Ep #72: Calm the Chaos, Create Connection: A Real-World Success Story with Hannah

Real World Peaceful Parenting | Calm the Chaos, Create Connection: Success Story Hannah

Real World Peaceful Parenting | Calm the Chaos, Create Connection: Success Story Hannah

Today I’m taking you on a journey to help you see what’s possible for you, your parenting, and your family. I’m introducing you to Hive member Hannah, who has made incredible progress when it comes to taking what her children do or say personally.

Hannah is a mother of three kids under the age of six, with a fourth on the way. When I first met her about a year ago, she was a self-proclaimed non-peaceful parent. She didn’t know much about peaceful parenting, but she knew she desperately wanted to make a change. She set out to calm the chaos and create connection, and joins me this week to share her journey.

Listen in this week and learn the difference between a process problem and a character problem and why all process problems are fixable. Hear where Hannah started in terms of her parenting and the changes she has made to get to where she is today, and why YOU could be a success story, just like Hannah.


If you want to take the next step this spring to become a better parent and you would like to be a future success story, come and check out The Hive. It’s a one-of-a-kind community that serves parents who want ongoing support with their peaceful parenting journey and gives you everything you need to move along the path to peaceful parenting. Ready to become the parent you’ve always wanted to be? Click here to join The Hive now, I cannot wait to welcome you to the community.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Hannah learned to stop taking her children’s behavior personally.
  • What the path of least resistance is and why our brains want to take it.
  • How to tell whether you have a process problem and how to deal with it.
  • Some examples of process problems.
  • How every behavior communicates a need.
  • Some things that are key for recovering permissive parents.
  • How Hannah took what she learned from The Hive and implemented it to her family relationships.


Listen to the Full Episode:


Featured on the Show:

  • Click here to sign up for my free Peaceful Parenting mini-course! You’ll find everything you need to continue on the path to peaceful parenting over there just waiting for you. 
  • If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us or message us on Instagram
  • Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown


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. Welcome to today’s episode. I love being with you each week. I’m so proud of you for investing this time in your parenting, your kids, your family. Well done.

Now, if you’ve been listening to me a while, you know I work really hard to bring you tips, ideas, and support that helps you create deep connection and cooperation with your kids. Today, I have an extra, extra, extra special treat for you. Today, I’m going to take you on a journey to see what’s possible for you, your parenting, and your family.

I want to introduce you to Hannah. Hannah is the mother of three kids under six and a fourth one on the way. When I first met Hannah about a year ago, she was a self-proclaimed non-peaceful parent, and truthfully didn’t really know much about peaceful parenting. She just knew that she desperately wanted to parent differently. She wanted to calm the chaos and create the connection. She set about to do just that.

Today, Hannah graciously and lovingly shares with us the story of her journey. Hannah and I have a real, open, authentic conversation. I’m really excited to bring this to you today because I want you to know what’s possible. I want you to have a chance to look into another family who’s moved down the real world peaceful parenting path. I want to create lightbulb moments for you and ah-ha moments. And, again, like I’ve said, show you what’s possible and what moving down the path looks like.

And I want to inspire you. I want to give you hope. I want you to know that you too can walk this path. You can join us. I don’t care where you’re starting or how old your kids are, you can be a success story just like Hannah.

Now, as you listen to today’s episode, I want to encourage you to keep an ear out for many of the tools Hannah and her husband are using today that she names and calls out during our conversation. She uses these tools to calm the chaos and create the connection in her family. Many, many, many, if not all of the tools that she talks about today are tools that I’ve shared with you in previous episodes.

So if you miss them or you need a gentle reminder or you need a refresher, go back and find the episode that has the tool in it so you can begin to move down the path of peaceful parenting. Promise? Awesome. Okay, I want you to enjoy. Remember, you too can be a success story just like Hannah.

Lisa: Welcome Hannah. I am so excited to talk with you today.

Hannah: Thank you so much, Lisa. I’m so happy to be here.

