How to P.A.R.E.N.T | Jackie Santillan | MomCave Live

In this hilarious and heartwarming live, we dive into the wild world of ‘How to Parent’ with the one and only Jackie Santillan. Jackie, the Author of ‘How to P.A.R.E.N.T‘ , cleverly uses mnemonics like ‘P.A.R.E.N.T.’ to make parenting a breeze. From her genius parenting acronyms that will have you saying ‘BRATT’ with love to her brand-new podcast ‘Hiding in Cars‘ (because sometimes, parents need a break, too), Jackie’s got it all covered. Learn about ‘How to Parent’, explore Mnemonic Parenting, and discover Effective Parenting tips that will brighten your journey. And don’t forget about her clever ‘Xhsted’ shirts that let you stay in the parenting game while lounging on the couch. It’s a rollercoaster ride of laughter, insight, and frog-hunting adventures, so hop on board, enjoy the fun, and maybe learn a thing or two about how to parent!

How to P.A.R.E.N.T | Jackie Santillan | MomCave Live

The Acronym Behind “How to P.a.r.e.n.t“.

Jen: Well, welcome to MomCave LIVE, where we may have lost our minds, but we haven’t lost our sense of humor. I’m Jen from MomCave. Our guest tonight, I’m super excited to talk to you because I follow her. I watch all her videos; they’re super helpful, yet she’s also funny and not condescending. She’s going to tell us about a book she just put out called “How to P.A.R.E.N.T,” (affiliate link), but it’s not that kind of book. It’s not like a “how-to” guide telling you what to do. It’s “Parent” with a capital P, dot-a-dot, and the initials “P.A.R.E.N.T.,” which is an acronym. So, I’d like to introduce Jackie. Can you tell us why your book’s title ‘How to P.A.R.E.N.T” is an acronym?

The Power of Mnemonics in Parenting.

Jackie Santillan: Well, hi, first of all, thanks for having me. What a lovely introduction. Thank you so much. So, I wrote this book because I didn’t invent parenting. Obviously, I’m not the first parent. I didn’t invent gentle parenting. But I’ve always been a big fan of mnemonics and acronyms to help me remember how to do things. So, I started using them on my social media, and people really responded well. It’s helped them remember some of the strategies.

I think when you’re in the middle of a tantrum, meltdown, or any big emotional situation, it’s really hard to recall what you’ve learned, no matter how you learned it. So, it’s helpful to have an acronym that you can use to remember, “I remember when my kids were having a meltdown. This is what I should do.” The book is called “How to P.A.R.E.N.T,” which stands for “Possibly Actually Remember Everything Next Time.” Every chapter is an acronym or mnemonic to help you remember what to do in those challenging situations.

Jen’s Firefighter Past and Parenting Insights.

Jen: I love that you call it the “stop, drop, and roll” of parenting. We all remember to “stop, drop, and roll,” right? I’m a former Miss Fire Prevention.

Jackie Santillan: I believe it. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Did you teach it?

Jen: Yes, that was part of the duties. Each fire station had a misfire prevention program, and you went around teaching little children how to “stop, drop, and roll” at the fire station.

Jackie Santillan: Did you have a sash?

Jen: I totally had a sash.

Jackie Santillan: I love it. I wish that were a job I could apply for right now.

Jen: I know, I’d like to be the queen of the world, but I’m not. I’m a parent, so I feel like the opposite sometimes. Jackie, before you became a parent, did you have any expertise in parenting? Were you a teacher or a psychologist?

Jackie Santillan: I’m not a psychologist, but I was a teacher for 11 years.

Jen: That explains a lot of it.

How to P.A.R.E.N.T BOOK BY Jackie Santillan

The Evolution from Teacher to Parenting Expert.

Jackie Santillan: It is the reason I know anything that I know. If I had become a parent before becoming a teacher, my poor child, oh my gosh. That’s another reason why I started doing all of this because I feel like it’s so unfair. Teachers are not unfair; teachers deserve the training they get. Teachers receive a lot of help in the form of training. Parents just don’t get that. When parents have a baby, it’s like, “Here, you can do it. Take it; you’re an animal.”

