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July 4, 2022

Episode 54: Overcoming Your Childhood Trauma and What That Means For Your Kids with Danielle Ingenito

In this episode, DJ talks with Danielle Ingenito who is an expert in healing after toxic relationships and she helps women turn their pain into power. Tune in to hear about not projecting your pain, fears and concerns on your children and instead, how to help them be prepared, not scared. By the end of the episode, you will understand how overprotecting your children will not allow them to develop the critical skills they will need as they grow and become adults and you will recognize the fine line between giving your kids the space and freedom they need to become independent problem solvers.

Danielle Ingenito is the creator of the Let it Go Method which is a step-by-step process of helping women awaken their true self-worth & let go of the constant feeling of needing validation from other people. She is a Certified Life Coach and has helped thousands of women take their power back in her challenges and transformational programs.  


I am hosting a FREE 10-day challenge to find your calm, loving voice as you encourage your children to complete tasks and routines, and listen to you more quickly with less drama.  

There will be a total of 5 live events with new information and the chance to ask questions and share.  Let's find joy in parenting, together!


• [5:39] Danielle shares that a lot of times after leaving a toxic relationship that we want to retreat to our comfort zone… 
• [7:27] Danielle shares that she really works with women and not projecting their fears, anger, etc. onto their children. 
• [18:48] “Everything I went through made me stronger.”
• [31:18] “We don't talk about birds and bees… we talk about sex specifically - the real language. We don't talk around topics anymore… because it's out there… they're gonna see it on social media. So I explain it to them, instead of avoiding it.”

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DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes Podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA.

Perfect. You're listening to Episode 54 of Imperfect Heroes, Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. I'm your host DJ Stutz, and Danielle Ingenito is an expert in healing after toxic relationships, and she helps women turn their pain into power. She's the creator of the Let It Go Method, which is a step by step process of helping women awaken their true self worth, and let go of that constant feeling of needing validation from other people. Danielle is a certified life coach, and she has helped 1000s of women take their power back in her challenges and transformational programs. She has nurtured a 100,000 plus person following on both TikTok and YouTube and Danielle is a sought after speaker on podcasts and summits and has been featured on several magazines. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

I think that when we think about childhood trauma, we tend to think about sexual assault. And that is often the case. But there are many kinds of trauma. We recently discussed the death of a pet on one of my podcast episodes, but it could be the death of a family member or friend, or a classmate. It could be being bullied or teased at school. Perhaps it was an unkind teacher. That's part of my story. And this kind of trauma isn't limited to women, men struggle with it as well. So whatever the trauma, living with it without finding help in some way, will make the pain carry on until you do find help. And this has a huge effect on your relationships, including the relationships with your spouse, and your kids. And Danielle Ingenito helps women and sometimes men look their trauma straight in the face, and help them understand and work their way to healing. So they can then be free to be the parent their children need and deserve. listen in as we share. And sometimes we even laugh as we open the door to recovery. Let's listen in. 

Welcome, everyone, and I'm so excited to have our guests here today. Her name is Danielle Ingenito. And she is amazing. One of the things that she works on and what really attracted me to her is the work that she does with women overcoming trauma, from their childhood, or teen hood, whatever, and helping them to go on to have a more fulfilling life. What really got me interested about that is I truly believe that dealing with that trauma, and it doesn't have to be a sexual assault or anything. There's a ton of different kinds of trauma that we deal with. But it really does affect who we are as parents. Anyway, Danielle, would you just kind of give us an intro about yourself and, and what you have going on?

Danielle Ingenito  3:59  
Sure. Thank you so much for allowing me to be here and share my knowledge with you guys. Yeah, I'm a parent. I have two children. I'm a single mom got divorced about five years ago now and moved about another state away from their father. So I've been through a journey with that. But I after my divorce, you know, I had realized that I had been through a toxic relationship and I had a lot of healing to do. And once I was healing, I started to want to share everything that I was learning and healing. And so I started to help women heal from toxic relationships by healing their childhood trauma. And you know, there's a lot that goes on in childhood that brings in and I'm sure we're gonna get to all of that, but that's just a little bit of my story.

DJ Stutz  4:40  
Yeah, yeah. Our youngest daughter we adopted and she was 12 when we got her. She likes to tell you when she was 12 years overdue, but I love that. Yeah, she's adorable. But, and we went through the ropes with her she had it's not just one or two or three drama But probably more than 100 in her lifetime, she was seven years in foster care with 11 different placements. Oh, other failed adoptions. So just a ton of stuff. But it was interesting to me that, and I found out as I was learning more that, why was she picking friends and people to be around? That were just like the people who would hurt her? Yeah. And that was just confusing to me. To me, you would just want to be as far away as you could. And I found out that that's actually a fairly typical reaction to all of this.

