Ep #163: The Path to Peaceful Parenting: Deconstructing and Redefining Your Identity with Emily Wardrop

Real World Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Smith | The Path to Peaceful Parenting: Deconstructing and Redefining Your Identity with Emily Wardrop

What do you tell yourself about your parenting, role, and capabilities? Are you aware of the identities you hold, both about yourself and your children? Why does unfurling your deepest beliefs about your identity even matter, and where do you start?

This week, you’re hearing my conversation with long-time Hive member, Emily Wardrop. Emily is an Advanced Certified Life Coach who is on a mission to teach parents how to drop the power struggle war with their children to find more peace in parenting. She’s here to share the power identity work has had on her parenting journey, and how her devotion to it has transformed her family.

Join us on this episode as Emily and I discuss why our identity is something we must explore, and the importance of being mindful of how we assign our children’s identities as parents. You’ll learn why it’s your job to believe in the identity you want to uphold long before you have evidence for it, and how identity work and self-regulation coincide.


If you want to take the next step to become a better parent, 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:

  • Why getting clear on your identity matters. 
  • How, when your identity and your goals conflict, identity always wins.
  • The awakening Emily experienced about her identity.
  • How to detach your identity from your experience.
  • Why you must believe in your identity long before you have any proof of it.
  • The difference Emily noticed in her parenting when she started doing identity work.
  • How identity work and self-regulation coincide. 


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.

Lisa: Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome to today’s episode. I am super excited. I know I say this every week. You guys probably laugh at me. But I’m super excited to be here with you today because I have a special guest. A triple special guest, whipped cream and nuts and a cherry on top.

Today I am joined by Emily Wardrop. Emily is a Hive member. I’ve known her a long time. She is an incredible member of our community, the Hive. She’s also the mother of five children, two with type one diabetes. She’s a parent coach who works with parents of children who have type one diabetes and helps guide them through the process. She does amazing work in this world.

Emily and I are going to have a robust conversation today that you, yes you, will benefit from. We’re going to talk about identity. Now, don’t roll your eyes at me. Stay here with me for a moment. It has a point, I promise, and it’s helpful.

One of the things that we’ve been talking about inside the Hive is our identity as humans, how we identify ourselves. Not so much in the front of our brain, but way, way, way in the back of our brain. So my question to you is what do you tell yourself, about your parenting, about your image, your role, what you’re capable of.

Let me explain why this matters before I welcome Emily. This matters because 2024 is the year of self-regulation. Right? We declared that, and we’re working on it every episode. So far since the beginning of the year is all centered around how to stay regulated.

One of the things I know for sure, is that when identity and goals are in conflict, identity wins. So an example might be if you have a goal of not yelling or snapping at your kids, that’s your goal. I don’t want to yell at my kids anymore. I don’t want to be resentful and angry and aggressive all the time.

But way in the back of your mind, you think I’m a terrible parent, or this is never going to work, or my kids only listen if I yell. Then when the goal of not yelling matches the identity of my kids only listen when I yell, you’re going to yell. Because when identity and goals are in conflict, identity wins.

So one of the exercises we’ve done inside the Hive is to get really honest and clear about our identity. This was a topic that really spoke to Emily. We had just an incredible conversation and decided to hit pause and bring it over here so you all could listen in as we continue this conversation about identity and goals. So with that in mind, let me say welcome Emily. I’m excited to have you here.

Emily: Thank you. So excited to be here.

Lisa: So mother of five. Tell us how old your kids are.

Emily: The oldest is nine. The youngest is two.

Lisa: All right, so you got your hands full.

Emily: Yeah, people say that all the time. Like well, then grab somebody and help out.

Lisa: I’ll be right over with dinner, and I’ll do all your laundry. I’m obsessed with laundry.

Emily: Yeah, I actually have a good system for laundry.

Lisa: Yeah, me too. I could teach a course on laundry that we change everybody’s life.

Emily: Do it.

Lisa: Right. I should probably do a podcast about how to do laundry effectively.

