Podcast

While I am a follower of RIE (resources for infant educarers) and use responsive parenting principles in the way I choose to raise my own children, that doesn’t mean I 100% follow these prescriptive practices to a tee. In this episode, I am opening up and revealing 5 so called “parenting rules” that I break as a mom.

Understanding the framework behind your own rules can help you identify and feel comfortable breaking some of them from time to time. It can be incredibly liberating to give yourself permission to be flexible in your parenting and prioritize your relationships, attunement and connection over always getting it “right.”

 

Dr. Sarah (00:00):

It all comes down to that idea of giving parents the power to be nimble and confident in the way they move through their life with their children. I think a big part of how you get there is to understand, like, why are my rules, my rules? And then when you know that you can be flexible with your rules.

Dr. Sarah (00:20):

Hi, I’m Dr. Sarah Bren, a clinical psychologist and mom of two. In this podcast, I’ve taken all of my clinical experience, current research on brain science and child psychology and the insights I’ve gained on my own parenting journey and distilled everything down into easy to understand and actionable parenting insights. So you can tune out the noise and tune into your own authentic parenting voice with confidence and calm. This is Securely Attached.

Dr. Sarah (00:54):

Hi everybody. So haven’t done one of these in a while and I wanted to do a deep dive. I wanted to do an episode where I talk about all the rules that I break as a mom. So we’re going to get into this. I’m going to share five, maybe more if they come to me because there’s definitely more than five. But five rules that I actually break as a mom. I mean, if you guys have been following along with this podcast or with my Instagram, you’ve probably heard me say that it’s not what you do. It’s how you do it. And I think that sometimes as parents, we get stuck in this trap of like having this set of “rules” that we become kind of trapped by stuck in limited by because they’re the rules and this is what we’re supposed to do. So we have to follow this. And then I think we start to get kind of messy in how we apply the rules. Whereas I’d much rather a parent say, you know what, in this particular moment, this rule doesn’t work for me. And so I’m going to abandon it right now. Not forever, not for life, but in this moment, I’m going to switch. I’m going to pivot. I’m going to be nimble. And I’m going to tune into my instincts and my just my needs in this moment. And I’m going to break this rule because the, how I parent is more important. And in general, my sort of like internal compass is more about creating safety in my relationship with my children than it is about holding fast and strict and heavy to all of the rules. And I, don’t not necessarily just talking about my kid’s rules, like the rules that we have in our family, as much as I’m talking about my rules or “parenting rules though they are sometimes blurry.

Dr. Sarah (02:48):

And you know, you’ll see, I think as I list these, these rules that I, that I think that I break regularly sometimes there’s qualities to these rules that are both about and about my kids. And so we’ll, we’ll talk about that too. Like the nuance in whose behavior are we expecting to shift when we follow the rules or when we allow the rules to be flexible. And sometimes it’s both, sometimes it’s just us so let me start. The first rule that I break sometimes as a mom is that I allow external soothing when I need a break. So for example, if you are familiar with RIE the parenting philosophy that I talk about on here a lot, and then I also regularly practice my, with my, the way I raise my kids. And if you’re not familiar with RIE, go back and listen to episode five after this. And it goes into a lot of the, you know, foundational theory and concepts around the parenting philosophy RIE. RIE often encourages children to engage in their own soothing when possible. I mean, we soothe, we are co regulators. We are there to help soothe them. But that these like external gadgets and gizmos that do soothing, that, that it kind of takes away from a child’s ability to learn those self-soothing qualities. So what are, what are examples of that? Like a swing or a rocker or a bouncer, or you know, the snoo or all these sort of gadgets that enhance that soothing, that external soothing for a child. And now a lot of parents break this rule because a lot of parents don’t have that particular. They don’t place that much importance on that. And it’s very actually quite normative. And I just want to name that it’s very normative for parents to use external soothing mechanisms, like, you know, a pacifier is an external soothing mechanism. We can use television as an external soothing mechanism we can use or other screens. We can use rockers and bouncers and swings as an external soothing mechanism. And there’s nothing wrong with this, but generally since I follow this sort of RIE parenting philosophy, I tend not to use a lot of external soothing mechanisms with my kids. So that’s, that’s sort of a standard that I have in my parenting or a value that I have in my parenting strategy, because I really want my kids to practice that sense of self-soothing. I also don’t want to, you know, limit their gross motor movement opportunities. So putting a kid in a swing makes it so that they’re not on the floor, practicing all these wonderful micro, gross motor development things that being said, I totally still put my kids in a swing. So if you are a follower of certain parenting philosophies that can at times be somewhat prescriptive, somewhat rigid.

