The Parenting Coach Podcast with Crystal

S1 E12 - Heal your relationship with your child

May 10, 2021


Your thoughts affect everything… especially your relationships. We often feel like our children are disrespectful and rude, that they are unkind on purpose, or that they should be… fill in the blank here with all the “shoulds” for you.  These hidden stories in your mind have a huge impact on your interactions with your children, huge. This is major. If you want to start healing your relationships with your kids, it all starts with you and your thoughts.

What we dig into today:

  • How our thoughts affect our relationships
  • Expectations leading to frustration
  • The manuals we have for the people in our lives
  • How we can reconnect and shift things right now

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.

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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.

Episode 12, Heal your relationship with your child.


This is the last episode in Season 1, and I saved this for last so it can kind of give you a kickstart to really start healing that relationship. We've talked a lot about us and our stories and our mindset and our emotions – kind of, little tips and tools to use with us and with our children. 

But now, if you still feel like you're really struggling with maybe one or more children – maybe getting along with them or connecting with them, maybe it's kind of easy to connect with some of your kids and there's one or two kids that you have a struggle with connecting with – this episode will be perfect for you. 


How our thoughts affect our relationships

So, I want you first to think about the thoughts you have about this child. You can write their name at the top of the paper, if you have a paper. And I want you to think about, what kind of things do you think are true about them? 

It might be something like; they're disrespectful – I hear that one a lot from my clients – they don't want to connect, they don't like me, they don't like hanging out with me, they're really hard {they're hard to love, they're hard to get along with}.

I want you just to think about how those thoughts feel versus thoughts like; they're easy to love, they're so cute, they love me, I love hanging out with them. What do you think is going to be a better relationship? Which thoughts are going to lead to a better relationship? 

Now, this is the goal. The goal is to kind of change from a difficult relationship that we have to a more powerful and positive relationship that we have. So, like I said, put your child's name at the top of the page, whoever you're struggling with. And, our relationships are just thoughts. 

We talked more about that last episode, but it's; our thoughts about them, our thoughts about what we think they're thinking about us, our thoughts about the dynamic of the relationship. 

And, it's kind of like a dance; we're so used to doing this one dance, and if we change that dance through us changing our thoughts and how we show up in that relationship, then it has the power to change everything within the relationship. 


Three aspects of a relationship

So, if you want to truly heal your relationship with your child, you have the power to do that; doesn't mean that they're necessarily going to change. Although, I have seen time and time again, that their behavior does get better as we make this change. But we're doing it for us so that we can feel good about how we show up, so that we can feel love and compassion and kindness towards our child.


1. Our thoughts about a relationship

So, first of all, I want you to think about your thoughts about the relationship, right? That's the first of the three aspects of a relationship, is our thoughts about a relationship. 

So, just brainstorm that for a minute. Is it hard? Is it easy? Do you have to work really hard at it? Do you feel like it takes a lot of energy, and hard work, and effort? Do you think it's a healthy, and connected, and happy relationship? Is it easy to deal with? Do you like hanging out with them? 

So, I just want you to think about your thoughts about that relationship, the dynamic of the relationship. And once you've kind of gotten clear on that, I want you to answer the question of, Why? What did you write down and then go back and think; Why, or Why not? Why is it hard? Or, why is it easy? Why is it not easy? 

Go through all of those thoughts. Now, we're going to go back through those thoughts, and we're not going to look at whether or not those are true. You might think they're true. Your child might think they're true. Your husband might think they're true. 

It doesn't really matter so much whether or not they are true, but we're going to look at how it feels. If I'm thinking, for instance, that my child is disrespectful, I'm probably going to feel pretty frustrated. And then, how am I going to act towards them in that relationship? 

Maybe I'm going to kind of avoid them. Maybe, as soon as they talk, no matter what it is that they say, I'm going to immediately show up in frustration; and I'm going to be a little bit more irritated with them. Maybe I'm not going to communicate as well. Maybe I'm not going to reach out and connect with them as much, or kind of hear their side of the story. 

Have you ever been in a conversation where, you know, you're, kind of, pretending to listen, but you're really just thinking about your side of the argument so that when they stop talking, you can tell them why it is that you're right and they’re wrong. 

Tell me you've done that before; I know that I totally have. So, I want you to think about how those thoughts are making you feel, and then how you're acting because of those thoughts that you have about the relationship. 

And then, ask yourself this question; 'Is it helping or hindering you to have a healthy and connected relationship? Will it help you heal that relationship to keep thinking those thoughts, whether or not they are true? 

So, that's the first aspect of our relationship, our thoughts about the dynamic of the relationship


2. What you think they are thinking about you

So, now, I want you to think about, what you think they are thinking about you. So, keep brainstorming and think, you know, for instance, maybe it's a teenager – and I hear this often – they don't want to connect, they're withdrawn, they don't like me, they don't find me interesting, they don't love me, they don't want to spend time with me. 