Everybody just does what their parents showed them, and nobody’s parents are experts. So being a teacher was really helpful. I was a horrible teacher my first few years. I screamed at my poor students, poor babies. But they still remember me; they send me messages on Instagram all the time. I guess the trauma wore off. But I was horrible. Then I had to go get some training because I would have probably gotten fired otherwise. I fell in love with learning how to connect with kids and encourage good behavior without creating a classroom full of fear. I also learned how to set expectations so they know what to do ahead of time, making it much more likely that they will do it. Then I devoured all that training and even got my Master’s in Counseling. So, not a psychologist, but I do have some extra training.

Jackie’s Journey: From Teacher to Parenting Guru.

Jen: You certainly have some expertise there for sure.

Jackie Santillan: A little bit. I mean, my brother would not agree with you. He would just say, “Oh my gosh, you’re just my sister.”

Jen: Sibling rivalry. They always think they know more than we do. If anyone has a specific parenting question you want to learn an acronym for or something, just pop it in the comments because we’re watching the comments.

Jackie Santillan: You’re probably watching better than I am, but yes.

Overcoming Past Parenting Styles: Transitioning to Gentle Parenting

Jen: My brain is always here, there, and everywhere. You mentioned that most people learn how to parent from their parents, right? But what happens when God love your parents, they aren’t the kind of parent you want to be. I struggled with that because there was a lot of spanking in my house. So I always said, “I will never spank my kids.” I have not always fully lived up to that, but I try the whole concept of gentle parenting. How do you work through what you were taught and learn a whole new way of being?

Jackie Santillan: It is so hard. One of the first things you have to do is realize that you have to kind of repair it yourself through the process. Once you make the decision, it takes time to learn what to do and discover your triggers. After identifying your triggers, you must learn how to calm yourself down from those triggers. The first step in dealing with any big emotion with your kid is ensuring that you’re calm.

Not only can you help them, but you’re also modeling that you can stay calm in their big emotions and that it’s not too big for you. You can remain calm and help them through it. I have a whole chapter about emotional regulation strategies because many people wonder how they can teach their kids to calm down when they struggle with it themselves.

Jen: I’m having meltdowns and tantrums.

Dealing with Meltdowns and Tantrums.

Jackie Santillan: Same, honestly, same. And I had a big talk with my son this evening about it because one of my significant triggers is running late. It happens a lot due to ADHD, and I have time blindness. When I’m running late, I get extra stressed, and other things on top of that, make me even more stressed. So I was just telling him, “You know, I have this thing that makes me stressed out, and I need to take a deep breath.” I understand that for some people, just hearing the phrase “take a deep breath” is triggering because they think it doesn’t help.

And you’re probably right; it might not help immediately. Telling your kid to take a deep breath may not help them either. But scientifically, if you do take some deep breaths, it will help. If that’s not your go-to, there are plenty of other things you can try. Personally, I like reducing stimuli, like closing my eyes or using earplugs to block out some sound. If that’s not an option, finding a darker room for a moment can help. Running cold water on your wrist works for me, or repeating a calming mantra, like “He’s not giving me a hard time; he’s having a hard time.” This can help you regain composure before responding. That’s the first step. Then, something’s happening. Something’s happening out there. I’m a real mom with real children who…

Real-Life Parenting Moments.

Jen: I know, real children at any moment.

Jackie Santillan: I don’t know if I answered the question. I hope that I did.

Jen: Yeah, you totally did. So what is your favorite acronym of all time for parenting?

Jackie Santillan: My favorite, and probably one that I’m most well known for, is the BRATT method. Which I love. Although, had I known that I was going to be the acronym person, I probably would not have made it “BRAT” because I don’t want people to feel like I’m calling their kids brats.

The BRAT Method – Keeping Calm in Stressful Situations

Jen: It’s easy to remember. And when you’re frustrated, and you’re thinking, “What a brat,” then you can remember the mnemonic.

Jackie Santillan: Exactly. I tried to make the mnemonic not just a word; I tried to make it relate to the situation. When your kid’s having a meltdown, the acronym is SPACE because they need space; they don’t need you in their face at that time. So, the BRATT method stands for:

  • B: Breathe (or Calm down) – Calm yourself down.
  • R: Recognize – Verbally recognize what they’re doing with their body. For example, “You just threw that block across the room; your eyebrows are scrunched, your shoulders are up, you seem really mad.”
  • A: Acknowledge – Acknowledge the feeling or at least guess what they’re feeling. If you’re wrong, they’ll tell you. For example, “I’m frustrated,” or whatever they tell you.
  • T: Tame – Hopefully, ahead of time, you’ve had a chance to work on some calm-down techniques.

