You're listening to Voices of Your Village. And today your special guest is me! I got to be on the other side of the mic for this one where Rachel Lounder, one of our Seed team members, in fact, our first ever Seed team member is interviewing me to ask me questions that you submitted about Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, my upcoming book. This was so fun to get to dive into, to give the backstory on the book, to talk about how it's different and why we wrote it. Listen, I am here to add value, not noise. And so in writing this book, I really wanted to make sure that that's what we were doing, that there wasn't something out there that we could just send people to that already existed, that covered what we wanted to dive into here. I am so grateful for all of you pre -ordering the book right now. It's been incredible to see you snagging it and saying this is important to me to raise emotionally intelligent humans. Pre -orders are really, really important. They tell the bookstores and libraries and news outlets that you care about raising emotionally intelligent humans, which tells them that you want more things along this line. You want more resources. You want more available to support you in this work. So thank you for snagging Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, and we have some goodies coming your way. We have two free upcoming workshops for folks who have pre -ordered the book. One is back to school workshop for teachers, and one is a back to school workshop for parents and caregivers, for family members. How do we navigate back to school in an emotionally supportive way? What do we do with all the dysregulation that comes with doing something new or heading back to school, getting to know new teachers, separation anxiety, all that jazz. If you have already snagged the book, head to seedandsew.org/book and let us know so that we can send you all the information about the free goodies that you get, these live workshops and so much more. We have so many fun bonuses coming your way for folks who have already pre-ordered as a thank you for pre-ordering the book. If you have not yet ordered it, head to seedandsew.org/book to order Tiny Humans, Big Emotions today so that you can get access to all these bonus goodies and ultimately get access to the most comprehensive thing I have ever put together on how to raise emotionally intelligent humans. Thank you so much for being in this village, for making this movement a global movement of humans doing this work. I'm forever, forever grateful to you. All right, folks, let's dive in.
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.
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today I get to hang out with one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Some of you might already know her, Rachel Launder. Rachel was the first person I ever hired to work at Seed, and right after I hired her, she said, great, thanks, I'm pregnant. Is that okay? And I said, absolutely, absolutely. And we've just been on this wild ride for a long time together. And she ran our sleep program, ran our sleep Instagram for a long time. And now I get to be on the other side of the mic on my own podcast, as Rach asks me these questions, questions that y 'all have been asking about the book that she pulled together to dive in and get to interview me here on Voices of Your Village. Thanks, Rach.
Yeah, I'm excited. This is fun. I think to get us started, I would love for you to share, kind of like going back to the beginning of like, okay, now you have a book that is going to be publishing really soon. Talk to me about how you got here, because I've been along for the ride. And I know all the ins and outs, but like, people may not, and I want to hear it like right from the start.
Sure. So I, it was 2016, I believe. And Lauren and I were both teaching at a childcare center, was really resource rich. Every head teacher had a master's in early ed, and we were attached to university. And she was teaching preschool, pre-K, and I was teaching infant toddlers. And she came up to me at a mimosa brunch and said, I think we're doing something different. And I was like, cool, tell me more. And she and I just started to dive into like, what were we doing? And also, what was available to us? So as teachers, we had workshops and social emotional development and all that jazz. And what we really came to find out in diving into like, what was accessible for us, and what we were doing was that so much of what we were doing was A, focused on the adult first, and not just the kid. And B, when we were focusing on the kid, we were focusing on the social part of social emotional development last. So we started with the emotional part of social emotional development. And so often what we were exposed to was like, how to get kids to act a certain way or behave a certain way, to be kind, to show up in the classroom in a specific manner. You know, all the things that we also as parents are like, how do we get them to be kind? How do we get them to share? How do we get them to not hit their sibling? How do we get them to eat or to sleep or to whatever? And it's often about the social aspect. How do we get them to show up in the world? And we were kind of intrinsically doing it the other way around, where we were saying, how do we help them learn about their bodies and learn what they're feeling and what to do with that feeling and how to move through it so that they can show up in the social ways that those really come secondary to the emotions. So we created the collaborative emotion processing method, five components.
One is adult -child interactions. The other four are about us. They have self -awareness for the adult. Uncovering implicit biases really dives into like, what are we bringing from our childhood and our social programming? Right in the book that sometimes I open my mouth and my mom comes out and like, sometimes that's great. Sometimes I totally want to pass that on. And sometimes I spend a lot of money and therapy time to try not pass that on. And so like, where do I go from there? And we have self -care, which has become so buzzwordy. You know, we created the CEP method, I guess, 2017 -ish. And at this point, it's very buzzwordy to say it's self -care. For us, it's always meant, how do you take care of your nervous system? And not just like a bubble bath or whatever, but like, what does it look like? Maybe it's wearing earplugs when you're around your kids because you need to turn down that noise a little bit, you know? Like, what does it look like to take care of you?
