Croissant chupa chups dragée donut apple pie.
A podcast where you join me (Penny!) as I chat to fellow creatives over a cocktail.
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Michelle Tangeman is a mom of two and a licensed therapist specializing in maternal mental health and pediatric behavior support.
She is also the founder of Thriving Toddler, an online resource that helps parents navigate toddlerdom and the preschool years, and she is the co-host of Parenting Understood, a research-based parenting podcast with Dr. Erin O’Connor from NYU.
Her attempt to wean the pacifier – as mom vs. therapist.
Staying on the same parenting page with your partner. What does the conversation look like? And how to set boundaries.
Her journey and how her children were the catalyst to start her private practice and Thriving Toddler
The importance of taking action toward your goals even if it’s small steps
Advice on small things she does to instill mindfulness in her young kids
Her experience with postpartum depression (PPD) and how she works with clients to work through it
Importance of sleep, building inner strength and self-care
How to react to toddler tantrums both toward the child and within yourself – some of these practices are great for any anxiety-driven or heat-of-the-moment type of situations
The Calm Classroom – @thecalmclassroom
Playing with Intention (0 – 4 years old) – https://www.thrivingtoddler.com/playing-with-intention
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[00:00:00] Stephanie: Welcome back to Mommy’s on a Call. Today I’m excited to bring to you Michelle Tangeman.
Michelle is a mom of two and a licensed therapist specializing in maternal mental health and pediatric behavior support. She is also the founder of thriving toddler, an online resource that helps parents navigate toddlerdom and the preschool year.
She is also the co-host of parenting understood a research-based parenting podcast with Dr. Erin O’Connor from NYU. Welcome Michelle.
[00:01:23] Michelle: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:01:25] Stephanie: I’m excited to have you to start. What is your biggest mom win of the week?
[00:01:30] Michelle: Biggest mom win of the week. You know what? I don’t know that it’s a win yet, but I feel good about it.
And that is I’m going to, I’m going to start weaning the pacifier.
[00:01:39] Stephanie: Ooh. So how old are your two kids
[00:01:43] Michelle: I’m committing to it? This could be big deal. So I have two kids. I have a four year old and a 21 month old.
[00:01:51] Stephanie: Wow. We need the pacifier. So what’s your like technique? What are you going to do for the.
[00:01:55] Michelle: So, you know, I’m all about like individualized approaches, right?
So like each of our children are uniquely different and my son, you know, is very different from my daughter. So my daughter never took the paci. So I never had to wane quote unquote, and you know, there’s lots of different methods and in my opinion, there’s no right or wrong. You just do what feels good to you and what feels right for your child.
My child has his pacifier if I let him in his mouth all day long. So, and to the point where he’s has put holes in them. Like, I think he wears them out.
[00:02:28] Stephanie: No, they bought it. They put it on the side is why I’m asking for a friend here because my 21 month old has a pacifier. And I, you know, I’ve dealt with this with the last two kids, but each one you’re right.
Is different. And so I’m curious. Yeah. What, what method are you going to go? Because I tried the cutting off the tip with one. And instead they just like, they loved the wubbanub. So she would just walk around holding it and like literally biting what was remaining
[00:02:54] Michelle: yeah. Yeah. And that’s totally, what’s going to happen with my son.
So I’m going to take a gradual approach now. I’m not going to nerd out too much and I’m not going to do like this whole like data collection thing that a behavior analyst would do because I’m a mom and I’m working and I don’t have the time for that. But I am going to just, you know, like have a good idea.
Like I’m gonna take mental note of how long in his day does he really have his pacifier in? I don’t know about you, but I can be sometimes overly dramatic and be like it’s in his mouth all day long, but no, I’m going to take, I’m going to really look, I’m going to take careful notes, kept careful observation, and I’m going to do a gradual approach.
So instead of going from all day long to okay, just for nap and bedtime. I’m going to slowly take away the pacifier in certain periods of our routine. So instead of like giving it to him right away, I’m going to just wait five minutes. Right. Even waiting that small amount of time is a win. So that, that’s what I was thinking about.
