How to mindfully raise kind, confident kids with Hunter Clarke-Fields


00:00:00    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. And today we get to chat about how to mindfully raise kind, confident kids. Oh, I got to hang out with someone I adore so much. My friend Hunter Clark Fields. She is the author of Raising Good Humans a Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids. And out now is her book Raising Good Humans Every Day. I am so obsessed with this book because it's super, super practical and you don't have to read the whole book in one. You can open it up and you're like, all right, I can take this one today. I can take this one today, just like, bit by bit. And I love that so much. Here's the thing. I talked about this in this episode that the word mindfulness for me, sometimes is triggering. It used to be way more triggering than it is today, but a lot comes up for me there, and I don't always feel mindful and I'm not always intentional. And I can feel like I'm failing at this work of like, oh, my gosh, I am supposed to just be here and enjoy the moment. And I had this idea of what mindful parenting was and is and really had to do work around that word. And Hunter and I got to chat about it and break it down. And it was such a fun episode to get to hang out with her and talk about what is this really? And y'all, it's not perfection. It's not enjoying every moment. It's not even being present to every moment. And goodness, right? Like, thank goodness, because if that's what it was, I'm failing every day. I'm so jazzed to get to share this interview with you. It really was fun to do. And go snag hunter's newest book Raising Good Humans Every Day. All right, folks, let's dive in. 


00:00:02    Alyssa

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today I get to hang out with a pal of mine. I get to hang out with Hunter Clarke-Fields. You likely know her as the author of Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids. And I'm super jazzed to have her on today to chat about her next book, out now. Raising Good Humans Every Day. Hello, Hunter. 


00:00:32    Hunter 

Hello, Alyssa. I'm so glad to be here. Thank you very much for having me. 


00:00:36    Alyssa

I'm so jazzed to get to hang out with you. We've had some good run ins over this last year, and I'm here for it. I want more of them. 


00:00:45    Hunter 

Yes, I have enjoyed these run ins. 


00:00:48    Alyssa

I'm curious, just personally, what kind of the breakdown is between your first book and your second book? What is that evolution? What's different between them? 


00:00:59    Hunter 

Sure. Yeah. Because obviously there's a significant overlap right there's, like Raising Good Humans and Raising Good Humans Every Day. But basically with Raising Good Humans, I really wanted to focus on the most essential tools that helped me as a completely struggling person with a bad temper and frustrated and feeling like I was failing as a parent, I really wanted to focus on the tools that the most essential things that we needed. Right. Which is, like, for me, I see them as mindfulness, self, compassion and skillful communication. These are just so, so foundational and so essential. And with raising good humans every day, it's like physically smaller. It's 50 short chapters. And I get to expand on the ideas in raising good humans into our household, into more communication stuff, into a lot of different things having to do with kids and families that I didn't have the chance to touch on at all in Raising Good Humans because it was so kind of tightly focused. And so this is more of like a book that you can put in your purse you can keep by your bedside. You can just open it up anywhere and find something that's going to give you something to gnaw on for a week and then you can go to another chapter. And that's kind of the way I envision people using it. 


00:02:27    Alyssa

Very cool. So kind of like asynchronous. 


00:02:30    Hunter 

Yeah. 50 short chapters. You can just dive into whichever one you need most at the time. 


00:02:37    Alyssa

I dig that. I dig that so much. I want to chat about the word mindfulness for a hot minute because I feel so we in developing the CEP method. I co created it with my colleague Lauren and her history. She's a yoga teacher. She's done a lot of work in the mindfulness space, and her practice is so rooted in this. And I found for myself, when we were starting to develop the method, the word mindfulness was triggering for me. Yeah, right. 


00:03:12    Hunter 

Tell me about it. Tell me. 


00:03:14    Alyssa

And for me, I had to switch it to awareness, because despite living in Vermont and being a home birther, I'm not a super crunchy human on the scale of crunchiness. And I felt like mindfulness had this kind of identity around it that I didn't connect with. And now it's so deeply rooted in my life practice and in the CEP method, and it's buzzwordy, I think, in a really great way. And I want to just chat about what it even means first before we dive into this, because I think that helped me have a different relationship with it. 


