Constant Attachment vs. Secure Attachment, with Dr. Becky Kennedy


00:00:01    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 173. In this episode I got to hang out with Dr. Becky. You might know her as Dr.Beckyathome over on Instagram and we chatted about constant versus secure attachment. So if you tuned into last week's episode, we re-broadcasted Sam Casey's interview about fostering a secure attachment. After that episode, we had a bunch of questions about what this looked like, to walk away from a child if they were upset or how to support a kiddo without necessarily being right next to them all the time. We had a lot of questions around constant versus secure attachment. So, Dr. Becky came to hang out with me and dive into this conversation. It was so fun to get to hang out with Becky. We have been Instagram friends for a little while now and nice to get to just like step outside of the 'gram and have a real conversation. I can't wait to hear your biggest takeaways from this episode and what really stands out for you. Take a screenshot of you tuning in and come tag and Dr.Beckyathome. Let us know what your favorite takeaways were or what your burning questions are. What are you still curious about? We'd love to hear from you over on the 'gram. Let's continue this conversation. All right folks. Let's dive in.  


00:01:37    Alyssa

Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.


00:02:10    Alyssa

Hey everyone, welcome back to Voices of Your Village today. I get to hang out with an Instagram pal that I made last year and have been jazzed to get to talk with and you've been on my list Becky you've been on my list of people. I wanted to hang out with on this podcast. And I'm glad we're making it happen. This is Dr. Becky. You might follow her as @Dr.Beckyathome. If you don't follow her you should do that. You should pause this podcast and go follow her, but hey Becky, how are you? 


00:02:38    Dr. Becky

Hi, this is so so nice to be here. So nice to connect. 


00:02:41    Alyssa

Yeah, likewise. Can you share with folks a little bit about your background kind of what brought you into this work? 


00:02:46    Dr. Becky

Yeah. Sure. So I am a clinical psychologist meaning I have my PhD in Clinical Psychology and I trained in adult and child psychology and have worked with adults and kids in inpatient units, outpatient units, Private Practice the whole range, hospitals, outside of hospitals and have a long standing private practice now in Manhattan. And I also very importantly, I'm a mom of three. So I have a nine-year-old, a six year old, and a three year old and honestly what brought me into parenting work was I was really all the work I do with adults. I actually don't see kids in my private practice, which is always surprising to people who follow me on Instagram, but I work with adults and I do a lot of what I would consider very intensive Psychotherapy where people are really trying to change patterns of how they relate to people, feel better about themselves, feel more successful in a truly really meaningful definition. So success, more at home with themselves and one of the things that kept striking me is wow, if we could take the patterns of kind of not really what went wrong in these people's childhoods, but the things that really were so missing and therefore they had to really develop adaptations as kids which always turned into symptoms as adults and if we can take what we know about those patterns, I thought, maybe I could reverse-engineer it where I can bring those things to parents today and help them set their kids up for wiring that they won't have to rewire later on but it's just kind of setting them up for this way, feeling at home with yourself, getting to know yourself, being able to kind of, you know, balance independence and dependence right? And feel assertive and confident, all good things. And that's honestly the biggest thing that informs my parenting work is all the work I've kindof done with adults. 


00:04:38    Alyssa

Yeah, that's awesome. And it falls right into like what I want to chat about today was secure attachment because I feel like that's really the cornerstone for being a successful human as you noted. Someone had reached out once, a publisher who, with a book about raising successful children, and I was like, oh excited about it. As I was reading it, we always will vet books before will bring an author on I was like, oh this is not my definition of success. It sounds like you and I have a similar one that is about function not looking at things like necessarily financial success. So just to clarify that for a hot minute, but secure attachment for me is that the cornerstone of that of being able to, for me it's not that we won't have hard experiences, but they will have tools to navigate them right? That we won't have to, it's not that we avoid repair it’s that we have tools for repair. Yes, so let's chat real quick. Can you break down like what is secure attachment? What are the hallmarks of secure attachment between a parent and a child? 


