Today on the Fresh Start Family Show Wendy has a conversation on mindfulness and curiosity with mindful mama mentor, Hunter Clarke-Fields, MSAE, RYT.
Hunter has made it her mission to help families break reactive cycles to create a peaceful and positive home and raise confident and kind kiddos as a result.
In this episode Hunter shares the new path to changing generational patterns and raising confident kids by bringing more calm and peace into their daily lives.
Tune in to learn:
- Why curiosity is essential for parenting
- Practical mindfulness tactics (even for the busiest parents)
- How to sit in uncomfortable situations & hold space for our children
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- Hunter’s story & how she became so passionate about mindfulness
- The necessity of curiosity
- Definition of mindfulness
- How to “pause”
- Curiosity statements for families
- Allowing yourself to sit in uncomfortable moments
- Noting practices
Not able to listen or want to read along with us?
Here is the episode transcript!
This episode of the Fresh Start Family Show is brought to you by the bonfire support program, a life-changing powerful, positive parenting community and support program deals successful and confident and grow leaps and bounds in your ability to parent with, from kindness and integrity while significantly strengthening the bond with your kids. This supportive positive parenting and family life coaching program is for busy parents looking for consistent guidance and inspiration on how to redirect their kids’ misbehavior with integrity, teach important life lessons with connection and discipline with effectiveness. It’s perfect for families who want to make positive parenting their new normal and be supported by a positive parenting educator every step of the way.
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Well, hello listeners. I’m so happy you are here for a new episode of the Fresh Start Family. I’m your host, Wendy Snyder, positive parenting educator and family life coach. And I’m really excited to have Hunter Clarke-Fields on the show today from Mindful Mama Mentor.
We are talking about the importance of curiosity as parents and this conversation was just really, really good. So I’m going to take you take a moment just to tell you a little bit about hunter before we jump into this episode. So Hunter Clarke- Fields is a mindful mama mentor. She’s the creator of the mindful parenting course, host of the Mindful Mama Podcast and widely followed author of the bestselling book, raising good humans on mindful guide to breaking the cycle of reactive parenting and raising kind confident kids. She started blogging and podcasting about parenthood when her kids were babies and believes that it’s not enough to just know the right way to respond.
It takes inner work to reduce our biological stress response so that we can access our more loving, thoughtful selves at a time when parents worry about internet influence kids’ anxiety and avoiding helicopter parenting, hunter shares the new path to changing generational patterns and raising confident kids. She helps parents get their kids to listen without losing their ish, bringing more calm and peace into their daily lives. She’s a certified mindfulness teacher with over 20 years of experience. You guys, and meditation practices and has taught mindfulness to thousands worldwide. And most importantly, she’s a mama to two active daughters who she says her every day to hone her craft.
So you guys have been requesting for a long time that we get hunter on the show. Some of my team members actually shared with me that before they found fresher family, they actually found this type of work, you know, gentle, connected, respect based parenting. They found hunter first and they fell in love with this work through hunter. So it’s just really, really special that we ha you know, are able to have hunter on the show and that we’re finally making this happen. And what’s even cooler is that, you know, just as cool I should say is we got to record an episode for Hunter’s show. Also the mindful mama podcast.
We spoke about discipline. She had, she entered, interviewed me for her show. So I’ll make sure I let you guys know when that comes out, but we just really had a great conversation about curiosity. And I’m, I’m just so excited for you guys to listen. So speaking of making sure you’re always informed of when new podcast episodes come out and then when I’m on other wonderful educator shows like hunter shows hunter show, I usually share it through the email list. I also share on social. So make sure you’re, you’re following me over on Instagram at fresh start, Wendy. That’s where I’m the most active. I do a lot of teaching, giving short little tidbits of information and education for free over there, but a lot goes down through email.
You guys, I send out weekly encouragement tips. I send out notifications of when we have new podcast episodes for the frustrated families show. And then, like I said, I’ll let you guys know when I am on a show that I just feel like we had a really good conversation. And when our episode with hunter comes out, I’m going to make sure that I notify you in email. So the best way to join the email list, if you’re not on it yet, it’s just a head to the website, frustrate family, online.com and grab whatever freebie that I’m offering at that time. We always have something to gift you for free on the homepage of our website. Sometimes it’s a free learning guide.
Sometimes it’s a free workshop right now. It’s actually our free five day fresh start parenting challenge, which is a mini course that we do every summer to help parents kick off summer strong, really feeling like they have a strong, full toolkit of respectful connection based tools to redirect misbehavior with grace, with dignity and with, from kindness. So what we’re studying during that free challenge, it’s taking place from June 6th through 10th. So if you’re listening right when this podcast episode comes out, go ahead and join us again. Sign up over at fresh shirt, family, online.com. You can come in a few days late.
It’s very easy to catch up. You guys, these daily lessons are delivered via email, and they’re just 10 minutes. A anybody on the planet can find time to watch or listen to a 10 minute lesson. They are short and sweet, but I’m going to help you understand the root causes of misbehavior. So you can redirect your children’s this behavior with confidence, right? So instead of just saying, stop it, I’m going to teach you how to help your children have different actions and different behavior tomorrow. And it all really stems from understanding what the root cause of misbehavior is, why your children misbehave, the four categories and misbehavior, all that stuff, which is what we’re studying this week.
