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Today’s guest is Lael Stone.
We go deep talking about:
- How can we, as emotionally numb adults, begin to exercise and raise emotionally intelligent children?
- Doing our inner work as parents and being vulnerable enough to own up to our stories and feelings.
- Making our kids emotions feel safe and comfortable instead of yelling and being enraged when our children’s behaviour feels overwhelming.
- Modeling empathy for our children and how to deal with strong feelings/emotions in a more healthy way.
- The value of having a listening partner; someone with whom you can chat or rant about anything.
- Being inquisitive about the WHY or the ORIGIN of the feeling/emotion you’re having at that specific moment.
As a champion of connection and creating harmony in families, Lael Stone is an educator, TEDx speaker, author, mother, and parenting counselor who has been working with families for over 17 years.
Lael spent 15 years working in childbirth education and postnatal care, working with couples through pregnancy, birth and the first few years of parenting as a Doula, Calmbirth Practitioner and Postnatal trauma Counsellor.
She is the Creator and Director of the About Birth Online Education Program, a pioneering way to learn about birth and early parenting.
Lael also created The Connection Program that she implemented in secondary schools all over Victoria, which focused on pleasure-based sex education along with relationship and self-awareness initiatives.
She is also the co-creator of Woodline Primary School, an innovative new school based on emotional wellbeing and connection. Lael is the co-host of The Aware Parenting Podcast and a sought-after public speaker who talks candidly about her experiences and her great passion; creating wellness in families through connection and communication. She is excited to be teaming up with The Resilience Project to deliver presentations around raising resilient children all over Australia in 2021/2022.
Lael’s first book is due for release in March, 2022
Find Lael Online At:
The Aware Parenting Podcast
Tedx Talk – How to Raise emotionally Intelligent Children
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. Welcome to episode number 59. How to Raise emotionally intelligent children with my guest Lael Stone, this is Dad's perhaps the most important parenting podcast you will ever listen to. I'm not saying that to toot my own horn, I had nothing to do with that label brought the goods today, she laid out what took me years and years and years to piece together in a way that I've never heard pieced together before. It is my strong belief that if you listen to this single podcast, repeatedly for a month, and dove into everything she talked about, you would probably 100x your parenting skills, I think your life would be immediately better if you started to do the things that she talks about. Because while it is about raising an emotionally intelligent child, and has everything to do with you, this cannot be overstated. I am almost beside words at this point because of how powerful this was. Because I know personally, how much this works. The reason that I'm so pumped about this, and the reason that I want you to listen to this over and over and over again is because while this took me years to figure out, it literally changed my relationship as a father, to my children. And it allowed me both the tools and the understanding necessary to be a parent to them to positively influence them rather than stick with avoidant behavior, or avoidant attachment or anxious attachment or however else I might otherwise have dealt with it without being aware. And Lael is an expert in aware parenting, and you will see what that means we have got answers to your questions about how do you do this when your kids are angry? What have you or the reason they're angry? Can you even repair that? Is it ever too late? What does emotional intelligence even look like? How do we do our own work to be more emotionally intelligent, and so much more? There are a couple of stories shared in here that touched me. And I was personally wishing that I had a parent who could have held me in the way that Leila talks about us as parents being able to do so for our children as a champion of connection and creating harmony in families. Lael stone is an educator TEDx speaker, author, mother and parenting counselor who has been working with families for over 17 years. As an aware parenting instructor. She facilitates workshops and support groups that empower parents to create connections and stronger relationships with their children. Leila spent 15 years working in childbirth, education and postnatal care, working with couples through pregnancy, birth and the first few years of parenting as a doula calm, birth practitioner and postnatal trauma counselor. She is the creator and director of the about birth online education program, a pioneering way to learn about birth and early parenting. Lael also created the connection program that she implemented in secondary schools all over Victoria, which focused on a pleasure based sex education along with relationship and self awareness initiatives. She's also the CO creator of woodline primary school and innovative new school based on emotional well being in connection. Lael is the co host of the aware parenting podcast and a sought after public speaker who talks candidly about her experiences and her great passion, creating wellness in families through connection and communication. She's excited to be teaming up with the Resilience Project to deliver presentations around raising resilient children all over Australia in both 2021 and 2022. littles first book is due for release in March of 2022. That's this year. She is the mother of three big kids who are teenagers and young adults and she is currently putting all her research into practice with them. You can find Lail online at our website, laelstone.com.au that's LAELSTONE.COM.AU Facebook Lael Stone, Instagram, Lael Stone woodlineprimary.com.au is the website of her school. You can find her program at aboutbirth.com.au. And of course, finding The AWARE Parenting Podcast wherever you listen, your podcast, and I was introduced to Lael from one of the men in my men's group for dads, and I'm so grateful that he shared the article on the TED website about her TEDx talk, how to raise emotionally intelligent children, I highly suggest you type that into Google and find that to read give a quick overview as you're going along with this podcast, perhaps, or in addition afterward. I really strongly encourage you guys to listen to this one, multiple times. I told her at the end, this is the podcast this is the information that I needed. Nine years ago when I became a parent, it would this would have saved me years of pain, misery, frustration, anger, sadness, grief, all of that if I had even known this was possible. So this is a true gift and I am so grateful for Lael delivering for us. Before we get into the podcast. I want to invite you to join our
community called the village. This is a brotherhood and training community for dads who want to become better men partners, and fathers, brotherhood and support of other men is perhaps the greatest tool that any man can have in his toolbox. There is nothing like being able to process and be held by a group of other intentional fathers in a community designed to do just that. The fact that we also hop on weekly calls, we also put you in your men's group, we also give you access to all of our courses and trainings and workshops. That's just a bonus. The entire point, though, is the brotherhood that you will feel knowing that 24/7 You have a group of intentional conscious fathers at your back, who have your back, who will hold space for you and help you along your way. If this is something that you think you need in your life, please apply. I would love for you to join us if this is something that calls to you. You can find more at Dad dot work slash village. There's an application form at the bottom of the page. If you fill out those four or five questions, you'll be taken to my calendar. I'd love to book a 15 minute call with you to see if this is right and see how I can support you moving forward. That's dad at Dad.Work slash village. And with all that being said, Let's waste no more time and jumping into this amazing episode with Lyle stone.
Alright guys, I'm here with Lael stone. And I am going to be asking her how the heck we can raise an emotionally intelligent child. So first of all, thank you, Leo, and welcome.
Lael Stone 6:35
Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Curt Storring 6:38
You actually came across my radar, there was a man in my dad's group, my men's group for dads and he sent this article. And he's like, You guys have to read this. Read it. And I was like, Yes, this yes, this everything you're saying like totally on point. And I reached out sort of randomly, and I'm just so excited that we're able to connect now because this one is going to be extremely important. This type of parenting, intentional awareness, all that stuff applied to parenting has really changed my life as a dad and my children's lives. And so I want to ask you, if you can give us perhaps an overview of what it means to have an emotionally aware and intelligent child, like, could you just set up the conversation and we can dive deeper? Once we get a base level?
