You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 220. Wow. What an incredible time I got to have with Dr. Shefali. So exciting and so much jam packed in that we broke it up into two episodes. Let's dive in to part two with Dr. Shefali.
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.
Your kid is going to be okay.
Yeah. Let's do it.
Because no matter what. 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.
Yeah, I love it. I love it. And I love that you incorporated. There are still boundaries within this. That yeah, he's not going to wear the throw up pants, and you can validate within that. So stage two for you is the dysfunctional patterns to conscious choice. Can you break that down for me a little?
This is where it gets really therapy. You're starting to do your own therapy. This whole section, if people did this, they wouldn't need to spend money on therapy. And I'm all for therapy, but I'm just talking about, you can do this for yourself. So in this section, I've taught parents and nonparents, whoever is picking it up, to literally identify how their ego is patterned. And I break it down into five ego patterns that we have when we are emotional. So if you tend to get angry a lot, that's the emotion underneath the ego pattern of a fighter. If you tend to get anxious a lot, that is the emotional pattern under the ego manifestation of a fixer. If you really want attention, validation and approval from others, attention seeking, then that is the emotional subscript of the ego pattern of the feigner. I call it the feigner. If you are extremely avoided and you hate big emotions and you can't handle the chaos and conflict scares you, the avoidance is the emotional subscript of the ego pattern of the freezer. And if you are just completely abandoning yourself all the time and you're terrified to even show up, then the abandonment is the emotional subscript of the ego pattern of the flier. So I've given the emotional patterns, and I've given the ego that shows up to protect against these emotions. And I talk about the inner child, and that's the first "I". And then I talk about the other "I", which is the imposter ego. And then how to develop the third "I", which is the adult self. So all this is packed into stage two. It's heavy duty therapy. It's heavy duty inner work, but I've laid it out, and you will find yourself in those patterns. Like, for example, I'm a fixer parent, and I talk about the different kinds of fixer parents, the savior, the rescuer, the enabler, and how if you recognize that, then I give you tools to break that pattern. So did you identify your pattern, Alyssa? What are you?
Yeah, mine is usually the feigner.
Yeah. For me, I grew up in a family. I'm one of five kids, and there was a lot of emphasis placed on achievement. Right. That's how you received love. So I was a star athlete and had straight A's and president of student council and whatever. All these accolades. I think in an attempt to feel loved, to feel valued, to feel worthy. And so now how that shows up in adulthood, like, oh, yeah, it's real strong. Real strong. And guess what kids don't do at the end of the day? They don't say, mom, you did a great job today.
Yeah. Wow. So your star that needs to be approved and validated is not getting its fix.
So how do you deal with that, and how does that come out when you're trying to fix up your kid?
Totally. So, for me, it always starts with that awareness of, like, okay, I know that there's this part of me, the ego part that you're referring to here, that is how she thinks is the only way to feel loved, to feel connected, to feel validated. And for me, when I can even just build that awareness of, like, that's what's coming up here. That consciousness around that, it can help just start to calm the system. Just from the awareness part of it, that's what's happening. And then from there, I can tell that little part of myself, like, you are killing it. And you don't have to be perfect all the time. And there are so many other ways to be loved and to receive love, and that's one of them. Just like, I have to give my inner child that narrative on a lot of on repeat, right now I'm sick and was just saying to my husband last night, like, I hate feeling, like, needy or high maintenance or, like, I can't do it all. And that was not how you received love. It wasn't how you showed love in my house. Growing up, having fewer needs when you're one of five kids was better. And so also, it shows up in these other ways like that too, where I have to be like, it's okay to have needs because it's okay to advocate for yourself. It's okay to do something that, at the end of the day, wouldn't get a trophy. Right. Wouldn't have an award just resting or whatever.
