Raising Children You Like | Sonnet Mathews
Hey guys, you are tuning into this episode of MomTalks with Christa. I'm your host, Christa. And wow, I just had another amazing interview here and I can't wait for guys to listen, I just have to sign it from raising children you like and it's another awesome Instagram page, I came across like through her reels, and it was so eye-opening. So, raising children you like is for parents who want to break the cycle. It talks about healing your past wounds, as adults to become better parents. And like I said, our conversation was so eye-opening. Anyone that is a new parent or wants to make a shift in how they are parenting, she's got some amazing tips for you. So, check that out in just a minute. And stick around at the end of the episode because we have our new segment called mom tales of the week, where we ask you guys a question on social media. And they're kind of fun, they're funny, they're interesting. They allow you guys to share a little bit from your week and it's fun. So, we'll hang around for that. And that'll be at the very end. So, without further ado, here's my interview with Sonnet from raising children you like.
Sonnet: Thank you for having me.
Christa: I'm so excited to have you. Oh, can you just tell us a little bit about you? And then we'll kind of go from there.
Sonnet: I'm Sonnet. I'm 1/3 of raising children you like. There's Breanna Kappa, who's our licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she's had over a decade of clinical work working with children, zero through six. And then Veronica is my co-host in our podcast, Not Your Mother's podcast. And we all partnered together, we all have toddlers and two toddlers each. And we were just like, there needs to be some more information on the work that we do as, as parents internally and not passing that on to our children. Because it has everything to do with working with them in those moments of their tantrums, we want them to behave, we want them to listen, we want them to be resilient, and empathetic and be wonderful, well rounded, well-adjusted human beings. And it starts with our work. And it's something that really, we are challenged by every day as parents, I think like how can I show up differently in this situation? So, we started raising children, you like to help other parent’s kind of get to those answers.
Christa: Awesome. I love that you, I just love this mission and passion behind the company. Because you care about like generational trauma or generational things just pass down. So, if you can kind of look at your own past and heal yourself, then you're going to be you know, even better and kind of, end that cycle.
Sonnet: Right, exactly. Which is such a gift to give to our children and their children to come.
Christa: What are the key steps? And there's a lot of moms listening like this is so intriguing. What can I do? So, what are some key steps to start healing our past wounds as adults?
Sonnet: Well, I think the first step is just awareness. When we start understanding, like, where's that thought, when we start feeling like we're triggered by our children's behavior? And we start seeing like, Oh, my God, they're not listening to me. Oh, my gosh, like, they should know better than that. Where does that thought originate? Is that because you feel that they should be listening to you? Or is it because you were taught somewhere like children should be quiet, or they should be obedient, or there was some messaging that you were told there was no space for you as a child to be loud, or to have opinions, or you were told that you were too noisy, or you were too loud, or you were too sensitive? Or all the things that parents tell their children? And so, we start to see, why am I triggered by my child? And is that more my story than theirs? Is it more true that I have an understanding of what my child should be like? And actually, when I look at my child in front of me, and I parent, the child in front of me, and I reframe my old thoughts, and my, what I've been taught, I can be much more effective in my parenting, because I can see what my child is really asking for what they really need, not what I think they need or what they should be doing, because based on an old pattern that I was taught, and that we don't even really want, we didn't like being told that we were taking up too much space, or that we were too loud, or that we're too sensitive, or that there was no more room for us to cry as children and yet we like internalize it and we share it with our children in the same way even though we wish that it was different for us. So, it's like a big boat to turn because you have to start seeing those triggers of your children start triggering you and you have to start thinking is this me or them? You know what? because I'm the adult here. Why am I being triggered by my three-year-old’s behavior, my five-year-old behavior? They're the child who's stressed figuring out and just learning, right job to stay regulated and teach them every step along the way. And of course, we're all going to get dysregulated and very normal experience. But how do we bring ourselves back to that regulated state?
