The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 97--Investing in Your Child's Emotional Learning with Dr. Cindy Hovington

May 10, 2023 Billy Lahr
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 97--Investing in Your Child's Emotional Learning with Dr. Cindy Hovington
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Dr. Cindy Hovington, a mom of three with a doctorate degree in neuroscience.  She is the founder of Curious Neuron and the co-founder of Wondergrade, which is an app you can download that supports all members of your family through short emotional regulation and mindfulness activities. She is also the host of the Curious Neuron Podcast, which supports parents by offering scientifically-backed parenting advice. 

Billy and Cindy discuss:
–Losing your shit as a parent (even when you’re a neuroscientist!)
–What parents are doing RIGHT when it comes to nurturing their children’s emotional needs
–Where parents could get better when it comes to nurturing their child’s emotional learning in your experience
–Why it is important to teach children how to sit in sadness
–Nature vs. Nurture, and which one wins in a Mortal Kombat fight

Want more from Dr. Cindy Hovington?
Check out her Instagram, Curious Neuron Podcast, and more here

If you liked this episode, check out these episodes as well:

  • Episode 7--The Daddy Brain, the Little Boy Brain, and the Teenage Boy Brain
  • Episode 9--The Emotionally Mature Male Brain 
  • Episode 13--The Mommy Brain, the Little Girl Brain, and the Teenage Girl Brain with Judie Goslin 
  • Episode 14--The Pregnant Momma Brain with Michelle Pan
  • Episode 18--The Emotionally Mature Female Brain with Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Krista Margolis
  • Episode 22--How to Normalize and Prioritize Mental Health Conversations with Our Children with Tandra Rutledge
  • Episode 23--Parenting and Working with Children with ADHD with Tandra Rutledge
  • Episode 24--Parenting a Child with Special Needs with Shannon Essler-Petty
  • Episode 76--How to Beautifully Co-Parent with Your Ex with Anna Skender

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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Cindy:  You know, I look at it as like a percentage kind of thing. And the changes that I've had across the years is really the internal work and being able to kind of regulate myself. But it doesn't mean that you don't lose your shit. And I tell that to parents because you're right. And this is really weird to me because the first time a parent came to me and said, You must be like this perfect parent, I started laughing.

I was like, What do you mean by, first of all, that doesn't exist? And ever since that moment, I've been more aware and conscious about putting my flaws, my bad days, my bad moments on social media, because I want parents to feel seen and to feel normal. I'm normal. You know, we're all going to lose control of our emotions.

We're human, and I want parents to know that. So, yes, I think of all the little moments for me; part of my journey has been understanding what triggers bigger emotions in me and understanding my nervous system, which came from my science. So the more you can understand your nervous system, you'll understand that there are certain things that trigger you.

Billy:  Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life. Second half, I'm your host, Billy Lahr, an educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher, and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning, mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn and grow.

So we can live a more purpose filled life. Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half with more curiosity, compassion, openness and awareness so you can take inspired and intentional action to jumpstart your life.

I do this in two ways. First, by sharing how cultivating my own daily mindfulness practice over the last ten years has helped me navigate the trials, tribulations and successes of my own midlife crisis. And I'm teaching you how to navigate life more mindfully through my virtual mindfulness sessions. So if you're interested in learning more about how cultivating your own regular mindfulness practice can help you live with more focus and heightened cognitive flexibility while also managing your stress and anxiety in a much healthier way, visit and join our mindful midlife community.

I also provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences so you can use that information to enhance your life with whatever you find relatable and practical. And remember this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom isn't about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn and grow from our own life experiences, while also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life we are in.

Because you just never know what life is going to throw at you. So there just might be a conversation or two from past episodes that help you feel better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now. Whether those challenges be your emotional, mental and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, your finances, whatever curveballs life is throwing your way right now, just know that you are not alone in your experience.

And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before or have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity and compassion so you can jumpstart your life. And trust me, I take all of these conversations to heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations into my own life, because my hope is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making.

So that inspires you to seek out the connections between our shared experiences. So that you too can take intentional inspired action. If you're looking for some ways to help you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who has been through it before, check out some of the other episodes under the Fan Faves tab at WWE TV that might have a midlife crisis dot com or wherever you get your podcasts.

This week's episode focuses on parenting and you might be thinking, What do you know about parenting your childless heathen? Nothing. I don't know anything about parenting. That's why I brought on an expert in child development. So if you want to listen to more episodes that focus on parenting, check out our series on the male brain and the female brain.

Those are episodes seven through nine and episodes 13, 14 and 18. You can also check out episodes 22 and 23 with the Boss Babe herself Tandra Rutledge where she talks about normalizing and prioritizing conversations with our children, as well as raising a child with ADHD, which will line up quite nicely with my upcoming conversation with Genie Love, where we talk about adult ADHD.

So be sure to give that one to listen as well when that one comes out. You can also check out episode 24 with Shannon Petty about raising a child with special needs and finally give episode 76 with Anna Skinner a lesson where we discuss how to beautifully co-parent with your ex. Also our guest this week gets a little feisty with some of the parenting advice that's out there.

So even though this episode is all about parenting, you may want to earmuffs the kids. They are in the car with you. All right. Just a fair warning. So with that, let's meet today's guest. Our guest today is Dr. Cindy Covington, a mom of three with a doctorate degree in neuroscience. She is the founder of Curious Neuron, co-founder of Wondergrade, which is an app you can download on your phone that supports all members of your family through a short emotional regulation at mindfulness activities.

She is also the host of the Curious Neuron Podcast, which supports parents by offering scientifically backed parenting advice. You can follow her on Instagram at @curious_neuron. She is here today to talk about investing in your child's emotional learning. So welcome to the show, Dr. Cindy Covington.

Cindy:  Hey, Billy. Thanks for having me.

Billy:  Absolutely. I just found out that you're from Montreal, Canada. This whole time I've been living this lie. That's fantastic. Montreal is very high on my list of cities to visit.

Cindy:  It is a beautiful city. I am biased, Obviously, I'm from here. But there's so much to do around here. And the food is great. And the people are, on average, friendly on average.

Billy:  You don't have that French snooty ness that's so reputable for now.

Cindy:  That's the thing. You know, this is the language police that do it for me, that it's a real thing. So as somebody who grew up here with a mom who spoke only English and a dad who spoke only French, I learned both languages. Both are important to me. But the language debate and the language issues here are real.

