Episode 12 –
Part 2 | Teaching a Habit of Courage
with Kate Swoboda

Episode 12

“[There can be] a reluctance to try something different just because it doesn’t fit with the picture you have of how it should be or the dogma or the ideology of that book from that expert who said it has to look this way.”

How can we instill a habit of courage in our kids? Sharon interviews Kate Swoboda, author of The Courage Habit, in this two-part podcast series on courage. In Part 2, Kate shares how she walks through the 4-part process of the Courage Habit with her daughter and how you can do the same with your children. Don’t miss Part 1 where Sharon and Kate discuss developing courage as a parent! You can find Kate at www.yourcourageouslife.com. Thanks for listening!

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Find Kate’s book,
The Courage Habit: How to Accept Your Fears,
Release the Past, and Live Your Courageous Life here!
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Intro: Welcome to the Raiseology podcast with your host, pediatrician and parenting mentor, Sharon Somekh here to empower parents to raise resilient and independent children. Grab your coffee or your Margarita and let’s get started. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should be used to supplement rather than substitute the care provided by your physician.
Sharon: Hey everyone, if you missed last week’s episode of the podcast, this is a continuation of that episode. This is part two of an interview with Kate Swoboda, the author of the courage habit. And in last week’s episode we talked about developing a habit of courage as adult. And today we’re going to talk about how to apply those same principles to help our children develop courage habits of their own. So let’s get right into it. Now, what would you say, um, is, is the courage habit something that you’re teaching your daughter to, um, to sort of use and, and to help her with fears that may come up for her. I mean, you know, she’s still young, but even my three year old will tell me she’s scared of things. And um, there are definitely times where I would like to have something to tell her or to teach her that would help her alleviate some of those fears and some of those fears are for a three year old or noises that they might hear that make that they think about it in the middle of the night or um, things that they can’t really process and explained to you, but the words I’m scared you hear all the time at home. Right? And so, you know, is there something that you would recommend to parents where they can teach their children to access those aspects of the courage habit too, in a way that is more child accessible? Right?
Kate: I often think about the tools of the courage habit as being sort of like I’m working with things that can be very difficult within a container. So like if you could imagine like a cup and you’re putting into that cup, your fear, your worries, your anxieties, your all the things that you know are out of control in the world, but it’s in this cup and you’re going, okay, within this cup I’m trying to work with this stuff. There’s a container for what I’m trying to work with. And I think the similar thing goes on with how I think about parenting my daughter and, and helping her with the things that she encounters in her world. Like it’s all going into this cup and there’s a sort of a container for it. So what it could look like would be like she says she thinks something’s not fair that I’m hearing a lot of that lately. I haven’t asked any of my mom friends yet developmentally as a pediatrician, is that really common? It for. I’m suddenly hearing the things were not fair and it’s kind of like, you know, it’s a new thing for me because it’s very kind of like, yeah, it’s not fair, but I, I’m not really into this idea that like I should do is to have a long conversation with a four year old whose frontal lobe or frontal cortex is not developed at all about life not being fair. Like what. No. I see parents doing that and like I’m just sitting here like you could see the kids eyes glaze over and they start like looking kind of over their parents shoulder. I’m just sitting. I’m like, well that’s not going anywhere. But okay.
Sharon: Um, my sister always tells her kids when you’re a mommy you’ll be able to do this well.
Kate: So what I’ll try to do is, is encouraged her to access the body and, and like, okay. So she’s like, that’s not fair. And you know, just kind of reflecting back to her and go, I hear that it’s not feeling fair is it? And she’ll go, no. And I’m like, and you don’t like how that feels. And she’s like, no, I’m gonna say, is it, is it feeling angry? I’m angry. Got it, angry. Do you want to stomp on the floor with me? We could stomp out our anger. Sometimes that’s a go. Other times it’s like, no, you know, what I want to do with you right now is no. But uh, but I don’t even worry about it if her response was no, because it’s like, well, that is her accessing her body and venting out some of what she feels it is giving her an outlet for her, no. Listening without attachment, I wouldn’t say that’s. Let me see. I don’t know if that’s something I’ve, I’ve thought about her doing as much, but it’s definitely something I get a lot of practice with. And I think all parents got to get a lot of practice with like it’s not fair and not getting attached to, am I doing it wrong? It’s like, okay, like I’m not letting her have candy in the afternoon the same day that she had