00:04:03    Hunter 

Yeah, no, I know what you mean. I mean, it's gotten to be such a big word, and actually, someone who is like my foundational teacher, which was the Zen master Tich Nhat Hanh, was one of the people who popularized the word mindfulness itself in the west. So he wrote about it enormously, and it became a word in part due to his efforts. But yeah, it basically means awareness. You're right. Like, awareness is a great substitute for it, in a way. It's like your attention to the present moment. You're intentionally putting your attention on the present moment with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. And the attitude of kindness and curiosity is just as important as the awareness part of mindfulness, because it really is this idea that we're intentionally kind of pulling our naturally kind of judgmental, judgy minds, like critical minds, and practicing to be a little more being curious, right. Which is the opposite on the spectrum of judgment and a little more open minded. So that means if we're practicing mindfulness in a moment with our kids, instead of our minds being a million miles away, which they are normal, that happens for me plenty of times. Right? It's normal for human brains that are primed for your survival to be planning ahead a lot of this time and also thinking in the past and things, but a lot of planning and a lot of autopilot going and doing the next thing. But when we're practicing mindfulness, if we're practicing it, say, with our kids, we're practicing to notice, like, oh, I'm a million miles away. Let me pay attention to the visuals that are here, the smells that are here. Oh, this is the thought that's pulling me away. I'm coming back. And then with this attitude of kindness and curiosity. So you may be aware of some behavior that your kid is doing that's super annoying and frustrating and irritating, and you're like, okay, my instant thought is, this child is doing this incredible, annoying thing to drive me bananas. Like they are the devil incarnate, right? But then if we start to get if we engage our mind to get curious and to release that kind of instinctual instant judgment, then we can say, okay, well, then we can ask those essential questions of, why is my child acting this way? What needs are they? You know, what's going on with them? Are they hungry? Are they tired? Are they blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Why this became so important to me because there would be all this advice on what to do with your kids. When my kids were little, and it was always had. It was always like, step one, pause, or just think about what does your child need? And I'd be like, But I can't think in these moments. And when we practice a mindfulness practice, when we practice bringing our attention back to the present moment with kindness and curiosity, then we have that space to be able to do it in the moments when all the great experts are telling you to do it. Right. But if we don't practice, at least for me, I had no ability to do it in those tough moments. So it's kind of this foundational thing that helps us show up for our kids. 


00:07:35    Alyssa

Yeah, I think that's huge. You can't regulate what you're not aware of is a huge part of our work. And we are often encouraging parents, I feel like, in the space to regulate, to just get calm, be calm. First I'm flying off the handle inside, right? And that does come first. And being able to notice that I found for myself, the more I practiced this, the less judgment I had for myself and the more grace and forgiveness I have for myself. And then that extends outward. Then that transfers to my tiny human, and then it transfers even to other parents around me. In fact, just the other day, I had a therapy session about this. I noticed something. I was feeling judgmental about another parent. And it's not a very common thing for me at this point. I truly don't feel a lot of judgment towards other parents because I think it's really freaking hard to raise kids and to do it, especially if we're trying to break any cycles and do something we have never seen modeled for us and all that. And I was noticing this judgment. I'm like, Bring this one to therapy. But I genuinely because I don't experience a lot of judgment at this point. And I think it's really come back to this exact thing of, like, practicing mindfulness building awareness and bringing in that curiosity. I'm like, yeah, what is going on for you right now, Alyssa? What's coming up here? And as I do that with myself, then, yeah, it's easier for me to say, what's coming up with Sage? What's going on here? And kind of transfer that. 


00:09:20    Hunter 

Yeah. And, like, with other people, too, like, with probably your parents and other generations and things like that. As we start to have some compassion for ourselves because it's so hard, right, then we can have compassion for others. And especially I think it's really especially good for us to make all our mistakes, right, and mess up and have all those things, because we can't be on some pedestal, like being like, what's wrong with you? Why are you because we can be like, oh, it's so hard. We're human. It's really hard to do this thing. And so yeah, why understanding why this thing is arising is so helpful. As I started to understand for me why I was yelling at my kid when she was little, and I was like, this is why. It's not realizing that, I ultimately realized that it's not something I was choosing, I wasn't like, "please sign me up to yell at my child, my kid." I wasn't consciously choosing it at all. And when I realized there was no conscious choice, like, I was like, oh, I'm really actually consciously choosing the opposite of that, but it's really hard to get there. So that opened up a lot of compassion for myself and just really, for me, opens up a lot of compassion for everybody who struggles with that, because it's like, oh, I know you don't want to be that mean person, we all struggle, and it's really important for us to say that again and again and again. 