Dr. Sarah (05:53):

I just want you to know that even though I practice the, you know, those types of parenting philosophies, I don’t hold to it a hundred percent of the time at all times. But here is my qualification. I tend to use the external soothing mechanisms, not when my child is dysregulated. And I’m using that as a way to help calm their body down, although sometimes yes, because if your kid is just completely losing it and you’re just kind of tapped out, you’re not getting, you’re not able to soothe them in the way you’re trying to, and it’s just not working. And again, sort of crossing over into that boundary. Like who’s needing the break here. Is it my kid or me? It’s okay to put them in that swing or put them in that bouncer and use those tools to give them that space, that safe space to be so that you can take a break so I can take a break. So, but also not just in the heat of the moment, although I do recommend that not being your first line of defense when our child is dysregulated, I think co-regulation is the first step. And if you want information on, co-regulation go back to my co-regulation episode, which is episode six, but start with co-regulation and then you can use a tool when you need a break., But also, and this is what I’m trying to get to is I wouldn’t just, I don’t use it just for those moments, but I used it when I needed a break, regardless of my child, just me. Like I wanted to make my coffee in the morning. I wanted to make some breakfast and sit down at the table. So I put my baby in a swing and that was part of our routine. And, you know, I knew that in the morning there would be about 20 or 30 minutes where my child would be in the swing and maybe she’d even fall asleep.

Dr. Sarah (07:35):

And that was okay. I was intentional about when I did it. It was for me, not for my daughter or my son, when I, when, you know, when he was a baby, like it was a rule that I was breaking because I needed to break that rule. And most of the time when we weren’t, when it wasn’t part of our, when we were outside of that window of our routine, I wouldn’t really use it. Those, those, those external soothing mechanisms or gadgets. I would try when possible to place my kid on the floor, on their back with some toys and, and allow them to have some, you know, opportunities for free movement. But sometimes I broke that rule and that’s okay. Another rule when it comes to like the external soothing that I quote unquote break is, you know, I let them watch TV. Like I, you know, it’s an external soothing mechanism, still. It falls into that category. Again, I don’t, I think it’s important to distinguish how you use screens. My sort of rule of thumb is, is it for me to get a break or because my child is showing me, they really need a break. And if it’s my child showing me, they really need a break because they’re really dysregulated or they’re fighting with each other. And I’m just like, then that’s going to make me pause. I’m not necessarily going to have again, my first line of defense when everything’s getting really hectic and crazy, and everyone’s screaming at each other and I’m like, I really want to put you in front of the TV cause I know that will shut this off. I’m going to stop. I’m going to pause. I’m going to try my best to tolerate this chaos and help them tolerate these uncomfortable feeling and co-regulate a bit there before I jump to like using the TV as an emotion regulator. But when I need a break, I use TV, right. I, you know, if I’m like trying to make dinner and everyone’s getting in my way and I’m getting stressed out, I’m like, you know what, let’s go put on Daniel Tiger for 20 minutes. And I’m going to make dinner in some peace and quiet so I can clear my head and get ready for this like sort of transition into mothering after a long day of work. I will do that and that, but that’s not for them. That’s for me, I need a break. I break the rules. And again, like, I’m not trying to imply that you need to have specific screen time rules. Every family is going to make that choice on their own. But in general, I break our family screen time rules when I need a break and that’s fine. I give myself a pass and, you know, even on like sometimes on a weekend, like when there’s so much pressure to like get out and do stuff and stimulating activity and, you know, keeping them busy. Sometimes I’m like, you know what? It’s a TV day. It’s a movie day. We’re going to watch all the Frozens and then some Daniel Tigers. And we’re just going to cuddle on the couch because I need a break. And I, you know, it’s not something I want to do every single weekend, but that’s definitely something I allow myself to do. And that’s technically like, you know, a rule that gets broken by me. So that’s one, I allow external soothing when I really need a break. And that’s fine to me.

