Season 1, Episode 48

Parenting right to not mess up your kids with Vanessa Lapointe

In this thought-provoking episode, Psychologist Dr. Vanessa Lapointe explores the concept of conscious parenting, emphasizing the transformative power of meeting children’s developmental needs. Through kindness and firmness, conscious parents create a nurturing environment where children can thrive.

Dr. Lapointe highlights the importance of establishing routines and boundaries while being generous with children, responding to their emotions with empathy and love. She unravels the fear many parents have of “messing up” their children, emphasizing the need for love as a life force and the healing potential of conscious parenting.

By nurturing children’s developmental needs, we foster true independence and embark on a journey of personal growth and meaningful connections. Though it may not be the easiest path in a predominantly behaviorist world, conscious parenting offers a roadmap to profound growth and meaningful connections with our children.

 

Key Topics:

  • The importance of being generous with children while establishing routines and boundaries to create a safe and nurturing environment.
  • Understanding Developmental Needs.
  • Making space for children’s emotions and allowing them to feel fully seen and heard, even during challenging moments like temper tantrums.
  • Healing Unconscious Parenting Moments.
  • The journey of becoming conscious parents.

Watch the Episode

Read This Episode Transcript

Lorne Brown:

By listening to the Conscious Fertility Podcast, you agree to not use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician or healthcare provider for any medical issues that you may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guest or contributors to the podcast. Welcome to Conscious Fertility, the show that listens to all of your fertility questions so that you can move from fear and suffering to peace of mind and joy. My name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and a clinical hypnotherapist. I’m on a mission to explore all the paths to peak fertility and joyful living. It’s time to learn how to be and receive so that you can create life on purpose.

Today on the Conscious Fertility Podcast we got Dr. Vanessa LaPointe. She’s a registered psychologist, parenting educator, bestselling author, and in speaker. Now we’re constantly talking about consciousness and fertility, but I brought somebody about conscious parenting on today, and so a little bit more about Vanessa. She’s written two books. Her first is Discipline Without Damage, and then her second book is Parenting Right from the Start. And both of those, by the way, can be found on Amazon in most bookshops, and her passion is walking alongside parents, teachers, care providers and other big people to really see the world through their child’s eyes. She believes that if we can do this, we are beautifully positioned to grow up our children in the best possible way. And I had asked on Instagram for people to send me some questions, so we’re going to talk about some of those ways to best grow up our children in the best possible way.

I also want to let you know that she does offer an online course called Discipline Without Damage. It’s a self-paced program that guides you through weekly challenges, reflections, and lessons designed to help you better understand your child’s behaviors, your reactions, and ultimately how to foster a strong relationship with your child. Vanessa, I’m glad to have you here on the podcast today. Thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for our listeners. Vanessa and I met at Conscious Workshops and through Conscious Circle we’ve, one of our teachers of consciousness is Gila Gallup, and so it’s great to talk consciousness with you today. I want to give you a little premise of what the podcast is about or why I’ve been doing this, and then you’re going to see why I wanted you on as a guest. I had heard that to heal the world in one generation, if we attach to our children, then in one generation the world would heal, meaning that these children wouldn’t need to cut suicide drugs and gangs. And so I thought we go from conscious fertility to conscious conception to conscious pregnancy, to conscious parenting. And so I wanted to talk to you about the parenting side, and I’ve been in practice since 2000, so a lot of the women and men I see their kids are now in their twenties. A lot of them are teenagers, and then there’s a whole bunch that have newborns and toddlers and they’re asking for the manual and I thought you’d be the right person to talk to. I was going to say, oh wait,

Vanessa Lapointe:

There’s a manual. I want it too.

Lorne Brown:

So I thought it’d be nice. Just to start off with, you’ve written those two books, discipline Without Damage, and then the next one, parenting right from the start, is there a reason why you wrote the second? Did you learn something? Is there a new experience that you had to update your book? I’m curious.

Vanessa Lapointe:

That’s such a great question and when I wrote the first book, I was in the throes of still really figuring out what it was to be in my profession, what it was to be a mother, what it was to be a wife. There were a lot of things happening. I was well-schooled in all of the world of psychology, which is quite a traditional world once you are immersed in all of it. And notably, the title of my first book is called Discipline Without Damage. Whilst I was writing the final chapter of that book, it was a Sunday morning, the final chapter was due to my editor by the following day, and I was really under the gun in terms of the timeline, and so I had pulled myself up in my home office to finish that final chapter of the book called Discipline Without Damage, and I heard this horrible, horrible sound coming from my own backyard.

It was the sound of a child screaming in agony. And so I went running as one desk when you hear your child screaming in agony, he discovered that my son had gotten into a bit of an issue with his dad around doing chores in the backyard. It was a cold spring day, and rather than helping his dad pick up all of these fallen branches from a recent windstorm, he had decided to get on the trampoline and refused to come off. So to teach him a lesson, his dad had hauled out the garden house tracks my son on the trampoline, which had one of those enclosed mesh around and was spraying him down with freezing cold wire. I completely get why my then husband who just lit and went there and I completely get why my then seven year old child was in complete counter wealth to what it was that his father was asking.

And I dealt with the situation and we were back in the house and thought to myself, do I release this book? I clearly don’t have it figured out in my own household. And what does one do? Of course, the timeline was too far advanced and there were other people involved at that point. So the book got released and from that moment forward, I was really thrust into a period that would spend several years of trying to figure out why could I know all of the things here in your, but not even rid of all of the things here in your heart in a conscious way with my then partner with my children in my home. And so along that I found our teacher Gila Gob and I learned a whole bunch of stuff. I had trained with Gordon Neufeld before that I had course studied at university for 13 years.

