Transcript: Conscious Parenting The Key To Breaking Family Cycles

This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Conscious Parenting The Key To Breaking Family Cycles and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.

Have you ever noticed yourself reacting in a certain way to your child’s behaviour, felt ashamed and then thought to yourself “where on Earth did that come from”? Many of us have triggers from our past that influence how we behave as parents and I’ve always felt that having an awareness of their origins is an important starting point in any healing.

After all, you want to be present for your kids as the “best you”, right?

Today’s guest, mother of 3, Laura Linklater is a Cycle-Breaker Parent Mentor and has been there, having been brought up in a household with alcoholism.

You’ll hear Laura talk about many topics including:-

  • Seeing your child as your awakener.
  • The importance of having a connection with your child.
  • Her collaborative problem solve method.

Laura shares loads of great tips and insights in this episode to help parents break their cycles so that they can support their children to flourish.

Helen Thompson: Hi, Laura and welcome to First Time Mum’s Chat, I’m delighted to have you here. When we first chatted, you told me all about your childhood and how you changed all that into a positive to help moms. So can you tell me what your business is all about and what your passionate about?

Laura Linklater: Yes, thank you so much, Helen, for having me and our chat the other day was so lovely. So I’m very excited about this podcast. So, my name is Laura Linklater and I am, I call it a cycle breaker, parent mentor, which sounds like a mouthful! So basically I support parents who are wanting to break cycles.

So they had their own tough upbringing and I use the term tough upbringing because it covers so much ground. Some people have had real, capital T trauma and lowercase T trauma, and some people have grown up with abuse or neglect or very complicated household family breakdown and we talk about that in some therapy and academic circles as adverse childhood experiences. So they’ve had some really, really tough things and other people that I worked with, other parents, they, I say just, there’s no, just about it but they want to break the cycle of, the older style of parenting of, children must be seen and not heard.

And you must do, as you’re told and we talk about it now a lot, and I’m seeing it more and more, and it’s wonderful. Children having big feelings because that’s really what it is. They’re becoming overwhelmed by lots of stimulation or, what’s going on inside of them. And it comes out and it might come out through shouting or crying and certainly when I grew up and I was born in 1984, the eighties and nineties parenting was very much like, oh, I think it’s that term, screaming up Dobbs. So I posted about that on Facebook the other day in a post and a whole host of people commented underneath of, oh yes, I remember that, I remember that was, a tantrum, it was dismissed and you were picked up and carried away and told, never to do it again. And a lot of people maybe had yes, a little bit tough upbringings, but also they just want to break the cycle and parent in that gentle, conscious way. And do it a bit differently. That’s who I support.

Helen Thompson: Yeah. Cause I, I was actually born in the sixties and my grandfather was very much of the era children are seen and not heard. After a certain period of time, the children went to bed and that was it. They weren’t meant to come down and they weren’t meant to be heard of again. Whereas my parents were slightly different to that.

Laura Linklater: That was of its time. Often when I work with people now, and we will talk, I always say it’s healing plus skills is the parent that you want to be. That’s how we get it because a lot of people come to me and they say, I want the skills. I want to know how to get them to put their shoes on without fighting. I want to know how to get out of the door to get to school or wherever on time.

I want to know how to get them, to brush their teeth when they don’t want it. And I feel a little bit uncomfortable, there are loads of skills and sort of tricks that we can do and they are useful to a point, but if we are just learning things to make our children comply with our wishes, that to me feels more like management.

Yeah, but we can use those exact same techniques because I do teach them, we can use those exact same techniques in conjunction with healing. So that’s our own healing from our stories of the things that we have carried with us. If children have been taught to say, you know, I’m working with a parent whose parents were abusive or neglectful, or never listened to their opinion ever and they felt very managed, then that parent who then goes in and does some healing. And we talk about the stories that comes out of I’m not loved or nobody’s coming, or nobody cares what I have to say. It’s amazing, the amount of people I work with, who then after we’ve done all of the parenting stuff, they say, do you know, actually the jobs that I do now I’m kind of realizing that I’m doing it because I was pleasing my dad or pleasing my mom, and then they go on to actually, in their own lives. So outside of the parenting sphere, because of course we’re not only parents, we are whole rounded human beings. And they will start saying, actually, I really want to do this, or I really want to do this. Or, you know, I’m going to go back and take up pottery. Cause I always wanted to do that.

