"Where did it come from? Do they come from the expectations that my parents had about me?"
"That mistakes are not a reflection of my character. "
"They're not giving us a hard time. They're having a hard time themselves."
"So, mom guilt is always there. But what do you do with that mom guilt?"
"And that's the fruit of the work. I've been doing with him for the last five years. "
Hey there. I'm Alyssa Blask Campbell. I'm a mom with a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and co-creator of the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. I'm here to walk alongside you through the messy, vulnerable parts of being humans, raising other humans with deep thoughts and actionable tips. Let's dive in together.
Welcome to our new limited series, "Respectful Parenting: In Real Life". I get to hang out with some folks and dive into what this work looks like outside of scrolling through Instagram, or that picture perfect snapshot of respectful parenting. What does it look like when you drop the ball, when it's messy, when we're imperfect humans, and when our kids don't respond perfectly as we planned. Buckle up for some real stories from real humans. And I hope that you get to see glimpses of yourself or your kids in these stories to know that you definitely are not alone in this journey. And there's a village of folks walking right along side you. Alright, let's dive in.
Hey everyone, welcome back. Today. I get to hang out with Marcela. You might know Marcela over on the gram at High Impact Club. Someone on our team when we were putting together this podcast series, Mariana was like you need to talk to Marcela. And today when I sat down to chat with Marcela, Mariana and I we had just got on the phone and she was like, I'm so jealous that you have this conversation. So you're a huge hit over in the Seed world right now. Marcela. How are you doing?
Hi Alyssa, how are you?
Pretty well, we're hanging in. We're hanging in. And can you share with our folks who maybe don't follow High Impact Club yet and are curious about you a little bit about who you are.
Okay. So, my name is Marcela Collier, I'm a mom of five year old twins. I did therapeutic foster care for nine years now. I'm a parenting coach. I teach what I call, Parenting with Understanding because for those parents who want to raise their children differently from the way, the way they were raised. However, they may find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Not knowing how to respond to their children's behaviors. Not understanding what their children are really trying to communicate to them through their behaviors. That's my mission to shine a light and help them see through those behaviors so they can understand a little bit more, the needs their children are trying to communicate and the responses that they require. And that's Parenting with Understanding. That's what I teach I have on my Tik Tok, on my Instagram, I show my real life all the time examples and teaching on this topic.
Yeah. I love it so much and we talk a lot in our village about how behavior is a communication of an unmet need. And yet man, it's so freaking hard in the moment to see what that need is because as you said like we might be doing things differently than we were raised. Right? And we're trying to bring trying to build our toolbox as we're building the kids toolbox and it's hard stuff. And I think when we're scrolling through the gram, it can look like, okay. I'm supposed to say this and not this or I'm supposed to do this and not that, or whatever. There's all these like, shoulds and supposed to's and then you're in the moment and all that can go out the window. And I think that it can look from the outside when you're scrolling through that there's anybody that's doing this perfectly that showing up as a respectful parent, all of the time. Or in this case, for you, always parenting with understanding and we know behind the scenes in our real lives. Like that's not how this works and then no one is doing this perfectly. Can you share what's like a common roadblock that comes up for you in doing this work personally and showing up with your five-year-old twins.
Okay. So the main road block that I had to overcome to be able to show up the way that I wanted to show up for my kids, was to renew my mind. Because when I started my parenting journey in 2012, I didn't have the twins at the time, but I was doing foster care. I was really really sure about what I didn't want. I didn't want my kids to feel to feel fearful of going to me for anything when they mess up, when they, when there is something that is bothering them. I wanted them to feel confident. Especially those children that came from traumatic backgrounds. I wanted to provide that safe space for them. However, that was my desire. My roadblock was that even though I was trying to show up in a different way. The mindset, the mindset piece was still playing a big part because I grew up with children, are to be seen not to be heard. You don't speak unless your parents tell you that you can speak. You obey me beyond anything or obedience was more value than connection and relationship. Because I grew up with that when I saw things that were labeled by my parents as disrespect, it triggered me a lot. Right? So if there was back talk, if there was defiance or tantrums. I felt really triggered. And then I didn't know how to respond to that. Because number one, I wasn't regulated enough to respond in a positive way. And number two, I didn't have the tools to respond to my children in a different way than my parents because the only tools I had at the time were the things that I knew from the way I was being raised. So I remember, I was always struggling and bouncing back and forth between being permissive and authoritarian. Why? Because I wanted to show up in a different way. And one day I'll be like, okay, I'm just gonna be very patient with my kids and then that patience with no tools leads to permissiveness and then on other days we're like I'm done with this. You guys have to listen to me, but because I didn't have positive discipline tools. Then, I was finding myself sounding a lot like my mom, you know?