I had been practicing for several years at that point, but I hadn’t really figured out the pathway from here to here for me as a person. So I got to work on all of that, whether I wanted to or not. And as I delved deeper and deeper into an understanding of that, it was really upon my heart that I had missed a big piece. I think the discipline book is brilliant in a lot of how it speaks about attachments and all of the things, and it doesn’t embed why it’s so hard to deliver on those things when you know that it’s the right thing to do and you just can’t get yourself to that point. And so thus, the parenting right from the start book was born, and I always say the first six chapters, it’s a 12th chapter book, the first six chapters of that book are for anybody who has children or who has ever been a child because it shows you how we become who it is that we are.

Lorne Brown:

And I want to emphasize that again, it’s for anybody who has children, whoever has been a child. So basically it’s for everybody and I would say for anybody who’s planning to have children as well, but definitely because we’re going to talk about this, but so much of our reactions and how we see our children is really we’re regressed as children. We haven’t grown up, we have adult bodies, but we often become children and it’s hard to be four years old yourself and try to parent a four year

Vanessa Lapointe:

Old. A hundred percent. And I gave an example of my children’s father having really lost it that day. And there were other times when I would’ve been the four year old in different ways, never spring my child down with a cold garden hose and in being reactive towards my partner or reactive towards other things in life, embodied perhaps in a different behavior. But we all regress back to the child versions of ourselves. And really when we want to parent consciously, it’s about understanding that as you walk that path, it’s not just about growing the child who’s in front of your eyes and also about growing the child that still lives inside of you and is yearning for that connection.

Lorne Brown:

And I think I heard you once say that your clients, your patients aren’t children. It’s actually the parents. That’s who you want to see. Right? At

Vanessa Lapointe:

The beginning of my career, I only worked with children and I would sometimes have their parents in on the sidelines and 20 some years in counting, I have really come to understand that the majority of the work with a couple of very specific exceptions, 98% of the work is to be done with the parents, not necessarily because they’ve messed it all up and certainly because they are the ones that have all the power to change the environment for the child internally and externally.

Lorne Brown:

And when people come and do their work, I know in my practice, and you have this, when they come into what I call conscious work, they often report that they’re noticing their husband’s behaviors different, they’re noticing their children are different, and I share with them it’s because they’ve shifted and they’re like a wifi broadcast and that’s impacting their children. I think we’re getting ahead of, I would love you to define something actually when we talk about, I call it conscious parenting, and I’ve heard you use the term and it connects to discipline as well. There’s the developmentalists and the behaviorist style of raising children. Can you kind of just share why some of us are regressed or we have our issues today and how you see parenting style that allows you to connect with your children. And I think that would be a great way to start because calling it conscious parenting, but I think you use the word behaviors and developmental as often.

Vanessa Lapointe:

So I will define that by bringing forward a quote from Dr. Dan Siegel who is an interpersonal neurobiologist icle out of the us and he said, the environment creates the mind and then the mind creates the environment. So when we are children, particularly during our very formative years, our first six to eight years on the planet, the environment all around us is forming our mind. It’s literally soaking into ourselves and on up into our neurons, and it’s forming the fabric of how we will think about, see experience the world. So the environment around us as children forms our mind. We grow up at least form and we become adults. And that mind formed in our childhood is now living inside of us as an adult, and it now creates the environment around us in which our children grow. So when we think about the concept of behaviorist parenting, which really became, I mean I suppose it ties to a lot of the theoretical understandings of who children are and how that has shifted over the years, but it became quite popularized, we’ll say in the 1950s.

And once it’s in you and once it’s in the system and once it’s in the culture, it takes a very long time to wash out of the culture if something new were to come along. Essentially the core of behaviorist parenting is you don’t like the behavior that you see on the child, so you squash it. When we speak about behavior, we often talk about the ABCs of behavior, the antecedent, the thing that comes before the behavior, the behavior, the thing that actually happens, and then the consequence, the thing that comes after the behavior. Behaviorists tend to focus on the consequence. So you present with a behavior and they squash it. And typically the strategies that have been most effective at squashing behavior involve a component of emotional separation. So old school discipline, including smacking and spanking obviously had a component of emotional separation as well as physical abuse.

And the emotional separation would’ve been the person meant to love you and to be your best bet and to care for you is now harming you. And so an emotional separation, and then we kind of slick it up a little bit and we went the way of timeouts, and if you didn’t get a pluses, then we would take away your allowance or we would consequence you somehow if you didn’t perform the way you were supposed to perform, you met with a consequence. So anything that’s focusing on that consequence kind of part, that’s behaviorist approach. Developmentalists tend to take an antecedent approach and the antecedent is the thing that comes before the behavior. So it’s really how are we going to make sense of why this child is presenting in this way. So if a two-year-old is biting as a behaviorist, you bite them back. I’ve literally had people suggest to me that that would be a far more effective route that would sure stop the behavior in its tracks.

And yes, it would, and it would do so at a great cost. The cost would be that you had introduced this concept of separation into your child’s life that a very young and tender age, and that’s not something that we would advise. So the behaviorist would come out with a consequence. The developmentalist would think, oh, two year olds are still very orally focused in the way that they understand the world. And when they get dysregulated because somebody has the toy that they want or whatever is, they tend to express that via an oral route. They use their mouth. And if you’ve ever watched a two-year-old bite, as soon as they get their teeth into the flesh, it’s like they’re stimming out. It’s like a, oh, they literally are getting settled by that experience. And so we want to understand, okay, you know what? Two-year-olds bite because they’re two, and so whose job is it to take care of that situation and create an environment that will support that little two year old ends, the children around the little two year old who might be getting chomped on if you have a 12 year old who doesn’t want to do their chores and gets really reactive and starts talking back at you and sassing back at you, for us to understand where does that come from?