Teaching Strategies for Managing Meltdowns

Jackie Santillan: I’m working right now on a digital guide for setting up a calm-down corner because people often ask me how to start that practice with their kids. You’ve got it, but you can just gesture at it, like, “Remember your calm-down corner; go over there.” It’s not a timeout; it’s a place they like to go to calm down. Yeah, or I just give my son one of his stuffed animals. He doesn’t have a favorite, but if he’s stressing out, I can hand him one, and he uses it to wipe his boogers.

That’s his thing. And then the last “T” it’s a double “T” in BRATT, like Benjamin. It stands for Teach. I added that one later, but it’s something you also do later, not in the heat of the moment when everyone’s upset. You take a moment and say, “Hey, next time you’re mad because your tower fell down, call me. I can help. Or walk away for a minute, then come back and rebuild it.” It’s about telling them what to do next time.

The Power of Post-Meltdown Debriefs

Jen: That’s been super important in our family. The debrief later has always been a good thing. Like, what could you have done differently? What could I have done differently? I’m also a big believer in apologizing to my kids. Like, “Okay, mommy was really stressed out, and I didn’t mean to raise my voice. I’m sorry. But when that was happening, it made me stressed out. So let’s talk about that.” In the debrief, sometimes we have to apologize.

Jackie Santillan: That is so powerful and amazing that you’re doing that. That’s one of the best things you can do to teach your kids how to apologize. First of all, they see, “Oh, my mom apologizes when she does something wrong, right?” Taking that accountability makes the conversation so much easier. If you start a conversation with your kid after a big meltdown like that by saying, “I’m sorry I raised my voice,” it disarms them. They’re probably worried you’re going to shout at them, but if you apologize first, they’re like, “Oh, okay, I’m not in trouble. This is okay.” They’re more ready to listen.

Parenting Stages and Acronyms for Teenagers

Jen: We’re in different stages of parenting. You have a little preschool child, right?

Jackie Santillan: He just started kindergarten this year.

Jen: My oldest just turned 13, so I’m in the next stage, not knowing what to do with teenagers now. I know you haven’t personally gone through them yet, but do you have any acronyms that you think would be fitting to help me? Because I really need some help.

Jackie Santillan: You know, I don’t have anything specifically written for teenagers yet, but that gives me something to think about for the future, maybe a part two.

Jen: So much harder to remember things on the spot.

Jackie Santillan: I have “oops,” , and then I have “how,” which is setting expectations. I think that’s helpful for everybody before you go into a new situation like, “This is what I’m expecting from you.” It helps them know what to do, right? Here, it’s right here on page 67. So the first “O” is “own up to it.” Don’t try to pin the blame on the other person. The other “O” is “the other person’s feelings,” recognizing them. “P” is “make a plan for the future.” And “S” is “sorry, say that.”

The Power of Saying Sorry

Jen: It’s so important because I’m sure you’ve met adults who just don’t know how to say, “I’m sorry.” Or the idea of it, like, disarms them. Tears at the core of their self-esteem that they can’t say they’re sorry. That affects their entire lives, like your job, your relationships, everything.

Jackie Santillan: It’s bananas. I think in that chapter, I reference it because I’m a big Broncos fan. I reference the Real Housewives because none of them can apologize. It’s all like, “I’m sorry that you felt that way.” Yeah. Or “I’m sorry that you got upset. Sorry, you got upset?” It’s like, no, you have to own it. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry, I broke your toy. You were probably scared when I got angry like that. In the future, I will take a deep breath before I talk to you. I’m very sorry.” And that’s oops.

Jackie’s New Podcast – “Hiding in Cars”

Jen: That’s right. You just went through the steps like that. Yeah. There is something else you have going on, a new podcast. I know nothing about it other than “Hiding in Cars,” which I assume means from your children. But what is it?

Jackie Santillan: Yes, exactly. I started it for a few reasons. One is because I wanted to have a designated time where I’m catching up with a friend. Because I’m really bad, especially when I’m going through tough times, at isolating myself and not talking to people. So if I have it on the calendar, it’s like, “You can’t just hide; you’ve got to go talk to a friend.” So my friend Evelyn and I are doing this. It’s like the third podcast we’ve started together.

