Ep #52: New Beginnings and a Look at What is Possible

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | New Beginnings and a Look at What is Possible

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | New Beginnings and a Look at What is Possible

Every day, I work with clients across the world that are experiencing the same thing around this time of year, and that is their children are storming. Maybe there have been lots of visits and excitement that have led to a disruption in routine. Maybe there was a lot of stress, or your kids didn’t like what they got, and the storming began again.

Once storming starts, many of us as parents try to get it to stop or go away immediately on command. But all kids at all times are just trying to get their needs met, and by discovering the root cause of the behavior causing the storm, you can completely change its trajectory.

In this episode, I’m helping you form a new habit that will allow you to get to the root cause of your child’s behavior, and I’m sharing a story of a real-life parent who used this tool to improve her connection with her son. Developing this habit is a total parenting game-changer and will transform how your kids feel about themselves, so learn how to get curious, not furious, and understand why your kids are behaving in this way.


Are you ready to become the parent you have always wanted to be? In as little as one hour a week, you can make the small steps in your peaceful parenting journey that will enable you to change the way you show up as a parent forever. The best news? I’ll be your parent coach in your back pocket at all times! Come and check out The Hive and receive ongoing support with your parenting.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Some examples of what might happen when your kids start storming.
  • Why all kids at all times are just trying to get their needs met.
  • Some key peaceful parenting tools to help you with this work.
  • What to do if you find yourself judging your child’s behavior.
  • A phrase to help you cope when your child is storming.
  • How an analogy about snorkeling and scuba diving can help you get to the root cause of your child’s storming.
  • Why it is not your job to meet every single one of your child’s needs.


Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Real World Peaceful Parenting, a podcast for parents that are tired of yelling, threatening, and punishing their kids. Join mom and master certified parent coach Lisa Smith as she gives you actionable step-by-step strategies that’ll help you transform your household from chaos to cooperation. Let’s dive in.

Welcome, welcome, welcome to today’s episode. I love being with you here each week. I know I’ve said it before, but I want to say it again. I’m so proud of you for investing this time in your parenting, your kids, and your family. Well done. Well done.

Today it seems fitting to me anyway to turn our attention to storming. Maybe there’s been a lot of storming in your family the last couple of weeks. Maybe there’s been a lot of anticipation and travel or people have been visiting you. Or maybe you’ve not been feeling well in your family. Or there’s been a disruption in the routine and the schedule, or there’s been stress about the holidays. Maybe your kids didn’t get what they wanted. They don’t like what they got or it didn’t fit or it didn’t work. Maybe there’s been a lot of storming.

What I know is that once the storming starts, we often try to stop it or make it go away immediately upon command. I say this with no judgement as I know how easy it is to want it to go away. I know how easy it is to be uncomfortable. I know how automatic it can be to want to make the storming stop. I mean come on. It’s uncomfortable. It’s loud and stressful.

Maybe you were dominated over when you stormed as a kid. So your brain goes on auto pilot. Maybe your brain judges your child and tells you things like, “He’s being disrespectful. She’s been uncooperative. She’s being manipulative.” Or any a number of other judgmental thoughts we have when our kids start storming.

Maybe you go into fight or flight yourself as the parent. Maybe you start storming as a reaction to your kid or kids storming. Maybe you have a lot on your mind. Maybe you’re already stressed, unhappy, upset, disappointed, behind. Maybe you’re pressed for time. Maybe you’re already beating yourself up for your parenting, your kid’s behavior, how late you are again, your kid’s fighting, and the storming feels like just one more thing you can’t handle.

Sound familiar? Can you relate to one or more or all of these? Are you thinking check, check, and check? Are you wondering if I’m in your house listening or watching? I promise I’m not. I know this pattern because I experienced it myself. Every day I work with clients all around the world that are experiencing the same storming alongside their kids. That are experiencing the same desire to get the storming to stop or go away immediately upon command.

What I know is that once the storming starts, we often try to stop it and make it go away immediately upon command without discovering the root cause of the behavior that began the storming in the first place. Let me say that again. Once the storming starts, many, many, many of us parents often try to make it stop or go away immediately. We want it to stop upon command. We don’t even think to discover the root cause of the behavior that started the storm in the first place.