Is that because they’re 12 and it’s their job right now to start pushing away from you so that they can individuate and step into the world and become their own person? And if so, it doesn’t mean that we allow for that all to play out uncheck. And it does mean that the way that we would respond in terms of putting boundaries and expectations in place would be ones full of firmness and equally full of kindness so that the child wasn’t getting squashed.

Lorne Brown:

So I want to kind of summarize a bit what you’ve said and even unpack it. So you had shared that when you’re talking about the two year old, a lot of the stuff that we do is we, there’s this separation which is quite scary for a child, as you said, we’re their best bet, we’re supposed to keep them safe and we now have shown our angry face and put them in the corner or put them in their room, or maybe some people have hit their child and so that’s going to impact their nervous system, right, of safety. And you had shared that Dan Siegel said that the environment creates your mind. So being put in the room, being told you’re a bad boy and then later your mind creates your environment. So you’re talking there about how your thoughts create your reality. Like this mind now is your subconscious, so this is unconscious programming, they can help themselves, but this is what’s happening.

And then the biting is this because they’re trying to get their needs met. This is a way of them trying to get their needs met maybe in an inappropriate way. The follow-up question is, so can you give an example because as a parent, if there’s two year olds and somebody’s biting my child, I don’t think I would want to sit around and watch that. I’d want to interfere. And you talked about the kindness and firmness, and I’d love you by the way. I’ve listened to Vanessa speak so much at our groups that we get together with. So I love your mountain analogy of the two sides with the firmness and the kindness. So can you go back to that example then of the two year old that’s biting and then kind of this conscious developmentalist approach of what’s going on inside your mind. Like you said, you understand what’s going on with the child, they’re trying to get their needs met, they’re two, there’s this oral fixation, but then in practicality, how do we keep our child safe and how do we prevent our child from buddying the other child?

Vanessa Lapointe:

Yes. So I love that we will go that direction because it puts the spotlight squarely where it needs to be. The spotlight in terms of a two-year old’s behavior is not on the two-year-old. The two-year-old does not yet have the neurological wiring required to be able to manage their impulses and consider another person’s feelings and do all of those kinds of things. So if you are in their way, they go bite you, not because they’re a burgeoning little lunatic and rather because they’re two. So it’s not on the two-year-old to shift that behavior. It’s on the grownups around the two-year-old to create an environment for that two year old that will work alongside that behavior and also work for the other children that are getting chewed on. So to go to the mountain, do you have a

Lorne Brown:

Question? Yeah, I want to, I want to ask you, this is when you put it on the parent’s responsibility, my understanding tell me, this is a stretch here, but by us taking responsibility, we’re going to help regulate our child’s nervous system by us showing up in a different way. And I think you’re going to get to that with the mountain, but this is what we now know through research science is that you can help, and this is a Steven Porges polyvagal theory by you showing up president conscious and what you’re going to share with the mountain analogy, it’s not just what you’re seeing on the outside, but there is something happening on an unconscious level from nervous system to nervous system. Do you subscribe to that?

Vanessa Lapointe:

Well, you just gave me goosebumps in the description of it because that’s exactly what’s happening and you can’t see it, but it lives there. It’s like you’re building, you’ve built this bridge from your brain and heart and mind into your child’s brain and heart and mind. And from the outside you actually give them the internal energy that you are carrying around right now. So if you are like, oh, you gorgeous little two year old, I love how perfectly true you are amazingly too. And just I think you’re amazingly too doesn’t mean I let you chew on other children and I love that you’re you and I got you and I’m right here and I’m going to help you navigate this really tricky moment. So it is about that energetic ability to be able to co-regulate with the child whereby the grownup is extending their nervous system to the child so that the child gets to be settled and sorted and knows that all is well in the world and they can continue to emerge and become who they’re meant to become

Lorne Brown:

And why we have to do our own work. Because while your child’s having a temper tantrum or biting a child to be able to do that means you have had to have done your work so you can stay present and regulated for your child.

Vanessa Lapointe:

That’s right.

Lorne Brown:

Otherwise you get triggered and then you’re too with the child.

Vanessa Lapointe:

You are the two-year-old and two-year-olds don’t do a really great job of growing up other two-year-olds turns out. So I mean that brings us really beautifully to the concept of the parenting mountain. And if you can imagine it as a simple triangle that the peak of the mountain is really where you want to be because the views from the top are quite spectacular, and yet the slope on either side of that mountain is quite steep. So in order to maintain your position at the peak of the mountain, you’re going to need to be balanced by equal but somewhat opposite forces. On the one hand, you’re going to need to be kind. That means that you have big heart for your children. It means that you put the bar where they can jump so they’re not constantly tripping over it. So you get the two-year-olds bite and you really understand that from a developmental perspective, it means that you are generous with your children because you know that generosity breeds generosity.

And so you’re not frightened about extending yourself to your child. And so you have this big sort of heart-centered way of understanding them from a developmental space. That’s the kind side, the firm side of the mountain is that you also have boundaries, that you also understand that there are norms and expectations that our children need to onboard as part of living communally in the systems that we exist within that you are able to establish routines that you’re keeping the child safe by doing so because you create this experience of being held in those routines and in those norms and in those expectations. So on the one side of the mountain we have firm on the other side of the mountain we have kind, the tricky part is that none of us really come into adulthood and certainly into parenthood with that balance perfectly sorted out.