Lael Stone 7:21
Yeah, beautiful. Look, it's there is so much to talk about when we were talking about this emotional awareness and emotional intelligence. But if I was to, to kind of drill it down a little bit, it really is what I have learned over my work. And also as being a parent is raising children who have a deep innate connection to themselves. So they have the the ability to actually be able to go, Wow, I'm feeling really angry. This is what I need to do with my anger. And whether they come to you and say, I'm angry, I need to rumble or I'm feeling really, really sad at the moment, can you can you cuddle me, they have the capabilities to be able to not to be able to tune into what they're feeling and then be able to express it and know that it's just a feeling that needs to be expressed, perhaps held safely, and then they can let it go. So if we look at what the contrast of that is, and this is the way that most of us were brought up, is that we didn't have what I call emotional literacy in our family. So when we were angry or upset, or we were jealous, or our sibling did something, mainly just because our parents perhaps didn't have the tools to know how to lean into that. We resorted to being you know, we might have been naughty as a kid or we won't have used you know, behavior that wasn't really appropriate to try and process what we were feeling to try and get our needs met. So, you know, from a baseline, I look at it this way, we usually do three things when we have feelings and emotions, we either repress them, which means when we feel something and it doesn't feel good, we kind of shut it down. And so often we can bet might look like disassociating it might look like wanting to numb out, you know, in adults that looks like you know, Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram for hours it can be drinking, it can be, you know, overworking it can be online shopping, it can be gambling, it can be anything that kind of numbs us out. And we are a culture that are pretty good at repressing our feelings. So because we don't feel like there's anywhere safe to put them, we repress them. The second thing we might do is we turn our feelings into aggression. So when we feel powerless when we feel that things aren't fair, when we feel you know, that we are, you know, hardly done by we actually those feelings sit inside and then they come out, we project them onto others. And we see this with little kids all the time, who are hitting or biting or trying to control situations. And then the third option, which is expression, which is a healthy expression of feelings, which looks like tears and tantrums and it might look like anger and it might look like shaking and it might look like expressing you know talking about what's going on. Now we know that expression is ideally the healthy way and what we need to do, but because as children we don't get much How to feel our feelings in a safe and healthy way. We watch our parents and what they do with their feelings. And then we internalize that and then do the same. So when we're talking about how do we raise emotionally intelligent children, we can't just go right, I'm going to talk to my child about mindfulness. And I'm going to talk to my child about breathing. And I'm going to talk to my child about smelling oils, if things feel fun, right? We have to model what we do with our own feelings and emotions. But we also have to do our own inner work as parents to look at what was done to us, where we sit with our feelings and emotions so that we can clear our story. So ultimately, we make it safe enough for our children to express how they feel. We still live in a culture that says children who are good, which means they are cooperative. And they do as we say, and they don't, you know, they don't speak back, you know, when they do their homework, we still live in a culture that say that children who are good, you know, they get all the love and children who are bad we withdraw love from, we still live in this big behaviorism paradigm that says, you know, I love you when you're good, but not when you're bad. And what that does is it sets up in a human that I am only lovable when you are approving of me. So then we become adults who spend most of our life trying to get approval from others or not taking risks, because we're scared of if we fail, or someone might judge us. And so when we when we you know, we step back and look at the whole bigger picture here, the idea of raising emotionally intelligent children, is to help them have a deep sense of knowing that all of them is welcome. But all of them, we see all of them and their feelings and emotions are just there to be expressed. And there's health. And there's healthy and safe ways that we can do that.
Curt Storring 11:41
dads who are listening, I want you to rewind this to the beginning and listen to that about 10 times, just there's a lot of myths. All of that was basically what I wanted to cover. And it's what I love to try to get across to people. But that was so well put and covers so much that I would like to get into the how obviously. But I literally could just run that like four minutes, 60 minutes, and like this would probably be one of the best podcasts you've listened to. So like, I really want to dive in to everything. And I'm like, Okay, you cover pretty much everything that I want to talk about. Let's dive in now to the specifics. The first thing I want to talk about is sort of ordering. How do we, as children who grew up to be adults who are not emotionally intelligent, even start to do this for our kids, because we often don't know what it looks like. I assume we'd have to do a little bit of inner work. But then like, in my own experience, there's some scaffolding that I had applied, which was parenting styles, so to speak with tactical things. And that's helped. But I really had to do my inner work. So is there a process to get here?
Lael Stone 12:49
Yeah, yeah. And look, I would love to say it's just 2123. And then it works, right. And it's magic, but it's not, because what we're dealing with is our own wounds and traumas and stories. When you become a parent, I look at it this way, it's not us teaching the child, it's the child teaching us, you know, it's the child that comes in and says, Hey, Dad, you know what I can see, you've got some repressed feelings around when you were four, and you didn't get to speak your truth or when you were nine, and you didn't feel good enough for the baseball team. And, and so you know what, I'm going to just kind of live my life. And I'm going to bring those stories to the surface, and I'm going to push those buttons in you and your job as a parent, is to lean into your part of that, and heal it and do some work around it. So you don't keep projecting the story on to me, because I it's not my job to carry your wounds and your stories forward. So, you know, I love to look at it this way that the first piece of this is that as adults, we have to own our story. And I have a saying all the time, we have to do the work, which means we have to look at the past in order to be able to look at what we want for the future. So when we kind of come back to it, how do we do this? Firstly, you know, I I love working with parents and helping them understand just the mechanics of children and feelings and emotions to begin with. So one of my favorite sayings is that children are either what we call imbalance or out of balance. And when children are imbalance, it's you know, when you can hear kids singing in their bedroom, and they come out and they they're really kind to their sibling, and they're like you wanna play something? And you know, and you say to them, darling, can you sit at the dinner table? The table for dinner? And they go, Yeah, sure. And then they do it, right. It's the times where you feel that they're imbalanced, they're cooperative. They're, you know, they're getting along really well. And it's those moments where you think you know what I'm nailing parenting, this is awesome. Then when we have kids who are out of balance is when you know, they walk out of the room and they kick the dog, right? And they pick a fight with their brother. And you say mate, could you please take the rubbish out and be like, Why do I have to do everything and and you're like, Whoa, what's going on here? Now our default as parents when we don't, I guess understand anything else is to move into how do you take the rubbish out now that's your job. And don't be like that to your brother and we come in hard and we I'm in strong and we want to power over our kids. Because we're like, that is not acceptable behavior. Whereas what I love to invite parents to see is that our job as parents is always to look behind the behavior, to know that there is always a reason for why children are behaving the way they are. So when we see our kids picking a fight with their brothers or sisters, and when we, when we get a bit of pushback when asking them to do something, we want our first response to be curiosity that goes, Hmm, what's going on there. So whenever you know, a child is out of balance, I love to say to parents, imagine, it's like they're waving a red flag, and they're saying, I'm having a hard time, I don't yet have the capability or the words or the knowledge or the understanding, to just walk into the room and say, I feel so stressed about what I have to do at school tomorrow. And I'm really worried, and I'm really unsure. And I don't know what to do with it. Right now. We expect as adults that our kids should be able to walk into the room and go, do you know what I'm having a really hard time with jealousy, because there's a new baby in the family. And it feels really big for me. And