So as long as you're tourist, you're fine. You can speak good to.

Billy:  Don't get in trouble. Good to know. Glad to hear it. Because my French is terrible. So. So we always like to have our guests start off with the ten roles that they play in their lives. So what are the ten roles that you play in your life?

Cindy:  That was so fun to do. I haven't really taken the time to think about that, but obviously I'm a mother of three kids. That's my first role. I'm a wife, I'm a neuroscientist, I'm an entrepreneur. I have two companies now. Then I didn't know where to go after that. And it's funny because we don't really take the time to continue seeing who we are, but I definitely am a bookworm.

I am a music enthusiast. I have always been Miles Davis was the first CD I ever bought with my own money. It's music is my thing, and then you're listening to music outside. So I'm a nature lover for sure, a bread maker. I love cooking and baking, but bread is my thing and I are drawn to water. I mean, anywhere where there's a river, I will grab a book and go sit there.

It doesn't matter where it is. If there's water, I am there. So yeah, those are my ten.

Billy:  You know, it's interesting because I like doing this ten rolls activity because it's easy to just rattle off the first four rolls because those usually come naturally. Usually someone is a spouse, usually someone is a parent of some sort, and then they list maybe their rolls. But then when you dive deeper into rolls five through ten, you're like, How?

What is it that I had to enjoy doing about my, you know? So I like asking that question. I think it's a great way to get to know people too. And it's fun to see sort of the creative responses rate here. And a music enthusiast, I too am a music enthusiast. My first CD was M.C. Ram's Kiss My Black Ass.

So a little bit different style of music than what you listen to. What are some of your other favorites in the music world?

Cindy:  Yeah, I was going to say my first is Miles Davis, and my second was one of Biggie's CDs.

Billy:  There you go. And there you.

Cindy:  Go, Daddy in the days and maze. So I think for me, people are very confused in terms of like my genre of music because I have like AC DC on my list. I have, you know, a lot of rap music. I like pop as well. And then I have jazz, like really good jazz music. It depends on the mood and I will do just about anything.

But I appreciate music so much. And yeah, that's it's hard to know what is my favorite to many.

Billy:  You have an eclectic taste, a well-rounded, exact. Well, first taste. Yes, excellent. You're drawn to water. And that's actually one of the things that you're looking forward to in the second half of life, if my geography serves me well. Montreal is not surrounded by a body of water, but you have a river that runs through it. When you think about as you move towards retirement, do you want to go somewhere where it's warmer?

Because Canada is not known for its summery weather's? You know, I'm sure it has harsh winters there as well. Do you think about going somewhere warmer where there is a large body of water?

Cindy:  Yes, that's definitely what I picture, you know. Yes, you're right. Montreal is very cold. I remember posting about the temperature this winter. At one point it was -43 Celsius. And I did the conversion to Fahrenheit. And I think I ended up with like -40 something Fahrenheit. Somebody wrote back to me, said it's wrong, it's impossible. And then they did the conversion online and they're like, it is.

That can be like, how are you able to go outside? And there wasn't there was a warning not to go outside because of how cold it was. Anyways, all this to say, yes, I want to move away from this. And for me here, we're really big on going up north, which is like some sort of cottage area in the forest.

And there are lots of rivers here in the province of Quebec and Montreal is actually an island. So we are surrounded by water. But rivers, you know, we use the water. We we were able to you don't really swim in it, but you have boats. But I do want to go where it's hotter. I don't know where yet.

My husband's Italian, so he would argue somewhere in Italy, but I don't know. Our life will take us. But definitely I need to see water from wherever I'm sitting in my house. Hopefully I feel.

Billy:  Like Monaco was a good spot for the two of you. It seems like a happy medium between Italy and France. I feel like I've solved this for you already. All right. Fantastic. I'll take the spare bedroom in Monaco when you get there.

Cindy:  Yes, Yes.

Billy:  You're also looking forward to being a mother and a wife in the second half of life. It seems like your work is very much connected to these two roles and helping others regulate themselves emotionally so that they can be better parents, so that they can raise emotionally healthy children, so that they can be emotionally healthy spouses. So how often do you use your neuroscience background to your advantage to maintain senses of stability in the House every day?

Cindy:  It's been. Yes. And I wrote that for the second part of my life, you know, because I will forever obviously be the mother, a mother and a wife. And I look forward to sitting comfortably with those roles because right now it's mixed in with owning companies and work and all of that. And the other five, like you mentioned, the bookworm and music and all that, like just being able to sit and read a book is really very rare that I can do that.

So I'm looking forward to the second part of just being really into being, you know, having those roles. And I do use designs a lot. I use it every day. But what's interesting is that I knew the science coming into parenthood, but I didn't realize that I wasn't applying it. And there was a lot of unlearning and a really long journey for myself that allowed me to be where I am today.

In the sense of having more control over my emotions. And my kids see it, too. They recognize the difference from, you know, a couple of years ago to now. My husband has as well to have those and we're going to talk about this. But emotions play such a big part in their lives, not just as parents, but in relationships and friendships in our careers.

And if we can have more control over emotions and know how to cope with stronger emotions, we do build stronger connections with people around us. So taking that science from my Ph.D. and starting to apply it as a parent and then realizing I had to unlearn a lot and then relearned some things that changed everything for me.

Billy:  I'm sure a lot of people who follow you see you as some form of super parent because you have this background. But do you have any moments where you just nearly lost your shit on your kids every day?

Cindy:  You So every day I'm applying the science and every day and losing my shit. That's basically the you know, I look at it as like a percentage kind of thing. And the changes that I've had across the years is really the internal work and being able to kind of regulate myself. But it doesn't mean that you don't lose your shit.

And I tell that to parents because you're right. And this is really weird to me because the first time a parent came to me and said, You must be like this perfect parent, I started laughing. I was like, What do you mean by, first of all, that doesn't exist? And ever since that moment, I've been more aware and conscious about putting my flaws, my bad days, my bad moments on social media, because I want parents to feel seen and to feel normal.

I'm normal. You know, we're all going to lose control of our emotions. We're human, and I want parents to know that. So, yes, I think of all the little moments for me, part of my journey has been understanding what triggers bigger emotions in me and understanding my nervous system, which came from my science. So the more you can understand your nervous system, you'll understand that there are certain things that trigger you.