Did you see my Slack last week asking for earplug reviews?
Oh my God, that's right. Oh, it's so true. And then we have self -awareness, self -care. Oh, scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is really understanding the nervous system and things like mirror neurons. And we talk about how a dysregulated adult can't regulate a dysregulated child, but also on the flip side of that, a regulated adult can regulate a dysregulated child. And what does it look like to be able to bring the calm, to understand how your nervous system works, how their nervous system works, et cetera, and where to go from there? And then that adult -child interactions part being the fifth of like, okay, now how do we engage with the kids and build these tools for them? So we created it. We researched it across the US. Our research ended in 2018, June of 2018 at the end of the school year. And we started writing, and originally it was going to be an academic book. And then I started an Instagram, started Seed. And I really loved hanging out with parents and caregivers and realized like, man, I want this work to be accessible to everyone and not live only in the space of academia and to be accessible. And so we shifted to make it a book that's available now. It's written in a way that parents, teachers, grandparents, caregivers can all dive into it.
Cool. Okay. So I want to backtrack a little bit here. And something that sets our approach apart and the book apart is the focus on the adult. And the focus on the adult is what makes the CEP method applicable to any child. It's not like a prescription. It's not, here's what you have to do in the moment in order to build emotional development. It's like, here's what you can do to support yourself so that you're regulated enough to see the child in front of you and meet them where they are, wherever that is. So can we talk a little bit more about what that actually looks like?
100%. Yeah. So it was one of those things where like, I was exposed to all these workshops about kids, right? And like how to regulate them or support them or whatever. And I was like, cool, cool, cool. Yeah, I got it. And then in the moment I'm triggered. And now I'm like, now I'm pissed at a two -year -old. And now I can't access that. Or I can't see beyond the behavior. Or I don't see them right now as being kind or whatever. I see them as being manipulative or defiant or disrespectful. And now I respond from that place, right? Now I'm reacting from a triggered place. And so for us with the CEP method, so much of this is about how do we regulate? How do we build our own awareness of what's happening inside? What do you even feel? I didn't even know what it felt like to be dysregulated. Like I didn't have that body awareness yet of, oh, this is what it feels like to be calm in my body. And this is what it feels like to be not calm in my body. And this is what it feels like when it's building versus exploding. And so we start there. It's like, what does that feel like in your body? So that then I'm like, now I can notice like, oh, there it's building. And I need to tap into something. And then it was like building the like, what is that something? What helps me calm? Because what helps me calm is different than what helps Zach, my husband, calm. And so learning that about myself, and then I could get into the work around like triggers and what may be triggering me about this. What's coming up for me? What's the story I'm telling myself about this kid and this behavior and who they are and who they're going to be in 15 years and how their life's going to pan out, right? Like that whole spiral that I can so quickly go down. He's never going to get a job. No one's going to want to work with him. And he's two, right?
100%. I mean, those fear -based narratives are so real in parenthood and caregiving. And like, I don't "fix this". And that was in quotations. What's going to happen with my kid? And I think what's incredible about the book is that it empowers you to, first of all, notice those fear -based reactions, but also to release them, to let them go and not parent or caregiver or teach from a place of fear.
Yeah, totally. From a place of empowerment. And thank goodness for this work because my child and I are so vastly different in terms of how our nervous system works.
Opposite nervous systems.
Opposite nervous systems and even how we want to show up in the world. I love a social hang. Someone asked me the other day, what's your dream way to spend time when you're not working or whatever? And I was like, it's truly just a hang that never ends. A hang where everyone's there and it isn't like a playdate timeline where it's like, we're coming over from this time to this time, but a hang that never ends. And I was thinking about that and I was like, oh, that's Sage's nightmare. It totally is. He was halfway through his own birthday party and he left. He was like, I'm overwhelmed and need to take a break. And I was like, that is such a bold move. But I thank goodness for this work though, because there are definitely parts of me that come up that are like, well, he needs to know how to be in a group setting and how to function in that. And what about when he's at work or if he's, people aren't going to want to hang out with him if halfway through he leaves his own party. Those sorts of things come up for me and then I can really truly be with them and be like, what's my actual fear? My fear is that he won't be socially accepted and that he won't have friends and that from that he won't feel fulfillment and happiness and feel included. And then I look around and I'm like, oh no, there are so many humans like him. I married one and he's really happy and fulfilled and he doesn't need a whole lot of people in his world to feel that. And maybe that's easier to live like that than it is to live like me.
I mean, I relate to this with Abel. My friends, it's like a running joke that very early on in a hang, Abel will say, I'm ready to go home now. I want to go home. And he does it so consistently and frequently that it's now this like joke where like my friends are just like, well, Abel's done. But his nervous system is similar to Sage's in that way. He recharges by being alone or doing quiet things. I'm down for the hang. My eight-year-old is down for the hang. Abey's like, no, thank you. I'm good.
