The Parenting Coach Podcast with Crystal

S1 E08 - The Model

Apr 12, 2021

One of the most powerful tools I've learned from Brooke Castillo at the Life Coach School is The Model. It’s SO good. Once you learn how to use this on yourself and implement it regularly and it will be a game changer for you and your relationships with your kids. The Model gives you a 5-step process to look at what is going on in your life and understand what is causing you to feel the way you do. When you recognize the source of your thoughts and feelings, you can change everything.

What we dig into this episode:

  • What parenting from different emotions looks like
  • What The Model is and how it works
  • Why we should care about managing our mind regularly


I would be honored to be your coach and help you get the changes you want to see in your life. I have come so far, completely turned around my life and my relationships with my children, I know what it takes and how to make it happen. You can use the links below to get more of my content and learn about my monthly program By Design, where I provide monthly training and live coaching to help you build radical connection in your life.

Link to membership: By Design

Find me on the ‘gram: The.Parenting.Coach

My website:

More on the blog: Learning The Model



Episode Transcript


Crystal The Parenting Coach: Hey, I'm Crystal, a certified life coach and mom of four. In this podcast, we combine radical connection and positive parenting theories with the How-To Life Coaching Tools and Mindset Work to completely transform our relationship with our children.

Join me on my journey, unleash your inner parenting expert, and become the mother you've always wanted to be. Make sure you subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast and rate this podcast on Apple, and check out my transformative monthly membership for moms in the show notes.


Hello there, and welcome to Episode 8, The Model


What parenting from different emotions looks like

So, do you remember a few episodes ago, we talked all about story, all about the importance of story? We're going to review that a little bit. So, our brain is wired for story. It loves a good story, and it likes this story to be juicy and full of drama and amazing adventure, right? 

It tells us all of these great stories, and we love living in that world of story; our mind just eats it right up. But the problem is it's pieced together with all these bits of information it doesn't really know; it never knows the whole story. So, it's like making this giant patchwork quilt, and then you lift up the quilt and you notice that there's a whole bunch of pieces missing. 

Sometimes more pieces missing than what is actually there, because our brain is just going to fill in all of those holes with things that it thinks might be facts or little phrases that it kind of catches glimpses of – or even people's tones or maybe their face, or maybe something that they just kind of saw in passing or heard in passing just like combines all of these things together – jumbles little up into this ball and is like, here's the story, right, but it's actually missing so much. 

And we talked a little bit about the danger of having a single story, right? Go check out that Ted Talk, The Danger of a Single Story; it's awesome. If we only have one story about a situation or one story about a person, then it's really going to change how we show up and how we present ourselves and what we do in that situation. 

When really, there's always multiple stories at play all the time; there's our story, there's somebody else's story, there's the person – you know – down the road story, there's our kid's story. All about the same situation, all about maybe even the same words, we can have completely different stories about it. 

So, we've also talked about parenting from different emotions or different stories, right, if we have this, you know; 'I'm super overwhelmed', kind of a feeling and story going on versus like, 'I can totally do this' – that's going to really shift our parenting and how we show up. 


The CTFAR Model / Self-Coaching Model

So, the model developed for this, it's to help us figure all of this out, to kind of parse through these stories. I really think of it as kind of like a story-shifter. It shows us our story; and then, we can kind of look at it – look at that patchwork quilt, see those empty pieces that are missing, see them for what they are. 

And then, decide, 'Okay, well, what other stories could be here? Do I want to change the story? Do I like this story?' It just shows us really what's going on in our brain. 

Now, this model is sometimes called the Self-Coaching Model. The wording and the description of the model was developed from Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School, which is the school that I was certified from, but the concepts and the psychology in the background is timeless; it's been talked about over and over again. You can find it in books and in psychology theories. 

And once you learn it and you see it and you start to use it in yourself, you'll actually start to see it everywhere. You will see it start to be played out in relationships and in so many different situations; I just see it happening all around me now. And once you know it and you use it and you can start seeing it, then you can start to shift things in your life. 

Things can start to change, but it all starts with this, starting to figure out, you know; what that story is, what's maybe missing from our story, I think most importantly – how we're showing up in the world because of that story, and that's where the changes happen. Do I like how I'm showing up in the world because of this story? 

If I don't, there's always other stories out there that I can choose. So, this is the model C -T-F-A-R (CTFAR). 


Breaking down the CTFAR Model


C = Circumstance
T = Thought
F = Feeling
A = Action
R = Result

So, you can take out a paper and write those letters down. 