Lisa: I just love Hannah everybody. She’s just a gem. We’re so lucky to have you in the membership. I just feel very fortunate to have met you and to have an opportunity to work with you on the regular so.

Hannah: Well, thank you. I certainly feel the same. The Hive membership has like really changed my life in many ways.

Lisa: Yay, love hearing that. So Hannah and I are going to talk today about a success story with regard to the concept of process problem versus character problem. Before we dig in I wanted to just give everybody a little primer. We’ve talked about this before in an episode.

But I believe that there are two kinds of problems in the world. There’s process problems and character problems. Character problems, pretty easy to figure out right? There’s a flaw in the character. I believe that stealing money is okay. I believe that shoplifting is justified. I believe that I’m allowed to go around and call people names to their face. Those are the character problems of the world. Honestly, I believe that there are a few humans that have character problems.

Most of what we have, particularly our children, are what I call process problems, which means there’s no character flaw. Our kids are not bad people. They’re doing things that need correcting, guidance, help, support. I won’t even say they’re doing bad things. They’re doing things that need help and support and guidance. We need to focus on the process. Right?

I love how Brené Brown talks about guilt versus shame, right? Guilt is I’ve done something bad and I feel bad about it. Shame is I’m a horrible person because I’ve done something bad. So I think character versus process problem follow that analysis or follow that line of thinking well. When we raise children who know that there are just a series of process problems, then our conversations with them, our parenting, our input, our guidance doesn’t affect their self-esteem.

It helps them understand that there’s just a process problem that needs to be fixed. Like getting our shoes on in the morning or not having the TV on before school or not lying if you’ve opened a Snapchat account, or not telling your parents you turned in your homework when you know you haven’t. Those are all process problems, listener. Process problems.

I certainly grew up in a household where the conversation, whether it was intended or not, always, no matter what the mistake was, whether it was spilled milk or an F on a test or being fired from a job or a car accident, the conversation always made me feel like I had a character flaw. I was a horrible human being. I don’t want that for you and your kids.

So listen in as we have an incredible conversation here, Hannah and myself, about how she has really taken this to heart and implemented it with their six year old daughter. So dig in Hannah and tell us the story.

Hannah: Well, I mean, I had never even heard of this concept before working with you. Once you taught it to me, it really changed everything about my life. Starting with myself, I just started to see things as process problems. The more I worked on it and the more I worked on my thoughts towards myself, I was able to really let a lot of that hurt go and see that I could, in fact, fix my process problems and it didn’t mean that I was a terrible person.

So once I really learned that for myself, I started to kind of verbalize differently when I talk to my family, my husband, and my children, and I viewed them differently. So suddenly I wasn’t so upset with them for the little things, for the process problems.

So my daughter Carmela, who was just six, came up to me the other day, and she really wanted to talk to me. So she asked if we could speak in private, and I said yes. She said, “Mom, I really just, I don’t know what’s going on with me. I’m having a very hard time. I’m a really bad girl.” So that was kind of a little hard to hear at first, but of course after working with you I said tell me more.

She said, “Well, you know, Mom, I just I keep lying. I keep saying things that I know aren’t true. After I say them, I feel really badly. I don’t know why I’m saying them. I just feel like a really bad girl.” So I said, okay sweetheart. I hear you. Can you give me an example? She said yes. So she said, “I told you that Miles,” her little three year old brother, “I told you that Miles stuck his tongue out at me, but really, I was the one who stuck my tongue out at him first. Then he had to do his 10 jumping jacks and I didn’t and I felt really badly.”

So I said okay honey. Thank you for telling me. Can you tell me why you said he stuck his tongue out and not you? She said, “I thought you would be upset with me. I thought I would get in trouble.” So after she said that the very first thing I said, Carmela it’s totally normal. That’s a very normal response. I have struggled with that when I was little. I still struggle with that sometimes.