Dr. Sarah (10:45):

Another rule that I break, I avoid power struggles with my kids sometimes by letting them win from time to time. I’m a firm believer that we do not need to die on a hill in parenting. And even when we set limits, we can walk them back. We can, we can say, you know what? I changed my mind. I’m not gonna make us do this right now. I think there’s a real art to walking back a limit once we’ve realized that we are sort of squarely stuck in a power struggle that we don’t want to be in. And then we are going to make a conscious decision to drop the rope. And I think that’s okay. It’s okay to drop the rope. I give myself permission to drop the rope to say, I know I set a limit. I said, we weren’t going to do that. And you know what? I’ve decided that I’m changing my mind. And I think giving ourselves permission to, as parents to say that out loud to our kids which is very different, I think than saying, oh fine. You know what? Forget it. Or like get throwing up our hands in tremendous frustration and sort of in a way kind of throwing it back at them being like you’re making this too hard for me to do so I’m not going to do it instead saying, you’re showing me it’s too hard right now. I’ve decided that we’re not going to do this tonight. This comes up a lot in my family around toothbrushing. And if you have toddlers, I imagine that you can relate to this. The toothbrushing can be a big power struggle at night. It’s hard for kids because they’re tired. It’s at the end of the day where they’re kind of at the end of their robot ready. And so it’s very intimate and personal and can sometimes even be intrusive thing for them to experience of us putting something in their mouth and cleaning it. Like that’s, it can lead to a lot of power struggles. And, you know, that’s kind of like falls into this category of rules that I break. Sometimes I just don’t make them brush their teeth every single night, but not in the way where I say, oh, you know what, forget it. You’re not, you know, this isn’t working and I’m, you know, you’re not letting me do this, so we can’t do it tonight. Instead I say, you know what? I’ve changed my mind. I can see that it’s too hard right now to do this. So I have decided that we are not going to do this tonight. And we’ll try again tomorrow. So again, here’s that kind of nuance of like, it’s not what you do, but how you do it. Like I’m maintaining the agency and the control and the authority in that moment, I’m saying this is a decision that I have decided isn’t going to happen tonight versus making the child feel kind of this like uncomfortable, too much power.

Dr. Sarah (13:30):

Like, oh no, I’m making mom not able to do this. I, and then, then that’s reinforcing this power dynamic that doesn’t make a kid comfortable. Like a kid does not actually want to be more powerful than their parent, despite what they might show us inside. They don’t inside. They really want us to be that container, that calm, confident container that can say, you know what, I’ve decided this isn’t going to happen tonight. And we’ll try again later. So I was still maintaining this idea that like, this is an important thing. It’s not going away. And we’re going to try this again in a little bit. And then I brush their teeth in the morning because, it’s just easier sometimes because I don’t want to get into this power struggle and I’m tired too. And sometimes I let them win to avoid a power struggle. And that is a rule that I break. I don’t do it every night. You know, most nights we brush the teeth and there was ways that like, you know, we can make it fun and we can make it playful. And there are lots of like tricks and tips and strategies, but sometimes they just don’t work. And on those nights where all my efforts aren’t working and I am exhausted and my kids are losing it. I don’t want to die on the toothbrushing hill and just say, you know what? I’ve decided, we’re not doing this tonight. And we’re going to try again tomorrow. And then I do, I do try again tomorrow because I want them to know that when I say something, I mean it, but I also want them to know that I can change my mind because I’m in charge. And that’s part of my purview as the in-charge person is I get to change my mind.

