“Microwaaaaaaave!!!!!” my 3-year-old son screamed. This was one of his most impressive tantrums!
His cheeks were red, his limbs were flailing and tears were spilling down his reddened face. My little guy was heated! You see …
Oliver had wanted his waffle microwaved. And his noncompliant mama—that’d be me—had toasted it instead.
In this moment of total toddler meltdown, my inner guide whispered to me.
Sometimes, I hear messages from angels or spirit guides …
Other times, I channel mentors or ancestors who have passed over to the other side …
But in the midst of Ollie’s waffle woes, I heard the voice of Dr. Becky Kennedy: “Take Oliver to a smaller space and sit with him.”
You’ll hear about Dr. Becky’s GENIUS advice for soothing children (and yourself!) in the midst of tantrums on today’s episode of the Dear Gabby podcast.
Because … Dr. Becky is in the house!
All of my mom friends were so jealous when they heard I was sitting down with this revered clinical psychologist. Dr. Becky gives the BEST parenting advice.
But the truth is, this episode isn’t just for people who care for kids. Whether you’re the parent of a toddler (hello, tantrums!), want to feel more sturdy in the presence of your own big emotions, or simply want to foster more secure relationships, this episode has beautiful takeaways for you.
Listen to this Big Talk with Dr. Becky to learn:
- How you can mend relationships with everyone in your life (Dr. Becky calls this “the repair,” and it’s changed the way I relate to my loved ones)
- What every new parent REALLY needs (forget the freaking swaddle and listen to this!)
- How to soothe yourself, your partner or your child when tantrums or big emotions take over (Dr. Becky says this is the KEY to self-regulating)
- The simple thing you can say to a loved one to help them feel less fearful in a trying situation
Training for Tantrums
As I share in this episode, working as a motivational speaker was actually good training for becoming a mom. Speaking onstage in front of thousands of people, I had to learn to co-regulate with the audience. In other words, I had to create an environment that felt secure.
At my events, audience members bravely step forward during the Q&A sessions and bring up big issues that are weighing them down. And often, they speak about traumas that can be triggering to everyone in the room.
To make sure the energy of the entire audience doesn’t tank, I use some techniques to help people feel regulated and safe. And if I can do this with hundreds of people, I can do it with one toddler!
Self-Care & Soothing
In today’s episode, I open up about the ways I make Ollie—and those in the spirit junkie community—feel safe, seen, soothed and secure. These techniques don’t just apply to taking care of a child or someone else; you can use them to take better care of yourself.
In Chapter 9 of my newest book, Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace, I write:
At first I thought I was reading [parenting books] only to strengthen my bond with Oliver, but I came to see how I could apply them to myself. I could become my own internal parent and heal my past attachment wounds by respecting and honoring my inner child parts by applying the same methods I would offer to my son. —Happy Days, page 176
The thing is, taking care of yourself and taking care of your child aren’t just related—they’re inextricably linked. As Dr. Becky shares in this episode, someone recently came up to her and said, “I’m on to you! You’re in the business of helping adults heal and feel more grounded and sturdier. And you just happened to get our attention with a topic we care about, which is our children!”
And indeed, Dr. Becky is a healer to all—children, adults, parents, people who don’t have or don’t want kids … The techniques she shares can help us all get a better grasp of our emotions.
Throughout this episode, Dr. Becky and I keep circling back to a theme: We do not judge you as a parent … and you should not judge yourself! There are many different ways to parent.
Some people have a stack of dog-eared books from child psychologists on their bedside. Others haven’t read a single tweet about child-rearing or toddler tantrums. And guess what? No matter which type of parent you are, you’re doing just fine.
There is no wrong place to be in your parenthood journey, and there’s no definitively right place, either. As Dr. Becky says in this Big Talk, sometimes her husband teases her, “You should follow Dr. Becky on Instagram! I think you’d really love her advice.” (Oh, and by the way … my husband has told me to “read a Gabby Bernstein book,” too!) Spiritual teachers, clinical psychologists—everyone needs a little help feeling more sturdy from time to time.
Hear me when I say this: Whether you’re the parent to a child, in the midst of reparenting yourself, or just want to feel more at peace with your adult tantrums, you are in the right place. “The right time to make a change is always right now,” Dr. Becky says.
Now, press play and let the profound shifts begin for you and your child … and your inner child! I welcome all of you to this important conversation.
For more tips on how to self-soothe, check out the video below!
Get More Gabby
The following are helpful resources and books I mention in the episode:
Enrollment for the Bestseller Masterclass is open until May 18, 2022! If you have a book in you—or an idea for one—now’s your chance to fulfill your calling and create a bestseller. The best part is, you can learn every aspect of writing, publishing and marketing your book from the comfort of your own home. (Slippers encouraged.) Learn more here.
Dr. Becky Kennedy is a clinical psychologist, mother of three kids, and host of the popular Good Inside with Dr. Becky podcast. She was called the “Millennial parenting whisperer” by Time Magazine, and has tips for helping everyone—parents and non-parents alike—feel sturdy in the face of big emotions. You can learn more about her here. I’m so psyched to have her on my show today!
If you’re interested in learning more about IFS therapy, check out my Big Talk with IFS founder Dick Schwartz.
Want weekly coaching practices from me? I created the Miracle Membership to help you design a spiritual practice you can stick to—so you can feel connected, supported and inspired every day. Each week I deliver brand new workshops, guided meditations, community connection and so much more. Plus, it’s easy to access on your phone, computer or tablet. Click here to join.
If you feel you need additional support, please consult my go-to list of safety, recovery and mental health resources. I’m proud of you for being here.
This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.
The following podcast is a Dear Media production.
Before we dive into this very special episode with my friend, Dr. Becky, I have to share one thing, something that’s very important to me. While I write so many books and I ...
The following podcast is a Dear Media production.
Before we dive into this very special episode with my friend, Dr. Becky, I have to share one thing, something that’s very important to me. While I write so many books and I am here to serve and support you in your own personal growth. I also believe that I’m here to be a midwife for other people’s books.
One of my greatest missions is to help other folks bring their books out into the world in an authentic and soulful and grounded way. And that’s why I created my Bestseller Masterclass training enrollment is open now only for a few more days. And the Bestseller Masterclass is pretty much the best place to get the ins and outs of how to write and market your best-selling book.
You’re going to establish a clear message, create a clear outline, learn my step-by-step process on how to craft a book proposal that will sell to agents and publishers, how to self-publish, the nuts and bolts of how to get an agent, how to get a publisher, how to market your book. And I give you a six-month marketing plan learn directly from me with 23 video lessons training with industry experts, meditations, and a bonus 90-minute group training.
This is all happening. Act fast. We’re closing the doors for the year on May 18th. So head over to deargabby.com/bestsellermasterclass. That’s deargabby.com/bestsellermasterclass. Go check it out. There are amazing bonuses. I just don’t want you to miss this. If you know you have a book in you, go grab this course.
Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I’m not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from a psychological or medical condition, please seek help from a qualified health professional.
