Episode 147: Protecting Our Kids From Current Events with Jennifer Kolari
In this episode of Betty Bites, we welcome Jennifer Kolari. Jen is a Child and Family Therapist, Board Certified NLP Practitioner, Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and Founder of Connected Parenting. In this short episode, we discuss protecting our kids from current events, operating from a place of love instead of fear, and how to navigate our emotions.
If you would like to tune in to the full episode with Jennifer Kolari – click here. The full episode is dedicated to the parents or to-be parents that want to create amazing and loving relationships with their children. For the ones who are looking to understand the deeper reasoning in child behavior and powerful techniques to move families closer together.
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Jennifer Kolari (01:05):
The difference is very clear and we'll come back to this in our whole interview, human beings only have two emotions. We only have two love and fear. So, you know, anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness, self-loathing, all of that is fear. And so that group home and, and many institutions, many parts of our world actually are based on fear and running them from a place of fear. So that position don't let the kids take advantage of you. Don't turn your back, you know, make sure you stay on top of it. That's all fear. And when someone is already afraid, as many of us are, but especially these children, that fear meets fear, which just creates double fear. And that's, that's really what happened. So the method and what we'll talk about is how to use your intuition, how to engage with your own higher self, really your own internal wisdom that is always locked in to love and how to recognize when you are reacting to someone instead of responding.
Jennifer Kolari (02:03):
And when you're responding, it'll come from love. And when you're reacting, it's going to come from fear. That's wonderful. And I love that distinction. Can we dive into the science around that for a moment? So what is happening? So when you were responding to someone, what are some of the things that are happening in the brain, in the body? And then let's contrast that with when you were reacting to someone, what is now happening in the brain and the body? Absolutely. So, I mean, most of us know the kind of basics around the brain, but we don't always pay attention to it. And we don't know how it affects our psycho neurobiology and our parenting and our relationships. So basically we have the frontal lobe. That's the part of the brain that's in charge of inhibiting, organizing, prioritizing, motivating, shifting attention, holding goals, all of that stuff.
Jennifer Kolari (02:46):
And that's the part that takes the higher perspective. You know, what, if I yell at this person, I could lose my job or I'm going to feel bad about it later. So that's the part that really inhibits and organizes. It's our inner parent essentially. And some would say, that's the part that's connected to our higher wisdom, right? Our higher self. Then we've got the limbic brain. This part of the brain is primal. It's just, it's just entered into interested in survival. That's it is this life or death, how to look after yourself. And that's where the reaction comes from that part of the brain overrides the frontal lobe. So we like to think of ourselves as thinking beings, but we're not. We're actually feeling beings. It goes through feeling first. It goes through the limbic center first and the limbic part of the brain first.
Jennifer Kolari (03:28):
And then it goes more frontal love. We love thinking it's the other way around, but it's not because way. So what happens when we have a reaction, our brain, our limbic brain assesses for civilian danger. It sends cortisol, adrenaline, all, all of the hormones that cause us to react. It increases our sensitivity, stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system. So when things are louder things you don't, when you're a little kid and you're like, you go down to the basement to get something and you hear a noise. And then for the next 20 minutes, you think everything's around you. It's it's that. And you go into a fight or flight state in that fight or flight state, the brain will, the limbic system will override the frontal lobe because it needs to. So you think about it this way, adrenaline is involved in this. When adrenaline is involved, it must be an automatic response.
Jennifer Kolari (04:15):
So if you're crossing the street, you're not going to use your frontal lobe. You're not going to go, Ooh, that car's coming really fast. Now, what am I to run? That way might be faster. If I run, if you do all that thinking, you're going to get hit by a car, you have to go to the side of the road and then you'll fall, right? So you're literally lifted out of your body and that's a time-based adrenaline response. And it's it's thank goodness. Not particularly necessary. At least we're lucky enough or not to be in our world right now, many people, it still is. But for us, most of the time we can use our frontal lobe when we're mitigating danger, but it does have the ability to override. And if you're really stressed, it will override when you don't not want it to.