That’s what I want to talk to you about today. I want to enlighten, teach, coach, drop a seed, plant an idea in your head, help you form a new habit or pattern that going forward will allow you to work to discover the root cause of the behavior in the first place. If you work on nothing else in your parenting in 2022, I beg you to work on this.

Developing the habit of discovering why the behavior began in the first place is a total parenting game changer. It is at the heart of peaceful parenting. It will completely transform your relationship with each of your kids. Most importantly, it will transform how your kids feel about themselves. Yes. Developing the habit of discovering why the behavior began in the first place will transform feel about themselves.

Now let’s take a couple steps back and review some key important peaceful parenting tools. Feelings are never in conflict. We’ve talked about this before on a previous episode. Feelings are never in conflict. Peaceful parenting is created around the acceptance and understanding that there are lots of needs and lots of feelings. Each person is allowed or entitled or welcomed to have their own reactions and feelings to situations.

Through connection, through peaceful parenting, children are guided to learn unconditional ways to express their feelings and needs and to resolve their problems. It’s a process of building emotional competency and emotional intelligence. If I understand feelings and needs, then I can understand where they come from. I can understand how the feelings and needs drive behavior, including storming. If I understand that, then I can work on self-control over my lifetime. Right?

So let me ask you. I’ve asked you this before. I’m going to ask it probably a hundred more times because it’s always a good reminder. Do you know why your kids do what they do? When your kids are fighting or your little one is hugging you or someone is screaming or slamming doors or running around or putting dishes away when asked or cooperating or hanging on you or calling, “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.” Do you know why your kids are doing what they’re doing?

Well, let me confess I had no idea why my kid was doing what he was doing when he was little. Whether it was melting down or slowing his arms around me and hugging me as tight as he possibly could. You are not alone if you have no idea. It is a really interesting question to dig into and ask yourself.

Here’s the answer. All kids at all times are just trying to get their needs met. This is true of all humans. All humans at all times are just trying to get their needs met. It’s the motivation for everything we do. Our needs. Every human spends every minute of their day trying to get their needs met.

So if our needs are met as humans, our feelings are positive and our behavior is good, acceptable, thumbs up, or pleasing. When our needs aren’t met, negative feelings bubble up. When the feelings bubble out the top of the volcano, the feelings start to spill over and bad behaviors result like storming, melting down, crying, door slamming, fighting, yelling, etcetera. I call all of that the storming.

The formula or the math equation is needs plus feelings equal behavior. In episode seven, I share your kid’s six core basic needs, and I go into great detail and give examples of what those needs might look like. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that episode or you’ve forgotten some of it or you’re new her in the podcast, we will link to that episode in the show notes in case you haven’t heard it or you want to go back and brush up on the six core basic needs.

So back to the root cause of storming. The best way I know to get down to the root cause of the storming is to play detective and wonder when the storming comes, wonder what do my kids need? Do they need affection? Do they need attention? Do they need appreciation? Do they need autonomy? Do they need connection? Do they need F-U-N? What do they need?

I like to think about this as scuba diving versus snorkeling. It’s a good analogy and hopefully gives you a good visualization to work with. When you’re snorkeling, you’re just staying at the surface. You can’t go too deep down into the water because you’ve got the mask and the breathing tube on. If you go too deep then the water gets in the breathing tube and you can’t continue to snorkel. So you’re forced to skim the surface with snorkeling. You’ve just got to keep your face right at the surface of the water.

Most of us parents are just snorkeling. What I mean when I say that is we’re just focusing on the storming. We’re just sticking our face right in the shallow part of the water, right in the surface, and we’re looking around at just the storming. We’re trying to make it stop immediately.

What if your 2022 goal is to get to the root cause? To get underneath the storming to the feelings and needs? How would you do that? Well, you take up parent scuba diving. Say what Lisa? What you talking about? All right, let me explain. You go underneath the behavior to the feelings and needs. You go down. Dive deep down underneath the behavior and wonder what are the unmet needs? What does my child need?

