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Book Summary: Raising Good Humans – A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids

Raising Good Humans (2019) is a mindful parenting guide that teaches you how to stop yelling and get grounded. It features healthy practices that can help you break generational cycles and be a better parent.


You’re running late when your toddler decides she doesn’t want to wear shoes to preschool. You yell that she’s going to wear shoes “because I said so” – a phrase you vowed to never use with your kids. Immediately, you give yourself the World’s Worst Parent award. You can avoid this react-and-blame cycle, explains mindfulness expert Hunter Clarke-Fields. A mindful approach to parenting can help you stay calm during stressful moments, and allow you to communicate more thoughtfully and effectively. With practice, you can build stronger family relationships and enjoy a peaceful, loving home.


  • Mindfulness quiets ill-considered reactivity.
  • A mind that preoccupies itself with planning and to-do lists may miss the concerns of the present moment.
  • Instead of trying to suppress anger and other powerful emotions, acknowledge them.
  • Unforgiving and critical self-talk undermines your ability to parent well.
  • People expend a lot of energy and effort repressing strong and uncomfortable emotions.
  • Active listening and supportive responses form the basis for a strong parent-child relationship.
  • Express your own needs clearly.
  • Neither punishment nor permissiveness teaches the right lessons.
  • Mindful parenting routines support strong family connections and create a peaceful, loving home.

Introduction: Stop yelling at your kids, and start feeling good about your parenting skills.

Ever yelled at your kid? Well, join the club. Kids are wonderful, but they can test your nerves to the point that you’d have to be a saint not to snap.

Still, it doesn’t feel good to yell – and deep down inside, you probably know that it’s damaging your relationship. If you’re ready to break the reactionary cycles that have been handed down to you from the generations before, this summary is for you.

Book Summary: Raising Good Humans - A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids

There’s no magic cure to end yelling; even with guidance, you’re bound to slip once in a while. But you can begin to heal your inner wounds, learn to interrupt your reactions, and start cultivating healthier connections with your children.

In this summary to Hunter Clarke-Fields’ Raising Good Humans, you’ll explore the daily practice that will help shrink the reactionary part of your brain and strengthen the problem-solving part. You’ll discover strategies for managing your own big emotions so you can pass those skills on to your kids. And you’ll learn to build cooperation through connectedness – and ultimately create a lifelong positive relationship with your children.

With that in mind, let’s dive in.

You can’t control this.

There you are, looking your five-year-old dead in the eye. For the third time you say, “Don’t you dare touch that vase.”

Time slows down. Silence fills the room. Maybe you hear the distant rustle of a tumbleweed rolling by as the standoff intensifies. Your little angel smiles devilishly, stares at you without flinching, and pokes the vase – knocking it to the floor with a crash.

What are you supposed to do? We’ll start with what you can’t control. Whatever feelings come up – possibly a rush of rage and indescribable frustration – are beyond your control. Your stress response is natural and automatic. It comes from a part of your brain called the amygdala.

Here’s the bad news: when you’re in a state of high stress and your amygdala is activated, you are not capable of responding in a logical, controlled way. The part of your brain that thinks and considers is called the prefrontal cortex – and it’s completely paralyzed when you’re in a state of fight, flight, or freeze.

So is that it? You’re just doomed to yell at your kids until they stop pushing all your buttons?

Of course not. Here’s the good news: the answer to the problem of reactions that are out of your – and your kids’ – control is mindfulness.

Yes, we’ve all heard the term. Frankly, it has been used to death in everything from Instagram stories to parenting podcasts. But here’s the deal. Research using MRI scans has shown that after only eight weeks of some kind of consistent mindfulness practice – whether it’s meditation or yoga or something else – the amygdala actually shrinks. Even better, the connections between your prefrontal cortex and the rest of your brain grow stronger.

So as much as we’re becoming jaded to the concept of mindfulness, it’s truly the best and only practice that can help us break the generational cycles of yelling, punishing, and raging at our kids.

To get a good grasp of what mindfulness means in the context of this summary, here’s an exercise you can do. Pick an activity. It can be washing the dishes, going for a walk, taking a bath, or anything else really.

Let’s say you choose washing the dishes. To practice mindfulness, you’re going to slow down your mind. Instead of rushing through the dishes to get it done, begin inhaling and exhaling deeply and intentionally. Listen to the sound of the water. Take note of how it feels running over your hands. Give names to any feelings that arise.