I'm out of here. Well, and that's it. I think that's the thing about that there is no one size fits all. It was something I also found myself running into in parenting resources as a teacher where it was really prescriptive. It was like, say this in the moment or do this to help your kid calm and it would work for some kids and not for others because it was one size fits all. And so for us, our work really teaches you about the nervous system that we all have different things that we're sensitive to that really drain us and things that we're seeking that really recharge us and that help us regulate. And that's different for all of us. And I remember coming to you. Abel was three weeks old, something along those lines.
And screaming 24 hours a day.
And he's your second. I remember coming in and I'd obviously been getting texts from the time he was born. And a lot of this is really hard. He's crying a lot. And I remember walking in and your mom said to me, I've never seen a baby like this. And I was like, OK, cool.
She's been around a lot of babies.
And I was like, sweet. And she's also like a real cool, calm, collected gal. And she seemed ruffled. And I was like, all right, let's do this. And came in and the for me, this work always starts with observation. It's curiosity and observation. And so I just watched him and was like, what how does his body respond to different things? And noticed that when he was like in the hang, he just at three weeks old, when he was in the hang, he started crying pretty quickly. And we looked at things like when I would hold him out all wrapped tight in a swaddle that he hated getting into. But once he was in, if I held him away from me and jiggled his little noggin a little bit, he calmed. So just like noticing what types of input were regulating for him and what types of input were draining for him. And I went through, which we do in the book, these like eight sensory systems to see how is he responding to different things? And then from there, it just was I was like, OK, now I have a pretty solid picture of how his body works and how his brain works. And now we just look at how do we accommodate that in everyday life? What does it look like to have a second child where you at that point had a four year old running around who also needs you to parent her. And how do we integrate these? How do we make this practical? And then we built tools in from there. But it really, for me, was like just understanding him and his unique self first. And that's where I think the one size fits all stuff. It just drove me bonkers because I was like, no, that that only works for some people.
Totally. And I think like when you're trying to use something prescriptive and it's not working for your kid, then all of these feelings like failure can come up or like what's wrong with my kid? And like, it's not what's wrong with your kid. It's that there really isn't a one size fits all. And I think the focus on the nervous system for me personally, obviously, like in our work life, it's my favorite thing. And I love to get nerdy about it. But personally, in parenthood, and even now in my other adult relationships, but in parenthood, it was the most transformative thing in how I understood my children and was able to meet their needs, which are very different and was also able to support them in being in the same family when one of them wants to talk 24 hours a day and the other one can only handle small doses of that kind of thing. And I love sharing this information about the nervous system with other parents and caregivers because it's so empowering.
It honestly changed how I show up in the world.
I lived with so much anxiety because I didn't have the awareness of what it felt like to be calm and didn't have the tools to regulate. I found myself turning to coping mechanisms to temporarily feel better and then just right back into a spiral and then adding on the work of implicit biases and the triggers work, just fully a game changer. But the nervous system work, it's still every single day is something I use all day long where I'm taking stock of, man, where am I at right now? Like I am feeling on edge with everything that Sage is doing, what's going on for me? When was the last time I ate? When was the last time, do I need coffee? Do I need water? Have I moved my body? Have I said no to him so that I could pee in a bathroom by myself? Where am I and what's going on? You know how sometimes they can do things and it's not a big deal for you and then other times all the little things are adding up and you're like, oh my gosh. And it's like, it's not about the chai, right? It's like, it's not about that little thing that just happened. It's really that it compounds and it's all these things adding up. And I had a flashback to the summer when he, the beginning of the summer, he had this Thomas train, first birthday from someone who hates me and give us a train that makes noise. And then when it gets stuck in the corner on something, it makes this god-awful clicking sound and it makes me want to jump out the window. And I'm a sound sensitive human. And so for me, the like sound component really adds up, especially like clicking or tapping or whatever.
So those repetitive. Yes.
Tough choice of a husband for that one.
Real tough choice, married that drummer who's like, I will say to him, stop adding noise. Can you stop adding noise to my environment? And yeah. And so like this, I just remember this Thomas train clicking and it, we had just had a morning. It was like one thing after another. And then this Thomas train was in the background and I turned the Thomas train off and I chucked it into the couch and he had scared him and he started to cry and he was like, Thomas.
"Mom why did you hurt Thomas?"
And I, "why did you just kill Thomas?" And I was like, ugh. And then I'm like, like, this isn't how I want to show up. Right. Then all the feelings of guilt come up. And I just like in that moment found a pause and I said to him, buddy, I'm really sorry that I just threw Thomas. I need to go calm my body. I didn't eat enough for breakfast today and I need to eat a little bit more food. And then I can come and help and be kind. But it's that nervous system work of like, it's so basic and it's almost annoyingly basic that it feels like there's no way that's going to solve my problem. And then when you really do focus on your nervous system first, all those little things, they don't add up in the same way.
