#118 - The Conscious Parenting Revolution with Katherine Winter-Sellery

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC September 10, 2020

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The Conscious Parenting Revolution with Katherine Winter-Sellery

Welcome to episode 118! Today we are talking with the incredible Katherine Winter-Sellery, the CEO of the Conscious Parenting Revolution and the creator of the Guidance Approach to Parenting - along with two colleagues. Through her workshops, books, and TEDx talks, Katherine has taught thousands of parents (and educators, social workers, medical professionals, etc.) in a half dozen countries and cultures to minimize misunderstandings and melt-downs as well as to communicate with more collaboration, cooperation, and consideration. Her methods positively influence relationships for generations. 

Be sure to check out all the show notes for all of Katherine’s amazing resources!

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The Conscious Parenting Revolution With Katherine Winter-Sellery

Katherine Winter-Sellery, the visionary behind the Conscious Parenting Revolution, empowers parents with the skills to support their children during challenging moments compassionately. Through her training, parents acquire the tools to navigate these difficult situations gracefully.


What Is Conscious Parenting?

Conscious parenting embodies a mindful, connected, and understanding approach to raising children. It highlights the significance of self-care, establishing boundaries, and fostering effective communication within the family dynamic.

Katherine's unique parenting approach cultivates parental awareness of these patterns and facilitates collaborative efforts, leading to lasting improvements in family dynamics. It also promotes the significance of conscious discipline, which involves responding to challenging moments with respect, patience, and integrity to foster a safe environment for all individuals involved.


How Katherine Discovered Conscious Parenting

Upon becoming a mother, Katherine swiftly discovered the absence of a definitive guidebook for parenting. This intricate and profound human relationship surprises you, leaving an indelible mark.

As Katherine's children matured, she observed numerous human behaviors that captured her attention. In those instances, her sole beacon of guidance became her encounters, supplemented by countless hours engrossed in literature; nonetheless, she longed for a more profound sense of fulfillment.

Recognizing the importance of practical demonstrations and a supportive environment, Katherine actively sought parent training and established connections with influential parental figures. These connections were mentors and peers, enhancing her skills and knowledge.


Benefits Of Conscious Parenting

The conscious parenting approach provides parents valuable support, helping them overcome shame and self-judgment. It promotes self-forgiveness during difficult moments and emotional meltdowns. Katherine empowers parents by assisting them in cultivating an internal dialogue that enables them to navigate their reactions when triggered by their children's behavior.

Katherine is an advocate of the notion that when individuals understand and respect one another's needs, all parties involved can thrive. Her objective is to guide parents in remaining mindful of their emotions without becoming overwhelmed, enabling them to respond in a manner that aligns with their core values.

Conscious parenting emphasizes the significance of cultivating a positive parent-child relationship. It entails establishing a secure and nurturing environment that encourages children to express themselves freely without fearing judgment.

Practicing attentive and mindful parenting fosters a profound connection between parents and children, enriching the entire family's well-being. It was proven to help children become more confident in themselves and the world around them.


The Ineffectiveness Of Controlling Discipline

Katherine has dedicated her life to empowering parents in fostering mindfulness and nurturing an atmosphere that honors and validates children's emotions. Children need to feel secure in expressing their feelings, free from the worry of judgment or being labeled as "bad" individuals.

Acknowledging that these emotions are distinct from any perceived parental inadequacies is crucial. A substantial part of Katherine's work is based on the invaluable wisdom of Thomas Gordon, who asserts that employing a controlling discipline approach leads to three common obstacles - resistance, retaliation, and rebellion.

Unfortunately, many parents are unaware that these reactions result from their approach to control and discipline, disregarding the child's perspective and understanding. Instead of promoting cooperation, it often devolves into a power struggle between parent and child.

Moreover, Dr. Louise Porter, a renowned author of "Children Are People," has conducted extensive research revealing that 75% of your time was spent on secondary matters when you prioritize the three R's. These secondary matters are distinct from the primary concerns initially addressed.

Addressing these additional issues and cultivating a sense of responsibility in children is paramount. As parents, we genuinely endeavor to prioritize these matters. However, we often find ourselves grappling with the consequences of resentment rather than addressing the underlying causes.


Conscious Parenting Builds Self-Esteem

Acknowledging the importance of differentiating a child's abilities from their inherent worthiness of love and attention is crucial. The development of children's interpersonal skills is often hindered by various challenges, which are greatly influenced by the way they are treated, engaged with, and communicated to.