Emily: Yeah.

Lisa: Yes.

Emily: So, do you mind if I just take you kind of through my history with identity with that?

Lisa: That was going to be my first question. Let’s dig in and tell me what identity means to you. Tell me the awakening you’ve had with regard to it.

Emily: Okay, so we’re going to go back a little bit further than that. So 2017-ish, I think, is when I found life coaching. So I found thought work is what I call it, right? So when I found out where my feelings come from, that feelings come from thoughts was my first mind blown moment. Right? Because I thought that feelings came from my husband or from the kid or the baby won’t sleep or the baby’s whining, and that’s why I’m annoyed. It was all things outside of my control.

So once I got empowered with knowing that it’s my own thoughts that are causing my feelings and then I can actually control that, then that was really fun for a few years until it wasn’t anymore. Because the first thing you do actually when you find out that your thoughts create your feelings is you blame yourself now. Instead of blaming husband or baby, it’s my fault that I feel annoyed, frustrated, irritated all day long, right? So I used the tools against myself for a while, which wasn’t that fun.

But then once I added some self-compassion in there, all of those things, that was helpful. Then in the heat of the moment, I still just was like no, it’s a knee jerk reaction. I can’t think something different in the heat of the moment. So then I started doing more feeling work, right. So the thought work was helpful. Then it’s feeling work. Okay, in the heat of the moment, I just have to feel my feelings. How the heck do I do that? So I was kind of learning about that.

The identity piece is what really got the most momentum for me. Because Lisa, I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve heard be coached. Their brains make it mean that they’re a terrible mom. I don’t know why we skip to terrible. That’s a word we all use. So I just had had it with people making it mean that they’re a terrible mom. That’s why I wanted to become a coach because I’m like I want every mom in this world to believe that they are a good mom because we’re making it mean that we’re a terrible mom. That’s the identity we’re taking on.

When I realized that, that like I had this hardcore identity that I’m just an impatient person. I’ve been working on this my whole life. I’ve always been impatient. That’s just who I am. Of course, I lose my shiz with these kids all day long because I’m just an impatient person. Right?

Lisa: So when you’re striving to be a patient parent, that’s the goal. There’s not enough thought work in the world to overcome the identity, which is a belief that we’ve ingrained or we’ve accepted as a fact, right? It’s like oh, no. You don’t understand. That’s when I know we’re on to the identity. When the client says to me, “You don’t understand. I’m just an impatient person.” I understand. I understand you have the belief, you have the identity that you’re impatient, right.

Kids come home from school, you’ve got five kids. They all want your attention at once. You’re white knuckling it to be calm. Now just a minute, you wait a second, you take your turn. It’s your turn. You go ahead, pause. But in the back of your mind, the identity is I’m an impatient human. So then there’s an explosion.

Emily: Yeah, exactly. It doesn’t help that everyone else is bought into my story. Like not to name any names, but my husband, right? If I’m trying to believe something new that I’m not an impatient human, I’m just a human. I’m good. It’s who I am, my identity, and I’m also a human. So I make mistakes. I feel impatient sometimes.

That’s where I changed it when I was doing identity work is I’m identifying as feelings that I feel. I am not annoyed. There’s no such thing as annoyed. There’s no annoyeds in this world, right? There’s just people who feel annoyed, and that’s okay. I can feel annoyed. I can feel impatient. But I am good. Anyway.

Lisa: I think we teach people how to treat us.

Emily: Right?

Lisa: Right. So if we’re going around informing people that we’re an impatient person then they take on the image of the identity that we’ve trained them on.

Emily: Yeah. Then we blame them for it. So, again, back to empowered. It’s my job to believe my new identity, not to like wait for somebody else to give me a new identity and continue to remind myself until I believe it. I have to do that work myself.

Lisa: I love that you said that, Emily. Let’s talk about this for a second because this is powerful. Listener, I want you to hear this. So let me just slow down and say this. Not only is it your job to believe the new identity for yourself, it is your job to believe it long before you have any evidence.