Hey there. Welcome to Dear Gabby. I’m your host Gabby Bernstein. And if you landed here, it is absolutely no accident. It means that you’re ready to feel good and manifest a life beyond your wildest dreams. Let’s get started.
GABBY: This is the most selfish Dear Gabby I will ever do. This is like, this is the one where you’re like, I literally sat down with you. I was like, I should be paying you.
DR. BECKY: You might not even put this out publicly. You don’t even know yet.
GABBY: Just like just my private therapy session, which really honestly, is like one of my big brags. One of my big brags in life is that I have Dr. Becky on speed dial. Well, I’m not kidding you.
DR. BECKY: You need a more exciting life.
GABBY: Excuse me, excuse me. I’m a mom of a toddler and I was at pickup the other day and I saw a girlfriend of mine and she’s like super into all this stuff. And she’s like, I started following Dr. Becky. I was like, excuse me, I have her on speed dial. She was like, shut the fuck up. So, you know, this is a moment in time. I want to just open by acknowledging how much you mean to so many of the people in my life. Because as you know, I’m a new mom. I have a three-year-old the majority of my staff are all parents and have, you know, one of them, one of ours, our head of customer happiness, the director of customer happiness has six daughters.
You know, like we’ve got a lot of, we’ve got a lot of tribe of people here in this community. And we’ve got also this, this vibe of, you know, when you become a new parent, you really kind of go one of two ways you go either headfirst into like, I want to learn everything I can or you’re just like, no, I don’t want to touch that shit.
And eventually, you find your way to Dr. Becky, but the people in my life are just obsessed with you. Like I was at dinner last night with my girlfriend, Jesse and Bobby, and they were quoting you at dinner. They’re like, do you do the two twos or whatever? I was like, oh my God, you guys are crazy. And I told them that I was interviewing today.
They texted me a question for you, so.
DR. BECKY: Really the means so much. And what I found in this journey is like, I just get to do more and more of what truly lights me up inside. And I watch it light other people up inside or them figure out things that they previously might not have had access to. And the fact that that can all happen together.
It’s a dream come true. I don’t even have words. So meeting people like you hearing people’s stories, hearing the things that then happen inside them with their kids. It’s just so inspiring. I’m so grateful. And also the fact that this led me to be able to meet you. I’ve known you for longer than you’ve known me in terms of even an online persona.
And I’ve looked up to you for so long and admired you. And so here we are, and I’m just so happy to be here.
GABBY: I was just so grateful and you know, it’s funny. It’s like when I just said earlier, you know, you go two ways. If there is a parent listening that didn’t, you know, seek parenting advice or look to a psychologist online or anything like that, or read the books or follow Dan Siegel or you or whoever, and you’re here now.
Amen. Welcome. Welcome to the conversation. So I just wanted to say that because I don’t want any, any, I start the show off with like mom judgment because it doesn’t matter when you start. Right. I would love to hear your thoughts on that.
DR. BECKY: No, I feel like I always have like kind of two things that come to mind when I think about that is that it’s never too early and it’s never too late and one is not more true than the other.
DR. BECKY: That’s just, and also I feel like this is a general principle that the right time to make a change is always right now. I said to myself, oh, a lot with something that I’ve been dragging my feet around, and then you feel so guilty. And then the guilt brings also some shame and then that freezes you in place.
And then it takes longer to make the changes you want. And that cycle can last hours, months, years. And when you can put your feet on the ground and say like, now is the moment the right time to make a change, a manageable change, a small change is right now. It’s never too early. It’s never too late. I know.
I feel like I can put some of the guilt and shame to the side and say hi to it and then be more present. So hopefully every parent or non-parent listening can be in that space with us.
GABBY: Yeah. I actually always ask myself, you know, what can I do today? What did I do today? I don’t, I’m not like, oh, all the things I didn’t do before, but what can I do today? To your point too, I think that there’ll be a lot of parents listening, but also these practices that you share often, really, I apply to myself. Because a lot of it is about reparenting ourselves, all of the work that I’ve studied from child psychologists and even just anyone that’s a parenting expert has been for me, something I’ve applied in my own life as well.
DR. BECKY: I think that’s where the money is.
DR. BECKY: I think about someone who said to me, I’m on to you. I feel like you’re really in the business of helping adults kind of heal and feel more grounded and feel sturdier. And you just happened to get our attention with a topic we care about, which is our children.
And I’ve never thought about it that way, but, but she wasn’t wrong.
GABBY: You’re undercover a little bit.
DR. BECKY: But the big irony there is we can’t change interactions with our kids until we change interactions with ourselves. And once we change how we interact with ourselves, we actually watch ourselves show up with our kids so differently in a natural way and show up differently with a partner, with someone at work or with your in-laws.
It really can’t start on the outside. But when you change on the inside, everything can change on the outside.
GABBY: I have to echo that in every corner of my life. It’s when we put our own personal growth first, our children will benefit everyone in our life benefits our husbands our wives or whoever just benefit because that shift in our energy creates a ripple effect.
One thing we all need to be taking care of is our gut. It impacts literally everything from your weight to your mood, to your skin and your digestion, obviously, and because your gut houses up to 80% of your immune system, a healthy gut is truly the gateway to feeling your best. And unfortunately, for us, our bodies are being attacked every single day and wreaking havoc on our gut health—stress, toxins, even just one day of eating the Western-style diet.
Thankfully with Just Thrive Probiotic, it’s now easier than ever to give your gut what it needs to thrive. Just Thrive’s breakthrough award-winning probiotic is the only product on the market that’s proven to turn your gut into an antioxidant factory and yes, this probiotic actually produces antioxidants right in your gut.
Meaning you get maximum immune digestive and total body health support. It’s vegan-friendly gluten-free, dairy-free, histamine free and non-GMO, and best of all, you can open the capsules and just sprinkle them on your food or drinks or in your smoothies. Just Thrive has been loudly endorsed by some of the biggest health luminaries on the planet.
And this company is changing the game in the supplement industry. So if you’re looking for the best in gut health and immune support, choose the clinically proven, award-winning power of Just Thrive Probiotic. For a limited time, get 15% off site-wide when you go to justthrivehealth.com and use code Gabby at checkout. That’s justthrivehealth.com and use code Gabby.
GABBY: Specifically to children, right? We’ve got these kids and Dan Siegel calls it sponge neurons, right? So these mirror neurons are like sponge neurons, and they’re constantly picking up what we’re putting out.
So no matter where you are on your journey of your kids, zero, you know, three weeks old, or if you have a 12-year-old, and let’s say you have a 12-year-old and you’ve never touched any kind of personal growth or parenting advice, and you’re here now, it’s your subtle adjustment. Like you just said, the thing you do today can be a redirect for that kid right now.
DR. BECKY: I think it’s the question I get more than anything else. Is it too late? Is it, has it too late? Have I messed up my child forever? And it’s so interesting to me that I get that question from parents with three-year-olds parents who have 13-year-olds and parents who have 43-year-olds.
I really mean that, but there’s so many grandparents who follow me and say, wow, I wish I had this information. And I’m trying to do it differently with my grandkids, but I’m also overwhelmed with guilt for my child who’s my grandkids, parent. And one of the things I often think about. I think any of us who are adults, if our parents came to us today and said, Hey, I’ve been thinking about the way I handled your big feelings when you were younger.
