The Parenting Coach Podcast with Crystal

S06|04 - When Parenting is Hard

Mar 06, 2023

“If the pain was deep
you will have to let it go
many times”
-Yung Pueblo

Parenting can be really challenging at times… even when we are working so hard at it. This episode is for those times. When we feel the heaviness of parenting… when we feel a little bit in the dark (Sue Monk Kidd calls is the Holy Dark), when we feel like the world is spinning. THIS episode is my message to you. I hope it brings you the comfort and guidance you are seeking.

NOTE: if you have suicidal thoughts or need mental health help, please reach out to a medical doctor and someone you love, as this advice is not meant to be a replacement for that.

On today’s show:

  • 3 stories from my life when parenting was hard, and what that looked like
  • my current/ongoing challenges in parenting and how I deal with them
  • uncovering your triggers (learn more about this HERE)
  • using the 2 keys of self-regulation and self-compassion (it may sound simple, but it’s much harder to do… I get teary over here)


Coaching has changed my own life, and the lives of my clients. More connection, more healing, more harmony, and peace in our most important relationships. It increases confidence in any parenting challenges and helps you be the guide to teach your children the family values that are important to you- in clear ways. If you feel called to integrate this work in a deeper way and become a parenting expert, that’s what I’m here for.

Find Your Parenting Personality: Quiz Here
Triggers Workshop: click here
Get the BOOK HERE:
Join the next round of PARENT SCHOOL:
Email me at [email protected]
Information about the retreat: click here

Episode Transcript

Crystal The Parenting Coach: Hi, I'm Crystal The Parenting Coach. Parenting is the thing that some of us just expected to know how to do. It's not like other areas of your life where you go to school and get taught, get on the job training, or have mentors to help you, but now you can get that help here.

I believe that your relationship with your children is one of the most important aspects of your life, and the best way that you can make a positive impact on the world and on the future. I've made parental relationships my life study, and I use life coaching tools, emotional wellness tools, and connection-based parenting to build amazing relationships between parents and their children.

If you want an even better relationship with your child, this podcast will help you. Take my Parenting Quiz, the link is in the show notes. Once we know what your parenting style is, we will send some tips tailored to you and a roadmap to help you get the most out of my podcast. I invite you to help me spread the word by sharing your favorite episode on social media or with a friend. 


Don't forget to check out my new mindset journal for parents at, which will help you to parent calm, confident children that you love to be around. 


Hi, and welcome to today's podcast, When Parenting is Hard

First of all, I have to mention it feels like I haven't been here in a while; I know it probably doesn't feel that way to you because I recorded a few podcasts, and then I left to Hawaii and I was gone for a month. And those have still been coming out, but I have not been here at my computer recording a podcast for a while. 

And so, over this last week, as we ended Hawaii and we came home and we're kind of dealing with jet lag and traveling and all the things, we've just been pondering on what would be the most important thing to share with you and how I could help support you in the deepest way. 

And the thought that came to me in the shower – which is usually where my best spots come as I'm just like, it's peaceful, calm and quiet in there – was, what about when parenting is hard? 

We talk a lot about tips and tools and tricks and mindset work and healing and all of these things, but what do we do when parenting is just really hard – when we feel like we're trying and to do the things and it's just a struggle? 

I have a lot of things to say about this. I have a lot of tips to give. Before I dig into what those bigger, longer tips are going to be…I'm going to just say, first of all, throw out the parenting books. 

I would not-- I would not worry about that or work on that when you feel like parenting is hard because when parenting is hard, it is so much less to do with your kids and the challenges that you're going through with them – and so much more to do with what's going on with you. 

I know it does not feel that way. It feels like it's definitely them and their behavior and what's going on with them that is making parenting so difficult. 

But it really is so much more about what's happening for us and when we can allow ourselves time to go through that process, and maybe there's some grief or some processing or healing that needs to be done, we'll be so much better suited to deal with whatever challenge it is that has come up.


3 stories from my life when parenting was hard, and what that looked like

So, let's dig into When Parenting is Hard. I'm going to tell you a couple situations, examples from my life in which this happened. 