Be mindful of each moment in the process.

And that’s it. You’ve begun training your brain, teaching it to take control of its perceptions. Keep in mind that this is a practice – meaning it is ongoing and requires consistency. This is also the foundation you’re going to build your new, amazing parenting skills on.

You’ve got issues, too.

Your kids aren’t the only ones with issues. And if you want to keep from passing yours on to them, it’s time to understand what triggers you and why.

When your five-year-old laughed maniacally as the vase shattered to the ground, you got mad. Maybe you got scared. Why?

Your next exercise is to think about how that situation would have gone in your own childhood. What would your mom or dad have said to you? What would they have done? How would that have made you feel?

Hopefully as you do this, you’re looking back at yourself as a child and feeling compassion. We’re not here to shame ourselves every time we get triggered, or to beat ourselves up for reacting badly. We’re here to model love to our children by first loving ourselves. So identify those triggers, and then give yourself a kind and compassionate pep talk.

Continue practicing the mindfulness we explored in part one. And the next time something triggering arises, do your best to interrupt your reaction. Take a deep breath, and walk away until your emotions come down and you can deal with the issue in a calm, intentional manner.

More on that shortly.

Self-talk is your guide.

Whenever you’re about to admonish yourself, ask, Would you talk to your friends that way? If not, you shouldn’t be talking to yourself that way.

For most parents, the inner voice is critical and focused on blame and shame. The problem is, our external actions are directly guided by what we’re cultivating on the inside. That means that we have to do some of the hardest work imaginable – we have to love ourselves.

When you mess up, what does your inner voice sound like?

If it’s accusatory, critical, or shaming, you’re far from alone. But imagine what it would be like if, when you mess up, a kind voice said to you, “I noticed you were feeling very upset when you yelled at your child. Something must be bothering you. Wanna talk about it?”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Then you would have the chance to understand yourself a little better. You could identify what went wrong and why it went wrong. You could make a plan for how to manage better next time.

Not surprisingly, this is going to be the same advice you get a little later on how to talk to your kids. How you talk to yourself will inform how you talk to your kids. In other words, treating yourself with love and kindness is foundational to becoming a better parent.

If you’re wondering about the broken vase and who’s going to clean it up and how you’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again – stop. Take a breath. And don’t worry. Boundaries will be upheld, but first we have to deal with that amygdala. Remember, the calm, decision-making part of the brain can’t operate if the amygdala is fully activated.

Before moving to the next part, here’s a little note about self-care. When you understand the value of treating yourself with loving-kindness, you’ll agree that self-care is not just a luxury; it’s also a responsibility.

Later, we’ll dissect whose needs are more important – yours or your kids. For now, let’s get into feelings.

Feelings are allowed.

Emotions aren’t the enemy. In fact, they often alert us to a danger or an urgent need that should be addressed. Knowing that, it pays to put the spotlight on your emotions. Ignoring them only leads to suffering – and repeating those negative generational cycles.

Unfortunately, the feelings part of the brain doesn’t understand that it’s no longer living in the kind of world where you have to hunt and fight to survive. It still acts as though every threat is a big threat. Because of that, you need to build skills for managing big emotions.

The first skill is acknowledgment. This is the denial of blame and shame, and the simple naming of the feeling.

Hello anger, I see you there.

When you do this, you turn on that paralyzed prefrontal cortex and give it the opportunity to start weighing in on the situation.

My kid just broke a vase on purpose after I told him not to, and I’m feeling very angry. Now he’s crying loudly. He’s probably feeling scared.

In this moment, when emotions are high, acknowledgment and acceptance are all that are needed.

Once you’ve calmed down and your child has calmed down, you can begin to investigate the feelings and the situation.

It’s important to approach this process with open-mindedness and curiosity. You don’t have to fix anything right now. You just need to connect with your child.

The purpose of mindfulness is to control your reactions to big emotions. The purpose of controlling your reactions and parenting mindfully is to build strong connections with your child. You’ll learn why in a minute.

Connection starts with listening.

Assuming you’re calm and ready to deal with a crying child, you’re ready to strengthen your connection with this little person. How? By listening.

The practice of reflective listening means removing judgment and helping your child identify and name their own emotions. Here’s an example.