Danielle Ingenito  5:39  
Yeah, what happens is, we want to get back to our comfort zone. And a lot of the times like we don't realize, and it sounds so crazy to us. But sometimes our comfort zone is misery. Yeah, sadness is toxic. And that's what we're searching for. Because we're so used to the ups and the downs and the roller coaster ride that, you know, they give us love, take it away, give us love, take it away. We keep searching for that up and down. This is why we're attracted to drama and attracted to toxic people, because it gives us the ups and downs. And for a lot of the women that I work with, might resonate with the women here is that when we get a good guy, or a good partner in a relationship, we don't know what to do with them. This was me after my divorce. I had a good guy. And I was like literally said to him, I don't know what to do with you. Because he was too nice. He was too good. And because I was searching for the toxicity that I was used to.

DJ Stutz  6:31  
Hmm, yeah, I came to the conclusion. I felt like her comfort zone was chaos. Yep. Yeah. And as soon as things started looking like they were going well, she would work so hard on accomplishing something. And she would just be maybe two or three steps away from completing this amazing thing. And she blow it. Because I think she just didn't match what her self identity was. Absolutely, yeah. Yeah. And we take that then into our adulthood. Right? Yep. And into our own parenting, and things that we say, I'm never going to do that to my kids. And then we do it. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So where do you think is a good place to start for these sweet women who are just dealing with their past life?

Danielle Ingenito  7:27  
Yeah, you know, I think a good place to start is just kind of to be aware of our own parenting. One thing that I really work with women on is projection, where we project onto our children how we felt, and I'll give you a quick example of this from from my life, my father left when I was nine years old. So around 11, or 12, I keep saying 911 or 12. And it was nine years that it didn't seem for. But during that time, like I was very, I actually I moved into anger had a lot of anger. And I actually became an overachiever, which is one of the codependent personas that I work with, because I was going to prove to him that I didn't need him in my life. So I did great in school, and I, you know, have a successful business and all this stuff. But what happened is when I got divorced, and my ex husband was only coming around once a week, he had a new girlfriend like a week after we got separated. And I started to project my feelings of abandonment onto my daughter. And I had to come to a place when during my healing journey, where I realized that she is not going through the same thing that I am, I do not have to help her in the same way that someone needed to help me which didn't. But she has the father, the father is still in her life, even though he's not there. As much as I want him to be there for them. He was still there where mine wasn't. And I was projecting onto her how I felt when my father left. And I finally realized that she didn't feel that way. It was me thinking that she felt that way. And that's what projection looks onto our kids. And like we're going to be talking about in here about abuse and stuff in the past. And if you've been abused in the past, especially, you know, women, women that I work with, even men too, they have been sexually abused in the past. And we then start to project that onto our children, like it's going to happen to them or if it does, we project that it happened kind of they're going through exactly what we went through. And their experience might be completely different, whether that worse or better than, you know, as better as abuse can be than ours. So we really have to kind of get our own stuff out of the way so that we can actually work with what they are truly going through.

DJ Stutz  9:49  
That is such a difficult distinction, though, for people to make. Yeah, and to separate that out. And so I think working with people Like you finding that support, but someone who kind of knows what they're doing, you can have the best friend and they're wonderful, and they're great. And so you know, he's a jerk, he's this, he's that, or she, or whatever you could be men get abused, as well. Absolutely, young boys get abused, and then they later become fathers, and then have to deal with that as well. And I think it's very different for a girl to go through that experience and for a guy to go through that experience. And so finding the right people to really help you make that separation. So this might be kind of weird. So my dad, I mean, imagine, he died in 92. Very suddenly 57, you know, quite young, he would be in his upper 80s, almost 90 by now. And he, in high school had a teacher who made forward passes at him. And, and that affected my dad hugely, and the way that he would react to people being around us kids. And so I think if we look at the whole picture, and I, we tend to concentrate a lot on women, but I think men need to be in that as well. And recognizing, when I'm dealing with my kids, is this really, like you said, Is this really what my child needs? Or is it what I'm projecting? Onto my child?

Danielle Ingenito  11:32  
Absolutely. And I think I feel, you know, I'm not gonna say men have it worse. But I feel as though women can at least talk about it. Because it's so known, where if men go through something like this, I feel like they have to hide it, because it makes them less masculine. Or, you know, there's a lot of shame around that. And they don't want to share that with anybody. So I feel like they hide it, or they not that they hide it, but they just don't share and they, they push it down. And that's not the right thing to do. Because then you're just gonna hold on to it forever. And I talk about triggers a lot. And what happens is when you get triggered, so say, for instance, if you hear a story about something like that, all of that stuff will come up for you and make you feel like you're going through it again.