Now again, often, these thoughts, aren't true; maybe they feel really true, but lots of times they really aren't true. And what I mean is this; maybe our child is mad and they yell at us and they actually say those words, say the words that we think that they're thinking about us. So, then, we're like, "See, it's true." 

Have you ever said something that you didn't mean because you were mad, or you were stressed, or you were struggling? Even if they say it, we still don't know if it's true; we don't still know if they actually believe that to be true.

And like we said, with the last one, even if it's true, is it actually helping? So, once you write down all of the thoughts that you think they're thinking about you, I want you to ask these questions. Is it actually true? 

Even if they said those words, is there a chance that maybe it's not true; and whether or not it's true, is it going to help? Is it going to help or hinder? Is it going to create love for them? Is it going to not create love for them? It's going to be doing one or the other. 

So, I just want you to think for a minute about what it's doing for you, because those are those stories – I know I talk about stories all the time, but all of these thoughts that you just wrote down, are creating this story that you have about you and about your child and about your relationship with them; and it's either going to be helping that relationship – and building that healthy and connected relationship – or it's not. 

We don't need to change them. We don't need to change their thoughts and their feelings about us. It doesn't matter really so much what they're thinking about us, but it's about us and our thoughts about them. If we want to feel more connected, we can feel more connected; we can create those feelings. 


3. Our thoughts about them

So, another aspect of this is our thoughts about them. 


The manuals we have for the people in our lives

So, I want you to imagine for a second; you go and get a brand-new car, it's awesome, and you don't know how to use it. 

And you get out that giant owner's manual, and it says something like, you know, 'Press this button to start, and press this button for the washer fluid, and press this button for the brake lights'. 

And you're like reading all these things about like, press this button and this is what it's supposed to do. Now, we kind of have these like background subconscious manuals about the people in our life, not just the vehicles or the appliances in our kitchen, right? That kind of sounds funny, but it's true. 

So, I want you to think about these little manuals that you have; they should do this, they shouldn't do this, they should be like this. Maybe I have a manual for my best friend and it's like; she should respond to my texts right away – if she doesn't respond right away, she should at least respond within 24 hours. 

Maybe it's something like she should know that I'm upset, and give me a call when I'm stressed out - she should want to be my bridesmaid at a wedding, if I have a wedding – she should want to spend time with me at least a couple of times a month – she should forgive me if I'm upset. 

I don't know what those are for you, right? Everybody has their own manuals. And even if we have it said what they are, we have these expectations of the people around us. 

So, I want you to uncover what your hidden manual for your child is. Lots of times, they're kind of just deep in the background; and we don't really think about them. 

So, I'm going to tell you a couple of manuals that I've heard from other people. I usually get them to start, 'In a perfect world…' So, get a piece of paper and write out, In a perfect world… What would your child be like in a perfect world? 

So, usually, it's; patient, calm, happy – also patient calm and happy all the time – doesn't have emotional outbursts, always reacts calmly and kindly, does what I ask them to do without me having to repeat myself, cleans up after themselves, remembers to clean up after themselves, happily does family chores or work together – doesn't complain about it, really doesn't complain about anything – doesn't yell, doesn't hit, wants to spend time with me when I want to spend time with them leaves me alone when I want them to be left alone. Right? 

I know that these are sounding a little bit ridiculous and silly, but if you really get down to it, there's a lot of these, kind of, unspoken expectations that we have about our children; and we call these manuals, this kind of idea. 


Expectations leading to frustration

Now, when we have this manual for somebody, usually, it's quite unrealistic. And even if it's not quite unrealistic, they are going to fall short of our manual. 

So, someday, they're not going to text us back after we text them; someday, they are going to yell or hit or scream or say the words "I hate you" – even though we've already decided, 'Oh no, in our manual, that's not okay, that's not allowed.' Right? 

So, when that happens, how do we feel? We likely feel frustrated, angry, maybe rage, maybe judgment, definitely disconnected. It's not going to help that feeling of disconnection. 

So, I often talk about, dropping our expectations. And as soon as I say that, people are like, 'Well, if I drop my expectations, then I'm just going to let my child walk all over me. And then, it's not going to be a healthy relationship.' 

Well, I want to tell you a little secret; dropping our expectations has nothing to do with them in their behavior, at all. I'm going to say that again; dropping our expectations has nothing to do with them. 

It might sound like it does, but it has everything to do with us. Expectations lead to frustration, every time. When we have an expectation and then it doesn't go as planned – it doesn't go like it's supposed to in our little owner's manual in our mind – then we're going to be frustrated. 

And when we're frustrated, how do we show up as moms or as parents? We're going to be more irritated. We're going to be shorter with them. We're not going to be as connected. We're not going to communicate as much. We're not going to come up with creative solutions in ways to deal with their negative behaviors. We're going to block ourselves from those solutions, if we're feeling frustrated. 