Dr. Sarah (15:14):

So another way this plays out is like limit settings sometimes. Like I’ll set a limit and it’s so just so ignored by my kid. And there are certainly times, and again, like, I’ll talk a lot about this idea of like parenting is what happens in the aggregate. And like, we want to create these general patterns, like an 80, 20 rule. Maybe that like most of the time when I set a limit, I’m going to follow through on that limit. I’m going to hold it firm, and there’s that, you know, that 20% of the time where I’m just like, I don’t, I don’t care enough to see this through. And I give myself permission to avoid that power struggle. And given it happened the other day, my daughter wanted pretzels for breakfast. I said, no. I said, Nope, that’s not on the menu. We have toast with butter and strawberries for breakfast. We’re not having pretzels. And you know what she did, she’s two and a half. She got down from her stool to open up the cabinet. She pulled out this giant Costco size tub of pretzels. She pried open the lid, reached in and grabbed bunch while I was like making coffee. And I come, I come over and I see her with this bin of pretzels that’s as big as she is with like a bunch in her hand. And I was like, you know what, in that moment I could have physically taken them. I could have said, I’m not going to let you, we’re going to put that back together. And I knew that I could do that. And I knew that there would likely be a meltdown. And I knew that we would, and I just didn’t want to, I just didn’t want to, I just didn’t care if she ate the pretzels for breakfast.

Dr. Sarah (16:45):

I didn’t even care that I had said no. And she defied me and went and did it anyway. And I think it’s important here because I think a lot of people might be like, Ooh, but isn’t that permissive isn’t that? And that would be permissive if that was my approach, 80% of the time. But if you are consistent and confident and follow through regularly in many different varied settings, when you don’t have the bandwidth in the moment, and you just don’t want to pick up that rope, you have built in this buffer with your children where you can say, Ugh, I just don’t care enough about this to fight with you about pretzels at eight o’clock in the morning, just we’re not whatever. And it doesn’t undermine that trust and that consistency, because you know, I’m doing the hard work of showing up with those limits most of the time, but most of the time is enough. That’s the beauty of it is like it builds in this buffer for us that we can just be like, okay, letting this one slide. And it’s fine. So this is another really important rule that I just to emphasize: I avoid power struggles sometimes by just letting them win and even walking back a limit.

Dr. Sarah (18:01):

Okay, let’s talk about number three. And this one is interesting and I’m, I have a feeling I’m going to get some DMs or some emails about this one. Either people who are like, what the heck or people who are like, I am so curious about this, tell me more. Cause it’s very divisive, but I don’t make my kids share. I don’t, they do share and I create opportunities where sharing is built in, but at the end of the day, if my kid has a toy, I’m not going to make him give it up to give to his sister who wants that toy. Instead, I’m actually going to go to his sister and help her process, this unmet desire, right. This having to wait the discomfort and frustration of not getting what she’s wanting in that moment. I actually think that’s more valuable for both of them, because I think one that shows my son, and I do this with both of them. But in this example, let’s say like, my son has a toy. He’s playing with it. My daughter comes up, she wants it. And I fight that urge to say, Hey, Ollie, can you share that with Sadie? And I don’t make them do that because, and here’s why, two things, two important opportunities are there one I’m allowing him to have ownership and that’s important. Cause that’s communicating to him that when he’s interested in something and he’s using something and he’s engaged with something that, that matters that he shouldn’t be expected to just stop and abdicate that thing that he’s involved in and he’s engrossed in.

Dr. Sarah (19:42):