Yeah. I know. Yeah, I've said before, I'll sometimes I open my mouth and my Mom comes out and I'm like, whoa.
Yeah, so that was the struggle, you know, what the the mindset of like seeing these behaviors and seeing it as through the lens of my parents. Oh, but he's not supposed to talk to talk back to me this way. This child isn't supposed to, he should know better. Like all those things are traditional parenting mentality that we that we carry from the way we were raised, right? So, it wasn't, until I one, renewed my mind on seeing behaviors differently That tantrums, backtalk, defiance, yelling, all those behaviors that keep us up at night, are not, children pushing our buttons or testing us or trying to get the best of us, but they're just really truly struggling themselves. They're not giving us a hard time. They're having a hard time themselves. That's when, that's number one, when I started seeing things differently and when my own triggers were not in the way as much. I'm not saying I don't have triggers right now, but they're not in the way as much just because I approach behaviors with more understanding. And number two, the tools, the tools, the tools the tools, right? It wasn't until I learned positive discipline and how to correct behavior without punishment that I felt like. Okay, I could do these respectful parenting thing without becoming permissive. So that was the turning point for me. Number one mindset. The number two is getting different tools now, fast forward to now, fast forward to now. I still, I still, right? I'm a human and I still have struggles especially when my own needs are not taken care of if, if I have a bad night of sleep, or if I'm going through something myself. Of course, I'm going to be not as understanding for my kids or when there is something going on, yesterday in a coaching session with my clients. One of them told me I've been doing parenting with understanding, all the things that you teach in your program and everything was going great. I was getting this awesome result until I got pregnant. I had my child and then I emerged. I feel like I'm in a hole, in that deep hole called postpartum depression and I don't know how to be understanding. Now she was, I could tell that she was beating herself up. Kind of like I should I know better by now, I do have these tools that I'm learning in your program, but how come I'm not applying and how come I'm this mom that I was before, but now it's coming back. I'm then I told her you have postpartum depression, you do. A matter of fact, I did too. I had postpartum depression for two years. And when I was going through, let me tell you Alyssa, I couldn't be understanding. I couldn't apply those positive parenting tools with my kids in foster care. I couldn't show up the way that I wanted to show up because in order for you to do that, you need to be in a good shape yourself. Okay, so I want to tell the listeners, maybe you've been following parenting accounts. Maybe you're not. But let's just say you are and you're trying to do better and you still feel yourself that that you're, you keep going back that you keep falling. It's not because you're a bad parent or you're not cut out to respect your kids or any of that. But it's because if your cup is not full, if you're not in good shape, it's hard to not, isn't it's hard, it's hard to respond with understanding to our kids. So give yourself grace. And then we can always pick ourselves up, part of hearing this mom guilt that, we all bring and carry. And I think Mom guilt, follow us the rest of our lives because we care so much about our kids. Then we're always assessing and questioning our own decisions. Is this a good thing that I'm doing? Is this really the right response? Is this really the right thing? So mom guilt is always there. But what do you do with that mom guilt? Do you do? What do you do with that is that's the question. Do you take it as something that is going to drain you? And you take it as a weapon to beat yourself up or as a tool to strengthen yourself up and see the areas that you can grow and seek help and see how you can keep educating yourself and showing up in a different way to your kids.