Emily: Yes.

Lisa: Right. So it’s that whole brainwashing thing that I talked about. You have to believe it because the mind looks for evidence to prove the thoughts are true. So if your identity is I’m an impatient person, all day long your mind looks for evidence that you’re impatient, and it skips over all the patient moments. Waiting for me to get on the Zoom, I was two minutes late. You might have been just sitting there, journaling or looking out the window totally patient, but your brain skips over that if you believe you’re impatient.

So the mind looks for evidence to prove the thoughts are true. So if you believe I’m impatient, your mind finds evidence. If you believe I’m a patient person, or I’m human who occasionally feels impatient, then your brain will feed you evidence to support that as well. Right? So you have to believe it before you have any proof.

Emily: Yeah. So that’ll create cognitive dissonance, right? Because your brain is convinced that you’re impatient, but you’re trying to brainwash yourself into a new thought. So you have to just kind of live in that dissonance for a while until you accumulate enough evidence for your new story. Just consciously, always intentionally reminding myself over and over and over of the new identity.

Lisa: Yeah, so the assignment is, for everyone listening, is to sit down and take 10 minutes and write out your identity, one word answers on a piece of paper. Just start digging, deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper. It’s like an onion look lots of layers. Because for many of us, I think our identity is hidden from us, or it’s deep in there. It’s a hard thing to admit. It’s a hard thing to want to dig into.

But if you can get to what’s floating in the back there and pull it out and look at it, you can ask yourself does this identity serve me? Right? Then you can question it. Is it true? Is it really true? Do I want to believe this? You have free will. You get to believe about yourself anything you want to believe. Let me say that again. You get to believe about yourself anything you want to believe.

So if what you’re believing isn’t helpful to you, to your children, to the relationship as a parent, then pick something else slightly better. As Emily said, she went from oh, everybody knows I’m just an impatient person to I’m a human who is occasionally impatient.

Emily: Yeah. Who feels impatient sometimes.

Lisa: Feels impatient sometimes. Yeah. So this is the work to do is not just let every day roll by, but really dig into what’s the identity. So Emily, as you started to do that work, what did you notice in your parenting in your experiences?

Emily: I finally, I finally saw the improvement that I’ve been looking for forever. Because the identity that I was trying to believe was just that I’m a good mom. Literally just believing, because here’s the thing. Speaking of the evidence that we’re accumulating, who’s to say whether I’m impatient or not? There’s no blood test to tell you.

It’s not a fact. It’s a thought no matter what. So I can think that I’m a good mom, whether I yelled at my kids, whether I forgot the diapers in the diaper bag, whether they had too much screentime today, whether they ate too much sugar, whether their blood sugar levels are all over the charts, and I am still a good mom. So then I showed up as a good mom. What you believe you achieve.

Lisa: Yeah.

Emily: So, I believed I was a good mom, and all of a sudden, I was a good mom. Like when I was making it mean I don’t brush my kids hair, that makes me a bad mom, then I just show up as a worse mom because their hair’s a mess. Then I’m a mess about it. But when I was like so what? I don’t brush her hair, and I am a good mom then at least I am nice to them.

Then I accumulate that evidence of whatever it is. So really, the first step is to dig down and figure out what that even means. Like what is a good mom? We’re just on a treadmill with no definition. We’re not getting anywhere because we don’t even know what that means.

Lisa: I like to say I’m not a good or bad parent. I’m Malcolm’s parent. I just like to stay in a neutral place because when you’re assigning it a moral value, it opens the door for so much plus or minus. I’m in the good category. I’m in the bad category. Then it influences what you want from your kids.

Because for a lot of us, to feel like a good parent, we need a certain response from our children, and maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe they’re feeling impatient in the moment. Maybe they’re feeling like they need some attention. Maybe they’re feeling not their absolute best in that moment. So really, I love just saying we’re parents doing the best we can.