C = Circumstance

C stands for Circumstance. Now, a circumstance is facts or a situation. So, for instance, maybe somebody texts me, it's the words that the text says. Maybe somebody says something to me, it would be the words that they say to me. 

Basically, anything that a video camera could capture – if it was following you around all day, what it would it actually see. Now, the reason we want to make sure that we sort through these thoughts and these facts is because we think that our stories are very legit; we think they're real, we say them-- I have clients say to me all the time, something like, you know, "I'm just a-- I'm a bad mom," something like that, right? 

And I'm like, "Okay, okay. Well, tell me about that," and they tell me about that. And they're like, there's so much evidence that this story is true, that they just feel like they're stating the fact, like they're just telling me, "Also, it's 12 degrees outside and trees are green - and also, I'm a terrible person," right? 

And I'm like, "Okay, wait, wait, wait. Not all of those things are the same, not all of those things are facts." So, you can kind of think of a fact as what would a video camera capture, or maybe what everybody could agree upon. That's the only thing that is allowed to ever go in the C-line. 

Now, this gets tricky sometimes because we're like, we really want things to be factual. We really want to put them in the C-line, but it's so much more powerful if we can separate these thoughts or stories that we have from the facts. It makes everything so much more clear, and we can really get a really good clean idea of what's actually going on in our mind. 

So, it's not because we are determining whether or not this is a good model or a bad model; it's nothing to do with that. It's just showing us what's going on in our brain; that's it, it's strictly just information. So, C = Circumstance.


T is Thought

T is our Thought. Thoughts are literally words in our brain. They're just words. They're just sentences – words pieced together into sentences; that is what a thought is. Now, if you're doing your own model, I would suggest to just stick with one short simple thought. 

When we have like a thought and then an 'and', and then a thought and then a 'but', and then a thought and then a whatever, right – all these little conjunctions and we're putting them together – it's going to be tricky to kind of do a clean, clear model. So, try to put a short, just simple thought in there. And then, our thoughts are what fuel our emotions


F is Feeling

So, F is Feeling. So, the F liner, the feeling there is, what emotion is being driven by that thought? So, I like to think of myself, think to myself, I think back to the situation that I'm going through. 

Back to the C, okay, this person texted these words – all right, I'm remembering what's going on there. I had this thought, 'They are such a jerk,' and I'm going to try to go back to be present with that moment in my body – okay, and really believe that thought, like I believed it in the moment… and then, I'm going to feel how that feels in my body. 

Now, when I first start doing this, it might be tricky to get specific on an emotion. I might not be able to tell the difference between overwhelm stress and pressure. I might not be able to tell the difference between shame and self-doubt and discouraged; and that's okay. 

You can just put in the model, open or closed. You could also put something like comfortable or discomfort or uncomfortable. So, you don't have to be super, super specific. 

But as you're doing this, I think the more emotional vocabulary that you start to gain, the easier it'll become to figure out what to put there and to really start to understand what's going on in your body – and name those feelings. So, you have the feeling. And then, the reason the Feeling is so important is because that is the fuel for our Actions

We never do anything until we feel something first, the fuel is what drives all of the actions. 


A is Action

So, A is Actions. Now, Actions is, again, what we could see if a video camera was following around us, what did we actually do?

Some of my clients have a really hard time explaining what they did. And so, I like to tell them, 'Okay, think about another situation – maybe somebody sends you a text that just says, "Pick up groceries after dinner or something, here's a reminder," right? What was different about those two situations? Not just different in the C, but how was your Action different? 

So, maybe you started to tense up a little bit, maybe your body tenses up a little bit; there's a lot of body language that's going to go on in here. 

Maybe you were a little bit more short and agitated with your kids because you were overwhelmed because you were thinking this person was a jerk or whatever that model was that you were going through – so, what would be different than just an ordinary day from an ordinary text, from an ordinary conversation that's not happening now because of that feeling that you're feeling – maybe that overwhelm or discomfort or shame that's happening there?

So, A, I ask myself, what am I doing? So, that can be my words or my body language. And then, B, I ask myself, what am I not doing? 

So, if I was feeling really content or peaceful; I might be really connected with my kids, I might be playing with them and goofing around with them and joking with them and asking them questions and waiting to hear their answers – and, you know, I don't know, happily, you know, just enjoying life, right? 

And maybe, I'm not doing that if I'm overwhelmed or stressed. Maybe there's not so much that I am doing, but maybe there's a lot that I'm not doing. Maybe I'm not, you know, asking people their opinions on things. Maybe I'm just sitting in my room and scrolling social media – well, what am I not doing when I'm sitting in my room and scrolling social media, what would I normally be doing on just a normal day when I'm feeling calm or content or peaceful? 