And the reason is that the way that we were treated in our childhoods hugely affects who we are at the point where we become parents. So the healing and healing doesn’t necessarily mean I have lots of wounds, I had an awful upbringing, but it means kind of coming to peace with who we are and the skills. And when we put those two together, we have powerful family relationships.

Helen Thompson: So how do you empower parents to do what you’ve just said. What would be a example of how you would support parents in what you’ve just talked about?

Laura Linklater: That’s such a great word isn’t it empower? That’s what it is, that is exactly what it is because interestingly a lot of people and I’m a parent of three, I should say, my children are six, four and three right now. I’m at the coalface as well. And wow what an awakening it is to have children. You really do learn a lot about yourself. There’s all of these memes things that go around the internet that say you should sort yourself out and heal yourself before you have children, so you don’t pass it on.

And I kinda thought I had, and then I had children and then you realize it’s not that easy and they are Dr Shefali Tsabary, she’s incredible, the key proponent of conscious parenting. She talks about children as our awakeners, as our mirrors. And it’s a good way of seeing that as opposed to, so I guess one of the things that I do is I help people see it in that paradigm shift. It’s not, so adversarial. Kids are set up to manipulate me. You probably would have heard that with working with first time moms. They’re manipulating you when they cry, they’ve got you wrapped around their little finger, that kind of thing. We take in these stories from society.

If your relationship with your child is based on children, push buttons, children are manipulative. You’re going to respond in an adversarial way. But when we see it as my child is my awakener, my child shows me the areas that I have to be healed, my child shows me where I get to love myself a bit more, that’s a completely different relationship and we can approach their behavior, their outward signs of their inner life, which might be crying, it might be sitting on the floor in the supermarket and screaming, which honestly we have all had.

Yeah. And we can see that we respond in a completely different way when we’re in that paradigm of my child has big feelings and they are my awakener, so how can I support my child in this place as opposed to, oh, how can I control my child and make them stop doing this?

Helen Thompson: Yes, I think the controlling is a very powerful one because I think from my childcare background, when I first started in childcare, in the 1980s, it was very like that. If we had a behavioral problem child, it wasn’t so much about the controlling it was how we can help that child but if they got out of hand, they went to a special school and that was it.

What I’m trying to get at with what you’ve just said is I think nowadays people respect the child’s feelings, they respect more of where they’re at. And they think, as you’ve just said, how can we support this child? And how can we support ourselves? Because we obviously can’t get on burnout. So there’s gotta be a balance between child and as good to be a balance between the parent, because you don’t want to pull too much at the child and be too, agro with the child because if they’ve got a behavior problem or dyslexia or whatever it is, it’s just going to make it worse.

Laura Linklater: My daughter is just going through her dyslexia assessment and I have learned as a teacher and a mom, and as somebody who has worked with families for 15 odd years now, I’ve had to learn the hard way, how far to, encourage, and then when it tips into pushing and because each of my three children has a very different threshold.

One of my children, he loves it when I offer more and more and more and more, and he loves it and we home educate I should say and travel the world. So I’m actually beaming to you from Vietnam right now. And he loves it. And the other one, the second, she smells me pushing her she backs off.

Helen Thompson: But that’s good, I think it’s good that each child is different. And I think that’s something that mums have to realize. My father was a teacher and I think I learned a lot from him. I was very close to him and I think I was a mirror to him and my mother didn’t know how to handle me. He understood exactly where I was coming from and he understood my learning problems, learning difficulties when it came to study. And he supported me so much. He gave me so many tips, like what you’re saying to help with those things.

