Pausing To Reflect with Lisa Foster
April 11, 2023

The C.A.S.T.L.E Method with Donna Tetreault

The C.A.S.T.L.E Method with Donna Tetreault
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This week we are joined by the fabulous Donna Tetreault- award-winning author, television personality, national speaker, and nonprofit founder. You’ve seen Donna on countless programs, including; NBC News, The Today Show, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and The Talk on CBS. This week Donna discusses her brilliant new book, “The Castle Method, Building A Family Foundation On Compassion, Acceptance, Security, Trust, Love, and Expectations + Education.” You won't want to miss our insightful conversation. Resources: Books: (As an Amazon affiliate, at no extra cost to you, we will earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

The C.A.S.T.L.E Method,Donna Tetreault

Dear Me: Letters to Myself, For All of My Emotions,Donna Tetreault

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Hi, and welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host Lisa Foster and Real Life Momz is a podcast that's all about connecting moms through real parenting conversations. I believe that moms have so much insight and knowledge, and together we are powerful. On this podcast, we give moms a voice to tell their stories, share their expertise and resources through real conversations. And this week I'm talking with Donna Tetreault. She's a national parenting journalist and award-winning author, speaker, and a nonprofit founder. You may have seen her on  NBC News. 

The Today Show, Dr. Phil, the Doctors and the Talk on CBS. And today Donna's here to discuss her new book, the C.A.S.T.L.E Method. 

Hi Donna, welcome to Real Life Momz. I am honored to have you here on the show today as we are going to discuss your new book, the C.A.S.T.L.E Method. So first of all, thank you for sending it to me. I did get to read it and I loved how you took some concrete research around certain parenting topics and you mix it with some real life stories, which made it just so easy to read. So I really enjoyed it and just thank you for coming and talking to us today. 

Absolutely. Thank you for having me. 

Maybe we could just start with a little bit more about you and your background 

Outta college. Outta UCLA I went straight back to school and uh, got my teaching credential and I was a teacher for a few years here in Los Angeles for the LA Unified School District. And, um, I taught kinder first, fourth, and fifth, and then I moved on into TV reporting. And, um, the TV reporting was really general assignment reporting for, uh, a good, I'd say 20 years. And then I had my two kids, two boys who are now 14 and 15 years old. 

And, um, I kind of took a break from reporting, but then quickly realized I had a lot to learn about parenting and I thought, you know, I'm gonna use my skillset, get back into reporting and just go into the, this niche parenting reporting. And, and that's what I've been doing for about the last 12 years. And, um, it's just something that I really enjoy. 

Um, I like learning about all this evidence-based information that we now have available to us as parents, which is really helpful, um, to so many. So that's kind of where I'm at. And, uh, uh, work for NBC now they have a segment called Modern Parenting on their national show called News Daily, NBC News Daily, and on their streaming service. And so that's kind of what I'm doing at this point. And also I, I've written a couple children's books. One, um, is called Dear Me Letters To Myself For All Of My Emotions to teach young kids how to manage and identify their emotions. 

And that is evidence-based. And I have a new dear me coming out called Dear Me I Belong, which is part of the Dear Me series. 

Oh wow. You do so much. And I, I love that you had kids and then decided to do like, reporting with parenting. How smart. Cuz now like you can learn all the good stuff from like all the experts, right? <laugh>. 


<laugh>. So can you tell us exactly what the Castle Method is? 

Sure. So like I said, I, you know, for the past about, uh, 10 plus years I've been talking to experts in this field, psychologists, doctors, educators, researchers, and interviewing them. And I compiled basically what I believe to be some foundational building blocks to raising kids and teens and really a family in this generation. And so 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 I really believe that these principles, they're pretty, um, you know, foundational and they're, you know, they seem like when you talk about 'em like castle, it's compassion, acceptance, security, trust, love, expectations plus education. And even though they sound like they're kind of these general concepts, once you dive into what the research says about these concepts, it's really important, I think it is, uh, brings an awareness to your parenting and really to just building this family that you're building for the first time. 