I know, I'm only three. But I feel like I don't know where my place is anymore, right? We still think as adults expect that our children should come and do that. Yet, as adults, we don't even do that, right? We have big stressful days. And then we come home and we project our anger onto each other. So the first piece of this is to understand that our beautiful children whose brains are still developing, and they're really still learning emotionally, is that they kind of talking code, and we have to decipher the code. And we always have to look behind the behavior to go, what's going on here. So when we can take that first step of actually going, Wow, my child isn't doing this to be mean, or they're not doing it to give me a hard time or they're not doing it to push my buttons. They're doing it because they're like, Well, this is a safe enough place here, for me to try and work through some of the feelings that I've got going on. And when we can actually firstly lean into that and not make our child wrong, but go or they actually need help. That's the first step in making emotions feel safe and creating space for children to go, Hey, this is what feels big for me. So how that might practically look is that, you know, when you're, you know, your child starts picking a fight with the sibling, you know, you might go over there. And the first thing you do is you take a deep breath, and you get down low and you go, Hey, mate, what's going on here, because I can see that you've been pretty mean to your brother, what's happening. And we move in with connection, and we move in with curiosity, and we move in with calm, and we invite the child to bring the feelings to you. And so you know, how that might look is, you know, they might feel you know, that the child might be a bit reactive, and you might try and be a little bit playful and cheeky, and they might take the bait and, and all of a sudden, you're laughing and giggling and those emotions and feelings that have been brewing, start to move a little bit. And then the fear or whatever is driving that behavior stuff to come out. Or it might look like we need to go over and set a limit, which is we move in close and say, Hey, man, I'm not willing for you to hurt your brother. And I'm here to keep you all safe. And I'm here to help you. And we create a limit for a child to push up against. So the feelings that are sitting underneath the anger or the fear, the frustration starts to come bubbling out. And we welcome the tears, and we welcome the anger. And we hope what I do, what I often say is we hold space for the child to process what those big feelings and emotions are. Because as humans, our job is to feel something to express it and then let it go. Whereas as I kind of mentioned earlier, we've been taught as a culture, we feel something that doesn't feel good, I don't know what to do with it. So we get to shove it down deep, or we projected onto somebody else, right, and we don't actually get to the pain or the hurt that's sitting there. So as a theory, that's the kind of idea, our job is to constantly tune into our kids to be go where they are. So I often used to do with my own children, when they'd walk in the room, I do this little scan of them and kind of be like, huh, where are they on the scale? Right? And, you know, if I just kind of scan them, and they're feeling pretty good, it'd be like, right, they're feeling connected, they're feeling good. Whereas if, you know, I scan them, and I could see that they were really beat, you know, fractious, or they were, they were feeling you know, they were trying to pick fights, I'd be like, right, there's something going on here. And it's my job as a parent to lean into that and to go, Hey, I'm here to help you process what you need to process. Because here's the beautiful thing. Every time we are there to hold space for our kids feelings, we are not only modeling empathy, we are doing this beautiful mirror neuron magic, which says hey, when you're mad, and when you're angry, and when you're sad, when you're upset, I can hold that for you. And when I come with my calm, nervous system, and me there, it's teaching your brain and your body to go, hey, I can just feel this, let this go come back to my baseline again. So we begin to model empathy, we begin to model what it is to deal with big feelings and emotions in a healthy way. And then as the child grows, you know, once after they kind of hit around seven or eight. As their brain develops, they begin to then develop more words and understanding to be able to come to you and say I'm feeling Really sad at the moment? Could you just give me a cuddle? Or I need to have a cry, or I'm feeling really frustrated and angry? Can you help me move these feelings in my body. So we start to develop a language, we create deep emotional safety for the child to bring their feelings. And this is one of the key goals of this. So when they are teenagers, because this is the time where it's ripe, and it's, it feels scary for parents, is when they're teenagers, they know you are the safest place to come. That's the goal. The goal is that they know no matter what I do, no matter what's happened, you still deeply love and except me. Because when we push kids feelings and emotions away, when we use punishments, when we use rewards or those kind of things, what we're really saying is, again, I love you when you're good, but not when you're bad. But and there is no bad, I don't believe there is such a thing as a bad child. I just believe there's kids that are imbalanced or out of balance. So on one level, when we can begin to firstly understand the concept, understand behavior, understand what our kids are doing, that can help our brains firstly, go, ah, you know, my child's having a hard time and my job here is to be their ally, and to help them. So that's the first pace. And that all sounds really good in theory, right? So you've probably seen me listening to it. Yeah. Okay, that sounds good. But in the heat of the moment, and I know this, because I'm a parent, and I've been a parent for 21 years, and I have completely lost it like everybody else. When we're feeling stressed, when we're feeling stretched, when our own wounds bubble up to the surface, we don't respond, that way we yell or we try and control or we shut down, because our own feelings are getting in the way. And then when your seven year old, having a big meltdown in front of you. And it feels deeply confronting, which it does a lot of the time, because most of us has little children, you know, weren't listened to with big feelings and emotions, or our story pops up. And we want to stop that seven year old in front of us crying or raging, because it's confronting, and either we need to shut it down. Because it feels too painful. Either it makes us feel out of control, you know, so we do whatever we can to stop it, because really, our own inner seven year old is popping up going, Wow, this feels big. You know, I nobody ever listened to my feelings, or I got smacked when I was upset when I was a kid. And that feels really painful. So you know, if I listen to your feelings, and the hurt part of me is going to rise up going well, I never got what you got. I mean, there's many different stories within all that. But part of it to begin, again, is to be be aware and to start noticing, whoa, how am I responding with my child, you know, so on one level, we want to bring these tools to hold space for our kids. And on the other hand, what we need to do is be super curious as to what reactions pop up for us? Do I get angry when my child gets sad? Do I, I move into frustration, you know, do I need to shut this down instantly. And you'll see it as a culture, we're so not comfortable with crying when a baby or a child cries, people rush to stop them by rush to give them a lollipop or to distract them with something or, or to say if you didn't stop crying, I'll I'm gonna, you know, give you something real to cry about, like, we are so uncomfortable as a culture with crying because we haven't been taught how to be with our feelings and emotions.
Curt Storring 23:14
Well, all of that is again, beautiful. And I really appreciate the way that you shared that. And so much came up there. Particularly the last thing, the crying thing, when I had put in a little bit more of my own work with my third son, who's five years younger than my middle son, there was this large gap between the children were larger gap. And I saw the difference. And having done at least some of my own work like you're talking about, so that when he cried, I felt, Oh, he's communicating? Yes, great. Like what is here for him? And it's just like curiosity that you brought up? A few things that I have questions about? One, when you're talking about getting more curious, being more understanding of the process of it, and we still get triggered? What have you seen to be some ways to continue to unravel that, because parenting for me, was perhaps the single greatest thing that helped me do my work because it was like a spotlight on all of the pain that you're talking about. That gets brought up as triggers and confrontation. And part of it was simply knowing like you're talking about as I started reading about, right parenting and you know, gentle parenting, all this kind of stuff. When Oh, okay, this makes a little bit more sense now, but I'm still yelling at them. Or when I'm saying the words that you tell me to say. I'm like, I see that you're angry. And it's like, okay, clearly that's not getting across very well. Are there some things that we've done lots of podcasts on this, but I'm curious what you have seen working with parents specifically on how to continue to unravel their stories?
