You are listening to episode 187 of the Peaceful Mind Podcast.
Welcome to the Peaceful Mind Podcast, a place for creating the peace of mind. You need to be the best mom. You are created by God to be. If you wanna bring more balance, more joy, and more peace to your motherhood, this is the place for you. I'm your host, certified life coach at Catholic Mom Danielle Thienel
in the name of the father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let's get started.
Hi everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm so excited today to talk about how to parent in a more Christ-centered way, and I've brought on Crystal Haitsma she is the parenting coach. She's a certified life coach and homeschooling mom of four. She loves to travel and adventure with her family.
Professionally, she has been interested in the study of human behavior and connection for years and helps make parenting simple through mindset and emotional work. Welcome Crystal to the podcast. Thanks, Danielle. Thanks for having me. This is so fun. So fun, and especially about this topic, right? Mm-hmm. So you are a parenting coach.
Can you tell me and just start out so we all know, like what is your story? How did you get to where you are now? Yeah, so I think that, I used to think that people who were really good at what they did were good because they were just naturally good at it. And the more that I learned about my favorite mentors, like Brene Brown is one of them, the more I realized like, oh, she was, she's so good at what she does and talking about shame, because it was something that she dealt with so strongly when she was being raised.
And so, I feel like that's almost always the story, right? You read about it and you're like, oh, okay, wait, no, they learned this because they weren't good at it. So that's the same with me in parenting. Parenting is probably not probably for sure the thing that I struggled with the most in my life. I have some kids that are neurodiverse and at the time we didn't know that.
I knew that there was probably something a little bit different because it was pretty big behaviors. They would have really big meltdowns. At the time one of my kids was around nine. I had four. But I was really struggling with my nine-year-old. And the meltdowns were so intense and they were so frequent and they were getting really violent and I wasn't sure what to do.
And that was the very first time I ever even considered like contacting a therapist. 'cause up until then I was like, no, I can figure this out. I can figure this out. And. Rewind a little bit, and I had learned about connection based parenting. Some people call it like attachment based parenting or conscious parenting.
I'd learned about that years before when my kids were really little, and so I already knew when I read those books, I was like, oh, this, it resonated with me because it felt like the relationship that I have with God. I read it and every time that I read something, like they were talking about science and theories and attachment, and I just kept thinking, this is God.
Like, you know when something just resonates with you and you feel like it's truth inside your body as you're like, Reading it or listening to it. Absolutely. Right. That's totally the experience I was having and I was like, this is amazing. But then for the next 10 years of trying to implement, it just felt like it wasn't working and also praying every day for like, help me to be patient, help this to be easier.
And it was not happening and I was kind of like, God, what is happening? Like I've been praying for years. I actually got to a point where I was like, I don't even know if he's listening to me. Like I don't even know. All of my listeners right now are relating, including me saying, yep, I've been there. I remember that prayer on my knees, right?
Yeah. Or like praying like that. My kids will sleep through the night so that I can like have a little bit more patience tomorrow so I can, anyways, none of those things were happening and I really felt like I don't even know where God is right now because he's not answering me. So I found this therapist.
I actually only met with her one time, and I don't know if it was just something in the conversation or something, but something just changed in my mind looking back on it. Now that I know more about mindset work, I'm sure it was like my thoughts and beliefs about myself and my parenting and my son were changing.
And I just started to show up differently, but. Really small, like it was like these small, subtle changes over time and I started to be able to implement a little bit more of the techniques that I'd read about and about a year after this experience, I remember looking back and thinking his meltdowns are like 80 to 90% less, less intense and less frequent.
I felt more authentically connected to him. Like I wasn't trying to like just push and like feel that way. Like it really felt like it was, it was healing. Fast forward. Since then, I have more Neurodiverse kids also and that child has been diagnosed with A S D and A D H D, so autism spectrum disorder.
