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Building a Strong Family Foundation with “The C.A.S.T.L.E. Method”

Hi Friend,

One thing I know for sure is you are here and listening because you want to be the parent you can be. You want your home to be a place where your kids thrive and feel safe and loved.

But how often do we feel like we fall short? We get so many conflicting messages and advice – it can be totally overwhelming and confusing – and then much of what we hear doesn’t work because each of our kids is unique, our families are unique, and we have unique personalities and ways that we parent. 

Today, my special guest is Donna Tetreault.

Donna is a national TV parenting journalist. Currently, she does work for NBC on NBC News Now ‘Modern Parenting’ segment. She has been seen on The Today Show, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and more. 

I’m so excited for you to hear Donna talk about her best-selling book, The C.A.S.T.L.E. Method, where she simplifies for us what really matters in order to lay a strong foundation in your family.

Let’s dive in! 

What You Will Learn: 

  • What is the CASTLE method, and how can we use it when parenting our tweens and teens?
  • Why is compassion the foundation of all the other principles?
  • How can we help our kids identify their emotions? 
  • What is the link between our self-compassion towards ourselves and how we show up with our kids?
  • How can moms develop more self-compassion?
  • What is Perceived rejection, and how does it affect the brain of our teens? 
  • Helpful and harmful expectations parents and society put on our kids.

Where to find Donna:

Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:

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And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone, and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.

I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.

Hi Friend.

One thing I know for sure is you are here and listening because you want to be the parent you can be. You want to have your home be a place where your kids thrive and feel safe and loved.

But how often do we feel like we fall short? We get so many conflicting messages and advice – it can be totally overwhelming and confusing – and then much of what we hear doesn’t work because each of our kids is unique, our families are unique, and we have unique personalities and ways that we parent. 

Today, my special guest is Donna Tetreault.

Donna is a national TV parenting journalist. Currently, she does work for NBC on NBC News Now ‘Modern Parenting’ segment. She has been seen on The Today Show, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and more. 

I’m so excited for you to hear Donna talk about her best-selling book, The C.A.S.T.L.E. Method, where she simplifies for us what really matters in order to lay a strong foundation in your family.

Let’s dive in! 

SHERYL:  Well, welcome Donna to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. I’m so excited to have you here and to be talking about your latest book.

DONNA:  Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

SHERYL:  Yes, me too. So we’re going to start; I want to hear about you and the ages of your kids and how you got where you are today. But we will discuss your book, The CASTLE Method: Building a Family Foundation on Compassion, Acceptance, Security, Trust, Love, and Expectations, plus Education. So let’s just dive in. I want you to share a little about yourself with our audience.

DONNA:  Sure, I am a mom to two boys who are 14 and 15 years old, Jackson and Asher. And I started as an educator; I taught for LA Unified, kindergarten, first, fourth, and fifth grades. And then I switched and got into TV journalism, and did that for about 20 years, just general assignment reporting. 

And then, when I had my two boys, I decided to take a step back from work but soon realized I needed to learn more about parenting. And so I said, I will take this skill set and interview experts, doctors, researchers, and psychologists, and try to understand how to be the best parent I could be. 

At the time, I also lost my mom to Parkinson’s disease. And so that was my model. That was my role model, my mom. And so I felt like I needed to educate myself as a parent, and it just led me to do parenting reports for CNN and HLN. And NBC and Dr. Phil, and it’s been a great journey. And I’ve learned a lot, and I just wanted to disseminate this information that I learned.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I love how you write about your mom in the book. And that whole journey with losing her and how that impacted you and wanting to be the kind of mom she was, and I was going to ask you this later, but would you tell the story about your mom and how you were shy? And how she responded to you?

DONNA:  Yeah, my mom taught me early on that she accepted each of us, each of her children, for who they were, she had five kids, three boys and two girls, and she was just this very big personality, and everybody loved her. And I was very, very shy. 

And so she didn’t push me to be like her; she didn’t have these expectations that you need to be like me and go out in the world. And she just gently nudged me to do things in a way that was safe for me. And that felt good. 

And, to this day, I’m still very shy and anxious when I first meet people until I feel like I know you. And she just allowed me to be that person. And not feel shame about it. And she just gently kind of led me to it, a little bit here and more here and there. And she just gave me that feeling of I accept you. I accept you for who you are.

SHERYL:  Wow. That strikes me. I just have to be curious if you would be doing what you’re doing now if she had not held it like that. Because if she had been holding it by being shy, would that be something bad, or you have to change? 