DJ Stutz  12:15  
Yeah. And actually, it's interesting. I didn't find out about my Dad's experience, until I was an adult with children. And I didn't find out about it from him. I found out about it from my mom. Wow. So he wasn't the one to be open and talking about it. Which I think especially when you're looking at that generation as well, it's man up and power through. Yeah.

Danielle Ingenito  12:40  
And I think for men like it has happened more than I know, it has happened more than I thought, because I have a few men in my life that have has had it happen. And because of the work that I do they feel comfortable enough to share that with me. And but I would never have known that in the past, you know, because they would never have shared it. So I think it happens more than we even No, just people do not share their stories because they're ashamed of it.

DJ Stutz  13:04  
Yeah. And that's so sad, that they feel shame over that. That's something that they had no power, no control over. And but getting over that shame is such a huge hurdle, to then being able to look outward and see how it How are my fears, how are my you know, my own shame, my own guilt. I have a really dear friend that was sexually assaulted. Think she was just seven or eight just a little thing. And you know, she's my age. So it wasn't a time when you would go and get a ton of, you know, therapy and all of that. Her mom cried a lot, which made her feel more guilty. Because now it's my fault. My mom's so distraught, right. And even growing up, when they would talk about, you know, in church or whatever, you know, the law of chastity and all of that, and she just felt so guilty. And this was she was like seven or eight years old. This is nothing that she had anything to do with. And she's managed to get through it. She's happily married for, you know, one marriage ton of years, ton of kids blah, blah, blah. So she has managed to get through it. But I think her husband was really great in helping her get through that. But I just feel bad for kids or, well, kids feel the guilt when it's happened. And they're young. Then they feel the guilt again, as they're growing up. And then as their parents.

Danielle Ingenito  14:40  
Yeah, I work with women in their 60s and even in their 70s Wow. And they are holding on to this stuff still to this day, because we don't learn how to really heal it, you know, and I and then again, then we think about oh my gosh, is this gonna happen to our children? And we can either go Two ways we can you know, it's like parenting too. It's like, okay, I'm not like for my mom, she was narcissistic. And I'm like, I am not going to parents like she did, right, we always say that I'm not easy. We talked about in the beginning, right? We are not gonna do that. And I always say, for my kids I send my daughter got the worst of me, because it was before I healed, she was six when I got divorced, and my son was three. So he got the best of me. And she was six already, which is the subconscious beliefs and all the things were already forming for her. So she has a lot of my behaviors. And I'm like, Ah, and I keep telling her, I'm like, listen, I do not want to be this way. Like, we have to change this now. Well, it will not. But it's, it's funny, and I just want to share this is that what I have learned is that we are going to mess up our children. And I think that we put so much pressure on ourselves, that we have to be perfect. And especially in this world with social media, like things weren't like this before. Like, my kids are outside right now playing. And I'm like, I'm not outside, people are gonna judge me for not being outside with them. But I can see them through the window, right. But it's like, we put so much pressure that we have to be this way I remember growing up and I'm in the back of a station wagon, my no car seats, my mom's smoking in the car, like, you know what I mean? Nowadays, it's like, oh, my gosh, you're horrible parent, if that's. So I think we just put so much pressure on ourselves as parents, and I'm just going to tell you now you're gonna mess up your kids. But the one thing that you can do is heal yourself so that you can like the women I work with. They're healing their kids, and their kids are sometimes in their 20s and 30s. Now, because they learned how to heal, so now they can help their children heal. And I think that's like, one of the key things is to get yourself good. So that you can be there for your children, else, your children are going to keep triggering you, and you're not going to be good in order to help them you know, so just accept that you're gonna mess up your kids. It's okay. And you can be the best parent

DJ Stutz  17:06  
ever. Yeah.

Danielle Ingenito  17:10  
And you can still mess up your kids. So take the pressure off. Yeah, take the pressure off.

DJ Stutz  17:15  
Well, there's a there's a comedian, I think his name is Jeff Allen. I'm pretty sure it's Jeff. I know, Alan, his last name for sure. And he has this sticky does about raising teenagers. And he says, I just say if you think I've wronged you write it down, come, I'll initial it. You're not going to be perfect. You're not. He's an eye. He said, I don't understand how, you know, your parents are in their 60s 70s. And all of a sudden, they're getting a call from their adult child. You ruined by lives, you know? And he says, All right, what do you want me to do? Come move back home, we'll do a do over like, what are you expecting? All the papers that you that I initial will go in? I'll tell the therapist all that crap. I did. I'm gonna go golf now. And but as hard as you try, and your intentions are so good, yeah, you're gonna screw up. And that's why we call it imperfect heroes. Yes, is there's just no such thing as a perfect parent. And I've seen kids who come from just dire circumstances. And yet they go on to become these most amazing people very successful. I was just reading actually, I was just reading this morning about Abraham Lincoln, and awful childhood that he had and talk about abuse, man, I mean, emotional and physical. And he grew up to change the world, literally.

