Ep #136: How to Parent Without Panic

Real World Peaceful Parenting Lisa Smith | How to Parent Without Panic

Do you have a fear that you are afraid your child will inherit? Do you find yourself spinning catastrophic stories about your child’s future because of your own shadow side? This week, we discuss the nuances of teaching and accepting our limits as parents.

A simple reality of parenting is that we cannot teach our kids every lesson for every experience, and trying to do so will prevent you from connecting. This is something we talk about a lot inside The Hive, and one of the strategies I teach parents is to pick their top 3 lessons, just 3, and focus on teaching those.

Learn how to ditch the panicked mindset and dedicate time to focusing on 3 values you would like to teach instead. Your children have a lifetime to learn; take a moment to celebrate all the successes and connect on what really matters.


Are you over the sleepless nights, the endless battles, the constant fighting, the overwhelming disconnect, and the guilt? Do not miss out on this free opportunity to get a specific game plan for you, your kids, and your family so you can get on the path to peaceful parenting right now. Click here to join me for a free, 90-min group coaching call on August, 22, 2023 at 9am Pacific Time. I can’t wait to see you there!


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • A special invitation from Lisa.
  • Why you can’t teach every lesson.
  • How to identify your values.
  • When to calm your panicked mind.
  • How to take time to celebrate.


Listen to the Full Episode:


Featured on the Show:


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 am so excited to be with you here today. I know I say this every week, but it’s true. It’s true because I’m honored to be on this journey with you. I’m honored that you show up and listen and learn and grow from these episodes. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening. Thank you for learning. Thank you for working on ways to show up in a peaceful way with your kids. It matters, and it makes a difference. I want you to know that I am really proud of you. 

So I have a very special treat for you today at the end. So listen all the way so you can accept a very special invitation from me to come and join something that I think is going to be life changing and really cool. I don’t want you to miss out on it. Sound good? Okay.

So in today’s episode, I’m going to start out by asking you if you have seen one of my favorite movies, which is Sweet Home Alabama. The movie depicts what disconnection between a mother and a daughter looks like. Some of us didn’t need a movie to know what that story looks like. 

The daughter moved away and made no effort to come visit her parents for seven years. In one scene, out of frustration, Reese Witherspoon’s character asked her mom why she raised her the way she did. The mama answers because I didn’t want you to end up like me. Oof. Right? 

How many of us can relate to this? How many of us are parenting out of fear that our children would end up like us, or like our coparent, or like our own parents, or that we’ll parent the way we were parented. I know. I know, it’s tough conversation to have, but it’s important. When our kids do or do not do something in a way that resembles our own shadow side, oftentimes, we panic. We start parenting from fear with a sense of urgency instead of parenting from a higher brain with confidence and connection. 

Our shadow side or the shadow side of those who modeled or influenced our character might include bad habits like overeating, people pleasing, reacting out of emotional immaturity, smoking, spending money we haven’t earned yet, or spending money on frivolous things, not saving, not knowing how to save money, or leaving nothing left when we really needed it. I’m sure we all have a list of a few things on our shadow side that were modeled for us

Even if we feel like we’ve conquered certain areas or overcome them or looked the abyss in the face of our shadow side, or the shadow side of the people who have influenced us, we often feel an urgency to teach our children everything we think we know. Teach it all as early as possible, and teach it all the first go around, and teach it perfectly to our kids. They need to learn it perfectly right now. Especially when it touches on that shadow side. You with me? 

Now, here’s what I know, our brain creates a fear that if our kids do something that resembles our shadow side, that’s it. It will be locked in. They will do it over and over and over again to the point that it becomes a habit, maybe a bad habit, and that feels intolerable to us and creates panic

Maybe you have a personal life experience that’s proven to you how hard it is to conquer these bad habits. So out of a sense of love and commitment and duty to your kids, you feel like you want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a real habit or problem. All with the good intention of I don’t want my kid to suffer.

Lisa, I know how much I suffered, and I do not want my kid to suffer. I get it. I totally get it. I’ve been there. I’ve been there. I have parented from a place of panic and dysregulation over a “bad habit” that I know I had and had to overcome that I don’t want my kid to have. Does this resonate with you? Can you relate to parenting from this place? I think we all can. 

