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Hi, pod fam! 

As I mentioned in a recent episode, I’ve really been doing a deep dive into self-awareness to learn how to be the best version of myself—for myself, for my future marriage, for my relationships with my family & friends, for my business, for my community.

But I also want to learn how to be the best version of myself for future relationships, like with my future children. I’m not in that role yet (and no—it’s not happening anytime soon, I promise!), but I am a dog mom right now, and I hope to be a mom eventually.  

And I know a lot of you in the OO fam are parents or want to be parents in the near future, so I really hope this convo resonates with you! Since we’re talking parenting, I had to bring in the “Child Whisperer” herself—parenting expert and child & family therapist, Dr. Siggie Cohen.

Psst: If you’re not a parent, I want you to bear with me for a second. Because even though this convo is about parenting, Dr. Siggie shares a lot of really useful insights that you can apply to any relationship—whether that’s with yourself, your own parent(s), a partner, etc. Would love if you tuned in!

Let’s get juicy!

The core of all relationships 

At the core of ALL KINDS of relationships is tuning into people’s intuition—to the very organic nature of who they are. Relationships are formed on being human and relating to each other. It’s being able to recognize ourselves & our own parts—while doing the same with others.  

A big part of that is putting our ego aside and going, “Wait, what’s underneath that?” or “What’s really going on?” THIS is how we connect with people. And this totally applies to parent-child relationships just as much as it does with partners or friendships. 

On fear, anxiety, and being more present in today’s world

Clearly, we live vastly different lives from our ancestors. Honestly, even just a generation or two ago looked crazy different than what our technology-centric lives look like today. There’s A LOT going on at all times. And things don’t just ask for our attention—they demand it.

We’re easily overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. These are physiological sensations that we want to be aware of, but instead of letting them take us over, we can get in touch with them and manage our responses to them. This helps us be more present by focusing on the present moment and not all the “what ifs”.

When you bring curiosity and awareness to a feeling/sensation, you can recognize that it’s uncomfortable but not a threat to your safety. Get in touch with it by asking yourself:

  • What is really going on right here right now that I need to prioritize?
  • What are my needs that are not being met?
  • What are my needs that can actually be met?
  • What else needs to happen in learning to do that?

And when something doesn’t go your way or turn out as expected, start here:

  • Acknowledge what went wrong
  • Acknowledge how you’re feeling about it
  • Reflect on it; is there anything I can learn here? 
  • Let it be/let it go

What does this have to do with parenting? A lot, actually! 

Dr. Siggie points out that children are going to make us feel a lot of these feelings that trigger a fear-based fight-or-flight response in us. They’ll do things to disappoint or frustrate us and make us feel out of control/out of sync. Children are their own human beings, and they’re learning A TON.

Breaking the generational cycle

A lot of us want to learn how to be good parents because we felt like our parents messed up in some way with us, and we want to do better. Raise your hand if you’ve ever said something like, “I’m never going to be like my mom” or “I’ll never do that with my kids.” 

First, we have to acknowledge that we are who we are, partially, because of our parents—including the failures, the mistakes, the wrongs. And there’s probably something we can learn from all of it. So it’s helpful to look at past experiences through a lens of curiosity: 

  • Is there anything there that I can take with me?
  • Is there anything that I’m taking with me by default, because it’s ingrained?
  • Is there anything in it still for me—not just against me?
  • Not saying everything that happened is good, but what can I learn from it? What can I do with it? What can I use it for?

And it’s not about avoiding trauma from our past. Here’s what Dr. Siggie says about that:

You can’t avoid the trauma that already happened to you. You can be in denial of it, but you want to be aware of it. Because if you’re not, then it will actually manage you and manage a lot of the steps that you take in your path because trauma is extremely powerful. So you want to use the power in the trauma for something positive because otherwise it will overpower you.”

Letting go of our ego as parents (and in other relationships)

Building healthy relationships starts with letting go of your ego (way easier said than done). Your ego builds expectation, prediction, wishfulness, illusions, fantasies and wants to have it all its way. But we need to be aware of how much ego is too much and when it’s not about us. Spoiler alert: Being a parent means it’s not about you all the time. Kids don’t have perspective and understanding yet, so your patience HAS to extend and expand itself. 

Repeat after me: “It’s not about me.”

Your role as a parent is to somewhat manage the situation—to see above and beyond what is really going on. And this requires a different part of you than your ego, in order to help someone else much less equipped than you to do a task (or life, in general) on their own. It’s about being a leader/mentor, modeling emotional needs, and setting the tone.

Psst: When you let go of your ego a bit, you’ll probably find that you feel less anxious and stressed out. It can be suuuuper powerful to recognize when your ego is standing in the way and not actually leading you anywhere. 

Self-reflection + emotional recognition

A lot of parenting is learning alongside your children—and for many of us, self-reflection and emotional recognition are lifelong lessons. Life is about constantly learning, and it’s actually pretty cool that we can learn with our kids! 

Self-reflection is recognizing when things don’t go your way and then asking what you can learn from that situation. We’re going to have emotions—they make us human—but it’s better to recognize/acknowledge them and not stay in them. Instead, we can switch to a pro-solution act: seeking to solve something. When we take on accountability, responsibility, and an ability to learn, we can determine how to redo something, do it differently next time, or just apply a learning to a future situation. 

We can teach our kids how to self-reflect by including them in the conversation when they disappoint/frustrate you. Instead of shaming or guilting or lecturing, use this as a learning opportunity. Ask them to acknowledge what happened and what we can do next time. Make your child part of the solution; teach them/train them to learn the skills needed to fix their own problems. It helps build confidence, trust, and emotional intelligence. 

And speaking of emotional intelligence…part of that is being able to recognize emotions when they come up. Dr. Siggie notes, “you don’t always want your child to be happy—they must feel other emotions as well in order to function in life.” Don’t get me (or her) wrong—happiness is a great thing, but life is going to be filled with other emotions: disappointment, sadness, jealousy, curiosity, etc. And part of the human experience is being able to connect with all of these other emotions (and to learn from them!). 

“Your goal is not to make your child’s life easy,” she says. “It’s to show them they can do hard things.” Start by modeling behavior and being authentic/transparent with your own emotions. You want to help your child recognize and be mindful and insightful of every single emotion so they’re not dismissing or denying or being overtaken by any, and that definitely takes some practice.

And did I mention patience? 😉 

As always, tune into the episode for allll the juicy goodness in this ep! Be sure to share your thoughts with me on IG: @shoporganicolivia.



Connect with Dr. Siggie Cohen:

Follow @dr.siggie on IG

Follow @parenting.with.dr.siggie on TikTok

Visit her website

Recommended Reading:The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

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