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think a couple things there that are so key. We aren't always going to have a full cup and that's a reality of being human and being alive is that we can do everything we can within our privilege and resources and power to fill our cup, and then sometimes you're going to have a hard day. Something's going to come up. Maybe maybe a loved one is going through something hard and you're feeling the effects of that or whatever it is that's going on in your life. We're not always going to have a full cup and I guess like giving yourself grace to not be perfect to know that when you're under resourced, you're going to react instead of respond. And that's the beauty of repair that we get to navigate repair and guilt as an emotion, is a powerful teacher. It's an incredible teacher. In fact, there's really cool research around guilt. And the ways that when we're looking at this, I want to make sure we separate guilt and shame. Shame is, I am bad. Guilt is I did something bad, right? So I am a bad mom versus. Oh, man. I lost my cool. And I yelled and that was not a great choice or whatever, right? Like being able to separate the behavior from the person. And so when we're looking at guilt, it's such a powerful tool to look at like, oh man. I acted outside of my value system. I wasn't in alignment with the way that I want to show up and I can learn from that. I can grow, I can navigate repair. I can own ways that I hope to move forward and things that I'm going to hold myself accountable to going forward, you know what when we're coming in from outside. I've noticed that I've been yelling a lot. I feel really overwhelmed coming in from outside. There's so much going on. Next time we come in from outside. I'm going to before we, before I let you know that we're going to go in, I'm going to take 10 seconds and I'm going to take some deep breaths. Then we're going to start getting ready. I'm going to see if that helps my body feel calm when we're coming in, you know, just like letting them know like yeah, I'm a work in progress too and I'm going to keep working on how I show up with you. I think it's rad to address guilt because I think we see guilt as a bad thing as like I'm feeling guilty and that's bad but I think guilt is an incredible emotion to pay attention to.
It depends as well how we were raised as well because if you have as me, I have the core wound of humiliation.
Well and humiliation and guilt and shame, and embarrassment are four separate things that I think we have to really get clear on, you know.
Right. So for example, myself, I grew up with the childhood core wound of humiliation and when you grow up like that, you tend to be the adult who beat yourself up. All the time for things that you do, so I had to teach myself that mistakes are not a reflection of my character and who I am, but they're just part of of learning, you know?
How did you get there? What was helpful for you in moving from, you know, the childhood wound and the focus around humiliation internally to getting to a place where it's not a reflection of you. What was helpful in you moving there.
Okay. I'm going to give you a little example of something that happened yesterday with my child. And then I'm going to tell you how I moved past the humiliation wound, which I don't feel like I still. I haven't moved past or overcame it all the way yet, and I'm working on it.
Yeah, it's always a part of you, you know.
So my child, okay. I have five year old twins. And the last week has been a little rough for me. I mean many things going on in my job. I have not been sleeping that great and my parenting skills went from teaching my kids conflict resolution skills, and all the good things that I teach to parents to when they have a conflict to say. Hey, are we fighting? So yesterday, I responded the same way. Hey, hey! Guys? Are you, are you guys fighting? Work it out guys, hey! And then one of my twins. He looked at me and he says, they're not that used to that. you know, and then he said, mom, when you say, "hey, hey, I don't feel okay. Doesn't feel right to me." And I'm like, number one, the fact that he has that kind of understanding. That's awesome.
The things I wish I had as a kid.