00:05:46    Dr. Becky

So to me, I mean secure attachment is kind of the balance of independence and dependence over time. Right? I kind of can be on my own. I know who I am. And I feel like I trust myself and I feel good inside just by knowing myself and I'm able to trust people. I want to be close to people and I can get things from people I can't give myself and I think that one of the markers of secure attachment is also kind of noting various forms of insecure attachment, right which is kind of the over-reliance of dependence or the over-reliance on independence. Right? So secure attachment means, I always picture it as like I kind of I exist by myself. I don't only exist in someone else's eyes. I'm not only good when someone's happy with me, that would be more of those markers of kind of right an insecure attachment and but also someone else wanting to be close with me doesn't scare me away. That doesn't feel like it annihilates me. How do we get there? Well to me it you know it this is you know, I think not about an equation but two things I think of it's so key in parenting that leads to so many good things including secure attachment. Is this balance a parent has of boundaries with validation and empathy right and to me that almost epitomizes secure attachment, what's a boundary? We set boundaries to kind of sometimes we set boundaries for ourself. Like I'm a person too in this relationship. I can't just let you take over but I also validate and empathize meaning I see you're a real person inside. I see you have feelings. We're both here like both of us can exist and I think secure attachment when we fast-forward to adulthood. That's what it looks like in a securely attached adult relationship. I'm a person, you're a separate person. We have different feelings and experiences and truths and stories and we can co-create a way of being together that actually feels really good to us. Right and those are some of the things that come to mind for me. 


00:07:50    Alyssa

Yeah, I think that that's huge. I like the fast forward to adulthood. I think it's sometimes it's hard to imagine. We think of so much of the now with the tiny humans and and creating these things with tiny humans and just the other day in our team slack channel. We were chatting about how jazzed we are to be on this journey with folks as they're creating these humans that we're excited to be around as adults that we're excited for our kids to have as employers or employees or partners or for these folks to become parents one day and I think sometimes we get stuck in the like what is this now and that their kids and I think like kind of like the minutiae of doing this now and I love that jump forward to like, who are we going to be down the road with these skills? 


00:08:35    Dr. Becky

I think that's exactly right. Right that we, right, it's so important as parents to realize that parenting kind of matters, right because kids learn not specific knowledge not like the capitals of you know, kids learn how to be in the world based on how they're allowed to be in their family and kids are hyper vigilant, but I always think kids kind of are looking at every interaction kind of saying is this a is this a part of me that someone wants to attach to is this a part of me that gets met with closeness? Or gets met with distance and it's met with closeness. That means I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. I'm safe do more of that. Oh that gets met with distance? The distance of sending someone away, maybe the distance of a glare the distance of a judgment the distance of oh, you said something but yeah, I'm not going to follow that up. Oh a kid learns. Oh, that's bad. That's a bad part. Right and what we want for our kids is not to allow any behavior. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, I'm sure we will talk about that. That's the boundary part and it's so key. We do want kids to feel that the parts of them inside, the feelings, the thoughts they have, the urges even they have that are all inside. All of those parts are attachable and can be met with curiosity and connection and that to me is what secure attachment is and what leads to kind of really healthy relationships later on. 


00:09:54    Alyssa

I love it. So when we did the podcast episode on attachment theory with Sam Casey I think episode 141 if folks want to reference back to that later, dives deeper into the other forms of attachment as well, but when that came out we were getting a lot of questions about secure attachment vs. constant attachment and this notion that in order to have a secure attachment. We have to constantly be with the tiny human and we cannot leave their side if they're having a hard emotion. A lot of this too around bedtime as well. I just the other day shared a post and one of the example it was about boundaries and one of the examples in there was something like a kid who would didn't want the parent to leave at bedtime and she said mom said like oh, is it hard for Mommy? It's hard when Mommy and Mama are hanging out and you're going to bed and to know that we're hanging out out there. Would you like me to come back in and tuck you in and give you a kiss in five minutes and to like validate that and then come back and we got so many questions around leaving a child that is, that doesn't want you to leave. And for me like that came right into this constant versus secure attachments I'd like to dive in what does that difference between those two really look like?