No they don't, it changes everything. And I think, you know, something that we talk about a lot in this work and in the book is it's shifting the adult's experience of children's emotions or behavior or whatever. And that's so key because like you were talking about a minute ago, there are those days where like, say my two are like bickering in the back of the car and I can have these like super regulated responses and I'm loving how I'm showing up and blah, blah, blah. And then another day they start and I'm like, inside my head, I can feel just the tension rising and I'm like, okay, I need to do some nervous system support for myself because this behavior that is very common and I can usually deal with in a way that feels good to me is making me want to yell. You know?
Yeah. Yeah. That was my favorite part of the research was seeing it wasn't that like, all of a sudden kids had this giant toolbox and they were always responding in kind regulated ways and whatever. It wasn't that. It was that the adults, teachers and parents were reporting a shift and a change in how they experienced the children's emotions, which then allows us to respond with intention to be that quote sturdy leader that we hear about all the time. It's like, yeah, want to be that. How do I be that? And the CEP method really was helping folks be that to really see beyond the behavior because they had the tools for themselves first.
It's such a game changer.
[AD] I don't know about you, but when I scroll through Instagram or I'm tuning into podcasts and diving into parenting resources, resources for myself as a teacher, I can feel overwhelmed. Like, where do I start? I need a guide for what this looks like in practice. And I don't want something that's one size fits all. Because every child is different, right? And if you have multiple children, if you're a teacher, you know that it's not one size fits all. Or if you have seen what works for your sister in law or your best friend or your neighbor, and you're like, oh my gosh, my child does not respond to that. That is how I felt. And then we created the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. It is a guide for building emotional intelligence. And y'all there are five components of the CEP method. One is about how to respond to the kids and what it looks like to have adult/child interactions. The other four are about us. Because I don't know about you, but I did not grow up getting these tools. I did not grow up with them. didn't grow up in this household. Where I was taught tools for self awareness and self regulation and how to do emotion processing work. And now, as a parent and as a teacher, I'm supposed to teach those skills to a tiny human? But we can't teach what we don't know. And so my first book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, is here to support you. You can head to www.seedandsew.org/book and snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions today. This is a game changer. It's going to build these skills with you, for you, so that you can do this work alongside building these skills for your tiny humans, so that they can grow up with a skill set for self awareness, for regulation, for empathy, for social skills, for intrinsic motivation. A skill set of emotional intelligence so that they can navigate all the things that come their way in life. Snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions at seedandsew.org/book.
Yeah. And so when we were writing Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, we actually broke it up into three parts because we have part one that really focuses on the adult. We're like, listen, I can tell you what to do in the moment with different kids. And the reality is, if we don't do this work with ourselves first, you're not going to be able to access any of that. You're not going to remember it in the moment. You are going to see this child as defiant, as disrespectful, as out of control, as all the manipulative, all those fun words that come up for us, the bossy, the whatever, the things that we heard in childhood and we were exposed to.
I was just going to say exactly the things that we were told we were in childhood, those can be our biggest triggers.
Yeah. And then we can't access the like, how do I respond in the moment to build emotional intelligence? And so it's broken up into three parts. And part one's about us. Part two is about the kids. And then part three dives into bonus circumstances, things like how do we navigate death or how do we help kids process when families are going through a divorce or separation or if you're moving or there's a new child added to the family, what does it look like to build empathy, which is higher level work? Those sorts of things are in part three. And also one of my favorite chapters is around building your village. We talk about how it takes a village to raise these kids. And I think so many of us are like, cool, cool, cool. Where's that village?
Yeah. Help me find it because I'm drowning.
Yeah. And so like, what does it look like to create a modern parenting village where we don't, you know, back in the day, it was largely hetero households with a male going to work and a female staying at home. And the females really came together to raise the tiny humans. And as more women entered the workforce and we had more gender equality, we started to see like, oh, now kids are in child care. There were other caregivers. And now we're doing so much of this in isolation. When we pick our kids up, we drop them off. And then we're at home and we're trying to do all these things, cook and clean and navigate the hard stuff and then have somebody over to our house for a Pinterest perfect play date where everything's clean and we are so patient and kind with our kids. And like, totally, it looks like it is on social media, right? And how do we get back to raising kids in the village and leaning on each other? And what does that modern parenting village look like? And what does it look like to be vulnerable in creating that?
Yeah. Thinking about the modern parenting village, talk to me about your intended reader for this book, because it's not just parents.
