Respectful Parenting IRL: Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome

00:00:03    Nao

"You know, it's a parent's natural instinct to want to talk to them. Like, what's wrong, what's wrong talk to us?" 


00:00:14    Nao

"I think it's important for me to remember to have that same expectation of communication for myself towards the kids too." 


00:00:25    Nao

"You know, the internet and social media. There's just so much information.  coming in." 


00:00:34    Nao

"We want to teach her that she can't just physically express her frustration."


00:00:42    Nao

"That translates to love for others as s well  her confidence in herself and her love for herself."


00:00:55    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.


00:01:18    Alyssa

Welcome to our new limited series, "Respectful Parenting: In Real Life". I get to hang out with some folks and dive into what this work looks like outside of scrolling through Instagram, or that picture perfect snapshot of respectful parenting. What does it look like when you drop the ball, when it's messy, when we're imperfect humans, and when our kids don't respond perfectly as we planned. Buckle up for some real stories from real humans. And I hope that you get to see glimpses of yourself or your kids in these stories to know that you definitely are not alone in this journey. And there's a village of folks walking right along side you. Alright, let's dive in. 


00:02:09    Alyssa

Hey everyone. Today I get to hang out with Nao. Nao you were on the podcast, what almost three years ago?


00:02:16    Nao

Well, oh my, has it been that long? 


00:02:18    Alyssa

How old is Emily now?


00:02:24    Nao

She will be seven this year, yeah.  


00:02:25    Alyssa

She was three. I think when we chatted , isn't that bonkers, it's been an absolute joy to like watch her grow up through social media snapshots. She is, I love her. It's so weird to like love a human.  you've never met. 


00:02:42    Nao

I know you are the the biggest fan and we say lovingly stalker. 


00:02:53    Alyssa

She is just like...


00:02:54    Nao

Lovingly, very lovingly! 


00:02:55    Alyssa

Haha Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. She is, I love her fire. Like she's a real, fiery human. 


00:03:04    Nao

She definitely has that fire. 


00:03:06    Alyssa

And I love it. I love it. And Maya, I feel like I haven't like stalked as heavily but seems like such a just like, really from what it seems like from the outside. And you can tell me if this is not correct. It seems like a really like loving. I would say maybe curious, intentional human. 


00:03:27    Nao

Yes, very intentional. Very yes and curious. Yes, but she's is, it's very interesting that I have two do  girls who are so very different, but they complement each other, in their own way. And Maya, she has that quiet fire. I think that that's not as obvious, but she's very protective of her sister and she's very emotional. She's very like, empathetic. 


00:04:00    Alyssa

Yeah, like attuned. 


00:04:01    Nao

Yes. She's incredibly empathetic and very aware of of how other people feel and want to always make the people around.  her feel good. 


00:04:15    Alyssa

Yeah. She's an emotionally sensitive human.  


00:04:17    Nao

She's incredibly emotionally sensitive. Yeah. 


00:04:21    Alyssa

Yeah. I relate to that same same. I think it's a blessing and there are parts of it.  that for me can feel overwhelming sometimes. 


00:04:28    Nao

Absolutely you're absolutely right. Like it's a blessing and we don't ever want to change that but it but at times it can.  hinder her as well. So we're trying to teach her to protect that, but also to  not let it stop her from from doing things or saying things. 


00:04:49    Alyssa

Yeah, like deeply loving other humans and connecting with them and I resonate with that and even you know, as are like platform and our community has grown. That's one of the things that's been hard for me is that I am an emotionally sensitive human and I want to connect with everyone. One. And I want to get to know everyone. And at about 200 thousand folks. Like I just can't in the same way that, you know, when I met you, it was so much. It was just a few thousand. 


00:05:20    Nao

Of course, yeah. 


00:05:20    Alyssa

And I could, I could like, really get to know y'all and have these conversations and go more in-depth. And I love that. And there's this part of me that like wants to be able to do that with everyone and in sometimes for me it can show up as codependency of like I need to be able to help this other person around me feel better. And I've had to like really work hard on allowing other people to have experiences and hard things without me fixing them. Like that's my biggest. That's my biggest work. Yeah. It's a challenge. How old is Maya? 


00:05:56    Nao

Maya is 9, she's going to be 10 this year. 


00:05:59    Alyssa

Okay, when are the girls birthdays? 


00:06:02    Nao

Mayas in June, so she'll be 10 in June and then Emily will be Joe. 7 in July. 


00:06:11    Alyssa

Okay. Yeah, rad. 


00:06:12    Nao

I can't believe it. We'll have a double-digit and then I don't know something about the jump from six to seven just makes me feel like...


00:06:23    Alyssa

It feels different. 


00:06:24    Nao

It feels older. It feels a lot older like five to six wasn't that big but six to seven just feels like I don't know. 