Your child: “I don’t know why I knocked over the vase.”

You: “You wanted to see what would happen to it.”

Your child: “No, I didn’t want to break it.”

You: “You didn’t want to break it, but you knew it would break.”

Your child: “Yes. I thought you might get mad.”

You: “You wanted to see what Mommy would do.”

Your child: “I’m sorry I broke your vase.”

Reflective listening isn’t about asking questions or solving problems. It’s about understanding. You’re not even the detective in this story. Your goal is to help your child be their own detective so that they can one day manage their own feelings and behaviors in a skillful way.

Not only this, but through the practice of reflective listening, you’re building a strong connection with your child. A connected relationship is a cooperative relationship. There’s no judgment or punishment – just learning and growing.

But your vase is still broken, right? We’ll talk about that next.

You matter, too!

Back in section three, the issue of how to prioritize your needs came up. Your needs aren’t more important than those of your kids – but they are just as important.

So take a moment, and make a list of your needs. These might include sleep, affection, time with friends, a vase that isn’t broken, or any number of other things. Your daily practice should involve taking care of your needs not just for yourself, but as a way to model this behavior for your kids.

One way to communicate this is with “I” messages. These can be tricky. Many people have learned to say, “I feel,” or “I feel like.” But there’s a right way and a wrong way.

Here’s the wrong way: “I feel like you broke my vase on purpose to make me mad.”

This is blaming and judging disguised as an “I” message.

Here’s one right way to do it: “When you broke my vase, it made me feel sad because it was a gift that I really liked. Now I have to clean it up so that nobody gets hurt on the dangerous shards.”

This response states the action in a non-blaming way, describes the truthful feeling, and also lays out how the action affected you.

Now that we’ve talked about your needs and how best to express them, let’s get into what happens when your needs and your child’s needs conflict.

Conflict is normal.

Wherever there are two people living or working together, there will be conflict. Conflict is simply an event where two people have needs that they feel are unmet or are going to be unmet.

First of all, there’s no need to feel bad or guilty about conflict. You shouldn’t punish any of the feelings that arise because of it. Instead, put into practice a good strategy for managing these situations.

First of all, remember that no one who is in an upset state is going to be able to communicate or problem-solve. So before everything, you and your child need to get calm. If anything messy or dangerous has occurred – like a shattered vase – take the time to clean it up.

When you’re ready to talk, first identify which needs you each have. Yours may be to have an orderly, safe home. Your child’s needs may be to get attention or feel the security of good boundaries.

Then invite your child to help you brainstorm a solution. In this stage, there are no bad ideas. Next, evaluate your ideas – and find the one that gets both of your needs met. Decide on a plan of action. And finally, check in on yourself and your child to make sure that you’re both being taken care of.

It’s the little moments.

All of the practices and skills that have been addressed so far are geared toward the ultimate goal of breaking generational cycles and creating strong, healthy, connected relationships in your family. As you build trust and safety through mindfulness and emotional regulation, you can begin to connect in other ways.

Make sure to connect through positive physical touch like hugs or safe roughhousing. Playing with your kids is an important way to connect. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day – even 10 or 15 minutes are enough.

You can also connect by making the home a place where you all work together. Giving children chores and routines grounds them and helps them feel independent but also helpful.

And about that vase – you strengthen your connection by holding healthy boundaries. Respecting each other’s things is a boundary. Chores before fun is a boundary.

Just remember that wherever there are boundaries, there will be conflict. This conflict is normal. And managing this conflict through reflective listening and cooperative resolution can further strengthen your connections.

Most importantly, remember this is a practice that will continue to reward you for as long as you’re a parent.


Mindfulness quiets ill-considered reactivity.

It’s almost time to take your child to school. You go up to his room to see what is keeping him, and he yells, “I don’t want to go to school today!” Do you feel anxiety well up just thinking about this scenario? Stress can trigger an innate fight-or-flight response, which cuts off access to your rational, upper brain. As a result, you snap and start yelling at your child. Later, you feel guilty, ashamed and distraught over your behavior.

“We are at our worst in the parenting department when we’re in reactive mode.”