Now please understand I’m not talking about wants like ice cream for breakfast and unlimited phone time. Those are wants. I’m talking about the core basic needs. And I don’t think it’s your job to meet everyone of your kid’s needs, particularly as they get older and older. That’s not at all what I’m suggesting. Peaceful parenting is about moving away from controlling your child and instead teaching your child how to learn their own self control through an awareness and understanding of feelings and needs.

So if you’re talking with them and you’re guiding them and you’re parenting them as a scuba diver scuba diving down to the feelings and needs instead of being a snorkeler and always focusing on the behavior. Your kids will learn self-control. Because overtime with lots of modeling and practice, they will begin to understand that feelings plus needs equal behavior. That, my friend, teaches self-control and self-regulation.

When we understand as the parents that all kids at all times are just trying to get their needs met, our children are guided to learn unconditional ways to express their feelings and needs. Acceptable ways to express their feelings and needs and resolve their problems. It’s a process of building emotional intelligence.

I want to give you a real world peaceful parenting example. This is an actual story of a mom who scuba dives down to her kid’s feelings and needs. Kate is the mom. She has a four year old little boy, and she shared this story with me inside The Hive, which is my monthly membership community. She shared this beautiful story with us all right before Christmas. As you listen, you will see Kate taking the time to scuba dive down with her four year old son and understand the root cause of his storming.

Kate’s been working on this for a while now as this is definitely not how she was parented. And it didn’t come naturally to her. She kept working on it, and she never gave up. She is committed to understanding what her son needs and creating connection for both of them.

So Kate wrote, “Lisa and Hive team. I just had a beautiful moment with my son. We’re traveling for Christmas this year, which is normal for us. We’re all packed and ready to go. The last thing that needed to be done was to change my four year old son into his clean clothes. He started storming as soon as I suggested the change. After a few minutes, I finally got him in the bathroom and got him changed. He howled his anger and frustration at me. ‘I don’t want to go Mama. I just wanna stay home.’”

Kate said, “I took a deep breath and said can you tell me why you want to stay home?” Her son responded, “I don’t know anyone where we’re going and I don’t know their parents.” A lightbulb went off for Kate. She said, “Oh sweetheart, you think we’re staying with someone?” Her son said, “Yes, and I don’t want to Mama.”

So after thinking about it for a few minutes, Kate said, “Honey, I can see how that can be big and scary for you.” Her son looked up at her with big eyes, like oh my goodness, you understand me. Said, “Yeah Mama, yes. Can we please, please, please stay home?” So Kate said to her son, “Honey we can’t change our plans, but I need you to use your ears because I have something really important to tell you.” Her son said okay.

Kate said, “We’re not staying with anyone. We’re doing something called renting a house. We pay someone money so we can rent out a house in the snow.” Kate said, “Only me, Mommy, daddy, you, and Grandpa T are going to be at the house.” Her little son looked up at her and said, “Just us Mama?” “Yes, just us honey.” Her son immediately snuggled in for lots of hugs. After a few seconds looked at her and said, “Okay Mama let’s go.”

Kate asked herself, “What if I hadn’t stopped to ask questions and then actually listen to the answer? We would have spent the three hour car ride with my son petrified of what he thought was coming.” She said to me, “I’m so glad Lisa I stopped to dive deep under the behavior.” She said her parents would have dismissed her at four years old for being a brat, being ungrateful, and trying to ruin Christmas.

She then wrote, “Thank you Lisa for teaching me to get curious, not furious. It saved our day and made my four year old feel validated in her feelings and needs.” Oh I just love that Kate. Just love it. So I wrote back to her and I said, “What a magical story. This makes my heart so happy.” She responded, “Lisa, it was really amazing. The energy in the room completely shifted to a beautiful, calm state.”

Now this is not a Christmas miracle. It didn’t just happen automatically. Kate had to work at learning this. It took commitment and practice. For a while, she got it wrong. She got triggered and she would storm alongside her kid. She stayed with it, and she kept trying. She understood connection was the payoff. She stopped taking her son’s storming personally. She stopped judging him and letting her brain decide why he was storming. Instead she worked on getting curious and asking questions from a calm, regulated state.