00:10:57    Alyssa

Yeah. And I think to acknowledge that, like, there is no perfection in any of this. And we just had folks over a few weeks ago, and this dad was chatting with me. He was like, all right, Alyssa, in practice for you, of all the things you teach, you talk about, is there anything that you're like, yeah, I talk about it, but I don't do it. And I was like, oh. And I had to sit with it. And I was like, honestly no. But that's only because what we talk about all the time is that there is no perfection. And so, yeah, I make mistakes all the time. Just this morning, I yelled at Sage and pulled his body over to put his clothes on him because I hit a breaking point, solo parenting with no sleep last night. And it's okay. We moved through it. We moved on from it. He's good. I'm good. We're moving forward. And it doesn't mean that those moments don't happen or we don't lose our cool sometimes, that we are regulated all the time. And I think that's something I had associated with mindfulness is like, as I'm doing this and I'll be intentional all the time, I will always be able to employ a certain strategy. And I was like, I don't connect with that, that's not how I live my life. 


00:12:11    Hunter 

Always being the word. Right? It's like, yes, more of the time. Right? And I think that I love this conversation with you that I'm having with you right now, Jessica, because that's what we have to be really intentional and transparent about, about people who are people see you. People see me on Instagram or whatever, the podcast and different things, and you get this snippet of someone's life, and you think, oh, my God, I'm not that. So I suck, right? And that's totally not my intention. I really don't want people to think that because it's really more about shifting to more of the time. And even in mindful parenting, when you talk about our communication, we're talking about if you can aim for, let's aim for 80% of the time. We're going to be as skillful as we can be and that we're going to give ourselves a lot of grace for the 20% of the time that we're not. And also, our kids would be miserable human beings if everything went well for them all the time. They need to have moments when things are uncomfortable, they don't get their way, they have distress, all these different things. Not that we need to go out of our way and make it for them, but it's going to happen. And they need that to be able to realize that the world is not about them and that they can get through things and that you're there and they need bumps in their road, too. 


00:13:38    Alyssa

Yeah. 100%. Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for breaking down mindfulness with me because it was one of those things I'm just like it's still like there's a part of me that will be like, I don't know, there's this association, I guess, with kind of perfection around it and that lives inside me. 


00:13:58    Hunter 

For me, the way I experience mindfulness is it's like this thing that makes everything, it steadies me in a way that nothing else does. It steadies me and it makes it so that it's like there are waves and most of the time I can ride those waves. The waves still happen. All the emotions still happen. They don't drown in them. I don't need to block them with copious amounts of chocolate necessarily anymore. And I'm okay with them. Right. It's like I'm just so much more even keeled. And as a highly sensitive person who has been through a lot of roller coasterness in my life, is that a word? 


00:14:45    Alyssa

I'll take it. We'll take it. 


00:14:47    Hunter 

It's like a freedom to be able to just be myself and not be driven by the waves of my emotional being. 


00:14:58    Alyssa

I love that so much because one of the things that you teach parents about being calm is that we can't fake it like you can't fake being calm. And so I want to dive into what that looks like when you are in these waves, right. When you're riding those waves. When your kids, I'll give you a scenario. How many real life scenarios would you like? 


00:15:21    Hunter 

Are they at hand? 


00:15:22    Alyssa

7 million. Last night I making dinner. Sage skipped a nap yesterday for his third time in his life with not a great track record for how that pans out. I'm solo parenting and twelve weeks pregnant. And so all of this is like, coming together. And I knew when I picked him up from childcare and he'd skipped his nap like, all right, this is going to be a night of some emotions and very random things that will set him off. So last night he had dinner already a friend actually dropped it off. Bless her. Thank you, Emily. I know. Beautiful. 


00:16:00    Hunter 

Good job, Vermont. 


00:16:04    Alyssa

And Sage starts melting that he wants mac and cheese. We happen to have one box of mac and cheese in there. I'm like, I don't give a shit. I'm going to make the mac and cheese. And they pulled out, and he's like, different mac and cheese. Don't have a different mac and cheese. I'm just going to proceed with making this one. He's sobbing in his learning tower, saying, go away, mama. Walk away. Go in the other room, mama just losing it. And I'm like, okay, cool. We've been together for about 20 minutes at this point. We've got hours to go. There's no one to tap out to. I'm already tired, and so I'm in it, right? Like, in that wave. And so can we walk through? What does it look like in those moments in terms of, I guess, protecting our kids from our irritation or our anger? 


