Episode 39- Confident Parenting with Mary Kerwin
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. It is nice to see everybody out in slumber Made Simple. Good morning. I think it’s Tuesday right now, which is the days are blending together. But here on training Tuesdays as you know, and if this is your first time joining us, I like to bring on special guests to chat a little bit more about areas of expertise that they have, that I don’t and that you as a parent may need or be struggling with. Today, I’m excited to introduce Mary Kerwin, she is in New York City and works with children, her organization or company confident kids now. So she is going to be here today we’re going to chat back and forth and share some insight and information into some of the things that she does. And if you have any questions, feel free to pop those in the comments. So I’m going to pause for a second introduce Mary allow her to say hello and talk a little bit about her company and the parents that she works with the children that she used to work with and a little bit more about what she does. Well,
hello everyone and good morning. And thank you Courtney for inviting me on I’m very excited to be here I have a passion for what I do I before before the before COVID I used to work almost exclusively with kids, I was a teacher for over 40 years a classroom teacher and I work with ranging in age from early childhood to junior high, most of my time, and it was spent in in early childhood and elementary but I did do a little stint in junior high. And when I reluctantly retired because I loved being in the classroom, I worked privately and in groups with kids, most of the kids were were on the spectrum. So they had ADHD or or oppositional defiance behavior. And we would work with experiencial activities to to work them through their obstacles and help them to, to figure out life a little bit more. I think that the key my assert that the key to everything is confidence. There are four pillars to confidence, it’s based on a foundation of mindset, and with the kids especially the mindset is what we worked on a lot and other things seem to flow into into place. Since carpet, I’ve been working with parents, and it came up out on a suggestion from one of the parents of my kids because because she didn’t want that gap between beach and celebrity and I couldn’t work with her son. So she asked if I would work with her and and i actually, to my I guess a little bit surprised love it. Because I always saw myself as loving working with the kids and the parents were just circling around. So we work on everything from the big thing now is school and what to do about school with all the uncertainties, and again, with parents, it’s confidence, it’s as I work with them getting to trust their gut, and be more sure of their decisions and not base their decisions out of guilt or, or, or, or, or anything else. So
and I would say from obviously the past six months is not something we as a world have ever dealt with to this degree. Right. So I definitely see in my sleep clients that there has been an increase in I would call it anxiety with parents, but frankly, an aspect of fear or anxiety within children because of that uncertainty. And I’m not sure if it’s something you’re noticing or seeing as well in the space or you know, perhaps something you could talk about a little bit more in some helpful ways that as a parent, you could support your child putting yourself in their shoes that while we understand what what is happening right now they don’t and especially to a spirited child, you know, the world’s a bit of chaos right now. So
absolutely. A confident kid needs competent parents and and they will do what you do not what you say so so so it has to come from you two to four. And in actuality, we don’t really understand what I mean we don’t really understand what’s going on because there’s a lot of things being thrown at us and one person says one thing and another person says another thing, so we can’t really expect our kids to understand it all. So we have to be the In the rap, we have to be the stability in their lives. And that becomes hard when we’re anxious and we are unsure of what’s going on. So so there’s a there’s a bunch of exercises we could do. But but but the one thing I really and this is new to me too, I, it took me 16 years to, to decide that this was, this was a good thing. But to journal your feelings used to journal what you feel is it sounds trite, but it’s very important to get to the bottom of where you are out of your head and onto your and and onto a piece of paper. Whether it’s, it’s you’re losing sleep at night, or or you’re you’re stressed to the math right at them, because when it swirls around in your head, it doesn’t get clear to you and it doesn’t, it doesn’t, it doesn’t go anywhere, it just stays there. So journaling, how you feel journaling your ideas, it doesn’t have to take you 100 you know, you’re not to do it for an hour because nobody has enough time. But 10 minutes in the morning, maybe three minutes before you go to bed, always start the day and end the day with gratitudes with the three things that you’re really thankful for. And three things that went well at night, so that you kind of settle into that. But yeah, get those, get those fears and anxieties out of your head and onto your paper onto a piece of paper. And then you can go from there to work with your kids. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. So you have to you have to start with where you are, you know, and sometimes. That’s a hard thing. introspection. Yeah, absolutely. I
just got the Five Minute Journal, it’s called. Yeah, and a mentor of mine had utilized it and suggested it. And so I’m trying to be, I have never been someone who’s successful at meditation alone, like, I can’t go sit and meditate for an hour. But I will say between the Five Minute Journal where I’m conscious of gratitude, and I’m conscious of, frankly, things I’m going to strive for that day and how well I achieved them or didn’t and why has been good to your point to get out but also to write down and then, you know, I use my son, he has a little Zoo animal. It’s a meditation turtle, the most amazing product in the world. And I lay with my kids every night and do it’s somewhere between a six to 12 minute meditation. For Kids, it’s geared toward kids, but I’m actually finding kind of peace and relief in it as well with my four and six year old because our minds are just going all the time you know not like right now I was up at three o’clock this morning laying there thinking what are they going to do with school? What am I going to do? How do I manage knock it out, you know, just take some deep breaths go back to bed because it’s just think we’re all feeling that pinch right now as school you’re starting to approach and doesn’t look like there’s no end in sight to any of this.