Christa: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a great point what you said like, what we're told as children that we ended up internalizing it and thinking, that's how also is meant to be. And that's how we should raise children without actually questioning or asking ourselves like, why is it that way? Or did I like when I was told to be quiet, or when I was trying to figure out my emotions, that's an amazing point.
Sonnet: No space to figure out our emotions, because there wasn't really like, I think there's a lot of debate on why don't want to raise a soft child. So, I don't want to give into every emotional experience that they're having. But it's what we're teaching people, parents to do at raising children is to help narrate the experience that your child's having, let them know you're there, while they're having their big emotion not to stop their big emotion, they're allowed to have it, and we want to help shape the behavior that comes from it. Obviously, no hitting and yelling, and biting the hate. Behavior is not is the unacceptable part, not the emotion so we allow for all the emotions. You can be upset, but you can't hit.
Christa: Right? And so, for parents that have a lot of frustration, or find they're yelling at their kids a lot, what kind of things you tell parents? Or what can parents do to kind of turn off the yelling or try to communicate with your child a different way?
Sonnet: Well, so both two things, one is just like, work on your own regulation in the moment and at the moment. So, what does it take to take three deep breaths, close your eyes, feel your feet on the floor? Remember, your body goes into fight or flight when you're battling with your child, and all sudden you're at war. And it's like a power struggle, you're like, Whoa, like, let me just take a deep breath, take a step back, feel my feet on the floor, I'm not in danger, my child's not in danger. We can figure this out. This is just a moment. I have a good child. I'm a good mom. I'm a good parent, we can figure this out together. And so just like taking yourself out of that fight or flight is in really crucial for then moving forward with like, how do I speak to my child when it's not going the way that I want? Or when we're in that power struggle? How do I get out of the way of the clash? And then practicing that when you're regulated practicing that it's not a foreign thing to you? How do I get back into my body? This is me out of my this is me like being triggered. This is me, feeling like we have these different zones in our courses. We talk about Tiger zone where you're just like our like porcupine, where you just like go and run and you're like, I can't even deal I'm leaving. So how do you get back to that horse, that steady, stable horse zone. Also, it's totally acceptable if your child is in a safe place and you can say Mommy needs to take a little break and you can walk out of the room, let them know you'll be right back. Take a few deep breaths, come back, and like put give yourself a little time to recalibrating yourself. So, you can come back and really speak with them in a regulated and clear way to be like, okay, let me see what's going on for them and how we can connect here to
Christa: Be a little more proactive and things than just reactive to.
Sonnet: What's in percent. Yeah. How do you respond? So, we have, we talked about the respond method, responding to our children's talk tantrums are their behavioral outbursts, rather than reacting rather than just like, go to your room or whatever that it's so normal because we just get like, pushed and we all have different buttons that push us. This morning, my child didn't want to wear anything by her Elsa dress to school, which was dirty. Do I let her wear a dirty dress to school? Do we battle for the next 30 minutes? Right? We ended up wiping the dress down. Like, right? We're going to figure this out together. Because you got to go to school and I need to clean it so let's compromise. So, we sat at the table and we like figured out okay, maybe we can clean this little paint that you have here and if we can get it clean, you can wear it and we did get it clean. Yeah, so we had to have a compromise session there. But I was definitely just like, just wear it in my mind right now or anything else.
Christa: And I think that's true. I mean, even like outside or like before Parenthood to it's like a get to those points, you get so frustrated with something. And so being able to understand why you're frustrated before you even hit that point and then into parenthood to understanding all those feelings and it's kind of like addressing our own emotions. First thing, a lot of times when we go to anger, it's like, we don't always understand why we're angry, I heard it's like a secondary emotion.
Sonnet: Right, right. Yeah. So, there's, there's so much underneath that and it's deep work. It's not like, yes, in the moment, finding that regulation, start becoming aware of your triggers. And then it's like, dealing with that, okay, so now I actually have to work through the pain that I had as a child or being told that, not being acknowledged for how I was feeling. So, I felt like I was invalid, or feeling that your self-esteem has suffered for all your life, because it's unpacking so much. And you don't know exactly what you're going to find as you're unpacking. And even if you had a really great childhood, there's still some, there can still be stuff in there that just you've picked up along the way. And it doesn't have to be dramatic but it is deep work that we are lucky enough to do as parents.