And that there’s this sort of understanding that I have with him, that that’s got value and I’m not going to just interrupt him in that way and force him to stop doing what he’s doing and give it up that I think actually really helps him to value ownership. And if he values his own ownership and he feels that he has ownership, then that concept of allowing another child to have ownership is starting to be graspable for him. And that actually builds his ability to wait his turn, to engage in sharing, to know when he’s done with something and is ready to give it up, knowing when you’re ready to give up a toy, because it’s coming from inside of you, what a valuable skill for a child to have, that’s going to help them socially. So tremendously. So that’s one reason is to help my child understand ownership and that difference between I’m really engrossed in it. And I have permission to be, and now, Oop, here, I’m done that feeling is fading, and I’m ready to give it up. I’m not forcing him to share actually can increase his capacity to share in that way. And then the other thing, the other opportunity that I want to take advantage of is that what I was talking about earlier with my daughter, right? Or with the child who wants the thing that isn’t getting it is to help sit with them and help them work on that, stretching that frustration tolerance, stretching that, wanting that inhibiting the behavior to grab it right. That’s just so valuable. I there’s much more to teach there that I actually have control over with the kid that’s wanting then quote, unquote, teaching to share by forcing a child to give up something. Neither kid actually learns about the building blocks of sharing in that moment, which is knowing when they’re done with something and being able to relinquish it in voluntarily and being able to tolerate the frustration of wanting something and not having it and being able to wait their turn.

Dr. Sarah (21:51):

Those are the things that are actually kind of like the foundation of sharing. So in not making my kids share, I’m actually helping them learn the things they have to learn in order to be able to share. If that makes sense, if that is interesting to you, let me know. And I will do a whole episode on sharing. Either send me an email or DM on Instagram. Cause I think this is a hot topic for people that people do get polarized on, but yeah. I think allowing them to come to these feelings on their own instead of forcing like behavior modifications and training them on what we want them to do, helping them tune into that natural fit kids do like to share with one another. It feels good, but only when they want that, when they’re ready to. And my kids are young, right? My kids are two and a half and four. But even with older kids, I kind of feel the same way. So let me know what you think about that one. Because I know that one’s a little polarizing.

Dr. Sarah (22:58):

But kind of in a similar vein to sharing. And this is the number four rule I break and it’s, they’re kind of similar, but I think they’re a little bit different, which is that another rule that I break is that I don’t make my kids say please, and thank you or make them say, sorry. And again, I think this goes back, it’s a different skill set, but it’s the same idea as like, instead of trying to build empathy by making a kid do the quote unquote behaviors, that express empathy, like please, thank you. Sorry to recognize that that comes later. But first I want to build that floor, that foundation, and that’s kind of helping them have the empathy skills, not the expression of empathy, but the actual ability to feel it and notice that feeling in their body. So I’m a firm believer of building up empathy first and believing and trusting that manners will follow. So manners and empathy are not the same thing, manners. They’re wonderful. But if we focus on them as like the primary thing we want kids to demonstrate, then we’re really missing that important component of empathy. That’s got to come first. So manners don’t breed, empathy, empathy breeds manners. That order is really important. We have to do the empathy first. Know that the manners will follow. So that’s sort of a rule that I break. I just don’t want my children to be sort of taught to rotely say, please, and thank you. And I’m sorry if that’s not coming from this like internal internally driven place. It’s I don’t want them to learn that script. I want them to learn how to know what that feeling is in their body, attend to their feelings, help them imagine the mindset of another person with like curious inquiry and encouragement. And it’s not like I’m like, it’s not present saying, sorry, or saying please, and thank you. Like we talk about that a lot. I just don’t make them, like, I won’t say like, you’re not getting this until you say, please say the word or you have to say, sorry for hitting your sister. I introduced the idea. I will invite them to, I will ask them if they want to, I will be, I will help them kind of understand the context and see if that’s something they want to do. So I’ll sort of set them up, tee them up and hopefully they hit that, hit that, you know, home run on their own, but I kind of leave it just at the finish line. I don’t hit the ball for them. I don’t make them hit the ball either. I kind of set them up for success and they take it or they don’t. And we’ll try again later if they don’t. So and if it’s like another kid, I might say, sorry for them, or I do a lot of modeling, like I say, please. And thank you when I’m talking to them. I apologize. That is, I think more valuable having them receive it from me in an authentic, real way. Not in like a performative way or over-exaggerated way, but just like a real way. Like that’s how I talk to my kids and if that’s how I talk to them, that that’s what they learn to do too. And I think it has more value because then their understanding of the context, they’re understanding like the linguistic nuance of it, rather than it just being like this word that I’ve been trained to say. So it’s not that there isn’t a place for please. And thank you. And I’m sorry in our family, there’s a big one, but it’s not forced. And so that’s another rule that I break.