Let me give you a case in point and what this might look like. I recently coached a mom inside my membership community called The Hive who questioned whether or not she should require her 15 year old daughter to save any part of the money she had been earning this past summer at her very first job with her very first paychecks. 

The mom recognized that her daughter was working, which made her very pleased, the mother and the daughter, and she was earning her own money for the first time in her life. The mom beamed with pride as she reported this to us. But here’s where the problem came in. But her daughter was spending every penny of it as soon as she made it.

The mom told me that she and her husband are natural savers. They had been since they started making their own money when they were teenagers themselves. The thought of her daughter burning through her paycheck as fast as she got it really concerned her. In fact, it alarmed her. It set off a panic within her. 

This girl’s parents have life experiences that has taught them the value of the dollar, and the value of planning, budgeting, and tucking some of it away in case of an emergency. The mom admitted that she learned this from the shadow side of her own mother who was never able to save money. It was very painful for her growing up

She is, to use her words, absolutely determined to spare her daughter the suffering that will come from not saving money. The mom also admitted that she has a fear that her daughter will not have money when she really needs it. Her biggest fear is that her daughter will never learn to save money her entire life. 

Her thoughts in her brain rattling around creating panic and fear sounded something like this. Lisa, you don’t understand. If we don’t teach her right now how to save money with her first job, she will create a frivolous bad habit.

The thoughts rattling around in her head sounded something like this. You don’t understand Lisa, if we don’t teach our daughter at age 15 with her first job right now, right now with her first job, how to create the habit of saving money, she will have a bad habit of frivolously spending all of her money all the time for the entire rest of her life, and it will become too monumental to overcome. She will end up living under a bridge with a shopping cart. Right? 

This is how our brain does this. It gets panicked and scared. It catastrophize is and goes to the absolute worst case scenario. It rattles around inside of our brain over and over and over again, and increases the fear and the panic and the fear and the panic.

Next thing we know, we have our kid living under a bridge with a shopping cart. This is what our brain tells us to fear and believe. So we feel an urgent need right now to teach our kids before it’s too late. Time’s running out. I’ve got to get on it right now. I have to teach her that saving money is an essential life skill. I have to teach it with her first job right now. 

Now, the mom also admits that she and her husband independently and together did not learn how to save money for a long time. They’re kicking themselves. So we took a deep breath. We stepped back. Again, we celebrated that her daughter got a job all on her own. Right? She went to the interview, she got the job, she’s showing up. She’s doing a great job. She’s getting her first couple of paychecks. We celebrated that

Then part of my coaching was to ask the mom, do you think we always have to learn every lesson in the first go around? What if learning to save money, or the equivalent of it, is not an emergency, and doesn’t have to be learned right now this very second. I mean sometimes there are other lessons our kids can learn from simply getting their first job, right? 

There’s the learning of how to go on an interview, how to dress for an interview, how to answer questions, how to accept the job, how to negotiate the salary, how to fill out first job paperwork, showing up every day they’re scheduled to work without calling out sick. There’s getting paid. There’s the realization that you pay taxes. There’s the lesson of even enjoying the benefit of buying things themselves with the money they worked hard to earn. 

Maybe our kids can learn how to save money at their second job, and learn how to donate money to those less fortunate on their 10th job, and maybe learn how to invest money on their 14th job. We talked about how our kids don’t have to learn every lesson there is to learn about working in money and saving and giving and taxes and every single thing associated with the job on the first job. 

The mom loved this, and I was able to see or just take a deep breath and settle her nervous system down. Really take the pressure off of herself. She did report that her daughter was really proud in really enjoying this very first job. Beaming with pride, and frankly, enjoying being able to choose what she spent her money on, and going out and getting the things and enjoying them. 

So what I offer is this. You, yes you, get to choose what is most important to you, to your child, and your family. You get to prioritize and decide the importance and the order of the lessons you want to teach. Because let’s be honest, we can’t teach everything all the time in the exact moment. It’s just too much.