Lael Stone 24:57
Yes, yes. That's a good question. at AEI, I often joke that if you if you want to be a conscious human, right, you could go and meditate on a mountain for 10 years, right? Or you could just try and raise your children consciously, because that is more of a challenge. You know, it's bringing, it's easy to be a good parent, when we've had sleep and everyone's happy and there's money in the bank and there's, you know, dinner cooking, right? We it's easy to be a good parent, when we don't have stresses, it's when the stress is there, that it's really challenging. Look, I few things that I find really work with parents in order to help them do their work and process their stories. So, you know, you know, I work with something called a where parenting which is based on the work of Dr. Leif Salta. So really similar to many kinds of attachment, attune, you know, conscious parenting concepts. And, you know, one of the things we talk about that is deeply helpful for parents, firstly, to be able to sit with feelings and emotions with kids, is actually having our feelings and emotions heard. So because one of the biggest issues I think that pops up for parents is they weren't met emotionally when they were kids. So their feelings weren't listened to, they were either shut down or sent to their rooms, or it just wasn't safe to express their feelings. So in order for us to have what I call spaciousness, which is the ability to sit with another human, and say, Tell me all about it, and sit there without judgment, sit there with compassion, and empathy, sit there not trying to fix whatever's going on, but just sit there with a deep reverence to say, I hear you. And that sounds really hard. And I'm with you. In order to be able to do that, we all we have to have experienced that for ourselves first. So one of the most powerful tools I think we have in parenting is having what's called a listening partnership, or an empathy buddy. It's another adult that we can bring and go, Oh, my God, my six year olds drove me nuts today. And they did this, this, this, this and this. And the person on the other end of the phone is like, yeah, he, what else? Tell me more. And we have a safe place to vent and rage to bring our frustrations as parents so that we are feeling heard. Because often when we have that safety of feeling heard, the stories that we run, that are usually sitting underneath that, we'll be able to come up, and we'll be able to explore them. So you know, my kids are 2118 and 14 now, right? So they're, they're big kids, but when they were little, and I was in the thick of that, you know, just parenting where you just, it's really physically and emotionally demanding. My listening partner, and I would speak every day. And it could be for five minutes, it could be 10 minutes. And sometimes we just leave voice messages for each other. But it was a safe place to bring, oh, my God, this is driving me crazy, because it almost felt like I had an ally, you know, this was feeling hard. But I could bring the feelings that were stuck with me to a safe place. They were heard, and I could let them go, which allowed me to have more space to come back and be with my kids. So one of the first pieces, I think is a safe place to bring how we feel. So that we have the experience of being deeply seen and heard. And then now we know it in ourselves, and our being we can take that back to our kids, you know, sometimes I'm a therapist, but you know, we don't speak to our therapist every day. You know, a listening partner, you know, it's not just about the big, heavy, Stuffy, it's lots of fun laughing like, sometimes I'd read my listening partner and go, I have to swear a lot. And they'd be like, go for it. So I would be dropping all the words, because there was that felt like a good release for me, in those moments around the frustrations of parenting. So that I think he's one amazing tool that we can all access. And you know, women are naturally pretty good at doing that. I find with men, not so much, you know, usually, you know, and my beautiful husband, I've been with him for like 24 years, you know, he will reach out to his friends. But it's usually let's go for a bike ride. Or let's play some poker or let's do, let's keep the soccer ball. Let's do something. And as we're doing something, I'm going to talk more about it. So I find that men are probably not as quick to just pick up the phone and go, Hey, can you listen to me for 15 minutes? Women because we're often natural talkers and want to process everything. It seems that that they do it a lot more, but it's about finding what gives me the opportunity to be heard and heard in a safe way. Right. So firstly, I've got that going on. The second thing I find, which really helps us do the work is is starting with the the curiosity and the mindfulness to observe how we feel. So, you know, my baseline is always this when you're having a reaction to your child, it is always about you. So you know when we are when a child's upset, right? So your four year olds, you know, can't get their blocks to do something the right way and they've just come home from kindergarten and you can see that they're really wound up. And they probably need to have a beautiful release because you know, it's been a big few hours and they've been separated from you and they're trying to do these blocks and doesn't work the way they want it to and they're getting angry and they're starting to throw their blocks in an ideal world. We would be curious, we would come in close and we go, Ah, god, my, this looks frustrating. I'm here with you tell me more, right, and they get angry, and we would just stay calm. And we would hold the safe container for them to get angry and cry and move those feelings so they can come back into balance. That's the ideal, right? But when we are stressed, and we haven't had enough sleep, when we're not getting our own needs met, and when we've got our own kind of backpack of wounds and feelings, which we all have, when when they are popping up to the surface, it is very hard to meet that that four year old angry four year old with that calm. So the first thing that we want to do is, is be curious, what am I feeling right now. So I kind of have a few different questions that I get people to ask themselves. You know, firstly, it's acknowledging, when I'm having a reaction, it is about me. Now, I mean, be responding to what's going on with my child, but I am, I am reacting in a way because something's out of balance. Now, sometimes it can be, I'm just so tired, I haven't got space to do this, right. And that might be a bit of a sign, you know what, I actually just need a break and I need or any food, or sometimes it's just a neediness as a parent. And when we meet that need, then we've got more capacity to be with our kids. Sometimes it's what we're telling ourselves, if we've got a bit of a story running that says you my child is difficult, they're annoying, they just make my life so hard. It's very hard to move into compassion and empathy when we've got a bit of a mental loop that is making our child wrong. And usually that is a bit of a you know, we do that, because we don't want to feel actually what's sitting there for us underneath. And sometimes we need someone to help work through those belief systems and patterns that we've going got going on. But the third thing that and usually most of the time, this is what it is, is when we're having a reaction, something's popping up. I always ask, What am I feeling in this moment? Right? So I might be like, I'm just frustrated, I just wish they wouldn't throw the blocks, right? So I love to ask the question, How old am I? Or who's here in this moment? Like, what is this feeling? Remind me of? And usually, I'll get taken back to God, my younger brother used to do this all the time, it frustrated me so much, why couldn't you just be good? He used to throw the blocks and mom and dad to get angry, and then they'd, you know, they'd smack him or something, you know, there might be a story there. So the curiosity is, firstly, what am I feeling? What does it remind me of, and it might remind you of being a child, it might remind you of a certain incident, or it might just remind you of a feeling that you've known, which is this feels unsafe, or this feels powerless, or, you know, just be curious about it. And then in that moment, if we can, you know, I say to adults, we all have to do the best we can, our job is to notice those feelings, if it's not appropriate to work through them in the moment, which it's usually not, because when you get a four year old that you have to deal with them, I say put it in a box to the side and go, I'm going to come back to that. And what do I need to do in this moment to bring me back to my center. So sometimes it's taking a few deep breaths, sometimes it's about walking out of the room and going to the bathroom and washing your hands, and running them into cold water. And reminding yourself this is not an emergency, I'm just having a reaction. And I'm going to work through this right. And my job in this moment is to be there for my child. So I like the action of washing your hands, it's kind of cooling, it's a bit of a pattern interrupt from the kind of fight or flight that might be going on within you. And and even saying to yourself, This is not an emergency, you know, it's okay, I'm gonna be able to move through this, to just get you through and holding your child. So then you can deal with whatever else is sitting there. So any of those things can be can go outside, take your shoes off, walk on the grass, stamp your feet, shake your body, something to help you go off. There's feelings here for me, but my my role in this moment is actually to help this little person. So once we've helped a little person and they've moved, their staff always come back to that box of stuff that we put aside and delve in a bit deeper. So what's this about? What does this remind me of? What are the feelings that are present here? And when we can lean into those feelings, what we often begin to see is there's this hurt there. And it may be that what's coming up is feelings of just, you know what, when I was four, and I got frustrated or upset, I got sent to my room, and it felt scary being in my room on my own. And nobody came and spoke to me. And we felt abandoned. Or it might be that when I got frustrated and spoke up and said I don't like how this is I might have got smacked. You know, and that felt painful. Right? And now as a parent, when you look at your own child and think I don't want to smack them, it then brings up feelings of Well, how could my parents have smacked me? You know, that's painful stuff, right? And I really, I want to just highlight here, our parents were doing the best job. They know how, you know, it's very easy to move into blame for our parents. But, you know, when we look at perhaps the knowledge or the understanding of the way they were, they were brought up, you know, often each generation we're doing it a little bit better. Give information and understanding that we have now our parents often didn't have. So they were doing what they were told they were doing the best they knew how. And so when we can kind of begin to unpack and understand, or this is some of the deeper wounds for myself, the what we need to do with them in those moments is just be with them, acknowledge them. So, you know, I love the writing it down, because there's something about taking it out of our head and putting it down on paper. So it might be like, you know, answering these questions, what am I feeling right now? I feel angry and frustrated. What does this remind me of? Reminds me of when my little brother used to do this? What are the feelings that were coming up for me when I felt really unsafe and unsure? And then the next question is something like this, what did I need at the time that I didn't get? So you know, if you were young, and you had a younger brother, who got angry, and then your parents, you know, got angry, and they, you know, they responded in big ways, it felt really scary for you. What you might have needed at that time was an adult to tune in to you to say, Hey, you, okay, mate? What's going on here? Feels really scary. When your brother gets angry, I get that. What do you need to say? What's there for you. And maybe what you needed to say, as a four year old was, I don't like it, when you yell at him, it makes me feel scared, or it's not his fault, he's doing the best he can, or, you know, we're just trying, like, we're just learning. Like, maybe they're the words that you needed to speak. And so write them down white write what it is that you needed to express. And then I often love to kind of bring in this pace that is, is around well, what if you had that loving parent there? What would you have wanted to hear from them. And so, you know, we bring the parent within us to the younger child part of us, you know, and many people I guess, you know, hear about inner child work, and part of that inner child work is, is giving the inner child what they didn't get. And we as the parent gives that to ourselves. So it might be saying, where it's like, I'm so sorry, darling, that that felt scary for you. And I'm sorry, it felt really unsafe and, and giving those parts of us the words that we needed that we didn't get. So you can do that as an exercise in your journal, you can do that saying that with someone, you could do it while you go for a walk and just say it in your head and be present with it. But the goal on some level is to feel the hurt, or the pain or the fear that we didn't feel, express it, and then let it go. And then when we let it go, what happens is we've healed a little part of our own inner child, we create more spaciousness, so that when next time our child is responsive, in that way, we have more calm, we have more space to lean into it. And it takes a bit of practice, and it takes a bit of work to do it. You know, like I've been doing this work for a really long time. And even though my kids are adults, you know, something happened with my 18 year old daughter the other day, and I watched myself get so reactive, I wanted to move into controlling her and saying, No, you should be doing this and should be doing that. And I started to watch myself and I was like, cut down. Like I'm still here.