When you asked me, what’s your mom win of the week? It’s that? Because losing the pacifier is a big deal for him. Like he’s he really depends on.
[00:04:05] Stephanie: And what I was going to ask is like, does he ask for it or is it something like
[00:04:10] Michelle: you go, okay. Oh yeah. If he doesn’t have it, it’s passing Patsy, Patsy, Patsy, Patsy.
I don’t know. They’re all, they’ve all disappeared.
[00:04:18] Stephanie: I like to hide in the back of the crib and then she’s like, I’m like, Oh, yeah. You know, it’s so interesting. I found that one of mine was just addicted to like the actual stuffed animal, like I was saying. And so I’m like, oh, so here, I’m just going to replace it with a stuffed animal.
And we were all good because for us, it was transitioning between having a baby at a time. The baby was coming. And I knew if the toddler was seeing the pacifier she’d want it. But now my last kid, 21 months, I’m like, what do I do? Like, she’s, it’s not like she cries for it, but then it’s like annoying. And I think her teeth are getting messed up.
So I was curious, what would Dr. Michelle say, not mom, Michelle?
[00:05:00] Michelle: Yeah. Well, you know, so as a therapist, I would say, well, like what, what’s your main concern? I can totally identify personally, like. It’s impacting his dental development and the D the pediatric dentist said so, but she said, you know, I’m not anti-paci and it’s okay to have the pacifier, if you want it.
I said, it’s real. She said, it’s up to me. So I’m thinking like, okay, when is a good time for me? Right. When do I mentally feel? Okay. So I would ask you the same question. Like, are you in a place mentally, like, just check in with yourself and be like, are you prepared for. For what’s going to happen when you do decide to take it away, because the reality is, is that’s their comfort.
That’s what soothing them. When you take that away. Yes. Try to have an appropriate replacement, but they’re going to ask for it. They’re going to be irritable. They’re going to be fussy or there might be wine ear, right. Again, depends on the child’s temperament. And then say, when you’re mentally ready, have a plan and then be ready to execute that plan.
And don’t, I, you don’t have to be rigid. Like if, if they’re teething, for example, I was just mentioning like, my son has his last molars coming out. I’m not going to take away the paci when he’s teething, like that’s his comfort. So I think it goes back to when is a good time for you, how committed are you to doing it?
And then just stick with it.
[00:06:21] Stephanie: I hear that. I was going to say mine, she’s like biting on it and she’s making that like squeaking noise. Cause I think she’s using it as like to soothe her. But it’s interesting. You say it’s like, when you’re ready, not like, not even necessarily when they’re ready, but when you’re ready as the mom.
And so how would you as a mom deal with it when you know, they are screaming and they are wanting it, but you know, you do need to keep those boundaries or else they’re going to go right back into it. What would you do?
[00:06:49] Michelle: Right. And you don’t want to be inconsistent, right. It’s okay to be like, you know what, maybe this is not the right time.
Right. And I’m going to give it to you, but don’t let that don’t fall into the trap of like, keep like, okay, restarting. Right. And then I’m going to do this over and over again, because then now you’re creating behavioral patterns and they’re like, oh, you know, boundaries. Right. My mom, like, she doesn’t really mean what she says.
So I think the important thing would be to. Just decide. And when you feel like you have the courage, like not the courage, but you know, like the, the stamina, the energy to do it, have the replacement, I call it a replacement behavior in mind. Okay. So what is something that is equally comforting potentially that you can give as a replacement, as this kind of buffer period to kind of support them through that transition.
And it could be something like you need, like you did like the lovey, or it could be just a little extra cuddles. Again, it depends on the child. My son, I’m probably going to go with like tickles, right. He wants that closeness and he wants that. He’s a very lovey touchy child.
And so I’m probably going to give him a lot of that in this transition period.
[00:07:59] Stephanie: Well, I’m going to help you manifest that positive wins. So I love that win to step it back, give the audience a little bit of context. I know you have two kids about your family structure. What are the roles that you and your partner play and kind of, what does that look like in your family?
