On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Bonnie Harris, a parenting and child behavior specialist. I love getting parenting experts on the show because as we’re figuring out how to lead healthy lives and do the work that we want to do, we also have kids. At the end of the day, we can feel bad about how we’re parenting, and it’s helpful having tools that support the way we’re trying to show up to the world as a parent. Bonnie hopes our talk will alleviate some of the pressure parents put on themselves.
Bonnie says her work right now is often focused on helping parents let go. She explains that it feels like you are saying, “Now, I’m cutting the rope and letting this little boat drift out to sea to fend for itself,” but really, you are letting go of that voice in your head that says you aren’t good enough, that you’re doing everything wrong.
Bonnie explains that our perceptions lead to feeling overwhelm, frustrated, depressed, helpless and that all of these feelings that come from our head, not from circumstances and not from our kids. These feelings then lead to our reactions. In a nanosecond, we react in ways we know is not effective. Then we regret it and go down the spiral of “I’m a terrible parent.” But it’s possible to break this cycle and Bonnie has lots of great ideas for us!
We talk about:
- The power of the connected relationship: “A connected relationship is the number one preventive measure of anything that any parent is afraid of happening to their child”
- Separating judgement from facts and reframing what you’re telling yourself every day
- A step-by-step process to stop reacting in the moment
- What to do when your agenda and your kids agendas aren’t aligned and how to problem solve with your kids
- Self care being “as critically important as getting your child a nutritious meal”—and the many different forms self-care can take (it’s not all mediation and pedicures)
- Starting by paying attention to your reactions and thinking about what caused them
- Making this work a priority
- One rule for making meals more peaceful—do not talk about food
Bonnie Harris, MS Ed, director of Connective Parenting, has been a child behavior and parenting specialist for thirty years. Based on her highly acclaimed books, When Your Kids Push Your Buttons and Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live, Bonnie offers individual parent counseling, parenting workshops, professional trainings and speaking
engagements internationally. The mother of two grown children, she lives in New Hampshire where she founded The Parent Guidance Center, now The River Center. To learn more, visit her website at www.bonnieharris.com and follow her at facebook.com/connectiveparenting.
- When Your Kids Push Your Buttons
- Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids
- Raising Great Girls with Jill Hope
Doable Changes from this episode:
- PAY ATTENTION AND PLAY DETECTIVE. Start by simply paying attention to how you react during the day. Note what you did (maybe you yelled at your kids). Notice how you were feeling. Try to figure out what you were thinking, what button were your kids pushing? Keep a journal for the week.
- PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE. Bonnie reminds us that self-care is as essential as giving our kids a nutritious meal. Think about what really nourishes you. It could be work and having adult conversations. It could be spending time alone outside. It could be getting a pedicure or meditating daily, but it doesn’t have to be something that sounds like self-care. Do something that is just for you.
- MAKE THE DINNER TABLE FUN. Have a no talking about food rule. You give positive feedback (like “This is delicious”) or explain how you made it or where you got it if that matters. But no complaining or whining about what it is. No badgering kids to take a certain number of bites. Try modeling manners instead of nagging. Try a game or a family question or something else to keep the dinner table a place you all want to be.