Christa: Yeah, absolutely. And so how should parents respond to tantrums? and because we a lot of times it angers kind of breeds anger. So, if we see your kids upset and throwing a tantrum, a lot of times the first reaction is to be angry back. So how should parents respond to insurance?
Sonnet: Well, our first goal is that regulation, so bring yourself to the horse zone, one of the phrases that like helps me so much is when my child that they're worth, they need me the most. And it just helps you shift like their child, their three-year-old right here in front of me having a big emotional experience. And it's not, it's not comfortable for them, they're scared, they're out of control, their body's not in control. And they need us to help like, center them, give them some calm, let them know they're safe, help them figure out what to do next. And so that shift helps us get out of that, like, just listen to me, like I'm so tired of this mode, and like slow down. It's also really hard to slow down when you are working in a really busy life so you have another you have other children, you have things to do, you have places to go and just kind of building the fact into your life of like, you're going to have meltdowns and like, have enough time for that have enough time to slow down with your child and be like, okay, like, let's, you are allowed to be upset that we turned off the TV, I'm not turning it back on. But I'll sit here while you're upset. And we can come up with another idea of like, what we want to do after, or let's go do this. And it's really tough to not get what we want sometimes, isn't it? it is really tough. And just like understanding that with them, and letting them go through that, but not a lot, but you're not just like, go to your room till you figure it out. Because that's really not giving them the stability that they need to they our bodies near each other. So, if we're calm, like you said, with the yelling, you just said like, they yell we yell. But if we're calm, they can start collecting and gathering from that. So that's just like step one is just finding your calm. And then some other like, we have a lot of different tips that we get, but one that is just really helpful is just getting down to eye level and thinking like talking to them eye level slow, low, we tend to over talk we tend to say too much. So, like how can I talk slowly talk low to say very little. And then we talk about the seven different reasons why your child is having a tantrum. And this is really insightful and helpful but you can go through the ladder of needs what is the unmet need my child's having right now? And just go through the ladder of needs and go. Is it food? Is it are they tired? Do they need a sense of independence? Do they need connection? Are they asking for like connection from me? I've been on my phone too long it. Are they over sensory? Do they have over sensory which is often like with TV? Or they've been out too long? And then they start breaking down or something? Or are they having like an emotional experience that you need to help contain think there's one more I'm missing but you go through the rung and we give you different ways of like being that soother soothing that answer. And that's really like, the key to these tantrums of being like, what's like behavior is just a sign of an unmet need. They're having. So, what is the unmet need, because it's not usually about that they need the blue plate, or they need to take the toy from their sister. There's something else going on and so when we can really identify and it takes a little work, but once you've kind of like start going through that ladder of meaning. You might be like, maybe they're hungry is try a snack. That didn't work, okay, must be something else. And like, it's okay to kind of figure it out, let me try. And we do that naturally as parents, right? We're like, do you want this? How about this, but this help? Do you want to hug? So, this kind of gives you a framework for going through that and identifying what the signs are of being over being in that sensory overload mode. What does it look like? Like? Is your child flailing? Is their body just out of control? Usually, that's a sign that they are like, over stimulated, there's too much sensory going on to them or too little. And they need some, some like body input.
Christa: Okay, awesome. And you've talked a lot on your page about emotional intelligence. And so, what is the big differences between emotional immaturity and emotional intelligence?