00:11:15    Dr. Becky

So I mean, I think it looks like so many things it's such an important difference right? I mean, I guess I never even thought of the phrase constant attachment so it comes it what comes to mind to me there that actually I think is really terrifying for kids is like I'm not really my own person like I'm literally in meshed into another person and when I get upset, it kind of travels outside of my body and it upsets or deemed dysregulates or scares my parents so much that wow that person, you know can't can't separate at all. I think when kids are having big feelings. One of the things that are looking to their parent for is they're kind of saying that I'm terrified by this feeling are you terrified by this feeling because of your terrified by this feeling I actually think I'm more scared than I was before because wow my parent is actually scared by my feeling and then it explodes right so constant attachment is kind of then I guess the consistent message to their kid your kid that you are not capable. I don't have trust that you're going to become capable. I don't have trust that this feeling can be managed. I don't trust you to figure out ways to deal with it. I don't think there's anyone else in the world who could help you. I am the only person who could understand and support you through this, that to me again would fill a kid with fear about the world. Now, let's go to the other side kid is upset and a parent says you're being ridiculous. I'm locking you in your room. I mean clearly that's terrifying too let me just like make that clear too of course, right? And you know, those are the extremes, right? So, you know, one of the things I think about right and I know you think about this do is just first of all, what is behavior. What is an expression? What is a feeling right, but second to me it's key to differentiate. When is my child uncomfortable? When does my child not like something and when is my child in a state of terror? We don't want a kid leave kids alone in a state of terror and as parents if you're thinking oh, no, I don't know the difference pause. It's okay take a deep breath. We learn the difference over time and trust yourself, right a kid in a state of terror around bedtime is different than a kid protesting bedtime and part of our job is differentiating and scaffolding our kids ability to learn how to regulate to learn how to trust the world which really means in some ways trusting that the feelings we have don't actually destroy things or don't actually take over. And a parent, one of the parents, a parents way of showing that is through yes, like you said connection and validation but also some space that space is the difference between constant attachment and secure attachment. 


00:14:04    Alyssa

Totally. I love the word trust that kept coming up there, that like I trust that you can navigate this and you don't have to do it alone. You know, like I can check back in, we're going to be here, here in relative space but not necessarily right next to you making sure that you don't feel it. You know?


00:14:25    Dr. Becky

And I think a lot comes up with sleep. I know you think a lot about sleep and I think a lot about you right? I have a workshop on sleep and sleep is separation. Right? So if we really think about why things are so hard at sleep? It's because sleep is, sleep is actually usually a longer separation them school and it's in the dark and it's alone. I still remember one day my five-year-old, you know, she's six now said to me because why do adults get to sleep with other adults and kids a lot of kids sleep alone? I was like, I really don't have a great question, I don't have a great answer for you. That's a great question. And it's really unfair and I was like, it is unfair like I don't want to be alone in the dark. And yes sleep is scary sleep is when you're alone and one of the important things as a parent I think around sleep. If you don't want to sleep with your kids, right if you do that's a different choice, but we're talking about a model I think for parents who don't want to sleep in the room is how do I validate what's happening for my kid? How do I give my kid tools to help my kids start to feel safer. Maybe not as good as they would if I was laying next to them, but better enough that they're not in the terror state. And once we're out of the terror state we can start to build skills that start to close the gap between how scary things feel alone and how scary or how safe things feel with someone else that again to me is like a marker of secure attachment. 


00:15:47    Alyssa

Yeah. No, I love that and I think fear is one of those for us as adults that's often very triggering because a lot of us don't want to feel fear either may not have tools for feeling fear without getting stuck in it and going to that terror or anxiety space. And so when we see that show up in kids it's triggering for us and my goal, isn't that kids don't feel fear. My goal is that kids know, I have a toolbox for fear. It's okay for me to feel scared for a little bit. And and that that's really important. I think another thing that kept coming up here with constant versus secure attachment was the idea of this came up after another post where we said like, it's okay to step away from a dysregulated child. If you are dysregulated if you need to find your calm, it can be more beneficial to step away to regulate and return. And there was a lot there are a lot of fears around that like will I will my child feel abandoned if I do that. Will I jeopardize our secure attachment. Will they feel like I can't handle their big feelings. 


00:16:52    Dr. Becky

So yeah, I think this one is so nuanced because right what is a kid in a vacuum? Right? What does a kid need when they're really dysregulated? They need a regulated grounded sturdy leader. They do a hundred percent. What if the thing you need to do to become closer to a sturdy leader when your kids dysregulated is take some time for yourself right like to me, I'm like, well, this is just an inconvenient truth. That's that's hard. Right and I think part of what we need to do when we're adults when we're parents is kind of say yes in a vacuum. My kids need this and the closest I can get to that is this other thing and deep breath. I'm still a good person. Like I am a good person who can't do the ideal thing in a vacuum. I am a good person who can do something else and get closer to what my child needs but also what I need, right and I think right that's what we're all working on as adults is the how do we feel good inside when things are imperfect and that's I don't know if you have like the answer to that right? 