I mean, we're expected to kind of learn how to just have this family and parent and, um, there's a lot that goes into it. 

Now in your book, um, you do start, you put c first, you put compassion first because you, you think it's the foundation, right? For a strong, happy family. Can you talk a little bit about like what compassion really means to you and like why you feel it's that foundation of the castle? 

Absolutely. I mean, compassion to me is, is really the main principle that they then can carry throughout, um, all of your parenting, whether you're talking about acceptance, security, and on compassion really is more than empathy. So when you think about empathy, you're putting yourself in another's shoes. Compassion is that empathy, but, but then working to alleviate the quote, suffering of another, whether it's yourself, whether it's your child, your spouse. 

And so when you talk about compassion, it's, it's kind of where you start. And then there's the chaos that ensues. Whe whether, whether you're talking about a behavior or a situation, but then you end in compassion because again, none of us is perfect. No kid is perfect, no parent is perfect, no family is perfect, and so we're gonna be in the chaos. But if we can start with compassion and end with compassion, um, we're gonna build bonds. We're gonna build that connected, um, ness that we all desire from each other. 

And, um, and really compassion to me is foundational. And 

You mentioned a little bit, but like, but the self-compassion too, that piece. How do you do that? How do you do that within your family? Because I'm just going, you now have teens as well. I have teens. And especially for that age, that self-compassion. It's, it's hard. 

It's really hard. Yeah. And, and when I do talk about found, um, compassion in the book, I I self-compassion is, is just as crucial. So self-compassion, meaning for us as parents, knowing that even when we blow up, we're doing the best that we can. Pulling ourselves back and saying, I am doing the best that I can. I'm articulating that. I'm knowing that I'm learning just as this child is learning, um, in their journey. 

And then when we show ourselves self-compassion, we are modeling that for our kids. And that is something that, you know, we see with all the statistics now with what our tweens and teens are going through. Um, girls one in three who are not feeling good about themselves and want to harm themselves and boys and bullying and all that comes around with it. Social media. So we really have to be modeling the self-compassion for our kids to be able to then have their own self-compassion. 

And so if, if, if we don't teach 'em that they're gonna get outside sources teaching them what, what we don't want, we want them to be coming to us to understand how to take care of themselves. 

And it's, it is hard. I feel like I do model because I'm, I'm like the first one to kind of like just laugh at myself. And if there's a mistake, I mean, I'm owning up to it and I have no problem saying, whoops, that's happened. Let's just do something else. You know? But I 

Love that. What is the reaction to your 

Well, I was gonna say like my, I was gonna say, cause then my teen pops in, but I, I guess there's so many outside influences, um, that our teens are seeing, our kids are seeing that, I don't know if I'm enough, you know, to model it because, um, my daughter on the other hand, you know, she, she compares herself to so many others that are, you know, better and she doesn't like, she thinks everyone's better or doing something better or prettier or whatever. 

And yeah, she can make a mistake and own up to it and laugh a little bit, but it, it, you could see it's painful. And I think it's painful because of, of all those other teens watching that aren't showing self-compassion, she's not getting it from her peers. She's only getting it from maybe the family. What, what do you say to that? Do you, does that make sense? 

Oh, it totally makes sense and I totally get it because I have two teen boys who are very hard on themselves, especially when it comes to sports and things like that. But ultimately, I think that this is not a one and done modeling. This is practice, practice, practice, day in, day out, hour in, hour out and hoping and praying that our kids will gain enough of this modeling so that when they do go out into the real world, they can tap back into it. 