In fact, we tend to default to one or the other side. And so if you are a kind sider as I am, when you’re at the peak of the mountain, you look great. You are squishy and warm and lovely and kind. The problem is that you can very quickly lose your firm. And when you’re not balanced by that firm side, you roll down the kind side of the mountain and you turn into what I call a jellyfish parent. You have no spine and no backbone and you’re overextending and you’re doing too much and all of these things are happening and you often feel guilty, you feel overwhelmed, and sometimes you can become reactive at and towards your children when you’re at the bottom of the kind

Lorne Brown:

Because you hit your tipping point. This jellyfish parent, I love how you describe it, we think we’re doing conscious parenting, but really they’re running the show that we are so afraid for them to feel upset or any discomfort emotionally that we’re jellyfish. We have no spine. As you said, there’s no firmness. So you’re saying it’s okay to say no to a child, it’s okay to not buy them that toy.

Vanessa Lapointe:

Yes. I’m glad that you brought that up because I actually had experience through my own work with clients and families that there’s huge misunderstanding about that part in the gentle, respectful, conscious developmental attachment parenting world where we think, oh, we’re supposed to be all warm and fuzzy all the time and we can never upset the child, and so we must swim around as a jellyfish at the bottom of the mountain. And then I end up with these parents were frazzled and the telltale sign is resentful of their children because essentially in their overextending of self, they’ve been depending their children and it really creates a backlash.

Lorne Brown:

Okay, you got to give our definition of co depending your child, then what does that mean and look like?

Vanessa Lapointe:

So I will borrow Gila Go’s definition for the purposes of this discussion, depending is not speaking or doing your truth for fear of upsetting the other. And then they won’t love you. So as a parent, you don’t put the boundary in place, you don’t hold your ground, you don’t say no because you don’t want to upset your child because then they might not love you.

Lorne Brown:

And I think you subscribed to this idea on this planet. It’s our job to love our child, but it’s not our child’s job to love us.

Vanessa Lapointe:

There is a definite hierarchical nature to the parent child relationship, not in a yucky way, in a caring way. And the parent is here, the child is here. It is the parent’s job to hold space for the child. It is not the child’s job to hold space for the parent or to provide for the parent their emotional needs. It goes one direction and one direction only.

Lorne Brown:

I remember once when my youngest was having a tenter tantrum and he was screaming and crying. He didn’t get what he wanted and telling me he hated me and I would follow him around the room to be with him, and I was doing conscious work. It took so much resource to stay present, not take it personally. I’m human and I was learning, still learning. And I remember saying to him, I really get that you think you hate me and that’s okay. I still love you. Whether you like me or hate me, I’ll always love you. And then he’d go hate you and he’d move away. And then I’d come next to him again and just say, I’m here for you. I love you. Well, I hate you. It’s okay. I don’t need you to love me regardless. I’ll always love you. And then by the end, we had a great, it took 20 minutes of him just crying and screaming at me and I just follow him around and then eventually, and

Vanessa Lapointe:

You think very present

Lorne Brown:

Work human

Vanessa Lapointe:

For

Lorne Brown:

Yourself. And then he eventually leaned into me and just had those good tears. Can we model something or can you model for us? Again, it’s so nice to hear it intellectually, but to really rehearse it. So a common one, I mean this is one of the ones that’s coming through the questions. Your child wants a toy and you’re not going to give them the toy and they have a temper tantrum. So how does the developmentalists deal with the kids screaming that wants the toy? Maybe they’re in the toy store as well. So add a little pressure. You got your peers looking at you judging you.

Vanessa Lapointe:

Yeah, I, and that’s a very common kind of question. Okay, so cool. We can’t take things away from them. We can’t raise their voice to them. We can’t consequence them. We can’t remove a privilege. So what do you do? So in that moment when a child is melting down, your job is, you see the child has slipped their lid. That means they’ve gone, they are no longer thinking rationally about anything. They’ve gone limbic the cortical layers of the brain where rational thought, logic and problem solving abilities are housed, no longer function. They’re all down in the emotional core of the brain. So you can’t appeal to logic. You have to sit with the emotion of it.

Lorne Brown:

We got to repeat that. So they’ve been hijacked. They’re no longer whole brain. They’re in survival mode. And you cannot, what’d you say? You cannot

Vanessa Lapointe:

Appeal to logic. You have to sit with the emotion. And related to that, you cannot control a child who has lost control of themselves because our default of like, oh my God, everybody’s watching. And so we want to say, stop it. I told you, don’t do that. We’re trying to control something that is currently out of control. The lid has slipped, they’ve gone limb

Lorne Brown:

Back and a little tangent here, we’re in the toy store, we’re embarrassed. So now we’re triggered, right?

Vanessa Lapointe:

That’s the key. And that’s going to, so that’ll bring us back to the mountain at the end of this conversation. So the child’s having a meltdown. You don’t have to make it stop. You’re not here in the service of all the people in the store. You are on this planet in that moment in the service of your child. And so you get to hear your child, you get to hang onto yourself. We’ll come back to that and hear your child. You’re so hard when you get a no. Yes, shut up. Stop talking to me that way when they’re five or six, they me say that to you. You can say, yeah, you really hate it when mommy says those words to you. It’s okay if you want to be mad right now, if I were you, I would be mad too. So you’re making space for it.