For me, it's noise. Noise triggers me beyond anything, not just like a TV in the background kind of noise, but it has to be like an accumulation. So by four or 5 p.m., when you've been home with three kids, there's a certain your system is not as regulated as it was at 8 a.m.. So the more I became in tune with that because I realized I was yelling more around that time and snapping, which wasn't in my character, The more I became aware of that.

Then I changed those things, you know, I changed those habits of mine by saying to my kids, okay, turn the TV off. And if they run around, obviously, then I lose it. But then finding activities that they can do, they can help me with dinner, they could play with Play-Doh, they can color or paint something that just brings the level of noise down and that helps me regulate myself so I become more aware of my system.

That's like the little mini things. But for me, the biggest change was after I had my first child where she was about two years old. I had just given birth to my second child and I lost it on her. I yelled for absolutely nothing like she was just coloring and she was just she kept asking about something and I got frustrated and that's when I realized that I needed to start to work on myself.

And really, even if you know the science, it doesn't matter. We have so much unlearning like our childhood impacts our emotions either. If we have trauma, it impacts our emotions. Whether our parents acknowledge it, our emotions will impact our emotions today as an adult. So there really is a lot that we have to be mindful of. And that's why, although I started talking about emotions for parents, for their children, now I realize I'm talking to the parents themselves and helping them with their children.

Billy:  Was that blend of vulnerability and neuroscience that we want to dive deeper into today's. So what we're gonna do is we're going to take a quick break and when we come back, we're going to continue talking to Dr. Cindy Covington. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button.

Also giving the show a quick five star review with a few kind words helps others find a benefit from this podcast just like you are. Finally, please spread the wealth of free knowledge and advice in this episode by sharing it with the people in your life who may find this information and my mission to help others live a more purpose filled life valuable.

My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We're here with Dr. Cindy Covington. You can find her on Instagram at @curious_neuron. You can also listen to the Curious Neuron podcast. And if you're looking for some helpful emotional regulation tools for you and your family, download the Wondergrade app.

So I'm not a parent by choice, so I'm in no position to offer advice to parents, although I do because I'm a know it all. I am so happy that you are here. And from what I hear, I mean, people tell me this all the time. Parenting is really hard and whatever. So based on your expertise and your research, what are the majority of parents doing right when it comes to nurturing their children's emotional needs?

Cindy:  I love that question, and it's good for us to start with that positive, because sometimes I think as parents, I had pulled my audience on Instagram, and 67% of parents said that they felt they were really messing up their kids when it came to emotions. So let's start with the good stuff, right? Like, how are parents really helping their kids?

And we've seen a big shift, I think back to how I was parent did and how my parents are parenthood. And there's a big shift between that time and our time right now. We now know how important it is to connect with our kids and to allow them to express emotion. So that's a really big difference right now that I'm seeing in parents.

They're aware both moms and dads are very aware that we have to allow children a space to express emotions and that it's not a bad thing to have negative emotions. We don't want to suppress them. We don't want children to feel ashamed about having them. There's more going on in that area, still working on it. I think as a society there's still a lot of room for improvement, but definitely a huge shift in that and a lot of parents are aware of that.

Billy:  When we talk to Christine Chang in episode 56, she mentioned that when it comes to relationships, most of us are just thrown into the world to figure out ourselves, unless you're really lucky and your parents were really good in this area, which many of us did not have. And I imagine this applies to emotional learning as well as a parent.

How much of that do you agree with and where could parents then get better when it comes to nurturing their child's emotional learning? In your experience?

Cindy:  When it comes to our emotional intelligence and learning, a lot of it comes from how we were raised and how our parents allowed us to express emotions and the tools they gave us. And like you said, I think a lot of us didn't have the opportunity to express negative emotions or learn how to sit with negative emotions and uncomfortable emotions.

And we weren't offered tools because our parents themselves didn't have any tools. The tools were to like, buck up and let it go, or there's really nothing to be afraid of. You're just in the dark. Just I'm just going to close the door to your room and deal with it, right. Deal with the anxieties that you have. But how would this dealing look like?

You know, where is the scaffolding, where is the support and the sensitivity towards my emotions. So that's sort of where we were raised in that time. It doesn't mean that we can never learn it. I think that we have to understand that it might be more difficult. And if we start kind of assessing ourselves and I always tell adults to have some sort of emotional journal, we power through our day and experience many emotions, but how can we become more aware of what is happening in our surrounding and what's triggering stronger emotions in us, both positive and negative, right?

So for example, you can have a five minute call with a friend and feel so happy after and so relieved that you spoke about your day at work and you know, something happened with a colleague or your boss or a stress that you have about a deadline or a meeting that you have. That 5 minutes could be really impactful on your nervous system and your stress system, which impacts our emotions.

So if we can have more awareness around that, I find that we can work towards better or healthier emotional coping skills. Just to go back to your question, so there's this model called the tripartite model of parental socialization. And basically it says that there are three really important things in a child's early life how a parent models emotional regulation and how they cope with emotions.

The second one is the parent's parenting style. So are they balancing warmth and sensitivity towards the child and their needs? And are they balancing this with boundaries and limits? Because both are extremely important. And then the third one is how are the adults in the child's immediate environment? So whether that's their home with two parents or a parent, grandparent, whoever is in that home, how are the adults in their immediate environment modeling, regulating their emotions when they're communicating together?

Those three factors will influence how that child, when they grow up and they have their first job and the colleagues and a boss and then relationships, and then have their own kids, those three things are really impactful on that child's skills. So again, if we think back to our childhood, many of us didn't have any of those three growing up.

So that means that now as adults, we really have to kind of step back and assess results when we're in a relationship. Are we telling our partner that we're fine when we're not right? Are we suppressing our emotions and ruminating on them? Are we stuck with these negative emotions, going to bed, still thinking about it? What should I have said differently in that conversation that really upset me?

But I didn't say anything like, Are we struggling with setting boundaries? Are we struggling with? There's so much around that. Dr. Mark Brackett from Yale, I believe, has a book called Permission to Feel, and that's a really great place to start. He has this really simple acronym called RULER. Then you could Google Ruler as well. And he allows us to understand what are the steps towards being emotionally intelligent and being able to regulate our emotions.