When we inadvertently teach children that they only deserve love and attention based on their capabilities, they may feel inadequate if they perceive themselves as not meeting those expectations. In light of this, Katherine explores the distinction between self-referencing and socially imposed perfectionism, examining their impact on self-esteem.

Self-referencing involves relying on internal motivators rather than external ones, highlighting the distinction between personal drive and societal expectations. Socially prescribed perfectionism arises from the inclination to compare oneself to others.

Unintentionally, we influence our children's self-esteem by adopting the notion that motivation is cultivated through rewards and punishments. This approach shifts their attention towards anticipating rewards instead of nurturing genuine intrinsic motivation.


Enhancing Self-Esteem Through Effective Parenting

A mindful approach to parenting entails cultivating environments that nurture children's innate motivation rather than solely relying on rewards or external incentives such as stars. It prioritizes fostering autonomy instead of dependence, emphasizing the importance of independence and self-reliance.

Nurturing children's empowerment by allowing them to make choices and actively participate in everyday decision-making cultivate a profound sense of ownership and responsibility. Moreover, it is a powerful reminder of their boundless potential and fosters a resilient mindset.

When advising parents, Katherine emphasizes the significance of differentiating between acknowledgment and praise to nurture self-esteem. Praise is bestowed upon meeting expectations, serving as a symbol of deserving recognition, and acknowledgment focuses on understanding and validating one's emotions in response to their achievements.

By making this distinction, parents can ensure that children understand the importance of their efforts, fostering a sense of self-value that isn't reliant on external validation. When children are empowered to have faith in themselves, all parties reap the rewards of this newfound assurance and confidence.


Nurturing Positive Behavior & Building Self-Esteem

Katherine stresses the utmost importance of discerning between authentic support and mere superficiality. Genuine support entails a sincere concern for their well-being, not just a sense of obligation.

As an educator for parents, Katherine understands the challenges of teaching them to appreciate the beauty in their children, even in moments of misbehavior. It is precisely during those times that your child needs your compassion the most, even when they may deserve it the least.

In families where children struggle with self-regulation, the child may already be seen as different. Consequently, this can intensify feelings of shame and self-consciousness for parents regarding their child's behavior and its impact on the family's reputation.

It is of utmost importance to remember that most individuals harbor good intentions and sincerely strive to make the most of their available resources, often necessitating an awareness of their limitations. Every person carries unresolved wounds from their childhood, which can inadvertently be transmitted across generations.

Breaking free from this recurring pattern can present a formidable challenge if you remain unaware of alternative paths. Therefore, it is essential to understand that making time for yourself allows you to tend to your needs, an invaluable resource for parenting children.


Parenting with Consciousness: Initial Steps

Katherine desires parents to truly appreciate the inherent beauty of their children, even in the face of challenges. It is crucial to comprehend that when a child encounters difficulties, it does not automatically indicate a parental error; rather, it signifies that the child is still developing their emotional regulation abilities.

It is essential to remember that when children make significant mistakes, they often feel remorse for their ineffective handling of the situation. Showing self-compassion in these moments is truly admirable, and it is something that every parent should genuinely wish for their child.

The Conscious Parenting Revolution fosters greater parenting flexibility, enabling parents to comprehend the intricacies of each situation and adapt accordingly. By perceiving our children as mentors instead of mere students, we can cultivate positive relationships by embarking on a shared growth journey and navigating life's challenges together.






While we make every effort to share correct information, we are still learning. We will double check all of our facts but realize that medicine is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor / therapist may have a different way of doing things from another. We are simply presenting our views and opinions on how to address common sensory challenges, health related difficulties and what we have found to be beneficial that will be as evidenced based as possible. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or your children. Consult your child’s pediatrician/ therapist for any medical issues that he or she may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Rachel Harrington, Harkla, Jessica Hill, or any guests or contributors to the podcast, as well as any employees, associates, or affiliates of Harkla, be responsible for damages arising from use of the podcast.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing “standard of care” in a legal sense or as a basis for expert witness testimony. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of any statements or opinions made on the podcast.

Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC
Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC

Rachel Harrington, COTA/l, AC, CPRCS, and Jessica Hill, COTA/L, CPRCS are Harkla's in-house Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) and Certified Primitive Reflex Clinical Specialists. They have been working with children for over 6 years in outpatient settings. They specialize in creating easy-to-digest, actionable content that families can use to help their child's progress at home. Jessica and Rachel are the in-house experts, content creators, and podcast hosts at Harkla! To learn more about Jessica and Rachel, visit the Harkla About Us Page. Make sure to listen to their weekly podcast, All Things Sensory by Harkla for actionable, fun advice on child development.

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