Laura Linklater: It’s interesting, obviously people can’t see me, but I have this huge smile on my face because you have spoken about what it’s like to be understood, to be seen and to be heard and to know, my parent gets me and that is such a precious feeling. And so many of us, even as adults, we go through life looking for that. And this is why just before we came online, I started recording. So I’m dyslexic. So I dictate my books. So I’m writing a book right now, an e-book and it’s all about being connected with your children because so many people will say, oh, can you help me with this skill, can you help me, get them ready on time. I want to stop shouting, what do we do? And my answer is always the same. Go back to connection. Always go back to connection because if you’re not connected with a child, a very, very simple ask of them is probably going to be thrown back in your face.

If you are very connected. And then you say, oh, I’ve just realized the time, can you get your shoes on please, they are so much more likely to do it because it’s almost smoke and mirrors. Yeah, I’m a former teacher. I was a primary school teacher in in the UK and I did lectures on behavior management and it’s called behavior management. And that vocabulary is so telling because it’s like, how do I effectively manipulate? And I was taught some very, very, I say that they are devastatingly effective techniques, for making kids do what I wanted them to do.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, there are certain tasks that kids need to do, like you’re in a rush and you’ve got to get them to clean their teeth and put the shoes on and get their socks on and do all that kind of thing, yes I agree with you, but it’s how you do that.

Laura Linklater: It’s how yes. And I think all of us really, cause it’s only this massive societal cycle is only just being broken now. We were raised in that. Skinner was the psychologist who taught and he believed and it was adopted by schools and educators all over the world. He believes that if you used praise and punishment, just like he did in his studies with animals, you could get anybody to do anything you want.

He likened the human being and especially the child to being an automaton and, you can use praise and rewards and punishment, and they are devastatingly effective, but what you won’t have is a child who feels seen and heard and understood, and thus connected to you.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, sorry to interrupt there, but I think it depends on the punishment too. So the praise and rewards are fine but if you’re giving them a reward, you might use a bit of bribery here, I’m just giving an example. You might say something like, we’ve got to go because we’re meeting somebody or you’ve got a dentist appointment, so let’s get your shoes on. If you’re quick and if we’re ready in five minutes, you might get an ice cream or something after you’ve been to the dentist, but you’ve got to follow that through. If you say you’re going to give them a reward, you need to give them that reward as well.

Laura Linklater: Yes, if we’re not honest then they know.

Helen Thompson: Well, yeah, exactly and I think that’s the key to that, but the punishment side, if they consistently don’t do what you say you’re going to do you say, well, the punishment to me, please tell me if you think of a different one, but the punishment to me would be that they wouldn’t get the reward. They wouldn’t get the reward or they wouldn’t get the punishment.

Laura Linklater: I actually advocate and I’ve raised my children as well. We don’t use and have never used any punishments. Now that doesn’t mean that my kids get to do whatever they like, because they don’t. So your example, I would call that a pinch point. You say there was something that they consistently don’t do. Now we have an option there because this is another common thing and it’s usually around brushing teeth and bedtime. Almost always brushing teeth and bedtime popup regularly because everybody struggles with those especially if you have multiple children sometimes makes your head explode! So we have a choice when they are refusing to do something. Cause that’s normally what it is. Whether it’s, digging the heels in and saying, no, I’m not doing it or whether it’s going a bit silly around it and dodging it in that way. We have the choice where we become the parent who says do, as I say, at cost of our relationship with our child, to a point either we can shout and they will probably do it. We can scare them and they will probably do it. We can take the things they love away from them and they will probably do it. I actually teach something, I’ll probably talk about this in a bit, it’s called the collaborative problem-solve and I’ve done this with children as young as three. It’s a way of sitting and saying, okay, so we have a thing, a pinch point, a repeated conflict area. We have a pinch point here, and then you go through it’s five steps of how to work out what the issue is with the child. So you speak and they speak, and then you come up with the many, many, many different ways of how to solve it with the child and so the first stage is you just write out everything they say. Everything without editing. So I remember doing this with my child and one of them was she had a baby brother at that point. Put brother in the bin. Okay, fine. Just wrote it down. No editing and then another one was I think one of the best solutions was, you know, go in a spaceship.