Fortunately, a mindfulness practice can help you respond differently. Mindfulness – nonjudgmental, deliberate attention to the present moment – quiets reactivity. Mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety and depression, increase positive emotions and bring about a sense of peace. Thus, developing a mindfulness meditation practice is the starting place for becoming less reactive – and remaining calm in exasperating parenting situations.

A mind that preoccupies itself with planning and to-do lists may miss the concerns of the present moment.

As you spend time with your children, your mind may wander to the question of what to make for dinner or how to solve a problem at work. With your brain occupied elsewhere, you may miss your child’s signals about what he or she needs – leading to responses that are more reactive than thoughtful. As you practice mindfulness, however, you can learn to focus your awareness and become less distracted.

“Being present means really seeing, hearing and understanding your child. It means letting go of your agenda and preconceived notions to instead be curious about what is.”

“Mindfully eating a raisin” is an easy mindfulness exercise that only takes a few minutes. Begin by choosing to focus fully on this exercise. Next, hold and examine the raisin as if you never saw one before. Give it your full attention, feel it with your fingers and hold it to your nose to smell it. Place it in your mouth and savor every sensation as you slowly eat the raisin. End the exercise by reviewing everything you experienced. Mindful eating is one method for bringing a mindfulness practice to your everyday routines.

Fitting just five minutes of mindfulness meditation into your busy schedule produces positive results. Begin with a sitting meditation exercise. Sit comfortably in a chair, set a timer for five minutes and gently close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing, saying “breathe in” and “breathe out” in time with your inhales and exhales. As your mind wanders, acknowledge the thoughts, and refocus on your breath. Continue to do this for five minutes. Your “mindfulness muscle” will strengthen with practice, allowing you to experience less stress and anxiety and a greater sense of peace.

Instead of trying to suppress anger and other powerful emotions, acknowledge them.

When your child is upset, you instinctively want to fix the problem. However, it’s better to first acknowledge the emotion he or she is feeling. For example, if your child protests when it’s time to leave the playground, say something like, “Wow, you were having so much fun you don’t want to leave.” Acknowledging and naming emotions makes your child feel respected and heard. Additionally, it helps to admit your own feelings. If you feel irritated with your child’s behavior, you might say, “I’m feeling very grumpy right now.” You’ll feel better, and your child will understand what is happening in that moment. During meditation, pay attention to and name the feelings that associate with the thoughts going through your head.

“Like little spiritual masters, children have the uncanny ability to reveal our unresolved issues.”

Learning what triggers your anger and how to manage those impulses is a powerful practice. This process begins with understanding the aspects of your upbringing, which you carry into your own parent-child relationship. Once you recognize the triggers for negative reactions, you’re free to make different choices. For example, when Sam’s toddler spilled orange juice on the just-washed kitchen floor, Sam lost her temper. She realized that her overreaction stemmed from her parents’ emphasis on cleanliness and perfection. Identifying the source of her anger allowed Sam to change her behavior and avoid repeating the pattern with her own children. Triggers deeply embed themselves in your psyche. It takes time and a deliberate effort to adopt more mindful responses.

“It’s a shame how often we deride ourselves and each other for having strong feelings. It’s like berating someone for breathing.”

Yelling at your children often provokes strong feelings of shame and guilt. If suppressing anger is harmful, and expressing anger is damaging, what are you to do? Take steps to reduce stress. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, spend time with loved ones and practice mindfulness mediation to lower stress levels. Acknowledge your feelings, and practice responding differently when anger arises. Try removing yourself from the situation. Tell yourself affirmations (“You can handle this”). Focus on deep breathing.

Unforgiving and critical self-talk undermines your ability to parent well.

Negative self-talk undercuts your ability to parent well and generates feelings of shame. Researcher Brené Brown explains that while guilt over bad behavior can motivate you to change for the better, shame simply brings you down because it makes you believe you are incapable of change. Replace self-shaming with self-compassion. Practice self-kindness by talking to yourself as you would to a friend. Identify shame-filled thoughts (“I lost my temper” or “I’m a lousy mom”), and counter them with compassionate thoughts (“It is extremely difficult to be a patient parent at times”). This practice allows you to take responsibility and move forward rather than wallow in frustration and distress.

“How we talk to ourselves after our mistakes can shape whether we shrink or grow from the experience.”

Remember that all humans make mistakes. You’re not the only one struggling with parenting issues. Incorporate loving-kindness into your meditation routine by envisioning someone you love and thinking the following phrases: “May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.” Next, repeat these same phrases to yourself.