Sometimes when we do something, we have thoughts about how we think other people are going to react and what their thoughts are going to be and how that’s going to affect us. So it’s incredibly normal to want to protect ourselves or want to protect the situation. So I said that’s normal, and I understand it.

Now, it doesn’t mean that it’s right to lie. It doesn’t mean that it’s good to lie. You know in our family we don’t tell lies. So what do you think you could do next time? Then that’s what you just said, “Oh, I don’t know Mommy. I’m just a bad girl.” So I said okay, hang on. Just stay with me.

I said so how about next time you can tell me, “Mom, I have something to tell you, and I really don’t want you to be mad. I really don’t want to get in trouble, but I have to tell you something.” Then when you tell me that I will work on regulating myself so that I know what you’re about to share with me is something that is hard for you to share, is a little intimate, and I can ground myself before you tell me. So I said how do you feel about that? She said, “Okay, I think I could do that.” So we solved that problem.

Then I kind of went in, I kind of thought to myself what would Lisa say if she was talking to Carmela? So I just said you know honey, lying is a process problem. It’s not a character problem. She said, “What’s a character?” I said it’s who you are as a person.

There is nothing wrong with Carmella Rose. You told a lie because you didn’t want to get in trouble. We can talk about that. We can fix that, but there is nothing wrong with you as a person. You are not a bad girl. You have a process problem that you need help with, which is why you came to me. So thank you for coming to me. But I just really wanted her to hear that because she tends to be a little bit like myself, strive for perfection. I just wanted her to know that she could make mistakes, and it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s good to learn from our mistakes, our process problems, and it doesn’t mean anything that there is anything wrong with us.

Lisa: Ah, I love it so, so, so, so, so much. Hopefully, everybody is having a bazillion lightbulb moments right now. It’s so good, Hannah. I think the first thing is you normalized that everybody wants to tell people what they want to hear. Right? This is part of the human experience. We want to. The impulse, the urge is to tell you what you want to hear. Or, as I call it, take the path of least resistant.

You’ve got a six year old little girl, and she doesn’t want to get in trouble. I know that your daughter loves and adores you and looks up to you, and it hurts her when you’re upset with her. So yeah. So this is the path of least resistance. I don’t want to admit that I started it. So I will sell my brother out and tell a lie. I will say what doesn’t get me in trouble. You normalize that, which is step one of peaceful parenting.

I love in the beginning of Brené Brown’s book, Atlas of the Heart. In her forward, she talks about how if only many of the things she had experienced as a child had just been normalized for her, a lot of her suffering could have been avoided.

So I think it’s such a beautiful thing when we let our kids know yeah, it’s hard to report the facts in a way that is going to walk you into getting in trouble. It’s easy to want to take the path of least resistance. That alone is normal, and also something in our family we work to not do. Right? You illustrated that beautifully too. We try our best not to lie. We try our best to report the facts.

Then she wanted to feel bad about herself. I’m a horrible human being because I sold my brother out and I didn’t tell the truth, and it’s been weighing on my conscience like Edgar Allan Poe and Tell-Tale Heart.

Hannah: Oh, that book.

Lisa: I know my sister-in-law and I were just talking about that book this weekend. So then you let her know that lying is, at her age and the lies she actually told, is process problem. The urge came about to take the path of least resistance. Then you brainstormed on what can we do differently next time? Right? Okay, you come to me, you tell me you have something to tell me. That will be the conditioned response.

Mom, I have something to tell you. I know you’re not going to want to hear it. I’m afraid you’re going to be mad. That’s owning our feelings. I’m afraid that you’re going to be mad at me, which gives you the cue to regulate and go into your higher brain and take in what she’s saying. It’s just I couldn’t be more proud of you, Hannah. It’s so beautiful.

Because imagine in life your daughter is going to make hundreds of mistakes, of process problems. What you’re setting up as a process for the two of you, for her to come and own the mistake, to give you the cue to get regulated. Like here it comes. I’m about to deliver some news I know you’re not going to want to hear. Okay, that’s my cue to get overregulated.