[00:08:15] Michelle: Yeah, great question. And so I’m primarily a stay at home mom that I do have a private practice and I do see some clients. But primarily, I would say my number one role is to be home and raise our children. My husband is a child psychologist, and he’s primarily out of the house now, now that it worked kind of in our new normal now with COVID post COVID, I’m not really sure what.
So during the day, a lot obviously falls on me, but my partners and my husband is very active. And I think the beauty, you know, people say this, like, what’s it like having to like therapist and child therapist? That’s the way I was thinking. Just like,
[00:08:54] Stephanie: I didn’t realize he was a psychologist.
[00:08:56] Michelle: Yeah. So, you know what I’ll say?
What I’ll say is that no, we’re not psychoanalyzing her kids, but what I will say is that because we have similar backgrounds in terms of we have a heavy behavioral background, we’re always on the same page. Not always, like, that’s not fair to say 90% of the time we’re on the same page. And when either of us are doing what we know, we probably shouldn’t be doing.
We’re good at calling each other out, but with love and support, he has to know that like I’m with them all the time and all day long. And so I’m going to maybe give in when he’s maybe really a lot better with the boundary, but sometimes I’m just to turn it and I’m okay with, you know, giving a little bit of extra TV time that day.
Yeah, no, I would say that would be the big, like the big thing is that for the most part we’re on the same page. And I think that goes a long way in terms of keeping things consistent and really predictable for both kids,
[00:09:52] Stephanie: any tips on how to actually stay on the same page for those who might not always be on the same parenting page.
How do you, like if you even work with clients or how do you get your spouse or your partner, your co-parent on the same page? Great
[00:10:07] Michelle: question. It really comes down to one thing and that is having a conversation, having a conversation. And most, most couples don’t have these conversation. And that is talking to each other about how were you parenting.
And did you like about your parenting style, your parents’ parenting style? What did you not like? What were your biggest memories about how that, how you were disciplined?
I think when the two of you have an open conversation about that and you have this exchange, it gives you a really good idea because the number one way we parent is how we were parented and we either have a strong reaction, like, oh, like I really didn’t like that. And I’m not going to be that parent. And so you, and you do the exact opposite, right? Or you’re like, I loved everything about it and I’m going to do the exact same thing. So I think having those conversations and then agreeing, what do we think about these certain topics that are relevant to us right now?
Right? Because what’s relevant to it in the toddler stages. Obviously it could be vastly different in the teen stage. So talking about, well, what’s relevant now. Well, you and I both have toddlers, so they’re engaging in all kinds of nonsense, like fighting, not listening, throwing tantrums, or
[00:11:21] Stephanie: like almost physically hurting themselves this morning.
My daughter literally like jumped and sat on the ground and threw her head back. And I was like, oh, she like, she does this thing where she does that, but she never slammed her head on the ground. She’s like, how’s the core strength, but I’m like, none of my kids ever had physical tantrums. And I personally have no idea what to do.
And I think it’s like, yeah, well, like where do we do? How do we do?
[00:11:45] Michelle: Yeah. So like when one parents responds one way and under the same conditions and a parent response, and the other parent responds in a different way. What messages do you think that that’s sending to the child? Child’s confused, right?
They’re like, oh, well. And then that’s where you see children behave differently with one parent versus another parent. And so talking about like common values, what specifically, what are our values together in parenting? What do we want to see long-term for our kids and then specifically. About the toddler years.
So we really need to be good about boundaries. Do we agree on that? Okay. Well, what does that look like? When a happens? How do we respond? When B happens? How do we respond? How do we feel about discipline techniques? Like spanking out something called like response costs, like taking something away from them.
You know, what, where do you guys stand? I think so. Just simply proactively having a conversation beforehand, I think is going to tell you a lot. And if you’re really butting heads and you’re not agreeing. Then it’s probably time to really sit down and be like, okay, what are the long-term potential?