Right? Then thinking about my kind of punishment-first approach. And I know I can’t go back and change it. I can let you know that I really wish I did things differently. I’m sure that felt really awful. You didn’t deserve that. It was never your fault. And I’m not sure exactly we’re going to go from here, but I wanted to let you know, I’m thinking about that.
I don’t know one adult who wouldn’t say that would have a massive impact on me and be hugely relieving. So if we know that that would impact us now, all of our kids, I can say with confidence are younger than we are. Like, I’m pretty sure scientifically that has to be true. So if that would impact us now, think about how much that’s going to impact our kids.
No matter if they’re, you know, in their twenties or teens or elementary school age.
GABBY: Amen. It’s about the repair always. It’s about the repair. The other night I came into the city Monday night and my husband was home with my kid and I, you know, have a toddler as we’ve spoken he’s he’s, uh, you know, exploring his tantrums.
His he’s exploring his gorgeous, big feelings. And I mean that, I really mean that his beautiful big feelings, and it’s sometimes really hard to sit with when you’ve got that going on for a half hour. And so Zach had a rough night with the big feelings and it triggers the parent and, you know, and he woke up and he was texting me after Olly went to bed and he said, I didn’t, it wasn’t a good night. I didn’t do a good job today.
And my husband’s an amazing dad, like excellent, top-tier fucking dad. Okay? It’s one of his greatest virtues. I’m so proud of him as a father. I’ll brag all day about it. And he was like, no good day know, quoting my son no good day. And I said, okay, well, repair. You know? Go put a little another blanket on him and just rub his back and in the morning, you know, have some fun.
It’s about the repair. Speak to that because people may not know what we’re talking about.
DR. BECKY: Yeah. The repair. Right. So what does that really mean? To me, repair is a way of going back to a moment that was probably marked by disconnection and aloneness in probably you and your child. But if we’re thinking about the child felt alone in their feelings and their experience, the child maybe even was alone, we send them to their room.
Right? And there’s a real break in connectivity. What’s a repair? It’s layering on connection after that disconnection; it’s not making it all better. Like sometimes an apology is part of a repair. Sometimes it’s not, right? Because I think we know if you had a really bad moment with a friend and they just called you and they’re like, sorry, I did that.
GABBY: Yeah. Bullshit.
DR. BECKY: Exactly. You’re like that didn’t help. But if they didn’t say sorry, and they’re like, I was just thinking about how I reacted when you told me you were hurt that I didn’t invite you to that dinner. And I was really defensive and I didn’t hear you. And I’d love to hear you now. It’s so interesting.
There’s no sorry in that. But like, I would feel really good about my friend saying that, so we can have a, sorry. That’s nice too, but it’s, it’s not the kind of essence of a repair. A repair is adding the elements that were missing the first time. What’s usually missing? Compassion, patience, reflection, owning something as opposed to blaming something, being curious, instead of being judgmental.
And one of the things I often think about around repair, and I think for everyone listening, something to hold onto, I’m a very visual person. I find psychological concepts. Actually. I always have found them very nebulous. And I’ve been at conferences and I’m like, what are you people talking about? Is anyone else confused?
GABBY: Well, that’s actually what makes you so good at what you do because you just demystify it. But carry on.
DR. BECKY: Because so many times you’re like, everyone else seems to understand, but me, except maybe nobody really understands. So let’s make this concrete.
If you think about your kid’s life as a book, right? And they have million different chapters, I think the idea of repair is going back to a chapter that had an ending that you didn’t feel good about, you know, your child didn’t feel good about and you change the ending. I could cry thinking about that because it’s the opposite of ‘it’s too late.’
It’s too late assumes that chapter is over and written and moving on. And when we don’t repair, it’s not like our kids miss that chapter, the chapter doesn’t get written. The chapter doesn’t get taken out of the book. The chapter just doesn’t feel great to anyone. And when you go back, you don’t erase what happened, but what you add on is how people can come together after they have a tough moment, people can apologize.
People can end up feeling close and even maybe learning more after a moment where you felt totally misunderstood. Right? So, Hey, you know, last night Daddy yelled when you were having your big feelings, that was a me thing that wasn’t a you thing. Just like you’re working on your feelings, I’m working on mine too, and I’m going to keep doing the things I know to be helpful to me so I can show up the way I want.
And I’m sure that felt scary when I yelled. And if you want to tell me about that, I’m here and I love you. Right now, that chapter, it just, it has such an important ending. Right? And I think, I’m sure me and you are similar. Like, I definitely don’t want my kids to go into adulthood thinking either of these two things.
I don’t want them to think when the people I love and who I think love me too act in a way that’s not so great. I should just expect them to never bring it up again. Like I don’t want that.
GABBY: Definitely not. Nope.
DR. BECKY: But I also don’t want my kids thinking my partner is going to be someone who gets it every time and it’s always going to be attentive to my needs.
And is just going to be a patient that’s totally unrealistic. What I hope is that my kids expect a total baseline of respect, expect open dialogue and expect their partner to come back to them when something didn’t feel good, not to make it better, but to talk it out. And if we repair with our kids now, we’re actually encoding that attachment patterns.
So they’re one day dating someone who never talks to them and never repairs, their body’s going to say, oh, I’m not. So this isn’t familiar. I don’t, I’m not attracted to this because we’re only a really attracted to what’s kind of our earliest attachment pattern. I want my kids to expect that type of repair and that, that starts with us doing that early on.
DR. BECKY: I just think it’s really heartening for parents because I remember where I was at Columbia, where I did my Ph.D. and I remember learning about secure attachment and they talked about how one of the differentiators of secure attachment was the presence of meaningful repairs. And then the professor kept talking and I remember this light bulb saying, well, wait, so secure attachment doesn’t come from being like a perfect parent then, because if you repair, you had to have rupture. Right?
Like they didn’t explicitly say that I was like, you only repair when you rupture. So rupture is in every relationship that is in every relationship. What differentiates a secure attachment is that repair.
And I remember thinking it was before I had kids being like, I think I could do that. Like you can mess up and repair. Like it’s the not messing up that I can’t do. Right. So for parents. And it really is the same as non-parents who have just meaningful relationships. We can get so hard on ourselves when we struggle and we stay in that space instead of really giving ourselves the humanity of, okay, in this moment, I’m like every other human being, right?
Here’s how I can differentiate myself from every other human being. I can reflect on what came up for me. And I can share a part of that story with someone and have a moment that ends up feeling much more connected and good. That’s what differentiates us.
GABBY: Anyone who’s been alive in the last few years can say that they’ve experienced a tremendous amount of stress. And while we can’t stop stress from happening, there are so many tools at our disposal to help us manage our stress and curb, the long-term effects it can have on our wellbeing and our health, all of the daily practices that I’ve cultivated over the years like meditation and prayer and journaling and eating well, movement.