Sonnet: Oh, that's such a good question. Well, I think it comes back to what we were just talking about in terms of, like, being able to see your child for who they are, and having that emotional intelligence to see like, it's not about that blue plate. There's something else like, let me what happened right before this, what happened yesterday? What happened? Like, have we been out of routine? Are they feeling like they are not getting enough connection with mom, or did or enough connection with data, putting all of those pieces together is some sense of emotional intelligence? So, we're connecting with our child we're tuning to our child was figuring out like most parents, you kind of know, when you're pushing your child and you're about to head into meltdown. Because the signs are there, they're on the edge. And that emotional intelligence comes in and we were slow down, we soften, we start figuring out what is my child trying to tell me, and the immaturity is just like, you're going to listen to me, no matter what, I'm the parent, you're supposed to be obedient. If you do not, there's no other room for that, that's it. So, you're not taking in any consideration of you're not actually tuning into your emotional intelligence and tuning into your child. And it really isn't helpful or effective. Yes, it's maybe scary. And so, they do behave, but you're not teaching them the skills you really want to teach them. You're not giving them that platform or foundation that you really want them to have for lifetime. So, it might be helpful in that moment. But that's really our work of being like children should be obedient. Yes, we want them to listen, yes, we want them to behave. But it's a process, they don't just listen and behave overnight, they have to learn. And then they have to push buttons, and they have to push boundaries, and they have to figure all that out, and our job is to create a safe container, and to create boundaries that are firm, so that they know like, you can try to push but not that one's not moving. But you know, I love you and you're safe. And it's all, keep on trying to push, it's not moving, though we're not taking it personally because they need to push and we need to hold.
Christa: Yeah, absolutely. And this kind of ties into what you're talking about but being like having children being obedient, and how I speak to them. But what is the difference? So, we can kind of talk about controlling children versus empowering children? So, what are some samples of this? And yeah, how can parents that are listening, kind of start changing how they speak to their children?
Sonnet: I catch myself in this one a lot. Because you know, an example we give on is like, don't do that, you're going to hurt yourself like, every child likes to walk on walls and so, it's not too high, let them do it by themselves or you might hold their hand but when they climb up, and they're on there, and you're like, stop doing that, you're going to hurt yourself, you're going to break your head open, and like, you're just controlling your child, you're not empowering them. So, all they hear is like, oh, my gosh, I can't trust my body, I can't figure like, maybe everything is scary, I need to be so careful, I could break my head open, no. So, we're really there's nothing empowering about that message. But we can check in with our child when they start climbing up as your body feel safe. What's your plan? What's your plan for keeping your body safe? While you're walking on there? Do you need my help? how close your foot is to the edge there? You're empowering them with all of this, okay, so when I'm by myself, what does my body feel safe? And it could be like, not a physical safety, is my body feel safe in this situation with all my friends? What do I how do I feel right now? You're empowering them to check in with themselves and to trust themselves to like, Yeah, I do feel safe. I don't feel safe. And our children if you notice, once you start giving them their space, they don't do things that are beyond their limitations. they really stay like they might push pretty far but they're pretty give me yes, you need to be there to spot them. Because I'm thinking about this one who's sick right here, if you're watching the video, I'm nursing my sick child, but she wants to do everything her big sister does. Everybody's just not quite ready. So, we have to have this conversation a lot, but she isn't doing a jump with two feet. She's trying, but they have their limitations within their body, they have that sense and you want to encourage that. And not, as I said, just physically, but also emotionally. So, when they are teenagers, and they are in that group of kids, and they're just like, nobody doesn't feel safe right now. I don't want to go home with those people. I'm so used to checking in with myself and how I feel that it's just innate in within them to trust that sense of knowing, and be like, I'm going to call my parents to pick me up.
Christa: It's like you're trusting your intuition, but learning how to work on that as a kid and kind of grow into that, and learning like what feels good to you and feel safe to you. And so I'm sure too, it's like at different ages, kind of giving them a little independence to be like, you have the ability to make this decision based on how you feel versus me saying, no, you can't do that, because of this, then they can be like, Oh, I feel like I might fall here. So, I'm going to do this.
Sonnet: Right? And if it's up to them, like they're not trying to push it, I'm going to do it anyway. And then they get hurt. Right? They're just like, Okay, I have to decide, hmm, what should I do? To me now?