But that she just that, you were who you were, and her accepting and loving you for who you are allowed to be and not letting that hold you back with her. Nobody would probably know that about you because you’re on Dr. Phil and your news. And you wouldn’t know that. But I’m just struck by that. 

DONNA:  It is interesting because a lot of people say what you say. What are you talking about? You’ve been a TV reporter for over 25 years; what are you talking about? But it is still this who I am. It’s just this kind of shy person. 

Now, I get around it because it’s my career, and it’s something that I’m passionate about. But my mom allowed me to move through life at my pace. It allowed me to do what felt good to me. 

And that’s another reason I have a chapter on acceptance within the book. And there’s a lot of research on acceptance and how even perceived rejection changes the brain. So it’s interesting how important acceptance is in helping a child become who they’re supposed to be, the best version of themselves.

SHERYL:  Well, we’ll dive into that a little bit. I want you to tell them about The CASTLE. What made you name it The CASTLE?

DONNA:   It’s interesting, I think, because of the ten years of interviewing hundreds of people and asking 1000s of questions, I was compiling what I thought, based on all this research and evidence, the best way to disseminate and explain it. And I think as a teacher, I like acronyms. I like metaphors. 

And I wondered if I could create, with my foundational building blocks, something that people can just remember, like, oh, I can think CASTLE

So what CASTLE is, is the CASTLE is an acronym used as a metaphor to build the castle, or the family of your dreams, not the perfect family, but the best version of your unique family. 

And so when I think about how I use the castle method, there are some instances where I can go back and just say, Okay, I’m gonna think about this through compassion. So each CASTLE, each letter, represents what that foundational building block would be. 

So CASTLE: compassion, acceptance, security, trust, love, expectations, plus education. And so it’s just a way to help the reader know that they don’t have to go to this specific behavior. How do I do this? They can go to that metaphor and think, Okay, how can I use compassion in this? Or how can I maybe use security in this easier way for the reader to use these foundational building blocks every day and more easily?

SHERYL:  I love the picture of that strong foundation, and what I love that you’re saying, and I’m whoa, is just for your unique family. Because we live in this time where moms are listening, we can compare ourselves like we’re looking on social media, and with graduation now. I’m talking to moms like, I don’t even know if my kids are going to graduate, their grades are not what they are, they’re going to have to go back a year or do summer school, and I’m looking at these kids and comparing myself.

And yet, we do that, and it causes such suffering for us, and we’re going to talk about self-compassion. But just that comparison game that we do. But we’re not that family. We’re our own unique family that’s special. And if we don’t see it through that lens, it just sucks our joy.

DONNA:  Oh, my gosh, yes, I completely agree. And I talk about in the book, compare no more; there’s a section. And that’s the issue: we’re looking outside and trying to emulate what we think other people are doing and maybe what looks right based on social media. I mean, it is a factor in this. 

But also just the comparisons, with kids at school, and they’re in sports, or they’re in music, or whatever is going on. And instead of just looking at just what we’re doing and appreciating what everybody else is doing, but looking at what we’re doing based on who we are, based on who I am as an individual as much as who Dad is, as an individual, whose child is as an individual. 

So it’s the CASTLE method, more than just a parenting book. There are a lot of parenting books out there that say. This is how you parent; I’m trying to say this is how we can build a family. This is how we can look at each person as an individual and how we can all come together and be that successful family and individuals.

SHERYL:  That’s what I love about your book. And it feels almost like their principles, but almost ways of being more than you can read like, Oh, God, do this and do this and do this. It’s like, how am I going to show up?

DONNA:  More of a way of being more of a mindset. So with compassion, if you look at compassion, how can I use that inside of my family, knowing the research behind compassion, knowing that it is effective, and a tool we can use in our daily lives? 

Not all the time. We’re not perfect. We’re going to have our issues. But if we can return to that foundational compassion and self-compassion for ourselves as parents, we judge ourselves horribly with the comparisons. 

But also thinking about it, we’ve got a list of what to figure out now. Shootings, social media, academic achievement, pressure, there are so many things, kids, now they can’t even test out drugs or experiment. It’s like a one-and-done with fentanyl. 

So there’s all these things, this list of things that we have to be on top of, that our parents didn’t even have to deal with. They had no idea about it, so we have to see what the trajectory of parenting is now and how different it is, and to give ourselves a break to know that we’re doing our best.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I love that little mantra; I’m doing my best. It’s so important. And how do you practice self-compassion? What do you say? What else do you do?