No, yeah. Have you ever seen a kid or talked to a kid? Do you ever plan to? I think this is going to serve you. Also, have you
ever been a kid? Like this, because so much of this work focuses on us as the adults, a lot of our village in our community, it's not parents. We have so many teachers and nannies and caregivers and humans who are like, oh man, I didn't get this in my childhood. And it doesn't mean that your parents weren't awesome parents. You can have phenomenal parents who did the best with what they had and the tools they had. I talk about this in the book too, but I was at my parents' house and was looking through old photos, pictures, and I saw a picture of me in a car seat as a baby. And I was like, oh Lord, thank you that we did not get in a car accident because there was no way I was surviving that with that car seat, right? Like what is this? And my mom was like, I mean, I didn't even have a car seat. My mom held us in the station wagon and then we were sitting and just sitting in the seat. There were no car seats. And so it was one of those where it was like, oh, each generation has passed the baton, right? Like one from no car seats to this thing that we're going to call car seats, like a bucket with some straps maybe. And then to what my child's in, which feels like a fortress. And then like, who knows? He's going to look back and be like, that's what you had us in? Thank goodness we didn't get in a car accident, right? But I think about how we do that with some things where we're like, yeah, that continued to progress. And it's the same with emotional development or it's when I look at this, I'm like, my parents received this baton. If we think of it like a relay race, like Dr. Lynnetta Willis, who I adore. She's a dear friend. She's a psychologist and compares it to a relay race where our great, great, great grandparents passed the baton on. And then they are great, great grandparents ran a leg and passed it, continued to pass it. And then our parents received this baton from their parents and they did some work and did some things differently and moved towards progress and passed it to us. And we're going to do some things differently and move the needle a little bit. And there's no perfection. We're going to pass that baton over and it's not going to be perfect. And we won't have been perfect parents and that's okay. And our kids will do a little more healing and we're going to continue to make progress as generations. And I think so at the beginning of this, when we're looking at it, it can feel like a diss to our parents to be like, we're going to do this differently. And I actually fear with our generation, I like pendulum swing from, I'm going to do everything differently. I'm like, Ooh, why don't we pause and take stock of like, what actually worked really well?
Totally. Yeah. There are some things from my childhood that I 1000 % want to like continue on and recreate with my children. And, you know, I've talked to my mom about this and she has shared that when she was raising us, she had one book, like that was her reference. One book, there was no like Voices of Your Village podcast or Instagram or these Facebook parenting groups. It was like, she had one book written by one pediatrician and that was her total frame of reference for parenthood. And so looking at it through that lens, like, dang, my parents did an incredible job and I'm going to choose to do some things differently. And I still feel that they did an incredible job with the tools that they had. And I think it's okay for those two things to coexist.
A hundred percent. Yeah. And, and that we're not responsible for how our parents feel about it either. You know, like I just had somebody DM me the other day and she was like, please help. I'm about to go on vacation and I just need something. Like, how do I explain what we're doing when those inevitable comments come? Because they've been coming for a couple of years and I know that they're coming this vacation. And I was like, plot twist. What if you don't explain it? What if you instead say, thank you so much for caring about him. We're choosing to respond this way. And if you want to learn more about it, I'm happy to chat with you about it. It's not up for discussion though, in terms of how we're going to respond.
And I was like, it's so awkward. So awkward.
It's painful actually, it's painful.
It is like it makes me want to throw up.
But those boundaries can be such a game changer in like preserving your relationship. You know, it feels like sometimes it can feel internally, especially if you have like a people pleasing, like I'm a recovering people pleaser.
Hi, I hate to feel like I'm disappointed in my parents or creating conflict between myself and my parents. Like I have a visceral response to it. And at the same time, the boundaries that I've set because of becoming a parent myself have created a dynamic in my family where I have a great loving relationship with my parents. And we're now at a point where like, everybody knows I've done things differently. And I set those boundaries early and it was awkward and it was painful. But on the other side of that, then you have this like sustainable family dynamic and you don't have to feel anxious every time you're going on vacation together. We actually talk about boundaries in the book because it's such a key part of this work.
Yeah, exactly. And like also the relinquishing of responsibility for somebody else's feelings. And that when we learn how to do that, which we dive into in the book of like, how do you do that? Also as a recovering people pleaser that I, you know, I grew up in a family of five low income family. Like the last thing I ever wanted to be was high maintenance or needy. And so just going with the flow and not bucking the system is how you showed love. And so setting boundaries, asserting needs for myself, for my child, like it goes against the system. And there's a part of me that's like, well, have fun not being lovable. Good luck. Like that part surfaces.
It's so real though. It's so real. I laugh but.
Yeah. I've had to learn how to allow myself to set boundaries and set them firmly and not be responsible for somebody else's reaction and how to set them in a way that is kind. Right. So I think sometimes it's like, well, I'm not responsible for the reaction. And also I set it in a way that, which I definitely have done, that's like snappy and snippy and puts them on the defensive. And I've had to, it's been an art to learn how to set and hold a boundary. And we talk about that in the book a lot because it's, it's so key. And then yeah, relinquishing the responsibility for how somebody else feels about it and recognizing that you still have the power to regulate yourself, even if they're dysregulated.