Okay. We’ll write it down and then after the next stage, that’s the fourth stage is to sit and then we weed through, we change pens and we say, can we really do that? And then I had my opportunity to say, I actually really love your brother. And I don’t think he would like being put in the bin. Oh no, actually we shouldn’t do that.

And she agreed with me and then we came down with, and clearly I steered it and we came down with something, it might well have been one of my suggestions. A way that I had come up with, but it was part of the whole conversation that we could solve our problem. And then the fifth is that we made a commitment to do it and the problem disappeared and she was three years old at that time. Yes. It took me an hour. It took me an hour.

Helen Thompson: You’ve got give yourself time, extra time and I think that’s a key to moms, that’s a good point, because if you’re going to do it that way, which is the best way to do it, say, if you’ve got an appointment at three o’clock. You start preparing your child to leave at 1:30 pm.

Laura Linklater: For me to get out the door at half past eight, I start at half past seven! I have everything lined up because I have three children, as well as all lined up the night before.

Helen Thompson: You’ve got to sort of plan it ahead and I know that’s frustrating and I know it’s hard work, but it does work in the long run. If you start when they’re three years old, it works in the long run, because then you can say right well you have two choices. Either you get your shoes on now. Cause if they’ve learnt when they’re three and when they get to five they’ll know what you’re talking about and they’ll know that you respect them and they know that you care for them.

Laura Linklater: It’s almost like you build up the currency, isn’t it? I should say as well before I move on, that collaborative problem solve, I did that about two days after, the last explosion, because in the time that is not the time to do it, just so that people don’t then try and kind of replicate that in the moment because it won’t work! I had my friend take our baby out for a walk then, that’s when I had two, so that it was just me and her in this bubble.

And it was very, very lovely. But if you treat them with the gentle parenting and the conscious parenting, as being aware of, I’m having a bad day and I snapped. That’s okay, I now get to look after myself. I’m going to go to bed early, or I’m going to go for a walk later when I can.

Helen Thompson: And you share that with the child.

Laura Linklater: Yes, exactly. I use EFT tapping, which is emotional freedom technique, which you might have seen. It’s where people tap on their faces. My kids see me do that all the time. I’ll come home and I’ll say, okay, mommy is feeling quite stressed out because that was really a bit upsetting and it didn’t go according to plan. Mommy needs five minutes and then we can talk about it. And then they will see me go into the kitchen, put the kettle on and do a quick tap whilst it boils. And so I’m not hiding the fact that I’ve had a tough time. I’m not hiding the fact that I’m angry or anxious. And the other day, my four-year-old said, mommy, we have it on an app, mommy can I do the sibling annoying one cause there’s one of the meditations for frustration with siblings. And he actually asked if he could do it and I could see him he was tapping on his eyebrows and he was like, that is really annoying me, but they’ve learned that from seeing it, but they must see it.

So us being transparent with our tough days, it doesn’t mean having a breakdown in front of them. We’re allowed to, but if you’re going to have a real human meltdown moment, it’s usually best to give the children to partner or a friend, but, but showing that you’re human that’s one of the greatest gifts we can give.

Helen Thompson: That’s right. It gives them the respect to know that they can show their emotions and express themselves because it teaches them to come up to you and say, look, mum, I’m having a bit of a tough day now or I’m angry and it’s the same with a two year old, when they’re having a temper tantrum, don’t try and intervene at the time. Just sit with them gently and let them rant and just say, look, I’m going into the next room right now and I’ll come back in five or 10 minutes. Just allow them the space to calm down.

Laura Linklater: Yeah. Because we call that holding space and it’s one of the hardest things to do because when your baby is upset and I didn’t truly understand this so much because I found it very easy, maybe not easy peasy, but it came more easily to me when I was a teacher because they weren’t my children. Now when my children have their big meltdowns, I’m the mama bear and I have to fix it. I have to fix it, but actually I can’t fix it and it’s not our jobs. It’s our jobs to support them through their big feelings and we can’t change it. We can be there and arm them with the emotional skills.