And the first one is recognizing it. And I think many of us have to really start at step one, recognizing emotions. And that's why I talk about this emotional journal, right? Like really looking at your situations during the day and saying, well, when my boss said that it stirred this kind of emotion in your when my sibling called and said, you know, you didn't do this with mom or dad and you should.

And then I had these strong emotions or these very minimal emotions, but just recognizing the different intensities of them, which emotions come up during certain events or situations, how many emotions come up during certain situations or events? Right. It doesn't have to be just one. It's really the first important part because then when we're in a relationship or with our kids, we can at least start labeling and recognizing these emotions within us.

Yes, when my child says this or ignores me, I have really big emotions on that. You can start the work and figure out why, right? Like it could be because you felt ignored or whatever. We don't even have to go back into our childhood. But just in that moment, what's causing you to feel a certain way when your child again is ignoring you do feel that you've lost power.

Is that important to you? And all of a sudden you feel triggered and you yell because you think you've regained the power. Why are you acting that way? And also, emotional regulation has to do with both internal and external. So we're going to feel something internally and we're going to behave or express it externally a certain way could be by yelling.

It could be our body language, it could be change of tone in our voice. We have to be aware of it so complex and that's why a lot of us, you know, we didn't get many of these tools. So taking the time to at least recognize your own emotions during your days, an important first step.

Billy:  When you look back on your own childhood, what was that experience like and how much of that, I guess, behavioral conditioning and learned parenting behaviors do you apply now or are there things that you had to unlearn? Are there things that your parents did really well where you're like, Oh, that was a good parenting tip. I'm going to make sure I use that when I have kids.

And are there some where you're like, Oh, I would never do that.

Cindy:  My I don't know how to put it in besides saying my childhood was a fuckin mess. Okay, I'm sorry. I could say it again without swearing. I don't know. But it was a disaster. No, no, no.

Billy:  I think you've nailed it right there.

Cindy:  So when it comes to emotions, look, I was raised by and this is not their fault. So because, again, they never took care of themselves. I literally had this conversation with somebody over the weekend. My mom never had the space to express her emotions and never had the space to learn how to express emotions, which led to me not being able to express emotions from a very young age throughout that I had to nurture her when she was having negative emotions because she didn't know how to cope with them.

So I have no ill feelings towards it, but it led to me having to parent her right to take care of her and be very aware of how you see certain words and how it triggers that in them. My father wasn't mentally well. He drank a lot and left when I was ten. Never saw him again. So that was a different story.

And they also fought a lot. I never saw a connection between them. So it was a really difficult childhood because emotions were all over the place, right? Emotions were every single day, but not being able to express them. And that led to again, even if I went into this field as a neuroscientist, I became a parent and realized only at that moment when I yelled at my two year old daughter that although I had told myself when I was pregnant, I will never be like my parents, I will never do any of that, you said.

And then your daughter's only two. And just like grabbing crayons and throwing them on the floor or whatever it was, and you lose it, you're like, Oh, I have zero capability of controlling my own emotions. And it's that's when it hits you. So you can tell yourself you're never going to yell. And I even have a lot of parents that come to me and say, I'm just yelling every day, but I take deep breaths and nothing happens and I yell the next day or yell in 2 minutes.

It's because there's a lot of work that goes into it. I think it is important that we go back to our childhood, just like I did. I had therapy. I started really taking the time to assess myself, and that's what made a big difference. It's you. We cannot power through the rest of our lives without thinking about how our own emotions impact those around us.

You know, whether you're somebody who internalizes and says you're always fine or you're somebody who explodes all the time and externalize these emotions through behavior like that, it's going to have an impact on the people around you. And that's what's important. So it's really being aware of that. So yeah, my in terms of emotions, I had a okay childhood in all, but when it comes to emotions, it was a bit of a disaster and it's because my parents never put the work in to working on themselves, which is another difference, right in today's society.

I think we're really taking the time and we're realizing that we need to do the work on ourselves and emotions is a big part of that.

Billy:  Do you get pushback from the tough love community?

Cindy:  Yeah, yes, I do a lot. I do. And I'm okay with that because change takes time. And I'm also okay with that because the way that I approach everything in my life, which is through curiosity and compassion and a lot of that community will have reasons for doing the way that things, the way that they do. I had a really interesting conversation with somebody a couple of weeks ago who said, you know, Cindy, everything you talk about, I tend to apply.

I'm a single mom. I'm living in this community in Philadelphia, or it was in the city, maybe a Philadelphia, where she said it was really violent and very hard to find childcare. So you often leave your child with neighbors and they might be arguing, you know, kids hear gunshots very regularly. And she said, I listen to what you're telling me and I know that's going to have an impact on their emotions and their development.

But I don't have another way, right? So that's why whenever somebody tells me that they're doing it a certain way, I approach it with curiosity and compassion because I haven't walked a mile in their shoes. So, yes, there's pushback. But something I have to be adamant about is the child. Their brain development and their emotional well-being. And I stand by the fact that there's a lot of research that shows us that any type of spanking or any type of authoritarian parenting, which is the old way of doing things but still present in our society, I stand by the fact that research is very strong on that.

It will have an impact on the child in some sort of way. And the argument I get back or the sort of reply I usually get when I see that is but I was, you know, spanked or, you know, shamed or whatever it was. And I'm a doctor today. So what do you have to say to that? And my response to that is there's no research saying that you can't become a doctor after being spanked.

But how do you handle your emotions? How are your relationships? You internalized, you externalize, Do you yell at your child? To me, a parent who is spanking is a sign that you're not regulating your emotions. Right? It's very easy for a child to say or do something where you want to lose your shit as an adult, even with a partner.

But are you able to take that breath and say, hold on a minute, This moment is causing you lots of anger. I need to step away from it. I need to come back to it in a couple of minutes. Or why is this moment causing you so much anger? I'll address that later tonight when I journal or when I'm by myself.

But right now I need to address the fact that there's a human in front of me that needs me. And if they're hitting their sibling, there's an underlying emotion to that. If they're throwing things, there's an underlying emotion to that. Every behavior, especially in a very young child, and I would argue in adults, too, has some sort of underlying emotion, whether it's anger or shame or not feeling seen or some sort of need that they have, There are underlying emotions.

So if we can as a society, if we can start seeing it that way, then maybe we can change things a little bit more towards that.