And yeah, and it’s again, it’s it’s everything is up in the air. And and what I want to say most of the parents is you know, whether you when you make your decision, you know, informed decision, whether you want to send your kids to school, or whether you want to homeschool or whether you want to do distance learning and we definitely if that’s what works for you and yours. That’s what’s good. We have to start we’re gonna have to have to, but you know, if we’re so worried that we’re not doing the right thing that we’re looking at everybody else and everybody else’s family in what they’re doing and what works for someone else may not work for you, and what works for you and what’s good for your family. What settles you is good for your kids. So when you start to play that comparison game or that what somebody else is doing, I think was FDR that said comparison is the thief of joy. I may be paraphrasing it a little bit. But that that that comes unless you it just doesn’t it just makes you feel inadequate. You know every day we come into this parenting thing where we sort of in our heads, most many of us know what we’re going to do we’re going to you know you have this little being that you’re totally responsible for and then the day to day chips away at your confidence chips away at your whether it be you can’t seem to calm your view crying baby or you can’t get your baby to sleep or or they’re not doing they’re not they’re not writing their name when they’re four years old, which is a whole nother This is a whole nother segment we could do about about the the pressures we put on our kids and then on ourselves. You know we have to really dig to what’s best for us and what’s best for you us as a family is okay it is a positive parenting and the spouse, spare the rod spoil the child parent interaction I don’t believe in hurting kids, but but you know, and they’re all good. They’re all good for who they’re good for. But there’s no one as in a class when I was in the, but there’s no one method that works for everybody. So you, you need to pull from from, from all those two, what works for you. And that’s good. And you know that the basic thing is, you are the parent, you are the parent, and the worry that you’re not kind of proof that you are, because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t care.
Yeah, I guess that’s true, in retrospect, and you talked about the four pillar, foundation foundations around like mindset, like, take me through a little bit of that.
So the foundation is mindset, you have to you have to know you have, you have to believe that you can do something to be able to do it. And, and, and that’s the foundation that everything is built on. And then the four pillars of confidence are, I call him the ABCs. And a is that you have to accept where you are. So you have to know where you are to accept it. And it doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever, but you have to accept where you want and where your kid is. Because sometimes, you know, we don’t have the same ideas as it. And you know, we want our kids to be a pianist, but they could care less about a piano and it doesn’t mean that they can’t practice it. But you know, except where you are, except where they are. And the B is to build resiliency, you know, rich, it’s okay, if they fail, it’s okay, if you make mistakes, or you it’s okay to make mistakes, if you realize your mistakes, and you can, you can see where you tweak, tweak it and fix it to work. But to not to go through life thinking that every time something goes wrong, you’re a failure as a parent, it’s going to just diminish your abilities. It’s Everybody makes mistakes. The C is to connect to your core values and core values. And this is the core values are different than everyone in each person and, and to to to live them if you are. The one example that I gave when school was in session is if you think that your kid has other abilities other than than the academics, but every time they get a grade this lower than a bu you kind of flip out or you you you’re disappointed but truly disappointed. You’re not practicing your core values. You’re it’s at an odds and it confuses kids. It confuses the kids. And these dream big, you know, just just hold on to your dreams, let them let them hold on to their dreams if they want to be something that you are as they get older, you know that that you had no? No clue or no, no, that wasn’t on your radar at all. let you know that if they’re willing to work toward something, and set up a plan. kind of have to I have four grown children. My oldest one was a scholar he was top of his class he graduated he got a full scholarship to high school he got a scholarship to college. He’s a construction worker now. He I mean, all the all the all he’s still he still reads Okay, can he see it? But was that what I had? In my dreams for him? No, but it makes him happy. You know? So he’s, he’s, he’s he likes what he does. He’s good at what he does. It fulfills him. So who am I to say, you know, even though I wouldn’t, you know, everybody wants to have dreams of their kids to be these the that the? Whatever.