These are all non-negotiables in a daily stress management so that I can show up for every day as the person that I want to be and the person I need to be. But recently I started taking Moon Juice’s Super You to bring my stress care to the next level. Super You as a potent, multi-adaptogen created with traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, to help manage stress and improve energy mood and focus.
It has you completely covered with four different adaptogens that work together to help your body tackle whatever comes its way. And they’ve got ashwagandha, which is my favorite ashwagandha helps reduce irritability and increase calm. Rhodiola helps reduce the fatigue that comes in after we’ve stressed out for a while.
Shatavari rebalances hormones from prolonged periods of stress that can affect PMS, skin, libido, irritability, lack of focus, and so much more. And Amla, also known as the beauty berry helps protect skin from accidents, stress, and accelerated aging. And that is so valuable right now. So every morning I wake up, I take two capsules and I know I’m hooked up for the rest of the day.
Grab your two pills a day. Head over to moonjuice.com/gabby and use code Gabby at checkout for 20% off. Your calm is your power, my friends. So go over to moonjuice.com/gabby and use code Gabby at checkout for 20% off.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just choose how you feel. If it was like, as easy as just clicking on today’s episode, tapping a button to feel energized without caffeine or tapping a button to feel relaxed when you’re stressed. I mean, how amazing would that be?
When I heard that there was a wearable device called Hapbee that lets you change how you feel, I literally didn’t believe it. So I had to try it out. Hapbee is so cool. It works by delivering signals to give you the same sensations as caffeine, alcohol, and melatonin, without any of the chemicals or side effects. It literally helps me relax in minutes because I’m just being given that signal of relaxation.
Signals are a song only your body can hear just by switching a signal on your phone. You can change how you want to feel. I’ve been using signals to relax in the afternoon. After my meditation, I’ve also been using it to really settle myself to fall asleep at night. And it’s been my practice for years to meditate in the middle of the day.
Whenever I feel like I need a coffee, I sit down to meditate. And this has taken my practice to the next level. I feel a lot more grounded and so much more relaxed. And I’m so particular about the sponsors that we work with on this show because I always want to make sure it’s something that I would personally use and that I can really stand behind.
Hapbee is backed by decades of research. Plus it has 365-day guarantee. You can try it out for an entire year, give happy to try, and you’re going to love it as much as I do. Order today and you’ll save 25% and get 30 days of free access to all their signals. Take advantage of their 365-day guarantee today.
GABBY: And it’s never too early to start. Right. I remember even when Olly was a baby and I was experiencing postpartum depression, as soon as I started to have, like, if I had a day where I slept better or I would do everything I could to just be in that bond because I wanted to repair whatever happened the day before, you know?
And so, so much about the repair process is about forgiveness of your actions and yourself so that you can clear the space to, to establish that bond again.
DR. BECKY: Yeah. And just to add onto what you said about those early days, right? I know there’s this narrative of, oh my, kid’s not going to remember this.
Right. And not our narrative. And we hope to be changing that narrative. We have such a limited kind of definition of memory as if memory is only what we can explicitly remember with kind of words and language. But I think we see as parents, like we watch the memories from our own childhood by how we react to our kids.
Right. I remember working with a family and I asked them the parents. Right. Well, tell me a little bit how your parents would have dealt with you having a tantrum in a toy store, right, after they would buy you a toy. And I remember when the parents, I don’t really remember. They were probably fine. This was the parent that really struggled to stay regulated when there was any tantrum.
And it was interesting. He’s like, I don’t remember my parents reacting harshly. I don’t really remember that at all. And, but the memory of your childhood is watching your body re-enact something that you learned early on, right? Big feelings aren’t inherently hard to manage. They become really hard to manage because we learn in an adaptive way early on these things are not allowed, no way, put them away, shut them down. We see them in our kids and we want to shut them down as quickly as possible. Because we’re activating the lessons we learned. That’s a memory.
And I know Gabby me, and you have talked about this before. Like when you parent, you learn so much about your own childhood. It’s crazy. If you’re willing to look at the data in that way, like, oh, must not have been so permitted, you know, in my years. Right. And that’s not a way of saying everybody has bad parents. It’s actually a way of just saying, wow, I can really learn. Like, I feel like when we do parenting well, we learn so much more from our kids than they learn from us.
And we can grow and change, not only for our kids, but really also, like you said, change for us. So we just feel better inside.
GABBY: Yeah, I completely agree. And I think that, you know, for people listening now, as they start to think about, oh, wow. Like thinking even just contemplating that their reactions to their kids are reflective of their own childhood experiences is very triggering. And becoming a parent for me,
I think part of my postpartum experience also was just full-blown activation of childhood trauma. And it’s as amazing as it is to become a parent, it’s very retraumatizing if you’ve had stuff that was rough in your childhood.
DR. BECKY: I totally agree. I don’t know if you know, Myleik Teele, she’s an amazing woman. She and I were talking about preparing for kind of having a child and, you know, kind of jokingly use this term that we need an emotional registry.
Like you don’t need a gift registry. Right? And I’m like, I’m gonna make this because like, you know.
GABBY: You should totally make that like a giveaway PDF.
DR. BECKY: An emotional registry, right? The amount of time we spend on like, which rattle or which swaddle, like, okay, you need to get one. But like, if you spend that time emotionally registering yourself for what’s to come.
And if you have a partner emotionally registering that partnership, like your child is going to be so much better off, no matter what swaddle.
GABBY: Yeah, a hundred percent, forget the swaddle. Just prepare yourself. Yeah. Yeah. No, you’re so right. And it’s okay. You know, listen, so many people go into parenthood without any clue of what it’s going to do to them or what it’s going to bring up and if they’re listening now, then they’re in the right place.
That’s it. That’s it.
DR. BECKY: Let’s keep coming back to that because I know you and I are in alignment. Like neither of us have the answers. And I know for me, one of the reasons.
GABBY: Actually you have a lot of the answers.
DR. BECKY: Okay. But here let me caveat that because I really mean this, right? Like all the time my husband is like, I really want to tag your personal Instagram on this, like Dr. Becky Instagram, because like, you would love her advice. And like, you could really use some of her tips because when I’m in a place with my own kids, if I get activated or triggered, I’m not, you know, using Dr. Becky’s, my kids don’t have Dr. Becky as a parent. Like, she wouldn’t be that fun of a parent to have, you know, you really wouldn’t.
And I think the other thing is so many people say to me, it’s like, you have a camera inside my home. Like, you know exactly what’s going on with my kids. I was like, well, your home is like my home. Like I have a camera in my sight, my own home, like my kids. And they argue and they jealousy and they’ve tantrums and they have all the things humans have always had.
You can’t ever learn by the time you’re an adult to regulate intense emotions that you didn’t go through over and over in your childhood. There’s no shortcut. You can’t just like skip that tunnel. You have to go through it. So my kids are in that tunnel. I’m in that tunnel sometimes. And I really do mean it.
I will read things I’ve written have no recollection of having written them and saying, I would say to myself I’m totally gonna do that tonight. I’m like, I’m going to try this. I think it’s gonna be helpful. So I really feel like I’m right there with them.