If you want your children to be kind and empathetic, model kindness and empathy. Authoritarian parenting forces cooperation through fear and intimidation. It works for a while, but in the long run, it teaches children to be forceful and manipulative. Conversely, when they experience kindness, children wish to reciprocate, and the parent-child connection strengthens. Empathy is kindness in action. Empathetic parenting involves tuning in to your child’s perspective and feelings, without judgment. You can then respond appropriately and compassionately, while helping your child develop the ability to identify and regulate his or her emotions.

People expend a lot of energy and effort repressing strong and uncomfortable emotions.

You may try to block or deny distress through distraction or unhealthy habits, such as overeating or drinking alcohol. Alternatively, negative emotions might overwhelm you until you feel stymied and powerless. Mindful acceptance is the process of feeling and managing emotions as they occur. Accepting the experience of painful feelings, even though you may not like them, allows you to heal. Behavioral expert Luc Nicon developed a technique for allowing feelings to fully evolve. When a strong feeling threatens to overwhelm you, close your eyes, focus on your body’s physical reactions, note how they pass through your body, and observe the sensations until you return to a state of calm.

“Accepting the reality of your painful feelings will put you on a faster track to healing that pain.”

RAIN – an acronym for “Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture” – is another mindful approach to processing difficult emotions. First, recognize and label the negative emotion. Next, allow it to exist in your experience. Investigate the cause of the feeling with interest and curiosity. Lastly, nurture yourself through the pain with compassion. Soothing self-affirmations (“It’s not your fault” and “Trust in your goodness”) may help you recover quickly and calmly. As you grow comfortable accepting and processing negative emotions, show your kids how to do the same. Teach children that crying is an acceptable way to release emotion and feel better. When children throw tantrums, it’s because their feelings have frustrated and overwhelmed them. Stay present, keep them safe, and offer hugs and closeness when the tantrum passes.

Active listening and supportive responses form the basis for a strong parent-child relationship.

What you say to your children, especially in trying situations, can either exacerbate problems or help kids manage their emotions and find resolutions. Conflicts form when one party’s needs are not being met. Your child doesn’t mind his backpack on the kitchen floor, but it hurts your sense of order. In other words, it’s your problem, not his. When confronting an issue, consider whose needs are unfulfilled and who has the problem. Oftentimes, it’s better to let children come up with their own solutions. When your child has a problem, serve as an empathetic collaborator. Certain types of responses hinder supportive communication.

  • Blame – “If you were nicer with your toys, you’d have more friends.”
  • Name-calling – “You’re just acting like a big baby.”
  • Threats – “If you won’t share, no one will like you.”
  • Orders – “Stop that right now!”
  • Dismissiveness – “I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
  • Solutions – “Why not try…”

Listen mindfully by putting away your smartphone, facing your child, making eye contact, and focusing on what he or she is saying. Listen not only to the facts, but also to your child’s emotions. Reiterate what you believe your child is trying to tell you, and convey empathy.

Express your own needs clearly.

Society conditions parents to believe that their own needs are secondary to those of their children. To stay healthy and happy, however, you must fulfill your needs for rest, time with friends and family, exercise, and more. Again, skillful communication is crucial to obtain a positive result. Speak in a way that promotes cooperation rather than resistance or resentment. Communicate your feelings honestly, and use the phrase “I feel…” to get through to kids about how their actions affect you, without putting them on the defensive.

“Because in all human interactions, we’re trying to get our needs met. When we start to see this in ourselves and in our children, the blame and judgment drop away naturally.”

In Parent Effectiveness Training, psychologist Thomas Gordon suggested that you describe the behavior in question, and explain how that action affects you and your feelings. For example, when your child leaves toys on the floor, you could say, “I feel irritated when your Legos are on the floor, because if I step on one, it will hurt my foot.”

Neither punishment nor permissiveness teaches the right lessons.

With a traditional authoritarian parenting approach, parents decide which behaviors are acceptable, and they punish insurrection. Unfortunately, punishment teaches children that having power is what matters most. Additionally, punishment causes resentment, can damage a child’s psyche, may encourage lying, and places the focus on consequences rather than empathy. Conversely, in the permissive parenting scenario, children’s needs take priority, which makes them more self-centered, less empathetic, and less able to regulate their feelings or understand boundaries. Viewing conflict resolution through the lens of balancing needs offers a middle ground.