Billy:  You touched on nature versus nurture a little bit, so we're going to come back to that. Towards the end of the episode here. I wanted to talk about this because I thought this was a really interesting post on your Instagram. You posted that parents often come to you to ask for assistance in helping their children cope with anger and anxiety, but very rarely do they ever ask you to help their children sit with sadness.

So why is it so important for children to learn how to sit with sadness? And how do you help parents teach their children to sit with sadness?

Cindy:  Thank you for bringing that post up. It's one of my favorites because it is a common question or like something that I had noticed in the past couple of years. I think that parents come to see me for the anger part and worry too. But the anger because it's very easy to notice it and to recognize it and to be annoyed by it or frustrated by it as a parent because anger will present itself in the child by hitting or screaming or scratching a sibling or throwing something or stomping their feet and yelling.

And we're very quick to label that as terrible twos or tantrums. And, you know, yes, the anger is there and we're seeing the behavior and we're annoyed about that behavior. But how are we supporting that emotion? So, yes, that's what I hear. But here's why I addressed that in the post, because if we ignore sadness, if we tell our child there's really nothing to be sad about right now, just, you know, they could be sad about such such small things to us that seem insignificant.

They asked for a blue cup and we give it to them and all of a sudden they're sad. And you're like, Well, I don't understand because I gave you literally what you asked for or, you know, disappointment, which are a kind of put in the same category. But all of these sort of negative, uncomfortable emotions, we are told, to quickly move past them and to find ways like I've seen parents, too, and I've done it a few times with my babies when they were small, too.

You know, they start crying and you're like, you take a little rattle and you're like, look, look, look, look at this look. And you try to distract them from that uncomfortable, sad emotion. Not that it's damaging to them, especially when they're small, but as they get older and they feel sad, we want to scaffold what it looks like to move past it.

You can sit with it for a little while. I don't have to change your mind right away. I don't have to change your thoughts or whatever it is in that moment. If you're sad because you wanted, I don't know, the blue bike at the store and they only had red and you ended up with red and you're disappointed or you're upset about that.

I can talk you through it. As a parent, what I suggest is give them opportunities to speak about it. We often, as parents, whether it's a pet dying, a family member dying, something uncomfortable, something that happened to our kids, you don't want to talk about it because we don't know how to talk about it and we don't know how to help them sit with that sadness.

Right? So it's it's usually like, well, if I don't talk about it, I hope they don't bring it up and then maybe they'll move past it. But what we have to do is actually bring it up. I had interviewed somebody for my podcast who was a specialist in kind of talking to kids about somebody who has a chronic illness in the family or a death in the family.

And they said to bring it up on Saturday mornings, not a nighttime, because then a child could kind of ruminate and sit with that really uncomfortable feeling of not knowing or that sadness. But on a Saturday morning, when they have all day to think about it, come back to you with questions and then you can have conversations throughout the weekend, find moments to speak to them about that sadness.

Don't ignore it and hope it goes away because that will give them the outlet. And what it will teach them is when you're sad, you need to find ways to move past it. Whether it's with food or something, you know, that will make you feel happy in that moment. We don't want that. We want to avoid that kind of habit.

So it's really important to talk about it.

Billy:  It sounds like the goal is not to comfort your child, but to give them an opportunity to process it.

Cindy:  Exactly. Yes. And not to say that you can't, you know, if they need a hug while they're crying because their dog passed away, that's okay. But don't ignore it and don't say like, let's go have an ice cream. We'll forget about it. It'll be fine tomorrow. You want to avoid that? You really want to take the time to see You want to go for a walk and talk about it?

Or let's talk about the memories of that dog, you know, like, what did you like doing with that dog? Or what makes you the sad is right now, you know, it's okay to have those moments when they're sad and to sit with the side and stay with it if you need to, and then move past it at your pace.

Billy:  I want to give you an opportunity to go on a rant about why you dislike the phrase the terrible twos.

Cindy:  Thank you. I don't know how to I'm not sure how to say this in a quick read because I think adults have terrible twos. I'm in my terrible almost forties. I mean, like in a couple days and weeks. We all have those moments and I think it's so unfair to label a kid who has a brain that's just developing the amygdala, the emotions part of the brain.

And you said, Ryan, so sorry, but you see the emotions being stirred in your inbox, the amygdala, the emotions part of the brain is developed when they're born, but the amygdala speaks to the frontal lobe behind your forehead to say, Hey, I'm feeling super mad right now. What do I do with this anger and the frontal lobe only finishes developing when we're about 25 years old.

So if you have a two year old, the brain is just starting to understand what to do with it. So we as the parent, we have to act as their frontal lobe. So what we're labeling as terrible twos is basically a brain that's learning how to regulate its emotions. And it's going to learn it from us. And when we label a child as a brat or pester, oh, not another tantrum, we're not going to handle the emotions and be supportive.

Like I had said before, being sensitive and warm towards our kids. We're not going to respond that way because they're terrible. They're brats. So if we can change that in society, we can we can abolish the word terrible twos and see it as like, teach me to write. Like, that's the time that they really need us to teach them.

Now we're going to be supportive towards children, but until parents are calling or saying if they continue using terrible twos, I posted about this too, then I will call myself terrible 39 and terrible 40 and double 41 because we all are. We are all terrible. There. I'm done. My rant is over. Well.

Billy:  Let's show some love then. Let's extend some love here. So in episode 15, my former co-host Brian on the bass and I talked about understanding your partner's love language. Do you see validity in understanding your child's love languages? And if so, at what age do you think these become apparent?

Cindy:  They want? So from the moment it's true, from the moment your child is born, you will notice a temperament. I have three kids. I call the first one Air, the second one water, and the third one fired because it really describes their temperament very well. And from the moment the child's born, you'll notice that they respond certain ways to a needing you or to certain events, and especially when they become, you know, when they're in their toddler years, 18 months, two years old, three years old.

Now you're even seeing it more intensely where you can see certain situations that trigger emotion. So if we could start being more attuned to them, I don't know what the word would be, but there is some sort of emotional language for each child. I've always been more sensitive and there are kids that are more sensitive, and that's normal.

There are moms and dads that are more sensitive, and we're starting to use that language a little bit more, and that's good. We need to understand that everybody will deal with emotions very differently. There isn't a one size fits all. So if somebody offers you some sort of fix it solution that they say like this will make your child stop their tantrums or this will help you as an adult completely, be in tune with your emotions and fix everything.