And knowing that we love them, that they need to get through life and it’s tough. And that’s why I always talk about healing about how we get to look after ourselves and when we look after ourselves, we can be there for these sometimes huge and can be distressing to have a three-year-old scream and shout at you.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, of course it can. It’s a very good point you’ve said if it’s your own child, it’s a very different experience. You can’t hand them back. You’ve got to sit down and work it out together. Whereas if you’re a teacher or a childcare worker, educator, you can hand them back.

Laura Linklater: And you know, it’s going to end, so it’s okay. Cause it might be the next two hours is tough, but when it’s one in the morning…

Helen Thompson: Or as a teacher or a childcare educator, you can say to the mum, look, would you like me to take the child away. Would you like me to sit in the room while you go outside and do your tapping or do your diffusion or whatever you need to do. I can be here to support your child while you do that. So you’re giving the mom that support to be able to do what they need to do.

And sometimes moms don’t have that and that’s tough. I think they’ve just got to walk away and know that the child is safe and that the child is going to be okay and just walk away and do what you need to do and just calm yourself down and I know it’s hard. It’s easier said than done as you’ve just said.

Laura Linklater: Yeah, exactly. I found this personally and with clients when I worked with them that the quality of how we show up for our children, is directly related to how much we look after ourselves. And we know this. When we’re tired we snap. Even before having children, when we were tired, we would snap. At this point in life, especially when you have very small children and if you’re a first time mum, I’ve done it before, we are at our physical lowest, having given birth, however that happened, we are as tired as we’re ever going to be in our entire life and we are also holding ourselves to the highest standards that we have ever held and we just can’t do it, but what we can do is our best. I like to think of it as like, you know, the 80, 20 rule, if 80% of the time, we’re gentle and we’re conscious and we’re looking after ourselves and we’re looking after them and then 20% of the time, we just snap and say, you know what just do it. That’s ok.

It’s good for them to see, I don’t have to be a hundred percent perfect all the time, because if we are then they must be because they will always have the big feelings, but they weren’t share it with us if we never show humanity to them. Because I think it’s a huge part of the human condition to lose it sometimes to be really tired sometimes.

Helen Thompson: And I think that’s a key point. I think kids have got to see you as who you are.

Laura Linklater: In conscious parenting, we call that radical compassion and it is radical. It’s a radical act to say, you know, I did my best today and that my best today included snapping at my children and walking away. And actually some days that’s your best and other days, your best is giving them a hug and doing it all, kind of textbook. Oh, this feels great, I feel like an empowered parent. Somebody asked me the other day, oh, I’m having a migraine and I haven’t talked to my children. Am I an awful mom?

And I said, okay, I am a parenting mentor. I do this for a living. My three kids spend a whole day watching TV the other day because I had a migraine and I don’t feel bad about that because I had a migraine and that was the best I could do. It was to keep them safe, to keep them fed and to lie in a different room with a towel on my head. You know, it probably happens once a year. They’re going to be okay.

Helen Thompson: And as I said, it always goes back to that respect because if you respect your children in that way, and share what you’re feeling, you’re teaching them the respect and you’re teaching them to share your feelings. So when they get to teenage they’ll know.

Laura Linklater: And, you know, for a moment just to pause, cause I worked mostly with cycle breaker parents, that can be, this is where the healing comes in. If you weren’t shown that respect as a child, you get to learn to treat yourself with love and respect and compassion so that you can then pass that onto your children.

And that is harder. Clearly. It’s harder than if you grew up being shown love and respect and having your feelings nurtured and looked after. And so for the cycle breaker parent, this is why I decided to specialize in that area. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father who was sometimes very loving when he was in a good place and sometimes he was really quite scary. And you never knew which one you were going to get. And as a child, you don’t understand alcoholism when you were seven. How would you? You just know, dad is scary or I did something wrong, but a few days ago I did that and that was right.

And so as a parent, some things would always, I guess, set me off. I always talk about it as pushing the book. Yeah, I have this, this analogy it’s called the ball in the box analogy where there’s a big red button and then there’s a tennis ball and originally was for grief. And it’s just amazing. It’s good for that too, that the behavior of your children and your life is, is the ball bouncing around the box.