“When we work together to solve problems and recognize each person’s needs, conflicts bring us closer together.”

For a minor conflict, identify your child’s needs and your own, and suggest a solution. For example, your daughter wants your attention while you are on the phone. Make eye contact and convey your I-message: “When you interrupt my phone call, I get annoyed because I can’t hear the other person.” Let her explain why she interrupts, and reflectively listen. “You have something important to tell me, and are worried I will talk too long and forget about you.” Next, suggest a solution. “I promise to give you my attention the minute I finish my call. You can even quietly sit next to me, so I don’t forget.” This win-win approach also works well for more serious conflicts: First, identify the needs causing the conflict, and brainstorm solutions that will meet those needs. Then, determine who must take certain actions by what time, and confirm that all parties’ needs are being met.

Mindful parenting routines support strong family connections and create a peaceful, loving home.

When children receive unconditional love and support, they experience less stress. They feel safer and more secure. Loving, physical touch conveys affection and concern. Children crave physical connection through hugs, snuggles and roughhousing. Although children should play independently, it’s also important to play with your kids. When you do, give them your undivided attention. Let them make the rules and set the tone.

“Children need play like they need air and water. It helps them understand the world, heal hurts and develop confidence in their abilities.”

Children also like to contribute and work alongside mom and dad. Encourage them to participate in household chores such as cooking, taking care of pets and cleaning. Provide positive verbal reinforcement. Make words of encouragement specific. Instead of saying “Good job,” try phrases such as “Your imagination is awesome” or “That was very generous.” Children need routines. Ensure that they get enough sleep, and try to schedule events around nap time. Kids love to see, discover and linger, and rushing from one activity to the next deprives them of those opportunities. As much as possible, simplify your daily life to foster their ability to explore, experience and wonder.


The fact that you’re actively trying to improve as a parent pretty much guarantees success to some degree. If you practice mindfulness on a daily basis, you’ll give yourself the foundation you need to interrupt and manage your own emotions. Practice reflective listening to remove judgment and bias, and to engage with your child from a place of curiosity. Teach them how to name their feelings. Express your own needs in a healthy way using “I” messages. Manage conflict in a manner that gets everyone’s needs met. And above all, connect with your children.

It’s all much simpler than it sounds – through practice and dedication, you’ll begin noticing less stress and more happiness in your household before you know it.

About the author

Hunter Clarke-Fields is a mindfulness teacher, practitioner and coach. She hosts the Mindful Mama podcast, and is the founder of the Mindful Parenting online course.

Hunter Clarke-Fields is the “Mindful Mama Mentor” on a mission to end negative generational patterns. Combining her 20 years of experience in meditation and yoga with her personal journey as a mom, Clarke-Fields guides parents toward taking control over their reactionary behavior to become skillful in their caregiving role.

Hunter Clarke-Fields, MSAE, is a mindfulness mentor, coach, host of the Mindful Mama podcast, and creator of the Mindful Parenting online course. She coaches moms on how to cultivate mindfulness in their daily lives. Hunter has more than twenty years of experience in meditation and yoga practices, and has taught mindfulness to thousands worldwide.

Foreword writer Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and author of three parenting books, including Ready, Set, Breathe (New Harbinger, 2015), and How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids (Workman, 2019).

Hunter Clarke-Fields


Communication Skills, Parenting, Self-Help, Relationships, Conflict Management, Family Conflict Resolution, Popular Child Psychology, Childrens, Personal Development, Education, Adult, Meditation

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Introduction 1
Part I Break the Cycle of Reactivity
1 Keeping Your Cool 13
2 Disarming Your Triggers 33
3 Practicing Compassion-It Begins with You 53
4 Taking Care of Difficult Feelings 71
Part II Raising Kind, Confident Kids
5 Listening to Help and Heal 91
6 Saying the Right Things 107
7 Solving Problems Mindfully 125
8 Supporting Your Peaceful Home 143
Acknowledgments 163
Recommended Reading and Resources 165
References 167


A kinder, more compassionate world starts with kind and compassionate kids. In Raising Good Humans, you’ll find powerful and practical strategies to break free from “reactive parenting” habits and raise kind, cooperative, and confident kids.