DONNA:  Look, I think that there are a lot of ways that I use self-compassion. I talk a lot about practicing the I’m sorry and how to forgive, which is within ourselves, too. Yeah, I blow up. I’m sorry, son, just that is teaching our kids that we’re not perfect. And we are trying to remedy it by saying that we’re sorry. 

Also, I meditate every day, only for about 10 to 15 minutes, but in the morning, it quiets my mind. And it allows you to focus inward, again, not outward of what’s everything that’s going on. And mindfulness has kind of really kind of come into the picture post-pandemic. 

It’s more kind of a hot topic that people think mindfulness is spiritual and religious. And I don’t know if it’s right for me, but these proven factors about mindfulness can help us center ourselves; as parents, do you practice mindfulness?

SHERYL:  I do. I do. And it’s interesting; if I don’t, the day goes very differently. I think of it like getting grounded, whether that’s being in nature, whether that’s meditating and using one of my apps, whether it’s reading, journaling, just, yeah, I have to get quiet and make time for that and get my mindset in the right place. 

DONNA:  Oh, I agree. Yeah, absolutely.

SHERYL:  So, so important. Do you feel like there is a connection between being able to extend compassion to our kids if we don’t have compassion for ourselves?

DONNA:  No, we can’t do that. If we don’t practice self-compassion for ourselves, we can’t extend it to our children. And that’s another reason that I talk a lot about the fact that we as parents should be practicing this for ourselves and to model it to our children. If we beat ourselves up in front of our kids, and don’t show ourselves self-compassion, guess what? 

That’s what they’re gonna do. They’re gonna beat themselves up. They won’t feel that they can give themselves that break, that breath. And so I feel this foundational compassion for others in the family, but then self-compassion for ourselves and modeling it for our kids. 

And I will say this is an interesting, quick story. I was in it with my 15-year-old, and we were going over something that we didn’t agree on. So I said, Okay, I’m gonna take some space until we can figure this out without getting into the detail of the topic. Later, though, about half an hour, 45 minutes later, he came to me and asked, Are you ready to talk? Can we talk? And I said, Yeah. And The first thing he said to me was, will you give me more compassion? When he could say that to me, my first reaction was, Oh, my God, I’m the worst. I’m the worst mom. 

But then, quickly, I went to self-compassion. I said, Wow, he can articulate what he needs. This practice is working. It’s not going to be perfect. I can’t be perfect just because I’m extending this information out. I’m still human, but he is taking it to heart. And he’s asking for more compassion. And I said, What does that look like? And then he said, this is what I need from you. So, I think it can only benefit you when you have this as a model inside the home. 

SHERYL:  And, you know, they catch it. I mean, he caught it, and he could articulate it. And isn’t that cool and say what he needed from you? I always say when your kid calls you out, you’ll want to be defensive or get, as you said, but it’s so good because he recognizes it. 

And he knows he needs that. And then we can go, oh, yeah, you’re right. So, because we’re not going to do a perfect way like you always say. And 

DONNA:  That is going to serve him and his relationships as he moves forward. And then, he has his own family and must manage his relationship. And so I think we’re just learning, building, learning more, learning more, all learning together. 

And that’s how I look at the CASTLE method. I’m not here to tell you, as the parent; I know everything. You know what I mean? We’re all just kind of learning together and growing together.

SHERYL:  Yeah. And that’s why he could say that to you, which was so beautiful. Because if it was like, I’m up here, and you’re down here, and you need to do this, he wouldn’t have felt safe enough to say that to you. 

I think of compassion, like, Okay, we make mistakes. And then, yeah, you’re right, rather than beating ourselves up. We made a mistake. Such acceptance. So self-compassion is at the bottom, and then you’re building acceptance. I’m just curious why acceptance is next.

DONNA:  It is foundational to our children’s mental health and well-being. We know what is happening in this country with kids, all the pressures they’re feeling and suicide rates up, and depression and anxiety. And Dr. Ronald Rhona, out of the University of Connecticut, has researched acceptance for decades. 

And it’s parental acceptance and rejection. And what he found was that even perceived rejection changes the brain. And just to have that knowledge, not all the papers are full of research, because again, as a TV reporter, I like to break down the research simply because we can’t know all this research and have it stored in our brain, right? 

But just to have the knowledge of, wow, even if I might, I’m telling my kid that I accept him or her for who they are, or what they just did, or the mistake they or just made, but they perceive it not to be – it’s changing the brain. 