00:17:51    Alyssa

I sure don't! 


00:17:54    Dr. Becky

So me one of the key things though is like if you know, you're a parent when your kid melts down you have a lot going on inside of you. There's so many important things to do before waiting for that moment to arise, to empower you and to even empower your kid. So I think this is a time for calm conversation. These are the conversations that we imagine how they're going to go and they never go that way because our kids are so young. So embrace that and just trust again that when you say something and your kid looks at you and says, oh can I have my pretzels now, you're like, I just said something really profound...know it's still in there, it's just being digested. So make it during snack time make it during a walk, make it during art, make a during something actually where your child is a little distracted, it actually helps them take in heavier topics more easily and I would say hey one of the things I want to let you know about me is mommy has big feelings. And you know, you have your big feelings we talked about working on them and I do too and here's something so interesting. Sometimes when you have your big feelings, my body has big feelings too it's like big feelings at the same time kind of like double big feelings and for me to be there for you and your big feelings. Mommy needs to do this thing where I put my hand on my heart. I take a couple deep breaths and that's a mommy thing. You don't like do that to me. My feelings aren't your fault. How could they be there in my own body. When you get upset, Mommy might say to you the breathing thing and that I might step away do my breathing thing. Let me show you it looks like this and then come back to be able to be there for you. Anyway, what do you want for this snack? Do you want apples or pretzels? Like you're not even giving your chance a child to reject it. But prompting them I would also do this with stuffed animals. I'd have two stuffed animals. Oh the bear is so upset! He want's his mommy to just please just stay there. Oh, I'd say my kid's name is Alex. You know, what's tricky Mama Bear. She wants to be there for baby bear, but she needs to do her breath thing, what should she do right? Like you can play out the whole scene. So now the moment comes where Alex needs you and you're like I need to do something. I'm such a bad parent. I want to be there but I can and you're so you feel it. You feel it. Guess what by the time the actual moment has come you've actually changed this circuit already because you've brought up the circuit by playing around with it in play or by talking about it. You've encoded understanding you've encoded connection. Maybe you've encoded a little playfulness. You've encoded a coherent narrative into a moment that clearly is chaotic. And so you're stepping away means something totally different than if none of that happened. I always call this like emotional vaccination like to me you're vaccinating and like then you're you and your kid both have these like antibodies right? So the moment feels different and I think we underestimate how powerful that is and it gives ourselves the permission to do what we need to do without being so overwhelmed by the guilt and shame which is actually the cause of our reactivity in the first place. 


00:20:52    Alyssa

What we're saying here is that self-regulation for adults is essential because our kids are going to co regulate. In a world of free information on the internet, it's amazing. We have access to so many of these tools, but there's something different about live events. It really is powerful to be able to carve out time when you don't have a tiny human on your body or calling your name and to really focus in on creating these tools to bring back to your life. To like pause and reflect without distraction and that's what we really get in these live events, you get to focus in for a couple hours or for Mama's Getaway Weekend, you get a whole weekend of stepping outside of your routine to build tools that are hard to see when you're living in it every day. What I love about Alyssa's approach is she's just very down-to-earth and she relates so well to people and she just has so much knowledge and experience to share about working with little kiddos and she's just taught me so much about how to interact with my sons, but also just to have grace for myself and how to kind of work on my own emotional intelligence to be able to better communicate and work with my boys as well. It's a safe space to be able to talk about the challenges of motherhood and how to both look at the things like anxiety and guilt that so many moms to bring to the table and really build their emotional toolbox so that they can respond with intention to their tiny humans. It was really born from a mom who reached out and said "I want to gather with other moms in person to have like a retreat weekend, a time where we can dive really deep and rather than a one-off workshop, we can continue to go into this. So Mama's Getaway Weekend is four workshops from me, two guest workshops, it's lunch, it's breakfast, it's everything included for Saturday and Sunday and then at night there's a "mama's mingle," a time where you get to take off your mama hat and just go hang out with other moms. Right, like you just get to be a human, out and mingling and chatting and building your village in person with other folks who are coming at this from a similar approach, who also want to raise emotionally intelligent humans. If you're ready to take time for you and dive deep into this work come join us for Mama's Getaway Weekend in September in Watertown, New York, September 25th and 26th. You can head over to to snag your ticket today. 