My son does it with mom, I have some bad news. The first few times he did it I was like what? Then it would usually be something like, I don’t know, I didn’t turn in a homework assignment. I’ve learned that this is the cue. He is going to tell me something. He is about to share something that he knows that I probably don’t want to hear and I’m not going to like. So just like you, I immediately drop everything. Stop, drop and go to your higher brain because I want to take in what he’s saying and not make it about me or get dysregulated or start storming alongside.

The other beauty of that is it deeply encourages our kids to practice telling the truth, even if it’s after the fact. It encourages them to do hard things. It encourages them to listen to their internal compass. It tells them that you’re going to come to me and tell me something I do not want to hear, and I am not going to attack your character.

Hannah: Yeah, exactly.

Lisa: Talk to me about that.

Hannah: Yeah, I love that. I mean everything is exactly on point. I just keep thinking about before I discovered you six months ago that conversation could have gone completely differently had I not learned all the tools and, exactly like you said, normalizing. A big one for me was taking things personally. I could easily have seen that go into her telling me that and me thinking I’m a horrible mother. I’ve done something wrong. Just really personalizing things.

I just love it because there are a lot of tools in peaceful parenting. In the beginning, for someone like me, I was a little bit overwhelmed thinking oh, I don’t know if I’m gonna get this right. It seems like a really great thing, but I don’t know if I can be a peaceful parent. Slowly I’ve learned that they all come together. The more that you learn—You learn one at a time, and you work on that one. It’s okay to just work on that one for now, you know.

In the beginning months ago it was probably just normalizing. I probably didn’t know what to say. It’s just like well, you’re normal. We’ll just talk more later after I call Lisa. But no. But after learning so many tools and working with you consistently, that’s the beauty of, I think, listening to the podcast consistently or working with you consistently or having a group of people you can go to. It’s not just a onetime thing. It’s not advice for one tantrum. These are tools that I’m learning to carry through each situation.

Then when they all marry together, because I’ve been working on them individually for so long, it’s like I have the answer before I even realized I had the answer. After she left, I almost thought oh my gosh I think a situation like that would have stressed me out months ago. It’s just very comforting for someone like me who tries to get things right and gets overwhelmed to have something I can go back to and keep listening to and keep learning from and drawing on and see it worked out in my real life. So.

Lisa: Even that is a process problem in and of itself, right?

Hannah: Yes.

Lisa: Because there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just a process of practicing. Yeah, and I know you’ll love this. So the analogy I could share with everyone of what Hannah’s speaking about, it’s like if you were to go to cooking school.

In the beginning, you’re probably just doing prep work. Learning how to dice onions and celery and carrot and make basic sauces. Then for a time you focus on fish and then maybe pasta and baking bread and then searing meat or grilling meat.

Then eventually, you’re bringing it all together in creating your own dishes and being able to put an entire menu together. But I’m sure when those chefs are first chopping those onions, they think, “How am I going to get from onion shopping to a Michelin star?” Right? But it happens.

It comes together. It’s repetition, it’s practice, it’s using different tools. Then at some point it all comes together. You think oh, I know how to make a cream sauce. I know what happens when you deep fry certain foods. I know what happens when you grill things. It comes together into meals that we enjoy as the consumer of the chef’s products.

Hannah: Yeah.

Lisa: Let me ask you this, Hannah. Walk us through, because you touched on this, and I’d love to give parents who are starting out who are listening and identify with the old Hannah, let’s say. Before you got on to peaceful parenting and started doing this work, and really, you’re the one doing the work. I’m just the guide. Before you got onto this work, if Carmela would have come to you and said, “I lied. I stuck my tongue out first.” Walk us through how that parenting would have gone, if you will.