Look, it isn't easy, uh, you know, it's, but it is a practice and it's something that I believe if there is that awareness within the parents and the kids have this awareness where you're actually saying, are you practicing self-compassion? 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, 

Are you being compassionate to yourself? And even if they give you the eye roll, it's okay, it's gonna make a difference. They're gonna remember it. So what I like to say is even just as a former teacher is not a one and done, and it is just this practice that is part of our family unit, um, part of our value 

System. Yes, yes. And I don't use those words, you know, like I might be modeling some of it, but I don't really put it to words. So I think actually discussing the concept of compassion and self-compassion might be a step that I've missed out on. I think I could add that. I 

Think it, I think it's really important to articulate it. I think that when we, when we're thinking about teaching our kids the modeling is, is imperative, but if they don't understand the concepts at a foundational basis, then the modeling, all the modeling we do may not just sink in. So I do think, especially with teens, but even with little kids, you know, when they're being hard on themselves, um, you know, maybe playing in a soccer game and, and they let the goal in, they're the goalie and they let the goal in and they're being hard on themselves and just getting down to their level and just saying, can you be more compassionate to yourself? 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what do you think you can do to make yourself feel better? And it's okay to feel the way you're feeling right now. I don't wanna take away from that. But once they've, you know, identified, felt their feelings, then we do need to move on to that self-compassion element where we can say, so what were some of the good things that you did in that game? You know, turning it around. 

Yeah, that's a great way of modeling it. And I have to look back on my own journey if I've done any of that. I'm sure I have <laugh>, but Sure. I can't think of it offhand. Um, but yeah, I think that's a great way of modeling it. A and putting it in there because I do do think, especially as these kids get older, their just self worth is just starts to diminish a little bit. So, and we have conversations all the time about how, especially with my daughter being a teen, I have a son as well, but he's, he's different. 

Boys are a little bit different in my household. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but my daughter, we have a lot of conversations of really fixing the inside, you know, not getting the validation on the outside, but really has to come within her. And so we talk a lot about that cuz we'll give her examples. 

Like for instance, we went college shopping and her friends were also college shopping, not with her, but all around, everybody went on spring break and seemed like everybody was looking at colleges. And her friends also had photos of the beach and photos of this. And she's like, oh, I wish I was having a vacation like that. Like feeling bad about herself and bad about what we were doing. And then she came back and she told everyone how she saw like seven colleges in four days and other people saw one or two. And they're like, oh my God, that's so impressive. 

So they were like, you know, feeling the way she was feeling about the photos. And I said, I was like, see, it's just a different lens. I said, but you need to look inside. You can't keep looking at somebody else's experiences and feeling bad cuz you're always gonna feel bad that your experience isn't enough compared to theirs. And so we had this whole inner conversation. It's a work in progress. <laugh>. 

No, I love that. And I, and I I would say this too is when I, within the cha within the love chapter with me, it's, um, in, in the castle method, I I do talk about self-love as leveling up on self-esteem. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because like you were talking about getting all these outside influence is, is is what our, what is self-esteem mm-hmm. <affirmative> when we look inward and teach our kids about self-love and accepting ourselves as exactly who we are. 

Maybe we have that nose that we don't like, but just being an acceptance and self-love, that that is who we are. And so it's, it's interesting because social media has changed this landscape for our kids and it, it's tough for them to not be on it and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but that message that you're giving to your daughter is exactly the message I try to give to my boys, which is, yes, that is all going on around you, but what is going on inside of you and, and like with your daughter, what did you accomplish? 

You saw seven colleges. So you're that much more informed and have this wealth of knowledge. And so it's just kind of reframing this for our kids and we can't do it all the time because they don't really wanna listen to us all the time, especially teens. But mm-hmm. <affirmative> again, that message of self love, you know, leveling up on the self-esteem and, 

And going to, to your chapter of love. One of, there was a little aha moment for me, um, when I was reading your book. Um, you talk about passions and the things that our kids are interested in, and I never realized how important passions were. I mean, I knew, I knew that it's great that your kid was interested in soccer or dance or reading or whatever, but I didn't realize it's what kind of brings them out of a bad day. That they'll go back to those passions as an outlet, like even later on in the real world. 

So I felt like that was a big aha moment for me because I was like, oh yeah, I can see that with my kids. Like, you know, when they're not, they come home from school and they did not have a great day. I mean, my son, he, he, his passion is gaming can have a discussion about that after, but you go off and he'll blow off steam with gaming. But it does, it grounds him, it changes his personality. He may have come a home kind of a little annoyed and comes out happy. Same with my daughter. She might go sing or dance or do something in her room, you know, but that's her passion and she has it as a tool. 