GABBY: Your husband and my husband need to go bowling because, you know, let me tell you, say my husband will be like, I’ll be like completely judging somebody or he’ll be like, aren’t you, the girl whose face is on that cover of the book, Judgment Detox, you know, he’s like, didn’t you write a fucking book called The Universe Has Your Back, you know, so we got to walk our talk, but we also have to be human and have that human experience.
DR. BECKY: And, you know, you said the T word, you said the T word tantrum. And I really want to speak to this on so many levels, but I DMd you the other day. My kid was having some like 30-minute meltdowns and the first place you go to even Gabby Bernstein, even the person with like two decades, three decades of therapy and like a committed life to personal growth and spiritual practice can still go to the place of like, there’s something wrong with my child.
He’s having a 30-minute tantrum. Even with all that awareness. Right? And so I was scared and, you know, and I remember sitting with my son’s nanny, who is one of the most amazing humans in the world and also like a family member to us now. And she’s been in the child and the field of childcare for her whole entire career.
And she’s like, well, I’ve never seen this before. And hearing her say, I was like, so triggered by it. I was like, oh shit. You know? Like she’s never seen a kid have a 30-minute tantrum of, oh no, there’s something wrong with my son. So DM Dr. Becky, Dr. Becky says call me. I’m like, oh girl. I’m like, I got the
Number. And I told you that he had RSV this terrible bronchial thing. It lasted a month, you know? And it’s been two weeks of real rough, terrible sickness. And so you explained to me so beautifully, and I’ll just say it in my own words, but I want to hear it from you, which is, you know, how he felt so out of control.
Yeah. And I’d love for you to share a little bit about what you just immediately so eloquently, were able to diagnose and then, and acknowledge, and then some of the steps that you gave me because they worked instantly.
DR. BECKY: Amazing. Well, I’ll see if I come up with the same ones now and if not, you’ll tell me.
Okay. So zooming out from tantrums, right? The first thing I’ll say is I think tantrums are often thought of, or even described as like some willful act of disobedience. It feels like it’s something a kid is doing to us. Tantrums are true biological states of dysregulation. And I think we know that from ourselves.
I mean, most of us probably don’t have the exact type of tantrum our toddlers have, but when you’re at your worst and maybe also you’re out of control around someone, you actually care about a partner or. I don’t think any of us think we’re doing that to them. We’re really having a hard time and it happens to be in front of them. Right.
GABBY: I’ve had full-blown tantrums, like a child in front of my husband.
DR. BECKY: Join the club then. Exactly. So it’s hard to have really strong feelings and really intense just somatic sensations. Right. So that’s what tantrums really are. There are biological state of dysregulation, I think said in like a much less fancy way.
I always feel like a tantrum is a kid’s way of saying the feelings in my body feel so intense, feel so out of control. And you said that feels so unmanageable that I literally can’t contain them in my body. They have a force to them. And so they are exploding out of my body like a volcano. And what happens when it explodes out, you see it in a kid’s extremities, you see it in hits and kicks and bites and throwing.
And none of this makes those behaviors okay. I don’t think they’re okay or not. Okay. They’re happening. It doesn’t mean we allow them to happen, but we have to understand before we intervene because the way we understand something, the framework with which we see our kids’ behavior determines what strategies will think to use.
If I think he is doing this to me, he’s trying to give me a hard time. I’m only going to pull from the bucket of my child is disobedient and disrespectful. I think we all know the tools in that bucket. They’re not particularly kind or helpful. Right. If I think my kid is really struggling. My kid is a good kid having a hard time, not a bad kid, doing bad things.
I say that to myself all the time. So if he’s a good kid having a hard time, he’s having these really overwhelming sensations. I actually think kids are terrified in those moments. They’re truly in threat state because if you think about what’s happening to be so overwhelmed by sensations in your own body, it’s, there’s a terror state inside of you.
How can you stay grounded during that? Kids? They want to get it out. That’s what tantrums are, right? So what does a kid need? Well, first of all, the only hope a kid has at building regulation for those experiences is seeing that their parents aren’t as afraid of those feelings as they are, because if my feelings are overwhelming and explode out of my body and terrify me, then dysregulate my parent.
What I’m seeing is, oh my goodness. This thing inside of me actually is as bad as I thought it was, it’s actually maybe more dangerous because now it’s contagious and it is going to infect the world around me. I just infected my sturdy leader. That person is my only hope. And oh my goodness, I am bad inside.
These things are bad. And then of course there’s further dysregulation again, I’ll pause because these things can be so triggering and it’s so easy. Oh, I’m such a bad parent. Like, and I know me and you have deep love for Internal Family Systems and Dick Schwartz. Let’s go. So even right now, because I want to say high guilt voice.
I’ll like put you on the side, you tend to come up when I’m actually thinking about meaningful things and you tend to bring on self-blame. There’s probably a history to my childhood about that, but I’m just going to put you on the side and continue thinking about that. So with that in mind, right? What our kids need are all the elements that they can’t give themselves.
They need containment. They need something called co-regulation, which is the idea of actually almost borrowing a parent’s more regulated state, or I actually visualize it as absorbing it and they need a parent to keep them safe in that moment. Physically safe. And then what helps emotional safety feeling more in control, understanding more, having things explained to them, having skills modeled for them.
There’s a lot of coaching that’s involved in parenting.
GABBY: If you know me, you know that I work really fast. My team often jokes around that they have to work at the speed of Gabby and it’s a blessing and a curse. And that’s why I’m really, really grateful, grateful, deeply freaking grateful for our sponsor today. This product has allowed me to work at the speed of Gabby far more efficiently. Especially what I’m writing my books.
Grammarly is more than a spelling and grammar checker. It’s an all-in-one writing tool that allows you to clear. And effectively communicate your ideas. My team has been using it and loving it too. I have a very high standard for how we communicate, whether it be through emails or whether it be through social media.
It has to really come off clear and Grammarly is free to download. It’s easy to integrate into your day-to-day life and it works where you work like in Gmail. Since using Grammarly, I’ve actually felt that it has sharpened my communication skills. This is a product I literally can’t live without. I can’t emphasize this enough.
Grammarly helps you save time, strike the right tone and deliver high-quality work. Grammarly premium’s full-sentence rewrites help you effectively convey your ideas and avoid miscommunication. This is the coolest thing ever. It cuts any unnecessary words or jargon to make your sentence flow. It’s so epic for those of us who like to just say things with a lot of words and Grammarly, premiums, clarity, suggestions, simplify sentences, to get your point across faster.
This ensures that you say what you mean in the appropriate tone. Things can so easily be lost in translation. Grammarly’s free tone detector ensures your message is never misinterpreted. Get through those emails and your work quicker. Keeping it concise, confident, and effective with Grammarly. Go to grammarly.com/deargabby to sign up for a free account.
And when you’re ready to upgrade to Grammarly premium, get 20% off for being my listener. That’s 20% off a grammarly.com/deargabby.
DR. BECKY: And so I’m going to pause, tell me your thoughts and I’m curious where this went with your son.