First story/example

One of them I was dealing with one of my teenagers, and something had come up that they wanted to talk about; and I noticed that as they were talking to me about it and we were kind of going through this challenge together, that I was feeling really triggered.

Like even thinking about it right now is still making me feel like I can feel kind of like a little bit jittery – and like my body, my emotions just feel a little bit more activated, a little bit more charged – that's what I call a trigger. 

I can feel myself feeling that just thinking about the situation. And I definitely thought it was about my child and about the issue that we were dealing with him. 

But when I kind of calmed down and paused – and I also got to hop on a coaching call with an amazing friend of mine, she definitely talked me down – I was able to realize so much of it was just what was happening for me, and what this challenge that we were going through was bringing up for me personally. 

It was so much more about me and my background and my history and my beliefs and what was happening in my mind that was making me feel so activated and charged and so much less about my child. 

And when I was able to work through that, emotionally and definitely like nervous system-y, which we're going to talk about today – I was so much better suited to be able to help him with the challenge that he was going through in such a good and effective way. 

It was amazing how it changed. I'm not going to dig too much into the nitty-gritty of that one. Just because I think these other situations are going to be a little bit, a little bit easier for us to relate to.


Second story/example

So, two other examples. One is I have a child. It's interesting because I feel like I'm talking about each of my kids today; and on the podcast, I'm always trying to be wary of like, I don't want to give too much of my kids personal information – privacy, whatever – out there and, you know, put all of their problems on display. 

So, I'm trying to pick situations in which I don't have to give too much details or too much information because I want to be conscious of them and their privacy also. 

But I do have a child that's neurodivergent; I have two, probably more than two, but two diagnosed so far. That one of them finds it really difficult to listen. I'm sure you can relate to this if you are a parent. 

At least the first time I ask, usually the fifth, the 10th, the 15th time, still finds it really hard to listen. It is just harder for him. This makes sense. He's neurodivergent, he gets really into whatever he's doing. It's like he's just in and he's focused and he can kind of only focus on that thing. 

And a lot of times, I'm doing my own thing and I am not aware of that; I'm not thinking about that, I'm not remembering that. And I am just trying to get done what I need to get done, and I feel like it's kind of a burden or annoying that he's just not listening. 

I'm not taking the time to pause, to connect with him, to get down on his level as I'm asking him to do something, as I'm telling him something. You might relate to this also. 

So, I have the tools, right? I know the things. I'm not doing those things because I'm just like on autopilot doing my thing and then he's not listening. And maybe the first time it's okay – maybe the second, third, fourth, 17th time, I start to get really frustrated; and that's what I call about a trigger. That's what a trigger is. 

When I'm really emotionally activated or emotionally charged, that's when I'm feeling triggered. And it's never-- Whatever is triggering us is never on the surface. So, this is one of the things I'm going to talk about. 

And obviously, just your kid not listening maybe doesn't feel like it's just overly hard for you, but I'm going to give you a few tools that you can use that you can plug into any difficult situation. 

So, just because I'm not talking about the most hard situation that I've ever been through, doesn't mean that you can't use these same tools.

So, what I did was I paused afterwards and I asked myself, what is really bothering me here? Because it's never on the surface. It never just the non-listening, it's never just the challenge that we're going through. It always seems like it is on the surface.

I think of it as like dandelions. I'm like plucking out these dandelions and they just keep growing back, and I can't figure out why they're growing back and why they're still bothering me because they haven't dug into the root. 

So, the root is things like, what is really bothering me about this? That's a question I can ask myself. What about this behavior? What about this situation? What about this problem is bothering me? What's going on underneath the surface? 

And in that moment, I realized that I had this old paradigm stuck in my head that went something like this; "Good parents have good kids that listen to them, good kids are respectful – immediately respectful, immediately obedient – they're quiet, they're calm, they listen the first time they're asked and do it whatever their parents told them to do, they don't like talk back or question or wonder." 