Danielle Ingenito  18:44  
And most of us do. Like that's the thing. So think about that, too. Like, everything I went through made me stronger. Yeah, I don't think we need to go through that to be strong. But we'll see in the coming years, you know, yeah, you know, but one thing that you mentioned there, and I think it's key to point out is that this is what I'm talking about triggers, because when our children come to us to tell us that we're making them feel a certain way. The first thing we usually do if we're not healed, is we get defensive. And we try to put it back on them that it's their fault. And the blamer you know, we're always blaming other people for everything where because we don't take accountability for ourselves. So I'm always telling my daughter and my son, Have I done anything to upset you. And if they're saying something to me, I listen, I listen. And I tried to change it, so that we can have good communication and have a good relationship. Do I take fault for everything? No, but I tried to explain it to them to where I think I am at fault and I am at times, and then I think it's their perception of stuff. So we have that conversation. But if you get triggered right away, because you don't feel good enough yourself because of everything you've been through. You're not going to be able to handle that kind of conversation, and it's going to make comms Like to in your relationship with your children, because they're going to feel like they can't come to you and actually express themselves, because they're going to make you mad or sad or upset. Yes. So when we heal, we're able to have better relationships with our children, because I was actually just on a call with ladies this morning about this, and just how to communicate with their children. And she's, I think, in her 60s, and her son is 27. So you want to learn it early and have that conversation when they're these small ages, because then they will grow up trusting you, knowing that and especially with the women I work with, I have realized that the things that you need to do for your children, even though we're gonna mess them up, is know that they can always come to us and talk to us about their feelings. Because the women I work with, if they don't we shut down, we shut down, we don't cry, we don't share. And we keep it all to ourselves. And we don't want that for our kids. We want them to be happy and open and loving and protected. You know, all of that good stuff. So Right.

DJ Stutz  20:57  
Well, in fact, I have a family that in my coaching program, and we kind of had some one on one coaching. And the kids were their biggest complaint, because the mom is like, I can't, that my kids are mad at me all the time and data and what their older kids yessum youngers, but she does have some older kids. And they were saying every time we come to my mom with a problem, she turns it around, and it makes it about her. Exactly. Yep. And that was what was making that conflict and trying to help her through it. And she's still working on it. It's very hard to get through sometimes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I agree. So one of the things too, that I'm really interested in and wanting to help parents understand a little bit. So I'm kind of a dichotomy within myself, but aren't we all? And so I really believe in kids having time in the backyard without mom looking over them. You know, and Colorado actually just passed a law, I think it's called the right to play law or something. Where, yeah, Isn't that sad? Yeah. Where they have to make it a law that it's okay for children to have time unsupervised, in the front yard or whatever, or left the park, that's a block away, because people would call and then Family Services gets involved. And it's just this huge nightmare. So they actually passed a law, that children have the right to play outside of parent supervision, which is so important in their development, so important. But then at the same time, I really support that kind of stuff. I also am very concerned about the predators that now can get to our children. And they're finding so many different ways of getting to them that, you know, the average person might not even think of because it's so depraved. Does that Yeah, absolutely. So with the internet with the screens. And even in schools, again, in Colorado, there's a school district, it's called Adams 12. And it's north of Denver, a little bit north of Denver, and this mom, her son was reading a book for school. And so she, you know, being a good parent, she's looking at it, and she's like, This is absolute pornography, it's talking about oral sex, it's talking about other faults operandi being added on to things. I mean, it's, it's, it's horrible. And so she took the book, she said, You're not reading this anymore. And the teacher had a big heart attack over it and was mad at the mom. And so she took it to the school board, and was reading from this book that they were requiring her junior high school kid to read. And they told her, she was being inappropriate. And they warned her not to go further. She says, Wait a minute, you're forcing my child to read it. But it's too offensive to you. You know, and that made some national news and certainly around here. So we've got this attack on our kids from all kinds of areas that I didn't have, and even my own children, you know, they're all adults and raising their kids. I mean, they had some of it, and I was in the PTA, actually a state president. I was on the national board of directors. And so I was aware of probably a lot more than the average parent was at that time, but it's gone up so exponentially. Now that it's almost impossible. But it's interesting to me that people who would groom a child to molest them and there's a for sure grooming process that takes place. They also groom the parents.