And I feel like I know a lot more about just what neurodiversity is and I feel just so much more compassionate and understanding and able to respond well. But I think in the moment, what I didn't know back then was how my. Actions affected my children. I kept thinking it was like them, like it's like him and his behavior and his meltdowns that are a problem.
If he would just change, everything will be better. And as I learned more and change more, I realized how much responsibility and influence I really had in that relationship. And that's all that changed. Like I didn't send him to therapy. I didn't medicate him, I didn't do anything different to him. It was all changes that I made and it was so significant that I was like, wait a second, this is.
Crazy. This is crazy how well this works. So fast forward, I become a coach. Learn about all these tools and stuff and I'm helping people over and over again and I kept helping parents. Like that was just kind of who would come to me. And that's how Danielle and I met through, through coaching. That's, and so I am meeting with all of these parents and realizing they don't even have to know these connection based principle tools.
They don't even have to have read the books. But when I'm able to kind of help them see things differently and feel things differently, everybody, parents in this way. When we are parenting with emotions like connection and compassion and love, all of the things that are in the books that people haven't always read.
That is how they parent anyways. And so that's kind of how I got here now. I was like, this is, I just knew this is my mission in the world. It is to help change. I, I think of it as like healing generational patterns of parenting, because parenting in the past has been a lot more fear and shame based and control based.
And helping people create more of a sense of peace and calm and compassion in their home. So that their children are raised in just a really different environment. I love it. I think that my listeners can hear that. And again, myself too, just being like, I can tell, like we've all sort of gone through that.
Mm-hmm. And whether we've read the books or not, and then trying to apply them in our life, you know? So hopefully we're gonna give you know, give some, you know, tactical reasons. I wanna talk more about this connection based parenting that you just mentioned. Mm-hmm. But first I wanna go back to something that you said that I just don't wanna gloss over.
You said that you went to a therapist once. Yes, in that session that you had one. Some different perspective. Yeah. A one mind shift. And it sounds like it changed the trajectory of your parenting forever entirely. Yeah. I have a similar, I have a similar story with a life coach that I've had from years ago where I met with them once and it totally had me opening up, like blew my mind wide open, opened me to a whole different way of, of looking at a certain subject.
In your case it was parenting. And so, I totally did not wanna gloss over the power of having a mind shift. A mind shift, which is what happens when you have a coach or someone outside of you helping you in this situation. So, I wanna say one more thing too, when I was saying about praying to God and not getting the answer.
Yes. Isn't it so fascinating that he had a better answer for me? Yeah. That he was like, actually, your entire life's purpose, oh, I'm gonna get teary. 'cause I feel so strongly about this. Back when I was dealing with all of this and I was praying, and God, I felt like God was not answering my prayers.
Looking back on that now, I feel like his plan was so much better for me than my plan was for me. And that. Because of all the difficulties that I was going through, he was like, this is your mission. This is your purpose in life. And I would've missed that entirely if I had. Just glossed over that. If I'd just been like, okay, nevermind.
Like, I just want patience and he gave it to me. I feel like he just knew so much better that the difficulties I was going through that I needed to go through in order to really have this mission and purpose in life that I have now, and that I've been able to help change so many other people's lives because of the years of difficulty that I struggled with.
And I just, I just think that's so important. I love that I get to talk about God on your podcast. 'cause I don't always get conversations like this. Mm-hmm. And I just think it's so integral to the story. And I love, yeah. Let's just, let's just reiterate that point too to to my listeners out there for you to see that we were, you were thinking that you didn't hear the answer.
That there was an answer, but he does answer always when you ask him. And it might not be what our smaller earthly mind feels like is best for us, but he's always looking at the big picture and he knew that not giving you that patient and you having to struggle and go through this was you were going to then be able.
To be such a, a disciple and a helper in this, in this world. Yeah. More than you're, than you could imagined, so, totally. I love that. Yeah. It's amazing. So for those listening, what you might be going through a challenge right now. You might be feeling like God's not hearing your prayers or you might be feeling that he's not answering it or that are you thinking that you have an answer and you're kind of like, Like kind of focused on that as being the only one or the right one.