So if you happen to be listening like a long time from now, don’t worry. You can still go to the homepage for short family, online.com and you can still grab whatever free thing that we have at that time to hop on our email list. But that’s really where I get to be in communication and, and really touch base with you. And so those of you who are on the email list, you know, it’s just, it’s very special to me, that community. So thank you for listening. You guys, like I said, go hop on the email list, join us for the free challenge this week. It really is. Life-changing the results that families get just from doing these five days of many lessons, and it’s completely complimentary.
So go to freshstartfamilyonline.com and without further ado, help me welcome hunter to the show. I know you’re going to love this episode so much. Make sure you go give her some love and support the work that she’s doing out in the world, because she is incredible. And she’s really spreading a lot of life, a lot of light. Okay. Enjoy.
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.
Well, Hey there, families and welcome to a new episode of their Fresh Start Family Show. I am here today with Hunter Clarke-Field, who is a mindful mama mentor and author, and we are so excited to talk today about how curiosity can really, really benefit us in our parenting walks. So welcome to the show Hunter. I’m so happy to have you here.
Glad to be here, Wendy. Thanks.
Yes. Okay. Well, this is such a good topic. I know we’re just going to have such a great conversation. I was really excited when I found your work and was really looking forward to talking. When I look at your work, I’m like, gosh, we could talk about a lot of things, right? I feel like we have similar hearts for serving and helping families, but when you had thrown out this idea, I thought, gosh, this is going to be really good for parents to hear it because it is such a powerful topic and a powerful tool we can use as parents. But before we get into our subject of the day hunter, where you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you became so passionate about what you do and tell us about your work and how you got here.
Sure. I got into parenting in sort of an odd way in that it was like the thing I was worse that I think I was really bad at it. I was struggling and I was, I was struggling particularly with the yelling and with my temper that came out when my daughter was like 18 months old, started walking and talking back and it, and it was exactly what I didn’t want. And yet I felt like really powerless to change it because it was like the exact opposite of what I wanted yet. I couldn’t just choose to stop. Like I, it wasn’t like I can be like, okay, I’m choosing because you don’t choose to yell. You don’t choose to scare your kids.
And so you can’t choose to stop either. So it’s like, there’s, it’s this weird thing where it’s like the it’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility. So I had to take that and I really dove into learning about parenting and better parenting tactics. And then there, it can become very frustrated because I could, you know, a lot of great people would say just, you know, respond this way and there’ll be great ways to respond. That totally flew out of my brain completely whenever I was kind of stressed or losing it. And so I, I really saw that there was a need to bring, I had started studying mindfulness and I’d started practicing.
I realized I needed to bring it back because you know, there’s something that happens with the brain, right? Like there, we, the, it’s lovely to give great advice on how to respond to your kids, but it’s literally useless if your stress response is activated because you’re not accessing your whole brain. And that’s where mindfulness comes into the picture where it really, it’s pretty amazing that the brains hands show it, it, it, it makes the prefrontal cortex that higher order thinking part of our brain thicker and stronger, it shrinks the like, oh crap, oh, I’m threatened to part of the brain.
And so we needed these pieces, like how do we study or hearts and minds, how do we become less reactive, like that needed to come together with how to talk. And that’s kind of where, what mindful parenting brings together. And it all came together because I needed it so desperately.
Yes. Oh my gosh. I feel like so many of us who are educators and coaches in this space, we have that similar story right. Where we were kind of brought to our knees and then we found this path and it’s, I love how all of us found a slightly different path. Right. But they all lead to the same place that connected ability to like figure out what’s underneath all of those triggers and all the things. Right. All the things that we help our students with. So what did you end up pursuing Hunter? Was it, was it like just books or did you find a class or did you just self teach yourself? Did you go back to school? Like what did that path look like for you on your journey?
Oh, I did all kinds of things. Like my bookshelf is a little outrageous, of course, but I I’m, I’m now, you know, I’m like a certified mindfulness meditation teacher. I became certified in parent effectiveness, training, communication skills. I read on everything I could go to. I went to conferences. It was a little crazy, all the things that I’ve done in the past number of years, but, but it seems, you know, it’s incredibly important. You know, I feel like we have these, these patterns that are just unhealthy, right. And then we just don’t, we perpetuate them. Cause we don’t know, and we don’t practice to change it, you know, or we don’t have the support to change and, and it can make a huge difference in our lives.
Like it’s made a huge difference in my life like that. I actually have good relationships with my daughters who are now one on the cusp of teenage hood and the other is a teen. And we get along, which I really was not on the path of getting along with my oldest daughter when things were going bad. It was not looking good for a while. And, and, and we’re good, you know, and, and I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it like helps so many people. So it just is like, I dunno, you know, we need to understand our biology and we need to understand that, you know, our ourselves and, and, you know, and use these tools that are out there, but just not maybe widely known to, to start to shift things.