Whether you’re running late for school, trying to get your child to eat their vegetables, or dealing with an epic meltdown in the checkout line at a grocery store—being a parent is hard work! And, as parents, many of us react in times of stress without thinking—often by yelling. But what if, instead of always reacting on autopilot, you could respond thoughtfully in those moments, keep your cool, and get from A to B on time and in one piece?

With this book, you’ll find powerful mindfulness skills for calming your own stress response when difficult emotions arise. You’ll also discover strategies for cultivating respectful communication, effective conflict resolution, and reflective listening. In the process, you’ll learn to examine your own unhelpful patterns and ingrained reactions that reflect the generational habits shaped by your parents, so you can break the cycle and respond to your children in more skillful ways.

When children experience a parent reacting with kindness and patience, they learn to act with kindness as well—thereby altering generational patterns for a kinder, more compassionate future. With this essential guide, you’ll see how changing your own “autopilot reactions” can create a lasting positive impact, not just for your kids, but for generations to come.

An essential, must-read for all parents—now more than ever.


“A wise and fresh approach to mindful parenting.” —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance

“To raise the children we hope to raise, we have to learn to become the person we hoped to be…. This wonderful book will help you handle the ride.” —KJ Dell’Antonia, author of How to Be a Happier Parent

“Hunter Clarke-Fields shares her wisdom and personal experience to help parents create peaceful families.” —Joanna Faber and Julie King, coauthors of How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen

“Raising Good Humans brings a wise and fresh approach to mindful parenting. Drawing from her own struggles with the challenges of parenthood, Hunter Clarke-Fields outlines the key skills that are necessary to step out of stories of not good enough and to create more loving, cooperative, and harmonious family relationships.” —Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

“Raising Good Humans is the guidebook parents need to instill confidence, mental health, and independence in our children while building a durable relationship with them. Written with the compassion, clarity, and truth of someone who’s helped families with a variety of issues, Raising Good Humans is chock-full of insights, strategies, and exercises for becoming a more mindful parent. Hunter Clarke-Fields is a persuasive evangelist for the power of meditation in our lives and our children’s lives. Her book will transform your life for the better—if you embrace the journey. One of the best parenting books I’ve ever read.” —Katherine Reynolds Lewis, author of The Good News About Bad Behavior

“Raising Good Humans is a loving and honest road map that teaches parents ways to skillfully navigate challenges, as well deepen joy, connection, and love with our children.” —Shauna Shapiro, PhD, professor in the department of psychology at Santa Clara University, and author of Good Morning, I Love You

“Hunter Clarke-Fields gets it: to raise the children we hope to raise, we have to learn to become the person we hoped to be—and both goals are a journey, not a destination. This wonderful book will help you handle the ride.” —KJ Dell’Antonia, author of How to Be a Happier Parent, and former editor of The New York Times’ Motherlode blog

“After reading Hunter Clarke-Fields’s fantastic new book, Raising Good Humans, I found myself hopeful, if not downright happy, about the future. Young parents are the most important leaders on the planet, and this guide will both inspire and instruct them how to immediately stop raising kids and start leading their babies into good adults.” —Hal Runkel, New York Times bestselling author of ScreamFree Parenting

“Raising Good Humans is a clear and direct guide to transforming your relationships with your kids. Rich with touching stories and practical exercises, it shows how healthy parenting stems from your ability to be self-aware and embody what you want most for your kids. Parents everywhere will benefit from Hunter Clarke-Fields’s wisdom, humor, and practical guidance in navigating the messy terrain of raising children.” —Oren Jay Sofer, author of Say What You Mean

“In Raising Good Humans, Hunter Clarke-Fields shares her wisdom and personal experience to help parents create peaceful families. Readers will find information and exercises to enhance their ability to ride the rollercoaster of raising kids while maintaining their own sense of emotional equilibrium.” —Joanna Faber and Julie King, coauthors of How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen and its companion app, Pocket Parent

“One of the most difficult tasks anyone can undertake is having and raising children. In Raising Good Humans, Hunter Clarke-Fields instructs and reminds us that children need more than food, clothing, and shelter. She tells us what the ‘more’ is and how to provide it. Thank you, Hunter.” —Iyanla Vanzant, host of Iyanla: Fix My Life (OWN)

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