Long-term consequences of that, right? Of us not agreeing being on the same page, you may not see it right away, but you’re gonna, you’re going to see it for sure, as they get a little bit older.
[00:13:04] Stephanie: Especially when you’re in the toddler years. You’re so focused on just like what’s happening that day because every day is like the biggest thing.
That’s so hard to see it out in the future.
[00:13:14] Michelle: Yeah, I just like, I’m getting through it. I’m surviving. I just need to get through the day.
[00:13:18] Stephanie: Well, before the toddler years had hit you, what did your pre mom life look like? Cause before you, you had to step back a little and then transitioned to what made you launch a company and, you know, continue doing this.
[00:13:32] Michelle: Before children, you know, I ha I went, I went to college, I got a master’s degree. I got a job, you know, I got licensed. I did all the things that you, a therapist would do to get licensed. I worked for a really large agency, so I did a lot of agency work. I built, I went up the corporate ladder. And then by that time, I had kind of reached the top and I couldn’t really go further in my position there.
And at the same time I was getting married, I was getting licensed. I was able to open up a private practice and start a family and all those things. And so that was really the catalyst of of starting a company and starting my private practice was having children. My children inspired me to, to really make that leap because that’s a hard, you know, it’s really easy to like, hold on to that, that paycheck that you get every two weeks, right.
Versus like, okay, I’m gonna forge a new path for myself and I’m going to figure this out on my own at the same time I’m going to raise my children.
[00:14:32] Stephanie: Well, on that note, like there are a lot of moms out there who did take a step back and who might have these aspirations like any advice for them to like step out and how do they even start?
How do they do this? Like how do you find the time in the day to carve out, to work on thriving toddler and then your private practice? How do you do that as primarily the stay-at-home mom?
[00:14:53] Michelle: Yeah. It’s not easy. I’ll say that. I mean, I say, I, I think that for, for women that have big dreams and big goals, I think you see, you have a vision of that end goal.
But I would say, remember that it’s a, it’s a journey and it’s not a linear line. Right. And it’s really about taking small steps. So I think just simply taking action and making one step in the direction that you want to go is all you have to do. And it could just be one thing every day, it could be creating some kind of account, right?
Like whether that be a social media account directly related to your business, just start small because. For me, my priority. Number one is to show up for my children to be there for my children, but I’m also very ambitious and I really want this to grow quickly and I have to check myself. I say, as long as I’m doing something.
It could be little every day. I’m living a valued, driven life because I’m taking action in that direction. And that one day it’s a cumulative effect and I’m going to start to see the fruits of my labor.
[00:16:04] Stephanie: How did you get that clarity on what you wanted to do? Because I think a lot of us also are like, okay, we can do this, we can do this.
And we, if we only have to pick one action a day or one little step, how do you structure that? How do you, what did you do to figure it out?
[00:16:19] Michelle: Oh gosh, I don’t know that I really still have that figured out. I think I’m still working on it, but what’s working for me now. I’m really. I get easily hung up and cut up on the to-do list, right?
Like when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s, it’s a million things that you could be doing. So I wake up, I meditate, I get my kids up. We start our day and I say, what is what’s top of my mind right now? What do I really want to work on? What do I want to work on? That’s really going to bring me joy today. And that’s how I’m choosing to do it today.
I don’t know if that that’s going to continue to serve me, but if it’s bringing me joy today and it’s moving in that direction that I’m looking at going towards, then that fee that’s a win for me.
[00:17:01] Stephanie: I like that because that also is in line with like self care. I love how you said you meditate in the morning.
I was curious. What time do you wake up? Do you have any sort of morning ritual and what do you do for yourself daily? Like one thing daily, that’s just for
[00:17:13] Michelle: you. Okay. So I wake up so early because my children wake up so early. I’m usually up by five. I had my kid, one of my kids is right now. I think we might be going through a regression.
He’s getting up at five 30 and the other one gets up anywhere between six and six, 15. Oh, that’s so early in my mind. It’s still early, but you know what? Like I’m a morning person. I thrive in the morning. Like I’m the girl that gets up in the morning wants to go on a walk before the sun comes up so that I could see the stars.