Anything outside of that paradigm must mean something about me as a parent, my ability to parent and therefore me as a person. This might sound extreme to you if you've never dug into triggers, but often our triggers really do sound like this when we dig into them. 

And this is so interesting to me because I don't actually believe this consciously at all. I believe that we want kids that question. We want kids that are curious. We want kids that are thinking about things, and not just listening to adults and going ahead with them all of the time. 

We want them to have their own personalities, their own ideas; and we want them to feel like they can ask those. We want them to feel like they can be present and have those engaging conversations with us, and we can have a collaboration.

And it doesn't mean that I'm not always also going to lead and also going to set boundaries, but I don't want a child that just automatically listens no matter what and shuts down their personality and who they are and what their desires are and all everything about them to just please me. That is not what I want.


Uncovering your triggers

So, in my mind, consciously, do not believe this paradigm at all. I mean, I'm Parenting Coach, I literally talk of about this all the time – but subconsciously, it is still here. It is still present with me. It is still being pulled along. I'm still being affected by it, but I did not even notice that it was still in my head. 

Our beliefs, even if we don't consciously hold them anymore, still affect us even if we don't realize they're affecting us; and that is what a trigger is. 

"If the pain was deep, you will have to let it go many times", Yung Pueblo, that's from his book Lighter. I love it. I posted that on Instagram just a little bit ago. 

I think this is true about beliefs too. If it's a belief that's like hurt us or that it's deep to us that it's been passed down for many generations or that we had for a long time, and we're going to have to let it go over and over and over and over again. 

Uncovering what those triggers are, uncovering the beliefs behind them – opening them up, looking at them and detaching ourselves from them, processing through them…that's what helps us to heal. 

So, that eventually over time, we find ourselves less triggered by our kids, by our partners, by our friends, by coworkers, social media, family. I'm not just talking about kids triggering us; anything can trigger us.


Third story/example

All right onto the last story that I want to share from my personal life. I shared about this on Instagram too, and I may have talked about this on the podcast; but I was in Costco, my daughter's having a total of huge – 11 out of 10 – meltdown. 

We had to like literally physically drag her out of there; she's like kicking, screaming, throwing things, it was just chaos because she wanted something that we were not buying her. 

And I felt very triggered in the moment. I felt like it was really difficult to show up in the way that I wanted to as a parent, that even though I know these tools and I know what I "should be doing or could be doing", I felt like those were unavailable to me in the moment. 

I wasn't completely-- I didn't completely lose it or anything, but I definitely wasn't kind and compassionate in my tone like I'd want to be; I wasn't connected as I wanted to be to her. 

And I just-- Even though I processed it so much better than I would have a few years ago or even a year ago, it was still not the way that I wanted to deal with it. But I found it really hard in the moment, and I dug into what is really hard about this. 

And I started to notice because I do so much mindset work – thought work all the time – I'm noticing my thoughts, even in the moment. 

So, we're, literally in Costco and she's freaking out, and I'm thinking about my thinking, which is already a step forward, right? I wouldn't have done that years ago. 

And as I'm thinking about my thinking, I'm noticing that every single thought that I was having had nothing to do with her, it had everything to do with judgments from other people. 

It's what I thought other people would be thinking about me; that maybe they'd be thinking like that I'm a bad mom, that I'm doing a bad job…why can't I just control my kid, I need to do something differently – maybe they know that I'm a Parenting Coach, maybe they listen to my podcast and then they see me not being able to handle this situation, what are they going to be thinking about me? 

All of these thoughts; and super, super rapid fire too…like just so much thinking, unproductive thinking, as in not helping me create a solution in that moment. Most of it, almost all of it negative; that was what was triggering me in that moment. 

It wasn't even the meltdown that my daughter was experiencing. And if I was able to be in a space where I could have processed through it in that moment and calmed myself down and done all of that, I probably would've just calmed down and waited and just sat with her while she screamed. 

I probably wouldn't have cared about what anybody else was thinking and I probably wouldn't have even had her leave Costco, just sit there with her and my energy would've been able to help her energy. 

