How to connect with your child for conscious parenting with Dr. Shefali


You're listening to voices of your village. This is episode 219. Today I got to hang out with someone I have so much love and respect for in this space. Dr. Shefali. Dr. Shefali's new book, The Parenting Map: Step by Step Solutions to Consciously Create the Ultimate Parent Child Relationship, is coming out soon. It's available for preorder now. And we have had so much to discuss in this episode, we actually broke it up into two episodes. Today is part one, and then next week, next Thursday, we're coming back with part two. We get to dive even deeper into this work with Dr. Shefali, y'all. You don't want to miss this one. She is a wealth of knowledge, and her previous books really focused on the what and the why around conscious parenting. And this new one goes into the how, and we dive deep into that in these episodes. I'm so jazzed to share them with you. Before we dive in, I wanted to let you know that she has a free summit with so many incredible experts that she interviewed to serve you with free tools and information on your journey as a parent caregiver teacher. She's got your back. Head on over to to join for free. You know what? I joined her. I got to hang out with her, and there's a free workshop from me in there. Go check it out now. It's totally free. You can sign up. It's a three day summit, February 20th to the 23rd. Head on over now to sign up that's All right, y'all, let's dive in. 


00:01:54    Alyssa

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. 


00:02:18    Alyssa

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today I get to hang out with Dr. Shefali. Dr. Shefali received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University. She specializes in the integration of Western psychology and Eastern philosophy. She brings together the best of both worlds for her clients. She's an expert in family dynamics and personal development and teaches courses around the globe. Dr. Shefali has written four books, three of which are New York Times bestsellers, get it girl, including her two landmark books, The Conscious Parent and The Awakened Family, which are two truly incredible books. And now she has another book coming out. The Parenting Map: Step by Step Solutions to Consciously Create the Ultimate Parent Child Relationship. Dr. Shefali, I am so jazzed to get to hang out with you today, to learn from you, I feel like I am forever learning from you, and I'm so grateful for it. How are you? 


00:03:11    Dr. Shefali

Oh, my goodness. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited. This is the new book that's out next week, so people should pre order their copy and we're going to talk about it. So I'm so excited. Thank you for having me. 


00:03:23    Alyssa

100%. Thank you. I was thinking about you have four parenting or three parenting books. This is your fourth parenting book. I'm curious what inspired this book. Like, how is it different from the others? 


00:03:37    Dr. Shefali

Well, I never thought I would write another parenting book, but I kept hearing people finding that my other books were amazing and they were paradigm shifters, but they were not giving them the application that they needed. Like the how. The how. The how. And I felt like before I die, I need to break it down even more and make it as palatable, digestible, easy to follow as I could. And this is an ode to that desire to make it as simple. So in this book, I have 20 steps, three stages. And if you just do the work and I give practice exercises, and if you just did just follow the work and the steps, you could become more conscious. The other books I felt were more theoretical and conceptual, and they were phenomenal according to me. But this one really brings it home. So I have stories for my clients. I have practice exercises to do every day. I have illustrations. I have it all mapped out. So the layperson out there who's never picked up any book of mine can begin right here and feel like there's a concrete way out of the jungle. 


00:04:59    Alyssa

Yeah, it's so helpful to have the how. I have a master's in Early Ed and I taught Early Ed for a while, and I had my own kid, and I was like, can somebody just tell me what to feed him, what to do? Just give me a concrete plan, right. We make so many decisions as parents all the time, and we're carrying so much information in our brains. I love that about this book. I'm so excited for folks to get their hands on it. When you talk about being a more conscious parent, I'm curious, what do you think are our greatest threats to consciously parenting our kids? 


00:05:40    Dr. Shefali

Well, the greatest threat is what I call the parental ego. And what is that parental ego? It is the false self that we parents walk around in the world with, which then creates a false connection with everyone in our lives, especially our children. So the false self is the self that has based its worth on, say, a particular standard of happiness, a particular standard of achievement, a particular standard of well being, of beauty. So once we have married ourselves to these false standards, now we base our children's worth on these false standards. So the child begins to think that they are not worthy unless they match up to these false standards. So do you see how our marriage to false ideals creates or helps create in our children a false marriage to these ideals as well? So now the generational patterns are set into motion and our children don't get to discover who they are because we don't sit and occupy an authentic sense of self ourselves. So this is where we need to break things down so that false marriage to who it is we are needs to undergo a breakup or a divorce. And when we go through that process of entering our authentic self, then we can connect to our children. So in this book, I help parents identify their false patterns. What do you believe about happiness and success and well being and beauty and let's look at your false beliefs and let's identify your patterns because that is standing in the way. That's the biggest threat between you and connecting to your child. 