00:16:55    Hunter 

Well, sometimes it looks like that we don't protect our kids from our irritation and anger, and we're irritated and angry at our kids. And then we come back and repair afterwards, right? And everybody gets upset and we cry, and then we sit on the floor, and we have a hug later, right? Like, after everybody's been like, wow, that f-ing sucked. That's okay. That's definitely going to happen for every one of us multiple times. Sometimes it may look like you saying out loud, wow, this is a really hard moment. You're really grumpy. I'm really tired. Boy, I'm feeling totally overwhelmed and tired. I wonder what we can do in this moment. And just like, somehow there's some crazy magic, biological magic, where saying all that stuff out loud just lessens it a little bit. And there's research behind that that shows that it does lessen that a little bit. So somehow, if we can say it all out loud, that really helps. And then if we're able to, then we, you know, we triage the moment as best we can. You know, maybe we say, you know, maybe we can just eat some apples and peanut butter and crackers tonight because I'm really tired. Or we're just going to have this mac and cheese or whatever it is, or we just need a break and I'm just going to sit on the floor for a moment. I'm going to sit on the floor. I'm tired. I'm pregnant. You're tired. You're upset over there on that learning tower. I'm going 


00:18:37    Alyssa

Or in days, a week... 


00:18:45    Hunter 

Put a hand on my heart. I'm going to put a hand on my belly, and I'm just going to sigh it out, right? So the beauty of it all goes back to that fundamental awareness, right? Like, if we can get to that moment of like, oh, this sucks right now. I'm tired. He's tired. And then if we can say that stuff out loud, then it's like, oh, it's like ding, ding, ding alarm bells. And then we can start to then make choices. Like, we have a little then room in our brains to get off autopilot and then make a choice because just the awareness interrupts the autopilot pattern, right. Sometimes it doesn't go so well, but then you have a chance to repair your relationship, and then you say, okay, I'm going to think about maybe planning ahead for some of those moments ahead, or whatever it is. And sometimes then you'll be able to acknowledge really it's about acknowledging what's happening for you, acknowledging what's happening for your child. And then, okay, like me just getting my full brain on board here, getting a little energy, getting a little sustenance, what's needed. What's needed now, right? And then you can ask what's needed, right? Do I need to just drink some juice from their little bottle that has a little cartoon head on it or whatever it is, right? 


00:20:14    Alyssa



00:20:15    Hunter 

I'm stealing your juice now, child. Thank you. Okay. And then we'll all be better. 


00:20:19    Alyssa

That's right. You'll love this. I love that because for me, learning to say it out loud is so helpful. It helps me find that pause sometimes it buys me time to find that pause and not lose it or whatever in that moment. At least one of the things I was starting to notice last night was a very quick spiral in my head to like, cool, we got hours of this to go. Am I going to have this stamina? Right? And mantras are really helpful for me if I just take deep breaths. I'm taking deep breaths while I'm having that spiral moment still. And so for me, having mantras or phrases, and I have different ones that I kind of call on in different times. Some for Sage, some for Zach, some for my mom, for my mother in law, for people in my life, right. Like, ones that help me just gain perspective. And one of the ones that I was leaning into last night was, what's the worst that happens if he cries on and off for the next couple of hours? What's the worst that happens? And it was just like, okay. 


00:21:32    Hunter 

Worst case scenario. 


00:21:33    Alyssa



00:21:34    Hunter 

You realize, oh, I can survive it. 


00:21:36    Alyssa

Yeah, exactly. Where I was like, yeah, it would suck. It's not going to be my favorite hang we've ever had, and we can get through that. And when I faced that of what is the worst that happens there, it then made dealing with it all easier because I was like, I don't have to make it stop in order for us to survive this. 


00:21:57    Hunter 

Yeah, that's super helpful. Yeah, I love that. I mean, I would say to myself, one I really like to share is like, this is not an emergency, because your nervous system is like, oh, my God, it's an emergency. We have to make it stop right now. And it's not an emergency. We've got an upset, tired kid. I'm tired and upset. Right. That's not an emergency. We're all safe. Everybody's safe. It's safe for him to have these, safe for him to be upset and cranky about macaroni, and it's safe for me to be upset and cranky, too. We'll survive this. I love that you looked at worst case scenario. That's always very helpful. 


00:22:40    Alyssa

Yeah, it helps me. It helps me be like, okay, I can survive worst case scenario. Then working backwards is easier. 