Danielle Ingenito  24:49  
Yes. And just to add to that, because I don't think it's really talked about that much. But with all the women that I have worked with, we're not just looking outside the family, you know, A lot of the women I work with is it's in the family. It is grandparents. It is uncle's. It's aunts, it's brothers and sisters and friends of your best friend, your brother of the best friend. And it's very Oh, I'm getting chills like it is close. It is close now. Yes. With a tiny Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So we have to be aware. And either way, whether it's in the family or if it's online or out and about, I think there's kind of two things that we have to have to do is, first of all, we have to talk to our children. Because if they are unaware, because we don't want to talk about sex, we don't want to talk about body parts. We don't we're uncomfortable. Again, this goes to your healing. Like we're uncomfortable to talk about this stuff. We don't want them to know anything about it. Well, then we're not preparing them. And this isn't just like, this isn't just say, Oh, you see a stranger stranger danger run away. Like you're saying they groom them. So they become friends with them. They become friends with the family, and you have no idea. And then a lot of the women I work with will tell their parents and then their parents don't believe them. Because salutely Yeah, because now they're their friends. And then how do we deal with that situation? Like, who do we believe my brother molested my daughter, like, Who do I believe, you know, and it becomes this whole big thing. So we have to prepare them, we have to talk to them. You know, my son is eight years old, my daughter is going to be 12. They know about sex. They know I talk about sex, they know about their periods, they like my son knows about periods. Like I know. He's gonna be a really good husband. Like, I don't hold anything back. And when I hear something, I heard this thing on Tik Tok one day, where it was somebody pretended to be a girl, and asked the boy to send her pictures. And then they took the pictures and posted it all over. And he killed himself. Yeah. Because of it. Because, and this is the thing with predators, especially when they're grooming, okay, so we're talking about people that are getting in to your family, they will make it so that the kids are scared to tell their parents, they will say they will kill their family, your parents won't believe you, I'll kill them, I'll kill you, like very deep threats. And I already talked to my kids, I said, I don't care what they say, you tell me and we will, we will work through it together. And it was very interesting with my daughter, because I had just said something, there's something going on with her in school. And she's like, No, because you're gonna go to the teacher and I said, Listen, I said, I will never do that to you, I will never be that parent. Because I will work with you. So that you are comfortable in how we deal with the situation. And when you have those kind of conversations with your kids, you build their trust, like when my daughter says, Don't tell anybody, I don't tell anybody. Because I build that trust with her go tell a boyfriend that I'm with or my mom or anything, like, I want to build that trust with them. I feel like sometimes we feel like children are just like, share, whatever. And it's like a joke, you know, like crush it. I hate when parents do this. They're like, Oh, you have a crush on so and so Oh, you have a crush, and so and so. And it shames them, you know, we have to really learn how to work with our children and not make them feel dumb or stupid. Again, this is what I work with, with women, because this is how they feel bad about themselves growing up, and it continues for the rest of their life. So with my kids, I'm just like, with my son, he gets very shy about it. I'm like, It's okay, if you have a crush on someone, I don't need to know who it is. But it's okay that you do, you know, I'm happy that you do, we'll allow them to be who they are, and not what we think they should be. And when you build that trust, they're going to trust what you say to so when you say that anybody touches you in any way, like, tell me right away, and they're gonna be like, okay, because you have built that trust with them. And even if the person says like, I'm gonna hurt you or hurt the, they're gonna trust what you say, not what this person says. So it's really, really important to build that bond.

DJ Stutz  29:10  
It is. And one of the things that I do with even with my students, and I did this with my kids, if anybody ever says, Don't tell your parents, don't tell your mom, don't tell your dad, what is the first thing that you do? You go tell them? You know, and I've tried to make sure that even my little guys that I work with, they know that if anybody said don't tell your mom that we are doing, and I don't care what it is, and I don't get into any of the sexuality, because that's not my place, and my kids are too young. But I do just say if anyone says this is our secret, don't tell your family. You need to tell your family. Yeah. And so because it could be like maybe a friend is trying to get them to steal something or you know, we Yeah, I mean it could be all kinds of things, it doesn't have to be a sexual thing, then we can just make sure that we don't keep secrets from our parents. Yeah, or from anybody. And so that's, that's just a really important thing, I think, to manage with our kids. And they can be four. And we say, we don't keep secrets. And I'm here for you, and good or bad. I want to be there with you. And we start that at a very early age. And so then as they grow up, but once they hit, you know, teens or tweens or whatever, you know, it's natural for them to want to separate themselves. That's their thing going into it. So it's during those early years that you really, really have to build that trust, so that they feel comfortable even during those harder years. That you we just don't keep secrets. Yeah. And that's part of what keeps us safe. Yeah.