Emily: Yeah, I actually can’t handle that phrase either. Because my dad used to ask me that on report card day, well, did you do your best? I’m like no, of course not. I can always do better. So that’s how I always feel about this parenting gig too. I’m not doing my best. I could always do better.

That brings up the other thing I want to talk about with identities is how we identify our kids. Because we do the same thing to them, like you were just saying. We identify that they’re a good kid or a bad kid by their behavior.

Lisa: I don’t but some people.

Emily: Right, I know. Yeah. Our kids identities, like once we believe the story that they are just pokey. They just take forever to put on their shoes then there’s no chance that they’re ever going to be able to put on their shoes fast enough for us to get out the door because we just believe that identity about them. So basically, like any thought we have, is an identity. Like you said, our identities are our beliefs, right? Our beliefs or our thoughts that we keep on thinking.

Lisa: Yeah.

Emily: That’s why this whole coaching and thought work thing is so important because we have to get awareness of what we’re thinking, believing, and making true. Then deciding on purpose what we want to be true.

Lisa: Well and also, I think that what happens is we get an identity for our children. He’s so lazy. She’s so loud. She’s so impatient. She’s so dramatic, or he’s not interested in school, or he’s a terrible student, or he can’t read. Then we vocalize it so much to our children that then it becomes their identity.

Emily: Yeah.

Lisa: This is really something to be mindful of as a parent is that we are, Peggy O’Mara says it’s so well. Our outer voice becomes their inner voice. Then that becomes their identity. I know from personal experience the identity I was given as a child, literally given by people, was not positive. It took me years, years to shed that identity. Years to get rid of the I was big and loud and clumsy and awkward and not graceful and too much. That was really the biggest identity I grew up with. Lisa, you’re just too much. You’re just too much all the time. You’re too much.

I mean, as an adult, you think about that, what does it even mean to be too much? Right? I mean, who’s too much? So I think it is a really important. When we talk about identity, it is really important that we examine our identity as the parent and then the identity we’re attempting to assign to our children because it can really shape how they see themselves and how they see the world.

It can cause suffering that’s not necessary, right? Just because you are pokey at putting your shoes on, to use your words, doesn’t make you lazy, right. If all of a sudden that becomes the identity, and that is communicated over 18 years then you have a kid going out into the world identifying as lazy.

Here’s the other thing we should probably talk about. Most of these things don’t even really mean anything. Like what does it mean to be lazy? Right? I mean, I’ve laid on the couch for four or five hours before reading a book or zoning out to something on Netflix or Hulu. Does that mean I was lazy? Maybe I had a lazy few hours, but it doesn’t make me intrinsically lazy. It’s not a character problem, right?

Emily: Yeah. So our outward voices is their inward voice. It’s not even just our outward voice. Like they’re picking up what we’re putting down, even if we’re good at hiding it. Some of us are outward processors. So the things I think I do actually say but a lot of people don’t do that.

So my dad always said I need to learn how to relax. You need to learn to relax, which is really funny because that’s like literally what I’m doing. Like learning meditation and even like all of his life coaching tools and everything. It’s all to kind of help me learn how to relax. Because I’ve taken on that identity my whole life. Again, yeah, what’s it even mean? It’s all very relative.

That actually brings me to my last mind blown thing since the identity. I’m still kind of back on the no, my feelings are knee jerk. Like they literally are,. So supposedly my thoughts create my feelings. So I’m going to think some things intentionally. I have all these notebooks full of coaching notes, my self-coaching. My coach helped me find these fun thoughts. In the heat of the moment, nope. Still don’t have access to those thoughts.

So hopefully, you’re going to start delving into this in the podcast coming up soon because that’s what we’re doing a lot in the self-regulation year is nervous system work. I went from thought work to feeling work to nervous system. Your nervous system hijacks all the work you’re doing in your brain and body and has a mind of its own.

Lisa: It’s funny. I have an episode coming up about this. It’s really understanding that whole fight or flight. I think that what happens is so often, again, back to identity. Our kid starts storming or kids, right. Maybe all your kids are talking at once or two of them are fighting while one’s asking for milk and the other is sitting on the floor crying. That feels intolerable to us. Right?