There’s no resistance to it. And then as a grownup, you might think to yourself, you know what? I don’t know that maybe your child’s reaching for things on the shelves now and starting to throw and whatever which kids can do. So maybe that’s happening. Or maybe you think to yourself, you have a very sensitive child and you know that after the fact your child’s going to be horrified that they had this public meltdown, which by about age four or five, they can start to be sensitive to those kinds of things. And so you might think to yourself, you know what? We’re not going to stay here and do this. I’m going to scoop my kid out legs and arms flying and I’m going to make our way out to the parking lot in the car, wherever, not as a consequence, but as a way of safe keeping my child who’s really having a hard time right now. And the whole time they’re going to be saying, I want the toy. And you’re going to be saying you want the toy. And the answer is no. We’re not saying Mommy’s already spent a whole bunch of money on toys for you this month. And so well, we’re not doing that because that’s trying to jump into logic and problem solving. We’re sitting with the

Lorne Brown:

Emotion and that’s defending. And I’ve heard you say over and over again that what you’re doing is allowing the child to feel fully seen and heard. And if you start to talk about all the reasons why that kind of interferes with them feeling seen, heard. So that’s what you’re doing when you’re saying, I really get you want this toy and if I were you, I’d want this toy and I’d be really upset if I couldn’t have it. You’re letting me know that you get how they feel, you’re sharing that with them, and yet you’re being so there’s the kindness part on the mountain and then you’re still holding your boundaries and you’re not getting this toy today.

Vanessa Lapointe:

That’s right. And really understanding for them how hard that is. It’s hard to be five and not get a toy or hard to be three and not get a toy to really get that they’re doing the very best they can in this moment and that is their best

Lorne Brown:

Vanessa. But I don’t get what I want. I get frustrated and upset too. I may not inside I’m having a little temper tantrum. So just for the parents and the difference between the behaviorists and the developmentalists or what we would call the conscious parenting is that’s when you start to do consequences and punish them and right, and what you’re saying is the situation’s happening, the kids’s having the temper tantrum and rather discipline and reward. Here, I’ll buy you chocolate. Just stop crying, right? You’re suggesting come alongside them. Let them know you really get what’s going on with them. So know what your child’s going through and you can still hold your know and to do this

Vanessa Lapointe:

Balance of firming crimes, but you have to stay at the top of the mountain.

Lorne Brown:

You have to stay at the top of the mountain. And to do this for our listeners, it means you have to show up and do your work. Because I can tell you that if you just hear this or you read a book on this, you’re going to get triggered and you are going to be just like your child. They’re no longer resourced and then they’re no longer can be reached and we regress and we become four years old as well. So to be this kind of parent, it still requires you to do your work, which is why you probably like to see the parents, not the child

Vanessa Lapointe:

A hundred percent. And in that moment, if you’re going to fall down the kind side of the mountain, you’re going to be like, fine, I’ll just buy you the toy. Stop it. Stop. It’s fine. Here’s the toy, let’s just go. And if you’re on the firm side, you’ll slide down that side of the mountain because you’ll lose your client and you will become a bully. You’ll start to yell, you’ll start to shame. You’ll start to threaten all of the things. And so that also is not going to settle your child. It may shut them up, but it won’t settle them. And you will pay for that down the road in the sense that the relationship has been ruptured. And also the child missed a brilliant opportunity to have an experience of being regulated in a moment when things got kind of topsy turvy for them. The more they experience it, the more likely it is to become part of them and settle into their constitution as they grow into adulthood.

Lorne Brown:

It makes me think about as parents, we love our children so much and we want to put bubble wrap around them, but what I think I hear you’re saying is your life, this human experience, they’re going to have physical, emotional discomfort. And what you’re suggestion is you’re going to help them regulate that you can be there and help them feel safe in that discomfort. And that’s the difference. So can’t, it’s a lost battle. We cannot bubble wrap our children.

Vanessa Lapointe:

True story.

Lorne Brown:

What about the parents that I see, and I’m one of those parents, but it’s those that have come to me and they’re having their second child or those that had their first and now they’re like, now what? I just read Vanessa’s book. I mean, I’ll tell you, here’s a full and true confession. Once I learned about the conscious work, my kids were already toddlers. I was like, I need to have a third. I really screwed up these two. I could do better if I have a third, I need another child. And so what I realized, and the answer is it’s never too late as a parent for your children, but how do you respond to those that are afraid that they’re going to mess it up? Because I think myself and many parents want to do this perfectly, and I don’t know if that’s realistic. So what’s your response to those that say, I’m going to mess it up or I’ve messed it up. How much can we mess it up and our kids still be okay? How’s that for a question? That’s

Vanessa Lapointe:

A great question and I have a couple of answers to that. The first thing is we actually know a little bit about an answer. Concretely speaking from the attachment based literature, we, a child is in a relationship with their parent. There’s some researchers out of Harvard, Edward Tronic being the main driver of all of that research, and he was the guy who created the still face paradigm where he puts parents in interruptions with their children and looks at when their face goes blank and devoid of emotion, what happens to the child? So what we know is that relationships are meant to be up and down and that only 30% of the time in the best parent child relationship are the parent and the child really attuned and connected the rest of the time they’re falling out of that attunement and coming back towards the attunement.

And all of this is what allows us to develop into this experience of being good at regulating our ownselves over time. The child having been regulated enough times from the outside will onboard that and that kind of flexing of disappointment and upset and whatever the in and the out of the relationship is, what’s going to allow them to grow into that. What Trump said further was that when it gets problematic, so he calls this the good and the bad. We’re in attunement. We’re not in attunement. That’s the good and the bad. The ugly is when you fall out of attunement and gets stuck and there’s no move made towards rea attuning to what it is that’s going on for the child. So from that perspective, three oh and go 30, 30% of the time and you’re like a rockstar parent.