I like to encourage parents to prioritize no more than three or four values and lessons to be teaching at any one time. I encouraged him to stick to supporting the values and really teaching the lessons. Less is more. It goes further. It absorbs quicker. 

In this example I share with you, I listed more than three or four things. There is value in discerning the need for a job, going on an interview, dressing up for the interview, getting through the interview, getting the job offer, accepting the job offer, showing up for work, showing up for work on time, learning how to do a new job successfully, figuring out how to get the paycheck and where am I going to put it in the bank? How does it get to the bank? How does it get in the account? Having a bank account in order to cash the paycheck, spending up to the limit of the paycheck, and no more. 

Prioritizing what to spend the money on. Budgeting, saving, investing, donating. That’s like over a dozen different things on the list that you might find value in. But here’s the thing, a dozen is too much for our kids with underdeveloped brains to learn, listen, manage, and succeed at. It’s just too much. It’s overwhelming. I can’t follow what you’re saying. I can’t be an expert at over a dozen things

That’s why I strongly encourage you to just pick your top three, three, four max, and let your children learn the other lessons later. It’s okay. It’s allowed. They’ll get there. I mean really how much of what you know right now about money, and work and work ethic did you learn on your very first job? I know for me, it wasn’t a lot. 

So if we realize that we didn’t learn everything we know about working or money on our first job, why would we expect our teenager to know what took you a lifetime to learn? The same is true for little kids. Pick your battles or your lessons intentionally and drop the rest. 

Because what I know of we are constantly barking at our kids for missing every lesson there is to learn in every situation, they will come to believe they can’t be successful in anything. We will lose many, many, many opportunities to connect with them. For them to feel seen, heard and valued. I don’t want that for you or them. 

I recently coached another mom, again inside The Hive, who was distraught over her 15 year old not being able to get off the phone by the appointed time every night. She was also getting dysregulated when he wasn’t up by 8:00 a.m. in the morning getting off to his soccer practice in time. She was dysregulated that he wasn’t keeping his room clean. He wasn’t doing the chores like emptying the dishwasher. She had a whole list of other points of contention as she was rattling them off to me. 

I coached her the same way. We stepped back, and we looked at the giant list, and the fact that her son is 15. It’s summer break. It’s a lot. It’s a lot to keep up with. It’s a lot to remember. It’s a lot to manage. So I invited her to discern what she valued most. We took the entire list. I asked her to pick the top three that felt most important to her. Top three. Everything else can come later. 

There’s no emergency. There’s no urgency, even though your brain wants to think there is because it’s panicked. It thinks that if you don’t teach everything right now in this moment, your kid’s going to end up living under a bridge with a shopping cart. Right? 

So she picked her most important thing was that he get off the phone by the appointed time and that he get his soccer practice on time. She decided those are the two most important things. Then she set a plan to focus on those. To write them out, paste them to the fridge, talk about them, work with him, create a plan. 

You could just see her entire body to move out of panic and into regulation. I could just see her taking a deep breath, relaxing your shoulders. I could see her brain telling her wow, this is doable. We can make this happen. I can do this. He can do this. This feels so much better than parenting from panic and fear about an entire list of things that have to be taught right now. 

Your children are fantastic learners. Here’s the thing, they learn very quickly. This is a big triple-seven jumbo jet we’re getting down a very long runway before we lift it off. I promise you, you have lots of time to teach them. Newsflash, you don’t have to teach them every single thing they’re going to learn. I don’t know about you, but I learned about 85% of what I know after I got out into the real world as an adult, right?

You are moving that jet down the runway, so it can lift off into the air and continue to fly on its own. I would rather you focus on two to three things each time that you teach well from a place of calm regulation rather than teaching everything right now from a place of panic and fear. You’re gonna feel much more successful, and so are your kids. 