00:23:22    Alyssa

Yeah, I love that preaching or front-loading. I think we think of this in so many other ways somebody reached out the other day and shared a story of she has two kiddos and the infant was crying and her four-year-old was just sitting next to him and mom came into the room was like like startled at first like what's going on and he said I'm being a rabbit from the rabbit listened and I was like, oh my gosh, that's gorgeous. Right? He had learned from this book that like sometimes you can just sit and listen, and it's making me tear up. This is pregnancy. So many of these little moments now like whoa, but I think that we do we practice we rehearse this in like books that we're seeing or we talk about fostering empathy outside of those big moments and how to build that and I absolutely love this preaching and front loading of here's what might happen. Yeah, that's rad and can you chat a little bit about what that might also look like in repair like say we didn't, right, like we didn't step away and take a deep breath and instead reacted and now we're worried about that secure attachment. What does that look like in navigating repair to continue to foster secure attachment there? 


00:24:38    Dr. Becky

Great. So a couple things about that repair is everything. I remember my doctoral program learning about, you know, my multiple courses on attachment and repair and how repair is actually a marker of secure attachments, one of the things that differentiates it from other forms of attachment and I literally remember I can picture this classroom in Colombia. They kind of run down at the time classroom and I remember thinking wait, so it's not about, because I wasn't a parent at the time, like it's not about not messing up because wait if you've repaired your repairing a rupture like they didn't highlight that in the class is like, oh so like everyone messes up it's just repairing and I'd say that all the time to parents of my practice like if you if we talk about the importance of repair, that means the assumption is you're messing up. We often define ourselves by our mess-ups versus how cool to define good parenting by your repair and I say this line a lot, good parents don't get a perfect all the time, good parents repair! Which means good parents mess up. Like I'm a parent, I mess up right? I yell at my kids. I shushed, you know, shoot nasty glances their way the kind that we know as a parent is like really scary to them and we think we're not doing anything but we really are, I do that stuff, too. Right. Then what do I hold myself to, why is repair so important? A couple things about that and I'm going to also answer a question that a lot of parents ask me which is but my kid didn't bring it up. Like why would I want to bring it up again? Because like they're fine now we're playing game. Okay. So when you have a moment that feels bad it registers in your body it literally like there's a set of feelings. There's like an entity that gets created and it gets part of a circuit in terms of how you're learning about relationships, right our kids interactions with us teach them what to expect in relationships going forward and maybe more disturbingly teach them what to be attracted to later on because who we end up being attracted to later on is just the activation of our original attachment patterns. That's its own podcast. So we have this moment where we yell at our kid, we, me, you're going to do that. We all do that, every single person yells at their kids. Let's just say that okay and our kid understandably feel scared, feels alone. We want our kid to feel scared when they get yelled at I don't want my kid one day to get eviscerated by his or her boss at a job and be like, well, that's par for the course. Like I don't want that fear response to go away. We want that reaction. It's natural. It's normal. So my kid has that feeling and then we separate, I you know chastise myself, right? My kid is scared in his room what happens then this is always important. Well what happens for a kid who has the scary alone dysregulated feeling in his body. Number one our bodies don't lie, and our bodies don't forget. We're animals. You can't undo sensations, the sensation, it's already happened. Once we have a sensation that's overwhelming our bodies yearn for a story to understand it and if we're not given a story by a parent which is where we'll get to over script for repair a kid has to come up with one himself. They just have to right? So what does a kid do, they usually do one of two things, self-doubt or self-blame. Why? Well self-doubt would sound like this, that was uncomfortable that felt that no wait. Wait, I mean if something was really uncomfortable and was really bad. I mean the adult around me would have said something they would have brought it up. They would have, when things are bad we talk about them. That's what no. No, I must perceive things inaccurately. Let's fast forward. I don't want my daughter to be at a party one day and have some sketchy stuff going on and her body to say. Ooh, this feels scary and then her thought why you're next to is oh there I go feeling things inaccurately again. I must have this wrong eesh talk about implications. No, thank you. What else do kids do they self-blame, they say to themselves in their room. I'm such a bad. I'm such a bad boy. If I didn't do these things, I would never get yelled at if I could only be better, it's always vague, I could make mommy happy with me. Why do they do that? Well, I always say it's Winnicott but I wasn't I think it was Fairbairn who said it most poignantly. It was Fairbairn who said you know for a kid, it's always better to be a sinner in a world ruled by God than to be essentially an angel in a world ruled by the devil. It's better to be bad and assume the world around you, meaning your family is good. It must be my fault. Now at least the world is safe and I can explore and go back outside. Rather than, I'm five, I'm the good one. I didn't do anything wrong, but the world around me at any point could terrify me that's enough to make a kid not able to develop you literally can't hold that belief, so if any of you listening are people who are prone to when you struggle, layering on self-doubt, ooh did I feel that's right? Am I overreacting? Or self-blame? Uh, I'm the worst this literally goes back to your childhood. You are reliving a bodily memory of your early years when you were left alone with a struggle that undoubtedly was not your fault and you had to explain it to yourself now, we're on to like re parenting so we'll pause that whenever so, how do we not do this? We go to our kids. I think first we have to repair with ourselves. We can't give out what we don't get in. I always say to my kids and I tell people to say this. You're a good kid who had a hard time. I think we have to hold that for kids and I tell parents before their repairs. I'm a good parent who was having a hard time. Both are true. I'm a good parent. I had a hard time. Repair in and then I think you can 