So let's stop and question that because maybe not right. Maybe he's got something bigger planned for you and even if it's hard that you're going through, he's there like to help you. Yeah. Crystal, what is connection based parenting? I wanna come back. So you've mentioned this. Yeah. And I know that, but we wanna know more and we wanna know like what is it and why is it helpful?
Okay, so connection based parenting. If, if you are around like social media, you've probably heard about conscious parenting or gentle parenting or attachment based parenting. I think of all of these as kind of the same. They're all pretty similar in that. On the one end of this, this parenting spectrum, we have authoritarian parenting, and this is probably what most of us were raised as and what's been more the norm.
And that's more using rewards, punishments, fear-based tactics, shame, yelling. Bribes threats, stuff like that. The problem with that kind of parenting is that it's low in relationship because it's low in emotional and physical safety. We're not creating a space where it's okay for our children to feel any emotion.
It's okay for them to kind of explode and we can still be that safe space for them and help them through. On the other side, people often feel like connection based parenting really means permissiveness, where you're like, okay, well if I'm not doing that, then how do I teach my kids? I guess I just don't, there's no guidance, there's no boundaries.
That's actually just as low on relationship because there's also no emotional and physical safety. There's no sense of being guided and being taken care of. There's just nothing there. So I think of connection based parenting as being in the center. And that center space is a focus on relationship.
It's a focus on connection and love more than anything else. Connection over behavior, modification, connection being the main purpose, and that through that connection our children have these roots of attachment. And some of the roots of attachment are things like they sameness, they wanna be like us.
Belonging. They feel belonging. They wanna be close to us, close proximity. They look to us to guide their beha behaviors. They're looking at what we're doing. So it's like example based. So 80% or more of the time we're teaching through how we show up. In that relationship and what we are like in the world and like 10 to 20% of the time is us actually taking moments to teach them and have conversations about things.
Most of our teaching is through example, and that's kind of what I feel like it is and, and the reason, that's the way I describe it, but the reason I think it's so important is when you see adults, That have a difficulty maybe differentiating themselves from other partner, like from their partner, like from their spouse.
They have a hard time with I enmeshment with their children, which means like, I make my children's behavior mean something about me. Mm-hmm. A lot of the time. Right? Like they have a bad behavior and I'm like, oh no, I'm a terrible mom kind of thing. Or if we have a hard time feeling our feelings, like not just blowing up when we feel big emotions.
There's a lot of things that happen as adults now due to what our childhood was like. I. And so they're completely connected, like adult issues, patterns that we get stuck in, habitual patterns that we get stuck in come from our parent-child relationship when we were little and they're just patterns that we, patterns of ways of being and doing things that we've done for a long time.
Even if our parents didn't overtly say those things, they've actually passed down their subconscious beliefs to us also. So things like you should respect your elders or children should be seen and not heard, or you have to obey. And obeying means like, not even questioning, just doing exactly what I say in the moment that I say it and.
These kind of older modalities or theories I guess around parenting can, can still be passed down to us subconsciously, even if we don't logically believe them. They're still kind of there inside and driving our actions, even when we don't know that they are. So connection based parenting, I think is the best way to set your child up for healthy emotional regulation, emotional resilience, emotional intelligence, empathy.
Responsibility, compassion, all the values that we probably, all that are listening to this podcast have, all of those things come from this kind of parent-child environment. And so what, what kind of sticks out to me is exactly what I also do with my clients. And you tell me how this overlaps because you want to be able to see that the greatest power you have to help your children.
Is when you yourself, 'cause you've brought in about maybe how you were raised and how you operate in the world and where your actions and what are your default big emotions like that you have So that. Like, you know, so would you say like, how I focus on helping the mom and the, the person, the client who's coming to me for help, they might, might want help with their children, but I always say it starts with you, like understanding you what you know, getting you to feel better.