Yes. And how old were your girls when you realized like, oh, dang, I got to do something different. I want to start saying yes to conferences or whatever it was in your path. Like, what was that age frame for you?
Well, when my daughter, Maggie was two is when I started to realize like, oh, things are not like looking good because she was always really intense. And it was really pretty challenging from the beginning. But when she was two, I really started to see like, if things came to a head and I started studying and reading then, and I started blogging about, at that time, I’ve also certified as a yoga teacher and I was teaching yoga and I realized like one of the initial major insights I had was that I am total crap. If I don’t take care of myself, you know, like that, that is really like, that was a real important initial insight.
And so I started to blog and write about that and write about honestly, about my failures. And, and that’s kind of started me on this path of then learning more and sharing more and et cetera. Now, you know, there’s a whole, now I’m teaching other people to teach mindful parenting all around the world. It’s crazy. We’ve had people teaching it in their communities and like Australia and Montana and in California. It’s cool. You know, it’s wild.
Oh my gosh. That is so exciting. Congratulations on that. Yeah. We just launched our certification program too. And as I was working with my community manager, I was like in tears, creating the manual. Cause I’m like, I can’t believe we’re here. Right? Like we’re here. Not only did we follow the path and help our own families, but now we get to help and train and mentor other people to go teach this work. Right. And it’s such an amazing feeling and what a journey. Right? What a journey. So your girls are 11 and 14 now. Was it the oldest one? That was about two when you found it?
And is she the one to, does she in particular like have a pretty strong will?
Yes, indeed. Yes. She’s highly sensitive kiddo.
Yep. That’s my Stella. So Stella is 14 now. She was three when I found the work. So she was three. The baby was, I guess Stella was almost three. She was three and a half. And Taryn was one. He had just been born that’s when I found it. So yeah, we have similar journeys and realizing like, oh, this is not how we want to do things. And thank God for whoever invited us or whatever ad popped up or whatever it got put in front of us that we said yes to like, thank God for that. Right. So, okay. Well, let’s talk about curiosity. So tell, tell me, tell me a little bit more about why you’re so passionate about helping families utilize this tool in such a great capacity and why you think it’s such a missing aspect in so many families.
Sure. I mean, so curiosity is one of the essential attitudes of mindfulness. You know, it’s the idea, curiosity is on the opposite side of the spectrum of judgment. You know, if we are judging, we are closed off, we have decided we are not open-minded. We have decided what something is or who something is or how something has gone. And curiosity is the opposite. It’s, non-judgment, it’s the idea of being open, looking with fresh eyes, wondering who you are today in this moment, you know, and there’s a saying that like, you can’t step in the same river twice.
And, but the true same is true for our children. I mean, really our spells, like the idea that we are these patterns, right? Like we are these perpetuating patterns that are ever changing. They’re dynamic, right? We’re not, I’m not the same person I was when I was four. And the same thing is true. I don’t even have any of those same cells, even like, it’s crazy. Right. But the same is true with our kids, that they in an all in a sped up experience, right. Where they are completely different and they’re different in each moment. And we tend to what our brains are not, you know, they are wired for survival, right? Or we are all, everything is optimized for survival.
So the brain wants to conserve its energy, conserve its it’s budgeted of salts and glucose and things like that. And so the, what the brain likes to do is to take shortcuts. This looks like this the way it was before. So I’m just going to assume it’s that. And that’s really good in some ways, like we’re not deciding our fresh weather to brush our teeth every morning, but, but with our kids, like this is just as our tendency, right? That we tend to, we have a natural negativity bias, but we also tend to take shortcuts in the brain. And we, we believe our thoughts.
We, something pops to mind judgment, which is totally natural and totally normal that a judgment pops to mind, oh, look at my child. Like there, he, you know, he hit his sister and gosh, he’s like on his being a mean kid, he’s he, he can’t handle stuff. You know, we, we make these, these, these judgements really it’s our brain is trying to predict what’s happening, but it’s taking shortcuts. And so when our, this natural tendency to shit take shortcuts, just kind of shakes out. We end up not seeing reality.
We end up seeing these labels and judgments that our brain has made rather than being open and curious to like, who are you right now? What are you needing right now? I wonder what is going on right now? Are you hungry? Are you tired? All of those things we need to be curious about. We tend to not do that. So that’s why this, this attitude and practice that we cultivate in the practice of mindfulness. It feeds us in so many ways because we’re not, we don’t, we tend not to just like jump or we notice the judgment and we can step back and say, ah, I’m judging.
Let me, let me, let me get a little curious here instead. Okay.
Yes. Oh my gosh. It’s so good. And it’s so I want to ask you this before we even go any further, because there’s so much I want to add to that. That’s amazing. But will you start us? I forgot to, I should have asked you this at the beginning, hunter, but will you just start us off with your definition of mindfulness? I swear. Mindfulness has been one of those things that, you know, I’ve been doing life coaching and positive parenting work for 10 years now. And I swear, I still, maybe it’s because I’m such a busy body. I’m like learning to like do one thing at a time. I’m like a multitasker. I’m like a habit breaker in that area. I’m trying to learn a different way, but the idea of mindfulness and we’ve had a lot of mindfulness experts on the show, but I still, there’s gotta be other people out there with me that are like, tell me what you mean, because I know I have a mind.