Right. The star children have a hard time because they've been in the limelight. They've gotten the attention. Now the risk is that they could use their children to continue getting attention, which means that their kid needs to be a star, and that may be something to be aware of. So for me to be a fixer parent, I have anxiety around my kid's anxiety. So I want to make her happy. I want her to feel happy, and then I can become that snowplow parent you were talking about. That okay, I'll handle it. Just this morning, she wrote to me and she said, my credit card is being declined. And my instinct was like, okay, I'll do it. I'll call the credit card company. I forget she's 20. All I did was, what would you like to do about it? And she said, I'll call. And that felt so uncomfortable to me because I did not want her to feel burdened. But see, it's my projection that she's being burdened and she needs to do it. So I had to really clench my jaw and my fists and not type up or call her and say, I'll do it. That's the fixer in me. Let me just handle it. So letting her be in the discomfort is something I need to become comfortable with. That's the blueprint of a fixer parent. The fighter parent really just is so dogmatically attached to the idea of supremacy that anything looks like disrespect to them. The other day, I was with a parent who, you know, was very angry with their child because their child did not text them back with the question, the answer that the parent asked. And the parent couldn't handle just the kid ignoring their authority. So fighter parents lose their control. They explode. Because to not be seen as the authority figure is something that is very much of a curse for them. Like, I don't have that. I'm the opposite. I want my kid to be my authority. I don't need to be seen as authority. Does that show up that you need to be the authority?
Yeah, I don't need to.
You just need to be told you're doing a good job, probably.
You just want the trophy at the end of the day, right? Because the trophy for me is love and value.
Yes. So for the fighter parent, it's submission, it's compliance, it's obedience. For me, it's just be happy. Can you just tell me you're happy? Then I'll be happy. And for you, it's just tell me I'm doing a good job. Right. So it all shows up in all these different ways. And that's what I dissect very deeply in stage two.
I love that. And then stage three, if you can wrap up the book for us in a pretty little bow. What is stage three? The one I think everyone's like, bring me to stage three.
Yeah. And I'm going to look at my copious notes because stage three is so intense and so with the tools, so filled with the tools that I never had as a parent. So the first step in stage three is to learn your children's psychology. Who is your child? And I lay out the essence of our children according to a continuum of anxiety just to give us a ballpark. We don't want to type cast our children. So is your child an anxious exploder? And the anxious exploder is a fussy, irritable, edgy, highly sensitive kid. And you can tell us who your kid is and I'll tell you who my kid is. Is your kid a hyperactive explorer? The kind of kid that is the wild one that cannot sit still, that's going to break all your rules? Is your kid the overdoer, over, giver over, pleaser. I think you were that kind of kid.
I was too. Is your kid a dreamer, recluse, a space cadet, a doodler, a dreamy kid, a quiet kid, a shy kid, an absent mindset professor? Is your kid the rebel nonconformist who just literally will break all your rules? Is your kid the easy breezy kid? So I put them on a continuum of anxiety, the easy breezy kid being the lowest on anxiety and the anxious exploder being the highest. So what's your kid if you had to ballpark your kids?
Yeah, I have an easy breezy kid right now.
That's amazing. That's amazing. Well, at least that's how it presents. Like his nervous system dysregulation reaction is to take space to shut down, right. Whereas I was like a little I feel like as a kid a little more like, no, see me, am I still, I'm here, blah blah. And my husband is the same way where he's like, yeah, I'm just going to take space, like, I'm going to go do my thing, I'll come back and I'm not anxious about how you feel about that.
Yeah. So maybe a little bit like a dreamer, reckless because he's shy, he's a dreamer and a little bit easy breezy.
A little bit of both of those. And I would see my husband and kid are very similar in that.
Yeah, I definitely had the rebel nonconformist easy breezy kid, meaning easy breezy for themselves and then a rebel towards me. And that's what woke me up to do conscious parenting. I thought I'd have the easy breezy kid because everyone wants the easy breezy.
But I got the rebel fire, spitfire and I was like, whoa. And that didn't work for me as a fixer parent, right, because the rebel doesn't give a shit about it and I couldn't fix anything and the rebel was just going to do their own thing and I wanted to fix the kid. So either be easy breezy or give me something to fix, right. But this kind of independent individual kid that I got really upset me and that's when I embarked on conscious parenting. So for you, but easy breezy kids are always easy kids to handle.