So, if we want to heal our relationship with our child, a lot of it has to do with these unspoken, kind of, deep-down subconscious expectations that we have, that we really just need to throw away. 

And we throw it away by just noticing, is this helping or hindering a connected relationship? Is this going to help heal the relationship I want to heal with my child? Is it going to take me closer or farther away? 

Just like when we were thinking about our thoughts about what they think we're thinking about them, or just like when we were thinking about our thoughts about the dynamic of the relationship; it's the same thing here. 

We're going to always ask ourself that question. Is it helping or hindering? Am I going to show up as the mom that I want to show up as, or not? Am I going to feel good about how I showed up? 

So, those are the three aspects of the relationship. 


How we can reconnect and shift things right now

Now, once you've kind of dug into that and kind of figured out – what your thoughts are about them, and what you think they're thinking about you and about the relationship – then we kind of are loosening those up, right? 

We're kind of loosening them up a little bit by asking questions like, is this really helping? Do I like this? Is it going to create that connected relationship I want, or not? 

Now, we can start building new thoughts; once we're loosening those up, we can also start building new thoughts. So, I want you to think of somebody that you have a great relationship with – so maybe this is your parents, maybe it's another one of your children that you have a really easy time loving, maybe it's your partner, maybe it's your best friend – doesn't matter who it is. 

I want you to write their name on a piece of paper now, or think about them. What are the thoughts you have about them? They might not be like deep and poignant. It might just be something easy like; they're easy to love, I love them, they love me, I like hanging out with them, I like spending time with them. 

And I want you to think, could that be true of your relationship here? I once heard a quote that went something like, "All of us want – seek – unconditional love carrying a bag of conditions". This manual that we have, and these thoughts that we have about them – this negative thinking and these negative beliefs – are really these bags full of conditions. 

And we want unconditional love from others; yet, we have a hard time giving unconditional love. So, at first, starts with our thoughts. So, maybe you find it really easy to unconditionally love somebody else in your life. 

So, we're just going to borrow those thoughts here. So, could these thoughts be true of this relationship? Your brain might be telling you, "Nope, there is no way this child's easy to love." The other one is, "This one's not. My best friend is, but my child is not." 

So, if you don't believe those thoughts right now, then I want you to write down, why not? Why aren't they believable to you right now? That will bring up a lot of thought work for you. You can go back and do thought dumps on everything that comes up there, if you don't believe those thoughts. 

Why are they not true? Go through every single thought, figure out if it's a thought or a fact; question it, 'Is it true? Is it useful? Is it helpful? Can I find any evidence of the opposite? Do I want to keep it?'

All of those kinds of questions, like we do with all of our other thought dumps. Work on loosening all of those thoughts, and work on firming up some new thoughts through a bridging thought

So, a bridging thought for this, if my new thought is, ‘They are easy to love,' I could say, "Maybe it's possible that they're easy to love, I am learning that they are easy to love, I can see that they are easy to love." I really want you to take the time to do this work because it will be so powerful for you. 

You will really see over the course of even just a couple of weeks or a month, as you do this work on them – thinking about them and thinking about your thoughts about them, and then a dynamic of that relationship – you'll see it start to heal. 

And it's really interesting. It's like we have this one pair of glasses on, maybe we have these dark colored glasses; and so, our dark-colored glasses is that story of like, our child doesn't want to connect with us. 

So, all we notice is all of these little things – maybe little words that they say or texts that they send, or even the tone of voice or even their body language – and we gather all of that evidence that might not even be evidence for that, and we just make it mean that that's actually true. Those glasses are going to be shading the color of our outlook. 

Now, if we can start changing those glasses, and changing that story that we have about us and about our child and about that relationship there – and we start thinking, 'Maybe they're really easy to love, maybe they love me, maybe I love them; all of these little tiny bits of evidence, whether or not it's a little half smile or smirk. Maybe it's a little joke or a laugh or a side hug or words that they say – will actually start gathering that evidence to create this new story. 

It's all about shifting this story with us. So, do that work, and let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear if you're able to heal even a little bit, even just start on a new relationship with your child. 

So, I hope this season has really opened up your mind to what kind of relationship is possible with you, with yourself, and with your child; and given you some actionable tools to help start creating that change. 

Listening isn't going to be nearly as helpful as if you actually do the work. It's going to be interesting and maybe it'll be a little bit insightful, but doing the work is what really changes everything. 


So, make sure that you hop into my community; it's called By Design. We dig into all of this together. I guide you through weekly calls, video lessons, workbooks, guest experts, digital courses; we have it all in there to help you create this change for yourself. I take all of these tools, and I guide you through them. 

Next season is going to be all about parenting; the struggles that you face, the reasons behind our children's struggles, all of my favorite books – my favorite resources, everything that I have learned – I can't wait for next season, and I will see you next time.

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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