I know it’s full. I’m like what is like just the basic essence of like mindfulness.
Sure. And maybe this will help. I mean, mindfulness is like a state, right? But one of the in, in, I believe it’s in the Chinese characters, this is what I’ve been tied. Can’t actually read Chinese characters. What, what, isn’t the Chinese characters, the carrot, the sign for mind and heart are listening. And the idea of mindfulness is that idea of present mind or heart. So you can almost think of it as present heart or heartfulness, even not just mindfulness in the west. We tend to make everything about the mind. Right. But it really is about this idea of being present.
So mindfulness is just an estate of intentionally bringing your attention, right? Like bringing your attention to the present moment, whatever is here, be it, you know, a conversation you’re having or your breath or your child bringing your attention to the present moment with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. So without, without judgment. So it’s kind of not the way you are normally, like that’s not our default mode. Our default mode is judgment. Our default mode is like jumping into the future 10 bazillion times a day.
And our default mode is, you know, it’s not a little anger, right? Yeah. Yeah. We’re, we’re scanning for threats, right? Like we’re, we’re optimized for survival. So We, mindfulness is about being present with, without, with kindness and curiosity. Right. Practicing that. And, and it’s not like we practice it not to not to like become like, you know, we’re not necessarily become enlightened. Like we’re not going to be always in the present moment forever and ever. We’re never, you know, we’re not, we’re not trying to clear our thoughts or anything like that.
The advice that those parenting experts gave me, like when I, my daughter was two, it always started with pause and it’s like, well, how do you do that? Right? How do you do that? That’s a pretty important question.
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How do you do that? And so when we sit and practice mindfulness, we’re aware of what’s happening in the present moment. And we may notice things like what are the, we may notice things like anxiety, like the sensations of tightness in the chest, or the little tightness in the throat or the shoulders. Right? And we practice to just notice it without judging it with curiosity. And we learn to, we develop this ability. It’s like a muscle you build to be able to be with of things that are not super comfortable and tolerate it and, and not act on it. Right. And that’s the essence of how do you pause?
And so it, it really can give us this ability to pause. You don’t do it to become a great meditator. Maybe you can become an lane led. That’s great. But like you do it so that you can pause so that you can actually like bring your attention to your child when you want to, rather than your, your mind just constantly like running the show, right? Like it’s about kind of like taming the like crazy monkey a little bit. So that’s sometimes when you want to, you can have control of your attention. And then it’s also tablet clarity to not believe everything you think, and to be a little bit more open-minded and to be, bring that curiosity even to ourselves, like, why do I think this way?
Why do I jump to why is that the judgment? I think, why do I think my child’s manipulating me to bring, to bring that objectiveness and curiosity in that little bit of distance and space into everyday life. So it’s like, we’re not like, like we’re normally like in a waterfall of like thoughts and feelings that everything feels like important. And, and it’s just what, you know, and then, and a mindfulness practice helps us kind of step out in front and be like, oh, that’s a waterfall. Oh, does that make sense?
That is one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard. That’s awesome. Thank you hunter. Because for me, I’m like, okay, I’m thinking I want a mind full of awareness and attention. And you said kindness and the opposite of judgment, which again, today we’re talking about curiosity. Like that’s what I want my mind full of. Right? Like all the other stuff, the waterfall is such a great analogy and, and bringing the heart into it. Right. Like, cause it is, it is such like, I think a foreign concept to so many of us who, even as a teacher of this stuff, like, you know, it’s, it’s just so interesting how, like you said, we are, it’s almost like primal instinct to do the opposite.
Right. And I think that become comes from like our survivor brain, right? Like if we think we’re in danger, then we’ll react and it’ll be fast. But here we are, you know, long, long time after we’re being chased by lions or, you know, in danger of starving. And we’re still thinking that like an attitude or something else is like this intense danger and trigger. Right. So it’s like, I love everything you just described about developing the practice of just stepping to the side and viewing the waterfall instead of like, feeling like you have to be underneath of it and just getting beat down by it. That’s my interpretation.
Yeah, no, you described it really well. It’s like seeing what our defaults are and it doesn’t necessarily mean they all go away, you know, like you, you know, we still have like naked, you know, we can, but we can start to rewire the brain and, and rewire, reorient ourselves towards those things. So whatever, you know, that’s the gift of like our, our neuro-plasticity our brains ability to change that what we practice grows stronger. So when we practice bringing our attention back, that ability becomes stronger when we practice being curious, instead of jumping to a judgment that becomes stronger. Sometimes I like to think about it, like, like the, the defaults are like the super highway, you know, like they’re like, they’re just, those neurons have like been following those pathways for ever.