It's not true. There isn't a one size fits all. You really have to be attuned to yourself to know what triggers you and what causes you emotions, what kind of emotions, what intensity. And we need to do the same with our kids. So it really comes down to us being sort of like this Emotional detective Mark Brackett talks about like the emotional scientists and all of us and really tuning in to that.

And I agree with it. It has to be some way of us really recognizing our child in terms of how they cope with emotions. And once we understand that, then we can offer them better tools.

Billy:  Well, let's do this. We're going to take a quick and when we come back, we're to continue diving into the neuroscience of parenting. But Dr. Cindy Covington, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact me or if you have suggestions about what like to hear on the show, visit and click Contact us while you're there Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly meditations as well as free resources from a reflective learn grow program.

You can also click on the show notes for links to the articles and resources referenced throughout the show. If you want to check out my worldly adventures, follow me on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. My is that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose-filled life.

And while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then, too. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Dr. Cindy Covington, a fired up Dr. Cindy Covington, if I do say so myself. You can find her on Instagram at @curious_neuron. You can also listen to the Curious Neuron podcast.

And if you're looking for some helpful emotional regulation tools for you and your family, download the Wondergrade app. So I'm curious, Brian, on the bass and I did this whole series on the male brain and the female brain. People can go back to that. I think it's like episode seven through nine and then episodes 13 through, I don't know, like nine, seven, 18, whatever.

You guys can go back and take a look. But we found those fascinating. And Brian is a dad of three boys. We had my friend Judy Goslin on, who is a mom of two young ladies. You know, she talked about how she sees her girls. And Brian talked about the chaos of having three boys. And what's funny is his boys are very different in a lot of ways.

I'm wondering, is it fair to examine the differences in behavior in boys and girls when we talk about brain development and in correlating that with them becoming adult men and women so objectively, so binary, as long as we consider nuance and context and individualism, is there something to this brain science? Because it sort of feels like a controversial topic to say that men have this brain and that's why they behave this way and women have this brain and that's why they behave this way.

I'm curious to get your thoughts on that.

Cindy:  So, no, I don't think we should be comparing boys and girls or men and women when it comes to emotions. There's a difference because of how we're raised in society. And that's what's going to influence how we respond to our emotions. But, you know, there's some research that shows that men are more aggressive in terms of expressing their emotions.

And there's some research that shows that men have more cortisol, like higher levels of cortisol or stress hormones, because they're not expressing their emotions and women do express emotions more. But now there's a study that came out in 2021, and what they did is they looked at the brain structurally in terms of the different parts of the brain, including the amygdala and emotions.

And it was a three decade long meta analysis. So they looked at three decades of a functional and MRI studies of MRI, an MRI, and looked at how do the brains of these men and women function differently when it comes to emotions? And there were no differences, it was a 1% difference. So something insignificant and I think it comes back to that conversation and that how I talked about the brain before and how it forms the amygdala is the emotions part of the brain and it talks to the frontal lobe and it's the first couple of years and the environment that will teach a person or child how to cope with emotions.

So that is an environmental thing that back to the nature nurture thing too. So their environment will shape how they learn about their emotions, how to cope with emotions, how to move past these emotions. But when it comes to the structure, there are no differences. And when it comes to the functionality of the brain, there are no differences.

It's really about the environment and what they're around. And there's a temperament thing to I didn't look at the temperament part of it, but when it comes to structural differences, there are none.

Billy:  What about the biological differences? It almost sounds like you're saying, Dr. Bryson Dean's research is outdated and inaccurate. Am I reading that right.

Cindy:  From this study? That was the most recent one that I could find in 2021, and I can share the link with you and your listeners as well. Yes, that sort of is an outdated way of thinking. However, I wouldn't. So again, because there are many ways that we can look at it, this was a structural difference. There are no structural differences.

But yes, I think that like I said before, there are studies that talk about like aggressive behavior being hired men, cortisol levels being higher than men. So when you look at these types of studies, there are differences. And I think Mark Brackett talks about differences in his book to. But that's why I wanted to do a bit of a dive and look at the recent studies and what they're saying and structure either on our differences.

I really do think that when it comes to emotions and our ability to regulate emotions, we need to look at it as an individual thing again, because temperament will have an impact on that. And our upbringing, if a child happens to be an environment where there's an adverse childhood experience, which is any type of trauma or abuse or neglect or household dysfunction, like an incarcerated parent or divorce, all that will shape their ability to regulate their emotions and all that will have an influence on their mental health.

So there are so many factors in a child's early environment that will influence that. It's really at an individual level, I would say, and I'm sure this could be a good argument with many other scientists or researchers, but I think we're slowly starting to see that we have to stop looking at as we'll deal with emotions this way with a boy or girl.

Yes, boys will. I have two boys and a girl. And there's definitely a difference, even if I'm trying to create the same environment. They have differences, but it's their temperament. They were literally that way from birth, and I try to approach helping them with the emotions the same way. I don't know how they'll be later on when they're adults, but that's what I'm trying to do, like to really see them as an individual.

Billy:  Do you feel like the flood of testosterone and the flood of estrogen into boys and into girls plays any role in the emotional development and how the brain processes emotional development? Because you said structural development here a couple of times.

Cindy:  Yeah, exactly.

Billy:  I'm just curious more about the biological development or are they not mutually exclusive?

Cindy:  No, that part I didn't look into. I was just looking at this structural difference. Yes, I would think that there would be a difference, and I think that would have an influence on how they cope with emotions. But again, it's so heavily based on. So there is that biological difference. But I don't know how significant it is when you take into account the environment.

Right. Like, you can have somebody and I look at my children, too. You can have a child that is extremely sensitive to the environment or another child that like the one that I call fire, that just like snaps from one second to the next. But I've seen the changes as you're applying those emotion regulation skills, like the one that I call fire today as he was playing with his sibling, he's like, you know, I'm really sorry that I yelled at you before.

And I was like, Oh, this kid's three and a half years old. That's really cool. So just to say that there are possibilities of because the environment plays such a big role. You can have that child who's a boy who's aggressive, who's biologically for whatever reason. But I think there are ways to shape that environment to help them be able to regulate emotions in their own way.

That's healthy.

Billy:  When we talk about young men, particularly Scott Galloway is now on the forefront of talking the perils of young men and young boys with regards to how mental health is communicated to them and how it's having an impact on them in larger society. I'm fearful for the future because there doesn't seem to be a balance in how we communicate emotional regulation.