So our central nervous system interprets it as we’re going to die. So the motivational triad takes over and wants to push us towards pleasure away from pain and be efficient. So for a lot of us who were raised in yelling households, we think the parachute out of that misery is to start yelling or storming alongside our children, or having a reaction that we aren’t proud of later. It all ties back to the central nervous system and being in fight or flight and feeling like we’re in danger.

So one of the most effective tools I know, and I did this myself when I first transitioned into peaceful parenting, is to just say to myself I am safe. I would put my hand on my heart. I would say I am safe. I needed to convince my nervous system that the chaos, the cacophony around me, did not mean I was going to die.

Right? I didn’t like it. It was loud. I still don’t like loud noises to this day, which is ironic because I have such a loud voice. I was over at a Super Bowl party last night, and they had two TVs on and there were tons of people there. Everybody was talking at once over the commercials, which seemed to go up in volume in. A couple times I had to go to the bathroom and wash my hands to regulate myself because it’s a lot for me.

But I remember when Malcolm was little, and he would start storming. One of the first tools I noticed there was a change agent was to just put my hand on my heart and say I am safe. I am safe. I could convince my nervous system that although it was loud and noisy, I wasn’t going to die from the noise. It really helps.

Then I could get to the thoughts that then created the feeling I wanted to have. But if the central nervous system feels unsafe, all the thoughts in the world are. If you think about this, I know we talked about this, Emily, but for the listeners, that’s what the central nervous system is designed to do. I mean, if we’re down a dark alley at 2:00 a.m. coming home from a concert, and we’re laughing and giggling and having a good time, and we hear the noise of multiple pairs of boots behind us, our central nervous system is designed for you and I to snap to and run like heck in the other direction.

So our central nervous system is doing what it was designed to do. The thing is that we have to let it know that our children’s storming is not our life in danger, and that it can stay regulated and calm. Then we can work with our thoughts and our feelings.

Emily: Yeah, exactly. Because all that pretty little thought work we did, we have no access to that when our brains and bodies are hijacked by our nervous system. But, this is the hope that you’re giving us this year, that we can reprogram our nervous system. Just like we can reprogram our brains and our bodies, we can reprogram our nervous system to not be so sensitive to every little whine. Because that was the identity we worked on too is that I can’t handle the whining.

Lisa: Yes.

Emily: There’s a lot of whining around here. I thought that the babies would like grow out of it so I didn’t have to like work on this anymore. No, at all ages, they still whine, and I still can’t handle it.

Lisa: Oh girl. I’ve got a 19 year old that doesn’t want me to say this, but he whines on occasion.

Emily: I whine all day long. Like I get it. In my models, I can see that I’m the one whining and whining about them whining and all the things. So now as soon as I feel myself going into that, then I just remind myself I am safe. I don’t have to. Like what was thought I was going to think? Oh, yeah, she can pitch a fit, and I don’t have to. I have no access to any of that until I calm myself. I am safe. I am safe. I am safe. Then, guess what, I can handle the whining. Yet, I couldn’t when I was trying to convince my brain I can handle the whining while I’m in fight or flight or freeze or faun.

Lisa: That’s so powerful. Yes. Yes. I mean, I want everybody, every parent in the world, every caregiver, every grandparent, even grandparents who occasionally drop in and help take care of their grandchildren. It’s that central nervous system that is hijacking you into fight or flight or freeze. But I think the yelling is mostly fight or flight.

Just creating a system, let’s say, a reproducible mechanism that assures your central nervous system that you are safe. I’ve encouraged people to tap before. Those of you that know about tapping, you can tap your wrist or tap right above your breastbone or tap your forehead or your chin. You can, I found it helpful just to put my hand on my heart. Just moving my hand to my art cues me to say I am safe. I am safe. I am safe.