Yeah, no, I
think that’s important. It’s especially, you know, mindset and mindfulness, I think is more on the forefront now than it ever has been because one, I think it works and, you know, I’m reading a thinking Grow Rich right now. And it is I’ve tried to read it last year I you know, I kind of read it, but I like I didn’t and then I’m reading it again, you know, and they say it’s like that power of the subconscious. And like, as you’re telling yourself things as you’re telling your kids things, and part of me is thinking like I want to write notes on the bathroom mirror for the kids every morning that’s like, you know, I am a good person. I am kind I actually take duct tape or painters tape, whatever I have. And I write messages to my son on his bunk bed like so he’s just learning to read. So I mean, I don’t get very deep, but, you know, like, I can be anything I want. You know, I am strong, like I am kind and so when he’s laying in bed and looking up on the bunk bed he sees and he may not say it out loud, but he’s saying it to himself. Like I am strong. I am kind I can do what I want. And I don’t know I just I just feel like over time like that. I always tell my kids at night you know that Obviously, I love them, but I tell them that they’re a good kid, you know, and there’s, there’s gonna be days where I yell at them, they’re pissed, I’m pissed, I suck, you know, nobody’s perfect.
You know, like them. So, yeah,
I love you, but you suck today. And now, um, but you know, at the end of the day, I got this actually from the founder of zoo animals. She said, growing up her dad, no matter what always said, you know, even if it was when he was yelling at them, he said, but remember, you’re a good kid. And I was like, You know what, that’s amazing. And so I started implementing that in my house. And I tell both my kids several times a day, like, you’re a good kid, you’re a good kid, it’s okay, you’re a good kid, things happen, right? Like, I just want to build that confidence. They’re only four and six. But I feel like, that’s something that’s going to stick with them for a long time
where it kind of starts to get shaky, although that’s trending down. And a lot of studies are saying for the confidence. The other part of that is that the actions have to meet the words. It’s really good. affirmations are really good. But if you if you again, if you’re telling me you’re the kid or the kid, but you’re not showing them, you know, if you’re our minds tend to the negative, you know, if you’re pointing out every mistake that they make, and but if you say, you know, this was a mistake, it was a big mistake. You know, I’m really upset. But you’re still a good kid a mistake does a mistake doesn’t make you a failure. Mistake doesn’t make you a bad kid. Just make a mistake is just a mistake. I was I always said to my my kids in my class, you know, that’s why pencil erasers. And now they even have pens with aces.
All I use is absolutely. My head is like, I need to do a risk list and make it clean. It’s funny because I steal all my kids erasers, but I can’t find the pencil sharpener right now. And I actually like the old school pencils, but I can’t find a sharpener right now. So I’m going with mechanical but I like the old school number two extra eraser. That’s everything in my notebook is pencil. Yeah,
I used to have what I use when my class I used to have a huge eraser, like a really big one. Let them know it was okay. Yeah. But yeah, that the affirmations are good. But it has to have actions to match it the affirmations without the actions. I mean, I I remember my mother telling me My mother died when I was 10. But I remember I still have in my mind things that she said to me. And one of the things that she really impressed upon me that I was capable of doing anything that I wanted. And if I wanted something, and I said I can’t, it was because a either I didn’t want to do the work to get it. Or I was making excuses instead of making plans. And then and I mean, I was I wasn’t, you know, I didn’t want to tell you how many years ago, but I still remember that, you know, it’s it’s, it’s and if I said I can’t and she would say she would say you know, do you want it, you know, you can you can do anything that you want to do. Sometimes I took that to the, to the to the negative. I did things that I wanted to do that I probably shouldn’t. But but it’s still because again, of my core values and what it was instilled. I came back, you know, I had a son. My son was very spirited. It was he I told him he was responsible for my gray hairs. So now that he has he’s grown and in a fine upstanding citizen, he has to pay for my hair. But, but yeah, but he he had he had trials, he put us through trials. And and you know, you let them go and you let them go. But to bring them back in a little bit. If they don’t make the mistakes, then they’re just gonna they it’s if you don’t let them make the mistakes, they’re gonna make them when you’re not around. So so so there’s that there’s a, but but to really instill the core values of, you know, you are the person, you know, you are the person.