00:07:36    Alyssa

I love that so much because one of the things that's been on my mind lately is this idea of being our authentic selves in parenthood. Opening up my mouth and having the words that come up truly feel authentic to me because I think you can feel it when it isn't right. If I go to respond to my toddler and I am reading somebody else's script that I found on social media, it's not who I authentically am. And so one of the things I've been thinking a lot about that I think your book did such an awesome job of addressing is like, how can we be more conscious and intentional and still embody our authentic selves? That sometimes when I open my mouth, my mom comes out, right? And sometimes that's great. Sometimes I'd love to pass that on and sometimes I've done a lot of therapy to try and not pass that on. Sometimes those are things that were passed on to me that weren't checked right. Those subconscious things that were passed on to me. And so really looking at like, how do we show up as our authentic selves while doing this work, while parenting from a conscious, intentional place. 


00:08:47    Dr. Shefali

Right, so the first step is to know who you are. So being connected to yourself but realizing when you are dealing with your children that they and their experience needs to be paramount in your parenting. So that doesn't mean you nullify yourself. It just means that since we're raising children, their authentic voice needs to be given space. When we are dealing with ourselves, our authentic voice needs to be given space. And as they grow older, both yours and theirs can hold the court. So for example, if your toddler says, I want to wear purple socks and green socks, your conditioning may say, that's ridiculous. That's not what we do. We should wear matching socks. But when we put their experience front and center, we quiet in our voice and we ask the toddler, is that what you want? And the toddler says, yes. So then we go through a checklist. Is it safe? Is it harmful? That's really the only place we need to intervene at a very forceful level. So if the answer to is it safe and is it harmful? And the answer is yes it's safe and no it's not harmful, then we can proceed. Then we can take out our ego and then go, okay, then there's no harm. The only thing that's standing in my way now with my toddler's desire is my conditioning. And if I was conditioned, I would say, no, that's ridiculous. And what I would do in that moment is nullify my toddler's authentic desire, which really should manifest. There's no harm in the toddler wearing green and purple socks, except my conditioning. And then fast forward that to your kid telling you that they don't want to have eggs for breakfast and they are actually not hungry. My conditioning will say, well, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we should eat eggs, right? So again we ask what is the harm if they don't eat eggs? There's no harm really. The toddler or the kid will eat when they are hungry. So again, in all these ways, we question our conditioning and become more intentional in our putting our toddler's essence front and center. Now people may say, well then what kind of conditions do you have? What kind of boundaries? But most of the boundaries and conditions we have come from a very primitive, unconscious place. We don't need to have many boundaries or conditioning. If the toddler is operating in alignment with who it is they are and it's not harmful, right? The only fear we should have is it harmful, physically, emotionally abusive. If it's not, let the toddler manifest or the young child manifest in their authentic desire, they will actually fall in alignment with life. Toddlers and young children do not want to be out of alignment. It's our fear that they will fall out of alignment. For example, I raised my daughter without any belief system around religion and many people were very weary of that. Well then how would she learn good or bad or how would she know who's in charge or how would she have any faith? And I always said that children will fall into alignment, they will know what's good or bad because of how it feels for them. And my child grew up without any organized religion and she is really a good human being. She knows intuitively. So most of our fears are irrational coming from our conditioning and we can really release a lot of it. And what that does when we release our fears, irrational fears, is that our children fall into alignment with their authentic self and actually don't veer too far off the the beaten path. Actually, paradoxically, my daughter is now 20. She is so in alignment in terms of her health. She has never experimented with drugs, she's never experimented with alcohol or sex. And actually I've had the fewest rules in the house. I've been the most quote unquote permissive parent. If you look at the traditional rule list because I wanted her to fall into alignment with herself. And that's our human nature. We will do what feels good to us if we're given the permission to do so, but if we're constantly suppressed and controlled and organized according to other people, then actually we rebel against that. And that's where we actually then experiment in a way that is reckless. 