And then I was like, No, this is a work in progress. There's still stuff here. Like it's okay, be gentle with yourself, be kind with yourself, you know, really lean into the gentleness for you, and what do you need in this moment. And as we do that, and as we, we bring compassion to ourselves, it allows us to bring even more compassion to our children. Hmm,
Curt Storring 38:20
thank you so much for all of that. I wanted to jump in with your first suggestion of having someone to talk to and just let everyone listening know that this is why we at Dad.Work have put together men's groups and the men's community, brotherhood and training community called the village, you can find it a dad.org/village. And this is exactly why because men, you're right, it's way harder to do this. And we're trying to have this safe space for fathers to come and get that feedback whenever they 24/7. So just, you know, shameless plug, it's my show, so I'll do what I want.
Lael Stone 38:55
Yeah, no, no, I so celebrate that. And I think that's, I was so excited when you reached out to me, because I was like, I we need more of this. Women, I think naturally have been doing this for a long time, you know, we come together and we kind of meet in circles or we do stuff and there. It's it's been around for a lot longer for women to actually share in this way, but not for men. And I've said for a long time, you know, we need to build the support for men to connect, to share, to feel safe enough to express how they're feeling. It's so vital. So I so love the work that you're doing. Because it is so necessary. It's what's going to change our dynamic with parenting for sure. Because what I see a lot, you know, over I've been working in this space for like 18 years now, that for a lot of men, particularly in the message they got growing up was you know, Don't be weak, don't be vulnerable, you know, be strong. So the only response to dealing with feelings was to shut them down or turn them into aggression and we know that there we have a massive issues with violence, particularly with men Because all those feelings that they felt as children are still stuck in their bodies, and then as adults, when, you know, they're in situations where they feel powerless or, or stuff comes up that reminds them of incidences they had when they were a child, then those feelings are going to come pouring out and often not in a healthy way. You know, anger is just a mask, often for the deep fear and pain and hurt that sits underneath. And so the more we can do with working with those deeper feelings, the less anger, we're actually going to see in the world, you know, and to me, you know, the state of the world at the moment is not ideal, right? We're all living through a very bizarre time, right? And I go, the way we change this is with the children. So as adults, we have to do our own work. So we create safe, honoring beautiful ways to raise our children so that they grow up to be adults who don't want to hurt other people who see in justices and stand up for it. Who wants to take care of the earth, because when a child feels in balance, their natural state is to be kind, cooperative, empathetic, it's to connect with other humans, no child feels good hurting someone else, right? Kids only hurt each other only behave that way when they're in pain. And that's the same with adults, adults that are in pain, do bad things. So when we looking at how we change, where we're sitting at the moment on a global scale, it has to start with parenting. It is it is and so it's up to us as the adults to do the work now. So we raise these extraordinary children who take a stand for what's going on in the world.
Curt Storring 41:35
Yeah, that is exactly the mission behind Dad.Work. It's because when we heal fathers, they can then parent children who are not burdened with the generational trauma, the next generation, and they then will raise the children who will not be even remotely close to that trauma. And so we as the dads who are doing this work we're listening to podcast are chain breakers, in my opinion, Breaking Chains of intergenerational trauma. And that's why it's so important because like, you know, you can impact one father, and that changes his world in his family, but you impact more and more fathers. And literally, the world gets saved, in my opinion, at least, it takes mothers, it takes every human but specifically, from my point of view, healing fathers is going to be the way forward. So that's why we're going all in. And I appreciate the reflection that it sounds like. That's a reasonable sort of thought, from your perspective, as well. So thank you for that.
Lael Stone 42:31
It's powerful, and it's amazing. I so can't champion it enough. It's so good. So good.
Curt Storring 42:37
I am going to ask you a question that I was asked by a man in my dad's men's group. And he said, How do we do any of this when the child is angry? And it's our fault? You know, like, what if? What if we are part of the original problem? How are we supposed to show support compassion, when you either place a consequence or a boundary? And the kid gets angry, started screaming and yelling, and this is what you get triggered, then then you react? And it's like, You've almost got to rewind, multiple triggers. Now. How do we do that? When we're actually like, making things worse? Yeah. How can we repair I suppose?
Lael Stone 43:15
Yes. Well, that's it repairs the word right there. So part of, I guess, creating this emotional intelligence in our children as well is teaching them about making mistakes and repairing and owning our behavior. Like so much of this is about owning our own stuff. So if you, you know, if you are out of balance, and you're reactive, and then you're setting this stuff, and your children responding to you, if you can catch yourself in the moment and go, actually, I'm way out here, you know, like, if you're yelling, or you're wanting to control everything, you know, part of the learning and shifting this narrative is to be able to catch it and go off. Okay, it's too much. Yeah. And whether we walk away for a minute are not what we want to come back to our child is like, you know what, honey, that actually was not ideal. I am so sorry. We need to redo this. Let's do this over again. That actually was not okay for me to say what I said, or I am so sorry. I got really angry in that moment. And I just tried to control it. A there is so much power in us as parents owning our story and apologizing for what we did. Because not only teaches children about apologizing and repair, it actually empowers children to know, hey, how I'm responding to you is actually is actually valid, because what you did was not all right. So with my children, my husband I when they were little, I reckon probably from when my oldest was about seven. And I, we would say to them, if you ever feel like mom and dad are not speaking from their heart, or if you ever feel that we are not in alignment, right. So we're either powering over or we're yelling, we're trying to control. We give you full permission to call us on that. We give you full permission to say I don't like the way you're talking to me or you are at Well, my son used to do so my beautiful husband, when he was very out of balance, he would he would become like his father. And so he would, he would kind of yell and sound exactly like what making pop up. That's what they used to call him. And so what my son would do whenever my husband would be out of balance, and you might be on this control thing, my son would look at him and go, You sound very much like Popper, that that would stop my husband in his tracks, because he'd be like, Oh, God, and yet, he was powerful, because my son was like, No, I can see you're out of balance here. And that's not cool. And so we, we empowered our kids to do that from very young age. And sometimes, you know, they would say things when, when we were really centered, and they were really upset, and you could, and you knew that you were centered, and it wasn't true. But the times where we were out of balance, we were like, I want you to be able to speak up and say, No, this is not cool. Because we need to empower our children to have a voice. And they also you have to realize that we as humans are still doing our work and learning. So in that situation, if you can catch yourself, you know, and actually stop and say, give me a minute, come back and say, I'm really sorry, I was not behaving in from my center. Let's redo this, let's start again, like, let's just take a pause, come back to it, you know, that is powerful, because a child is then going to see and feel your authenticity, and actually go, Okay, this is a work in progress, we're still learning, and equally empowering them to actually call us when we are behaving in ways that are our own wounds, which for a lot of people is very, very confronting. But I have to tell you, in having raised my kids, it has created the most deep, profound respect between all of us, because they know that we are willing to learn and to grow and make mistakes, they know that, you know, we don't yell really, in our family, we just have conversations. And if someone's really out of balance, we just ask them what's going on for you, what do you need, we all hold space for each other in the bigger picture of it. And you know, when you raise children, where you hold space for them to feel their feelings, they then become adults who know how to hold space for you. And not that their job is to hold it for you. That kid's job is never to hold it for their parents, but they know how to do it for others. And that's what's one of the most extraordinary things that I've witnessed in raising my children this way with this emotional awareness is their ability to lean into big feelings and sit so comfortably with it with themselves and the others. Yeah, that
Curt Storring 47:26
reminds me of a piece of your talk. I think you said your daughter was 10 at the time, was able to hold space and ask these questions. Can you just give a quick outline of the language he was able to use?