But like, but what, we can change it, we can start to shift and change it. And that’s, that’s a cool thing. I think when you think about the MRI studies that like, literally like the connectivity in the MRI studies have shown that the connectivity between the medulla, which are like, is like little, there’s like the seat of the fight flight or freeze response. Right. They, the connectivity between that and the rest of the nervous system actually weekends after an eight week practice of mindfulness practice daily. So, I mean, it’s like pretty awesome. It literally shifts our defaults.
Oh, so good. So good. Awesome. Yeah. It’s great to, to look at, as we’re talking about mindfulness and curiosity specifically, it’s great to look at what it does for us. Right. But I also think about what it does for kids too. Right. And I feel like when you’re curious with a kid, it, it is a heart opener. Like it is a conversation opener. It is a heart opener and it, it causes our kids to open instead of close. Would you agree?
Yeah. I mean, the idea of talking to kids with curiosity right. And being open to who they are and what they are and what they think it’s really the ultimate of in acceptance, you know? And I think that our kids, you know, we all know like, yes, our kids need unconditional love. Right. But what does that mean to be unconditional? Right. It means to be curious about what’s driving them even in their bad moments, even in their wrong moments or even in their like totally wacky moments. Right? Like it’s to be the idea of unconditional really ties into this idea of curiosity, because curiosity is saying, oh, this is here.
This is, this is what I see right now. Isn’t that interesting. Like I can, I wonder about it rather than this is wrong or this is bad, or this is, this is not a good way of going and we start to shut, shut down. And so our kids can feel that acceptance, you know, my kids are, they open up to me about all kinds of stuff. And I think it’s because my practice makes me a good listener. I, I want to know how they think and what’s going on. And I’m curious about who they are and what they are.
And I, of course, I like make judgments and I have labels in my head and I notice them and I can start to notice them and say, oh, okay, that’s there now. But when I can start to practicing this, this curiosity, it really does make it so that they are free to be who they are. My oldest daughter came out to me as gay a little while ago, last year. And it was so funny cause she was so like nonchalant about it. Like it was so random. I came home after this like incredibly like super stressful day.
And I came home and I wanted to get something in a room or something. And she had a big rainbow flag over her desk and I was like, Hmm. So I was like, I think I like called it down from like the upstairs. I was like, Hey, Maggie lesbian. And she was like, yeah, I thought you knew. I was like, okay. You know, and then she wanted to talk and talk and talk and talk. And it was so interesting. It was like, oh, okay. You know, just this feeling of like you’re expected. And you know, there’s definitely some stuff for me to process around that. You know, I had some things to process with that, but, but I think ultimately this idea of Cura when we can practice curiosity, we, we cultivate our openness, our openness to, to, to whatever is going to arise because we are constantly surprised by our kids.
Yes. Oh my gosh. That just story like just makes me want to cry because I think of all the kids that don’t have that, right. Like have that consistent, they just know they’re accepted, you know? Yes. Like as you said, the thoughts may come into our head, but you know, it’s so beautiful to see that your family has this practice of like, that’s your thoughts to work on. Right. Like, and, and just to, to, to hear that story, it’s just so beautiful. And, and to know that curiosity is the opposite of judgment. I think like every single family listening to, to be able to get away from judgment, like there’s no human being that wants to be a judgment person.
Like I just don’t believe that there is no just, it’s not what I believe we’re called to do as human. So curiosity gives us that, that different take of like, it’s not my place to judge. So instead I’m going to become curious, it’s it. Then exudes, like you said, that respect and acceptance. And it just allows our children to be comfortable and open. And like, I agree with the, I have a similar thing in our home with our two kids. I feel like it’s crazy what they tell us. I’m like, well, I did not tell my parents this when I was little, not little a teenager, like there was not an open dialogue going on. And you know, a lot of us will say, you know, everything was fine when we were growing up and loved, I had a beautiful loving family, but there was something that wasn’t there that is now here present in a lot of our homes that practice this work, but it’s just different.
And it’s this level of acceptance and, and they, they can just, they know they’re unconditionally loved. And it’s, it’s just the most beautiful thing when I hear that, because that’s what every single person wants is their teenager to just talk to them, to not hide things, to know that they’re unconditionally loved no matter what. And that’s, that is a practice that takes work. And that is from years and years of you prioritizing this work in your heart and your mind and your home, that’s the result of that experience with your daughter. And that is not the common thing like right. For,
I know we all think that it’s normal for teens and to be like rebellious and to be mean and evil. And my daughter has her moments like, trust me, she’s got some hormonal moments, that’s for sure. But, but it doesn’t have to be that way. And I think that that’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a myth that that’s something that they have to go through. I think that, you know, and this matters, this conversation is really, really important. Not if you have, not only if you have teens right now, but especially maybe if you have like really young kids, because when you can be curious and, and listen and practice to be present and listen to them when they’re like four and they’re babbling on about my little pony or whatever it is.