00:22:45    Alyssa

I don't know about you, but when I scroll through Instagram or I'm tuning into podcasts and diving into parenting resources, resources for myself as a teacher, I can feel overwhelmed. Like, where do I start? I need a guide for what this looks like in practice. And I don't want something that's one size fits all. Because every child is different, right? And if you have multiple children, if you're a teacher, you know that it's not one size fits all. Or if you have seen what works for your sister in law or your best friend or your neighbor, and you're like, oh my gosh, my child does not respond to that. That is how I felt. And then we created the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. It is a guide for building emotional intelligence. And y'all there are five components of the CEP method. One is about how to respond to the kids and what it looks like to have adult/child interactions. The other four are about us. Because I don't know about you, but I did not grow up getting these tools. I did not grow up with them.  didn't grow up in this household. Where I was taught tools for self awareness and self regulation and how to do emotion processing work. And now, as a parent and as a teacher, I'm supposed to teach those skills to a tiny human? But we can't teach what we don't know. And so my first book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, is here to support you. You can head to and snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions today. This is a game changer. It's going to build these skills with you, for you, so that you can do this work alongside building these skills for your tiny humans, so that they can grow up with a skill set for self awareness, for regulation, for empathy, for social skills, for intrinsic motivation. A skill set of emotional intelligence so that they can navigate all the things that come their way in life. Snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions at 


00:22:47    Alyssa

You acknowledge in Raising Good Humans Every Day that many parents aren't enjoying parenting, and I think that's so real, and I want to chat about it because last night, again, not my favorite parenting evening I've ever had. And honestly, once we got through dinner, there were moments that were really fun and connected and lovely, and there were moments that weren't. But it's really easy for me at the end of the day to be like, what a brutal evening. And it's harder for me to be like, oh, also there was some fun. And if given the choice, if I had to give up the fun and connected in order to lose the hard, would I want that? 


00:23:42    Hunter 



00:23:43    Alyssa

That, for me, is a question that comes up in parenting a lot, and I called on it a lot in the newborn days and whatever, of, like, this is hard. Sleep deprivation is hard. Having fluids come out of every hole of your body is hard. Like, poop in your hand in the middle of the night and the diaper change is hard. And there is no world where it's all fun and connected and easy all the time with anyone in any space. And so if I wish the hard away, I lose those moments, too. 


00:24:22    Hunter 



00:24:23    Alyssa

That, for me, has been helpful. 


00:24:26    Hunter 

We can't selectively numb, and we're sold this story from our culture that we should feel comfortable all the time, that we should be distracted, entertained all the time, we should never be bored, and that things should like, we should have this. I'm all for ease. I think that ease is great. But the whole idea of the comfortable and all the time, I think, is really detrimental to our society right now because it leads us to numb out of situations that are challenging and therefore numb out of the real situations. Teenagers, it's so much easier to be comfortable in your room with a phone. So now a whole generation of teenagers is not going out with friends and not connecting with his friends because it's uncomfortable. And we have moments of awkward silences and weird conversations and things like that. So they're just not doing it right, and they're losing this essential part of what it is to be human and isolating and having the mental health ramifications of that. And so this idea and that's, like, to then bring it back to mindfulness that's one of the things that mindfulness is really, really good at is helping us to tolerate discomfort. Because you sit there, you're bored, you're like, I'm looking at my brain. It might be ugly, what you're seeing. You might be seeing some ugly thoughts that humans have or just boring and repetitive thoughts or whatever. And then you sit there, and you learn to tolerate it, and you learn to direct your attention to you learn to have some direction of your attention, not complete and total, not perfect, but some direction of your attention to where you want to focus it. But you also learn, like, okay, I'm going to sit here until that little timer goes off, even though I'm maybe feeling uncomfortable right now. And that teaches you to be there in those moments and then be able to tolerate those difficult moments. And that toleration of difficult moments is what gives us the ability to really be there for the real moments, right? I've probably shared this with you before, but I love this. There's a quote that really drives me in my work, and that is from the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, and he says, "When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?" How can you love if you are not there? I mean, if it's not about that, what is it about, right? Like, we're going to get there when our kids are like, we're going to okay, I'll love them when they're 30. Like, no, we got to love them when the... 


00:27:22    Alyssa

When you're getting sprayed with fluids, when they're pooping into your hand. 


00:27:26    Hunter 

Exactly. And, you know, and I'm not saying, like, love every minute, because I really wanted to strangle those grandmas who said that to me when my kids were babies, because they didn't understand. You're not going to love every minute, but if you can be present for more of it, you can be present for a lot of it, then that's the gift, right? 


00:27:49    Hunter 



00:27:49    Hunter 

That's the gift of being able to tolerate the difficult stuff and being more present with your feelings and taking the time maybe it takes to just sit for a few minutes every day. And it's the gift of being able to really be present. 