So, that's a great way to get into your A-line. 

Another question I like to ask in my A-line, which is your Action-line is something along the lines of, also, what am I thinking? So, what's going on in my brain when I'm feeling that way? 

So, maybe if I'm feeling stressed, what's going on in my brain is like; I have too much to do, there's so much going on here that I can't handle it all, my life is too difficult, this is too hard, right? So, a lot of times, what's happening in our A-line when we're having an uncomfortable feeling is a lot of thoughts – maybe even more thoughts than there is action or inaction. 

And so, some of those thoughts might be things like, you know; thoughts you're thinking about yourself, thoughts you're thinking about the situation, thoughts you're thinking about other people in the situation. 

So, just write down the actual thoughts, not just like, "I ruminate a lot in thoughts," that's what my, my clients that I do a lot of thought work usually say, "Okay, I'm ruminating in thoughts." "Okay, what are the thoughts you're ruminating in? Like, what's going on there? What are your thoughts telling you? Let's dig all that out." 

So, you know, the more detailed you can get in that Action line, in that A-line, the easier it'll be able to see your clear model. Your model's not going to be super clear if you're just like feeling bad – action, stressed out or sit on the couch. 

Okay, what's the result of that? What's really going on here, right? So, let's try to get, really get that really beefy, juicy action line into that story, right? It's like, we're just crafting this whole story here. 


R is Result

And then, the R is going to be your Result. So, all of your actions, together, are creating some sort of result in your life. Our thoughts create our result. What we do here is Causal Coaching; so, we're finding the root cause. 

And the root cause is always going to be a thought; some sentence in your brain that's then creating or causing this result. So, once you can get your entire model, you can zoom out and kind of look at it all; okay, what result am I creating here? 

So, sometimes I actually put, I am creating… [I'm creating more stress in my life, I'm creating more overwhelmed for myself.] Now, one important thing to note is that we're not putting other people's results in our R-line. 

So, when I'm thinking that I'm a bad mom, my child acts badly – no, no, no, that's their result, right? That's if we were doing a model on them; we're just doing ours. So, what is our result from that thought? And, it's usually connected and tied in. I like to even have it have kind of the same verbiage there, because there usually is. 

So, I'm going to give you a couple examples of some models here that we can go through so that you can get an idea about what a model would look like. And if you decide to run your own model, I would love to see them. 

So, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or via email, or however you want and say like, "Okay, I tried this, I just want to see what you think." Like, show it to me. And yeah, I would love to see those. 


Examples of the CTFAR Model

So, here's two models. I'm going to do both parenting ideas.


Example 1

So, one is the Circumstance is, we'll put the circumstance is my child said, "I hate you." Okay. So, those words they actually said to me, maybe they were screaming, maybe they were yelling, who knows, but we're just going to put, they said the words, 'I hate you'. 

So, maybe one of our thoughts is, I'm a bad mom. Right? Who does not have that thought at some point in their life? I think all moms could relate to that thought. So, they think I'm a bad mom. 

So, I'm going to think back to that situation that happened when my child said that me thinking and really believing I'm a bad mom, how does that feel in my body? 

Well, for me, that's going to probably be shame. Shame is a tricky emotion because it's not one that we really talk about a lot. And when we do talk about it, we kind of talk about it on the surface, so nobody really knows what it is. 

Well, shame is kind of like, 'I feel bad about me, there's something wrong with me, I'm bad.' Right? Guilt is, I did something bad. Shame is, I am – as a person – bad, there is something wrong here. Right? So, shame is kind of that dark icky feeling. 

So, you have the thought, 'I'm a bad mom,' in your F-line. Then you're going to put shame, if that's how it feels for you. And it can feel differently for different people. And then, what were the actions from that? 

Well, the actions might have been that I yelled at my child – maybe I yelled at them the words 'I hate you too' or 'you are a terrible child – so, there'. Maybe all I did was storm away and not talk to them. What else did I do? I probably started scrolling social media or eating junk food, or maybe I started anger-cleaning my house. 

Maybe I went out for a jog, who knows? Maybe I was more irritated and agitated with my other kids or with my husband. Maybe typically I would've, you know, gone to bed at like 9:00 PM or something at night, and instead, I just laid awake thinking about how terrible of a mom I am. 

And then, what are those thoughts that came in for you? So, maybe it was things like, 'Yeah, he's totally right, I'm never going to get better. This is awful. I can't handle this. I can't deal with this. You know, I wish life wasn't so hard,' whatever those thoughts are for you. 