Jennifer Kolari (04:53):
And that's when you're yelling at your kids and you're like, Oh, I'm the worst mother in the world. I hate myself. Why did I do that? It's because your limbic brain took over and that's, that's really the difference. Right? The other thing you have to know as a parent is it takes 25 years to grow a frontal lobe. That's a long time, right? So as parents, we're not actually parents we're substitute frontal lobes. So we not only have to manage ourselves, but with the frontal lobe for our children and it can get really messy. It's hard. Parenting is hard. Parenting is hard, but that distinction I think is so useful because I don't think that we as parents realize that our children's brains are in fact different from us. I think, you know, when, when we have babies and they're little and cuddly and we can, you know, we are so good at trying to, like, I remember my child, I knew what crime I knew, which cry meant I want to be hugged.
Jennifer Kolari (05:50):
I want I'm hungry. You know, we get so attuned to our children. And then as they, I don't know what point it is, but at some point we just assume that because they can talk or because they can now communicate with us in a way that's not just crying, that they should just know they should have all the life experiences that we've had. And they should understand that, you know, the ice cream falling on the floor is not a big deal. You can just get another one, you know? So I, I, I, so I love what you're saying here. And, you know, from a let's, let's talk about it in the, in the opposite. So we've talked about this idea of this limbic system, this automatic system. And if you think about one of the ways I like to remember it, as well as if you were to put your hand or I've had my child try to put their hand on the stove, your brain is I can be like, Hmm, what should I do?
Jennifer Kolari (06:41):
I should probably flex my bicep to lift the hand. You don't do that. It's just an automatic, you bypass thinking, you just respond and reflect. It's a reflexive behavior. So on the opposite of if a child, you know, the ice cream drops on the floor, you know, whatever the example is, if they are feeling understood, can you contrast what's happening now? And the, if the BR, if someone is now not trying to just brush them off what now is happening and then branding the body. And how is that different from the cortisol in the Olympics? That's such a beautiful leading to this because, well, first of all, so, so you made the point perfectly that children are not many adults. They don't have the life experience that takes years and years to develop. So we're holding that for them, where their frontal lobe. And when you deeply understand someone, when you have this moment of deep understanding and connection, you'll actually change the biochemistry.
Jennifer Kolari (07:32):
So through every cell in the body, instead of adrenaline and cortisol pumping, you'll now have serotonin and oxytocin, natural endorphins, natural opiates. These are reward chemicals. These are very different chemicals that soothe the brain, calm the brain and help the brain have a, an oxytocin based response to a threat instead of an adrenaline based response to the threat. And that's what we expect when we're having, when we're disciplining our kids, or we're asking them to do something, or we're in a confrontation with our spouse, we're expecting them to have an oxytocin based response. What was your right? What hadn't thought about that from your point of view? How do you know when you say it? It makes a lot of sense. When do we ever do that? When we're limbic and we're feeling threatened because you did this, and if you already do this, I want it on that.
Jennifer Kolari (08:21):
And we end up, limbically experiencing each other instead of really having these oxytocin based conversations. And there's ways to get back to that. And part of it is just awareness. The other point too, that I think is really important is when things are reactionary, when your limbic system is taking over the limbic system and the subconscious mind is basically just a giant tape recorder, it's just a recording machine. That's all it does. It just records fearful events or exciting events, just any kind of stimulating events, but primarily fear-based events. So it's going to dip into a pool of every experience you've ever had memories your own trauma difficulties from your own childhood, your own experience. It's like just, it just dips its foot right into that deep well of fear, which is very rich in all of us. And so we have to learn how to override that a little bit. So when you are parenting, if your children in this way, where you're connecting with them, where you're joining with them in a, in this moment in your parenting from love, not fear, that's when you're going to get those beautiful reward, chemicals, bathing every cell in their body, and they're going to have a response instead of reaction.
Dr. Stephanie (09:29):
All right. Betty's if you found that that little snippet wet your appetite and you are looking for more, you can go to our show notes for this episode. And in the show notes, we will have a link for you to click on, and it will bring you to the full, robust, juicy conversation.