But in the moment, that was unavailable to me; and it will sometimes to you also. And I wanted to share this with you because I think that sometimes people have this idea that because I'm a Parenting Coach and I've done this work and…that I'm just like – I don't know – immune to human humanity now. And it's just not true. 

I'm just still on the same journey with you; I'm still healing, I'm still working through these things and I'm not nearly as triggered as often or as frequently…or as frequently or as intensely as I used to be, for sure.

But I'm still just on the same journey, and I'm still doing the same healing. And in that moment and after the fact, the story…the paradigm that was going in my head again was, "Good moms don't have kids that act this way – or if they do act this way, they're able to stop it immediately, stop that behavior immediately because that means that they're a good parent." 

Again, I do not believe that, but that is what I was modeled…that's what I saw all around me – media, family, church, community, school. That is what the belief was; you need to get the child to listen and to obey right then, and big emotions are a problem

So, I came up with the idea of this podcast, thinking about these situations and more that I want to respect people's privacy; and I don't want to dig into all of the stories that I could. 

But well, as being transparent as I can here, when these parenting challenges arise and when parenting is hard…I want you just to pause and just take a minute and ask yourself, is there something more going on here with me? 

What is happening in my mind? What about this challenge, this situation, this other person, this social media comment is bothering me so much and why? It's really there.


How healing improves our parenting

And as we can do this healing work, this uncovering work about what's really there, we will be less hurt. I saw this quote that said "Hurt people, hurt people; and healed people, heal people".

I think when I have all this hurt inside that I have not shined a light on, that I don't even know is there, that I haven't consciously started to work through, I am full of all these hurts. 

Like all those tiny little acupuncture needles, you know, that you have all over the place…if somebody were to come just like jab in one of them, it would like hurt in that spot, right? 

So, I've all these little like acupuncture needles all over, all these little hurts. And so, when somebody says something or does something or a challenge pops up, it hurts; it's like they're pushing in at those needles. They're like digging in, and you can feel it. 

But over time, as we start to shine a light on those triggers – on the healing, on the areas of our life that maybe we haven't dug into yet, that we still need to work on, and we start to do that healing – that we drop some of those acupuncture needles, that we drop some of that hurt, and we change it for healing. 

And healing is light, and we change it for that healing light that then we can spread to other people. I truly believe that healed people, heal people

If I hadn't taken the time to work on my own healing and be introspective about what was happening for me and taking emotional responsibility for that and working on that, I would've never been able to get to this space where I could have helped my children, helped my family heal, and then helped so many other families also through the work that I do. And you can do the same. 

We all have this ability to find healing, to be on this healing journey, and then to spread that healing to the rest of the world. 

I also want to mention that one healing modality isn't better than the other. It isn't the be-all end-all, and one might not be the thing that you just need forever. 

When I found The Life Coach School, I loved the mindset work there and I found it super helpful. But then I found all this work through Brené Brown, and I found that super helpful. And lately, I've been into meditation and I found that super helpful – and yoga. 

And I think that all of these healing modalities – coaching, therapy – can be so powerful. And I just believe that whatever we need comes to us in the moment that we need it. 

And so, if coaching is calling to you, if that's feeling like something that you are interested and you want to dig into, definitely reach out. I'm going to have a few one-on-one spots coming available. 

But maybe it's therapy, still reach out and I'll see if I can connect you with an amazing therapist. 

There's also meditation. Sometimes it's just our own work, right? Just writing it down, just journaling, just doing thought work. My Mindset Journal's really great for that, if you want to check that out at; my Mindset Journal is there. 

Maybe it's a retreat I put on retreats also, so for sure check that out because that can be really healing. Other people have retreats in different areas and different kinds of retreats. So, just ask yourself, everyone needs healing – everybody across the board – it does not matter who you are or where you're at in your journey. And just ask yourself, what would be helpful for me right now? 

And not healing because we're like terrible people with all this junk or baggage or whatever, we're just humans. And so, that's what we need. 

We're going through a human journey. We're all in this together. 