GABBY: Well, so co-regulating is something I learned actually as a motivational speaker and prior to even being a mom, I would open up big topics in rooms of people, whether it’s a 2000-person room or a 300-person room.
And if there’s one person in the room that raises their hand and starts talking about, you know, a really triggered thing that also then starts to trigger the audience and it could potentially trigger me, I’m effed. And so I had to really begin to practice how I co-regulate with thousands of people, even before I learned how to co-regulate with a toddler.
DR. BECKY: Wow.
GABBY: So that, that for me, I think it’s actually much easier with my toddler, frankly. Because really what I have had to do in my career as co-regulate with, you know, thousands of people’s child parts. Because when one person raises their hand and says, you know, I was abused as a kid and they start crying and they start going into that child part, anyone else who’s touched that or knows that goes there and the energy just tanks.
And then, of course, that would trigger my childhood trauma. So I’ve, I’ve really learned that model just without having choice. I had to learn it because I couldn’t let the audience’s energy tank. I had to really hold them in the hope. I had to be a hope merchant, as we say in IFS. Right. So, but it is a lot easier with my toddler, frankly.
So because otherwise you’ve got a room full of toddlers and they’re activating your own toddler. So co-regulating yes, works. And so many of my listeners are spiritual. And so they have the practices of breath and they have the practices of mantra and the other practices of, you know, stepping away for a moment.
And in that regrounding and reconnection to your nervous system into, in that regulation of yourself, you provide your child that safe container to be in whatever there. And also to mirror back the experience. And it would also, for me, it says to the kid, it says, oh yeah, it’s okay to have these big feelings.
Like it’s totally safe to be here and I’m steady with you.
DR. BECKY: That’s exactly right. And I think to take this a step further and make it really concrete for anyone listening, we always have to separate in our mind behaviors and feelings or kind of behaviors and any internal experience, feelings, sensations, thoughts, urges, memories, images, those are all internal experiences.
Some behaviors need a very firm boundary and containment and kind of get some version of a no, every single internal experience needs a yes. And there’s a reason for that.
And I’m really not. I think like, especially like kind of touchy, feely person. I feel like more than anything, I’m just a practical person and the idea of really separating behaviors and feelings and allowing all feelings really comes from science, which is that we cannot learn to regulate the feelings we don’t allow ourselves to have.
You just can’t. If you think about not allowing a feeling inside you, then you have to get it out. Well, how do feelings get out? In dysregulated behavior and often at unexpected times when they boil over. That has never worked effectively for anyone.
GABBY: Or later in our psychosomatic physical conditions.
DR. BECKY: They get locked in our body and exactly are screaming out for allowing and compassion in other ways. So the idea of allowing feelings to me is actually just like very practical.
If I’m going to help my kid regulate a feeling, the first step is saying, it’s okay to have that feeling in your body. Now we can do the work. Right. And I really believe on some level, kids are always looking at parents. Of course they never say these words, but I really believe they’re always saying, am I allowed to have this feeling?
Is this feeling too bad? Is this too overwhelming? Is this gonna make me unlovable? And I know I talk about this term, good inside, a lot, but it’s, I think kids are always asking, am I still good inside when I’m having this feeling? We get so taken away with behavior, oh, they hit their sister. Of course, we have to stop that.
Of course that’s dangerous. That’s actually not good for your kid because then they watch their feelings, overwhelm the environment around them. That’s not helpful for them. We have to protect the sister, but we actually have to protect your kid from that behavior. I will not let you hit your sister. And then we move to some contained situation.
So the kids, so the hidden camp continue to happen. And maybe our kid does continue to tantrum, but if our kid is safe and we stay with them, we can say over and over really simple things. I’m here. I find myself actually saying the words over and over. I’m not scared of these feelings. I’m not scared to be with you when you’re feeling this way.
Wow. I really do. And it’s not like, let me be clear for everyone. None of my kids have ever looked at me and said, oh, that’s so reassuring. Like, no, they’re like, get out of out my room! But I just know in my core, I know they need to hear that because the thing they’re scared of more than their feelings is they’re feeling scaring you away.
GABBY: Yeah. Abandonment.
DR. BECKY: Abandonment. Because when their feelings leave them alone or punishment or in a timeout, what they really learn is these feelings, forget being bad. They actually are not conducive to evolution to survival because I need attachment to survive. So I need my parent. What is attachment?
Really it’s a mechanism of proximity. What keeps people close and what pushes people away? Well, if this feeling is so bad that it pushes people away, I better use all of my effort to never allow this feeling. There we are in chronic dysregulation and we have to do all the things that kids and then adults have to do to get rid of feelings.
Right? So for all the people who say like, oh, this feelings and this positive parenting, it’s so soft. I just really want to say like, none of it is soft. It’s actually highly rational. It’s highly scientific. It actually is what sets your kids up to not be dysregulated. Right? And I think seeing it that way…
GABBY: And you’ll save them so much money in therapy. I mean, like I can literally hundreds of thousands of dollars I’ve probably spent in the last thirty years.
DR. BECKY: There’s the saving them from the distress. But, but when we’re being practical, saving them money. A hundred percent.
GABBY: Putting it towards their education. Yes.
DR. BECKY: Going back to tantrums. Right? I really feel as parents, we need to kind of act like naive scientists or detectives.
Like what is my kid really struggling with? What is the feeling that’s unmanageable underneath and with your son? Why do so many kids have tantrums? When a parent has a change in work schedule? When a parent is traveling a lot, it’s not because we’re bad parents. It’s not because we’re doing anything bad to our kids.
Our kids feel totally out of control and we all act how we feel. We all act how we feel. And so connecting to your kid, explaining the details, we’re actually doing that kind of pre-regulation work. We’re making them more at home with all of these feelings inside them. And guess what? Over time it will lead to fewer tantrums.
Not because we’re coercing them into different behavior, but because we’re actually changing the core of what would drive behavior.
GABBY: Yes. Yes. You also added containment, right? So you said that when they’re in this, listen, I think this isn’t just for the toddler. This is for the ten-year-old. This is for the 16-year-old that’s losing her mind because you told her she can have the car keys, whatever it is.
And so the specifically with a little guy, you know, getting them into a smaller space. So I did this, I took her advice. Olly was tantruming about the fact that I wasn’t microwaving his waffle and I was putting it in the toaster, literally like microwave.
And I was like, no, that’s gross. Like, so losing his mind. And I kind of couldn’t get him out of the bigger space of the kitchen, but I kind of contained him in this like area where there was some sofas and sat with him and just said, I love your big feelings. Very similar to what you said in your feelings don’t scare me.
I love your big feelings. And I understand that you’re frustrated and there’s so much that we’re feeling. Also just sat with him. And he came out of it with much more resilience, much faster. And the days that followed were just shorter and shorter tantrums, like that’s, I mean, these kids are mind-blowing. They learn this stuff so fast.
DR. BECKY: They really do. And just to kind of break down some of those steps. So containment, right? If we picture these overwhelming tantrum moments, as moments where kids have these huge feelings that then explode out of their body, well, what’s the scariest thing that could happen next is watching those feelings just take up more and more space.