Cause I’d never get to see them in Los Angeles, but I go to bed at eight 30. So, and that, and that works. That works for us.
My ritual, I would say is that is the daily meditation. It’s been truly life-changing. And if it’s once, if there’s one thing, especially in periods of stress throughout the day, I just sit down wherever I am.
I don’t care what my kids are doing. As long as they’re safe, I sit down and I just focus on my breathing. I just focus on my breathing because sometimes you’re, you are alone and you have no resources to pull on right away. So you really have to go inward. And I have found that to be like a super power.
[00:18:24] Stephanie: Hm. Do you do any of that with your children?
[00:18:27] Michelle: Great question. No, and I’m going to, so here’s how I started though. I were doing like a one minute sitting still active. That’s it. Wow. Even you’re
[00:18:38] Stephanie: 21 month old.
[00:18:39] Michelle: No, no, no, no. He’s all over the place. So he doesn’t have to participate. My daughter, thankfully is very, she’s just a good girl.
She’s compliant. And so she’ll do it with me and we do it in front of a timer and we just sit still and that’s it. I love it. So I’m building, taking small steps like
[00:18:56] Stephanie: that small steps. I know. I keep looking at all of these different apps for kids and stuff. And like, I mean, I finally got them on cosmic kids, yoga, which my son absolutely loves.
And so I’m like, okay, maybe we can instill some mindfulness into that. But I, I was curious at what you were doing, cause it’s hard to get them to sit still and do that.
[00:19:14] Michelle: And I find that, you know, like there are other ways to be mindful. Like we go, I go on a walk daily with the kids and we, we engage in mindful senses. What do you hear?
What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste when you feel? How does that leaf feel that? Or how does that pine cone feel? Whatever it is that they’re picking? Tell me how the flower feels the smells. So doing mindful senses is a good one. And I also like, there’s a lot of great mindfulness activities just in general, but I like the cards.
The cards are my kids’ favorites in terms of holding something tangible. And then they look at the picture. They tell me about the picture. Well, I should say my four-year-old. She tells me about the picture. I read it to her and then she likes to play. It’s like a fun little game.
[00:19:57] Stephanie: Is this in your intentional play kind of book that you have?
Because I’m like, I need some of these tips. I need some activities to do with the kids that is like that. Would you like, tell me more about these cards. What is this?
[00:20:10] Michelle: Yeah, so, okay. So no, the mindfulness activities are not embedded in what you’re talking about, which is called playing with intention. But now that you mentioned that maybe I should add it in, or
[00:20:20] Stephanie: just create an entire thing on mindful practices with like mindful play with your kids. Cause I don’t think I seen anything out there on that.
[00:20:28] Michelle: And mindful play, you know, there’s a lot of just mindful. Cards. And then I’m starting to see the ones that I really like. You know, I’m going to have to, I’m going to have to share with them, share the two that I liked.
The one I found both of them, I actually found on Instagram.
One of ’em is. The calm classroom. So this is a, I think an educator in the LA area and she, her whole thing is on mindfulness and I love her profile. I love her Instagram account. And so I purchased her downloadable PDF and I love it. It’s great. I used it in my therapy practice. I use it with. But, yeah, they’re just simple cards and playing with intention.
I created for parents zero with kids zero to four, and obviously there’s a lot happening from the ages of zero to four. Your children are rapidly growing at this time, but I really created it out of my postpartum depression early on with my first child. I was like, you know what? I’m really creating structure because I’ve lost all that structure.
I was a career woman. I had a highly structured day. I was really successful in that. And then that transition to stay at home mom and raising a baby. I really found myself craving that structure and also taking the knowledge that I have and using it to maximize my playtime with my child. So really keeping development in mind.
And so I created, I started creating these images. And so it starts off. What I did was I took these developmentally normed assessments that I use in my private practice. And then I put them in these categories, which by the way, which is nothing like life-changing or different or new, like you can Google it on the online and find all the development.