Christa: Yeah. So, for parents that are listening right now, they're like, this is so intriguing. Like, maybe they've never heard of this type of parenting. What advice do you have for parents like hiding kind of wanting to ease their way into it, and then starting to kind of heal their own wounds and just kind of dive in?
Sonnet: Well, I think starting with that ladder of needs is really helpful, because it's going to start, you're going to start seeing the different unmet needs that your child might be having, and being able to really put words to it. And then as you do, you're like, okay, so they are having a need for connection, what comes up for you? Are you like, Oh, God, I've spent all day with them? Or, you know, like, what else do they need from me, or what? What's the trigger that's coming up for you in those needs, so that you can start examining your work, because it might be that you've spent all day with them, but there's maybe something else at play, that they're looking for that connection, or that safety and really diving into that, that work. So, starting with the ladder of needs, I think it's just a good framework to start from, because it's simple and straightforward. And it's extremely effective and helpful for behavior and seeing those results that we so want his parents, I'd like just give me results like this other work is great, but like, I need my child to listen. So, it's really helpful for that. And then we have a workshop, you can get just that if you don't want to get our whole course, we have just a workshop on tantrums. And it's, I think, $40 or something, and you learn all of that. So, you can start there. And then if you want to really dive into that internal work that starts coming up, as you start learning a new way, we have one around discipline. And we also have one about transforming ourselves and our parent and our connection with our parenting partner and working with siblings and like the work just never ends, right? So, I think for myself and I probably other people are similar. It's just like, you feel like oh my gosh, I have to get this together so that I can be the best parent I like right now. And it's just a process. Like they're evolving, and we're evolving, and we're doing it together. And so, there's we repair part of that process is like, Hey, Mommy got really upset. I'm sorry. Like, I was frustrated. You don't blame the child. But we just we own our part of it, and we teach them how to repair and then they're so willing to be like, okay, Mommy's going to work on being upset. And I'm going to work out, you know, like, there's just ways of creating that, that connection by repairing those moments that we have as parents that are inevitable.
Christa: Yeah, and I'm sure that shows like healthy like assessment, like self-assessment of being like you were talking about earlier, like, how do I feel in this situation or just knowing it's a marathon, not a sprint, and just life is a journey, we can kind of constantly do those self-assessments and see how we feel in those moments.
Sonnet: Yeah, it's true. I love that. Like, I mean, that's such a good reminder, this life is a journey, we get so caught up so desperately wanting what's best for our children, and just to be the best for them and all of that and like we are the parents that they're supposed to have, and we're all supposed to be on this journey. You know, it is a journey to get there.
Christa: Absolutely. Well, awesome. This was such an interesting episode, and I feel like I learned a lot and I know it's such a unique way of parenting and I think more people should be aware of it and more aware of healing our own wounds before bringing it into parenting and kind of understanding how we can do that with self-assessment kind of thing. So, this was awesome. So, I'm so glad we are talking about this, had someone on to talk about this.
Sonnet: Thank you. Thank you so much for your flexibility with having my little sick here too.
Christa: Of course.
Sonnet: When they're sick, they just connect, they just need to attach.
Christa: Right? Right? And so, I actually always end these interviews with a fun thinking crap question. And so, if you have a billboard me today, we could share one tip with moms everywhere. What would you have it say?
Sonnet: One tip, I think my tip would just be like, You are enough. You are enough. Like that's just so simple. But it really is just all of it. Whether we lost it that day, or we were perfect that day, like the next day is going to be completely different. And we just have to have that sense of knowing within ourselves that we're enough because that's really what we teach our children.
Christa: Yeah, awesome. Love it. And last but not least, where can everyone find you on Instagram and then like the name of your course and any other things you want to share?
Sonnet: @raisingchildrenyoulike is our Instagram handle. Our website, you can find all of the workshops and our like Mega course. It has been just like all the workshops bundled together all on our link tree in our Instagram or on our website.
Christa: Alright, awesome.
Sonnet: We're there in DMS. So, if you have questions, please just say hi. Come on over and say hi.
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