Now it’s not just in my body. It’s right around me now. It’s my kitchen. Now it’s the living room, right? The idea of containment is actually, I think we can visualize this and it’s actually very concrete taking your child to a smaller space. They’re not going to like this. That’s okay.
We can be a sturdy leader and know what’s good for our kids. And they’re usually not in a position to make good decisions for themselves when they’re dysregulated anyways. So I picture my son in this moment of like throwing water bottles in our kitchen. I knew he was like kind of past the point of no return.
And I just said, I’m going to pick you up now and I’m going to take you to your room. You’re not in trouble. I’m going to sit with you there. Again, nobody says to me, thank you so much. It’s, you know, kicking and flailing fine. I take him to his room. I close the door and I sit with him in there. Why? Like, if I visualize this, I’m actually saying these overwhelming feelings, they only go this far.
They literally like here’s the container, the container, isn’t our open kitchen and the kind of the living room. And it’s not expanding. It’s not contagious to everyone else. Think about if something you felt was terrifying inside of you, when you watched it be contagious and spread everywhere, you that’s more dysregulating than the thing itself.
Right? So bringing your kid into a smaller space, it’s actually a huge step that I feel like we don’t talk about enough in the parenting world. Like actually physically doing this and saying you’re not in trouble. I’m going to sit with you. Why do we have to sit with our kid? Because they are paying attention in that moment to proximity to you.
And when we leave a kid alone and we do some time out, our calm down in your room, come out when you have a smile on your face. I don’t know what we think kids are doing in there to achieve that. Like it’s, it’s not a thing. They don’t have some skill that all of a sudden they’ve access to. Kids when left alone engage in self-blame or self-doubt, that’s all.
And that’s why so many of us as adults, when we struggle, layer on self-blame. I’m the worst person; what’s wrong with me? Or self-doubt, am I making too big of deal out of this? Would someone else react this way? I wonder what this person would have done. Those are the only options kids have when left alone. And we don’t want to wire those into their body early on, staying in your kid’s room does not reinforce that behavior. This is a purely behavior reinforcement model that is not applicable to human beings.
If I was having a really hard time and my husband said to me, you’re having a really hard time. You don’t have to talk to me, but I’m just going to sit with you. I don’t think I’d be like, wow, I guess he wants me to act that way.
But to do it again, it’s just such a nasty view of human behavior. It’s just not how it works. So sitting with your child, whether you say anything or not, and I love that you said maybe we say nothing; it’s less is more. Kids aren’t hearing the words anyways. So many of the words I share with parents to say, they’re for us, we want to hear ourselves.
Sometimes I just sit there and I take a deep breath and I say to myself, really. Nothing’s wrong with me, nothing’s wrong with my child. I will cope with this, or nothing’s wrong with me. Nothing’s wrong with my child. This will end when it’s going to end, kind of like really relinquishing any, you know, control that I want to have.
And then I breathe. That’s that co-regulation, that’s staying there. It’s so much more powerful than any smart thing we’re going to say. That’s actually so much more effective in building the skills our kids need to change behavior rather than punishment, which makes us feel like we’re doing something, but actually has never built a skill in anybody in the course of, you know, the whole history of the world, right?
That’s what kids need. They need that containment. So they watch visually my feelings actually won’t overwhelm everything as much as I worry. And then our presence as calmly as we can show up as possible. Because after the containment, that shows them the feelings in me are allowed, I will learn to regulate them because see it, my parent has, I am still lovable when I feel that way and we have to feel good inside to act good outside.
I think we often think it’s going to happen the other way. I’m going to blame myself. Right. I feel awful that doesn’t change behavior. The good inside, like we were saying has to come first and then things shift.
GABBY: Right, right. Absolutely beautiful. And it’s also a skill that you can bring into your marriage or your friendships or whatever.
It’s just witnessing somebody—when you witness your partner just super activated or acting out, it’s just an adult form of a tantrum. And, you know, just shunning it or fighting it, perpetuates that feeling of shame. How different would our relationships be if we just looked at our partner and said, wow, I see you’re having a really hard time right now.
And even if it makes us, even if they’ve been taking it out on us or whatever, I see you’re having a really hard time right now, even just gentle touch or, you know, acknowledgement doesn’t mean we stick around for, you know, for abuse, but it means that we acknowledge when people are in there.
DR. BECKY: Exactly. And that containment with our kids, like that’s kind of the same thing as a boundary with a partner, you can still say to a partner, I won’t stay right here if you keep saying the things you’re saying to me, I will not let you do that. And, and then it’s kind of very similar. I think when we’re at our worst, we need someone to reflect back the better version of ourselves.
DR. BECKY: We couldn’t access it. So I’m not going to stay here when you talk to me this way and I care about what’s going on for you. And I know you can find a different way to say it, that I can actually hear and we can work through together. Right. And giving your partner an opportunity. And if not, of course, we’re not staying there for your abuse.
Right. But that kind of combination works for everyone. Boundary. See that good inside. Show a generous interpretation. And make a decision from there.
GABBY: Love it. Boundary, good inside, generous interpretation, and then a decision from there and make a decision from there.
DR. BECKY: Yeah. Right? Like you have a someone’s those things. Like I have a teenager there they’re kicking me. I can’t contain them in the same way. My sister just stay there and they kicked me and they hurl words. No. Right. But there’s so many, there’s so many ways of responding to that that are actually pretty different. Right. I will not tolerate you talking to me about this.
You are, you’re a spoiled brat. Come talk to me when you have something nice to say, okay? Versus you must be really upset about something beyond my telling you no iPad time to be talking to me. Right? Like that. And a line. I, I try to say as often as possible, but I don’t say it as often in real life, as I would like to say it or say it on podcasts is I will always care more about how you’re feeling than how that feeling happens to come out of your body.
DR. BECKY: So let’s take a breath and let’s figure this out together. Now my kids is back to me, some curse word. I’m going to say, look, I know, we’ll figure this out. Clearly, not right now. I need to go calm my body. I love you. We’ll come back to this. It’s not going to happen right now. And then yeah, you don’t have to stay there, but again, there’s a way we can hold these two things at once.
It’s so hard because so few of us had this model growing up that you can be strong with boundaries and you can be kind and generous and they can really be present at basically the same moment.
GABBY: I feel like our generation. Uh, I was just speaking, you know, for those of my friends and the people around me that are new parents and there’s a real longing for information.
And it’s so empowering to have the methods and the tools, because one of the greatest gifts that your work and the work of other child psychologists has have given me is this sense of acceptance and deep compassion for what my kid might be going through. And rather than seeing it like, oh my God, he’s, you know, he has a temper, which some of my family members might say about him.
It’s like, he doesn’t have a temper. He’s a fucking toddler. You know, that I got about that, you know? And it’s like, or, you know, he has big feelings, like shut the f up or just the judgments that are placed upon children when they’re just so innocent. They’re just so deeply innocent. And they have such big emotional, just as you’ve mentioned dysregulation, but that’s part of the evolution of who they’re becoming to learn how to learn, how to be present with your feelings is the greatest gift we can give a person.