But anyway, it starts with the milestone. So you know what your kids are working on during this time period, and then it moves into a schedule and then it moves into specific play activities that you can engage in. And then I also, as your child gets older, I talk about how to engage with your child. So you’re building their problem, solving skills, executive functioning skills when you’re working on processing memory and working memory.
And so I kind of talk about those pieces too. And then the big piece that’s really, I think. Awesome about this resource is that I talk about how you can build using these seven tips in every play routine is how you build language, expressive language self-management skills, which are important in terms of self-regulation as well and social skills.
So how you can use all of those components in your everyday play active.
[00:23:00] Stephanie: Oh, I like it. How do you then stay sane doing all of this, like doing all the play, like I know. So I want to kind of switch gears and put the lens on you as a mom. And so, you know, you were saying like, it was hard in the first year because you lost that feeling of structure and stuff.
And then now you have these activities and it’s great. And like you’re setting boundaries kind of for yourself and then also creating activities for your kids.
But for you, I know. How did you cope with that? Like anxiety or change an identity. And I know you deal with a lot of postpartum moms in your practice, too.
What are some of, kind of the tips or things that you see or talk about a lot to help moms? I feel like this year, obviously we hear the words, burnout and overwhelm, and it’s like, Over said words. I think currently that it almost like means nothing now. Like everyone’s overwhelmed and burnt out. But when we’re talking about that, like, what are you seeing?
A lot of what your kids are doing too, is exacerbating that it’s like making you more anxious or, you know, whether it’s postpartum hormones or it’s your kids going back to school. How has you as a mom. And you can even put like Dr. Michelle hat on, on like how you speak to your moms. You know, what are some tips that we can do to focus on relieving that anxiety and stress in our own daily lives?
[00:24:19] Michelle: Yeah. You know, I like to say, you know, I really want to put an emphasis on an individualized approach, you know, like sure. I could give general general examples, but not everything is going to speak to everyone. Right? Like, and so a lot of it w what I think is great about therapy and the type of therapy I do is very, very short-term.
I graduate most of my clients even before the 12 week period. And they usually see a great impression. By session six. And the reason for that is, is it’s very, it’s active. I’m asking moms to engage and do the homework that I’m giving them. And it’s not like this huge homework excitement, but you know, it’s really this process of working together and finding what works I say, here are the evidence-based tools that we know that will support you.
And then assigning that homework, having that mom do that for a week and reporting back and then working collaboratively together to move through it.
For me and my own personal experience with postpartum depression. That was a, that was a true journey for me in my, I would call my depression situational. Like I had experienced it once in college and then I experienced it again in the transition to motherhood.
And that’s exactly what it was. It was the transition that was really challenging for me. In addition to the lack of sleep.
So my first question to all moms is how much are you sleeping? So if you’re overly anxious or if you’re depressed, if you identify with any of that, my number one question is how much are you sleeping?
And then I kind of work from there. What are your current coping skills? How do you spend your day? Are you hyper-focused on just being a mom, right? Or are you completely disengaged with your children? Both sides are problematic. So it’s this ongoing relationship and assessment of what’s going on looking big picture and saying, okay, let’s rephrase.
And let’s give you some tools let’s just reframing. And let’s give you these tools and see how that works. For me, going back to meditation, meditation was honestly the best thing I could do because me, like most moms during the pandemic had really limited resources in terms of help. Right. You were pretty much on your own and when you will have no resources to pull upon that you were used to, it really takes a lot of inner strength and it can be small.
So also talking about self-care well, what does, what does that mean? Does that mean, you know, and that’s also heavily talked about in the media and what I want to say about self care is. It could be really, really simple as saying no to something, having really clear boundaries with yourself so that you also have really good boundaries with your children and with your spouse.
And so it just kind of starts with yourself and then it starts to expand into your immediate environment.
[00:27:05] Stephanie: So for the moms who have a hard time saying no, or setting boundaries, what is kind of the first step they can take? I know so many moms who like, know what they’re supposed to do, but they don’t actually do it.