a birthday party in the morning. Like is it fair? No, it’s not. Am I going to let you know? I’m not so you know, she’s going to, so I’m trying to listen without getting attached, but getting hooked by the things that she’s saying, stuff like that. Reframe limiting stories, that could look like, um, you know, I mean I’m hearing a lot of complaining from her and lately and I’m trying to actually name it and actually go. I’m hearing a lot of complaining. Why don’t we talk about some things that make us really happy right now? No. Okay. Do you want to use your words and tell me what you’d like to be different? No, it’s like, it’s like I’m trying to do it even before I think she’s really ready. Do you want to tell me what you’d like to be different or do you want to talk about some things that are happy but actually complaining doesn’t really work in the world. Like, like you’re not going to have any friends you grow up to complain. Like this is actually one of those cute little peccadilloes I can just kind of roll with. So trying to reframe it like, okay, well that’s your choice. Well I feel sad. Is there anything I can do to help? No. All right, well that’s your choice then. You know, there are choices like feeling sad. You have choices. I’m reaching out and creating community. Is there anything I can do to help? Would you like to talk to daddy about it instead of me? Um, do you need some space or would you like to have a snuggle? You know, stuff like that. Um, and I am noticing too that more and more often she’ll, she’ll do little things, like she’ll start to get really mad and sad and, and instead of spinning out, she’ll go, I just need a snuggle. And I’m like, okay, come on over, you know. And that’s about what we can do I think at this point. So you know, for sure I put the Kibosh on any kind of hitting or kicking, I don’t really ever see her hit or kick anymore, you know, she did it when she was two. She doesn’t do it with us, but like sometimes she doesn’t like what I’m saying and she’s in the back seat in her car seat. She’ll kick the seat in front of her and I’m like, no, like, that’s a no. Yeah, we try to work through some of that stuff. So I guess the, the to, to pull it back into this container metaphor, it’s like the container is all this messy stuff that isn’t necessarily comfortable for her and I’m not going to fix it for her, but I’m also not going to allow hitting, kicking. I’m also not going to allow like if she were to try to throw or call names or something like that, that wouldn’t work for me. And that’s a time out for me, you know? Um, I do time outs. That’s another thing, I don’t do that, that’s another thing I do that I’m not supposed to do. So in contrast to many of the parents, parents around me now, I don’t do a shunning time out. The time outs I had as a kid, you had to go put your nose in the corner and look away from everybody that I don’t do a shunning time out. But I do a, you know, like there’s a timeout spot and she has to sit in it and she’ll cry for a minute, get some of her feelings out, and then we’ll come over and we always start with, let’s take a breath, which I see as accessing the body. And then why don’t you tell me a little bit about, you know, why did, why did I put you in timeout? Because I do want her to understand that there was a logical link between behavior that violated our families norms and needing to take a time out from each other. And she will also say in that moment, like, well, but I was mad because you did this and this. I was like, okay and we always do. You want to have a hug? We always ended there. So we, it’s a timeout with a reconnect, which from what I understand is the kind of time out that is, is, you know, it’s like, it’s a timeout, that’s a pause. But what I have not seen be very effective is, uh, my, her preschool, they have this cozy cove thing that they’ve made with like books and stuffed animals and they send the kids over to sit in the cozy cove when they’re misbehaving and I’ve heard these stories could pick her up about, you know, she didn’t want to help pick up after our activity today and she started to freak out and we sent her over to the cozy cove and I am just sitting here like, okay, so cool. So what she just learned today was you told her to do something. She didn’t want to do it. You sent her over to a cove with books and toys while everybody else cleaned it up and then we moved on. Oh, okay. So yeah, I, I get why she’s done this 10 times with you this week. You’re teaching her she doesn’t actually have to listen to what you say. And, and you know, I actually had a conference with them when, when that particular issue got to be big. And I just said to them like, we live in a world where, and she’s about to go to public school and a couple of years where if she does not listen to the teacher, she will actually be in trouble and something will go on her record if she has a consistent problem with that. So like, I actually want her to learn that when teachers say it’s time to clean up, you just quit. You can feel like it’s not fair and I’m not going to make you wrong for feeling what you feel, but I am going to say you are part of a community here. And part of our community involves picking up our things together and not complaining about it and not throwing a fit about it.