Dr. Sarah (26:41):

So one last rule that I break in parenting as a mom is more about me and it’s that I allow myself and it’s kind of reflected in kind of all of these other rules, but this is, this is the last rule that I break, which is that I allow myself to be inconsistent, imperfect and messy. And actually this is kind of maybe less of a rule per se, than like a societal pressure that we all perceive that I am kind of allowing myself to challenge. But I think there’s room for that on this list, nonetheless. Because I think in reality, I think we all end up many of us end up taking these perceived societal pressures as parents and internalizing them so that they end up becoming basically akin to rules that we hold ourselves to. Even though maybe they’re not rules that everybody else follows, they’re rules that we think everybody else expects us to follow, or that we expect ourselves to follow this idea that we have to be consistent all the time. We have to be perfect. We have to make it look elegant and we can’t be messy. And it’s funny cause like, and this is a good litmus test I think actually for thinking about whether something is a real rule because it actually has a lot of value or if it’s a perceived rule that I’ve sort of taken on as some internalized totem or something that may actually not be the most useful thing for me to hold myself to. This litmus test is thinking like, if you had a friend who was like, this is a rule that I always make myself follow, if you would say to them, you don’t have to follow that rule. Like if you are sort of like, if you would say to your friends, like that’s not fair to you to have to hold yourself to that rule. Then that’s probably a good chance you shouldn’t be holding yourself to that rule either. So if we wouldn’t expect a dear friend to hold themselves to that unrealistic standard, then we probably shouldn’t hold ourselves to that either. But okay. I digress. That’s a good litmus test or sort of check-in strategy. If you want to see if something is like, wait, hold on, am I holding myself to an unfair standard here? But so how do I illustrate that? Let me I’ll close with like an embarrassing story that happened to me the other day. Those are always fun. That I think illustrates this point. So I was at the park with my son and my daughter. It was my son’s class had gotten together on a Sunday to like play at the park.

Dr. Sarah (29:19):

So it was with like all the moms from my kid’s class. And I was with, and my daughter was there too. And it was getting late. It was like the end of the day or the end of the afternoon. She was like getting close to her nap time. She was too tired. She was too hungry. She was getting cold because she didn’t have her coat on. She didn’t want to put her coat on. So she was just in that sort of edgy place and she did not want to go. And I really, I really wanted her to just cooperate and allow me to put her coat on or come with me to the car. I just, I was tired too. I was getting frustrated. She was not listening. She was running away from me. And I was getting like increasingly more agitated and embarrassed because I knew that like, you know, I was here with all these other parents that knew us. I was trying to make a good impression. You know, she was at the top of the slide and she was not coming. And this, I said my whole like perfectly crafted, it’s time to go. You can come down the slide and then I’m going to pick you up and we’re going to go home. And I was all calm and holding in all my frustration and sort of giving her this like clear ultimatum or clear limit. Right. And she slides down the slide and then tries to book it away from me. And I catch her and grab her and we both just fall to the ground. I’m like, Ooh, sprawled out on the park, on the ground. Everyone’s watching. I feel ridiculous. And I breathe. And I knew in that moment, like, this is so messy and this is sloppy. This is not elegant parenting, but it’s okay. It’s okay. I gave myself a total break and I like kissed her on the cheek. And I’m like holding her. She’s like pissed, right. She’s still not happy. But I whispered in her ear, I’m like, you knocked me over like a bowling ball. I didn’t know you were that strong. Are you a bowling ball? And she like, kind of was like surprised cause she was obviously expecting me to be mad or give her more, you know, limit setting, which I probably should have. But I just started like being really playful and I like tickled her a little and starts laughing and I let go of her. And I said, you need to run. I can see that. How about five more minutes now I’m going to be the bowling ball and I’m going to get you. And I just started chasing her around and I was just like, you know what, screw it.