Yeah, exactly. It's for me that what can come up for me, is that he doesn't care. Like, we had a hang, and there were a bunch of people over. And in my family, if you just left that social hang to go do your own thing, like, not acceptable in the culture. And he was just like, I don't want to hang with everybody. I'm going to go to my room and play by myself for a little bit. And that stuff for me is like, I want to step in and change those things, and I have to be so hyper aware.
Well, your kid is more the dreamer recluse because he's got that introverted quality. And for somebody like you, who's the extrovert, it's like you're the show kid, you're the stager. You like to be on stage. So for your kid to not like those things is so strange for you. So that's what I do in step twelve. I help parents figure out who they were, who their kid is on the spectrum. And I give you ways to reframe how each of the places your kid is at is a superpower. Each of them come with superpowers. So I help them reframe what they may think is a challenge, but it's actually a superpower, you know, because of the work we do that your kid is going there to recharge. Your kid is going there because they don't need validation like we do. So that's a superpower. Okay? So that's step twelve. Step 13 is to help you now spot your kid's ego. So it's called Spot Your Kid's ego because while you are in ego of the fixer, the fighter, the fainter, the flea, or the freezer, your kid is also in ego. So because in my case, I at first was so uncomfortable with my kid being such an iconoclastic non conformist, I was so angry with it. So my fixer couldn't fix, so I became angry. And then I set off my kid to enter their fighter mode. Of course, our kids will become fighters or fixers or pleasers based on our ego. So I talk about that what's going on within my child, how am I displacing my child from the authentic self? And now I've helped my kid create a mask. And what is my kid's mask now?
Then step 14 is master kids speak. And this, this step, I think, is one of the most powerful steps because we don't understand our kids language. Kids speak through play, number one, we don't know how to play with our kids. So I talk about play, and then I talk about how our kids do not articulate what's going on and we have to decipher what's going on. So in this step, I talk about SIG and SIGN and how that's an acronym for something inside gone negative and how their behaviors can be a flag. And I have a whole illustration about how you can decipher what is your kid's behavior flagging to their internal state. Then step 15 is called instead of Punishment, do this. So this is a big, valuable step for parents. And I use the acronym NBC. How do you negotiate? N stands for negotiation, b stands for boundaries and C stands for consequences. And in terms of boundaries, I do the who, what, why, and how. Who is this boundary for? Is it for me or is it for them? What is this boundary made of? Can this boundary be made of stone because it's non negotiable? Or can it be made out of sand? So I talk about that. Why does this boundary exist? You know, is this boundary even in its place because it affirms our ego in the world? Or is it really a life affirming boundary? And then how will I communicate this boundary? Through connection or through command? So I talk about that. Then I talk about how you can rephrase mistakes. How can you drop to the heart? How can you empathize? What does empathy look like? And I have acronyms for everything to help people remember things easily. And then I'm reading my notes. Step 18 is finding the yes. Step 19 is entering the now. And step 20 is embracing a new you. So I take parents through this huge kind of journey to really come up with their own authentic way of finding connection. There's a lot of information in step three, so it's hard to get into. But just to give people the gist of what all it covers, the breadth of it covers, I don't have things like when your kid does this, say this so much as because then what if your kid doesn't say that? I kind of take care of the big picture and put you in the right alignment. Because once you're in the right alignment, everything else flows well.
And I think that's so powerful because the "if your kid does this, say this" takes like I said, that authenticity away versus your steps and your guidance. If they're following the stages, by the time they get to stage three, then they can embody their authentic response in those moments. And I think you do such a beautiful job of scaffolding that and fostering that.
And I give stories, I give case examples at every step, there are, like, at least 20 stories, if not more, where you can resonate with the cases and see yourself in them.
I love that. And your book The Parenting Map: Step by Step Solutions to Consciously Create the Ultimate Parent Child Relationship. Ya'll go snag it. It is out on February 28.
Yes a week or two!
Awesome. Go snag it. Go preorder it now. So it's coming to your doorstep right away. Thank you so much, Dr. Shefali, for doing this work, for writing another parenting book. We need the how along with the why and the what. And I'm so grateful for your investment in this space.
Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
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