And that's how we can best show up for our children. Totally. So I have this like mod, these modules. I think there's eight of them that we go through in one of my programs called parent school. And the very last one is on parenting. I mean, they're all related to parenting, right? But it's all like we, if we wanna teach one of the concepts is shame, resiliency.
If we wanna teach that to our kids, we have to understand and kind of figure it out ourselves. Elves first. I feel like our self-concept, which was developed in our primitive years, usually zero to seven or zero to eight, which is how I view myself, that was developed in those years. That is why our childhood affects so much of who we are right now.
Because if we haven't questioned that challenge, that change that, then that self-concept is how we're still viewing the world. It's like the lens that we put on. Before we even have a thought, it comes before our thoughts is our self-concept. And then the thought that comes in comes filtered through this lens of how I view myself, how I feel about myself.
And so really that is what we're changing is, is that relationship with ourselves first. Mm-hmm. And then connection based parenting comes so much more naturally from that place. And then I just had a thought that came up when you said that, that I knew that I wanted to hone in on. And that is, I'm like, it like flew outta my brain right when I was, 'cause I was totally into what you were saying.
So it left really fast. So I'll just, I just wanna know then let's talk about all that you just said and let's relate that to faith and to God. Yeah. Yeah. So back in the day when I read this, actually it was my parents who gave me my first book like this, it's called Hold Onto Your Kids by Dr. Gordon Neufeld.
And he talks all about attachment. I think he calls it the attachment, developmental Relational theory or something like that. It's all very like scientific. And I read it and was like, had to read it a couple times 'cause it's kind of like dry. But it was really Interesting to see the way that they describe things.
But everything that popped out to me was like, oh, this is like our relationship with God. Like, almost like this mirrors our relationship with God and that's why it works. And my parents gave it to me and were kind of like, we did not parent you very well and like you should do it differently and here's a book and this is what you should do.
They were still parenting, they still had teenagers at this time. 'cause we have a large family of eight and there's like a. About a 20 year spread. And I was the first one married, so I have kids, they're still parenting their kids and they're like, we're changing, you know, the way that we did things.
So I'm grateful to them for that. But What really stood out to me in this book was it, it's like a mirror. So if we want to have this relationship with our kids where they want to they, where they feel loved, where they feel belonging, where they feel connected to us, where they want to model our behavior because they love us and because they feel endlessly and unconditionally loved by us.
Doesn't that sound like our relationship with God? And then not coming from this place of force where we're like, you have to do these things, but because we feel so endlessly and completely loved by God, we want to be close to him. We want to make choices that keep us feeling that love. And I feel like that just drives everything.
And so I read that and was like, yes, this is exactly it. But what I didn't know back then, and they do know now after coaching hundreds of clients through the same thing, is that their relationship with God. Often mimics what their relationship with their parents were like in childhood. So if you asked them like, extrinsically, what do you believe about God?
They'd be like, oh, he's omniscient and he loves us. And you know, he knows all. But intrinsically we don't actually act like that. We shame ourselves and put like God's name on it. We're like, I'm not doing enough. I'm not reading scripture long enough. I forgot to pray today. I'm not serving enough. I need to be more loving.
I need to forgive more. Like we're constantly like, we're not doing enough kind of a vibe, which isn't really. What we believe about God if we're like thinking about it, we're like, oh, we, we believe that he loves us endlessly. Yet we're constantly telling ourselves that we're not doing enough. And so I looked back on like childhood and most parent-child relationships were more shame-based and fear-based and controlling.
So if your parents, for instance, gave you love, connection, acceptance, and attention when you were quote unquote good when you had whatever good behavior they felt was, but every time you were bad. They would give you like forced isolation, timeouts. Maybe they would scream at you, maybe they would ground you, maybe they would ignore you.
You know, sometimes for days at a time or whatever, when that kind of behavior was happening, every time you were bad, you got this paradigm of like, what good and bad meant and what that meant for me. And if you are religious and grown up in a religious environment, you like put God's face on that also.