Hannah: Yeah, I could see it going in a number of different ways depending on my mood, which is another thing. I mean that’s another beauty of learning to regulate. I mean if I was in an especially upset mood, I could see myself saying what? You lied. I can’t believe you lied to your brother. He had to do his jumping jacks. He probably felt like we don’t believe him, and I could see it going attacking her in one way. I could see it going another way where I would think oh geez. Maybe I haven’t modeled telling the truth or maybe this is something about me.

Or another thing that as a recovering permissive parent I could have seen myself saying, oh no, honey. That’s totally fine. It’s okay. No big deal. You’re only six. You’ll learn eventually. I don’t like my kids to have really big messy feelings. I am learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

So when she comes to me sad or upset or despondent, I think one of my old reactions would have just been to coddle and comfort and distract. Oh, let’s go get a cookie. You’ve clearly had a bad day. Let’s go get some doughnuts or something. I could easily have seen myself doing that. Putting a Band-Aid on a problem that really needed attention.

Lisa: Yeah, I can relate to all of those. How do you think that using all these tools—You said a few minutes ago that as a result of the work that you’ve done and practicing using the tools, you also were able to not take the words that came out of her mouth personally and make it mean that you are a bad mom. Talk to us about that because I’m sure when you said that in this episode, people wanted to drive off the road like what? Wait a minute. You mean, I don’t have to feel like a bad mom or dad or parent or grandparent or guardian? What?

Hannah: Yeah, absolutely. I will never forget one of our very first coaching calls you and I. I was talking about my three year old son, Miles. I said Lisa, it was such a hard day. Something terrible happened. I told Miles that we had to leave his grandparents’ house, and he was angry. He said, “I wish you would go to work, Mommy.” I think I was on the brink of tears telling you this.

You just very calmly said, “Okay, and what’s wrong with that?” I was just like hello, my three year old said he wanted me to go to work. What do you mean what’s wrong with that? I mean I wanted to drop everything and just like melt and cry and make it about me.

Lisa: Feel sorry for yourself.

Hannah: Feel sorry for myself.

Lisa: And beat your character up as a mother, right?

Hannah: Yes, absolutely. I’ll just never forget you were so calm. You helped me to see. Well you actually said, “Well, of course, he doesn’t want to be with you. You said he had to go home and he didn’t want to.” In that moment, I was kind of transported into I think his mind of his headspace and his feelings. Oh, I didn’t even think about that.

At three years old, he doesn’t want to leave his grandparents’ house. I’m the one telling him to leave. So he says, “I want you to go to work, Mommy.” Of course, that’s his natural reaction. So my mind was blown, obviously.

Now it just makes me laugh because if he were to say that now, it’s just kind of I would say, “I hear you, honey, and I understand why you would feel that way in the moment.” I actually said that to Carmela recently. She got upset with me and she said, “I wish you weren’t my mommy.” At a restaurant. I said I can see how you’d feel that way right now. It didn’t bother me.

My sister later, she was like, “Oh my gosh, I would have been devastated.” She doesn’t have children. “I can’t even imagine my daughter telling me that. That would just be heartbreaking.” I just said why? It was just an interesting conversation I had learned from you just kind of to say that’s what she’s feeling right now.

Those are her emotions, her thoughts. I don’t need to make that mean anything about me. She gets to have her thoughts and feelings. I get to have my thoughts and feelings. If my thought is my daughter doesn’t want me to be her mom, that doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t serve her. It doesn’t serve our relationship. So I just push it out the door, and I say what else might be true?

Okay, she wanted to play a game and her time is up. So she doesn’t get to play a game. So these are the words that she’s using to verbalize her frustration and her anger. I have a fully developed brain. I can understand that and decipher and give her space to feel her feelings and not attack her for them. Then two hours later it’s, “I love you, Mommy.” So it’s just a huge gift to be given to learn to not take things personally.

Lisa: That’s so good, Hannah. That’s so good. Yes, you have a six year old and a three year old. They are not capable of getting into the higher brain and saying, “Mommy, I’m having such a good time at grandma’s. I don’t want to leave right now. Could we negotiate? Is it at all possible for you to wait 10 minutes until I finish what I’m doing and then I will go home?” They’re not going to do that.