Sharon: Yeah. No, I agree with everything you’ve said. I mean we do timeouts in a very similar way. Um, and you know, it’s interesting, I once read, a very famous parenting book that talked about timeouts and how you should put your child in timeouts and then there’s no discussion and no conversation after it. And I was like, well, that doesn’t make sense to me. Um, and so we talk about it and I don’t isolate her during a timeout, you know, I put her, she’s in the same room as me, but she’s clearly in a timeout and she doesn’t like it and it’s, it works for us because it does deter her in a sense from misbehaving sometimes, which it’s her job in a sense to figure out where she’s allowed to behave or misbehave in certain ways. And so I understand that that’s her role. And my role is to show her when it’s appropriate.
Kate: Our time out spot is in the kitchen. And I’ve joked with my husband, our kitchen is never so clean as it is on a day when we’ve had to do a few time outs because, you know, like, same thing, we don’t shun her. We’re not sending her off to her own room or something. We’re cleaning the kitchen while she’s sitting over there going, you know, and, and I’m not saying that in that voice mocking her, she’s having her feelings and I get it and I don’t want to leave her alone alone with them. Um, but I just, you know, I also, I just think it’s really healthy for kids to know that like the buck stops here. This is where this is stopping, this is the limit, this is the boundary and there’s an actual consequence and I’m going to be consistent about it for going over the boundary. And um, and I do see different kids react to different things. Again, somebody else could be listening to this podcast going well that you’re just not doing it right because I did this whole different approach and you know, I just talked to my kid very calmly and she behaves just fine and I’m like, well maybe that works for your kid. But honest to cheese, I have like literally counted myself explaining things to my daughter or not, not like long winded explanations but just like slowing down and be doing all the things that you know, these certain books from these certain theories say to do and I got to the number 20 and she was just amplifying it and it’s just like in the real world, you don’t get to number 20.
Sharon: Right. And that didn’t work for her and you know, I have four kids, they’re all totally different from one another and I can tell you I have one, maybe two when she was younger, where I can just calmly explain and I would say 90 percent of the time that calm explanation really gets her to stop doing whatever it is or to do what I need her to do. But she’s the exception. I parent her differently from the others. Right.
Kate: I mean that’s just what you have to learn as a parent is how to deal with each child’s away, but is definitely at the thing that I see that concerns me in terms of the exhaustion that I know a lot of mothers feel is when it’s very clear that what they’re doing isn’t working and like for that child or for their family, but they keep doing it anyway because they think that that’s what it means to be a good mom. Like I have been in private facebook groups before with moms who were like, they describe. I like breastfeeding you guys. I’m breastfeeding every other hour. I have not had a solid two to three hours of sleep in a row for six months, eight months, every day. Some days I’m looking at my daughter and I’m thinking she’d be better off without me. I’m exhausted all the time and I just can’t see straight and like you’ll get these moms who jump in and they’re like, just keep with it a little longer. It’s going to get easier. Breastfeeding. Have you tried this and that shield and data and I’m sitting here going, hello, postpartum depression. Give the baby a bottle of formula like please give the baby a bottle of formula or have your husband or your partner or your sitter or your like go get like, like we should not be so adhering to a dogma or a philosophy that we’re completely ignoring when someones ship is sinking and I have definitely seen families where the parenting philosophy that they are adhering to so hard. It’s like everybody’s grumpy, everybody’s grouchy. They can’t go out to dinner. They can’t do anything without this kind of tension around are the kids going to misbehave and and from what I can tell in those situations and of course I don’t live there and I don’t really don’t mean to sound like a judgmental bitch. I don’t mean that. I mean I’m not there all the time and from what I can tell over the span of multiple occasions, they need a different approach. They actually need to say to their kids, the buck stops here. The limit is right here. Because if they did that, instead of endlessly trying to redirect, their kids would kind of like not keep acting out. Like that would be my guess. And you know, a fear of trying those things is, is more so when I’m speaking to. I actually think too that there are some kids where their parents try absolutely everything and none of it seems to go very well and it’s super hard. And I’m in solidarity. So what I’m speaking into here on today’s podcast is a reluctance to try something different just because it doesn’t fit with the picture you have of how it should be or the dogma or the ideology of that book from that expert who said it has to look this way.
Sharon: Or because we know it’s hard work and sometimes we have a fear of, you know, making these changes in our family life and our parenting really can be very trying in the beginning. And so I find a lot of parents, they want to make changes or they feel discontent with the way things are going, but they don’t reach out and get support and try to learn different ways because they’re afraid of that period of time that is inevitably going to be more difficult even than what going through now.