And it, you know, the research really supports this mm-hmm. 

<affirmative> to 

Fully help our kids find what is intrinsic to them, what brings them joy. You can have all these different hobbies that make you who you are, but it has to be intrinsic, the child. And so when that happens, they are in their most joy when they're inspired. I mean, literally in spirit, inspired means you are in your spirit, you are, it's an intrinsic joyfulness for you. 

And so setting out this buffet of, you know, you could do soccer, you could do dance, you could do this, you could do gaming, you could do whatever you could decoding. It's, it's what brings that person joy mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when people age that people will go back to what their joy was. 

I think it's, it's so important because I think as parents, and you, you could tell me your perspective of this, but at least from my own experience, it's like I lost my passions. You know? Like I got so involved in parenting, I'm a working mom, I have other things going on. Obviously I have a podcast, but I got, I lost my passions. Like when someone would ask me like, oh, what do you like to do? After I became a parent a little into it, I was like, uh, I don't know if I was shock that people were asking me what I like or even ask me a question about myself, but the, the actual passion piece, just like I, I lost it. 

And so also I think reminding kids to that it's important to always have them and to keep them and to refine them or rekindle them along the whole, your whole life. Because if it is what brings you joy, you know, we need to keep doing those things or different things, but doing things that bring us joy. 

Oh my gosh. Absolutely. And I, and I, I feel like that too as a mom, that I kind of lost part of what brought me joy. Um, and I feel like I noticed it, you know, and, and I, I knew that I needed to kind of figure it out, but I was kind of in the mud of being a young mom, um, trying to figure things out. And I think that it's okay for us to be in that spot for as long as we need to be. I, I, you know, I was a, as a young mom, I was very worried. 

Um, I felt myself worrying. I, I think it's in my d n a from my mom mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, she was a warrior. And, um, but going to kind of that mode of self-compassion and knowing that at that time I was doing the best that I could, I was, you know, I, I was in deep with the two of them. They're a year and four days apart. And I just felt like I needed to put my time there. But then ultimately I did come out of it. And I think that, you know, especially for a lot of young moms, when you talk about guilt, mom, guilt, you know, it's just present. 

But for even younger moms and newer moms, that's even more, that's what the statistics show us. So just knowing where you are in your journey and knowing that you will come out of it <laugh> 


But it's, yeah. It can be 

Challenging. Yes, yes. For sure. For sure. I wanna go over to the, if you don't mind skipping over to your tea, your trust in your castle. All right. I have to say, I, this story in your, in your book, and I don't wanna give too much away in your book, but, um, was very touching to me about your son who was watching this movie. You guys were all out to the movie theater and you were watching a movie and he, I guess was a little afraid. So he wanted to leave the theater. 

And I think you went out with him and you left your other half in the movie theater and you were kind of coaxing him to say like, oh no, it's fine, you can go back in. But he was just like, pretty much like, no, I'm not going back in. Yeah. And you just, and Right. 

And you decided to leave the movie. And on his way out, going into wherever the car or something, he's turned to you and said, thank you for respecting me. Yeah. And that I was like, huh, <laugh>. That was another ha moment for me, I guess because I, I mean, I, I see myself in so many situations where it's like, oh, you don't wanna play that soccer game. You're like crying on the side. No, no. Go finish it. Go finish it. You have to go finish it. Or, you know, so many times, right. 

There's so many incidents that that type of thing occurred. And, you know, you get so caught up in this parenting, like, what decision should I make? You know, if I make this decision, you know, what am I teaching them if I make that decision? You know? And, and, and then you're also like, well, people are looking at me <laugh>, you know, I don't wanna be a bad mom. Oh, 

Oh yes. 