So it’s truly accepting. And as we start this pride month, it’s a huge thing to consider a child who may be coming out or whatever they might be struggling with to provide full acceptance and not wanting to change any part of them.

SHERYL:  Loving them for who they are and where they’re at feeds into security.

DONNA:  Yeah, I wanted to talk a lot about emotional security. Again, with the pandemic, feelings and emotions came to the forefront, with people understanding that many of us did not get to express our feelings and emotions as kids; it just wasn’t. It’s not anything against our parents. 

It’s just this evidence-based research was just not available. And it wasn’t something that our parents were practicing. It was a different generation. And so, knowing that we can help our kids understand, feel, and manage their emotions is huge. It provides them with a sense of security inside of themselves. That is a gift. 

And so I like to talk a lot about how we can get a kid to identify their emotions, feel their emotions, and then move on to a more positive emotion if possible, not going from anger to joy all of a sudden, but anger to them feeling a little bit better now. But just showing kids that part of their emotions and emotional regulation is a skill to work on. 

It’s not like you’re born with this fixed amount of emotions or how to manage them. So it’s a skill. It’s just another skill that we can help our kids. And the social-emotional learning happening in some schools can be happening inside our homes. And it doesn’t mean you have to be a teacher with a degree, a master’s in this, you know?

SHERYL:  Yeah. Oh, I live in Illinois; I’m outside Chicago. And thankfully, they’re doing a lot of SEL, social, and emotional learning in the schools now. But what’s important if it’s not being practiced in the home? So our kids are getting trained. 

But as you said, if we didn’t grow up learning that, it can be a real learning curve for us on managing our emotions, let alone with our tweens and teens, which are like a roller coaster. And I know it’s never too late.

 It’s never too late to do this. But what are some of the things that we do? Well-meaning – we mean so well, but we do that gets in the way of that. 

DONNA:  Look, I think the key you just said is that we don’t know how to manage our emotions. I had to learn to manage my emotions in a loud Italian Catholic family. So I think it was kind of taking a step back and knowing that if I want my kids to manage their emotions, oh, Donna, you better learn how to manage your emotions. And oh, husband, Andrew, you better learn as well. We’re not perfect at it by any stretch, but very aware. 

Like, I mean, if there’s a blow-up, it’s like, okay, I need to take a step back. Right, I need to remove myself from the room. I’m sorry, I’m not managing my emotions right now. 

And I think your question about why we get stuck in that is we want to provide this beautiful, perfect home. We don’t. It’s not like we don’t want to have this amazing family. But the stuff from our past kind of gets mixed in there. 

The awareness of, it’s that awareness again, that is key because none of us is perfect. And we just have to keep trying our best each day. And I think that when our kids see that, we articulate our mistakes to them. And when we’re not managing our emotions, it is a gift to them to let them feel their emotions, too, not squash them.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I just have to say I love Italians. Because I grew up in a family where it was all like, repressed, right was down. And so you probably, it was all out there, messy, so you’re like having to dial it back. 

And I’m like now, growth-wise, in my own life. I have to get comfortable with the messiness of emotions, like, okay, they feel upset, they’re crying that the boyfriend broke up, alright? It’s going to be okay. But it’s so good. They’re expressing it, like, I don’t need to fix this. Let them get it out. Let them express it. And then they’re going to feel like they – it’s going to be for their mental and emotional health. They’re going to feel better because they’ve just gotten it out. 

So it’s, but I’ve always thought I have been Italian. It’s kind of refreshing because everybody kind of just says what’s on their mind, but I that’s, you got to dial that back.

DONNA:  I think it’s the moderation, like if you’re squashing or over here on the other end, it’s kind of that moderation of recognizing that I have this uncomfortable feeling. And then for me as a mom, yeah, you don’t want to, like, you want to fix it. You want them to feel better faster, but you’re doing them a disservice by not allowing them those uncomfortable feelings. They must learn how to manage them and then move on to that more positive emotions. So to me, yeah, I think that just identifying I’m mad, and it’s okay to be mad. 

SHERYL:  Yes. Being able to just say that, Yeah. And that and for asking for security, then they feel more secure, is what you’re saying.

DONNA:  It’s that emotional security so that we can talk about physical security. Parents understand that, but digging a little bit deeper into the emotional security of our children, which can then provide them with better mental health and well-being, is all proactive. It’s all preventative if we can get our kids to feel their feelings.