And every now and then it’s going to land on this big red button, and then it will set you off and you will explode, or, grief will overtake you, or you will feel anger or scared. And for me, it used to be shouting because when my dad was drunk, he would shout at us. So then I didn’t understand, it took me a while and this is why I became a parenting mentor when I left the classroom, when I had children. I couldn’t work with three children, without childcare juggle, and then when I was ready to go back into the world of, out of the home paid work, I decided I wanted to use what I had learned through my master’s education and child care, my childcare qualifications, and also my real life.

When my then three-year-old would shout at me, I would have this huge response. I didn’t understand where it came from and through doing my own healing, I realized it was this wound, that big red button. When we say the kids push my buttons. Well, they aren’t, they don’t know the buttons. The buttons are inside us.

So when we heal that button, which for me looked like a lot of inner child healing, like making sense of my dad’s story, because I now see him as a human being who had demons who succumbed to addiction. Whereas I used to see him as, the big monster of my childhood and that reframe that we would call that forming a coherent narrative is monumental in the way it looks. And once I had done that and then learn skills, like tapping for me of how to release my fear and upset and worry. All of those feelings that I had as a child, when my kids shouted at me, because my brain was saying like yelling, scary yelling, get away, get away.

So I would shut it down as quickly, sometimes I would shout at them or I would just walk away. And then once I had done the healing, I didn’t need any skills. I didn’t need any whistles or bells or things to say. It just didn’t affect me so much. And I could say, oh, you’re really upset. And then go into the parenting mode because that trigger that big red button it had evaporated, because I had done the healing work. It’s very nuanced and it’s so much more beneath the surface than we realize, particularly when we first become parents.

Helen Thompson: You were talking at the beginning about a mirror and I think that’s sort of what you’re saying. When you first became a parent, you were mirroring what you’d seen as a child. You saw your child and then you had the mirror and you were experiencing in your brain, what you’d experienced as a child. You had to sort of get rid of that mirror in between.

Laura Linklater: Well the mind. It’s the mind keeping us safe and saying, oh, okay the last time somebody yelled at you like that and completely let it go and unleash that anger at you it was terrifying. Get away, get away, get away. Naturally. I was 32, but I didn’t need to run away. I needed to meet my child’s needs. So by meeting my needs for my healing, yes, it was an investment. Yes, it was a few hours, I have a good friend, who’s a hypnotherapist. So I went to see her and I did what I now do with my journey. I do that with my clients and then they find, yes, the skills are very important and yes, they are useful. The healing is the foundation and it makes you feel in such a better place in general, you sleep better and you look after yourself more because you realize that you’re worthy of love and feeling good and taking responsibility, saying, okay, I’ll raise my voice at my kids. Okay. So it wasn’t ideal.

That’s okay. I’m still a good person. When you have healed those wounds, the radical responsibility and radical compassion go hand in hand for conscious parenting and the responsibility doesn’t mean beating yourself up. It just means saying, okay, that wasn’t ideal. I’m going to treat myself with compassion, go and have a bath, go for a walk, go see a friend.

And the next time I’m going to use this skill that I read in a book or this thing that Laura taught me, or this thing that I heard Helen say on a podcast. That is the radical compassion and radical responsibility and it is a much nicer way to live.

Helen Thompson: I can relate to that. And especially as you’ve experienced it yourself. You understand the mirror concept. And I think sharing that with parents because you’ve gone through it, it’s very empowering because you’ve experienced it yourself it’s easier for you to give that to somebody else to share that and it’s through your own experience.

Laura Linklater: I guess, in a way, people say this all the time and I don’t think I really understood it before. Like I am doing for others what I kind of needed when I first became a parent, that gap of where I didn’t know where to go forwards and all of this stuff will help all parents all over the world, no matter how old they are, what background, but specifically people with the tough childhoods, it’s so powerful. And I found my way through it and it took me a few years. And now I do six week program. No, it doesn’t heal everything, but it’s the six weeks and it’s almost like a reset. People they say, oh, it’s a reset, I feel completely different. And it’s just a few foundational core areas to look at. It’s a paradigm shift. That sounds like a big word, but it really, really is and it starts inside us.

