Who doesn’t dream of having a fantastic relationship with their kids? When we adopt a more mindful approach to parenting, effective communication, and mutual understanding naturally follow.

Leading the charge in the conscious parenting movement is Katherine Winter-Sellery, a three-time TEDx speaker, bestselling author, parenting coach, and a mother of two. Through her Guidance Approach to Parenting program, she empowers families to build stronger relationships with each other. 

While no parent is perfect, Katherine firmly believes that all relationships possess the capacity to heal, a belief she has witnessed in action. It’s never too late to transform family dynamics. 

Katherine guides us in transitioning from unconscious to conscious parenting, allowing us to break the cycle of intergenerational dysfunction. She provides insights into viewing situations from our children’s perspectives and offers strategies to deepen our connection with them. Additionally, we explore the importance of fostering our children’s self-esteem, confidence, and social skills.

Parenting Shifts in the Age of Information

Katherine Winter-Sellery, a remarkable speaker and author known for her work in the Conscious Parenting Revolution, knows a thing or two about parenting. Her expertise lies in guiding people through improving relationships with their children. Developing these skills are like “life support” for relationships, especially when navigating conflicts.

Love isn’t always enough on its own. Katherine shares her journey, rooted in her TED Talk about surviving unconscious parenting, emphasizing that love doesn’t always equate to the caregivers knowing what they’re doing. Christina reflects on the evolution of parenting, from generations past without access to resources like Google or YouTube to the present, where information is abundant. Access to knowledge has had a profound impact and can lead to a shift in mindset and a heartfelt desire among parents to enhance their skills for better outcomes.

Communication is Key

Parenthood is a journey that often spans across different life stages. Katherine emphasizes that parenting isn’t bound by age; it can encompass diverse scenarios like older parents or blended families. She shares an instance of a client dealing with relationships involving adult children, highlighting the eternal care parents hold for their kids, regardless of age. Some worry that damaged parent/child relationships cannot be repaired, but Katherine shares advice on setting conditions for change and avoiding defensiveness to embrace different perspectives.

In each phase of parenting, communication is of the utmost importance. All modes of communication have their place—even written communication can provide necessary space and prevent knee-jerk reactions sometimes. 

Parenting involves making mistakes and accepting imperfections because each family dynamic is unique. There are peaks and valleys of parenting, similar to marriage, and it’s all about navigating through both the highs and lows through communication, flexibility, and understanding.

Unconscious Parenting

So what is unconscious parenting? Katherine explains it as the process where parents might not fully comprehend why they have certain interactions or conflicts with their children. She highlights that what parents perceive as disrespect or misbehavior often stems from deeper underlying issues rather than being the actual problem itself. These behaviors are often surface-level manifestations of unmet needs or underlying concerns. Katherine describes how becoming a conscious parent involves recognizing that these behaviors are expressions of unresolved issues, rather than the primary problems themselves.

Both adults and children might struggle to verbalize their inner turmoil at times. This can result in outward unexpected expressions or behaviors that can cause conflict. Katherine emphasizes the importance of understanding that these expressions are not about the parent, but about what the child is going through internally.

Change and Healing are Always Possible

Christina references a prior guest, Cheryl Lynn, whose Chair of Joy concept aligns perfectly with Katherine’s insights on connection and understanding between parents and children. The generational passage of patterns and unaddressed trauma within families emphasizes how these can inadvertently transfer from one generation to the next.

Katherine stresses the importance of breaking these cycles by acknowledging and addressing these patterns rather than ignoring or numbing them out. She encourages a thoughtful approach to parenting by likening it to planting seeds and reaping a harvest, empowering parents to consciously sow different seeds for better outcomes.

The conversation offers hope for those seeking to mend relationships, affirming that change is always possible, even later in life. Katherine shares her joy in witnessing transformations in relationships—sometimes healing begins simply by one person showing openness and love, without the need for specialized skills.

There is power in being present and open-hearted—it can help foster positive change within familial connections. The profound impact simple acts of love and understanding can have on repairing and nurturing relationships should not be understated.

Building Resilience in a Post-Lockdown World

The effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on kids and parenting strategies brought unique challenges into our lives. There are many concerns about children’s socialization post-lockdown, especially those who missed out on preschool or early education due to the isolation.

Katherine acknowledges this as an unprecedented social experiment and highlights that some children might lack social skills due to extended isolation. She advises parents to exercise patience, noting that these kids might be behind in social skills by a year or more.

Interestingly, Katherine mentions cases where some children found solace in staying at home, feeling happier and less anxious away from the pressures of school. She encourages supporting these children’s decision not to return to school until they’re ready while working collaboratively with educators and counselors to ensure a safe and supportive environment upon their return.

An important focus since the pandemic is building resilience in children. It is important to teach them how to navigate judgments from others. Parents can leave a lasting impression on their children by modeling assertiveness and confidence for them, as kids learn these traits by observing their primary caregivers’ behavior.

Birth Order and Cultural Understanding

Birth order can play a role in familial dynamics, Katherine cites examples from her experiences that support this notion, particularly among clients from Asian cultures. She explores the pressures faced by first-born children in various cultures, emphasizing the diverse dynamics birth order can create, especially in multicultural or multi-lineage families.

Another consideration is the impact that cultural backgrounds have on family dynamics. Katherine reflects on her extensive experience living abroad and working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, noting how different lineages or even regional differences within a country can lead to conflicts or varying viewpoints.

Christina adds her personal perspective as a first-generation American with German heritage and highlights the differences in upbringing between her German background and her husband’s Southern American roots. Katherine discusses the influence of regional cultures, citing her own experience growing up in the South and how cultural beliefs impact perceptions about societal opinions and behaviors.

Birth order and cultural backgrounds can impact the family dynamic, and understanding these dynamics can pave the way for better conflict resolution and empathy within families.

Helping Children Build Confidence and Authenticity

Children observe and learn from what parents do more than what they say—that is why focusing on actions over words can help children build confidence and authenticity.

A former podcast guest found her true self through a method called mirroring, where she looked into the mirror, said “I love you,” and gradually reinforced positive self-talk. Christina shares how this self-acceptance can be reflected in parenting. When children witness their parents being comfortable with imperfections, it sets a valuable example. Katherine adds that this acceptance counters the toxic idea of socially prescribed perfectionism, where children are conditioned to seek validation from others.

Nurturing self-acceptance in children helps foster confidence when they become adults. Self-referenced perfectionism, where one evaluates themself based on their own standards, is deemed healthy. On the other hand, the toxic socially prescribed perfectionism—centered around seeking external approval—is discouraged. Some families might not differentiate between the two, so it is especially crucial to foster a healthy, self-referenced attitude in children.

Looking Inward for Self-Validation

Social media has had a profound impact on family dynamics and children’s self-perception. Katherine refers to social media as a “gateway drug” to issues like depression and anxiety, backed by research findings. She highlights how children can get caught up in seeking external validation, emphasizing the need to ground kids in the idea that others’ opinions about them are not their concern.

The educational system’s focus on a dysfunctional form of perfectionism, where certain kids are glorified, neglecting individual strengths and weaknesses. Christina shares her experience of teaching her kids to embrace their unique abilities rather than trying to be perfect at everything, advocating for a healthier approach to self-esteem that isn’t tied to others’ opinions.

See Katherine’s full episode here:


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