So, yeah. So I just, it was really refreshing and comforting and it just was so nice to see that you listened to your child and that he also noticed that you listened. Because I think when we're pushing our kids back, and I've done this, I, I have done this, they're not feeling seen, they're not feeling heard. And I, you know, that is terrible. 

Yeah. Look, I think that, that, this happens a lot with all of us. You know, we have these expectations in our head about, you know, what's acceptable, what's not acceptable, you know, what is this gonna look like to the outside world? And I think that in some cases, yeah, you know, like you were talking about the soccer game, you know? Yeah. You kind of gotta finish the soccer game. Like, I, I get that. But in instances where you can be more malleable, I believe that showing your child that you trust what they are saying and how they are feeling and what they are asking of you allows the child to learn how to trust themselves. 

Hmm. And in the generation of helicopter parenting, which we are still recovering from, quite frankly, um, with what a lot of our kids are dealing with, with academic achievement, pressure, et cetera, um, when we tell our child to go against what is inside of them or what their needs are, we're basically saying, I don't trust you. 

Hmm. We shouldn't trust you. That's the message. And so, in as many opportunities as we can, we need to let go and let them figure it out and trust them. And I'm not saying on all things, of course our kids need support, and it's gonna come down to what is important to you as a parent. And, but it, but you know, like here's, here's a an example, you know, if your kid is coming home with, you know, season Ds, you can't really trust them in that instant instance right there. 

You have to help them get back on track. And so it's kind of maneuvering where you can and can't. Um, and I think that as many opportunities as you can give your child to trust themselves, you are helping them toward adulthood. Because if they can't trust themselves, they're not gonna be able to get out into that world. 

Right. Right. And then who, who are they following, right. If, if they're so used to you guiding and helping and then, then they're out in college or they're out some, you know, in the real world, who are they following if they're so used to following? 

Yeah, yeah. 

And yeah, and going back to your Cs and Ds, I do have, I have to say, for those parents that are there, um, I have, my son did come home with a math grade that was not ideal. We'll just leave it at that. And um, and I said to him, because he's kind of, uh, if he doesn't think it's important, you know, he has to have a reason. Like, why am I doing this? And he's not actually always wrong, which is the hard part, you know, I'm like, I have no good reason why you have to do this, honestly. 

But so, but I did say to him, I said, listen, I know you can do more. I, if it's one thing if you were studying and got that grade, it's another thing when you're just not really doing anything cuz you don't think it's important and got that grade. So here's your choices. You could bump up your grade. I'm gonna give you a month. You can bump up that grade on your own without any assistance, or you're gonna go to the extra help that your teacher office at school on Tuesday mornings. 

You know, if you don't. And so I kind of gave him a trust of a month to see what he could do. And I have to say he's had a B since. 


And I don't know if that's just because he doesn't wanna go in early <laugh> or something changed, but either way, sometimes we can also take those instances and, and give them an opportunity maybe. 

Well, and I think that's exactly what you did. I think that clearly there must be a value system in your home that there are certain expectations about school, not necessarily what the, the, the grade is, what the outcome is, but what the process has been, I mean, it's one thing if the, if the kid is working and working and working and you're seeing it and they're going to see their teacher and then there's a grade that is, is unfavorable, that, that's a lot different from a kid who's not meeting expectations in the home about, you know, your job is school right now mm-hmm. 

<affirmative>. So what you gotta do. But the fact that you gave him a choice, here's one thing you could do or another thing you can do. That right there is showing him, I trust you to figure this out. I'm supporting you in a way by giving you some options maybe that you hadn't thought of or that weren't as clear for you because of your executive function. <laugh> still developing X, Y, and Z. But you really did give him kind of, here's what you can do this or that. 

And then he decided so, and you kind of gave him that trust. You gave him the time, you gave him an enough time. So I think you basically did that for him, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and you empowered him to figure it out. You didn't say, you gotta go see your teacher on Tuesday. You know, it was like either or. So I think that that empowers our kids. 