00:13:31    Alyssa

Yeah. A million yesses, so many things popped up for me. One of my things, that there's a term I just heard the other day, snowplow parenting. And it resonated because it was like this idea of pushing all the obstacles out of a child's way, removing all the obstacles so they don't have to experience anything hard. One of the things that I think can come up is the idea of if they are emotionally safe. So if they want to wear different color socks, great, sure, they're physically safe. And then if we fast forward to, like, they want to wear a tutu or whatever to school, and now we jump into, like, are they emotionally safe? And what is my job here as their parent? And I think for some folks, it can feel like our job is to protect them from the hard stuff. And that when we jump into that as our job, then we navigate that snowplow of, like, let me try and remove those hard things. Let me try and remove any obstacles so that you don't have to experience things like feeling made fun of, feeling left out, feeling lonely, feeling excluded, because we aren't ready to examine those parts of ourselves, right. That felt that. 


00:14:51    Dr. Shefali

But how much overthinking we do as parents trying to preempt, oh, my goodness, if my kid goes with that outfit, they'll be made fun of. Or if my kid tells them that they are of this nationality, they'll be made fun of. Or we cannot preempt how life will interact with our children. What we can communicate to our children is that no matter how life shows up, you will be resilient and have the tools to handle it. And we express that attitude in the way we embrace different experiences in life. Right? If we're constantly overthinking and preempting, children will begin to think, oh, I'm not capable of reacting to life with strength. I need to preempt everything. That is anxiety being passed on. Instead, we tell the kid, yeah, do what you like, but if the kids have a comment or two, deal with it. Right. What a different reaction versus don't wear that because Sam may say something or Bertha may say something or Becky may make fun of you, then that's teaching the child that they should be afraid of Sam, Bertha, and Becky, versus if they say something to you, you say, this is how I like to be. What about you? Right. I remember when my daughter was young, I taught her to have a one line answer for all these rude comments. And it may be something that may offend other people, but my answer to her was just say this have you looked in the mirror? This is who I am. Have you looked in the mirror? Or this is how I look. Have you looked in the mirror? I just told her to keep putting the deflection back on them, telling them to go look in the mirror. And when you come up with a one sentence answer, then children kind of back off you because you show up in your authority. So you can teach your children these little gimmicks and tools, but really what you're trying to communicate to them is, I'm going to be me. Deal with it. Right? 


00:16:44    Dr. Shefali

And I'm going to deal with it, and I want you to deal with it. And we as parents are going to deal with it. So we're teaching our children, no matter what, no matter how life shows up, you can deal with it. It's kind of an anti fragility model. 


00:16:58    Alyssa

Yeah, it's trust, right? It builds trust in themselves. It shows them that I trust you to figure this out. I trust you to navigate the frustration and the disappointment and the loneliness. I trust that you can do this. And that when you get to a point where you feel like you can't, you'll ask for help. And I think that's something that your work does so beautifully is helping us see what's our bag to carry as a parent or as a caregiver, as the adult and what's theirs. And it feels bonkers that it could be as simple as, like, are they safe? Is it harmful? But really, when we get back to the baseline of, like, what are we setting a boundary for? Is it safe? Is it harmful? And then allowing them within that to have freedom and trust. Oh, my gosh, Dr Shefali, just the amount of connection that that brings. And I love that your book is broken up into the three stages. Let's walk through them a little bit because I feel like I'm going to jump ahead here. I love this part of it. So you have three stages in your book, and it's 20 steps laid out throughout these three stages. Let's walk through them. We have stage one is from frustration to clarity. What does that look like? 


00:18:18    Dr. Shefali

Well, the first place that all change occurs, you and I know, is at the mental level. So the first stage is about the mental stage and changing the mental game. The second stage is briefly, is breaking your dysfunctional loops. Right. From dysfunction to what is it called? 


00:18:36    Alyssa

Conscious choice. 