Right? And number two. He's right. If I, for example, I just always I compared how I would feel if somebody else referred to me that way, right? Hey, hey you, that's not respectful. And then what did I do? I said yes. Miguel. You're right. I'm sorry, Mom is not gonna do it again. So I said that to say that one thing that helps me turn mom guilt into growth and strength is to one, forgive myself and two, ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, it has to do as well with the way we were raised, some somehow it's especially in the Latino culture. I'm Colombian that if we say sorry to our kids, if we admit or say that we messed up somehow, it makes it seem in front of our kids that's as if we are, don't have the authority or is as if we are weak. We always have to show that we are the strong ones that the ones who never mess up. And that's a cultural thing for me and I have to overcome that. And know that asking for forgiveness is a powerful thing that I can teach my child. That he can see that when Mommy messes up. She asks for forgiveness. Therefore, when I mess up, I can do the same thing, that teaches way more than obligating a child to say sorry when they mess up, okay, the second question, how do how did I move past the humiliation? The core wound of humiliation? I'm still working through because that's a core wound. Right? So that shapes a lot of how I relate to others. So number one therapy, you have to, I had to admit that asking for help is not a sign of failure it's not a sign of, I'm failing, as a mom, as a person is, is just the starting point. So I had to ask for that help. So that's number one, number two in therapy. I started looking and all the things that I went through and seeing when I felt shameful. Where did that come from? Where did it come from? Do they come from the expectations that my parents had about me? Or is it was something that I was, my character and then I found out with help of my therapist that a lot of the times it was their expectations that were way beyond what I could give at the time, giving my developmental stage and my emotional maturity and then because I couldn't give it to them, to live up to that expectation. I felt really humiliated and shameful and create a lot of, you know, yeah, shame and guilt.
Yeah. I love therapy. Gosh. I love therapy. I just had one of those therapy sessions recently. You know, where you go in your like, I feel like I'm in a pretty good place and then you leave just like sobbing. You're like, whoa, where did all that come from? I love it, a great therapy shout out there. I want to, there's a part of me that wants to just like give your tiny human self a big hug and let you know that, yeah, it's there's so much when we look culturally I think a number of us grew up in households, where there was a focus on power and control and a fear of losing power and losing control. And what does that mean? I'm supposed to be the adult and I'm supposed to be in control and I'm supposed to supposed to supposed to supposed to and I think when we look at things like, apologies and saying I'm sorry and acknowledging our humanness, our humanity, and our ability to be dysregulated and make mistakes and navigate repair. When we do that then I think for a lot of us we can fear that like, oh if they see that I'm human. I will lose control.
And you know, what is, what I told you in the beginning, it all goes back to two things. Number one mindset. That's mindset, thinking that I need to be in control. Thinking that I don't, I cannot show myself weak. That's mindset. And that's the main road block that I had and I still have some times. And number two is tools as well is tools. So yes, you're right.
Yeah, but I think like looking at that. I think so many of us can relate to that understanding of like, yeah, my parents wanted to be in control. We do a lot of work with teachers and same thing. There's this fear of losing control of the classroom etcetera. And I think what's really cool is when we start to really dive into this work and we're seeing kids as humans that we can treat with respect when we start to do that. I think what we start to see is that when we are willing to relinquish that idea of control, that idea that we were ever in control. I don't know if you've ever liked tried to have a kid go to sleep, or pee on a potty or eat food. Like you'll very quickly realize, you're not in control. But when we really can relinquish that idea that we are, that we can control things. Then I think what we often see is that collaboration with kids in a whole new way and their willingness to say like, oh I get it. I sometimes I feel disappointed too. It's okay to make mistakes, you know, it just, I was having a conversation recently with a three year old. And she was feeling frustrated about something. And we were walking through it and navigating it together. And then at the end, she asked me was, do you ever feel frustrated? And I was like, oh my gosh. Yes, and so, I shared this anecdote with her about a time that I felt frustrated recently. And she said at the end, she said, oh, that's okay. I love you, even when you're frustrated and I was like, I love that like that narrative lives inside her, though, you know, that she knows that, that's that was so not a script that I grew up with. You know what I mean? Like that was not something I ever heard. I love you even when you're frustrated. I heard you can be frustrated. You can do it in your room. And so then to like hear these words.
Well that's better than what I lived because my parents didn't allow me to be, like they made me feel that frustration anger all day, you know, uncomfortable emotions were bad.