You can clap your hands. You can do a big stretch. You can take a big deep breath. Then you can access the thoughts. Again, I think, Emily, you beautifully illustrated. Emily was walking around with the thought I can’t handle the whining. Now imagine having five kids nine and under, seven people in a home. There’s whining all the time. Right?

Emily: I can’t handle my own whining, can’t handle my husband’s whining. It’s a lot of whining. Yeah.

Lisa: If you were thinking I love that you said this. Okay, I just have to tolerate the whining until the youngest kid crosses this threshold and then all whining will stop.

Emily: Right.

Lisa: Right. I mean, so that wasn’t effective. But yes, I can handle the whining. I can get myself out of fight or flight. Step one. I can totally handle the whining by all of us, myself included. What a shift in identity as a parent.

Emily: Yeah.

Lisa: Which then encouraged I’m a good mom, even if their hair is not combed perfectly or combed at all, which then you started seeing evidence that I can get out of fight or flight. I can handle the whining, and I am a good mom. Then I bet there was quite a shift in the energy in the household.

Emily: For sure. Yeah. Because even as I learned about the nervous system things, I talked to my siblings, and I’m like so why am I so sensitive? Everybody had the same childhood I did. Oh, poor me with these childhood wounds that I’ve been trying to do all my inner child work. I’m like how come you guys don’t have inner child work to do?

So, again, do you hear the identity in that? I’m the sensitive one. My nervous is that, because that’s the first thing you learn in trauma is that there’s no such thing as a traumatic experience. There’s just the way your nervous system handled it.

So I learned that, and I’m okay, I have this sensitive nervous system. That’s an identity, right? My mom always said a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing because as soon as I learned about something, I think I have it, right.

Lisa: Stay off the internet.

Emily: Right? Seriously, though. So anyway, that tool, I’ve just shared it with everyone. I can. I am safe. I am safe. My kid wants a balloon. We’re out of balloons. Sorry. I don’t have to go buy balloons because yeah, grandparents, maybe not fight or flight if they’re not screaming at the kids, but they’re fawning like crazy, right? Oh, your kids are upset? Let me get them some more ice cream. No, they don’t need ice cream. They just need to be upset. It’s okay.

Lisa: Totally.

Emily: Yes. So all the people pleasing, like it’s all part of the nervous system work. So that’s one.

Lisa: I think that this swing between dominant and permissive parenting often is I’m uncomfortable because my kid is having emotions. I don’t know how to stand and witness the emotions. I need this to go away. I need they’re going to permiss it or dominate it to try to make it stop right now. It’s back to that fight or flight and motivational triad.

I want to run towards pleasure, which in some instances is just silence. I just need my kid to stop crying. I want to run away from pain. I don’t know how to tolerate this. I don’t know how to stand here. I think that my kid is not supposed to be storming. So now I feel like a bad parent. And efficient. Well, let’s just go get the balloon or the ice cream. If I give him the ice cream, it’s a trifecta. It’s efficient. I’m going to be out of pain. They’re going to stop whining. So there’s pleasure, pain avoidance, and efficiency.

Emily: Except that they don’t stop whining. So then you go into oh, these ungrateful brats. Like they’re eating ice cream for dinner, and they’re still whining. What is their deal?

Lisa: Yep. Right.

Emily: So we drop all of that when we just know that we’re all just humans being humans. We all have nervous systems.

Lisa: I spend a few minutes every morning, a scrap of paper, writing out my identity. Just what are the thoughts that are floating through my head that day? I am what? Then I look at it. The pieces that I write down that I like I keep. The pieces I don’t like, I’m like well, let’s work on that. That sure as heck isn’t serving. I think it’s a good exercise. I want to recommend it to everybody listening. I’m sure you do something similar.

Emily: Well, because it’s happening whether you write it down or not.

Lisa: Exactly.

Emily: Those thoughts that you got awareness of are driving your day.

Lisa: That’s right.

Emily: But without the awareness, we’re just like what is wrong with me? What’s going on? Oh, I’m just so grumpy today. But it’s because of that story run out.