So you're like, okay, well God only loves me if I am like this. That's when I get his love and connection attention. But if I make a mistake, which news, news flash, we always make mistakes. I mean, that's kinda the plan is to make mistakes and learn from them, right? So we're, I think that we kind of get stuck in this paradigm of thinking that God is just like always mad at us and then we kind of subconsciously keep that, even if we don't logically feel like we do.
And then anytime that we have shame, which that feeling is shame it's going to seep out of us also. And so that's how it kind of gets into our parenting too, is that even if we're not like yelling or screaming at our kids, We can still kind of spread that feeling of shame to them when they do something wrong.
So if we're gonna be, so taking that idea right about how you might have those, those certain thoughts, that way of thinking and that relationship with yourself and kind of connecting it with your relationship with Christ. Then if you want to parent in a more centered way, and I know that this, this mean, when I say that parenting, that's how you show up.
That's the actions. Then you need to be thinking. You need to be thinking different thoughts that's gonna have you showing up in a Christ-centered way. So what are, what are just some of the thoughts you could be thinking that would fuel actions if you are then wanting to have the result of parenting in a more Christ parenting?
Yeah. So I think the most important thing is to study Christ's ministry, because that's what we know of him, right? We're like, so when he was on the earth, what was he like? And like, that's pretty obvious. Like there's some pretty significant things. Like he was always, he was always individual, right? He would connect with people individually, like in every moment that he could, he would be connecting with them individually.
Another thing that we can see from his ministry is that he was always so loving, like endlessly loving. Like even when he was on the cross and they were killing him, he wasn't like, you're not doing good enough. You should be, you, you, you know better than this, right? Like, none of that came up. So why would we think that when we forgot to say our prayers or yelled at our kids or whatever it is that we've done that day we're like that he would come to us and be like, you are not enough.
You should be doing more. Right? When we're like, did we ever see that? So I think for some thoughts it would be to read what he was like and then to understand for ourselves, like, what do I think he would feel about me right now? I love it if I always imagined, like if he was sitting here right beside me.
What would I tell him and what would he tell me? I'm, I'm only, and it's very different from when I'm talking to myself. Yes. I'm only chuckling because I, that is a part of my program, which is calling on our faith. And I say that all too often, how pointing out to my clients how. And I call it like the bully brain when they're mean to themselves.
And I want them to imagine exactly what you said if you were sitting down, sometimes I say like a park bench or right where you are right now, you know, at the end of your bed and you were just like having a chat. Would he ever say those things to you? So I, I love it. We're totally on the same page there and I think that is what changes your thoughts, right?
You don't need specific thoughts to think. It's just like, what would I be thinking if he was. Yeah. Okay. So first of all, I wanna tell you that I remembered the point that I said that I forgot. Oh, yes, yes. That I just wanna sort of wrap this up with you were, you were talking about how why we are, might be showing up the way we are today in our life, you know, based on our past and our upbringing things.
But what I wanted to make sure that that because this, this. Podcast is called the Peaceful Mind Podcast, and I'm always trying to infuse more peace of mind into my clients and my listeners. And what I wanted to just reiterate with that point that you were making is that even though you might have grown up that way, even though you have this strong identity in one way or the other, because of the environment and wherever you are and how many decades of life that you've lived, If you want to become a more Christ-centered parent and show up in that way, you absolutely can.
Starting today, I. Hopefully that with like whatever happens in your future, right? We say this a lot on the podcast, your past does not have to have any bearing on that. So if you just decide today, regardless of how you, the environment you grew up, or what your parents emulated for you or. Things like that.
I just wanted to reiterate that your future can be different. Yeah. And that is backed by science too. It's a concept called neuroplasticity, right? So our brain is plastic and it's moldable and changeable. So when we look back on our past to think like, okay, what patterns am I stuck in? It's only to understand why am I responding in this way now and how do I wanna change that?