Now, lastly, I want to encourage you to not forget to revel in the successes. Our brains are absolutely amazing and crazy at the same time. What’s really crazy is that each of us, our brains have a way of instantly finding a new problem that needs to be solved as soon as we succeed in conquering the last problem

What I want to encourage you to do is just take a moment to recognize how far you and your children have come. Like I’m getting this triple-seven jet down the runway, and it’s picking up speed constantly and being more and more and more successful every turn of the wheels. Yeah? It’s so good, isn’t it? Take the pressure off yourself. Revel in the success, slow down, regulate. Get rid of the panic brain and enjoy the three or four things you’re currently working with your kids on

Back to the Sweet Home Alabama movie, when the mom said because it didn’t want you to end up like me, the daughter responded with what’s wrong with being like you, Mama? You know our kids don’t see every mistake we make. They’re not intimately in tune with our shadow side. They don’t know every bad habit we have. They just see us as their mom or dad or guardian or caregiver, especially when they’re little.

All they really long for is for you to come and be fully present with them, connect with them, and support them as they’re learning life’s lessons. You don’t have to be or do anything else to be a rock star in their eyes. It is not in your job description to teach them every single skill and every single thing they’re going to need for the entire rest of their lives. 

As humans, we’re lifelong learners. I really do believe I learned about 85% of what I know now after the age of 18. Once that jet gets up in the air, they take off, and they take over the learning on their own. You don’t have to parent from a place of panic and fear. You’re showing up. You’re opening your mind to new thoughts. You’re learning, yes you, you’re still learning at your age, right? We’re all learning new things. 

You’re here listening to this podcast. You’re constantly evolving into the parent you want it to be. So that openness to learning and that belief that I can learn it rather than coming from the place of panic and fear is actually an amazing thing to model for your kids. Right?

Okay, back to the learning. Let me ask you this. Are you ready for the next level of learning? Because if you’re a yes, I want you to come and try parent coaching with me for free. Yes, free. You’ve heard about parent coaching. We show up here every week, and I give you information. But what I really want is a chance to interact live with you, to help you create the transformation and be the parent you’ve always wanted to be. 

So I want to invite you to come to a free coaching session with me. I decided to offer this because time and time again parents come to me completely wrecked by the challenges of modern parenting. The sleepless nights, the endless battles, the constant fighting, the overwhelming disconnect, and the guilt. People often say to me I don’t know what to do, Lisa. There’s so many variables. I don’t know where to start. 

Well, here’s what I know. Parent coaching with me gives you a proven methodology to calm the chaos and ease the transition to peaceful parenting For modern parents. Yes, you. For the first time ever, you’re invited to experience this coaching with me for free. 

Now, this event is going to take place on Thursday, August 22, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, 10:00 a.m. Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Central, and noon Eastern time. It is 100% free. F-R-E-E. This free 90 minute group coaching call is all about you. Yes, you. 

I don’t care how old your kids are. I don’t care how many there are. I don’t care where you live in the world. I don’t care what they call you. You are invited to come to this free 90 minute group coaching call. I want you to show up and bring your own questions about your specific challenges, your specific parenting challenges that you’re facing right now. I will help you figure out the path forward. 

Here’s an example of a few topics we might discuss. Someone’s going to ask me how to stop escalating your kid’s big feelings. Someone’s going to ask me how to effectively deal with the meltdown in aisle six in Target. Someone’s going to ask me how to get your kids to listen for real. 

Someone’s gonna want to know what to do when you and your co-parent aren’t on the same page. Someone’s going to want to talk about how they cannot take their kids’ behavior personally. I’m going to answer all those questions and more. So I want you to sign up and bring your parenting questions to this call so that I can help you on the path to peaceful parenting. 

One of our newest Hive members is Chris, and Chris recently said, “In just one session, I learned so much about myself, my kids, and how I want to show up as a parent. I wish everyone could experience this coaching with Lisa.” It got me thinking oh, but they can. They can. You can on August 22 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific. I don’t want you to miss out. 

So I want you to click on the link in the show notes or in the email or go to www.thepeacefulparent.com/coaching and reserve your seat. Do not miss out on this free opportunity to come and get a specific game plan for you, your kids, and your family so you can get on the path to peaceful parenting right now. So go sign up, thepeacefulparent.com/coaching to reserve your seat, and I’ll see you on the 22nd

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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