Lisa: So you might as well pull it from the way back recesses of the brain to the front of the brain and then look at it. Do I like it? I mean, a lot of what I say to myself, I like. It’s productive. It serves me. Then there are the thoughts that don’t. Like you’re saying, if they’re going to be there, you might as well get them out and identify them. If you don’t like them, then find something you do like, right? I’m not impatient. I feel impatient at times.

Emily: Yeah.

Lisa: Which is not a bad thing. We don’t want to all be patient all the time.

Emily: All the things. Yeah, yeah. Something else you just said. So when you go from permissive to dominant, the middle, right, is what we’re trying to do in peaceful parenting. So literally, like when our nervous systems are charged up like that and we’re in fight or flight, so we’re going between permissive and dominant. I hear that in your coaching sessions in the Hive a lot. People always say that. Like I go from being permissive to dominant.

It’s very hard to do. It’s hard to find balance and all things. Moderation is just a hard thing for humans, right. But the goal of what we’re doing here and what we do in the Hive and everything of peaceful means that we feel peaceful, no matter what the chaos is going on around us.

So it’s not we’re trying to teach our kids how to learn how to behave. This is not like behavior modification classes for us either, like us or the kids. Because our worth doesn’t come from our works. Whether we’re good or not is not indicated by our actions or our kids actions. What we want is to feel peaceful and to parent peacefully. The way you get to that is by calming yourself, not getting them to behave.

Lisa: That’s why it’s called the peaceful parent and not the peaceful kid. We’re not here to manipulate. When you do this work, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get well behaved good kids. I mean, I think all kids are good so I’m using parents words. Peaceful parenting is I’m going to learn how to regulate myself so that I can stay regulated when my kids storms, and I can offer my kid co-regulation so that they can come alongside me.

Because here’s the honest truth. You’re either offering your kids co-dysregulation or co-regulation. Those are the only two options. There’s nothing else. So either you’re regulated and they can come next to you and regulate, or you’re dysregulated, and you’re going to amp up their dysregulation. There’s no in between.

So peaceful parenting is learning how to regulate so they can come alongside and co-regulate, and then at some point, regulate themselves. I see this. I have a 19-year-old, and he’s had a challenging first year in college in the best of ways. He has done a pretty good job, above all else, regulating himself when he’s met challenges. It’s really been a beautiful thing to witness.

Emily: It’s literally like your podcast a few weeks ago. It’s all about modeling. That they do what we do, not what we say. So we want them to learn how to regulate. So we’re like oh, what are these mindfulness tools I just learned? Oh, here. They teach him some cute ones at school. Oh, your soup is hot. So smell it. Oops, too hot. Blow it. They’re teaching them tools to breathe and things.

But when your kid is dysregulated, trying to get them to regulate themselves so that you feel better doesn’t work. You both just explode. Right? So we have to go first. It’s the most fun thing ever to watch my kids do it. Not because I’ve taught them how. Because they’ve seen me do it.

When they stop and they breathe, or they apologize because I for sure have not taught my kids how to apologize. You better apologize for that. But I do a lot of apologizing to them. So they learn these tools through us, through our impatience, through our imperfections. Right? Then they’re learning how to be a human in this world. Because there’s no perfect parents. That’s not the goal. I love how you always talk about that it’s a path. It’s not perfection. It’s.

Lisa: Progress not perfection.

Emily: Because we, yeah. We just mess up over and over and over all the time.

Lisa: I mean, that’s the human experience.

Emily: That’s how you build muscle. You got to break it to build it. You know?

Lisa: Yeah.

Emily: We beat ourselves up for our imperfections way too much. Like that is not useful at all.

Lisa: Not useful at all. I would say, I’ve said this probably 10,000 times, and I’ll say it 10,000 more. Our heads don’t do what we say. They do what we do. So if you’re befuddled as to why your guns are doing what they’re doing, become the watcher of yourself while you’re parenting. That can be, I say that to use that as a tool, not a weapon. So do not watch yourself and then use it as a weapon against yourself.