They’re hardwired at their age for F-U-N. So when they say, “I don’t want you to be my mommy” or “I want you to go to work”, it’s, “I don’t want this fun to end. I don’t want to leave.” They’re just choosing to communicate it that way because every behavior communicates a need. The need is I don’t want the fun to go away. I don’t want the connection to go away. I don’t want the attention to go away. I don’t want the stimulation to go away.

When you can see that at the restaurant and say I can totally see how you’d feel that way, the beauty here is, like you said, you don’t take it personally. So we don’t have to get all dysregulated and start secreting cortisol out of words that came out of our six year old’s mouth.

The next thing that happens is she feels connection because you say I can see how you would feel that way. Wait, you do? You see, hear, and value me? Oh Lord. Then you’re creating a safe environment for her to express something. She may not be expressing it in that moment in the most ideal way. Sure. But over time, she will learn that home is a place, around my parents is a safe place for me to work out what I really am feeling.

I don’t know about you, but if my kid’s going to work out how he’s feeling about something or what a need is, in this current day and age I want him doing that at home. Not out in the world in unsafe environments.

Hannah: Absolutely.

Lisa: So great, Hannah. I think it’s my favorite thing in the whole world in working with parents when the light bulb goes on and they stop taking things personally. And when feelings are never in conflict.

So you’re tired. It’s been a long day. I know your kids stay with your mother all day. You go to pick them up, and maybe your son and grandma have just started the funnest thing in the entire world. Right? Or maybe he’s been waiting for it all day. Or maybe he realizes, wow this is so cool and fun. Buzzkill mom shows up to go home. And he says, “Go back to work.” Right? When you don’t take that personally, because he’s saying, what else could it mean? He wants to rewind the tape and have me still be at work because he’s having a good time.

Hannah: Yeah. Another thing that I learned from you I think as a byproduct, when you clear your mind and you allow yourself to get to your higher brain is, when you’re not stuck in your middle brain, you are more creative. So now he and I have conversations.

At three years old, he’ll say, one of his favorite things. He says, “Okay, Mom, how about this? How about I play for three more minutes? Then I promise when you say it’s time to go, I will get my shoes on and go.” Then I’m free because I’m not in my middle brain, and I don’t have cortisol. I’m not like get your shoes on and get in the car. I can’t believe you said that to me. I have the freedom to say okay, that sounds like a great plan. Let’s do it.

I mean, there has been so much more collaboration with my children since this work as well because I’m regulated, and I’m in my higher brain, and I’m able to see them and hear them and think. I know that I don’t always have to be the right one. Frankly, a lot of their decisions are really smart and really good. A lot of times they make great compromises. So I don’t really mind.

So our connection is even better because they have a chance and a space to speak freely because they know that I’m going to stay regulated. For the most part. It’s not perfect. It’s progress over perfection. But they know nine out of 10 times, I’m gonna let them talk and we can come to an agreement. So that’s also huge. So much storming has ended from just that.

Lisa: I have to say I am all in on that. I find that with my son, Malcolm, who’s 17. He’ll be 18 this summer, which is really hard for me to believe. But since he was a little boy, I have said often, I mean more than often, the majority of the time when he offers a compromise up I’m usually like dang. That’s a really good idea.

I think it’s because children have uncluttered minds. They’re not double, triple, quadruple tasking while saying hey, put your shoes on. We need to go. Thinking about did I take the chicken out? Did it put the towels in the dryer? I hope my boss likes the report. I do need to book that vacation. Oh, crap, I forgot my front tire’s low, and I should have gotten it pumped up on the way here. Right?

So they are all in, in the present moment in whatever they’re doing. So when he says, “Can I play for three more minutes?” Yeah, you can. He’s learning compromise and negotiation and he’s learning. As long as you’re holding to that three minute mark, he’s learning the give and take as well.