00:28:06    Alyssa

Well, and I think to know that you aren't failing for feeling different things, right, and that your kids aren't. We had posted a poll in our stories a little while ago, and I was just like, just out of curiosity, because I had shared a mistake that I'd made and how I navigated, whatever, and I got so many DMs from people that were like, oh, it's so nice to hear that you make mistakes too. And I was like, oh yeah, in what world do you think and so we pulled folks and we were like, do you think that there are humans out there, parenting experts, et cetera who are doing this perfectly all the time, who are intentional all the time, who are regulated all the time, who always have these quote perfect responses all the time, and over 90% of people said yes. Yeah. And we were like, oh, man. If you think that there is someone who is doing that all the time, then you think that that's possible, and that if you just did X, Y, and Z, you could be there too. And I think that's a huge part of folks on enjoying parenting is this idea that they're doing it wrong or like, everybody else's kids are not having a meltdown over the wrong mac and cheese or whatever, and that everybody else is always kind to their tiny humans and the humans around them and all that. And I think when that self criticism is happening, it is really hard to enjoy parenting. 


00:29:51    Hunter 

Oh, sure, yeah. You're just in a pit in that case. 


00:29:58    Alyssa

And it's easy to blame the kids if, like, they're bringing this out in me. They're making me be this kind of parent. And it's like, oh, yeah, no, everybody is doing that. This isn't unique to your kids are often inconvenient, and they can be annoying, and they're not like, hey, you got to spare 20 minutes for me to have a hard feeling. Right. That doesn't come up. And so I think if we're comparing our messy insides to curated outsides, it is hard to enjoy it. 


00:30:37    Hunter

Yeah, I think there's really a need for us to say, okay, social media is part of our world. It's part of our lives. That's fine. If you can get yourself completely away from it, more power to you, that's great. But if you're like a normal human being and you got it in your life, then we want to then goes back to that awareness. Like, how is this making me feel? And yeah, there's something to be said to being aware of all kinds of different things, but how is this making you feel then? If someone is making you feel like, I'm inadequate or whatever, just block unfollow. You don't need to make sure it's all fluffy kitten videos. That's a totally legit way to use that platform to make sure all you're seeing. 


00:31:34    Alyssa

That's like my husband's instagram. 


00:31:36    Hunter

Capybara's in a tub with oranges. 


00:31:39    Alyssa

That's like watching drumming videos. Our feeds are so vastly different. He's like, look at this hilarious meme. And I'm like, okay, but have you noticed we need to be doing X, Y, and Z at mealtime with Sage? He's like, Why do you do this to yourself? 


00:31:57    Hunter

There's wonderful things to learn. But also, people are overwhelmed. There's too much information. When you get all this free information, it's like, too much information. I know people that I've worked with, they have stacks of books, and it's wonderful, but it's not really about learning more. I wrote a book. I'm like I like books, but I'm like, put away the book. Sometimes it's about doing less, but doing focusing. I mean, that's the idea with raising good humans every day. It's like, take one idea. This is the way I'd love some people to use it. It's a take one idea and just think about this one idea for a week or two and play with that one idea. Don't feel like you have to read the whole book five times, but just take one idea and then bring it into your life and don't give yourself a lot of pressure, but then use it, ponder it, chew on it. But yeah, too much information is a real detriment to actually moving forward with any information. 


00:33:05    Alyssa

Yeah, I agree. And I love that structure of your book and love that encouragement to like, take it, sit with it. You don't have to binge consume it and then do it over and over. Yeah, I love that. That's rad. And I loved your note, too, of like, we don't have to enjoy every minute to enjoy parenting as a whole. Nobody enjoys every minute of life. 


00:33:31    Hunter

No, especially for moms. It's okay. If you're not enjoying every minute, then don't put pressure on yourself to be with your kid every minute of the day, 100%. Your child is going to be so much better off if you take your child to the YMCA childcare that they don't like that much that they're not that super happy with. But you get to go have time like an hour to yourself then if you're like, oh, my child is a little uncomfortable with YMCA childcare and I would love to work out, but they're slightly uncomfortable. So I'm going to skip that because no, your needs are just as important as your kids needs and ultimately what your kids need is you to if you are a grounded person, I don't want you to be me and I don't want you to be Alyssa. You should be you. I don't want you to be necessarily like, mommy does this. You don't even have to be the role of mommy. You're allowed to be yourself, your authentic self, make your own mistakes, but give yourself some space to be yourself beyond mom. Like, if you at all possible, like, be yourself, you know, give yourself some some time away from your child. So you're like, oh, I can miss my child and see how wonderful they are. Give your chance. Your child a chance to make secure attachments with other people in the community. That's all good for your child. Sometimes we're driven it's like an ego thing, right, where it's like fear and ego that we're like, it has to be me all the time. And that gives us a sense of purpose and whatever. And that's a little bit like too much pressure to put on your child to be your everything. Like, you be you and that's going to be what your child needs is you being you in as steady and grounded and wonderful way as you can. And if that requires, like, hey, babe, see you later. I know child care is not your favorite thing, but I'll be back in an hour. That's fine. That's what you should do. Your child doesn't need you 24 hours a day. 