And then they get their selves so overwhelmed because they said yes to everything. How do you maybe in your own personal life, make the decision of what to say yes to and what to say no to?
[00:27:25] Michelle: Prioritize, what are my values? What’s really important to me right now. You know, at this moment in time, it’s always ever evolving and ever changing.
And sometimes it’s changing day to day, week to week, month to month. But I say, what are my top two priorities right now for my business? What are my top two priorities for myself as a mom? What are my top two priorities, et cetera, et cetera. And then when I am faced with a yes or no response, I’m looking at my list internally saying, okay, does it fit into one of these categories, if it does it it’s an easy, no.
So that’s why I’m saying really knowing what’s important to you at this moment in time is real. It’s going to make. That direction really easy for you.
[00:28:08] Stephanie: I love that. So now I wanted to ask a personal question, my own curiosity on the toddlerdom stuff, because I, well, first of all, are you going to expand past the four years old?
Because now that your daughter, I mean, yeah, your daughter is going to be older. Are you going to do more than toddlers?
[00:28:23] Michelle: Yes. I mean, the business plan is to expand right now. Yes. I’m focusing mainly on toddlerhood because it’s obviously very relevant to me, but I will definitely expand into the teen years. I don’t know. I don’t have it all figured out yet. That’s okay. But I will, I’ll get
[00:28:39] Stephanie: nice. Well, on the toddler then question, I wanted to go back to tantrums because this is something that is new for me. Like I’ve never, never seen this. Like I’ve had the whining tantrums, those, but never like extremely. Yeah. How do you approach a child who literally throws themselves on the ground backwards?
Who could possibly have physical harm on themselves? And when, when it’s like, you’ve never, I, at least we haven’t changed our parenting through all three kids, but obviously she’s the third.
[00:29:08] Michelle: Right. And she has her own individual maids and she’s going to express herself. She sounds very expressive by the way, herself in a different way.
So, you know, you tailor your parenting tools to that child. So for her. Okay. So whenever I’m faced with any parenting problem. I like to go with, how can I be proactive in this situation? What skills are they lacking that I could be helping them build and teach in the moment? And the third piece of it is how can I respond when it does happen?
Because you can be proactive all you want, but the reality is. She’s a toddler and she’s going to have a tantrum. She’s not have big feelings and so it’s going to happen. So what’s the plan when it does happen. And so I’d like to look at it in a very objective way, because when, especially like when two parents disagree about how to engage with their tantruming toddler. Sometimes we’re working too much in the subjective and to make it more objective, we say, okay, let’s stop.
What is this behavior communicating? Did I say no? And so I said, no, because she can’t have a cookie right before dinner. That’s reasonable. And she’s going to have to work through that.
So. What is this behavior communicating? That’s question number one.
And then question number two is, well, what can I teach her? So if she’s mad, because I said, no, well there, that might not be a teaching opportunity in that moment. It’s just, I have to tolerate this. Right. So then it’s a matter of validating your child because all feelings you don’t have control of your feelings that’s why we say to validate the. It’s very frustrating not to get what you want. I see that you’re really angry. Let me help you calm down. Let’s do something else together, right. That only works at a certain level of escalation. If they’re really escalated, then you’re like start pulling your hair and like on the move.
So he doesn’t, you know, she doesn’t keep pulling your hair, but like, you know what, I’m here when you’re ready, you know, sometimes they just have to work through it. That’s part of the age.
But the important thing is how do you. Making sure that you don’t give into the cookie. Right? Like at some point some parents are just like, fine. Like, I can’t deal with this right now. I’m I’m I, I have a really small bandwidth. I don’t have any more energy and frazzled, like fine. Just take the cookie and walk away.
Well, what that’s teaching is that I can throw a tantrum and eventually get what I want. So making sure you hold the line, work through it at this age, as they get a little bit older like four and five, then it’s really starts to talk. We talk about like really building their skills and making sure that you’re teaching, like how to ask for things appropriately, ask for things and how to like, tolerate tolerate when you’re denied access to something. I would say that’s a big trigger for all kids.