00:30:08    Dr. Becky

go to your kid's room and say something like this. I'm sorry for yelling at you. To me, this part is key. I was having my own big feelings. They came out in a very loud voice and I'm sure that felt scary or this. You were right to feel scared. Why do I say that? I want my kids to trust their sensations and it's never your fault when I yell never. I know I even said something like that to you. I said you're turning me into a monster. That was never true. That's never true. You don't turn me into anything. I'm working on managing my big feelings. You're a good kid. I love you so much. I happened to post my script on repair yesterday. 


00:30:49    Alyssa

Oh that's perfect. I was like, you nailed it. 


00:30:51    Dr. Becky

Thank you literally in my post yesterday. And what that also does that's so powerful in a kid's body is it takes that moment that was encoded in aloneness and fear and then right after that in a kid's body is a moment of connection and warmth and increased understanding and for our kids to learn that after rupture can come repair is setting them up for success. Guess what happens if you want to get married or you want to have a partner you want to have a close friend, they don't get it right all the time. It's the shock of adulthood. You're like what? This is the best it gets, someone like kind of like gets me most of the time and is kind but sometimes misses it and then you repair and you never really solve anything? You just try to understand each other and move on like, you know, you're not in like, yep, that's it! This sets a kid up to have that circuitry. What a gift and all of that starts with messing up. It just does. 


00:31:49    Alyssa

Yeah. Oh, I think that that's such a breath of fresh air, the connection between rupture and repair, I think you're absolutely right is often lost. That we're like okay repair. I can navigate repair, but then there isn't this discussion of or acceptance of and I will navigate rupture to get to repair like that's what comes before repair and I was coaching a couple recently and the dad was really taking on like the self blame. Yeah, well I keep doing this etcetera and they said something similar to the like. Yeah, you were having a hard time. You're a great dad and you were having a hard time and he just like paused and she looked at him and she was like I'm going to use that like that and I was like, yeah, I mean that's the reality is that we're all going to, I recently, we aired a podcast with Dr. Shankar who is like my dream boat in this work. He wrote the book Self-Reg. That's his work is all in self-reg. He was sharing similarly like our goal isn't that we're regulated humans all the time. That's not how life works. That's not how our nervous system works and part of that is accepting that we're going to be dysregulated and our kids are going to be dysregulated and that's where I think it was so poignant to point out like you didn't make me feel this way, that comes up a lot when it's like well, no they did like if they weren't throwing their toys, if they weren't hitting I wouldn't feel this way. Can we chat about that for a hot minute? 


