Updated: Sep 27
If you're feeling overwhelmed and frustrated because your attempts to set boundaries based on your family values and intuition are falling flat, you are not alone! Perhaps you find yourself constantly giving in to your child's demands, compromising your own values, or feeling disconnected from your family. Despite your best efforts, a calmer and more connected parenting environment seems out of reach.
But there is hope! By understanding the importance of setting boundaries and aligning them with your family values, you can parent with confidence and create the harmonious and fulfilling home life you've been yearning for.
Want that one line? Jump to it, here.
‘Kids do well if they can,’ not ‘kids do well if they want to.’ We should be adopting the mindset of helping children develop the skills they need rather than expecting them to behave perfectly. —Jenny GK
Our special guest is Cindy Shuster, PCI® Certified Parent Coach, Nurtured Heart Approach® Certified Trainer, and mom for over 26 years.
Meet Cindy Shuster—a beacon of hope for all parents struggling to find balance between their expectations and real-life parenting scenarios. After a decade of teaching on the elementary education frontlines and raising three sons, Cindy found her true calling as a PCI-certified parent coach. She learned several lessons from her own experiences as a mother. One of the most important? That raising children takes more than just love and provision—it requires a strategic approach.
Today, Cindy channels her passion into sharing her learned wisdom with other parents, paying it forward and making their journeys a little bit smoother.
This episode encourages you to
Uncover the impactful connection between self-care and personal well-being.
Understand the science behind observing and modifying children's behavioral patterns.
Establish fundamental boundaries as a parent relying on your family values and gut feeling.
Foster the growth of autonomy and skillfulness in your kids.
Realize the profound effects of self-sympathy and affirmative inner dialogue in successful parenthood.
Your next steps:
Visit our website for more insights from this episode.
Visit Cindy Shuster's website to learn more about her parent coaching services and training programs. Check out her blog for tips and advice on parenting and child behavior. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @parentcoachcindy for regular updates and insights on parenting. Additional resources on her Linktree, here!
Share this episode with other parents who may benefit from Cindy Shuster's expertise and insights.
Review research and books by Dr. Brad Reedy and Dr. Ross Greene for more parenting support.
Take a moment to reflect on your own parenting approach and consider if there are any areas where you could benefit from a shift in mindset or strategy.
Important Insights for Parenting with Confidence
When you're feeling challenged as a parent, remember to S-T-O-P
🛑 "STOP" stands for:
Stimulus—what's triggering you?
Take a breath—try to calm yourself down so that you can re-regulate yourself
Observation—observe the child and yourself
Proceed with your next step
I loved the "observation" step.
The Significance of Observation
Observing ourselves, especially our reactions to different parenting situations, can be quite revealing. It interrupts our normal response pattern so that we can avoid those knee-jerk reactions and promote more thoughtful responses instead.
Basically, the practice of self-observation brings clarity, helping us distinguish genuine concerns from insignificant triggers and guiding us to respond rather than react.
When it comes to setting—and holding—your boundaries
Setting Parental Limits
Setting boundaries as a parent is not about imposing strict rules. It's about defining what aligns with our family's values and intuition. It's important to consider each child's unique needs and to foster autonomy in their decision-making process. Trusting our intuition and maintaining consistency in setting these limits helps you create a calm and nurturing parenting environment—you know, the one you want.
You CAN put the genie back in the bottle
Yes, you can take things away and/or reset boundaries once you've determined that they current system isn't working for you. And yes, your kid will probably be upset.
But here's the one line you need to parent with confidence in that moment?
“I’m just not comfortable with this (anymore)”
Also acceptable: “This isn’t working for or family”
In the heat of the moment, less is more
You don't need to explain the reasoning for your boundary(ies) in the moment. Chances are, your kid isn't listening and/or doesn't care, especially when they're disregulated.
As Jenny notes, depending on the kid and your relationship, you can come back to the conversation about WHY the boundary is in place later. Share your research, share your experiences, etc. to give your child all of the information that helped you come to your decision... just not when everyone is heated.
Why self-care matters for parents
Imagine your regulated self.
You are a pot of water at room temperature.
As you deal with various stressors during the day, your temperature warms. If you are just BARELY simmering, how much would it take to make you boil over?
Self-care is how you turn the energy around and cool off so that you aren’t ready to boil!
Self-care is a form of re-regulation. Self-care is habitual. It is what we do to deliberately take care of our physical and mental health. And, self-care is how you deal with and speak to yourself. As Cindy said,
this is the foundation of the house. It’s the big rock. You HAVE to do this.
Self-care IS NOT:
SELFISH. Anyone who tells you this is incorrect.
Self-indulgent or a reward. The rare "treat" that you give yourself, like a spa day or a birthday shopping spree, can be and extra special form of self-care, yes, but repeat after me: if's it's rare, it ain't self-care.
Always relaxing. CK goes for a walk every weekday morning. It's not relaxing. It's invigorating. It's work. And in Texas, it's always always sweaty. It's her self-care to get regulated before a busy work day.
How do you speak to yourself?
Parenting is effing hard. Cindy notes that many of her parents come to her asking for her help to make important parenting decisions, as if that's something she can do for them (how can she! She doesn't know each family's values!).
The number of times I've wanted someone to hand me the Apple Maps parenting app with step-by-step directions to help me navigate the particular parenting challenge I'm facing in the moment is an infinity loop. And because this doesn't exist, it's impossible to know if you're always making the "right" choice."
If you're like me, chances are, you're beating yourself up all the time:
Oh man, I really came down too hard on my son. I hate when I do that. I'm really not cut out for this.
Ugh, maybe I should get our daughter a phone... I mean, everyone else is doing that for their 6th grader...
I have to work again this weekend but I promised the kids I'd take them to the zoo... I'm a terrible parent for breaking this promise...
How can you possibly parent from a place of confidence if you talk to yourself like that?
Parenting from a place of confidence
Asserting your parenting boundaries requires us feel confident in our values and choices. But confidence comes from kindness and self-compassion (Jenny recommends checking out Self-compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff).
Think about every truly confident person you've met.
How do they talk about themselves?
Do they constantly berate their values and choices?
Do they put themselves down?
Of course not!
How do you build that confidence?
First, as I said in my 2015 Teacher of the Year acceptance speech (#humblebrag), "We practice what we want to get better at." Practice confidence. Fake it 'til you make it. Reframe your crappy self talk.
Frozen chicken nuggets again = My kids are fed.
Late for school/forgot to sign XYZ form = I prioritized what was needed in the moment.
Lots of screen time this weekend ("too much"?) = I gave myself a break.
Second, look for little moments of win—because what you focus on grows. As you find little moments of win here and there, they'll become more obvious, and you'll start to feel like you're getting the hang of this
Parenting with confidence requires us to be gentle with ourselves. We have to show ourselves the same kindness that we show others who doubt their parenting skills. Kind self-talk is self-care. And you'll be a better parent because of it.
CK & GK
More resources from this episode:
The ManningCast audition