And you’re like, I’ve figured, you know, I don’t know who toilet SBIRT girl is, but anyway, you know, those are the that’s when you are planting the seeds and that’s when you’re practicing. And that’s when you’re planting the seeds of a strong relationship with them, you have teens. So it’s really important to kind of think about what do I, what kind of relationship do I want when my child is a team? Because you plant those seeds now. I mean, I think of parenting, isn’t like a control manipulation structure. It’s a relationship, you know, where you’re taking somebody who doesn’t know a lot about the world and you’re modeling how to be in the world. And you’re, you know, all of those things, but it ultimately is a relationship.
Then I want to, I want a relationship with my daughter. That’s going to be strong for the rest of our lives. Like I hope I will hope no, her, hopefully we’re all of my life. Right. Then I want that strong relationship. And that is definitely something I did not have, like in my own family or with my own father, you know what I mean? Like there was a good decade after I left college that it was really strained and it was all because of how difficult it was when I was a teenager, you know, and yeah, have that though. And it wasn’t because of, I mean, it was because of the way that they were parenting me. Right. Like, so, You know, when we can start to just start to dig in and start to uncover and start to practice to be less reactive practice to study our hearts and our minds and our nervous systems.
Right. Then we can, we can listen, we can be present. We can, you know, we can be curious. We can, you know, look at our kids with fresh eyes.
Yes. Yep. And the curiosity doesn’t mean that you’re not going to teach and mentor. Right. Like it it’s, it’s just about in that moment, like mentoring your children to understand that you are a safe place, that there is unconditional love and acceptance. And also that people make mistakes, right? Like there are mistakes that are made, whether, you know, whatever it is, but like getting curious and, and, you know, kind of almost neutralizing yourself and developing this practice does not mean you’re going to become permissive or passive. Like there is absolutely a million times to teach and calm times and say, Hey, thank you so much for sharing that with me earlier.
Or I want to, I want to chat more about this. Like now that I’ve had a little bit of time to like, think about it, I want you to understand why this is important to me. And I wanna support you on how you’re going to figure out how to not hit your sister anymore when you’re mad. And it makes total sense that you’re mad. Thank you for sharing me with me earlier, why you’re so mad at her. Like, there’s just so many assumptions that get in our way of being that creative parent to be able to teach in a calmer time with like effectiveness, right. When they’re in that logical state of their brain, when we’re in that logical part of our brain, but the, the judgment and the like smack down, which is the opposite of curiosity, it just halts that creativity.
And then later we’re just pissed going to bed. Instead of being empowered, that we’re able to sit down and have a conversation with our children and like have some, a real strong plan of action on how we’re going to mentor them to have different behavior tomorrow. And it’s not always behavior, right? Like with your daughter, it’s not like there’s nothing to mentor there and sit down with her about, it’s just a thank you for sharing your heart with me. Thank you for just being you. Right. But most parents we’re talking about like a lot of times, it’s the, there’s a misbehavior that we’re trying to respond to with curiosity. A lot of times.
Absolutely. I mean, like you’re, you’re absolutely right. Like I was talking to a mindful parenting member yesterday and we were talking regarding breaking down a situation that went bad.
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In their house. And the SU the, where, where the situation went bad. His, his son who’s. I forget how old he was, was younger. Anyway, his son like dropped his low, the leftovers of the really good pasta plate on the floor, on, you know, on the floor, cracked, ever pasta went everywhere. This kid’s like totally upset because not only is his favorite leftover pasta going, being totally destroyed and there’s none left, but also the neighbor happens to be over there at the house. At the time, it’s like witnessing this, there’s a whole bunch of embarrassment that’s going on.
So in that moment, the kids totally upset storming off to the room in that moment. That’s where if we’re able to write, like if we’re able to regulate our own feelings, we’re able to calm ourselves down and we can dig in. For some curiosity, we can say, okay, I wonder what’s going on with my child. Right. We can dig in like in a real difficult moment like that and say, I wonder like, oh know, and if we can, might be able to even say, I bet, I bet he’s upset. Maybe he’s embarrassed. Like we might be able to guess a bunch of those things, or we could go to our child.
And instead of saying, what’s wrong with you, you can leave all that puzzle over the ground, get back down here, pick up the positive right away. We say, oh my God, that was crazy. We can just acknowledge that. That was a bananas situation. And if we can bring that idea of curiosity into that moment, say, whew, you know, just acknowledging what’s going on. Then there’s space for our child to let us know. And then if we can understand, then when we can understand a situation fully, then we have more information for how to address what, to what they need to learn in that moment.
Right. How we need to rectify the situation, you know? So it, it really even helps in any, in the difficult moments where we may need to hold some boundaries about cleaning up some pasta. Right. So it’s an incredibly important,
And let’s just, let’s just riff on some ideas on curiosity statements here real quick. Cause I feel like this will be a huge takeaway for listeners. So Hey, what ha like in this situation, right? It’s like, Hey, how are you feeling right now? Like, how are you doing, what’s going on for you? Tell me, like, how’s your heart? How’s your mind? What, what was it? Do you think that caused it to slip out of your hands? What do you need support with?