00:33:21    Dr. Becky

Yes, so that is so so important and to me even in those words, right but they did. They're the one who threw the blocks, right? To me I always feel like oh, I'm coming in contact with a memory and I think actually we can talk about that without talking about memory in terms of even your own childhood. We have such a limited definition of the word memory. People are like what do you remember from your childhood? I remember this birthday party. I remember this right, worries that we have in words. There's nothing wrong with those sometimes they're accurate sometimes they're not but you know, the things that dysregulate us with our kids, tell me more about someone's childhood than anything they've ever told me with their words. I just like oh, I just have a window into your toddlerhood there. Like I told you I don't remember your childhood. I was like, what are you talking about? You don't remember we're living the memory right now. And what are you talking about? And then we can enter into this kind of like in a playful way conversation. So I actually think when someone says but my kid made me do this right? We're not in the business of convincing right and you can tell even like I don't want to be in who's right mode. No one's ever right. We're just trying to figure stuff out the even like we need to reflect with parents. We can't change our parenting. We can't really work on things. If we're not willing to look back and reflect. This is not a way of saying are you saying everything is my parents fault? No, I won't even say anything is their fault. I always believe everyone's doing the best they can with the resources they have available in the moment and there's impact of what happens. Both. Both things are true. And so it makes me think first with people who say well my kid made me is wow. You must have felt over and over when you were younger, that you caused your parents reactions, like I'm learning that right, like I don't know any baby that's like do I cry for food? Oh, no, I might make my mom upset. Like I know what no one comes out of the womb that way right? So how do you go from babies, babies are like amazing. They're just so free with their wants and their feelings are like it's all out and then it doesn't take that long for us to like totally shift that right because we're adaptive and we're animals. So I think that's number one place, just reflect on like just instead of entering into the thought, just looking at the thought. Did I get this thought that my kid makes me feel anyway, that's interesting. I wasn't born that way. So, how do we get there? Number two? Yeah. I mean, we don't we never make anyone feel anything, our sensations live inside of us and I think when you think about it that way I think about this almost grid where a kid gets dysregulated a kid is yelling a kid is throwing a block whatever that leads to sensations in our body memories in our body. I always think internal experiences, feelings, the sensations, thoughts, urges, images and memories all of that happen in our body then and this is what I think is really powerful if we haven't developed coping skills from our childhood through co-regulation through repair through therapy through meditation, whatever we're doing then we have a very very limited window for how long we can tolerate all of those uncomfortable sensations inside of us. Our kid is the trigger. Now what we're doing is really an inside game now our kid is a pawn in our game and we look to shut down their behavior only to shut down our feelings because our window of tolerance is so little not because you're a bad person again not be you're still a good person because you weren't given the relationships and the skills to tolerate that and because maybe you have not yet done the work as adults we need to do to build those skills. So I think about this, a kid tantrums, it brings up feelings in our selves. We look to shut down the tantrum. Really  to shut down the feelings in our self and this is what happens intergenerationally in terms of transmission of emotion regulation patterns. So what do we do to shift that? Is we have to really focus in what does it bring up for me when my kid throws a block what happens for me? Oh, I hate it. Not even no no I'm going to be much like to me curiosity is the single most important quality in a human, like just and curiosity is the opposite of judgment, right? So, what does that mean to you? What does it feel like and can I even name a sensation when I'm picturing, can I name a sensation, even think about those six aspects of experience. Do I have an urge? What is my urge, my urge is to yell when someone can name an urge it's so powerful, to me regulation or is the space between urge and action, right? And I can't remember if I said this because I you know, I quote it a lot is that every single thing we need to know about ourselves as humans happens in the space between urge and action and most of us are interested in collapsing that space to as small as possible. And I think that's like brilliant, right? So if you have an urge to yell, I have an image. Maybe it's I see my four-year-old all of a sudden becoming an 18 year old whose violent it's so interesting. No wonder I look to shut down. I have this fear of the future. We can learn so many things but I think that that patterning is really important. My kid is becoming a kind of pawn in my own emotion regulation game based on my own kind of past. 