Hannah: Yeah, and that’s key for a recovering permissive parent is holding the limit. Which I mean we could, we could talk for hours, but I’ve learned to hold the limit. Then he trusts me. So it’s just so beautiful. When I hold the limits, I’m always a little bit surprised at how regulated he is when I think he’s going to storm because I held a limit. Instead, he can trust me and know that when I say something, that’s what’s going to happen. So then he listens after the three minutes and he gets his shoes on and he goes because he knows next time I will likely give him another chance and I will allow him.

But if he says please five more minutes, and I say oh, I see you’re having a really great time. I did give you the three minutes, what we agreed on. So I’d like you to put your shoes on, and next time you can finish. You might get some grunting and maybe a few tears, but ultimately, they’re learning that they can trust you. That’s huge for me because I just wanted to placate and I wanted everything to be happy. I wanted it to be whatever he wanted. I’ve learned that that’s not conducive to them.

Lisa: You are learning trust, both of you together. Trust takes both parties in a relationship, and you’re learning trust through giving him the three minutes and then holding the limit. He’s learning that there are rules. When he follows them, there’s predictability.

The other thing that would be happening chances are, you tell me where I’m wrong, is if you gave him the three minutes and then he asked for five more and you gave it, and then he asked for five more. Then at some point you hit the wall.

Hannah: Yes.

Lisa: Then you’re like get in the car now. Right? Then he’s dysregulated and you’re dysregulated, and there’s no trust. If I keep asking her for five minutes, five minutes, five minutes, which time is it going to flip her switch? Then she turns in from the permissive, the dominant parent, maybe yelling at me, maybe calling me names, maybe grabbing me by the arm, maybe rushing me out to the car with a negative upset energy, and then the drive home is unpleasant.

When I talk about this, you can just see where this does not build trust. Because maybe one day, you let me go two times. Then next time you let me go six times and then four times, and I don’t feel secure because I don’t know which time I’m going to try to push the limit. Because as a three year old, I’m just hardwired for fun. I don’t know which time you’re going to flip your lid.

So if you say three minutes and then you come in and hold that limit, “Yeah, sweetheart, I know you’re enjoying this, but we made this agreement. We stick to our agreement. We’re gonna get in the car now.” Then I can trust you and I feel secure and safe because I know what’s expected.

Hannah: Yes.

Lisa: That’s a beautiful gift we give our children. Far more beautiful gift and far more useful and productive than permissive parenting.

Hannah: Yes, definitely.

Lisa: I want to go back to also the character versus process problem. When you show up at your mom’s house and he says can I have some more time? Can I have three more minutes? You say okay, let’s figure this out. What you’re saying is we have a process problem here. Right? I want to go now, and you want to stay. Let’s work out the process problem. Right? Versus attacking his character in any way. What is wrong with you? Get in the car right now. Or allowing yourself to get storming along and calling him names or attacking your kid’s character in any way.

There’s so often I think because as parents, we get triggered. We go into our middle brain. We get dysregulated. We may not even know we’re attacking our kids character. Right? We may not realize it. So one of the homework assignments, listener, is to become the watcher. Listen to yourself while you’re talking to your kids. Ask yourself am I focused on the process? Am I languaging in a way that signals we’ve got a process problem here? Or am I attacking my kids character in a way that is going to affect their self-esteem, right?

Peggy O’Mara says, one of the early parenting psychologists, says, “Our outside voice becomes their inner voice.” I think about this all the time, when I’m parenting my own child, when I’m talking to other kids, when I’m working with my clients.

So if the outer voice is always attacking who I am, I can’t get anything right. I can’t figure it out. I can’t remember things. Why can’t you be ready for school? What is your problem? What is wrong with you? You’re a bad girl. You’re wrong. There’s something wrong with you. Stop that right now. Don’t talk to me like that. Right? These become our child’s inner voice.