Well, that was the message that was sent was like it's embarrassing. So go do it in your room, you know what? I mean? Like, yes, sure. You can feel it, not around us, not in public. Not one other people, you know what I mean? Like, it was like, yeah, that's to be hidden. So yeah, a lot of stuff to unpack there, but it was just like, wow, I think so often those folks who are tuning in to this podcast series, those folks who are following us over on social media, those folks who are pouring into this. We're already coming into this with a different intention and goal then we were likely raised with. And I think we got to give ourselves a pat on the back a little bit more that. Yeah, man. We're going to drop the ball sometimes and we're doing all right, when you have, when you're little boy, says, you know, when you say that it, I don't feel okay, what a beautiful framework for him to already have at five, you know, like gosh. I wish I had that at five. Way to go. And I think like, in that sense. It's okay for us to drop the ball because he's got some tools already.
Mhm. That's great. Yes, you know what? I call my community Cycle Breakers because I feel we all are, I mean, unless you were raised with understanding love, and compassion, which some are? I mean, the I know, I've been influencer on Tik Tok that she was raised that way. But that's not the common...
Gosh I wonder what that's like.
Yeah, so, I call my community cycle breakers and I get that a lot, but I keep losing it. I yell at my kid. I'm not a cycle breaker. They feel that they have to never miss up to be a cycle breaker. And then I say something, and I tell them, if you are doing right now, one thing only one thing better than what your parents did with you. You're already breaking a cycle. Matter of fact, matter of fact, my parents broke their own cycle with me. For example, even though I grew up in, you know, you listen to me, power, control all the things you you name it. My, my mom when she was raised and when she was growing up as a female in Colombia. She wasn't allowed to go to school. She wasn't allowed to go to school. Her role was to serve her brother's, a matter of fact, my dad says that each one of her of his sister's. Each one of his sisters had assigned, a brother like as their maid. So, and I didn't grow up with that. I never served my brother. I was never my brothers maid, so, in their way and I went to school, and I went to college, and I have my degrees, and that's something that they did different. So, in their way, they did break break their cycle with me, and I'm continuing breaking my cycles with my children and it's possible, very possible that my twins will break more cycles from mistakes, that I'm making with them right now.
Totally, gosh. I hope my little guy breaks more cycles, totally my a good friend of mine. Dr. Lynyetta Willis. She's a psychologist and she works in intergenerational, trauma, and healing. And she describes it like a relay race. And I love this visual, like we're running a race and our grandparents passed the baton to our parents, and then they're passing the baton to us. And when we pass that baton it doesn't mean the race is over. We've gotten to the end. Everything is healed, in our leg of the race. We're healing some things, and we're passing this on and you're passing on a different baton every single time, that like it is sometimes. Yeah, we look back and we can see it's really easy to see. I think the ways that we don't want to show up with kids from our childhood, from our social experience Etc. And I think sometimes I challenge myself to be in the space of like, what are things that, what are ways that, yeah, my parents broke those cycles, right? What are the things that they did with intention with me that I do want to repeat that I do want to carry on and it helps me put into perspective like it's okay for me to pass that baton on to Sage, to my little guy and to not have been perfect at the end of the day. That if I can pass that baton on having healed, some wounds and given him tools to continue to heal more. We're doing all right.
Mhm. Yes, I love it.
What does it look like it is, are there differences between your children in your household, in terms of how you show up in relationship with them or do they yearn for different types of connection or, you know, when you rupture with them, are they looking for different types of repair or ways to navigate relationship with you?
They're twins. However, their emotional needs are different and the way that they like to seek connection and receive connection is different.
Yeah, I think it go ahead please. I love hearing from twin parents. I interviewed my twin niece and nephew on the podcast years ago after interviewing my sister-in-law who's the mother of the twins and their these kids are night and day. Just like they're delicious best friends, love each other, and they're very different humans. And I think it's a I think speaking to twin parents is eye-opening because I think it can show us that raised in the same household. All that jazz. We are different humans.