00:38:30    Alyssa

So huge. It's so huge. We can't teach what we don't know, right? Part of, and part of the knowing is I think thousand percent just getting curious first Dr. Lynetta Willis is one of my favorite humans to dive into this with she does work on intergenerational healing and she was actually in our membership, one of our expert guest Q&A's. One of the first ones I was like Lynetta we need you to come in because she's just like gold for this work. And when we were looking at our courses, we have Tiny Humans, Big Emotions and Reparenting, and we ended up bundling, you can only purchase them together now because so many people would come in for tiny humans, big emotions and then be like wait it turns out, I need this too. So we bundled them together for less because it's so true like we can look at how and that's what we often want, right, is the script of like what do we say to the kid in this moment? What do we do with the kid in this moment and so much of this work really is what's coming up for us in this moment. Thank you so much for bringing it back to that. I love it. I think I could hang out with you for ever. I feel like I can just dive into this stuff. This is awesome. I want to leave folks with like what as they're, as they're taking this all in and maybe getting curious about what's coming up for them. Especially if you've been experiencing this fear of abandoning the child or what feels like abandoning the child in the moment from constant attachment to help build that secure attachment to set those boundaries to build secure attachment. What do you hope to leave folks with today? So when I want to leave people then I think there's something very concrete. I can leave people with you know, I made this one post a long time ago and it had this one line in it and I've kind of become like known for it, like I see people using it all the time. I don't know if you know what I'm about to say, but it's the line "two things are true." And first of all something about those words together. You can't even say it without accessing your sturdiness. I don't know if it's like the cadence of it. Like it just feels like good to say, I don't know it just does and to me I think it helps us really embody secure attachment right because secure attachment or two things are true, I'm my own person and I can depend on others right and if we want to lead there, we need to kind of hold that dialectic with our kids and something I say to my kids a lot of different two things are true. Some kids hate when you actually say those words, so parents are like do I actually have to say the two things are true. I'm like no, you never have to say any of these things but some actually parents love saying it out loud because it starts that sturdiness that their kid actually feels, that feeling is way more important than whatever two words are so things like this. Two things are true. Mommy's going to the bathroom by herself and you're allowed to be upset about it. Right? Two things are true. Mommy is working because I love work and it's so important for me to have things that are just for myself separate from being a mom and I love being your parent and I can't wait to play with you when I'm done, right? I think whenever we say two things are true out loud at forces our mind to realize we don't have to choose and that's what secure attachment is about, and that's really what's different from constant attachment right in giving yourself permission to be your own person. Not just a kind of constantly attached parent right is what gives your kid eventually permission to relate to others and also be true to herself and I think all over the place like I would just think about where can I incorporate that, right, this kind of dialectic, you know, two things are true. I want to play a game with you that game. No, no, no. No. No I play that game way too many times. No, thank you. Please pick something else, right? Right like it you can kind of play around with it and you're modeling. I can be connected to you and you can be upset. I can give you some things and not everything. You wish Mommy could stay with you all day all day all day. I know you wish that you would love that so much. Mommy has one more minute and then I'm going to start my work. I love you. You're safe. I'll see you after I'm done like again such warmth, but also the boundaries are there and when you set a boundary, you're actually saying to your kid. You're your own person too and I trust you to be strong enough to be yourself without me on top of you. And that's that's such a gift going forward. I love this so much. Just speaking to my heart Becky. Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. Where can folks connect with you, find you, you have incredible workshops, a fantastic Instagram where can folks find you?


00:42:55    Dr. Becky

Probably the best place is my Instagram all my work and you know, and my I finally have a new site where all the workshops and courses are on one place workshops on for kids workshops on reparenting. Workshops on managing our own stress and anxiety, all that. So we, repair is amazing. I think we all want to get better at repair and we want to have fewer moments to repair, again two things are true. Right? So my Instagram is @DrBeckyathome, that's @DrBeckyathome. And then my website with all my courses is Awesome we'll link all those too in the transcript as well. If people are on the go and you want to reference back. All their transcripts are at 


00:43:36    Dr. Becky

There's just a few more thoughts I'd want to you know, get in there is, number one when I said about curiosity. I really think, I really mean that to me. It's what makes me love this work. It's why I love answering live questions that I'm not prepared for because that's what helps me think like what is going on there? And so anyone listening they're like, oh, dr. Becky said this and that actually sounded so off or that doesn't apply my house at all, or she doesn't even understand what's going on in my house because it would look like this if that if I said that, I love that feedback more than people who are like that's amazing like oh my God. Thank you. Like that's great too. But my brain truly does love to think about things. So, please please DM me let me know, you know those type of questions and I think second is just it's really really hard to be a parent and I think going back to that tendency of self-blame like my main mantra in the world is this feels hard because it is hard not because I'm doing something wrong and that's a really important mantra for anyone whose tendency is to go to self-blame. And get dysregulated and just want to validate for everyone listening that parenting really is as hard as it feels and this is like my job and my husband always says he wants to tag my personal Instagram on my Dr.Beckyathome instagram. He's like you would really like her, you would really benefit from some of this. Maybe you could watch this IGTV, and it's really true right? My kids don't have Dr. Becky. They have Becky, lots of ruptures, lots of repairs and we're kind of you know, this is really hard for all of us. 


00:45:04    Alyssa

I love that thank you, thanks for keeping it real and human. Especially on Instagram where it's like, oh, if only I could access that script right now and none of us access it all the time. That's awesome. Thanks for hanging out with me. 


00:45:19    Dr. Becky

Thanks so much talk to you soon. 


00:45:23    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag 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.



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