Kids are good learners. So when you take on, if this identity work speaks to you today then work on pulling out your identity. As you begin to change and modify your identity into something that serves you, serves your children, serves your relationship, they will also take on that identity. They will learn that.

Kids are great learners. Their brains are designed to learn and to study. The number one platform they’re studying is you at home. How does this family handle conflict? How does this family handle stress? How does this family handle disappointment? How does this family handle five people talking at once? They’re learning from us. So modeling is the tool that we teach with.

Emily: Yeah. If we have no self-awareness, then we just need to look at our kids and they’re perfect little mirrors with our next step to work on.

Lisa: Yes. All right, Emily, this was fabulous. Thank you for coming and sharing your wisdom and your experience and your insight, and the journey that you’ve been on, the power that identity has had in your parenting. It’s been beautiful to ride shotgun with you and watch this evolve.

I know you’ve worked, I won’t say hard, but you’ve been devoted to unraveling the inner child and really showing up for your family. Breaking a generational cycle and showing up in a whole new way. I know your children are benefiting from that. Tell the listener if they want to learn more about the work you do with parents of children with type one diabetes, tell us where we can find you.

Emily: Well, my website is dropthewar.com. My last name is Wardrop. So we drop power struggles. We drop unuseful identities. We drop all the things we need to drop. I was going to say something about diabetes specifically with identity because as soon as your child gets diagnosed, it’s not like when they get sick, and you go to the doctor, and they have the flu, and they just leave fluids and rest, whatever. This is a forever diagnosis. That can become an identity.

So my child has diabetes. We just don’t even talk about it like that. It’s just one more thing we have to deal with, but it’s not like this huge identity that’s taken over our lives, and they can’t live a normal life and things like that because that’s how people tend to take it unhelpfully.

Anyway. So there’s a lot of brain hacks that because I’ve been so entrenched in coaching all these years, I felt like it really actually prepared me for the diagnosis. Then I just want to share those with other moms, which is why I do this. So dropthewar.com/topthree is a video I put together with three main brain hacks, but I get talking and there’s way more than three in there.

Lisa: Awesome.

Emily: So there’s a free resource for everybody. But then there’s also Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, all the things. Drop The War Life Coach is my name.

Lisa: So if you have someone in your life, a young human, who has type one diabetes, go over to dropthewar.com/topthree, and just let Emily give you some food for thought. Let her challenge how you’re thinking about this. It ties in so well with the identity, right?

I’m a nine year old, and I have teeth, and I have diabetes, and I have hair. We want to neutralize this and really help people with type one diabetes live their fullest life, their best life.

Emily: Yeah, I find it really fun when people are surprised. People that I’ve known for a while they’re like, “Oh, wait, what? Your kids have diabetes.” We just live normal. We don’t live like it’s some big deal. It is a huge deal and upheavals your life at the beginning. But I want to give that hope that that doesn’t have to be the case forever.

Lisa: Yes. There’s so many great tools out nowadays that have been a complete change maker in.

Emily: Oh, for sure. Technology and things.

Lisa: Okay, so that’s where you find Emily. I will be back here next week with another episode. Emily, thank you for joining today. I know everybody really enjoyed hearing your journey. Thank you for being so willing to share. I appreciate you.

Emily: Lisa, I just got to tell you. When I first found you, you didn’t have a podcast. I was like you need to do a podcast. You’re like, no, no. I have a blog. I’m like a podcast is the same thing as a blog. Just read your blog. So it’s been really fun to be on today. This is very full circle.

Lisa: Yes. Well, thank you. Thank you for the encouragement of back then. Thank you for being here sharing your journey. If you want to have a journey like Emily’s, if you want to be my next Emily on the podcast where you come on and talk about all the growth, or you just want to have the growth without talking about it, check us out over at the Hive. You can find out all the details and the invitation to join at thehivecoaching.com. T-H-E-H-I-V-E-C-O-A-C-H-I-N-G, altogether, thehivecoaching.com. Okay, 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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