Eps 143: Mary Nelsen-Tamborski Talks About Making Mistakes and Being Raised with PD

Episode 143

Today’s guest is Mary Nelsen-Tamborski, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Diego and also a certified Positive Discipline trainer and parent coach. Mary’s formal training is secondary to the life training she got from her mother, Dr. Jane Nelsen, a marriage and family therapist and author of all the Positive Discipline books. Mary is a popular keynote speaker, and workshop presenter. We are discussing mistakes as opportunities to learn. Join us!

“I find that these principles are universal so they are great, obviously for parents and children but it’s also just human beings in general.”

“The lens that we see our kids out of is everyone being equally worthy of dignity and respect it’s no wonder that how we treat our kids , it should be a mirror of how we treat our friends and how we treat our coworkers and the checkers at the grocery store. It’s about human to human relationships.”

“You have to break down to break through.”

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Takeaways from the show

  • How Positive Discipline impacts other relationships in our lives
  • Positive Discipline as a theory and the reality of implementation
  • Mistakes as opportunities to learn and navigating shame
  • Solutions oriented problem solving versus consequences
  • Dealing with your own emotional stuff when encountering challenging behavior
  • The role of regular family meetings
  • The importance of apologies
  • Making amends after we make mistakes
  • What to do when you “lose it”
  • Post-conflict communication and rebuilding closeness
  • Managing triggers and being called out on your stuff
  • Learning and growing as a family in positive discipline
  • Assumptions & consequences – 3 R’s & 1 H
  • Brain development and consequences
  • Genuine curiosity and asking curious questions to improve communication
  • Curiosity as a way of being
  • Shedding ego to engage in a meaningful way
  • Connecting early to keep the lines of communication open for adolescence
  • Treating your children as friends – a Positive Discipline perspective

What does Joyful Courage mean to you?

I really think it’s about accepting yourself as being an imperfect parent, that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. You would think I would have an amazing advantage being raised by the author, being trained and being a therapist. Like, I really should have this parenting gig down and there’s a helpful reminder with my children daily that there is no such thing as a perfect parent and just having, like you had said in the beginning, progress.

Progress, not perfection and just really kind of being gentle with yourself that when you do blow it, because you will, having the courage to accept it, admit it, and then repair it and know that this courage stuff is never ending. We get opportunities to practice it daily and you can have joy in that when you accept, when you shift your thinking, as in, “Oh my gosh, I was imperfect, ha! I have an opportunity to teach my child that they get to be imperfect too and that we are in this journey together, this is the first time that I’ve been a mom of a 9 year or a 5 year old or an 11 year old, this my first time. I can read all the books in the world, I can even be raised by the author and guess what? It’s still my first time.” So, I’m doing the best I can and the courage to accept that I’m not perfect and we get to be joyful while we go through that process.



Jane Nelsen’s book Serenity

Where to find Mary:

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