Yes, I agree. I, I agree. Cause 

Again, it goes, it goes back to the intrinsic part of it. Yeah. I get that none of 'em really care about US history and I get that as a high schooler or whatever, I get it. But there are still these expectations. And so by giving him a way to figure it out on his own, it empowered him. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's really one of the biggest gifts I think we can give our kids, you know, when they can do something on their own. I mean, he feels much better about getting a B than he did his other grade, you know? So he actually feels good. So I think when we can empower them and they do it and they do it on their own, it's, it's so much more satisfying than like literally sitting with them and dragging them to go see their teacher dragging them. Are you doing your homework right? Are you doing your homework? You know, likehmm, <affirmative>, that's just a, that's just too much. 

I don't enjoy that. They don't enjoy that. So, yeah. 

Yeah. No, I love that. Yeah. 

So when you were writing this book, cuz you did have a lot of research that you pulled together and this book took you quite a bit of time to write, is that right? Cuz it sounded like your children were younger. 

It took a little time. It, it took <laugh> it took about 10 years just on and off with it and, and, and, you know, different jobs I was doing and, and with my kids. And so yeah, it took some time for sure. 

Yeah. So was there an aha moment where something maybe you were learning while you were writing the book that was just like, really, like, wow, this was such great insider information? 

Yeah, I think that, um, it, it really comes down to the compassion mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and really seeing, you know, there, you know, gentle parenting has been kind of this niche parenting pre pandemic and now it's kind of, everybody knows about gentle parenting post pandemic because of all of us as parents really having to learn to get in tune to really help our kids. And I think that for me, you know, I hadn't always been too compassionate to myself and I was pretty hard on myself and had these expectations and I, I thought to myself, I don't want to pass this down to my children. 

Hmm. I, I, I see I have been educated by these experts who have, you know, there's studies on compassionate care in hospitals and, and, and how patients are affected one way or another if they receive compassion. And so that was kind of the aha for me, that if, if I want to have these kids who are happy and successful, but really in this day and age now mentally healthy mm-hmm. 

<affirmative>, then I have to really practice some positive mental health awareness inside the home. And, and to me, compassion is something that is easy to incorporate into the home. Um, and so for me it, it, it came to me really wanting my kids to be easier on themselves than I had been as a kid and as a young adult. And, um, to just give them the ability to make mistakes and to be okay about it and to be failures and to be okay about it. 

And then also really practicing that, that self-compassion 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I love how you, I think you do it in your car, did you say, on the drive? 

Oh, yes, yes, yes. Yeah. So we, you know, look, I, I think there's lots of chaos that happens in the morning and I was seeing that with my young, when they were younger, probably, I don't know, second, third grade, maybe third and fourth grade. And, you know, it was just kind of chaos in the morning. And I just finally said, I gotta practice this with these kids. I gotta, it's gotta be more. And so, you know, we are, uh, a religious family. We are Catholic, but I, I believe that, and, and, and look at the, the, the research shows it. 

Harvard Research, you know, shows that people who are spiritual, not necessarily religious, but spiritual, have better mental health and wellbeing. And so, um, again, using this science-based information to put it into practice in my home, we did what we call the Van Alden Prayer. 

And it, it's, you know, it, it takes us about 10 minutes to get down Van Alden to Ventura to get to school. And it was just a time where I just said, this is where we're going to out loud pray, show our gratitude, say what we're excited about, because joy is, is just as important via positive psychology research. And so we would all state what we were grateful for, um, what we were hoping for. 

And, um, it kind of reset the day mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, um, it's just been a practice now and they're both 14 and 15 and we do a carpool with, uh, another family. And even before we get to the carpool, we'll do our practice of gratitude or our prayer. And it really does shift and reset, um, and allows for better mental wellbeing. I, I, I, I just can see it ado anecdotally with my two kids and myself and my husband does it too. 

So <laugh> 

Yeah. We're, well, we're big meditators over here and, and I think we're kind of like you in the sense of we're not necessarily, although I have gone down the, the deeper meditations for sure, but for the most part it doesn't, it could be something like, we're listening to a meditation, but my husband and I meditate every morning separately, <laugh>. Um, we do our own meditation and we just have our space and we do that. Our kids see us do it all the time, but whenever I feel overwhelmed, I will take 10 minutes and meditate. 