But also, the “hiding in cars” part is we pretend like we’re with you in your car while you’re hiding from your kids or sitting in Starbucks, just scrolling on your phone. It’s very casual, and you can tune in to… There’s nothing too deep on the main feed of the podcast; we’re just chatting. Then we have a bonus episode where we will answer parenting questions. The other reason was a lot of people ask me questions on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and I can’t get to all of them to make videos. Sometimes I just don’t have time to make a video. But I want to address some of those questions. So it was a way to address it in a broader way and give people another way to reach us.

Mother in the front seat of her car. 
'How to Parent' Insights Unlocking Effective Parenting

The Animal-Loving Daughter

Jen: That’s a great idea. Yeah, thanks. One of my favorite videos of yours is the one about setting expectations. My daughter has a frog in my throat. No, I think I have a frog in my house.

Jackie Santillan: I’m not kidding, says with frogs. We’ll talk about frogs.

Jen: We can do a whole thing on frogs. But there is a tiny little frog that was wedged between two parts of the sliding glass door a few hours ago. We were like, “Oh, we have to find a way to get it out.” We got it out, and somebody closed the door. So now it’s on the inside part, and I don’t know where it is. So after this, I’m gonna go upstairs and frog hunt.

Jackie Santillan: Yeah. Are your kids frog lovers?

Jen: They’re pretty cool as animals. My daughter loves every kind of animal, including snakes, which, to me, was like, “What?” Yeah, firstly, it’s fine.

Jackie Santillan: Except for you’ve gotta know your snakes. If you want to be a snake lover, right?

Jen: You don’t want to love on the wrong snake. All right, it’s kind of like men. No, no, so men are gonna be mad at me for calling them snakes. And then another thing you’ve got going on? Very funny. I hear you. You’ve invented a way for us to continue to be the slacker moms we are and get some love and relaxation while parenting.

T-shirts for the exhausted parent.

Jackie Santillan: My sister-in-law actually sent me a video of, and I think you’ve experienced this, a dad laying on the couch with a shirt with roads all over the back of it, and a kid is driving the car. She was like, “You could totally make shirts like this.” I have a shirt shop already. She’s like, “You can make shirts like this so people could stay part of the parenting game when they’re sick or tired or whatever when you want to participate.

But you also don’t have the energy to get up off the couch.” And so I have… I’m going to show you; I love them. This is a scavenger hunt t-shirt. So it’s name is “Xhsted,” short for exhausted. Then you put this on, and then it’s on your tummy. And then you can do four corners or bingo or whatever, straight-line blackout. And it’s like, “Find something shiny, something that smells good, something soft, leave to go find stuff.” There’s “What am I?” with a blank face that they have to make a face and hair and stuff out of items that are in the house.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

Jackie Santillan: The last one is a Halloween one. My son and I played this yesterday, actually. It’s like a guessing game, so you pick one. Then you’re like, “Is it alive? Does it have eyeballs? Can it walk?” And then try to get them to guess. So those are all on Etsy.

Jen: I feel that those are totally fun. So tell everyone where they can find you and the podcasts and the shirts, all the stuff, and all the acronyms.

Where to find Jackie!

Jackie Santillan: I said I had ADHD; I wasn’t lying. I cannot stick to one thing. Like, there’s stuff everywhere. I’m at @kindminds_smarthearts. And in my Linktree, you can find all of that other stuff. My book is on Amazon. If you search…

Jen: On the comments, the book link should be in the comments if I did this right.

Jackie Santillan: But if you search “how to possibly actually,” it’ll come up. If you search for “how to parent,” like a million books. I did not think…

Jen: That through a million books that don’t really help and at the same…

A Non-Judgmental Approach

Jackie Santillan: I promise it’s not judgy. I promise it’s really easy to read. I made it like double-spaced pages so that it’s like you’ve read 100 chapters.

Jen: It’s an awesome accomplishment. Look, if anybody here watches your videos, they know you’re not judging. You’re awesome and down to earth. So thanks for chatting with me. Thanks for watching, everybody, and I’m gonna go frog hunt.

Jackie Santillan: Yes, good luck. I wish you good luck on that. Thank you. Thank you.

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Listen to this episode about How to P.A.R.E.N.T | with Jackie Santillan | MomCave LIVE, as a podcast here:

How to Parent
How to P.A.R.E.N.T
With Jackie Santillan

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