00:35:52    Alyssa

I think there is a lot of fear. I think there's fear that these other humans aren't going to do this with intention, and then this kid isn't always going to get this intentional engagement interaction. And I think that's a focus for there's been a pendulum swing, I think, from how a lot of us were raised to like, okay, now we're always going to be on we're always going to be intentional. Everyone that engages with them, grandparents, childcare providers, any parent that's in the household, et cetera, needs to respond in these certain ways, and if not, I won't leave my kid with them. And I think there are definitely some things and I'm like, yeah, hard. No, I'm like spanking. If someone's going to spank Sage, I'm going to leave him with them. Right. That, for me, is like a hard. And there are so many things that my mother in law does Friday childcare for him or for us with him. And she's incredible, and there are so many things that we do differently, and there are different responses he's going to get, and it's not going to be the exact way I do it and all that. And I'm a better parent because she does Friday child care, right? Yes, exactly. So it's like a give and take, I think, of like, yeah, it's not always going to be the exact way you do it, and does it allow you to show up in a more regulated way? And what would it mean if kids aren't always responded to the way you do it? 


00:37:33    Hunter



00:37:36    Alyssa

That's going to be life. 


00:37:37    Hunter

And they're going to learn resilience. It's okay for them to have different experiences. It's okay for them to have a different experience with your co parent. 


00:37:47    Alyssa



00:37:48    Hunter

That's okay. They're going to figure that out. It's okay for that to happen. It it's not a reason to not learn or whatever. Right. But yeah, it's like this idea, like our control, it's an invitation to examine this idea of is your control over your child, is that fear? And is that something that you really should put on your child? Or is that something you should really work out for yourself and with your therapist and with your friends or with your journaling or whatever? Right. As I think about the safetyism that kids have these days and how constrained they are, how they aren't allowed to go outside and play like they're always in adult directed activities, this is another thing I have the freedom to talk about in this new book, right. And it's like, this is our fear constraining our kids in a way that's unhealthy for them. Because if you've ever heard Lenor Skenazy talk about this? It's amazing. It would take literally, you go by the statistics, like something like 40,000 years of standing on a New York street before your child was abducted. 


00:39:07    Alyssa

Totally. But there's so much fear around it. 


00:39:11    Hunter



00:39:12    Alyssa

So much fear. The worst is going to happen, right, is like, always, I think, coming up. And now I was thinking about this. We were just talking about Jessica Lahey's 'Addiction Inoculation' in our team meeting yesterday, and how one of the things I love about her book and discussing with her, how do we lay a foundation for that? Was really how do we lay a foundation for a trusting relationship with our kids? And it requires us not always holding the reins and saying, like, yeah, you're going to go outside and play, or, you're going to go into this space that's not there isn't an adult hovering over you to see how things go the whole time or whatever. And it's stretching that rubber band, right. And without breaking it, just allowing them to stretch. And we build trust that way. I trust you to make certain decisions, to do certain things, to take certain risks. And that then one of the things she said when I was chatting with her was she was like, yeah, you don't start building that when your kids like, hey, can I go to this party tonight? And they're like, 16, we start building that relationship so much earlier, and it is in all these other ways, I think you're absolutely right. That fear, our fear of something happening to them is constraining them in a way that's just not healthy. 


00:40:43    Hunter

Yeah. They've got to explore their world. I remember hovering under these pine trees with, Sora, and being like, How do you feel up there? Yeah. Does that feel safe to you? And then occasionally being like, listen, I'm feeling really nervous. Could you just not go any further than that? That makes me feel really nervous. Right. And this level of teaching and trust and learning and things like that. And now my daughters are 16 and 13, and I went to a dance class one night. My husband went out across the neighborhood to a friend's, and they wanted to have a campfire with their other Scout friend. They're in Boy Scouts of America. They're girls, Boy Scout troop. And I was like, but we have this relationship where I understand them. I know they're smart. They know they're like, better with fire than most adults. I'm like, okay, this is cool. Yeah, fine, go for it. And that's good. They have a really good time. 