And then, we kind of zoom out and we're like, 'Okay, well, what result is this creating?' Well, the result is probably creating that you're just staying in the story of you being a bad mom. You're, kind of, being a bad mom based on what your version of reality of a bad mom is, right? 

So, you just stay in that mode; you think you're a bad mom, and then you are a "bad mom". Now, I'm saying quotations around those because it's a bad mom, according to you, it's not necessarily that you really are. But you're doing the things that you think a bad mom does; you're yelling more, you're frustrated more, you're disconnected more. 

That's an example of one model. 


Example 2

So, let's go through another model. We're going to stick with the same C, so exactly the same circumstance; our child says the same words, "I hate you". And the thought could be, 'Well, I'm doing my best,' right? If we really believed that, how different would that feel? 

Maybe we feel some self-compassion, maybe we feel some empathy; okay, so then, what actions are going to come from that? Maybe I'm just going to take a few deep breaths and go get a glass of water, and leave my kids screaming in the room. Maybe I'm going to go read a book for a bit or do a quick meditation. 

Maybe I'm going to just go get myself some food. Maybe I'm going to go and snuggle my child. Maybe I'm going to go and connect with them once they're done screaming and yelling at me. Maybe I'm just going to be like, 'Oh, you're so mad. I can tell you are so mad. I get mad too. It's okay. We got this.' Right? 

There's going to be a totally different set of actions coming from that feeling because that feeling is the fuel that we're putting in our car, right? So, if you're putting sugar versus fuel, it's going to be totally different, right? You're going to have totally different outcomes in your vehicle if you're driving somewhere. 

So, it's the same way with our model. So, then the result of that is that; I do do my best, I keep trying my best, I show that I'm doing my best, I create my best. So, there can be several different results that are coming from this, but that's kind of the idea of how this model situation works. 

And so, the reason that we do this is to really just help analyze what's going on when we're highly emotional. 


So, in our first model, we were highly emotional; we were high stress, maybe high overwhelmed, shame, whatever those uncomfortable emotions are – and really high emotions, then we're low on logic. And we want to get from our emotional brain back into our logical brain somehow, eventually, right? 

That's the goal because just like a teeter-totter, when we're high on emotions, we're going to be low on logic; low on emotions, high on logic. So, we're trying to find a way to kind of get back to that and a model is a really great way to do that – so is a Thought Dump, which we've talked about before – so is processing your emotions. 

There's a lot of different ways to get back into it, but this is one of the ways that I love to do it because I can really see what kind of results I'm creating in my life, and why I am where I am. So, it's a really interesting concept to use. 

So, I want you to take the Thought Dumps, I think that was in Episode 5, and start putting those to work. So, what you're going to do is do that whole Thought Dump process. And once you get used to doing the Thought Dumps, you've been doing them for a while, pull out one or two thoughts and put them through a couple of models. 

It's actually trickier than it sounds; I don't know if it sounded trick to you or not. I remember thinking this and thinking, 'Oh, this looks so easy, I can totally do this.' But a lot of times, I put things in my circumstance line that we’re actually not totally factual, or I'd put kind of a really long thought, or I'd put several feelings in. 

We would just want to put one emotion word in there, or I'd put hardly anything in the A-liner. I couldn't figure out what the result really was. So, it does take some time to get good at this. But when you do, that's self-coaching, that's how you can kind of get that mindset shift yourself. 

I really think of myself as a coach, as a story shifter, I'm kind of sifting through these stories and trying to figure out what stories are going on and whether or not you like that story and whether or not there's a different story and showing you the different potential stories there could be, and then helping you shift that story if you want to. 

So, the idea of a model is not to help us always shift our stories; sometimes we're going to look at that model, and we are going to just stay in that anyways. We're going to feel good about it – or even if we don't feel good about it – we're going to be like, 'No, we're sticking to this story, this is what I'm sticking to.' 

So, that's fine. We don't have to shift it, right? So, it's just another tool that we can use to help us, and especially, help us use in our parenting. It has transformed my parenting to start shifting out of that emotional brain, getting back into my logical brain, kicking it into high gear; and figuring out, what's really going on here, and do I want to shift it or do I not want to? 

And over time, doing this over and over and over again with my own coach and doing it on my own through self-coaching, is what, has probably been the biggest shift in my life in regards to parenting. So, try it out, see what you think, shoot me a message.

I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Make sure that you give it Five Stars on Apple, and check out my monthly membership for moms in the show notes.

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