At first her little four year old didn’t know. It took time. It took asking him over and over and over again. It took patience and repetition. He had to build the skill of digging into what he was feeling and needing. And Kate and her four year old son had to build trust between the two of them. They had to work at it over and over and over again. He had to understand on a subconscious level that she was committed to going beneath the behavior to the feelings and needs.

But as you can see so beautifully in this example, they’re doing it now. They’re connecting. Kate is taking the time to scuba dive down to the root cause, which is the feelings and needs. What she’s coming to understand is that when you take care of the feelings and needs, the behavior will take care of itself. Pretty neat, huh?

Just today as I was preparing this episode, Kate checked in to report. “We have yet to have a full storm on our trip. There have been a few little upsets, like the puppy accidently nipped my son while he was playing, and my son got upset. I had to explain to him what happened. I empathized that it’s very hard when the puppy nips, and I invited him to sit on my lap and snuggle. He snuggled right in. There was maybe two minutes and then he was off to play again.

“He napped today, but he didn’t want to. In the past he might have stormed when he didn’t want to nap, but today he readily read books and listened to Pandora while he was waiting to drift off to sleep. After nap he asked me to play. So I sat down and we played cards. Then I let him know I needed a break from the floor. He came and plopped in my lap. ‘Mama I want some more snuggles. I’m not done yet.’

“He was there for a long while. Then all of a sudden he hugged me really hard. I hugged him back, and then he draped himself over me and just laid there. I didn’t move for a long while. I have to tell you Lisa. 70 pounds of a four year old isn’t light, but when he was ready, he got up and went off to play. No full storms on our trip, and the connection feels amazing.”

I hear you Kate. 70 pounds is a lot, but the connection must feel like magic. I am so proud of Kate and so happy for her family. I have to tell you. I love sharing stories with you because I really want you to know and understand what is possible. I want you to know that you too can have this. I promise that if you’re ready, I’m here for you. I will be here with you every week, ever episode. Together we can help you be the parent you’ve always wanted to be.

So I want to give you some homework this week. I want to invite you to observe your child’s feelings and needs. When they’re storming, think about the root cause. Think about intentionally going underneath the behavior to the feelings and needs. Use the saying get curious not furious. Hear me, hear my voice in your head inviting, encouraging, asking you to get curious not furious so that you can ask your kid questions. So you can get down to the root cause. Resist the urge to snorkel and instead commit to being a scuba diver.

You can do this. I know you can. I have worked literally with thousands of parents all around the world under any conditions you can imagine to help them become parenting scuba divers.

When your child is storming, I want you to remember to wonder what they’re feeling right now. Ask yourself what might my child be feeling? What might he or she be needing? Do they need some attention? Does my teenager need some appreciation? Do they need to know I believe in them? Do they need to know I accept them? Do they need to know I appreciate them? Do they need to know I understand what they’re struggling with? Do they need to feel connection?

Remember the core basic needs. Start to look and see. Look underneath the behavior and ask yourself what is the root cause of the storming? Commit to this. Work at it just like Kate did. It’s going to take a little bit of time. It won’t happen the first try, but the work is so worth it. So worth it. Ask your kids. Start a conversation about them. Help them really understand that feelings plus needs equal behavior. Yeah?

Okay let me ask you. Can you commit to this and see what happens? I sure hope so. I want it for you really bad. You just have to do the work. I promise to show up here and give you the tools. You’ve just got to take them back and practice, practice, practice. Once you understand that feelings plus needs equal behavior, I promise you it’s a total parenting game changer. Total game changer.

I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you. Jump over to Instagram next week and let me know how it’s going for you. Send me a DM. We’ll put a post-up on Instagram, the_peaceful_parent. We can have some conversation around this. What I really want you to take away from this is that feelings plus needs equal behavior. Okay? Awesome. All right. Until we meet again, I’m wishing us all peaceful parenting.

Thanks for listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. If you want more info on how you can transform your parenting, visit thepeacefulparent.com. See you soon.


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Lisa Smith

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