Helen Thompson: It’s good. I’ve enjoyed finding out more about it, because I’ve never thought of it in a way that you’ve just shared and as I said you’ve experienced it so you’ve got the tools in your toolbox.

Laura Linklater: Sometimes it’s a parenting tool. Like literally, how we parent our kids. And sometimes it’s a stress management tool and sometimes it’s a how to love ourself tool. So often we’re like, how do I help my kid, how do I help my kid, how do I help my kid? And actually it’s about us as whole people and our family as a whole unit. It’s not just the child behavior, which is why, that whole thing of teaching behavior management. Of course, I understand why as a former teacher and educator.

If we teach behavior management as a bubble. The bubble of just managing the behavior, it might work to a point, but a child is more than the sum of its behavior.

It really, really bears pulling out that our best is going to look different on different days. Sometimes our best is managing to not shout at our children, or managing not to flip our brains, and that is okay if that on that day is your best.

And some days your best is, looking like a TV mom, or a TV dad and then, because you’re in a good place because you’ve got a good night’s sleep because you’ve eaten some good foods, a few days before, because you’re feeling particularly free of stress or whatever it is.

And actually we don’t have to have this ridiculously high bar that the media and community set. We don’t have to reach that bar every day. And we are not failures if we didn’t reach it. And everything, everything is a learning experience. So, if you feel like you, haven’t had a great day with your kids, take it as a learning experience.

And I know that sounds easier said than done, and it is, that’s why it’s a paradigm shift because it’s a change. And actually that is radical. When we think of how society treats us, you’re either the best you can be or you fail. And actually it’s not true. I had a really good day. Oh, what can I take from that and use again, or I had a tough day today. What can I do next time? How can I love myself? Because the more we look after ourselves, as parents, as humans, the more easily it is to show up in a gentle, compassionate way with our children. So I guess it’s just look after yourself really, because it’s not self-care, it’s not a buzzword, it’s the foundation of your parenting relationship.

Helen Thompson: And failure is not an option. I did a personal development course and simply, if you can’t do something, you think of a way that you can do it, you think, okay, well, I can’t do this today, but how can I do something different tomorrow? How can I achieve what I wanted to achieve tomorrow in a different way?

Laura Linklater: When I think now of how, on a good day, how I spin a million plates with three children and all their big feelings and all their needs and the admin and life I could not have done that with my one child, when I had one baby. I could not have done it because I didn’t know, it was a new world for what I did with my one baby, when I had one, was when I look back on it, amazing. Cause I’d never done it before. It does get easier because you learn skills. And wherever you are right now, you’re doing great.

Helen Thompson: So Laura, thank you for all your pearls of wisdom. I’ve really, really appreciated talking to you. So if somebody wanted to find out more about your wonderful way of parenting, how can they find out about you?

Laura Linklater: The first place I send people is to my Facebook group, which is called Cycle Breaker Parents Unite because that’s kind of where I put everything. So everything happens in that group. And I go live every Wednesday. I do the Wednesday workshop, which is a free half an hour workshop for everyone because I know not everybody has enough money or time, or is emotionally there to go for the big coaching, but you’re always welcome and there’s all kinds of freebies and things.

And also my website is And that has all of the things. My biggest thing right now is the conscious parenting toolbox. That’s good because we’ve used the word toolbox so many times and it’s 21 days of 10 minute lessons or sessions delivered to your phone or to your email and it’s audio and you can read it if you have a child asleep on you or you can put one ear bud in whilst you’re doing the washing up.

And of course I do, one-to-one one-to-one coaching. That’s an option if you want to go deeper. And sometimes if you have that tough upbringing to break the cycle, having somebody hold your hand is what you need and is powerful.

Helen Thompson: Thank you so much, Laura. And I definitely look forward to looking at your Facebook group and checking it out. Thank you for your time. It’s much appreciated.

Laura Linklater: Thank you for having me.