Dr. Sarah (32:01):

Did I hold my limit? No. Did I hold my connection with her? Yes I did. Is this going to work every time? Definitely not. There are going to be times in the future where I will have to leave that park with my daughter kicking and screaming in my arms like that. I know that sometimes I just need to be imperfect. I need to be inconsistent. I need to be messy. And I just need to lean into that. And I think at the end of the day, it’s all about knowing why the rules are in place, holding them consistently a good amount of the time. So you create that framework that trust that you, your children have in you to follow through. And that’s that solid sturdy base ends up being what allows you to know when you can break the rules and to every rule, there’s an exception. And then a break for the exception. Like it’s, you gotta be flexible in parenting. You got to give yourself permission to be flawed and to move inconsistently through it sometimes. And again, you need to be consistent a lot of the time in order to have the kind of freedom to be inconsistent. I think that’s an important and nuanced point that I don’t want to, I don’t want to make unclear, like the reason why I think I have the capacity with my children in our relationship to break the rules. And the way that I do is because I know there are rules and we follow them most of the time. And there’s this frame that has been created by adhering to the rules a lot of the time. But because that frame is there because that trust and safety in my confidence, in my authority and my ability to contain them in my ability to sort of hold everything together for them, most of the time I can be a mess sometimes too. I can not be consistent sometimes too. I can let them run away from me at the park sometimes too. And it doesn’t completely undermine my authority. It doesn’t undermine their trust in me. It doesn’t undermine our relationship and it doesn’t undermine that frame. So, you know, this is just what I do. This is what works for me. This may work for you. They may not, there might be things on here where you’re like, whoa, I would never do that. Never in a million years. And that’s totally okay. There are things in here that might be like, oh my God, I do that all the time. And that’s okay too. If you want to use this as a framework for thinking again, like, again, this is not to be completely modeled or copied. Exactly. It’s about helping you see the, the framework of the concept, right?

Dr. Sarah (34:56):

How do you break rules in parenting? Not by breaking my rules in the exact same way I break them. But by understanding that there are some rules that you can break places where you can be a little, wishy-washy a little flexible, a little inconsistent because you’re holding frames in other places. And so only you are going to know what rules work for you to break with your kids. So it’s really about how not what you do, not what not. If you break a rule or what rules you break as much as it is, how you break the rules and how you break the rules in the context of maintaining the rules a good amount of the time and why they are your rules? Like why are they your rules, all of rules I have, I have for a reason. And I break them with the full understanding that the function of the rule will be maintained. Even if I break it in this moment. That’s I think the most important part. So think about the function of your rules. Do they make sense? Do they align with what you’re trying to accomplish? Do they have a underlying sort of theoretical basis that knits together that all your different rules kind of are in harmony because they’re all kind of aligned towards those same goals. What are your compass goals? What are the things that direct the majority of your choices in parenting? That’s also really helpful to think about when you are considering what rules you have in parenting.

Dr. Sarah (36:19):

I have a parenting course, and right now it’s for, it’s just for parents in the first year of their children’s life. Eventually I’m going to expand it to be toddler years and further and further. But like the core element of the course really actually is to be able to say, like, what is your parenting framework? How do you develop it? How does it make sense to you to, to figure out what your parenting values are and then figure out what your standards are, and then figure out what that looks like in the everyday life with you and your kids, and how do you set that base? How do you set that floor that trust and that consistency, and from there comes flexibility and confidence and nimbleness. That’s kind of the crux of what I teach, whether it’s here on the podcasts or on Instagram, or, you know, in my writing or my workshops or in this course. It’s like, it all comes down to that idea of like giving parents the power to be nimble and confident in the way they move through their life with their children. I think a big part of how we get there is to understand, like, why are my rules, my rules? And then when you know that you can be flexible with your rules.

Dr. Sarah (37:34):

So I hope that this was helpful. I hope this gives people a little bit of permission to not have to be rigid in their parenting and to be able to go with the flow, but make it make sense for them and their family. I will see you again next week. Until next time, don’t be a stranger.


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28. An honest look at respectful parenting: The 5 parenting “rules” I break as a mom

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