I would much rather my child’s inner voice be, “Okay, I made a mistake. Let me figure out what went wrong here. Let me figure out do I need to repair? How do I recover? How can I do it differently next time?” I would much rather my child’s inner voice be I’ve got a process problem than a character problem.

Hannah: Yeah, absolutely.

Lisa: It does not feel good growing up believing that we’re horribly flawed human beings with character problems out the wazoo. It does not feel good. Nor does it lead to self-esteem and confidence and self-love and willingness to try new things and ability in oneself.

Hannah: Yes, yeah. That’s another reason why I’m just so excited to do this work because I have three children and one on the way. So I used to be a little bit scared of parenting before. When I first had Carmela, I remember a lot of people telling me, “Oh, if you just love her enough, everything will be fine.” I get the sentiment behind that, don’t get me wrong.

I mean I understand where they were coming from, but sometimes I would just lie awake at night, honestly, and think I felt helpless. I felt like I was kind of just a passenger thinking, “Okay, I guess I’ll do the best I can and love them and they might end up semi okay question mark?” Then after I started doing this work, I realized that I would wake up and I didn’t feel that way anymore. I felt like I was in the driver’s seat. I felt like I actually could make a difference in my children’s lives and shape them and learn with them. It’s just incredibly empowering. It’s a big gift to give to someone who has children.

Lisa: Here’s how I want to wrap up today’s episode. First, I want to start by thanking you, Hannah, for coming and sharing your story, for opening up to us, letting us have a look at where you started and where you are today. Showing the listeners what’s possible, which is always a beautiful gift we give to the world. So a big just tremendous, wholehearted thank you to you.

Hannah: Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate it. I’m so happy that I had this opportunity.

Lisa: Blessed to have you in my life. I want to say to the listener, ironically or maybe not so ironically, I don’t know. If this resonates with you, if a before and after, if you want to do it differently, here’s what I really want you to hear. You’re not a bad parent. There’s no character problem here. I know you love your kids. Just like Hannah loves hers and just like I love my son. I don’t know if there’s a parent that could love their kid more than I love my kid.

But what I know is that I had a process problem. I thought at the time it was character problem. I really did. I thought I was flawed or missing a gene or shouldn’t have been a parent, or it’s how things went in our lineage. We just weren’t good parents. What I realized now and what I really, really, really beg you to hear today is that you might have a process problem.

Here’s the great news. All process problems are figure-out-able, are fixable. You just need some new tools. I hope that today’s episode brings you some relief that there is no character problem. I know you love your kids. How do I know? I say it all the time. Because you wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be investing your time in listening to Real World Peaceful Parenting. I know it.

So number one, let yourself off the hook by understanding wow, I’ve got a process problem and it’s worth working on. There are tools. All the tools that Hannah has mentioned today and then some we teach inside The Hive. We’ll make sure to link to The Hive. Thehivecoaching.com is the website where you can learn more and join. But what I really want you to know is you have a process problem. And with new tools, you can move through it. You can be a success story just like Hannah.

So the takeaways are, I beg you, don’t talk mean to yourself. Don’t hate on yourself. Don’t deprecate. Don’t shame. If you’ve had a big giant storm with your kid, I understand guilt. I gotcha. I understand it. Sometimes guilt is a motivator into action. But please, please, please don’t feel shame. There’s no character problem here. It’s simply a process problem. It just takes some tools to work through it. I got those for you. I got you. I got them for you. They’re sitting over at thehivecoaching.com.

All righty. Hope you love today’s episode as much as I do. It’s definitely gonna go down Hannah as one of my favorites. So until we meet again, I’m wishing you peaceful parenting.

Thank you so much for listening today. I want to personally invite you to head over to thepeacefulparent.com/welcome and sign up for my free peaceful parenting minicourse. You’ll find everything you need to get started on the path to peaceful parenting just waiting for you over there at www.thepeacefulparent.com/welcome. I can’t wait for you to get started.

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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