It's either boys don't cry or we're sitting around in a circle singing Kumbaya. So when we're teaching young boys social emotional skills, you know, I think about our guest from episode 81, Ed Latimore. He has a tweet that goes something like, I'd rather be a warrior in the garden than the gardener in a war. And when we talked to Pradeep Sanga in episode 67, he talked about how to develop more mindful alpha males.

So how do we achieve this balance in communicating emotional regulation to boys so that they are a mindful alpha males or is that not an objective?

Cindy:  No, that's really important. And you're right about the mental health piece. Part of what I do with Curious neuron and Wondergrade is try to turn the conversation a little bit more to dads because it is something that we need to talk about. I've had a lot of dads reach out who are struggling with their mental health or even had postpartum depression or anxiety that went on recognized, you know, and they're alone in this journey and they have to be the strong one in the relationship they see.

One dad said that he never expressed what he was going through mentally because he felt bad. His wife was also going through postpartum depression and he just felt like he had no right to experience it. So we need to have more of these conversations because there are a lot of men out there, including, like I said, my own upbringing, my dad, who was clearly not well.

We have to have these conversations more for dads, dads and men. So, yes, part of that conversation is making sure that we create a safe emotional space for them. Many dads that I've spoken with did not have an emotionally safe space to say, hey, I'm sad or I'm really mad at my mom or dad right now. I like to say to them because that was perceived as wrong or How dare you be sad?

Don't be a baby, don't be a was. And we need to really get rid of that language, especially around boys or girls, both. But obviously, if that this is more prominent in boys right now and men, we need to figure out how to create that emotionally safe space for them. I love that you painted that contrast of like the Kumbayah or like the the fighter kind of thing, because there was a dad.

I was giving a workshop here in Montreal, and I spoke about modeling emotions to your child and that it's okay and important for you to say, I'm really overwhelmed right now, you know, for obviously, whatever your reason is, make sure that it's developmentally appropriate. But having moments where you say, I'm really frustrated with whatever it is or I'm feeling sad because something happened and again, developmentally appropriate.

But this dad raised his hand and said, I understand what you're trying to say, but aren't I the authoritarian person in my child's life? Why would I model a weakness? And that marked me, you know, kind of like I took a second to respond to that. But my answer was showing that you struggle with coping with emotions or that you are feeling something makes you human.

Not weak, not less than it makes you human. And I think we need to see it that way. And again, be aware of how many dads were raised and the environment that they were raised in and how dads have trauma, some sort of trauma that they will not express or share with us. And it's externalized as behavioral or aggressive emotions because it's more easy.

It's easier to express it that way than to deal with some pain. Right? So we have to create safe spaces for them. And it even comes out in relationships, you know? And if somebody never wants to share emotions and they're not comfortable with that, we see it as something wrong with us, but we might not see it as they never had that emotionally safe space and they might not know how to ask for that emotionally safe space.

So we have to continue having the conversation around emotions, which goes back again to that journal, right. Whether you're in a relationship, whether you have kids or you don't, whether you're a grandparent, I have grandparents that reach out to me very often saying, I don't know, I didn't create that emotionally safe space for my own kids. I want to make sure that I do that for my grandkids.

So it's really important that we continue having this conversation.

Billy:  What do you see as the biggest threat to a child's emotional development these days, and what do you see as the biggest enhancer of a child's emotional development? And what can we do to limit one while also making the other one more accessible?

Cindy:  I would say the biggest threat to a child's emotional development is a parent refusing to have insight or take time to work on themselves and understand how they deal with emotions. And I feel that we're really quick to put a lot of Band-Aids out there, whether it's mindfulness apps and I mean, I have an app, but we cover the family.

But any app that says, like, you know, here's the bedtime calm down kind of song or tool and your child will hear it's better for their mental health. Sure it is. But it's a very quick fix and it's it's not an overall thing. And even programs I've spoken and worked with some counselors or consultants in the United States and in Canada that work specifically on social emotional skills in schools and social emotional learning, because it's very big right now coming out of the pandemic and nothing gets done at home.

So what happens while you are implementing these science backed programs? CASTLE And all of these big programs in schools and then a child is going home and saying, I feel sad and a parent saying, well, you're some ice cream. Let's let's move past it. Or child is misbehaving and they're being disciplined rather than a parent taking the time to say what is going on.

What happened. There was a mom that I spoke with recently and they had moved country and her daughter was behaving very and being disciplined. You know, like you don't speak to me that way. How dare you speak to me that way? You know, like this 11 year old child, like puberty. Okay, You're being like a jerk. You know, How could you speak to me that way?

And then the mom who had been doing a lot of work on herself, kind of stepped back and assessed the whole situation and realized, okay, let me just go create that emotionally safe space for my child. And the child said, I'm so mad at you. You took me away from my friends, you took me away from my teachers, you took me away from everything that I love.

For what? Right. Like, why are we here? And then that allowed them to cry together, to connect, to bind. And for the mom to say, I hope you see that there's a reason for it. Trust the final kind of goal for this. But it will be difficult in the next couple of weeks or months. I guess the answer to your question is both the pain is the parent a parent working on themselves will create that very safe emotional space for a child that will learn how to express all their emotions.

But a parent who's not doing the work will create a space that is not comfortable to express emotions, which will lead to a child not knowing how to do that later on in their lives, with colleagues, with partners, with their own children. So their parent is a big piece.

Billy:  What do you say then to the parent who says, I just don't have the time or energy to put into this because I'm a single parent and how am I supposed to work on myself when I have to keep one good eye on my child and what the other good I on working on myself. So how do you help parents balance?

Okay, you need to work on your self so that you can be a pillar of emotional support for your child as well.

Cindy:  Obviously, there's work that could be therapy and there's work that could be reading books and taking courses. But let's bring it back to the minimal thing that you can possibly do, and that's just being more aware and more attuned to emotional situations. So and again, I was raised by a single mom, so I saw with not doing the work led to and all I would want a parent to do is when you wake up in the morning, I can only think of Mortal Kombat.

You know, more to come. That's what I played when I was young. But, you know, the sort of meter that it's green, yellow. And then you get punched again and it's red and then you get kicked and it's like flashing red. So but if a parent could think about that when they wake up and that is your dysregulation meter, right?