00:41:54    Alyssa

Sagey's favorite drawer, he's two in our household is what we call the sharps drawer, where all the sharp things are, all the sharp things, the peelers, the sharp knives, whatever, and he'll ask to play in the sharps drawer, and it's become so commonplace for us. Like, he'll push his learning tower over. He knows how to navigate everything within the sharps drawer. He knows how to use them in a way that won't lose a finger. And it's so interesting to watch other adults that are around when he's playing in the sharp's drawer, he's like, I'm going to go play in the sharp's drawer. And they're, like, hovering, or they're like, he's going to what? You're just going to let him what? He knows what he's doing? We stood next to him for a while as he was 18 months, and asking questions about things and curious about them, and we showed him how to use them and what they're for and what they're not for and all that, and yeah, now he can confidently navigate the sharps drawer. 


00:42:58    Hunter

Rock on, Sagey. 


00:43:00    Alyssa

Yeah. Go, Sage. But it's also like, we take that risk now. Just the other day, he was at the sharps drawer, and I had to go to the bathroom, and I went in and went to the bathroom and came back, and I was like, oh, my gosh. Hilarious what, like a fly on the wall? Somebody, like, peeking in would have been like, I'm sorry, just walk away from your two year old in the sharps drawer to go to the bathroom. You can't see him. And yeah, I did. And he has that skill set now, and I think that those are important things to not avoid. I dig that. Yeah, I dig that. Okay, there's one thing that I last thing I want to hear from you before we wrap up. In 'Raising Good Humans Every Day' you share a mistake that you made and that most parents make that leads to less helpful kids. What's that mistake? That you'd go back and change? 


00:43:53    Hunter

Oh, yeah. I would totally change. So one of the things, back to the sharps drawer, I would kind of like sort of like shhh, not all the time, but a lot of the time, I would say, please go play. Go somewhere else. Why? I can make some dinner. And I wish I hadn't done that, because it's like, now I'm trying to get them into making dinner, and one is really into it, but the oldest one, of course, who I was more like, go, while I make dinner, she is less likely to do it. And we teach them this lesson when we say, don't be involved in the space of where I'm working, is that you are exempt from work. You have VIP status, and your job is to be entertained by, at that point, it was like the bookshelf, but, like, whatever. Be entertained. And my job is to do the work, and that is not a lesson we want our kids to learn right when they're in that phase of me, do it, me do it, me do it. I love your story about the sharps drawer. We want to bring them into it, and we did some of the time, but I would have done it a little more if I had thought it all through. So take my mistake. 


00:45:16    Alyssa

Please. Please send any other words of wisdom over that you're like. Now that I'm at 13 and 16, we just started doing this with the dishwasher. We used to, like just it was easier to not have Sage climbing in it and whatever when we were trying to empty it, unload it, and I was like, I feel like he can handle some of this. He can put away the cutting boards. He can be a part of this in a way that also is just less annoying than him climbing all over it and us trying to very rapidly do it while he's playing in the other room. And now he knows his jobs. When we open up the dishwasher, he will say cutting board or bowls, which are like the tupperware or whatever, and he will ask for them, he puts them away, and then he'll go play. And I'm like, okay, cool. check one. There's way more things I could involve him in. But I'm like, oh, we just started doing that one, and we are already seeing it pay off, and it's already kind of nice. 


00:46:22    Hunter

Yes. Kudos. 


00:46:25    Alyssa

I think it's hard to think about down the road. What do we want them doing and how do we lay those foundations now when you're in it and you're just like, no, it's easier for me right now if you're not climbing in the dishwasher. 


00:46:35    Hunter

Yeah. All the intensive stuff you do when they're little, it's like this time of intensive learning about what we do. So, yeah, it all kind of plays out down the road. It's true. And that's why we want to change our communication and things like that, like which you and I teach. Right. And it ultimately makes things so much easier down the road. All the work that you do in the front end makes it so much easier down the road. And that's something I can tell you from the other end now. 


00:47:03    Alyssa

Sick. Cheers. Thank you. Awesome. Hunter, thank you so much for hanging out me. Thanks for writing this book. Folks go grab 'Raising Good Humans Every Day'. Hunter, where can folks find you, follow you, learn more about you? 


00:47:19    Hunter

Sure. Thank you for having me. You can find me at You can listen to the Mindful Mama podcast, and you can find Raising Good Humans Every Day every where books are sold. 


00:47:31    Alyssa

Thank you. 


00:47:35    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.





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