Yeah. And that it can be done in kindness and something that helped me with that because it felt so hard to do is like thinking of it as an opportunity to model it for my child, because when my child is an adult child and they need to set a boundary with me, A, I want them to know it's okay. I welcome it. And B, I want them to know what it looks like to do it in a loving kind way while still being clear about what the boundary is.
Correct. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I'm modeling how to set those boundaries.
It's going to be really fun when it comes back to us and they're setting those boundaries for us. It's going to be super fun.
I'm welcoming it now.
That's how I feel right now.
I mean, my daughter, my eight -year -old has started setting some boundaries with me in this middle childhood phase that we're in, which is actually totally rad, but just so different. And I definitely, my knee -jerk reaction is to be like, but I'm your mom, you know? And then I'm like, nope, she gets to set some boundaries around her privacy or around, you know, one thing that I'm working really hard on is allowing her to choose how she wants to dress, which isn't how I would want her to dress, but like, I want her to feel like she can and that if she doesn't want to dress a certain way, she doesn't have to. And those parts of me from childhood definitely come up where I'm like, no, you need to look a certain way for this thing, you know? And I'm like, actually, you know, like to me in my parenting and our family dynamic, that's not important to me. And I'm going to let that go, even though my knee-jerk reaction says it's the most important thing, you know?
A hundred percent. Well, and what comes up for me is like, all right, the world's going to perceive you a certain way and it might affect how you're treated. And I would like to protect you from all of that and just make it as easy as possible for you.
Or like, they're going to judge my parenting because you're going to church in like jersey shorts and a t-shirt and they're going to think that I don't take care of you or care about your appearance.
Yeah, totally. Oh, yeah. The judgment of who we are.
That's exactly what comes up for me is like, how are they going to perceive how I take care of you? Yeah. Which I don't, I had to do work around, it's okay if somebody's perception of me isn't the truth about my family. Like I take great care of Nora and if she wears a t-shirt and shorts when she should be dressed fancy and someone has feelings about it, I can let that go.
Yeah, I think of the quote from The Office, which is my favorite show, where Pam says, "I hate the idea that someone out there hates me. I hate even thinking that Al Qaeda hates me. I think if they got to know me, they wouldn't hate me." It just resonates so much with me because especially as our platform's grown on Instagram, it's been a real practice of like, when somebody reaches out and they're like, when you say X, Y, and Z, I feel triggered about blah, blah, blah. And their expectation is that I'm going to change how I show up so that they don't feel triggered, right? Or that I'm the worst parent in the world because there's so many things that at this point, I'm like, am I prepared to share this for what I'm going to hear? And then there's this part of me that's like, I want to justify it, because I think that if you understood where I was coming from, then we would totally get along. We would be on the same page.
You would love me.
You would love me. And it's a trauma response, right? It's this like, I need to feel included.
Yeah, and that desire to be lovable or likable is so real. And impacts parenting and caregiving in such real ways.
Yeah, it's so real. And yeah, it comes back to them. It comes back to us of like, we still want to be lovable as adults.
Yeah, and I think what's incredible about the CEP method is that it gives you a framework for A, recognizing that and B, moving through it so that that desire to be likable or that fear about what other people may think doesn't negatively impact your relationship or your connection with your child.
Yeah, totally. That it doesn't drive my parenting.
And I had this as a teacher. I had a director once that would, I was teaching infants and toddlers, right? So there's a lot of crying that happens because they don't yet have all the expressive language to say things. And this director would pop in whenever there was crying. And, to try and make it stop. And I started to feel like I was failing if my kids were crying. And that there was something going on. And finally, in doing this work, I was like, oh, this director is uncomfortable with the crying. It's not actually about my teaching. And it's not my job to make sure kids are calm and regulated all the time. It's my job to provide a safe space where they're allowed to cry, where they're allowed to feel their feelings, and know that I'm not going to rush them away for my own comfort. And I ended up turning to the director and saying like, hey, in order for me to create a safe space for kids to feel their feelings, they need to be able to cry. And if that's too hard for you to listen to, I'm going to ask that you please take a walk in another part of our school. Because when you come in, it adds this pressure where I feel like I'm supposed to make them stop crying. And I don't think that's what's best for them or our relationship.
It was not met with peace or understanding. And it was hard, but it's still like it was an advocacy that I had to take. But I at first felt like I was failing because they were crying.