Lorne Brown:

I’ll have to more confessions here. So this helps because I have own personal experience. If somebody goes unconscious as a parent and you realize it an hour later or two days later, you can do a redo, you can still go and come alongside your child and heal that, can you? Not a

Vanessa Lapointe:

Hundred percent. You can heal that from within your mind, yes, just by a redo inside your mind. And in addition to that, you can close the loop or close the circle with your child. You can head back to your child and say, remember yesterday when you stole brother’s toy and I got really mad at you and I had some big yelly shouts come out me, and that’s not the kind of mom I want to be. And that had nothing to do with you, my darling. It had everything to do with me. We are good and I love you. And that’s it. Notice that I did not say, I’m so sorry. Can you forgive me?

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, that’s an important thing to emphasize here. And you have influenced me so much. I had that same scenario with my child where I lost it, screamed and yelled, and then I went. I realized I had gone unconscious. I went back, did it. In my mind, I found my peace, realized I could do it better. And because I knew I could really do better, I was at peace with it. There was no regret. I just knew I was conscious again. And then I chose to redo with my child, no apology. And I literally said, that’s not the dad I want to be. And then really just redid the whole scenario. And you could just see the shift in the face of the peacefulness in the child’s face that they’re okay, we’re okay. And so we don’t have to do it perfectly in the moment. Once you become conscious again as a parent, you realize, oh my God, I totally want unconscious. You can become conscious again and then come along your child and start to help regulate their nervous system or reprogram their subconscious programs because you say it all the time, you’re their best bet. Or what do you call yourself, the alpha mom or what do you call yourself? Don’t mess with the great mother. The

Vanessa Lapointe:

Great mother. That’s it. Who’s full of swagger or the great father? He’s full of

Lorne Brown:

Swagger. So you can do a redo. So we were talking about can you mess up? So everybody, let’s exhale. We don’t have to do it perfectly. Right? 30%. And soon as you realize that you are doing the behavior style and it doesn’t feel right, then you can come alongside your child. You’re not apologizing. You’re just redoing it with your child.

Vanessa Lapointe:

Yes. And there’s even this concept in the developmental literature called the good enough parent. Well, initially it was the good enough mother, and then we realized, oh, dads actually matter. So we call it the good enough parent that you don’t have to be perfect. Nature would’ve never been so spool to have designed our children as such delicate organisms that if we were to have a moment where we went unconscious and got a little yelly, shay, that we would wreck them, we’re not going to do that. And I do think that it’s worth discussing why people have that fear in the first place. And really that brings us right back to where we started as parents we’re afraid of messing our children up because of the programming that we onboarded way back in the day when we were children, where if we did not perform to standard, if we didn’t do it the right way, if we didn’t get the right grade, if we didn’t have the right behavior, if we didn’t say the right thing or said the wrong thing, that there would be some kind of a reaction.

That reaction was typically from the people that mattered most to us, our parents and our other big people. And with that reaction, we felt the separation. That separation, because we are a social species and we depend on our big people very. We literally as human beings, cannot survive in the absence of love. Babies will die even if you water and feed and clothe them, if you don’t love them, they will die. We know that we need it as a life force when we get responded to from a behaviorist perspective as children, it’s terrifying for us. So we grow up in the knowledge that not being good enough is fatal. It could kill us.

Lorne Brown:

And that’s how I was brought up. We all, no blame on our parents, it’s just cultural society. We were raised that way. And so therefore we’re very good at unconsciously, maybe even consciously doing it to our own children. I know because of time, I want to kind of get into some questions that people have sent me on Instagram that they’re curious about. So the sleep, and then there’s people saying, I got to get my, I’m going to give you two examples and I would like you to tie this into, I’ve heard you talk about this independence with children that people are trying so hard to do to create dependence and independence. So the scenario is, my child wants to sleep with me, but I think they should be sleeping on their own and they let them go and cried out all night. So how does that impact the nervous system?

And then just think of the young child that knows how to walk already, but it’s like asking for the, they’re putting their arms up, they want you to pick them up, but you’re thinking, no, they should be able to walk now they’re able to walk. Now, I want you to, from your perspective, from a conscious parenting approach, from a developmentalist approach, can you address those two questions that people are asking of how much independence, what we supposed to do for our kids? Are we supposed to toughen them up and make them walk and not pick ’em up? Are we supposed to make them sleep on their own? I will share a cute story with you is when I tried, I wouldn’t do it this way now, but I did try to regulate my child’s sleep. And when he was very young, I was telling him he had to sleep on his own.

And he said, but why? You don’t sleep by yourself. You sleep with mommy. And I realized our whole life, we are looking for some mate to sleep in our bed with us our whole life. And here I am trying to tell my kid I didn’t have an answer. I was like, come on in, kid out. Fired to me. But I was just starting the conscious parenting stuff at that point in time and I was told, get your kid out of your bed. They should be sleeping on their own. I want to know your thoughts on this.

Vanessa Lapointe:

Our job is not to raise our children to become hardened, but to become hardened. And to do that, we have to get off this bizarre idea that we have about the concept of independence because our understanding of independence is fake. It leads to fake independence and in fact, perpetuates immaturity. What we really want is true independence. And so think about it this way. You gave the example of the child who’s just learning to walk. They come titling over to you. Let’s say they’re 18 months old, 24 months old, they put their hands up in the air and they say up because they want to be carried. Maps you’ve been told you should not do for a child what they can and should do for themselves, right? And so with that understanding, you say to them, you’ve got two legs that work perfectly well, you may walk there yourself.