I could do all of those things, but sometimes, and then sometimes they can be received really well. And sometimes, and especially as a very heightened situation, it may be received as like don’t interrogate me. Right. So sometimes it’s actually helpful to just guess to say, just open, like just use a door opener, like, oh my gosh. That was a crazy situation. Whoa. And just stop. Just listen. Oh, there’s my daughter. Oh, she’s pulling in the trashcan. Thank you, honey.
Nice. Bringing the trash on her own.
I know. So the audio is coming through. That’s what’s happening. It’s good news. But yeah, we can, if we can just like open the door and then listen, and that’s sometimes the hardest part. Cause then we have to sit. We have to wait a couple beats and then we’re in a place where it’s a little uncomfortable. Right. We might be in a moment of silence. We might feel like we have to jump in and fill up that silence. Right. A lot of us feel like we have to fill up silent moments.
I am still down person. Oh my gosh, I am such a silent filler.
And that may be like, part of that is like just habit, right? Like it’s a habit, energy. And part of it is like, it feels a little uncomfortable in that moment. So that’s where again, a practice in mindfulness meditation practice, because we can sit and say, okay, this is what this feels like. It’s safe for me to feel this feeling of a moment of silence. It’s you know, it’s, it’s, I’ve, I’ve done it before. I’m okay with it. Right. Like we have that practice and then we can just be that curiosity. We don’t have to necessarily have a specific words to say,
That’s so cool. This concept that you’re talking about. So the, when you’re like, if you were to cook to your kid in this situation and just say, well, that was bananas and sit next to him on his bed. You’re almost holding the space of curiosity of like, you know, like, how are we going to get through this together? Like if you don’t have to speak it, it’s just like, you know, it’s like a, it’s like, that’s so interesting to me. Cause I’m always like wanting to put words and steps to something. But this is almost just holding the space or energy of curiosity of like, you know, what will happen next? You know, what will, what do you need support with? But you’re not speaking it. You’re just, I wonder what he’ll need support with or wonder what he wants to say. Or I wonder what, like it’s more of a, an inside internal dialect while you’re freaking out because the kid, the neighbors downstairs, the dog is about to eat the broken glass and like that’s, that’s my right.
I feel like it might be,
I need to go get the glass before the dog breaks. It eats it is that situation is really going down. Right? You want to make sure your dog is safe, but, but yeah. And you might have some needs too, right? You may need your kid to come and clean up this mess that they made inadvertently, but we don’t need to be punitive about it. You know, we can listen, we can hold that space. If our child isn’t, you know, we sit for a couple of beats and our child isn’t is like totally clammed up. Cause that’s their freeze response. Right? They’re in a fight flight or freeze response. We might then make some more guesses like, wow, I bet that was really embarrassing with our neighbor there and all of that food everywhere.
And then you might wait a few more beats. You might, you know, it’s about being curious in that moment. What do you need? Maybe you need to, You know, you might even, you know, you might need some CYA breaths, like, which are great release. And when you do that, your kid may notice you doing the catch on like, oh, this is good, right? Like our emotions are contagious and we can start to like study ourselves. And then you might say, well, we gotta go clean that up, buddy. You know, it stinks, but we gotta clean that up. Right. So it’s really about being present in this idea of being curious is like, okay, can I check in with myself?
Can I check in with my kid? Can I be open to what is here?
Yeah. And I’m trying to imagine what some of my students would say right now to ask you. So I’m gonna ask you to, do you recommend like maybe a practice of journaling or something because many of my students and including myself in the past, and even still to this day at some, some points, not as much anymore, but when you’re like sitting there next to your child, trying to do that whole thing, like the mind is on attack, like this, like all, everything that you said, right? Like, and what I’m hearing from you is that it’s a practice to develop the awareness of those thoughts. Right? So that’s part of the mindfulness practice, right? It’s like, okay, like I’m just gonna sit and be, be chill here. But like my mind is going nuts.
Like, wow, let me write down some of those thoughts that are happening. And then maybe in a calmer time I can dig into like what could be underneath of those or what’s happening there. But it’s the awareness, but the thoughts are like a bit of an attack, right? So it’s like, I can see my students being like, this is great. Like hunter, even being with you, I’m like, I’m just going to like relax and breathe. But then in a call, like in a triggered time, like when the pedals to the metal and your mind is going nuts, can you give us just a little bit more there on like what you do with those thoughts?
So you don’t need to process them out loud with your kid, your kids, not your therapist. Right. And we don’t want to do that. So we, we may have some thoughts and things we want to process. We may need a friend or a journal or something that we want to process later. So that’s what you mentioned is really good. Right? Cause we got these thoughts here. But in the meantime, we’re practicing to come back to being present, to just kind of holding space and to being practicing, to calm ourselves and calm our own stress response. So that maybe even our kid can borrow some of our calm, right. Because our kids and we all do this, not just kids, but human beings, regulator our emotions through each other.
So if you can calm yourself, you’re doing a favor for your kid. Right. So how do you do that? The thoughts are going bananas, right? Like, oh my God, the neighbor kid. Oh my God, this, oh my God, that
My kids are out of control. He’s too emotional. He’s never going to make friends. Why is he so like, why? Like, whoa is like, dad’s going to kill him when he finds out, he broke his perfect plate. Like this is insane. The kid just needs to like stop being so emotional.