Using the 2 keys of self-regulation and self-compassion

I'm going to give you two things that I think will be helpful to do when you find parenting is hard or when life is hard. I'm also going to mention quickly if you find it's really hard and you're having any kind of suicidal thoughts, harmful thoughts, please reach out – call a suicide hotline, reach out to a therapist or counselor in your area…find a friend, tell a friend.

Okay, so back to your regular scheduled programming. The two things I want to leave you with are; one, self-compassion…two, self-regulation. 

So, when you're finding that parenting is really hard or life is really hard, the number one thing to do is self-compassion, and the number two thing is going to be self-regulation. 

Self-Compassion is accepting where I am on this journey; accepting that, yeah, I didn't handle that day in Costco as good as maybe I "could have", but it actually was as good as I could have because in that moment…with my skills and my tools and my knowledge and how much I ate that day and how much I had slept and all of those things…that is the best that I could do in that moment. It is the best that I did do. 

Oh, I did not think I was going to get teary in this podcast episode. But when we can find a self-compassion for where we are, even in the moments when we don't show up in the way that we want to, that is where the healing comes. 

All we really want to do is have compassion for our kids and for those around us; and we're trying to push, push, push, push, push without realizing that the key is having compassion for us first. 

So, accepting like, "Yeah, I'm a human, I make mistakes." I still do as a Parenting Coach, make parenting mistakes probably daily, and that's okay because I'm learning and I'm growing and I'm healing alongside everybody else. 

And accepting where I am and having compassion and love and empathy for all of me, all of the parts of me is what helps me to heal and to just naturally have compassion flow from me to others. 

Number two, self-regulation; and what I mean by this is finding things that can help your nervous system regulate. 


My current/ongoing challenges in parenting and how I deal with them

So, when you're feeling like parenting is hard over the last month or two, I've just felt a little bit off – not in my parenting but just in life and somewhat in my business in like not knowing what to do next or just all these thoughts kind of swirling around in my mind…and I've just felt that offness, just felt that hardness. 

And all I've been focusing on is self-regulation. So, every morning I'm going to get up and I'm going to meditate – even if that's only like a minute of just clearing your mind or like a five-minute guided meditation you find on YouTube. 

It can be laying on your back with your legs up against the wall and doing some like deep breaths. You can be finding some time to spend in nature, but whatever you can do to help regulate yourself will really help in those moments. 

So, when you find that parenting is hard or that life is hard, see if you can find a way to get yourself to a space of self-compassion and find some ways to help you with regulation. 

If you need more tips or tools on that, or if you're not quite sure exactly what I'm talking about, just send me a message on Instagram or Facebook – and I can give you some more, give you some more tools or tips. 

I also have a lot in my Mindset Journal, Burn This Book. There's self-compassion and shame work there. And there's also regulation; there's a whole section on regulation with lots of different ideas and all through the book, there's QR codes that you can scan with videos that explain each of the concepts. So, if you're looking for something like that, go check that out too. 

So, thank you for being here with me. I am excited to be back and be back on the podcast. I'm not as excited about the weather that greeted me when I was back in Canada and away from Hawaii, but I am really excited to be back here in recording. 

And if there is a topic or an idea that you have that you're really interested in hearing about or a specific challenge that you're working through, I would love for you to reach out and I can talk about it on the podcast. 

And also please, please take a minute…I swear it takes a minute or less to rate, follow, review, subscribe. I know it's different on every different platform, but there's always a way to leave a rating and a review; and that can really help other people find this work too. So, I would really appreciate that as well. Thank you for being here, and we'll see you next week. 


Thanks for listening. If you'd like to help spread this work to the world, share this episode on social media and tag me – send it to a friend, or leave a quick rating and review below so more people can find me. If you'd like more guidance on your own parenting journey, reach out.

Cover image for the parenting personality quiz, 4 sketches of a mom doing a different activity with her child
Cover image for the parenting personality quiz, 4 sketches of a mom doing a different activity with her child

What's Your Parenting Personality?

Take The Free Quiz