00:18:37    Dr. Shefali

Yes. Beautiful. From dysfunctional patterns to conscious choice. That is the psychological place. And then the third one is the emotional connection, the stage of emotional connection. So I walk parents through first breaking down their mental barriers, then breaking down the psychological issues and barriers, and then you're ready to emotionally show up with your children. You cannot emotionally show up with your children when you haven't done this preemptive inner work. So that may feel frustrating for parents because the third stage is really the juicy stage of all the tools and strategies to connect with your children, but they have to go through the mental game and the psychological game. So the first stage is from frustration to clarity, which is about debunking all the toxic belief systems around the main things that trip us up as parents, as in who's in charge, who's in control? What does control mean? What does love mean? What does happiness mean? What does success mean? If we don't do away with these toxic belief systems, and you can pick up whichever ones you want me to further elaborate on, we will be constantly tripped up in our parenting, right? Just the other day, my daughter said, mom, I still haven't checked my grades, she's in college, for my last semester. Now, if I was a parent who was very rigid around success and achievement and competition, that would trip me up, and I would go bonkers. Check it now. How can you not check? I need to know if you failed. I need to know you're great, and it would cause disconnection. But because that doesn't trip me up and because I have given trust, I tell my kid, okay, how about we create a deadline that by your 20th birthday, which is a month away, you will go back and check, right? We need to check. I understand you're probably a little afraid. You have no fear from me, but you know that you may be worried for yourself. I get it. Let's just check by this date because I didn't get tripped up, right? Or the other day, I wanted her to look at a certain health protocol because she's been having some skin breakout, and she said no. Now, again, because I'm not tripped up around control. I said, okay, it's here for you. I'm offering it to you. When you're ready, please tell me. See how many places we can get tripped up. And this starts from toddlerhood all the way till they're, you know, adults. 


00:20:58    Alyssa

Forever and forever and ever. 


00:21:00    Dr. Shefali

So I'm not tripping. And when we're not tripping, we liberate ourselves to connect with our children. So like you said, what is the place we, what are the barriers? The barriers start at the mental level, 


00:21:13    Alyssa

100%. And I think it's one of the hardest parts of doing this work, because we want a script, right? If we post something on Instagram that is like, instead of saying this to your kids, say this, people are like, yes, I want more of that. But the reality is if you're not doing the other parts of this work, that it's not going to sound like your authentic self. We're not just going to be connected to our kids if we don't do this work alongside building that connection, to foster that connection. So I love this. So from frustration to clarity really helps us with that, like, immediate reaction that we might feel. And I think a lot of them come back to fear, right? Like, whether it's scarcity mindset or whatever, but like, my fear of what's this going to mean? What's it going to mean if I lose control as the adult in this instance, what would it mean if the child holds control here? What does that mean? And the unknown of that when so many of us were raised in environments where control was something to be held on to. I love that. 


00:22:20    Dr. Shefali

Right. And the main belief system in that first stage that I debunk is this idea of control, where I teach parents the beauty and the power of giving your kids their own control in as small ways as you can. Wear purple socks with green socks. Or you can eat your eggs for dinner, or you can eat 1 hour later. Or if dinner time doesn't feel like the right time for you to sit at the table, you don't have to. Right. Doing away with arbitrary rules just because some scientific journal said that's a good rule, or just because your pediatrician told you so, really intuiting what is best for your child. And we are so afraid of giving up that control, like you said, because we think that equates to mayhem or that equates to anarchy, that little person cannot have so much control. But we don't understand that. That is the building blocks for teaching our children to tune in, tap into themselves, giving that two year old controls. Do you want your eggs now or in 20 minutes? Now. Of course, we don't have to let go of all control, but giving, trying to find ways to let your kid tap in and go, I think I'll have it in 15 minutes, Mommy. Wow. It's such a little thing for us. But we've taught our children in that moment the muscle of looking inward, manifesting their desires, and seeing that people do listen. My goodness. That makes the toddler feel we don't necessarily need them to feel omnipotent, but we do want them to have a sense of authority. And we parents don't even believe in that. That is such a vital ingredient, because then by the time the kid is nine years old, they are able to say no to an abusive teacher. They are able to say no to somebody on the outside who's bullying them. That's how that muscle of authority gets built from the age of two. 