Now, let’s say on the other hand, you’ve been busy hanging out at circle with Lorne and I, and you’ve really discovered this developmental space of approaching child development. And so the child walks up to you and you are so delighted because you love to carry your kid and they come up and say, they up, up and you go in and you scoop them up and you love them and you’re delighted with it. And you tell them things like, I love to carry you. I remember when you were a little baby. I got to carry you all day long and it was so great. Okay, so you have those two scenarios in mind. Now listen to my first question. Which of these two children will first walk there with their own two feet? The answer is the child in the first scenario.

Lorne Brown:

And that’s the one where you’re forcing them to walk.

Vanessa Lapointe:

The one that you said, you’ve got two legs that work perfectly well,

Lorne Brown:

They will walk first. That behavior will happen earlier. That’s

Vanessa Lapointe:

Right. And you’ll be sitting there thinking, yeah, I did it. I got my kid to walk there with their own two feet and I’m winning as a parent. Second question, listen to the difference in language out of these two children, which one will first desire from somewhere deep inside their soul to walk there with their own two feet?

Lorne Brown:

And the keyword here is desire.

Vanessa Lapointe:

Every single time it’s going to be the child. In the second scenario,

Lorne Brown:

The one that you picked up, they felt safe and they did it when they were ready.

Vanessa Lapointe:

So then it emerges out of them. And that word emergent is what we’re all looking for as parents. If we really want to raise our children in the best possible way, we want them to emerge. And you emerge when your cup overflows. Now, this is not the same thing as helicoptering because a lot of people then say, well, that sounds an awful lot like helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting would be your child’s happily wandering around and you go and pick them up because you think it’s safer and because you want to carry them, because you miss them. So helicopter parenting is when it’s born of your knee. But developmental parenting is when it is meeting the child’s needs. And the same could be said about co-sleeping. We are really, well we, I’m speaking about you and I living here in Canada, in this part of the world.

I mean most other places in the world, co-sleeping is the normalized approach to sleep in a family unit. And so we have these things born out of our incredible love affair with the concept of independence, where we believe our children should do these things alone and they have to become independent. And if you don’t have weight on their shoulders now, they’re never up their feet on the ground when they become grown up. All of this nonsense, follow the guidelines. I always say that all of the guidelines put forward by the whoever’s. And if you want to sleep with your child, rock on with your socks on, do it safely. If you’ve got babies, there are things that you need to be thinking about with all of that. And your children will one day get up and out of your bed and go sleep somewhere else. Maybe with someone else, it’ll happen.

Lorne Brown:

It’s like the potty training. Nobody walks down the aisle in diapers.

Vanessa Lapointe:

That’s right. So we can just get over our fear. That’s what it is, Lorne. It’s fear. Fear our fear that we’re going to do it

Lorne Brown:

Wrong. And again, we’re going to do it wrong. And then there’s shame that there’s something inherently wrong with me or guilt, I did it wrong. It comes back to we have to heal our hearts and minds, and then when we do, we can be present and really see and hear our kids and be conscious for them. I will share with you that this is not easy, as in to be a developmentalist and to be present with your child. And I say this as in again, I’m full of confessions today. I think when I first started the work, I still saw it as a way to manipulate my children’s behavior, right? Fair. I really think, oh, if I do this and I attach to them, then they’ll do what I want. And what I realized is no, I really had to work on myself because you need incredible patients because they didn’t necessarily take out as they got to teenagers, take out the recycling or do what I ask.

And through the work and through that self-love working on myself, the compassion was there for my kids where I didn’t need them to behave a certain way. I had my big epiphany one day that I needed my kids to be okay, such a selfish guy that if they’re okay, I feel okay. And when they’re not okay, I hurt. So really I needed them to be okay because it hurt so much. When they were struggling, I found out how that triggered me. I would go and find my space, do my how to present moment work, the conscious work I like to do. I’d find the resistance would go down. I’d find that relief piece, and then I could be there with compassion. My kid’s still struggling, but rather than it causing the suffering in me, it was triggering my same program that he had going on. Now I was able to have compassion and I was in a place of peace. Why? Because I knew he was safe and I got him. He was upset, but there was no survival risk going on there. And I just knew we’re going to get through this. And so it really came back to your own work. But I wanted to share is this isn’t easy work because if you go in there thinking, I’m going to get them to behave a certain way, that was what I was doing. I was like, this is difficult, right?

Vanessa Lapointe:

Yeah. It’s the roadless traveled and because we still live in a dominantly behaviorist world, you will feel constantly like you’re swimming upstream. And so you’ve got that added sort of piece of challenge that comes along with it. And what I will tell you is that having walked the path with so many families at this point in my career and my own family, and seeing the difference in those children as they emerge into adulthood, seeing the difference in those children when the path in life does get bumpy, it does. That’s part of being human, that their capacity for resilience and their capacity to come through when they are parented in a conscious kind of way is stunningly different than the kids who fit the mold and did the things and behaved in all of the stuff. And that facade of independence, it’s a devastating path. It leads to so much angst and turmoil, separation and ruptures in relationships that it, even though the work is,

Lorne Brown:

And it circles back to our beginning discussion, I have one last question for you, but at the beginning we said when they have this separation, when they don’t feel safe, they don’t feel enough, they’re cutting themselves, they’re doing drugs, they’re joining gangs or suicide. So it may be easier in the toddler years, but later on in life, in the rest of their adulthood life, they have these programs like I have and most adults are running. And this is a chance, like Neufeld said, is if you can attach to your kids now and connect with them conscious parenting, which means you have to do any work, there’s a chance they’ll grow up regulated with their needs met. So they don’t need to go and cut join gangs or do suicide to get their needs met because they got it from you. It wasn’t easy. We just shared this, but you’re only up to teenagers.