Yeah, which makes so much sense. I mean, culturally, we are so uncomfortable with hard emotions across the board. And I think about when Abel was crying, and I felt like I was failing as a mom because he was hard to soothe because his nervous system was dysregulated by inputs that I did not yet recognize as dysregulating. And it makes me think in the adult -child interactions of the CEP method, we have the five phases of emotion processing. The first phase, arguably the hardest, is to allow the feeling on their timeline. On their timeline is the hardest part of that for me. Abel's timeline is really long, often. And that is a challenge. And also, if I try to minimize, fix, rush, he escalates. He needs that time to feel. And he will literally say, mom, that's enough. I'm still sad. And I'm like, okay, yeah, you are still sad. And that's totally fine. I need to back up and allow you to move through that before you're ready to move into the next phase.
Totally. Yeah. And I was thinking about this thing that just keeps coming up for me around how in order to raise kids who have tools to navigate the hard stuff in life, we have to allow them to experience hard feelings now, that they get to learn how to feel and move through feelings like sadness and anger and disappointment and frustration while they're in the safety of our care so that they have tools for when we aren't there. And that when we try to take them away, when we try to avoid those hard feelings, it leaves them ill -equipped for what to do when they inevitably come up. And all that to say that allowing includes boundaries. Allowing includes, I won't let you hurt my body. Allowing includes, just the other day I said to Sage, it makes sense to feel frustrated right now. And if you continue to scream at the dinner table, I'm going to move your body away from the dinner table so everyone else here can enjoy dinner.
Yep. I think that is often like a misconception too, that like allowing a hard feeling means just like allowing. It's a free for all. And that's not true at all. You can totally set boundaries and that makes it more sustainable. When you know that you can set boundaries while allowing your kid to feel, it feels more sustainable to do that.
Correct. Yep. And it also then is actually giving them tools for how to navigate the world because there are going to be boundaries in how they get to express, but they can have their feelings for as long as they need to experience the feelings.
And I think, I love what you said about like, while they still have the safety of us, because right now it's like, they don't like what's served for dinner or their sibling did something they didn't like, or they can't get their shoe to Velcro on the timeline they were expecting it. And then like in the future, it's like they're navigating a job interview or they lost their job or they're having a conflict in a relationship with somebody.
Or they're at a party and someone is trying to get them to do something that they want to feel included in the group, but doesn't feel safe for them.
Or they already did something and now they're like, crap, I need help.
And like that, knowing that we have this incredible opportunity to build this skillCEP while they still are with us all the time, is such a gift to them, but also to us. And because the CEP method focuses so heavily on the adult nervous system, you have the bandwidth to show up and build that toolbox.
Yeah, exactly. And sometimes it's, and we talk about this so much, actually, when we were writing the book, we were going through the editing process. My editor was like, listen, I totally get that you want to send the message that there's no perfection in this. And you've said it about 700,000 times. I think this whole section on it, there not being any perfection, I think at this point we're beating a dead horse.
We got it.
I think we got it. And I was like, okay, okay, okay. That just feels really important to me that people understand that in doing this work, it's not that there's like, oh, I'm calm all the time. And I respond in this regulated tone all the time. And I always see beyond their behavior. And then when I do that, they always respond in a very specific way that feels really calm and "gentle". This idea of "gentle parenting", I don't feel connected to because I don't think it's gentle. I think it's respectful. Sure. Like respectful of them as a human and of ourselves.
And I think that that's one of the things I want people to really take away from this book is that in doing this work, there's no perfection. It allows us, this work allows us to experience dysregulation and allows our kids to experience dysregulation without shame or blame.
100%. Yeah. Part of the magic of the CEP method is that it reminds you that this is a human that you're in relationship with. This isn't a child that you have to shape, that you have to turn into this certain adult. This isn't an outcome that you're striving for. This is a person. You're in relationship with, and we get this gift of watching them unfold. But like any other relationship, there's going to be times when you show up and then later you're like, crap, I blew it. That's part of this life of being humans in relationship. You're going to show up in ways that make you feel crappy after, and you wish you had done it differently. And the beautiful thing about being in a connected relationship is that there's repair and you can have a beautiful, connected, secure attachment with your kid and also mess up with them.
Yep. And you can, it's about being in relationship in general. I use the CEP method with my husband. I use the CEP method with every relationship that I have in my life. And it means we also get to drop the ball. And even with ourselves, right? There are so many days where I'm like, oh man, yeah, was not kind to myself today. Didn't take care of myself very well. Spoke pretty unkindly internally. And I get to move forward and move through that and not live in a place of guilt and shame. And that was, it was one thing that came up for me actually, I had shared a story on social media where I'd like had this really hard morning with Sage and I was like really snappy and snippy and just got to the point where I was like, okay. I'm solo with him for another hour and a half at least. And I need to just, I'm going to be, we're going to be in survival mode. Like we're not going to thrive for this next hour and a half. We're going to survive. And then he's going to go down for a nap, Lord willing. And I'm going to have a break and get to tap out for a minute and really, truly nurture myself in ways that will be restorative. And right now I need to take care of myself in any way that I can to try and just get through this. And so I was sharing about this and then after nap, I was in a much better place at that point and really taking care of myself throughout nap and came back to him and apologized for the morning and then moved forward. And someone was like, oh yeah, but then the like guilt stays with me. And I can honestly say at this point, the guilt doesn't really stay because so much of embracing this method is embracing the fact that repair is a part of secure attachment. And in order to have repair, you have to have rupture and that I get to model for him that he doesn't have to be perfect. And here's what it looks like to be genuinely sorry and apologize to someone when you drop the ball, when you are having a hard time, when you're in survival instead of thriving mode.