00:24:23    Alyssa

Yeah. It's their sense of self, right? Yes. And a sense of agency and knowing who they are. And just this morning, my little guy picked out an outfit for him. He'll be 2 March 23, so coming up here soon, and he said, different one for the pants. And I was like, oh, you want a different one? And he said, itchy. And I was like, oh, those are itchy. Okay, great. And so I opened up the door and I said, do you want me to give you another choice? And he came over and he grabbed the ones he wanted and he took them. And I said, are those more comfortable? And he said, soft. And in that moment, it doesn't matter right now, I have this opportunity to help him trust himself, that this is what I know feels best on my body. 


00:25:10    Dr. Shefali

And let's go one step further. What if he wanted the pants from yesterday? 


00:25:15    Alyssa

Yeah, great. 


00:25:17    Dr. Shefali

Again, let's work through the map, right? Our ego will say, oh, they're dirty. We shouldn't wear clothes twice, or whatever. Our ego is going to create a barrier in that moment to say no. But let's question that is it unsafe? Is it harmful? And if the answer is no, then what is the big deal if the kid wears some dirt on their feet or legs? Our ancestors didn't even have clothes, or they didn't bathe every day. It's okay, right? We have to weigh in that moment. What is important for that development right now? It's an opportunity to help your kid develop inward reflection and manifestation. Isn't that more important than telling them, no, you can't, it's dirty? What are you thinking? What's more important in that moment? 


00:26:13    Alyssa

Well, in that there's a loss, right? Like, there is a loss if I say, no, you can't wear wear those pants. They're dirty. The loss for him is that little trust that he's trying to build in himself, to listen to his insides, to say, this is what feels best of my body, that I know my body best. And when I say no, you don't. And I'm going to step in and assert over that every little time that I do that, then it builds upon each other, right? That it's. This small loss of like, I can't trust myself. 


00:26:43    Dr. Shefali

Yes. It's so powerful to back up kids. Now, what if it was really dirty? Let's go there. 


00:26:51    Alyssa



00:26:51    Dr. Shefali

What if there were snails and fungus? 


00:26:55    Alyssa

He threw up on it, right? 


00:26:56    Dr. Shefali

He threw up on it. So we say, I love these pants too, but you smell it. Let's just wait till tomorrow. Let's wash it and wear tomorrow. You're aligning with them and of course, then you can adapt, right? You don't have to let them wear the fungus or the throw up pants, but you have to validate them, right? And what you said, that little voice needs to become a big voice, right? But that little voice needs to be watered, and we have to be intentional. What is more important than your kid aligning with themselves, trusting themselves, knowing how to look within that is the primary fundamental goal of childhood. It's not teaching them to ski. It's not teaching them a second language. It's none of that that we think it is. It is just the development of inner trust. And that's really what I teach in this book, is if you got that right, your kid is going to be okay no matter what, they're going to trust themselves. So at 50, when they want to learn skiing, they're going to trust themselves. At 70, when they want to learn the second language that, oh my goodness, you didn't teach them when they were three years old. They're going to trust that they can do it. It begins here, but like we've just said, it begins with the parent relinquishing control. You have to relinquish your idea of control. 


00:28:27    Alyssa

Yeah, I love it. I love it. And I love that you incorporated there are still boundaries within this. But yeah, he's not going to wear the throw up pants and you can validate within that


00:44:36    Alyssa

I love that. Thank you so much. I was excited I got to join your summit for this book and would love for you to share with folks where they can access the summit. We'll also link to it here and what the summit is, if you want to give that a little shout. 


00:44:56    Dr.Shefali

Yes. So the summit is announced on my website. They can just go to my website It's a free summit with over 30 speakers like yourself and me. And Dr. Gabor Mate, Dr. Nicole LePera, Terry Cole, Kate Northrup. So many people giving their insights, their tools, their strategies on how to be a more conscious parent. So it's completely free. It's from the 20th to the 23 of February and they can sign up on my website. 


00:45:28    Alyssa

Thank you so much. You're the bomb.


00:45:30    Alyssa

What a blast that was for me, and I hope you got so much out of it. Stay tuned, next week we're going to dive into part two with Dr. Shefali, where we go into stages two and three of her method. Head on over to sign up for the summit, right now to access that free summit with so many incredible speakers. I will also be a part of it and I'm so jazzed to get to collaborate with Dr. Shefali in that. Head on over to her summit now. And come on back next week for part two of her podcast episode here.  


00:46:11    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 @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 miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans. 


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