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In Episode 103, I’m chatting with Carla Naumburg, a writer, speaker, clinical social worker, and parenting coach. She’s the author of three parenting books, including the one that we discuss in this podcast episode, How To Stop Losing Your S*** With Your Kids: A practical guide to becoming a calmer, happier parent.


  • Mindful parenting allows you to have stronger relationships with your children and enjoy parenting more.
  • The strategies you use to remain calm with your kids will work with everyone else as well.
  • Parents often feel deep, overwhelming shame about the way they explode at their kids and this often gets in the way of their ability to parent in the way they want to.
  • When parents become triggered, it’s the fight or flight response of their nervous system being activated.
  • Parents need the time to exercise, to get some quiet time alone, and to do some fun things. This will make them less likely to yell at their kids.
  • Anytime we are multitasking we’re actually triggering ourselves. Parents can stay calmer by single-tasking, doing one thing at a time.
  • It is helpful to practice mindfulness. Be aware of how your body is feeling, when tension is rising, and when your mind is wandering.
  • Parents need support and to ask for help when necessary.
  • Parents should realize that it’s necessary to take care of themselves, and they are worthy of doing that.


Carla: “The whole point of mindful parenting is so that we can have a stronger relationship with our children and enjoy parenting more.”

Audrey: “All of these strategies that you share here also work with siblings, aging parents, spouses, co-workers. In general, the same strategies that help you to stay calm and respond more the way you want to with your kids, also help with everyone else.”

Carla: “When it comes to our own parenting behavior, though, it’s really on us. Our job is to take care of ourselves and figure out what strategies we need to do so that when our kids (or anyone else) is behaving in a problematic or annoying way, we can still stay calm. It’s really about focusing on us because, at the end of the day, that’s all we can really control.”

Carla: “So many parents feel a deep shame about the way they explode with their kids. The shame, for some parents, is really overwhelming and it’s paralyzing. And it gets in the way of their ability to parent the way they want to.”

Carla: “Everyone talks about kids pushing our buttons, or your buttons being pushed. I love that because it’s a great metaphor for what’s going on in our bodies and our nervous systems when we are ‘triggered’. I define ‘triggered’ as anything that makes us more likely to lose our temper with our kids. So when we are triggered, we are in some kind of a heightened state and it’s really about our nervous system and this fight or flight reaction that we have. Even when it’s a kid who we on some level know can’t really hurt us, there is something about their behavior that is threatening to us on an emotional level, on a psychological level, and maybe even on a physical level.”

Carla: “The goal here is to not get our kids to stop pushing our buttons. That would be a nice goal but it’s not realistic. So the goal of the book, and what I talk about, is how can we make our buttons smaller and dimmer and less sensitive, so that when the kid comes around with their finger out, looking for something to push, it’s not going to be us.”

Carla: “Getting time away from your kids, getting quiet time, getting time to do something fun is important. But a big one that I think most parents aren’t even aware of is this idea that I bring up of single-tasking, which is doing one thing at a time. What I think many parents don’t realize is that any time we’re multi-tasking, or trying to do multiple things at once, we’re actually triggering ourselves.”

Carla: ” The way to get better at this is to think of it as a practice. And by practice, I mean something that when you start out you’re really not very good at it, and then the more you do it, you actually get better at it. The idea is to notice when our mind is wandering and then to make a conscious decision to bring it back to this thing we’re doing. That’s going to put you in a much better position to notice when you’re about to lose your temper. And so when you notice that, you can make a choice to do something other than yelling at your kids.”

Carla: “We don’t get the support we need and there’s no shame in asking for support and help. So, in the book, I want to break it down for people. What kind of support do we need? Really, I get very specific and concrete about the kinds of support we need, what it looks like, and how to find it. And how it  can make parenting so much easier.”

Audrey: “We all have times when we’re struggling, whether it’s individually or with our families. And you need some outlets, places where you can just say, ‘Hey, I need some help today.'”

Carla: “I think that the amount of stress and tension that we carry, and this need to manage every aspect of our kids’ lives, and that it all has to be perfect, absolutely contributes to the extent to which we lose our temper with our children.”

Carla: “I think it’s really important to start to shift our mindset so that we are worthy of taking care of ourselves. Even if for no other reason than we will be yelling at our kids less often.”

Audrey: “Don’t worry so much about the details of your children’s behavior. Start first with: What buttons are they pushing on you? What are the little, tiny changes you can make that might make you be a little more able to respond in a way that you want to when your kids do crazy stuff?”

Related Podcasts/Posts

Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child

Ep. 89: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men

10 Ways to Teach Kids to Calm Down

Book Summary

Ever lose it with your kid? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Parenting is stressful, children are insane, and you’re only human. Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, was so at a loss with her daughters that she found herself Googling “how to stop yelling at my kids” during a particularly grueling evening. That moment led to this book—a short, empathic, insight-packed, and tip-filled program for how to manage your triggers, stop the meltdowns, and become a calmer, happier parent with calmer, happier kids.

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids not only explains why we explode at our children but also teaches us everything we need to know to decrease stress and increase patience, even in the most challenging family moments. Based on recent research and evidence-based practices, and written in the warm, funny, instantly relatable tone of a parent who’s been there, the book guides even the most harried parents toward a new way of engaging with their children. Readers will come away feeling less ashamed and more empowered to get their sh*t together, instead of losing it.

About Carla

Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a writer, speaker, and clinical social worker. She is the author of three parenting books: How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids (Workman, 2019), Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family (New Harbinger, 2015), and Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Parallax, 2014). Carla has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, CNN, and Mindful Magazine, among other places. Carla is a sought-after public speaker, and she lives outside of Boston with her husband, daughters, and two totally insane cats.


Carla’s Website:

Instagram: @carlanaumburg

Facebook: Carla Naumburg, PhD

Twitter: @swmama


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