Lael Stone 47:38
Yeah, it's such a good story. It's one of my favorite stories to tell. So it was an evening and I was making dinner and my youngest was nearly was five at the time. And she came into the kitchen. And you know, as I was saying, you do that kind of scanning thing of them of where they're at. And as soon as she walked in, I remember thinking, oh, man, she's got some feelings on board. She'd been at Kinder all day, she was really just agitated. And yet, I was trying to make dinner and I had to go and do a talk that evening. So I was doing that kind of hustle that you do when you're like trying to get food on the table. And I've got to go to work. And so I actually turned to her and said, Honey, I can see you've got some feelings. Do you think you could hold on to them for a few hours, which is the most ridiculous thing to say a child but I was desperate, right? I was like, What do you reckon? Can you hold on to it? And she looks at me, of course, like, are you crazy. But as though it's worth a try. Anyway, that moment, my 10 year old came into the kitchen, and she said, I'll listen to her feelings. And I was like, Whoa, what's going to happen here? So the 10 year old took the five year old into the bedroom. I'm standing outside the door listening, because I'm like, I want to see what goes on here. And so my 10 year old says the five year old, tell me all about it. And instantly in five minutes, that's crying. So it's complaining about what happened at kinder, and this isn't fair. And that happened. And I'm hearing my 10 year old go, oh, that sounds hard. What else and so the 10 year old is offering the most divine empathy, and compassion, while the five year old is just venting. And then the 10 year old says something funny, and then the five year old laughs And then they've moved past the big feelings into laughing and, and things have shifted. And so this took about 15 minutes or so. And then they come out of the bedroom. And you know, my five year olds like back in balance, and she's feeling great. And I say to my 10 year old. Wow, how was that for you? And she said to me, Well, I just did to her, what'd you do for me? And it was in that moment, like, as a parent, I was like, whoa, this this, right? Kids can't be what they can't see. So we are wanting them to be these empathetic, compassionate humans. But if we don't show them how to do it, if we don't do all those hours of listening and holding space for them, how they're going to do it for others. So it was just, it was one of those gold parenting moments where you're like, Well, okay, this is how it works, right? This is how it rolls. And you know, what I've witnessed in my children is it's so embodied in them. So embodied my oldest son, he's 21. He, he is a disability support worker. So he works with young boys who have, you know who had different disabilities, and, and he's an athlete. So he goes and does sport with them and take some rock climbing and fishing and all sorts of amazing stuff. And he spends time with him. And when he first started doing this job, you know, he said to me, he's telling me about the work. And I said to him, are Darling, you know, do you want some good tips on some, you know, attachment play stuff, or how you do things, you know, if you want, and he looks at me, and he's like, ma'am, I know what I'm doing. And I remember in that moment, thinking, Oh, my God, of course you do, you don't need to learn it, you know it, like it's bodied in you, it's like, it's so natural to him, it's so natural to tune into another person and see what they need and be playful or to hold that space, or no pressure and no coercion. And it was, again, I kind of thought, Oh, my God, this is the power of this, this isn't something this next generation is having to learn. They just know it, because they've felt it. So I see, that's where, you know, this is so so powerful this week.
Curt Storring 50:56
Thank you for sharing that I really, really love that Zoom, more powerful to listen to it. And in that explanation, I could feel myself craving, that kind of support. And that's been my work recently actually is admitting, and being vulnerable to the fact that I truly long to be held like that, because that's my story is that I have held space for my parents for everyone else around me. And if I asked for space, then I might be rejected. And then you know, my perfectionist tendencies will be unraveled, and people will not find me worthy of love. That's my sort of deep story. And it was able to be held supportively in a men's group meeting just last night. And so I love to hear examples of this. Because what I wouldn't have given to hear that as a five year old or 10 year old anytime in my life. It's life changing, and it's beautiful. And I'm having to now ask for it, which I didn't think I could. And I'm learning that actually as an adult I can. And that's been extremely empowering. I would like to change gears ever so slightly, and ask if it's ever too late to start this kind of work? Because I get that question a lot like, Yeah, well, my kids are in their teens now. Or, or even they've moved out how do I rekindle a relationship. And so whether they're five, and you're just coming across this, or 10, or 15, or even moved out? Have you witnessed it ever being too late to start to pair like this,
Lael Stone 52:27
no, is never too late. And firstly, I just want to go back a little bit and just really honor your beautiful process last night. And I just I really have to honor and say, it is so powerful for other men to speak of what their healing journeys and own their vulnerability in it, because every time we do it, it gives permission for others to do it. So I just really want to honor that in Yuka. That's beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. It's never too late for healing ever. And I come back to this when people like I feel like my relationships really dysfunctional, or, you know, my team doesn't want anything to do with me. So the first place always is to start with connection, because connection is always the answer. It's the answer to helping us feel and process it's the answer to cooperation with kids, it's the answer to us tuning into ourselves, it always comes back to connection. So, you know, the first place we start is going, okay, how can I meet this other person that I feel is rupture with, from a place of connection without pressure without needing them to be anything else. So if you have a teenager and you feel like there's a lot of disconnection, just go into their room or invite them to do something where there is no pressure to do anything. Don't Don't be like, Have you done your homework? And why are these dirty towels on the floor? Just go into their room and just go hey, what music you listen to right now? You know, and, or whatever they're into what game you're playing? Like, Oh, Jack, and I could play that? Could you teach me that'd be like me, there's no way Mom, I'm not teaching that. You'd be surprised, right? I have many parents who do gaming with their kids, they're teenagers, because it's their point of connection, you know, it's where they have that special time together. So I want to say it's never too late for healing. And the first part of that is, as the parent as the adult, is the willingness to go, I'm really willing for this to be healed. Now when we look at younger kids, you know, I have such a belief that children know what they need to do to come back into balance. They know what they need to do to do their healing work. So it's why plays most of it so magnificent for younger kids, because they'll often play what they need to to process what's going on, they'll often want to play games with you that are about stuff they need to heal or process. And our job is to actually get out of the way and just watch and observe. You know, if you've got a new baby coming along in your family, and all of a sudden your older sibling wants to be a baby and wants to be wrapped up. You know, they're saying, hey, there's a part in here for me that needs to do this regression play before we kind of move forward and so, you know, meet them in that game. Right. So, you know, I do really believe that but particularly the little kids, they know what they need to do to heal. And when we're feeling disconnected, all we need to do is actually turn up and