Totally, I think back to what you were saying about gentle parenting and how you don't feel connected to that. And I don't either. And I think that part of it is a lot of the information around gentle parenting is focused on an adult who's never like not calm, not happy, not regulated. And like, that's just not reality. There's no person who's taking care of kids who hasn't felt frustrated, annoyed, burnt out. Like that is part of it. And the CEP method empowers you to know that that's part of it and how to navigate that.
Yeah, exactly. I'm so excited to get Tiny Humans, Big Emotions out into the world. I mean, it truly this work has transformed how I show up in the world. And it's been such a privilege to get to put this book together. And now to have it hit shelves and know that this is so much bigger than me and how grateful I feel for that. Because the reality is like I can raise Sage with these tools and he's going to go out into the world and he's going to have friends, he's going to have partners, he's going to have co-workers, he's going to have bosses and coaches and teachers. And I really want them to have these tools too. I want him to get to be in relationship with other humans who have these tools. And the movement that we have here at Seed is so inspiring that we have 40% of our social following in our village is global. It's outside the US. And 60% inside the US and that folks are day in and day out committed to doing this work is so incredible and such an honor to get to walk alongside people and support them in this journey. And now to get to give them the most comprehensive guide I've ever created on how to do this work for under $30 feels like such a joy to me from an accessibility standpoint. And if $30 or $27, whatever it's listed at, feels like too much to go ask your library if they'll carry this book. Please, if you need access to this, you want to let us know. Let us know. We can help you in getting it into your local library, getting it into your local schools, do a book swap with a friend where you share it. One person buys and then you share the book. I am just so jazzed to get this into as many hands as we can so that all of our kids can grow up around other humans and with themselves having these tools. And I'm really, really grateful for this community and for the understanding of how important pre -orders are. It's been incredible to see how many people have pre -ordered this book because what that does is that it tells libraries, it tells bookstores, it tells media outlets, it tells schools that this topic is important to you and that we need to be talking about it more. We need to have more resources and tools available. And your purchase of this in pre -order time is a huge, huge communicator of that. And I just want to express so much gratitude.
It's really wild to think like five years ago when you hired me where we were and like now this movement that parents and caregivers from all over the globe have, like the momentum that's built is just incredible. It's been so fun to watch.
So, so cool. And the people we've gotten to connect with, you know, like learning about Sari in Australia and like I get to know her family inside and out because of our incredible village and platform and, you know, connecting with people in the Netherlands and in Canada and in India and just, it's so rad. And I'm so grateful. And I mentioned how, you know, valuable those pre-orders are. If you know of someone who would benefit from this book, it makes a great present. It's a really good baby shower gift. If you know someone who - It's arguably the best. If you want to start a book club, we are, we have a book club guide for you available on our website. If you want to pool everyone together or if you want a book to try and get on the same page with a co-parent or a partner, you can read it together. You can go through our book club guide. We have reflective questions built right in there for you. It's packed full of not only practical strategies and tips, because that was one thing that was really important to us is that it's not like, hey, do you have a spare 20 minutes to do this? Because nobody does. But that it's really practical and applicable, but it's also really reflective. We have a lot built in that helps you really pause and ask yourself these questions about like, who is my unique child? How does my nervous system work? And what does it look like to respond with intention? Rach, thank you for this honor of getting to talk about my little book baby.
Yeah, this was so fun. Yeah, I love the book. It feels a little bit like my baby too. And I so excited to get it out there.
Same. If you have not yet ordered or you want to snag more copies for folks that you love in this world, head to seedandsew.org/book. If you have already ordered, head over to seedandsew.org/book and let us know that you've ordered because we will send you bonus goodies between now and October 10th when that book ships to you and your household. We have a live workshop coming at you on back to school. And how do we navigate back to school times and all the big emotions that can come with that. We have a workshop for teachers and a workshop for parents. And it's totally free for anyone who has purchased the book, who has pre-ordered the book. So we have that and we have a bunch of other fun, exciting things rolling out for our pre-order purchasers. As a huge thank you for committing to this
before it can get to your hands. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. seedandsew.org/book. And the book is Tiny Humans, Big Emotions. Thank you so much for being in our village.
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.