And what new patterns do I wanna create? How is it affecting me and what do I wanna change going forward? And it's so possible to change. Yes, yes. I mean, look at, Danielle and I we're like, I'm like, now I coach other people parenting and like that was the thing that I had the hardest time with. So it's absolutely possible.
That's right. Okay, so what can I just want to, what can my I know that my listeners have heard everything you've said, and they're like, yes, yes. And I like that. And if, if, I always want them to be able to have like a takeaway of where they could get into action to move and see themselves making progress towards parenting in a more Christ-centered way.
So what is one action they could do today to help their kids? So I'm gonna give them two because I think this, this will be really helpful. And they're two kind of separate ones, but connected. So one is triggers. When you're feeling triggered, it's like a strong emotional activation. And when you're feeling triggered, you can know there's some sort of root of shame there.
Anytime I'm feeling like one of those big, strong and intense emotion emotional reactions, it comes from a root of shame. So in that moment, or maybe once I've calmed down, I'm gonna ask myself, what am I making this mean about me? Mm. And that will bring up one of those more subconscious beliefs. One of those ways that we kind of, like you said, bully our brain versus what God would say to us and what he would view us.
So even just understanding what's underneath that. It's not that your child's not listening that's really bothering you, it's under the surface that you're thinking. Probably something along the lines of, if I was a better mom, he would listen. Or this is, you know, we don't have a good enough relationship, or I'm doing something wrong, like, If there's always under the surface thoughts, and those are the more triggering ones.
So when you're feeling a strong emotional activation, just ask yourself that one question. What am I making this mean about me? And you can drill on that a little bit. Mm-hmm. The second one is, so much of this work that we do is about emotional regulation. So we wanna teach our kids how to be more calm, not necessarily more calm, to show their big emotions, but not to be overtaken by them and to be able to.
Bring themselves back down to calm when they're feeling that way. And in order to do that, it comes through a process called co-regulation. And co-regulation is this dance that we go through when our children are little, where we kind of help them to feel their feelings and not in a way where we're like, what color is it?
Or let's do box breathing together. It's not teaching them. It's our energy. That influences their energy in that moment. And so in order to do this process of co-regulation, we need to bring our own brains back down to calm first. And so part of this process is understanding what we're feeling and so what can help everyone in the family.
But more, most importantly us mm-hmm. Is to understand and name our feelings. And even just take a minute just to kind of pause. I just put my hand on my heart and take a deep breath and I'm like, Hey, what am I feeling right now? And I just say the name. And even that can help process a little bit of what I'm feeling.
And so I would say, I have a feelings wheel that you can download. Danielle, put that in the link somewhere. And you can download that, and you can print it off and put it wherever you want in your house. And I love to just have that visible and have that just be a way of me being able to understand my emotions and name my emotions and feel them a little bit more effectively.
And my kids see me do it and we can have conversations about it and we can all kind of be on the same page about this. And over time they will learn that if you have kids under 12, It's gonna take a little bit of time 'cause they actually co-regulate more than they self-regulate till about 12. So what that means is the burden of responsibility is a little bit more on us in how am I feeling in this situation and what's coming up for me and how can I bring myself back down to calm so that I can more peacefully parent them in this situation.
So good. Thank you for that. Yes. As you, as Crystal mentioned, the link to be able to get that feelings emotional wheel will be in the show notes. So thank you for that gif for everyone. And also thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It was so fun and so helpful. That's what I have for you this week.
I hope you have a beautiful rest of your week, and I will see you next time. Thank you for tuning into today's episode of the Peaceful Mind Podcast. Are you ready to take everything I teach you here and put it to work for your own life to really learn how to have peace of mind no matter what is happening around you?
If so, I'd love to have you as a client, as your coach. This is where you'll get personal and focused time on your own mind, using life coaching tools, concepts, and proven life, transforming wisdom, all through a faith-filled lens. To learn more about how we can work together, come on over to daniellethienel.com
there you'll see how to sign up for a free coaching consult and learn how to get started. Until next time, peace be with you always.