And the nervous system being disregulated means your nervous system for some reason feels out of control. And nervous system being your brain, obviously. But you feel out of control or you feel unsafe or unseen for whatever reason. If you can just picture that sort of meter or whatever the name of that is in your mind when you wake up.

Because waking up isn't a new day doesn't mean fresh emotions. Great emotions can carry over from the night before. And what happens is that we're powering through these days without any awareness, without being attuned to our own needs and our own emotions. But if we wake up and we say, Where am in my in the Green Zone, in my in the yellow zone, in my red, in my red flashing, if you wake up and you're in the Green Zone and your child loses their shit during breakfast for whatever reason or spills the milk, then you're going to have a lot more control of your emotions.

You'll be like, okay, don't speak to me that way. But I see that you woke up on the wrong foot. Let's just get out of here, whatever it is. But if you're in the yellow zone, you might snap at them. Or if they spill the milk, you might yell at them. And you realize only after you yelled, I shouldn't have yelled.

What was the point of that? But I did because I wasn't in my Green Zone. My nervous system wasn't fully regulated. That means that if you're in the yellow zone, take a pause. Don't respond right away to your child or partner. Create a space between their action and your reaction. And if you can do that, then you have time to speak to yourself.

I'll use myself as an example. If I had an argument with a family member and I go to bed, I often wake up still disregulated, I'm still uneasy. I'm not in my Green Zone. So if my partner says something or I thought there was milk and there's no milk in the fridge, and now my kids are like, But I want cereal today, I'll remind myself, Cindy, you're in the yellow zone.

Take A breath. There's almond milk, they wind or whatever. There's solutions, there's toasters, whatever, anything else. But instead of just saying there's no milk, leave me alone. You know, what can I do? That's how I would respond if I didn't take that pause. But if I take that pause, I could remind myself I'm not fully regulated. It's okay.

It's not their fault. They just want milk and they don't understand that there's no milk or whatever it is and respond differently. Just that will have a huge impact not only on how you respond to people around you, but on how people respond to you as well. Whether it's your child, your partner or a colleague, you won't snap as often or you'll be more regulated if that's the minimum that you can do.

I'm happy with that.

Billy:  I find the shower to actually be a great space to do that emotional check in that emotional inventory.

Cindy:  That's a good.

Billy:  One because it's probably the 5 minutes of your day where you actually get to be by yourself. And again, not a parent. So I don't know, maybe if you're a single parent, you have the child. If it's a baby, if it's an infant, maybe you bring them into the bathroom with you. I don't know how that all works, but nor do I ever want to find out.

Cindy:  But I feel never alone.

Billy:  That shower. That shower is your 5 minutes to do that emotional check in to be like, okay, where am I at to start my day? And if I'm at level green, if I'm at level yellow, if I'm at level red, if I'm at level red, what is it that I need to regulate emotions so that I don't.

Cindy:  Just.

Billy:  Unleash the fury on somebody? I used to do this all the time when I was teaching. It took my mindfulness practice in order to help me recognize the somatic experience of it, where I started to feel what an anxiety attack felt like so that I could identify it and say, Oh, you're starting to have an anxiety attack right now.

And I'd have this whole dialog going on in my head where I'd say, All right, so now you're starting to have an anxiety attack. You're still teaching. They have questions. You can't lose your shit on your students, so how can you keep this anxiety, at least where it's at, you're not trying to shut it down, but keep it where it's at so it doesn't get to a point where you start getting frazzled.

You go into fight flight or fright mode, that sort of thing. So we talked about that somatic experience in episode 34 with Brett Hill, the language of mindfulness that people want to check that out. I'm going to get you out on this. If nature and nurture were fighters in Mortal Kombat, which one would win?

Cindy:  Nurture? Oh, you give it your definitive response. Yeah. Yeah. The environment right, like the environment plays such a big role and we see it. I'm going to use trauma as an example. Dr. Bruce Perry talks a lot about this. And if you have a child who has experienced trauma at a very young age, those who have moments of connection, those who you can put inside, and a community of whatever it is, whether it could be cultural, religious or just some sort of community where they feel seen that is healing to the brain.

So to me, that shows us that there is a really huge impact to the child's environment and how we can heal as a society, as an individual and so on. So yeah, the environment.

Billy:  That seems to fly in the face of the pull yourself up from the bootstraps crowd.

Cindy:  Yeah, it's a yes, it's really a huge part and I stand by that.

Billy:  Well, Doctor Cindy Huffington, this has been a really fun and fascinating conversation. I'm glad I got you fired up at some points here. It was fun to see that personality come out of you. And I just had a lot of fun. Thank you for joining me. I'd love to have you back on. I think there are parents out there who would love to have you on, too.

And if you're out there and you enjoyed this conversation, you need to check out these apps. Can you talk about the Wondergrade app, please?

Cindy:  Yes. So that's a company that I became part of last year. And we've created this character called Ollie, and I think most of us kind of search for this nurturing kind of being or thing when it comes to our emotions or like feeling seen. So we've created this character that really helps kids, you know, it's more than just breathing or, you know, mindfulness.

There is that part because that's a big part of emotion regulation. But Wondergrade helps parents teach their child how to regulate emotions. And because we're helping parents teach their child, it means there's a part where the child learns how to do it, and there's a part where the parent learns how to speak to their child, how to cope with their own emotions.

As parents, we really want to look at the whole picture when it comes to emotion regulation skills. So there's a lot going on right now within the company and I'm excited about the next year. So somebody who's curious about it, if you follow us, then we'll be, you know, we'll be sharing all those big milestones with you.

Billy:  Excellent. Thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it.

Cindy:  Thank you. I had a lot of fun.

Billy:  Hey, if you enjoyed this week's episode, it be sure to look in the show notes for all of it. Dr. Covington's contact information, as well as links to the episodes I referenced at the beginning of the show. Oh, and don't forget to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode. If you're an Apple listener, you can do that by clicking the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner.

If you're a Spotify listener, click the follow button and then click those five stars under the cover art to show the show some love. If you're looking for free resources that will help you live with more curiosity, openness, compassion, and awareness. Go to and join our mindful midlife community. Finally, I know Dr. Covington and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may find value in her expertise and life experiences.

Remember, the purpose of the show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. And I hope this conversation provides some insight that will help you reflect, learn and grow so you can jumpstart your life. So for Dr. Covington, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. You feel happy, healthy and loved.

Take care, friends.