A lot of times when I go pick up my son from school, there's like a five, 10 minute lag. I will pop on a meditation in the car while I'm just waiting for him. Um, I have done some meditation with my kids, like they'll listen or we've done like restorative yoga, which feels like meditation cuz you're just laying there a lot of times. 

But my son got up and was like, oh my God, I feel so good. <laugh>. So they've been, they've been very introduced to it. Um, I wouldn't say my daughter goes, you know, sometimes we're like, she, she gets very anxious. She's an anxious kind of kid and, um, you know, she'll turn to us. She goes, I'm not meditating <laugh>, you know, like, she like immediately, which is fine. Right. You wanna put out there that you're right. It, it totally shifts my mood, but you can, like anything could be meditation. 

Yeah. It's, it's just literally taking even a minute or two to like, sometimes I write stories of what my day is gonna look like, you know, what do I wanna, what do I want to happen? It's like, I almost like this visualization of like my dream, you know? Um, or sometimes it's an actual meditation, but it really could be anything. And I think people get turned off because it seems like you have to be in this really deep place for these effects and, and you don't. 

Oh my God, I love that. And I love that you said that because that is kind of the barrier, I think for people who are hearing it from people like us, but who haven't yet taken that minute to just try to incorporate it into their lives. Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think what you're saying is so important and I, I just, if more and more parents can hear this, I I just think that they're calm, calm can happen. 

Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, even if it's, you know, not the whole day that it'll hold you over, but for, you know, that hour that you're gonna need it or just to reframe the way you're thinking about something, I get lost in my thoughts sometimes and in the stories that I tell myself that aren't even true <laugh>. And so just saying to myself, why don't you reframe that and rethink about that? And it is just this being mindful, I mean, and like you said, you can do it in so many different ways. 

I mean, I definitely feel when I'm in the kitchen at night by myself, like they're all, and before they come in, I'm cooking and I, it's pretty mindful I'm just kind of in my space mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So there, yeah. There's a lot of ways to, to practice this. 

Yeah. I'm so for it, so for it. And it definitely, it makes me more productive. It makes me a better person and honestly it lowers my blood pressure <laugh>, so it's good. Literally, I've actually had a blood pressure cuff on meditated and it's lower and I'm like, wow, that's, and that's impressive. Well, where can the listeners find you and your book and all your information that you have out there? 

Well, I have a website called where I have lots of my TV segments that, uh, are on there if you wanna browse that. And then I'm on Instagram @donnatetreault  and on Twitter @donnatetreault And yeah, that's, uh, that's where you can find me. 

Perfect. And is there anything else that we haven't shared that you'd like the listeners to know? 

Wow, I feel like you covered so much. I guess I just feel that, you know, I think that right now, in this moment, a lot of us, you know, are seeing kind of what the pandemic has has done to our kids regarding their education, their mental health and wellbeing. And I think that, you know, there's kind of this charge to, you know, get everybody up to speed again. And I think that just kind of go at your own pace. I think that really listening to your kids and where they are and where you are, and just being really gentle with yourself. 

I just, I really want parents to be gentle with themselves and know that if, if they know that they're doing the best that they can, then that's good enough. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and the journey continues and it's just this evolving process and we're never gonna get it perfect. And, um, but when our kids see and know that we're doing the best that we can, that bond is there. They, they know. Yeah. So just be gentle, gentle with yourselves. 

Yeah. And I like to always think that not every decision we make is life altering. Like it's gonna be okay. 



Yeah, for sure. 

Well, thank you. Thank you for this just lovely conversation. I truly obviously enjoyed your book, 

<laugh>. Thank you so much for having me. This has been so much fun. 

Thank you for listening to this episode. Compassion Acceptance, security Trust, love and Expectation plus education makes up the Castle Method. If you are interested in learning more about Donna or the Castle Method, visit her website

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Donna Tetreault

Parenting Journalist & Author