky to have you. He loved you. You loved him. You’ll be able to, you know, just apologize. You’ll have a repair later. Like, but I would never say that to myself. I did those things. I would say like, no, I really am. I want a parent involved. And so again, we think to yourself, the way you speak your best friend, which is to say, oh, Sweeney, like, okay, so you made a mistake. We all do. You’re a wonderful knowledge, you know, and just coming at it with that gentlemen, because otherwise, again, the shame impact how we, you know, again, you just get into this spiral that then sort of makes things worse instead of better.

Rebecca:
I mean, I do this for a living. I am a parenting coach. I wrote a book about this and a clinical psychologist. And last week alone, I probably had to apologize to each of my kids, maybe three or four times for Lupron. And especially we haven’t talked about nor do we have to, but the fact that we’re in a global pandemic, I mean, everybody’s yeah. You know what we told them, right, exactly. Oh, that, you know, our windows of tolerance is what you know, between kind of things that happen. And then when we go off and grow, you know, fly off the handle, like that’s so much shorter for our kids and for us. And so there’s the idea, which is, you know, Dan Siegel talks about all the time of the rupture and repair, like, okay, so you have a rupture and then you have a repair.

Rebecca:
And that’s how the connection gets deeper. And so just to piggyback on what you said a couple of minutes ago, it’s not just that the teaching happens in the calm times, it’s that the teaching happens in the common connected, because it’s the connection. It’s the parents and kids co-regulate. And so you can be calm, but if you’re not connected, no one’s learning anything because no one’s fully regulated. Once you’re connected, you can co-regulate and then you can bring the cognitive brain online to do some teaching or learning

Stella:
For more information, go to FreshStartFamilyonline.com. Thanks for listening. Families have a great day

Wendy:
For links and more information about everything we talked about in today’s episode had to freshstartfamilyonline.com/109. And if you haven’t yet, make sure you grab our free guide to raising strong luck kids with integrity at freshstartfamilyonline.com/strongwilledkids. Hey families, before we say goodbye for the day, quick question, do you follow me yet on Instagram? If you don’t, will you come find me? I am @FreshStartWendy and I like to hang out there a lot and it’s a great place to interact with me. Send me a DM after you push follow, say hello. I do lots of lives. I post lots of IGTVs and I would love to connect with you over there.

Wendy:
So come find me.

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at [email protected] or connect with me over on Facebook @freshstartfamily & Instagram @freshstartwendy.

 

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