Danielle Ingenito  31:01  
And I think it's important to be specific, and get dirty, because I just broke up with my boyfriend. But he, his son is 13 years old. And he didn't want to have the conversation, the bees in the birds like conversation, and I'm just like, they are my kids already know about the birds and the bees. You know, we don't talk about birds and bees, we talk about specifically the real language, we don't talk around topics anymore, because it's out there, they're gonna see it on social media, they're gonna see this. So I explain it to them, instead of avoiding it, I explain it to them so that they know what's right and what's wrong. So I think it's really important to be specific. And if you are able to really get down and dirty with the topics and the words and really specific, I feel like they're going to trust you more than Well, there's birds and bees. And when the birds do this, and the bees do this, and this happens, it's just confusing. It's confusing. So get to the point, let them know that you're not afraid to talk about it, because then they won't be afraid to talk about it.

DJ Stutz  32:03  
Right. And I remember my mom, when we were eight, or at least when I was eight, and I'm the oldest. I remember she had a book, and she brought it in. And it was very accurate. And the language of it was very accurate. And so we had a big talk. And it wasn't just one talk, it was several. And that's another thing that's important is you can't just have a talk and check it off. Done. We're good. Yeah, it's something that has to be constantly. And you brought up a really good point, in that. If you don't explain it to them, they're gonna get it somewhere else. And what they get somewhere else, I guarantee you is going to be skewed and corrupted. And whatever. And I was reading on I can't remember where I saw it was somewhere online. But they were saying that the average age that young boys are first exposed to pornography nowadays is eight years old. I believe it? Yep. Yeah, it's eight years old. And that's average. So you know, there's a ton of kids that are lower, and it's from things that are on television or on YouTube or on whatever device that they're on it. It's just in your face. And if you think that's not grooming, you're fooling yourself. Oh, yeah. Is there getting it out there? And now it's possible to groom children who you never even meet? Mm hmm. Yeah,

Danielle Ingenito  33:40  
absolutely online, my kid. And this is the thing like we can't, I know, like some people have devices where we can see everything that they're doing. But again, you're not preparing, you're not protecting them. Because you're the one in control, we need to teach them to be the one in control. So with my children, I specifically tell them like I tell them, Listen, there are people out there women and men who are older than kids who are pretending to be kids on the internet. So you do not want to talk to anybody that you do not know, on the internet. And even if you do know them, they might not be who you think they are, you know, and share stories with them. And usually we don't want to do this because we don't want to corrupt our kids or we don't want to scare our kids. But my kids aren't scared. They're prepared. They know what's out there. And I think we're always going to have that fear. Like my, my daughter walked down the block yesterday. And my son's like, can she walk back and walk down and back by yourself? And I'm thinking, but I'm like, yes, she can't like I have to in my mind go nothing is going to happen to her. Nothing is going to happen. I think were more scared than the kids are scared. Right? So we have to get ourself in check. And then we have to trust them but in order to trust them, we have to make sure that they're prepared. So knowing how these things happen, knowing that it's in the family, you know, I'm always asking them, especially with my with my daughter, like, does daddy shower? You does, you know, because I don't know what goes on at that house. And yeah, I'm gonna I'm even going to worry about the people that are in my life. My mom, my stepfather, I'm always watching, you know, I'm always being aware. And I think awareness is always key. So as parents, all we can do is be aware and protect our kids as much as possible, but prepare them so that they can protect themselves. Because when they're out at the playground and some vibe and do like mock stories with the kids, like, Oh, someone comes through and says that mommy wanted me to pick you up from school today, we have a safety word, you know, if they don't know that word, my kids, yeah. So we have to prepare them and protect them. And also check ourselves and be aware of situations. And it's sorry to say this, but really not trust anybody, but not in a way that you're you think everybody's doing something. But just be very aware of everybody in your life, and just how close they are with your child? Are they touching them weird? Are they bringing them places? Are they bringing them gifts? Are they trying to form a really strict bond with them, and then all of a sudden, you see, they're acting different, they're not around you as much, and they're kind of on the phone or iPads a lot. You just have to be really aware. And again, if you're in your own stuff, it's hard to be aware of what's happening around you, if you're working too much or stressed out, or anxiety, depression, PTSD, all that stuff, like you're in your own head. And it's gonna be really hard to be aware of what's happening around surroundings, whether your kids are acting weird, or whether people are acting weird around you, or, Hey, can Johnny come over to the house and play with us today? You know, like, I get very cautious about when my kids go to places, you know, I want to know who's there. But I also have to know that I have to allow, I can't protect them all the time. And I think that's really important. Because what's important to know is that if anything does happen, it's not your fault as a parent, first of all, okay, this is toxic relationships, one to one. It's like they are manipulators. They will manipulate kids, they will manipulate parents, they will manipulate teachers, teachers, you know, I love teachers, we got to watch out, we got to watch out for everybody. So we have to talk to our children. If we're scared to talk to our children, we're not going to know what's happening. Kids. Oh, my gosh, people are telling me like sixth graders are having sex in bathrooms? Like, yeah, we think it's not until they're a teenager, it's