Yeah. Even when you have to bail them out. Now, I
think that’s good. I mean, talk to me a little bit about for you married, like when you’re working with the parents now privately? What does it typically look like from an engagement standpoint? Are you doing like weekly sessions? Is it like a one off consultation? Like, tell me a little bit about how you work with the families? Because I know it’s ongoing education around how to best support their children. So what does that look like, you know, in your practice and how you work with families now.
So so there’s so so there are several ways because again, each each family is different. Each need is different. And so there’s a one off which we call what I call, a quick fix, and it’s when someone’s really struggling with a specific issue. We have a conversation that can last anywhere from however long 90 to there 30 to 90 minutes or more, and figure out what that where they are, where they want to be, and then develop a plan to get there. That’s, that’s, that’s one way we work with privately I work with with on a six month on a six month basis, it can some people just opt for a year, but on a six month because if you’re making these big mind shifts, he starts to get it at three months, you know, you start to see this change, although you change a little bit, the change starts to happen at about three months. But if you don’t have the support, to keep it going, you sometimes lose it. So six months for private clients. That usually in all honesty, it usually goes to a year with with one on ones. And then I have actually there’s a group program that I’m I’m instituting I have a five day event next week I call it encouraged greatness, the five day event, it’s it’s run out of my facebook group encouraged greatness or raising spirited kids. And we’re going to really delve deep into it. So that would really bring them forward, it’s not going to solve all problems, but it’s a really good basis is a really good start with the foundation of mindset. And, and and to delve into a little bit of each of the pillars of competence and and get them started on their way. I really feel that I’m putting the finishing touches on it now. And because a lot of it is geared towards school and what’s going on with that, because that seems to be
not only that, but that seems to be a really big concern for everybody. So that’s and then there’s questions and answers at the end of each session. You know,
I think that this is a probably as good as any paid program or better. No, it just it just, I just I’ve done this for so long for I work for small Catholic, parochial schools. So I’ve been in we call it for the greater glory. I’ve done it so long for the greater glory that that it just seems to be second nature to do it for me.
Well, that’s great. I would love to link to the Facebook group and I’ll share that out here with everyone. And the name of the Facebook group again, it
just got a little choppy on the Yeah, it’s it’s it’s encouraged greatness, but the link because they wouldn’t let me change it again is raising spirited children. Okay, but but I think encouraged greatness is more, more apropos, which speaks to more what we do great greatness and parents and encouraged greatness and kids.
Well, what I will do, Mary is I will share that out here in the Facebook group to make sure everybody is aware of the session Wednesday kicking off on Monday.
So on Monday,
the group is an
ongoing group. For people who it’s support and education and I I’m uncomfortable calling a parent education because I don’t really think that most of you. So don’t think that most parents need to be educated, they just need to find it find their Mojo.
Yeah, I love it. Well, what I’ll do is, I will share all of this and your website with the members of the group, there’s about 600 now going strong. So if anybody’s interested in signing up, they can certainly do that. And I’ll put all your contact information out there as well from you know, the web and a link over to the site. But I appreciate you coming on today and channeling this, we get a lot of folks that come in and catch things on the replay. And so if any additional comments come up, I’ll be sure to let you know or reach out or you’re welcome to jump into this number Made Simple greeting I’m a member. Okay, I was gonna say
that I have a grandson.
I know it’s gonna say I can help with I can help with him. But I just want to say thank you, I appreciate you coming on today and telling us you know a little bit more about, I think some things that can make us all a little bit of a better and more conscious, I would say human parent and balance these crazy times. So I do appreciate it and hope that
it goes from good to great, because you’re what
I’m trying, man. So is everybody out here and I appreciate it. Thank you so much, Mary and I look forward to connected for sure.
Thank you. Thank you. I look forward to seeing some of your your members in my group.
Well, perfect. I’m
going to put the link up now. So you’ll start to see some folks jumping in there and I will make sure I’m registered. I would love to join I think I could use a little,
a little bit of
balance and encourage some greatness and calm in my mind right now. So great, great. Great. Thank you. Thank you so much. Have
it Good day, everyone.
Have a good day. Good week.
Hold on one more thing before you go. As the value listener of the kids sleep show, I want to help you build a great sleep or not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day, every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research, to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community. That’s tiny transition stuff comm forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.

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