Yes. Yeah, they are different humans and they have different needs and they respond different to, different things I do. So, for example, when let's just say they're dysregulated. They're having a rough time, big emotions. One of them, I could go and hug him and then he will feel comfort and connection in that and help him de-escalate or cool down. If I were to do the same thing with the other one, he like, his behavior would be would get way worse. So if you have I'm talking to them here, if you have more than one child, especially if you have twins. Study your children, learn how they like to seek connection and get connection, learn how they like to be approached. And I'm saying that because my followers, they're students, and they like to go to my tik tok and see the tips and strategies to handle different behaviors. And which is great. However, better than that is to really to see to assess our children. And to see, okay. She's telling us on tik tok that she hugs her child when he's having a bad moment. How come my son, he pushes me away when I try to do the same. So to stop for a second and think maybe my son needs a something else. Maybe my son operates at the, in a different way or my child, you know, son, daughter, in general children operate in a different way. So that's my recommendation to read your children, study your children, and the things that you get online. Yeah, great. Look at them, read them but filter them as well.
Yeah. I love that advice. Yeah, observe, just watch, they teach us so much when we just watch them. I love that. What do you feel like is missing being in the conversation in respectful parenting and treating kids with respect. What part of the conversation? Do you feel like is often left out?
I've been saying it a lot. I need, the reason why I started my brand, Parenting with Understanding is because I saw a big gap in the respectful parenting community. I saw that they were talking a lot about connection. They were talking a lot about if children have big emotions, help them calm down. And then I was like, that's great. But that's just one portion. What about skills? Let's just say a child is having a hard time coping with a certain emotion and you help them calm down and then you stop there. What happens when the same emotion comes back and they have no skills. No coping strategies. No replacement behavior that they can access to. So that's why I started parenting with understanding and respecting our kids is great, it's the first part. No, trying to do things differently. But as well, getting those tools to understand. How do I approach this behavior? How do I equip my children with better skills to communicate their needs and like that you are closing the gap and closing the circle. And next time when they feel the same. They have something to access, right? Like my son instead of acting out because he felt bad, he verbalized that to me, and that's the fruit of the work I've been doing with him for the last five years, right?
Yeah. It's beautiful.
So, and that's why I call parenting with understanding. I see, more parenting creators lately, talking about these things, but about building skills and helping children communicate better, but in the beginning, three years ago. When I started that was the gap or the missing portion the missing piece that I saw.
Yeah, I deeply agree. I also started three years ago. And yeah, I same we had just done our research and that the biggest gaps. We have five phases of emotion processing as a part of our CEP method. Collaborative Emotion Processing is the method that we created and researched and in it coping strategies toolbox, is the part that when we were doing research, people were struggling with the most because there was tons of information out there about allowing a child to feel.
Which is good. I'm not saying it's not, but it's just one portion, it's just one piece of the puzzle. And that's when parents come to my tik tok and say, but my kid keeps having tantrums, keeps acting up like and this gentle parenting thing doesn't work. I'm like it's not that it doesn't work. You're not doing the the second part. Not because they don't want to do it. But because they don't know, you know.
Yeah totally, well they know that they're safe to feel right now. But yeah, that's step one of the five phases, that's literally one for us. There are four more after that. And I think yeah, I totally hear you. I think that that is a huge gap and I'm grateful for more and more accounts and for programs like yours that are serving parents.
Yeah, totally with these tools if folks want to dive deeper into your work and programs that you offer where can they find you.
Okay. So first of all, I would love for your followers and your audience to follow me on my Instagram and my tik tok at High Impact Club. Could you please repeat it? Because my accent sometimes people..
Totally High Impact Club.
Yes, so follow me there and if you want to join my private community is called The Cycle Breaker, VIP Community, where I offer a private safe space for cycle breakers all over the world to feel safe to share their stories, their struggles, their successes. To get off social media, that sometimes could be a scary place when you want to share your struggles and and to be able to support one another. Because one thing I learned in all my years parenting, my kids respectfully is that it could be a really lonely road. And it doesn't have to be a lonely road. There are many parents all over the world doing the same thing we're doing breaking cycles, and that's my Cycle Breaker, VIP community. It is in the link in my bio if you want to join.
Perfect. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today and having this just necessary real conversation about what it looks like on the ground in real time.
Thank you for inviting me.
Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at voicesofyourvillage.com. Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at seed.and.sew. Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag seed.and.sew to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.