DJ Stutz  37:44  
happening. It's happening in elementary schools.

Danielle Ingenito  37:47  
Yes. So we have to be aware, we have to have communication with our children. And then we also on the other side, do as much as we can, as best as we can. But realize bad things are gonna happen. And we can't protect them from everything, we're gonna have to let them go and live their lives. But when you're healed, you can help them heal, or you can find help to help them. And the women I work with, you can get over it, you can get through it, you can heal from it. So it's not a lifelong sentence. If something like this does happen, and this is physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, there's all different kinds of things to watch out for. But, yeah,

DJ Stutz  38:28  
another thing too, that I think is really interesting is that I've been because of my roles as a parent leader in various organizations, I've been able to attend a couple of work groups or seminars, or one was a three day Summit, specifically on child predators. And one of the things that I thought was really interesting, and this was one that was done by the police department in Las Vegas. And they were talking to, I was included, but they also had a casino security and stuff. And so places where some of these things can happen. And it was interesting that they said that so often, the parents are so groomed, that when all of this information comes forth, and they see it, they will still take the side of the aggressor over their own child, because they have been so groomed Oh no, he's my best friend. He would never do that. He's the best neighbor we've ever had. They would never do that kind of a thing. And it just shocked me that they would believe that person over their own child. But they said it happens all the time. So I think our message is twofold today is that number one, if it's happened to us, there's help available it's okay to talk about it with people that you trust, and then find someone who knows how to get you through Through it all, so that we're not projecting it on to our children or our spouse. because something happened. My mom was unfortunately molested by an uncle when she was very young. And, again, I didn't know about this until I was older, it would have made a lot more sense to me. She would never let us close the bathroom door to the bathroom, that door better be open. And so in my mind, I'm thinking that must have been where it happened. But it was an uncle. And everybody loved the uncle. And he said, no one will believe you. And so she was scared her whole life and and then it was when she was an adult that it came out my grands nearly she was ready to go kill them. Literally. She she was gonna go kill them. I went to Yeah, I think it was her and her younger sister. What happened? And so she, you know, she was projecting all of that fear with the bathroom. And we just thought Mom was crazy. But she probably was anyway. But

Danielle Ingenito  41:03  
I think it's important for us to share our stories, too. Like I wouldn't share this young boy. But you know, as they become teenagers, I would share our stories, because again, you're teaching them it's okay to talk about it. It's okay to share. It's okay. It's not a bad thing. So yeah, yeah. And again, I want to change your life. If your mom had shared that a little bit earlier, you probably know exactly, yeah, closer, really? Yeah,

DJ Stutz  41:26  
for sure. So that's our first part of our message. And then the other part is being aware of the signs and of what's going on in your own families, and in your own neighborhood, and finding a way to protect your child without, I guess, not giving them the experiences that they need to be independent and to be decision makers. And so those two things kind of can come against each other. You're wanting to protect your child, but they need to have things on their own. And so finding that balance, but that's all part of healing, don't you think?

Danielle Ingenito  42:01  
Yeah, absolutely. Because as you heal again, I think what happens is like, we feel like we have to protect our children. Because if we don't, we aren't good parents. And again, it comes back to us, we aren't good enough, we aren't enough. So when you finally heal yourself and feel like you are good enough, no matter what happens to my children, I know that I've done the best that I can do. And the only thing I can do now is help them get through whatever they're getting through. Yeah, so yeah,

DJ Stutz  42:25  
here's that. So if people want to find out more information, or get in touch with you, where would they go?