There’s a short period of your life from birth to 19, and then there’s a long life after that, so it can be worth it. One last question and that comes up often is in my practice, I often see women, we invite the men to come in because we do a lot of fertility. And so it does take two to make a baby if they’re in a heterosexual relationship. But still, it’s usually the women that comes in. Yes, there are some guys, hats off to you guys that come in. Thank you for showing up. But the question that the women often say is when they start to do this work, read somebody’s book like yours is, they’re like, they go into panic because they’re now doing their conscious work and they’re consciously being developmentalists, but their partner is still the unconscious behaviorist. And now they’re like, do I leave this guy? How do I protect my kid? Now it becomes a stress. So do you need both parents or do you just need one great mother or one alpha parent for this to work for the child?

Vanessa Lapointe:

We now a hundred percent hands down from all of the studies on resilience and what it takes for a kid’s world to go around. It only takes one, which is not to say that your child will not have to heal from the experiences they have with the parent who’s not approaching it from a developmental mindset. And it is to say that they will be able to heal from that because they have their one. It only takes one.

Lorne Brown:

And in relationships, it takes two to end a relationship and one to heal a relationship. And so if somebody is doing their conscious work, I’ll put out there, it’s been my experience working with the people I work with. Now, I’m asking you as our psychologist here who works from a conscious perspective, you won’t get triggered by the unconscious parent if you are fully conscious.

Vanessa Lapointe:

You’ll see them as a friendly soul who’s come into your life in order to awaken you. And you’ll also have compassion for them because I promise you, behind the story of the behaviorist parent is a story that would bring you to your knees and how devastating it has been for that person if you really understood the psyche behind it all. And so compassion and presence, yeah, you can almost look forward to your spouse or co-parent being challenging with your children because there’s so many opportunities in that word,

Lorne Brown:

So many opportunities for growth in your own evolution. Vanessa, I’m so glad we got together. I think we’re going to have to have a part two episode just like our teacher, Gila Gila has two on there. We mentioned Gila, so episode 10 is out. Check that out. She has another episode coming out. I don’t know when, but look for that. We mentioned Steve Porges. He’s on there. And Vanessa, I’m hoping we get a second episode with you. I have so many more questions, but I kind of think this fit in nicely from conscious fertility to conscious conception, to conscious pregnancy, to conscious parenting. And like you said, if you have a child or you have ever been a child, then this work is for you. And so next I want to remind people, we’ll put in the show notes, but how would you like them to find out more about you and where do they find your books, your online courses, how do we find you?

Vanessa Lapointe:

So all of that, if you navigate to Dr. Vanessa, the Point with an e on.com, there’s links through to all of the major booksellers from my book. There also are links through to the online courses. I have two more that will be coming out in the next few months, one on anxiety and approaching that from a conscious space and one on just general parenting and approaching that from a conscious space. And so all of that information is on my website. I’m also very active on social media. I put out a lot of video clips because people love to hear the templates and the voice and understand how to respond and those kinds of things when the going gets tough. So both Instagram and Facebook,

Lorne Brown:

Perfect. And Vanessa hasn’t heard me say this, but a lot of the guests I’ve had, especially if they’re local, I’ll say, you know what? We got to do something locally like a workshop together. And a lot of them have. And so Vanessa, I’m going to be checking in with you for us to do something here over Zoom or in Vancouver since you’re so close by again, you guys, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, go to her website. Her books are fabulous. And I’ve seen Vanessa present and share. And so I expect her online courses to be a plus as well. And so there is no manual, but there are some tools that are available to help you stay present and conscious for yourself, and then obviously, so you could hold the space for your child. Dr. Vanessa Le Point, thank you for joining us on the Conscious Fertility Podcast.

Vanessa Lapointe:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Speaker:

If you’re looking for support to grow your family, contact ACU Balance Wellness Center at Accu Balance. They help you reach your peak fertility potential through their integrative approach using low level laser therapy, fertility, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine. Download the Acba Fertility Diet and Dr. Brown’s video for mastering manifestation and clearing subconscious blocks. Go to acu balance.ca. That’s acu balance.ca.

Lorne Brown:

Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of Conscious Fertility, the show that helps you receive life on purpose. Please take a moment to subscribe to the show and join the community of women and men on their path to peak fertility and choosing to live consciously on purpose. I would love to continue this conversation with you, so please direct message me on Instagram at Lorne Brown Official. That’s Instagram, Lorne Brown official, or you can visit my websites, Lorne brown.com and accu balance.ca. Until the next episode, stay curious and for a few moments, bring your awareness to your heart center and breathe.

 

Vanessa Lapointe's Bio

Vanessa Lapointe's Bio

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R.Psych is a mom, registered psychologist, parenting educator, best-selling author, international speaker, and regularly invited media guest.

Her passion is in walking alongside parents, teachers, care providers, and other big people to really see the world through the child’s eyes. She believes that if we can do this, we are beautifully positioned to raise our children in the best possible way.

Her books are Discipline Without Damage and Parenting Right From The Start – both can be found on Amazon and in most bookshops.

Her passion is in walking alongside parents, teachers, care providers, and other big people to really see the world through the child’s eyes. She believes that if we can do this, we are beautifully positioned to raise our children in the best possible way.

 

Where To Find Vanessa Lapointe: 

https://drvanessalapointe.com/

Instragram : https://www.instagram.com/dr.vanessalapointe/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/drvanessalapointe/

Hosts & Guests

Lorne Brown
Vanessa Lapointe

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