3/18/2018 Newsletter: Boundaries and Finding Your Mama (or Papa) Bear

I had the opportunity to do a house/pet sit in New York City (Brooklyn) for a friend and my oldest son, my 19 year old, said he wanted to go have an experience of the city in winter time. We live in Florida, so a different climate is novel. He is also very interested in food and NYC is a great place to explore. He’s in the middle of a gap year right now and his dad and I both want him to explore in whatever way feels good to him so he can get to know himself before he goes back to school.

Here’s a picture of me and my son, Zach, when we were in NYC just after seeing the musical Wicked!

From the time they’re babies until they’re out on their own, it’s a dance of figuring out when to step in and when to let them figure it out. We don’t want to hover too closely, yet we also don’t want to abandon them. Sometimes I do better than others with this dance. It’s about boundaries. It’s about protecting your kids when it is necessary. And it’s about letting them show up and try things, sometimes making mistakes, to grow their muscles.

In this week’s blog post, I share a story that happened at the end of my trip with my son at LaGuardia where a man came out of nowhere and confronted my son about cutting in line. I was proud to see how he handled this unexpected experience and how we processed the experience after it was over. We were all fine and the story has a happy ending. It’s a snap shot of how consciously parenting applies in the real world and not even just with parenting!

We’re also continuing our series on Gun Violence and I encourage you to listen and share! We are also inviting you to join the Consciously Parenting Community on Facebook. I’d love to have a discussion about what you feel called to do to help make the world a safer place for our children.

Please let me know if there’s something you’re looking for specifically or if you need some additional support. I do offer a limited number of one-on-one sessions per week. Also, please check out the Learning Center where you’ll find free courses along with a whole set of new on-demand pay-what-you-can classes ready for you on a wide variety of topics!

Here’s what else happened this week at The Consciously Parenting Project on the blog and the podcast!

Boundaries at LaGuardia

I want to share an experience I had at the LaGuardia airport in New York City when flying with my 19 year-old-son last week. It’s an interesting look at boundaries, letting our kids handle things, and stepping in when necessary.

We had arrived at the airport just before 7am on a Tuesday morning, and were in the line for the security check point. There was already one long line and the person checking our tickets told us to go start a new line. We were queued up, waiting our turn from the single agent. A woman in the longer line kept moving up to the security agent as if it was her turn, and the agent had to tell her more than once to wait behind the line until she was called. She was fine with it and just returned to wait, she just seemed a little confused.


We were called up to the agent before the other woman, and walked up to present our documents. I handed her our tickets and IDs. About that time, an older man walked right up to my son. He wasn’t even next in line, so he had apparently walked up from the back.

The man said in a Clint Eastwood tone of voice, “I don’t know who you think you are, but the line starts behind me.” At first, I was confused and wasn’t sure what was happening. As he continued to talk, he started swearing and moved within inches of my son’s face. I quickly realized that this wasn’t a joke and it wasn’t funny. He continued to insult my son, who was responding back to his accusations.

Read the rest of the story here.

Gun Violence as a Collective Trauma

Here’s an excerpt from the podcast:

“The prime directive of our nervous system is to keep us safe.

When we have the perception of safety (whether we are actually safe or not, it’s about how we FEEL), our nervous system is not in a stress response. We need others and we need to be connected to them. We also need to be able to get out of bed in the morning and to slow down to go to sleep at night. Our nervous system works hard every day, and if we were to draw what its activity would look like normally, there would be a wave pattern. This is without extra stress, just normal daily life. The wave illustrates periods of activity followed by periods of rest, over and over.

Our stress response system is built into our nervous system. When something happens, we are going to do what has worked for us in the past. We’re wired to first try to connect with someone else. You can see babies doing this at birth as they look for their mothers’ eyes. When we can connect with another person, our nervous system moves out of the stress response.

When no one is there or when the person there isn’t available or able to help, we move into a sympathetic stress response. The gas has been activated and we’re ready to fight or run away. If we can’t fight or run away, we move into the parasympathetic response and freeze…. And this is why it’s so important that we are working to stay connected to our kids, and help them regulate through that social branch of the nervous system.”

Listen or read the whole podcast here.

Finding your Mama Bear is about your perception of safety and doing something. It’s about the need to keep our children safe and how that impacts our nervous systems.

Listen to this episode or read the transcript here.

Join us in the Consciously Parenting Community for a discussion!

What would you like to be doing to be proactive to keep your kids safe? What speaks to you about making the world a safer place for your kids? Did you decide to (or were you already) homeschooling? Are you advocating for safer schools? Supporting teachers and others who work directly with students? Are you in favor of more mental health support? Are you planning to march on the 24th to support common sense gun laws? Do you feel like your efforts are best spent working on your own family? What calls to you here? I’d love to hear your thoughts. We all have different capacities, strengths, and life circumstances. What feels doable in your world?
P.S. This is not meant to be a partisan discussion. Any bashing of anyone else will not be tolerated here. We are ALL wanting to keep our kids safe. The question is: “What are you doing or planning to do to find your own mama or papa bear?”

Want some one-on-one support?

Rebecca has some availability for client sessions this coming week. If you’ve been thinking about it, reach out (hit reply to this email) and see if it is a good fit for you. Discounted session packages available. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish* in just a session or two! Purchase sessions here.

*Rebecca works with couples, individuals, and families around the world via Zoom or Skype video meetings to support positive, healthy, and respectful solutions to your family’s challenges.


Rebecca Thompson Hitt, MS, MFT


Subscribe to the newsletter:


Rebecca Thompson Hitt

Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

Rebecca Thompson Hitt has 168 posts and counting. See all posts by Rebecca Thompson Hitt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 3 =