Danielle Ingenito  42:32  
They can find me on Facebook, and I'm also on Tik Tok. But if you'd like Facebook, or Instagram, I'm over there and and on YouTube. So just search Daniel engineer, so you will find lots of good stuff. And I actually wrote, I want to say this, I wrote an article for a magazine, about what not to say when someone comes up and tells you they've been sexually abused and not believing them is the number one thing not to do for them, because they will shut down, they will just internalize everything. So you have to believe what they say in the beginning. So if this ever does happen to you, you have to believe them, and then work through that together. And then if it comes out that it's not real, or whatever, but you have, you have to have to have to believe them. And I know that some children will lie and stuff like that. But ultimately believe them first, and then work through that to see if it is something true or if it's not, but don't ever just pick the other person because your child needs you to believe them. Right. And again, if you build that trust, I think it wouldn't be a problem. But

DJ Stutz  43:35  
well, and I'll tell you to I mean, it does happen when kids will decide they don't like this person. But I think it's pretty rare. And I think that if you first work on believing them and moving forward with that, it'll come out whether it's true or not. Exactly. So there's that. So I always asked the same question. I asked all my guests, and I'm gonna just blindside you. Okay, I'm nervous. Now, how would you define a successful parent?

Danielle Ingenito  44:07  
I think a successful parent is someone that loves their child in the way that their child needs to be loved, and accepts their child for who they are. Bottom line.

DJ Stutz  44:21  
I think that's a great point to bring him out loving your child in the way they need to be loved. And I think we've talked before and we talked a little bit about those five love languages. Yeah, I'll probably have to have you on. Okay. We'll talk about some of those things do so be sure to keep listening. I'm Danielle's going to be back and have some other conversations on some of the things that she has her fingers in. And thank you so much for taking this time to be with us.

Danielle Ingenito  44:51  
Now, thank you. I've loved being here and sharing everything and connecting with your audience too.

DJ Stutz  44:56  
It's amazing. All right. We'll talk to you again soon. Thank you. I love that Danielle said her children aren't scared, they are prepared. And this is an important point. And something to keep in mind as you're talking with your children about staying safe, and what to do if anything does happen. There is a fine line between giving your kids the space and the freedom that they need to become independent and problem solvers. And then protecting them so much, that they don't develop those critical skills that they're going to need as they grow and become adults. Danielle also talked about not projecting your fears and concerns on your children. Remember, they are not you. They have their own personalities, their own way of working through things, and their own experiences, which are not always the same as your life experiences. So remember that childhood trauma does not always mean sexual trauma. And if you're struggling with the memories of the death of a loved one, managing to overcome feeling less, because of being berated and emotionally abused, it is so important to find out, there are groups and counselors to help you and you will find that in healing, you will be on your way to being a better parent. So if you want to know more about Danielle and the work that she does, all that information is in the show notes below. 

So I am remembering back that as I was raising my kids, I did have a habit of raising my voice way too often. And when was the last time you really paid attention to someone who was yelling at you? Were you inspired to draw closer to that person? Did you feel comfortable with your relationship with that person? Do you feel like your kids don't listen to you unless you're yelling at them? Do you feel like yelling promotes your relationship with your kids? Or would you like to learn how to get them to listen to you as you just talked to them? On July 25, I am going to start a 10 day challenge to help parents learn tools and techniques to stop yelling at their kids and build stronger relationships with strong boundaries in peace and kindness. And during these 10 days, we will connect with five live events on a Facebook group just for you and others who are looking to have a calm, loving home for everyone. If you are interested, you can go to my website and just register for this free challenge, just click on the link in the shownotes. And then we are going to have some fun and just learn a ton. I keep asking. But while you're checking out those show notes, go ahead and leave a rating and review and follow the podcast. Taking time to give the podcast a five star rating. And a review makes the podcast easier to find. And we are then able to help more families. I want to remind you that I have a Facebook page just for the podcast now. So you can find me at imperfect heroes podcast on Facebook. And my Tuesday night live events are now there instead of at the Little Hearts Academy page. So check that out. It's at 7pm Mountain Standard Time. And next week. My guest is Nicole Thompson. She is the author of a new book on training your brain and we talk about how we can do that for our smallest kids. It's such interesting work. So join us next week and see what I mean. And until next time, let's find joy in parenting. Bye everyone.

Transcribed by

Danielle IngenitoProfile Photo

Danielle Ingenito

Spiritual Coach

Danielle Ingenito, The Expert in Healing After Toxic Relationships helps women turn their pain into power.

She is the creator of the Let it Go Method which is a step-by-step process of helping women awaken their true self-worth & let go of the constant feeling of needing validation from other people.

Danielle is a Certified Life Coach and has helped thousands of women take their power back in her challenges and transformational programs.

She has nurtured a 100,000+ person following on both TikTok and YouTube. Danielle is a sought-after speaker on podcasts and summits, including AVAIYA University, and has been featured on Authority Magazine, Thrive Global & UpJourney.