[00:31:48] Stephanie: Yeah. But on the flip side, on the mom’s side, how would you kind of center yourself? Or how do you approach it? Cause like the step, like in my mind, I’m like, yes, I know I’m supposed to validate the feelings, blah, blah, blah. But they’re sitting here screaming or pulling your hair or kicking the sibling and you’re about to lose it.
Just like what you said. Like, I can’t deal with this anymore. I’ve had like the longest day it happens maybe at bath time and you’re just like done. What, as we, as moms can do for ourselves in order to make sure that we don’t personally escalate the situation because we give in or we just lose
[00:32:23] Michelle: it for sure.
And that’s going to happen and you’ll beat yourself up. But when those have, when that happens, try to redirect yourself.
So a couple of things, the pause, the simple act of just pausing is an exercise in itself. That’s a skill in itself. Just pause. Don’t react, don’t respond. Just say nothing.
[00:32:40] Stephanie: And then we called it le pause.
So, I don’t know someone, I think I remember, I don’t know if it was about kids, but they’re like, just take le pause
[00:32:49] Michelle: like that. That’s very fancy the pause, or if that’s what going to work for you again, like there’s no one size fits all approach. There’s an exercise where you put, you put your, take your hand and put it on a hard surface, like with your fingers separated and then start to trace your hand.
And if you want to, you could add like a breathing exercise. ’cause it’s it brings you into the present moment and it’s a, it’s a nice redirection. So it’s, it’s a mindfulness activity. So you could start to trace your hand inhaling when you hit the top of the thumb finger and then you exhale and then you continue the pattern.
And that could be a good intervention for yourself as a mom, because I certainly use that often. Another thing too, if you didn’t want to do that.
There’s another mindfulness exercise when you’re in the heat of the moment. I’m going to lose my mind right now. Direct your attention to your feet. How do my feet feel?
Are they sweaty? Are they, what do my feet feel like? What do my socks feel like? What did the shoe feel like? Where where’s my foot hitting the ground again, that’s redirecting your attention to something else. And then it centers you to be able to show up for your kids the way that they need you to show up.
[00:34:02] Stephanie: I like that. I also feel like that’s something you can teach your kids too. It’s like simple. It’s not like here, we’re going to learn breath work or all of that.
[00:34:10] Michelle: Yeah. I mean, breath work is great, but in the moment that’s not helping anybody breathwork only is effective when you’re teaching those situations outside of the triggering event.
But when you’re, when everybody’s in the heat of the moment, if you can get your child to redirect to the bottom of their feet.
[00:34:25] Stephanie: Great. But it almost makes me giggle to like, think of your feet. Cause it’s almost distracting. I love it. Yeah.
Well, to wrap things up, I wanted to ask, what do you think is your mom’s super power?
Something that you gained once you became a mom that makes you better at business or life or being a parent, whatever that is, what is a superpower that you gained once you became a mom.
[00:34:49] Michelle: That’s a good question. You know, before my super, before I had kids, my superpower was being organized. Like it was really organized and like, it was a very efficient person that all went out the window when I became a mom.
And I’m still trying to figure that out. So that would have been my answer. But my superpower as a mom, I don’t know, it’s gotta be something related to like, Staying on track being consistent, being predictable, because I just know how important that is for me, for just me in general. But I think I also show and teach that to my children.
[00:35:26] Stephanie: And where can we find you
[00:35:27] Michelle: online? So you can find me at michelle tangeman dot com and you can also find me at thrivingtoddler.com and on Instagram at thriving dot toddler. Perfect.
[00:35:38] Stephanie: Well, thank you so much for joining
[00:35:40] Michelle: today. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank
[00:35:43] Stephanie: you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call.
Your support means the absolute world to me. You can find the show notes for this episode and other. Over at mommy’s on a call.com. And if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach and empower more moms all over the world together.
Thank you so much again, mommy pod, and I will see you here next time.