be willing for that healing to happen. So it's watching and observing and seeing what's possible, and connecting with them on their level. So often as parents, we're conditioned to go, I'll spend time with my child. So, okay, you can come to the hardware store with me. And then we've got to go do the grocery shopping, and we'll hang out together. But I'm like, no kid wants to do. They want to play basketball, or they want to do something else, right? It's meeting them where they're at. So when we're talking about little kids with healing, you know, the first step is enter into their world, even if it's for 20 minutes, be curious, be playful, be present. Ask don't ask you know, stuff of them. Just be be with them, you know, start building the safety, because healing comes from when it feels safe enough for whatever has been the rupture to surface and then heal. So with little children, particularly what build safety is play. So meeting them in their play, having something that we call special time, which might be like 20 minutes, one on one time doing whatever your child wants to do, you know, starting there as a place to build connection. With teenagers, it's often micro moments I find so that might be Yeah, what are you listening to it might be chatting in the car, it might be inviting them, Hey, do you want to just go out for a coffee, it's just trying to find any point of connection. And when you are with them, it's not hassling them about anything, it's being curious about their world, even though you're dying to you know, say, Have you done your homework, like just back off, be with them, and, and create safety by there not being any pressure. Because when a child, particularly a teenager feels like this safety to be met there, then they're more likely to open up around the pain or the hurt or whatever's going on. So work on the safety first. And then if there's children that are at home, who may be adults, now young adults, there is real power in actually owning, I feel really disconnected from you. I am so sorry. If you know what's happened in our family dynamic, I am so willing to heal this, what would that need to look like for you? Or could we take small steps to rebuilding what we need to as adults, we have to own our feelings as adults, we have to be willing to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there and own what it is. And I absolutely believe that healing is possible. I really do at any point, you know, there's a and sometimes we just need to have our eyes open for it. There's a story if I can tell a quick story that's right around. So when I first became a mom, I was really young as like 25. And like when you first become a parent, you've got no idea. And really the first few years of my son's life, I was so spun out, I had a really traumatic birth experience. So I was probably I was dealing with PTSD from that. I just, I wasn't really connected to him. And I and I also didn't know about this type of parenting. So you know, even though as a pretty, you know, attached parent, you know, I was still using punishments and rewards and trying to control and all that kind of stuff, shut his feelings down a lot, because I just didn't know how to deal with it. And then as I kind of then had a second child that brought about a lot of healing, and then my third child, you know, and I learned a lot more and I grew as a therapist, and all that kind of stuff. I looked back on my son and I thought, Oh, my God, like look at what happened in those first few years. And I just wasn't present and, and I could even see in his behavior. There were ruptures that were representative of that. So I reached a point where I actually had to do a lot of forgiveness for myself on you know what happened, knowing that I did the best job I could at the time. I was I started to be very kind and compassionate with me as the mother of when I first started. And I really put it out there. I'm really willing to heal whatever needs to happen for my relationship with my son. And so I just kind of put it out there, right. And so I work on connection. And then one day we are at my in law's house and every all families there and we're all swimming and everyone's playing in the pool. And then everybody gets out except my son and I'm in the pool. And he swims over to me, and he's 10 at the time. So you know, he's kind of prepubescent long, lanky kid. And he comes up and he goes, Mommy, you call me mommy, which he never did. And he goes, mommy hold me like a baby. And I'm like, Whoa, okay. So I understand the benefits of clay and, and so I went coming in my big baby. And so I'm holding him in the water, like he's a baby. And I just start loving on him and I'm kissing his head. And I'm like, I love you the most beautiful boy in the world. You are my precious baby. And I'm here and I'm just all of a sudden I'm saying all these words that perhaps I wished I would have been able to say, when he was little, I guess it still makes me emotional talking about it. And so I'm loving on him. Right? As as easy speak. 10 year old baby in my arms. And then we do that for like five or 10 minutes. And then he says to me, ma'am, he goes, just hold my head and let me float. And so he lays in front of me in the water and I'm holding his head and he puts his arms out and he's floating in the water. And for about five minutes. He's in complete silence And I'm just standing there like in the water holding his head. And in that moment, I'm like, looking around going, is anybody seeing this, this is like a full rebirth.
Just having this moment of like, Whoa, what is happening here, and I've got tears pouring down my face, and he's just laying there with his eyes closed floating in the water. And it's in that moment, I'm like, this is the healing, right. And then we didn't need to talk about it. And it wasn't words, but through that play, and that presence. And then after five minutes, he got up anyway, I'm gonna go eat something now mom, and then just went off and went inside. And I was standing in the water just going, Whoa, that was just extraordinary. You couldn't plan that you can't make that happen. It just happened. And I believe it was because I was ready and open and compassionate enough with myself for the healing to happen. And And it shifted our dynamic of relationship after that, it moves to a different place, I could feel it energetically. So you know, I, I look at it when it comes to healing. And I want to offer people that we may not know exactly when it's going to happen. But to be open to it, and to lean into it, when it does, is one of the most powerful things we can do.
Curt Storring 1:01:12
Thank you for sharing that. I was right there with you with the emotional response to that one. And I felt that thank you. I want to ask you a final question here. And this is a very selfish one, because I'd love your feedback. What about safety, and boundaries. And and to be quite honest, I would love to have you talked about this, again, with boundaries and the consequences rather than punishment. But you're also sort of on that train. But let's say just hypothetically, or not, hypothetically, the day, let's say that my middle son is upstairs and he's had a hard day at school, my wife is in the middle of making dinner, I'm finishing up work, I can't be there, my older son is talking, which he does quite a lot. He takes up a lot of space that way, and it can be overwhelming for them, my middle son, and the baby's throwing his crayons around, and one of them hits the middle son. And because of the day he's had, he sort of explodes. And, you know, my wife might go over and cut down on his his his height and say, Hey, I see that this been a really hard day for you, you know what's going on? Can we talk about that? I can't let you hit the baby, or I can't let you scream like this, because it overwhelms me. Because I'm making dinner right now I don't have a place to go. And that's the thought process. Like, I need you to stop basically. And that's the trouble when I need you to stop as my own boundary. And you're lashing out either hitting or yelling, what could be a way to speak or hold space? Or? Or perhaps just punt it for, you know, a couple hours as you said in your story. But like, what can we do? What can parents do in a situation like this? Where it seems like we have no options?