DR. BECKY: Yeah. And nobody does it perfectly. I don’t know one adult who says, yeah, I checked that off my list. I’m a master at that. Oh, I feel like it’s like yoga. It’s like, it’s a forever practice. You’re always learning. Same with me. It’s not like I’m some like Zen parent and my friends listening. We’d be like laughing and looking at each other right now.
Like, no, of course not. Right. It’s that doesn’t make me a bad parent either. It just makes me like every other parent, like we’re constantly, it’s a practice. It’s not something that any of us perfect. Right. It’s just, it’s kind of just very, it’s just like this inconvenient truth. Kids come into the world fully able to feel with no skills to manage those feelings. Like it’s just a really unfortunate gap.
Right. And then because of that gap, we often kind of blame the wrong thing. We kind of blame the feelings instead of not like we need blame, but instead of blaming or looking to the lack of skills, well, we have to build them skills.
Like it’s not that I, I always feel like feelings want to yell out to us. Like it’s not our fault. Like help us!
GABBY: Right, or as the parent, we blame the action and don’t even acknowledge the feeling because I just, oh yeah. I want to just acknowledge that this is like, this conversation could be a lot for a parent right now to just be like, whoa.
DR. BECKY: What can we do to like ground?
GABBY: I think we can talk to those parts, right? So you and I both love Internal Family Systems and studying it. Now, I’m going to put in the interview that you did with myself and Dick Schwartz, the founder of IFS, and simply put, we are going to have these parts of ourselves that show up when we’re triggered and often they’re protector parts that are protecting these child parts that are feeling really scared.
And so if anyone’s feeling triggered right now, let’s just speak to that, that protector part that wants to like shame or blame. Or, you know, turn off the podcast.
DR. BECKY: A hundred percent. And to take that one step further. Right. I think just a general reflection of what was it like when I was young, when I made a mistake or when I kind of acted out was that met with curiosity and compassion?
Was that met with punishment? Was that met with mockery, right? What was that met with? Right. And again, nobody’s saying anyone had bad parents, we’re not making any broad generalizations, but just to really think, because we form real circuits, right? So everyone gets overwhelmed with feelings. And if you think about a circuit, like literally what got layered next to it.
Right? And we know what got layered next to it, by watching ourselves respond as adults who are quote mistakes or struggles. So right now, if anyone is thinking, oh my God, am I like responding to my kids’ tantrums all wrong? Oh my goodness. Okay. So that’s a struggle. Gabby has struggles. I have struggles. I promise you. We all struggle.
So just, if we all almost back up, like watch your circuit, what happens next? Is it a voice that says we all have struggles I can learn from this. I’m gonna stay in this. I’m going to take one thing, just one thing from this podcast and try it out. Or is it a voice more that says you are the worst parent in the world You are messing up your kids, everyone’s doing it better than you.
If anyone knew the type of parent you really were, no one would even want to be friends with you. Okay. If we don’t just accept that voice as true, but look at it as kind of, again, a form of memory, we can always say, oh, that’s really interesting. Kind of like, oh…
GABBY: You can befriend it.
DR. BECKY: Hi, self-blame voice. Wow. I’m even thinking about what Becky and Gabby were just saying that when kids are left alone, when they’re overwhelmed, self-blame becomes a way to actually get in control. Huh? I wonder if this voice is, you know, is kind of bringing me back to whatever it is, 1988 or, you know, or in 1975.
Interesting. And it doesn’t really know it’s 2021. It’s right. Um huh? Right. And when we get curious, when we say hi, when we have compassion for these parts of us, we actually start to give them the same things we want to give our kids when they make a mistake. That’s the cycle breaking. And you know, I know I’ve said this before, but I think it’s just such a powerful idea.
That cycle breaking isn’t changing interactions with your kids. Cycle breaking starts with changing interactions with yourself. So anyone right now who can say hi, self-blame, you tend to come up when I struggle. You tend to come up when I’m rethinking something. I’m just going to say hi to you. I don’t really know what you’re going to do from here, but I’ve never really said, hi.
Hello. This is something new. It feels awkward. Of course. Cause it’s new. Hello? Right now tell yourself I’m gonna be inspired by Gabby. Like I’m a fucking cycle breaker right now. I just fucking broke a cycle right now by saying that to myself. Is that gonna show up immediately toward my kid when they say they lost their jacket?
Probably not one-to-one ratio, but I wonder if I do that 10 times, it might, it might be as simple as a 10 to one ratio. Let’s try that 10 times. So you’re in the right place. The work is noticing the self-blame and I know he’s beat by this where we speak for that voice, instead of just speaking from that voice.
Right. And whenever you speak for, or you say hi to that voice, or you notice that voice, you are making a massive amount of change in your body and intergenerationally.
DR. BECKY: I had to throw in an F-bomb. I really rarely do.
GABBY: That’s the way I inspire you.
DR. BECKY: It’s one of the ways, one of the ways, Gabby.
GABBY: Listen, I’ve gone through periods of my life where I’m like, I’m not going to curse anymore. And then I just keep going.
DR. BECKY: I actually do. I’m more of a, a private curser than I am. Maybe I might change that.
GABBY: I think it’s ’cause I don’t curse at home. I don’t want my kid to have the F-word like I do. So where can everybody find you?
DR. BECKY: Where can you find me? Well, probably the hub I guess, would be goodinside.com and at goodinside.com, you can find my Instagram. You can find my podcast, which is called Good Inside with Dr. Becky. You can find the kind of courses and workshops where I do deeper dives into a million different parenting and non-parenting topics, I should say.
A million people like, oh, I wish you had something on couples, communication and partnership. I was like, oh, I do. Because it really all is the same principles. And then the language strategies are all different and I have kind of a weekly kind of right to your inbox kind of strategies and scripts for the week.
That’s called Good Insider and you can sign up for that on goodinside.com as well.
GABBY: You’re doing a great job doing such a good job.
DR. BECKY: Doesn’t external validation just feels so good sometimes?
GABBY: Well, no don’t ever try… Listen, let me reflect back to you. What is happening in your insides? You are so deeply passionate and care so much about the work and the parent and the people.
And that’s why it works. And I just want to really acknowledge you for what we said earlier, which is, you know, when you’re in that clinical space, it’s hard to get out of the systems thinking it’s hard to get out of the language and the ability to demystify and translate big principles in a way that’s digestible and easy for people in crisis to understand is one of the biggest gifts.
And you own it and I’m so proud of you.
DR. BECKY: Oh, thank you. I’m just gonna say thank you. And I love being with you. I love connecting with you. I love knowing you. I love continuing. I know I’ll be back on the show. I can’t wait.
GABBY: You’re coming back. We have so many good places to go here. Thank you.
If you made it to the end of this episode, that means you’re truly committed to miracles. I’m really proud of you. If you want to get more Gabby, tune in every Monday for a new episode. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the guidance or special bonus episodes. Your experience of this show means a lot to me.
So I really want to welcome you to leave an honest review and you can follow me on social media @Gabby Bernstein. And if you want to get in on the action, sign up for a chance to be Dear Gabby’d live deargabby.com. See you next week.