Kate: It is a temporary difficulty. It is a temporarily difficulty. I mean, I had a mom when my daughter was an infant, tell me straight to my face that cry it out with psychologically damaging to children. And she used the words psychologically damaging. And I think that that’s what ends up happening with these unfortunate. That’s what ends up happening with ideologies. So cry it out, we did end up doing, it took three nights. The first night it was 40 minutes and it was awful and I cried the whole time. And the second night it was 20 minutes and it was awful. And I cried the whole time. And the third night she woke up and she cried for like, and nobody’s there. It’s like, all right, I’m going back to sleep. And the whole time, that first night when it was 40 minutes and it felt really hard, of course I was thinking of that mom who said the cry cried out is psychologically damaging to your children. And you know, like that’s the kind of thing that, that I think in our parenting culture is creating a lot of fear for moms. This idea that unless you adhere to a certain way of doing things, you will psychologically damaged your children. And I don’t think that that’s actually true. I don’t see that. Yeah, I, um, I think the smartest research we’ve seen on what really does psychologically damaged children probably is coming out of people like Dr Brenae Brown when they talk about shame. She’s amazing to me. So, so don’t shame your children. Um, and uh, and I don’t think they’re gonna if, if, if you’re a mother of an infant that’s at least 20 pounds and can hold a full night of food in its belly as at the last feeding of the night and you want to start doing sleep training, I don’t think they’re going to remember that you did cry it out someday. I mean, that’s just me that I’ll leave it to the pediatrician on this podcast, whether or not that’s incorrect, but.
Sharon: I think that that fear that parents have over sort of damaging their children psychologically and in is a real fear. And it really, unfortunately, I think that it extends way past cried out and it, it really is, I think it’s caught that fear is actually causing more harm than intended, right? Because what it leads to is, like you said, that that coddling and placating and um, you’re so free to say no because saying no might damage your child’s self esteem and all of that. And I mean, we’re getting a little bit off topic, but that’s really was the impetus for me starting this whole movement or um, and really, um, I just was seeing so much of that and so many parents who knew that it wasn’t really the right thing for their family, but they didn’t know how did you at any different. And so that’s why I figured I would try to teach and um, hopefully that that’s something that will create some change. And I’m hopeful that this podcast episode will be part of that too. Um, it really has been so lovely speaking to you about this. I think that the amount of value in this episode is unbelievable and I hope people listen to the end and really get a lot out of it because I know I did. Um, so thank you so much for being here.
Kate: Thank you for having me.
Sharon: Sure. Um, so tell me, I guess where I, the courage habit is out on and where can we get sellers everywhere. Amazon. Somebody actually just showed me a photo of this week that it’s in airports. I was like, I feel fancy now. I’m in an airport. Um, so the courage habit is everywhere. You can also find me at yourcourageouslife.com. My coach training program is at teamCLCC.com and on most social media except for facebook. I’m kate courageous on facebook. I am at your courageous life. So facebook.com/yourcourageouslife. Okay, great. Thank you. I hope you enjoy today’s episode of the podcast. If you’re interested in hearing more about the Raiseology parenting course I mentioned at the end of the episode, you can find more information at www.Raiseology.com/course.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the podcast, head over to www.Raiseology.com, where you’ll find plenty of You’ve got this resources for parents and any links or tools mentioned in today’s show. Be sure to hit subscribe on your podcatcher so that you can listen to the next episode the minute it’s out. Until next time, have an empowered week.

Meet Your Mentor

Sharon is a general pediatrician, loving wife and mother to 4 daughters.

 After a decade of practicing general pediatrics and working with families, she realized there often wasn’t enough time while tending to children’s medical needs to help parents in the way that would be most helpful in shaping their children’s futures.

 The Raiseology Program was developed to teach parents how to raise their children with the love and authority necessary to promote resilience and responsibility.

Sharon’s experience with hundreds of families as well as her own help her meet you where you are on your parenting journey to help you make it what you want it to be.

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This site and the information contained therein is for educational purposes only. This site is not a substitute for medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. The use of this site does not create a doctor-patient relationship.

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