SHERYL:  Yeah. Which is why your book is so important, you know? And you go into that in-depth in your book. So we have to talk about trust; trust is a huge, huge issue with tweens and teens and with the moms that I work with talking about my kids vaping, my kids lying, they’re not talking to me, and I don’t know how they’re doing emotionally because they won’t talk to me. o, tell us a little bit about trust. How can we build trust in our relationships in our family?

DONNA:  Yeah, I think this is foundational; this shows our kids that the decisions they make, whether just cut out the vaping. And like the drinking and kind of the stuff that we worry about for tweens and teens, if we can start with trusting them to make decisions that are right for them, for instance, whatever classes they want to take in high school, instead of directing that, trusting them to know what they want the electives they want to take and to empower them to trust themselves. 

And again, trusting them that they’re going to make decisions with friendships, giving them the ability to say, you’re a good kid, I know that you’re going to seek a peer group that is good kids, I trust you. 

So really trying to allow kids to do for themselves, as Maria Montessori said, do not don’t ever do anything for a child which they can do for themselves. 

And this is beginning like toddlers. So a kid is taking a bath, a toddler, you’re there as the mom to watch to ensure they don’t go under the water, but they can wash themselves with the washcloth. This is just something we’re building; we’re building the trust that we trust them in these different moments as they grow

Because then, later, when the big things do come up, we will trust them to know that they’re on the right path. Of course, if they’re going off, then we have to step in; of course, that’s our role as parents, but to give them the most ability to empower themselves to trust themselves and their decisions. It’s this foundational building and building and building as we go.

SHERYL:  I that is so important. And I’m like a testimony of that because I have a gap between my oldest and my youngest; it’s nine years, and I parented them very differently. 

And my oldest, I was trying to control her. And she was more impulsive. And so I was always trying to be like her brakes and steering. And then I knew better I with my youngest. And I knew I trusted you even though I was scared. And both of them had said how huge that was when you didn’t trust me. It made me want to act out more. Like you didn’t trust me. So I’m like, Well, what the heck, I’m just gonna do me. 

She was rebelling, and then my youngest said, I made many good decisions when confronted with things because you told me you trusted me to make good decisions.

DONNA:  Wow, I love that.

SHERYL:  And so I say that because what you’re putting out there is so important, and I want moms that are listening or caregivers are listening to know. It does make a difference when we can send that message, even if we have to fake it till we make it.

DONNA:  Well, of course, as you said, it is scary. And you think to yourself, oh my gosh, okay, just say something about college, well, they really should be doing this because of the college thing and but it’s more about asking them the questions like why are you doing this? 

Explain to me what your thoughts are on this. Oh, I see what you’re saying. Okay, I rushed you, but still, you can give information, but then ultimately allow them to make that decision because then later on in life, as young adults, you want them to trust themselves. You don’t want them to come back to you. And asking, what should I do? I don’t trust myself; it’s a collaboration, it’s fine. But if they’re only relying on you.

SHERYL:  Where is their growth? Where he has to be prepared to go out into the world? Mistakes along the road? It’s just part of it. And that’s how we learn. Yeah, is by making those mistakes, I’m still making y’all get that sticker on your license plate renewed; you’re gonna get a ticket, you know? And, yeah, then you don’t forget. Maybe they need to email me; I need to do that. That’s how we learn. 

So I want to skip to expectations. And I think that’s a big one, how do you know if your expectations are helpful or harmful?

DONNA:  So I think the expectations piece is really important because it bleeds into the trust; we have expectations in our family and a family value system; what does it look like? So if we’re going to adhere to our family value system, but, of course, there are expectations that you do chores because you’re part of this family? There are certain things you try your best at school. Given the circumstances, what are you doing? 

But I also talk a lot about expecting joy. There are a lot of times when expectations can limit us. And I think there’s a lot, well, I know that there’s a lot of research behind positive psychology, expecting joy in our lives and to be able to model that for our kids. Like, why are we here? Are we here just to like, work, and grind? 

And, no, we are in this world for joy. And so we should expect joy. And I think that when kids see joyful parents pursuing joyful things, they will expect joy. And so yeah, the expectations of what is in this family, what matters, is really important. But carving out expectations of joy is just as important for our mental health and well-being.

SHERYL:  Wouldn’t that be a change that just changes the environment? Because we’re so, I think, in our culture, performance-based and driven, and just thinking of, how can we make it more fun? How can we be more joy-filled? 