All those thoughts. So, well, I there’s a practice in my home. We call them noting and noting is just noting what is arising in the present moment. So we can be able to be mindful of our thoughts. So we might notice, oh, judgment. Oh, fear. Oh, anxiety. Ah, hello. Hello, judgment. Hello, fear. Hello anxiety. We do this silence. And it’s wonderful because when you notice something like that, it instantly stops the like rumination cycle. Cause you’re just, you just kind of got rumination cycle. Boom. It just interrupting it. Just noticing it, interrupts it by itself.
And you just drop that, that cycle and it’ll come right back. Boom, boom, boom. Like a bunch of them, like you said, when you just notice. Oh, judging. I’m worried. Fear. Okay. And then you, when you notice those things, do you say, okay, I’ll come back to the present and I, okay. What do I, what am I noticing? My chest is tight. My, I got a lump in my throat. How can I come? What are some tools I can do to calm my self? Right? Like my nervous system, you know, if we understand about the nurses and we know our nervous systems going crazy. So yeah, those deep breaths are cliche because they work. They’re teaching them to the Navy seals and active duty. Right. So they can make six slows, deep breaths.
You just exhale longer than you inhale. Breathe in through the nose for four, breathe out through the mouth for eight, for six. Right. Just longer than you inhale. You can like side out. You know, he might kind of, you know, I would, if you’re trying to sit with your kid, I wouldn’t like do anything crazy. Like jump up, like shake it out or anything like that.
But our teenager.
Yeah. None of that stuff, but definitely practice. Some of those don’t slow, deep breaths or some Cypress or anything you need to help calm yourself down and be present and bring yourself back to a place where you can use your whole brain.
Oh, so good. Hello, fear. Hello anxiety. I can not wait to use this. And, and, and the fresh start family community, we do so much work around emotional literacy, right? Like understanding. Cause I find that so many adults, right? Like most of them, none of us were taught emotional literacy when we were young. So when, like when I teach parents how to redirect revenge misbehavior, which is rooted in the feeling of hurt, a lot of them I can tell and begin me too in the beginning, like we don’t even realize we don’t even understand what hurt is. We think it’s anger a lot, but it’s actually hurt. Right. So I love the D the act of like developing the emotional literacy.
Like, oh, this is sadness. Oh, this is scared. This is hurt. This is angry. Like, but the adding the hello just lightens it. And it just any, and you said the act is called noting.
Yep. Just noting what is arising here in this moment? And we can do it if we have a, if like some big stuff goes down, like, and you need to process some stuff, there’s actually some research on like, dealing with our ruminative thoughts that talks about how we can do this for ourselves. Right. Like we can say I had a real difficult time a little while ago and I had to walk out down the street, sit by the bridge and breathe. And eventually I, I, if you have a moment and you’re not in a place where people are gonna think you’re crazy, you’re alone. You can say like, hello, you can say it out loud.
Hello, fear. Hello sadness. I see you there. Right. And you might even touch a hand to your heart, you know, just offer yourself that compassion that you need.
Oh my gosh. It’s so good. I literally cannot wait to practice that. Awesome. Okay. Well, I mean, I think we’ve covered so much, hunter. This has been such a beautiful conversation and I’m just so grateful for your work. I think what you teach just adds the most beautiful layer and it’s so complimentary to everything we do here at frustrate family. So thank you for being a light in the world. Thank you for all your tools and mindset and strategies. And I love how you talk about the science too. Right? Like those it’s proven stuff is proven to help us be mindful.
Self-regulate be able to teach our children that because if we want our children to be able to be mindful adults and self regulated adults and confident and all the things we have to show them how right. So it really does start with us. And your work is just awesome.
So thank you. And amen sister.
Yeah. Yes. So tell listeners where they can find you and where they can get your book and all the good stuff.
Sure. My book raising good humans is anywhere books are sold. It’s an audio book, all that stuff. And you might like the mindful mama podcast as an audio listener and everything is at mindfulmamamentor.com. And you can find me at mindful mama mentor, most places to
Awesome. And we have a link to a free month of audible on the website, you guys. So that would be a great way to get a Hunter’s book and dive into that. So awesome hunter. Well, thank you again for being here. Thank you so much for your work and being a light in the world and listeners go give hunter some love and find out more about her work.
For links and more info about everything we talked about in today’s episode head to freshstartfamilyonline.com/131.
For more information, go to freshstartfamilyonline.com. Thanks for listening families, have a great day.
All right, families, that’s a wrap. I hope you love today’s episode as much as I loved recording it for you. Remember, if you are interested in joining the bonfire now is your time doors are open for a short one week period, and we’ll close very soon. So head to freshstartfamilyonline.com/join-bonfire to learn more or just click the community tab at the top of the fresh start family website. All right, families, I cannot wait to welcome you with open arms to the bonfire support program. See you soon.