Lael Stone 1:02:55
Yeah, it's hard. Like the first thing I want to say to that those situations are hard. They happen every day, right? When we're stretched in many places, and everyone's wanting their needs met. And it's not happening. It's really tricky. So I just firstly want to acknowledge that, you know, they're the times in parenting where
this is full on and you know, and sometimes it is, how do we just all get through this and stay safe? So how I might respond to that is yes. So you know, he gets hit the middle child, he gets angry. You know, the first thing is, let's make sure everyone safe. So we go over there. And you know, I'm usually like, I'm here, I'm here to help you. That's the first thing I often always say, right? Because in those moments, particularly the middle son, he would have moved into this fight or flight stay, he's angry words are not going to matter. There's just feelings that are coming out. And the catalyst is you know, being hit by something or whatever is going on, is that's the that's the tipping point. So again, in those moments, we want to be like, He's not bad because he's lashed out at his younger brother, or he's just responding to his environment in this moment, which means he's full on his dressed. So as a parent, you know, as your partner, you know, the job in that moment is to get over there, I can see you. You're having a hard time, I'm not willing for you to hurt your brother. I'm here to help you though. Now, ideally, you know, yes, dinners on the table, dinners, cooking, all those kind of things. And I have done this many times. Sometimes I've actually turned off dinner, and I've gone. What's needed right in this moment is my presence with you. And so, even if I can give you five minutes I'm going to now one of the big challenges, again, is when we feel stressed and when a child's yelling or they're really upset, as you say it taps into our nervous system and we get really frustrated. The work in this is to help our capacity to hold more, I believe, meaning that in those moments, were able to Okay, I'm going to anchor myself as you know ground myself as a parent to see this child in this moment needs some more spaciousness here. And what that might look like is Hey, mate, I can see upset let's go into the bedroom. And you take them into the bedroom and, you know, you're just moving removing them from that space. So I'd say for everyone else, and you're like, You're mad buddy, let it out. Come on, he's a pillow punching to me. Let's go like welcome it. Now I know that's not easy when we're feeling stretched and stressed, right? There's been plenty of times we've been super late to places because I'm like, do you know what's more important here? Is my child's emotional feelings, then if we get to school on time? Or, you know, and and that's tricky. That's not accepted in our culture. It's not right. But I think my philosophy has always been this is that their needs are holding has to come first. And look, when kids have a big backlog of feelings, it can often feel like we're doing that all the time. And yes, there's boundaries and ways we need to work with that. But I often come back to saying to parents, when we're saying to a child, I don't want you to yell, or that's not acceptable in this moment, what is the message the child is getting, you know, what the child might be getting in that moment is, well, this is too big for you. Or, you know, that's not acceptable. You only like me when I'm like this. And our job as the parent, again, is to build our capacity to go, I can meet all of you there. I think about it, if you're a seven year old, right, and you are frustrated, because you've had a hard day at school, and all these things are going on, and then you lose it because you know, it's you've been tipped over the edge. What would it feel like to have a parent go? Oh, my God, I know, you need to make that that's not okay. Like, you need to shut that down. That's not all right, you know, then there's something that goes on and says, okay, that part of me is not, is not alright. Whereas if we had an adult to come over and win or lose big, isn't it may, I'm here, let's go. Come on. I can I can hold this for you, then what happens is they feel seen, and they move off in the feelings quicker and faster, because it's, it's allowed and it's acceptable. Now, and I'm saying that, and there's situations where that's, we're not going to able to do that, because we're juggling two other kids, and we're trying to make dinner and all those kinds of things. I mean, that's the goal, right? The goal is to be able to be with feelings of all spaces, right. And that's where we do our own work. So we can increase our capacity to do it. But in times where we can't, then I always come back to what we do to just try and meet as many needs as we can, you know, with whatever we can do. And that may be saying to that beautiful boy, darling, I can see you're so upset, and you need my presence. I cannot hold that for the moment, do you want to go have some quiet time with your iPad instead? Right, you may give them a repression mechanism, or something that they can do to calm in that moment, because you can't hold those feelings. Here's the beautiful thing about feelings. If we don't express them and release them in that moment, they still there, they'll come back tomorrow. So there's times there's been times as a parent, when I haven't had the capacity or capacity within me to listen, where I've just been like, I'm too tired, or I'm strung out. And I'm like, you know, what, have the sugar eat, watch the like, I've given it to them, because I'm like, I don't have any meat. And there's nothing wrong with that. Because we're human, right, we can only do so much. That becomes an issue when that's our default. When if my child gets upset, I've shoved something in their mouth, or give them sugar or put them in front of the screen. Right? That's when it becomes an issue. But sometimes we do that, because really, that's all I can do to cope. And tomorrow when I've got more capacity, I will listen. So we have to be kind to ourselves as parents, because we're not meant to be raising the kids or kids the way we are. We're meant to be in a village with lots of other parents around helping us and we're not, we're by ourselves, in our home, working full time trying to juggle that is why it is so so hard. So we have to give ourselves a break. So sometimes, sometimes we're going to we're going to say I can't listen now, mate, what do you need for you to just put a lid on that. Sometimes the best thing we can do as a parent is actually walking away so we don't lose it. You know, that actually is, there's wisdom in that where you can feel your anger brewing, you're actually say I am just going to the bathroom, or I'll be back in a minute. And we go and we walk and we shake our body or we wash our hands, we take a deep breath, and we try and find our own center. So we can come back and meet them with calm again. Sometimes that's what we do. Sometimes we have all the capacity in the space to listen, right? It's there's no perfect in this, right? There's been times I remember. And look, when you raise your kids like this, they get really smart. Because there was times with my youngest. I remember one time when I was so like, I got nothing left and she was getting really upset. And I looked at her I went, you want some chocolate.
Give it sugar. And she looks at me and she goes, I don't want sugar. I want you to listen to my feelings. And I remember like going, man, I've like trained you so well. Can't even get away with them trying to distract you from your feelings. And I kind of laughed and went yeah, okay, let me find a little bit more space in me and I only had a little bit more space. But that's all she needed in those moments, right? It's not easy. It's so not easy, and I really hope your listeners get this where we can be deeply compassionate to ourselves. that we we sometimes are very reactive. And sometimes we don't cope. And sometimes we need to do what we need to do just to get through that moment. But if you do, just do whatever you need to do to get through that moment, make sure you go back later and talk about it again, open up the space or the safety for it to be released later, it will come back later, because kids are really good at letting it out. But just make sure you revisit it if you can.
Curt Storring 1:10:22
Hmm. Well, this has been the podcast that I wish I had nine years ago. Thank you so much for this. And like I said, at the beginning, the very first thing you said, I would literally recommend every dad who's listening to this, because I know a lot of the guys who listen and follow me share some of the things that I had going on for me. And everything you're talking about has been pieces of my journey laid out in just like, oh, man, what an hour to just have devoted to parenting. And like if you just break this down and listen to it, like once a day for a month and do a little bit every day, like you will be miles ahead, and it will take you so less time, so little time compared to what it took me. So I'm so grateful. This has been amazing. Thank you so much. My
Lael Stone 1:11:06
pleasure. My pleasure. I could talk about this stuff all day. Like I love it. I see how much it changes families. And I am so passionate about this work because not only did it transform my own family, but I just the 1000s of parents I've worked with, I just see how we eat shifts into creating more harmony and families. And that's what we all want. And in a really ease. I think it helps parents be the parent they want to be.
Curt Storring 1:11:30
Totally Yeah. And I will just put my full weight behind that like this has changed my life. Parenting very, at least similarly, if not trying to get all the points. And obviously as you said, we are not perfect. Finding the forgiveness for myself has been a major healing point for me. But this transformed everything. And I see it in my kids. I once thought it was too late because I had heard that the first five years are so important. And everything they learn there is going to be stuck forever. And I was like, Oh no, I've ruined my oldest son. And now a few years later, and he's a different person because I committed and I just killed like you were talking about before. So, man, this has been beautiful. Yeah, where can people find you? I know. You talk about your school we talk about your work. Yes,
Lael Stone 1:12:21
yeah, um, so you can find me at Lael stone.com. Today use so there's not many people called Lael. So if you Google me, I'm usually the first one that comes up. It's LAEL and then STONE So www.laelstone.com.au that's got my website, which is I've got online courses on there you can do I've got a great course called we're parenting for couples, which is for a couple to do together, which is really are going through all these things around play and listening to feelings and boundaries. And it's a course I designed for couples to do because so often we can be on different pages as parents. And so it really helps you look at what your values are, what your stories are really kind of unpack a little bit about your childhood. So that's on my website. And I've got other little webinars and stuff on there. And we have a podcast called The Web Parenting Podcast where we talk all about this kind of stuff as well. And yeah, we have a school that we opened that's based around this stuff, which is called lion primary. And so yeah, all of them on social media. So all those places they're
Curt Storring 1:13:16
beautiful. Well we'll put all of that in the show notes so you can go to dad.org/podcast and find that there les all once again, thank you so much I'm blown away and very grateful
that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL, dad.work/pod To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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