When you said that, it’s like, everything relapsed, just thinking like, Let’s spend more time focusing on cultivating that joy in our family and having fun. And do you find that it seems like a lot falls into place when we focus more on the positive?

DONNA:  Oh, for sure. For sure. Writing this book made me feel like my spirit had always been joyful. I see the world with a full glass, but I would be talking to moms and dads and hearing a lot of self-deprecation. And then also kind of these feelings that their kids weren’t enough, like, here’s an instance, a third-grade kid playing soccer. 

The mom said to me, Oh, he’s done with soccer. He’s never playing soccer again. He’s just not good enough. Suppose he’s not going to. I said he was in third grade. It’s one of these expect joy. Just follow the path of joy if the kid enjoys soccer and isn’t going to be a superstar. That’s okay. 

So it’s kind of this academic achievement pressure, this all these other pressures that if you’re not, at this level, at this point, the expectation is you should go somewhere else, instead of just enjoying the moment, enjoying what the person is doing and expecting that joy from that. 

So I think that there’s this rat race, and it’s built into society. And it affects our kids in college. The pursuit for tweens and teens, kids, they’re talking about college when they’re in eighth grade. 

SHERYL:  It’s like, Why- No, and not that IP classes are bad, but take this class and that class, or I gotta get in, I got to do all of this volunteering to put it on my college application. And, it’s exhausting versus what do I feel excited about? What gives me joy?

DONNA:  Yes. What gives me joy, and teaching our kids what brings you joy? Follow your joyful path.

SHERYL:  If a third grader was terrible at soccer, they’ve got a huge smile. They’re having a blast out there.

DONNA:  There are other things besides being the best soccer player. You’re in it for the community, you’re in it with your friends, you’re getting physical activity, and there are so many benefits. And the issue is the societal pressures that we have to say as parents. No, I’m not gonna put that pressure on my kid.

SHERYL:  You find, and the research that you did, that a lot of that was linked to kind of links back to the self-compassion piece, and like putting so much pressure on ourselves as parents, like, if I’m a good mom, then my kid is going to be fill in the blank.

DONNA:  Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think that we pour a lot into our kids. And we think that whatever they become is a reflection of us. And we should kind of take the pressure off ourselves. 

Just watch our kids become who they’re supposed to be. Yes, exposure, exposure, exposure, giving what we can to allow them to develop and be the best person they can be. 

But, watching my two boys, one is on a strict path. It’s his path. The other one is very creative and dabbles, and it’s just fun to watch. And I think that they’re all going to find what they need. And it’s just part of allowing our kids to unfold as only they can.

SHERYL:  Yeah. That’s so good. Yeah. And it’s amazing how different they are. And just embracing its fight. Yeah, just allowing that acceptance, allowing them to be who they are. And not one is better than the other. They’re just different and letting them find their path. 

I love that. Donna. Well, gosh, this has been such a fun conversation. And I want you to tell them where they can buy your book. Of course, I’ll have all the links and share where to find you. I love your Instagram; your website’s amazing. 

And I did notice you also have another book out. You’re busy. You’re a busy lady. So tell them a little about the other book you’ve got out.

DONNA:  Yeah, so I have always loved children’s books. I think just probably as a background, as a teacher, I love teaching with children’s books, students, young students. And so I did a dare. My series in the first book was called Dear Me, Letters to Myself For All of My Emotions; it’s researched base. 

So it journals this kid – is journaling his emotions and showing him how to feel these uncomfortable and joyful emotions and then how to manage them. 

And then the second Dear Me book is Dear Me I Belong. And this is really to show kids we have this epidemic of loneliness, and belonging is an antidote to that. And so shows all of the scenarios that this child can belong in the world, but more importantly, how he belongs to himself. 

Why that matters, and so it’s the Dear Me series. I like to call it just because a teacher was kind of like the CASTLE method version for the little kids that parents can use to develop those skills, those emotional regulation skills, and things like that. 

But people can find me at donnatetreault.com, My website, or on Instagram at Donna Tetreault and Twitter. And yeah, it’s been a great journey with the CASTLE method, and I have to say I use it in my life. I will go to Okay; you need to trust Jackson on this. Show some compassion here. So I think that, as you said in the beginning, it’s more of a mindset. These tools are more of a mindset to be in your family. 

SHERYL:  Well, thank you so much, Donna, for coming on. And yeah, this has just been great. 

DONNA:  So, thank you for having me. I love talking to you.

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