00:06:34    Alyssa

Yeah, well and for those who don't know, when you're on the podcast before you were on sharing your journey and birth and postpartum experience with Emily and finding out that she has Down syndrome and what that was like from your experience and Maya does not have Down syndrome. So, as we're diving into the conversation today, I'm curious to know like we talked a little bit about an in your previous episode. About expectations and developmental expectations. And how what that looks like from kid to kid. And I'm curious to know when we're chatting about respectful, parenting and big emotions and social-emotional development apart from them being truly just vastly different temperaments, and humans which we often see in siblings.  anyway, just across the board. It's been a cool thing about this podcast series is hearing like yeah most households kid to kid the way they respond to things is different. But are there any things that are on the forefront for you? With Emily living with Down Syndrome, being a human with Down Syndrome? , is there anything that's like different in that sense? , pertinent to that for emotional development? I don't know enough, I guess about Down Syndrome to know like is there a, cognitively are we looking at? t like oh, there are things.  we shouldn't expect or can't expect.  at certain ages or stages that you may have expected from Maya. 


00:08:06    Nao

I'm am, and throughout our conversation. I only speak on behalf of our family. So, you know, just because a child has Down Syndrome, my child with Down Syndrome, will act and look and behave completely differently than probably another child with Down Syndrome. Like we have friends, a lot of friends, of course in the Down Syndrome community. And yes, there may be certain things that that they have in common. Of course just like, you know, any other person would have something in common with somebody else, but at the same time like they're each their own person. So, when I speak about Down Syndrome, I'll speak about Emily in particular and that doesn't necessarily apply to somebody else. That being said, for us, Emily I think she has a pretty good.  awareness,  when it comes to her own and and this is something that's  developed over time. So, you know, now at the age of six almost turning seven, her vocabulary has been expanding. So when she is feeling a certain way, she's now able to better express that verbally. Sometimes, for example, like Maya, that maybe much easier for her to initiate that conversation on her own. So without us having to prompt her. She may tell us how she's feeling, with Emily.  she will much more quickly. Physically express that frustration or that emotion and we would have to, you know, sit her down and say Emily. We can't understand what you're upset about unless you tell us.  So tell me, tell me how you're feeling and tell me why you're feeling that way. And that that conversation might just take a little bit longer then our conversation with Maya, but she's gradually getting to that point where where she's gaining the verbal ability to express that. 


00:10:27    Alyssa

Yeah. So she's more like in her body in it. 


00:10:31    Nao

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So it quickly it much more quickly comes out as, you know, whether she's crying or she'll walk away from us, or she'll sit down and turn away from us and doesn't want to talk or maybe she'll start to do things to Maya out of spite, like, just pushing her buttons, knowing exactly what buttons to push. She might do that to antagonize Maya, those kind of things. 


00:11:04    Alyssa

Yeah, yeah. 


00:11:04    Nao

So it's very easy to tell that she's unhappy or frustrated about something. It's just not always easy to tell what she's frustrated about.  so. 


00:11:15    Alyssa

Totally. Yeah. And when we're looking at this, like my little guy and it's not true for all humans, for some folks, when you're in an emotion, for some folks talking is helpful, right? Being able to like, with Sage. He wants to know that we understand, right? So I can turn and say like, oh man, you were eating and you dropped your fork on the ground and , man that's disappointing. In our house. , he will chuck it. It's not an accidental drop. And in our house, if you drop it on the ground, then we're all done with it for that meal and I will use the fork or I'll use the spoon but he's not just, our boundary is like you're not throwing and I'm picking it up. You know, and and he knows this and then he'll go like like "ehhh" and I say Yeah you're disappointed, that makes sense buddy. But he wants that like he wants us to talk to him in the moment and say, like I get it, like validate what he's going through. And for other kids, if you talk to them in the moment, it's overloading for them. Right? Like they need time to calm their body. How does that show up with the girls? Is it the same or different? Do they both respond at talking


00:12:25    Nao

Oh, so that's very interesting because Maya is the latter. Hmm, When she's feeling very emotional. When she's feeling overwhelmed or she feels overwhelmed with her emotions. So a lot of the times, you know, it's a parent's natural instinct to want to talk to them. Like, what's wrong, what's wrong? Talk to us? . We want to make them feel better. But for Maya, a lot of the times she first needs that space to to be on her own to, you know, sit with that emotion and just get that space for her personal space for herself without us bombarding.  her being like let us try to fix it. Let us try to talk to you about it, you know, talk to us, talk to us. So that's been, you know, now that she's nine. We're starting to understand that better and we're trying to respect that that space for her. But that was a struggle for us as well. You know, when she first started kindergarten, she would've been 5, 4 in Canada, in Ontario, at least they start around 4 years old and, you know, she would have problems with friends, etc. Etc. And like like we said she's a very emotional child, but she internalizes that emotion. So we can tell as, as Mom and Dad, we can tell that there's something wrong that something happened at school maybe. And we want to immediately talk to her. Like, did something happen? This.  and that. We're asking tons of questions and all it does is for her to turn inwards, more and more, and more, and more becomes harder and harder for her to talk to us. So now we're trying to give her that space and time until she can come around. And, you know, she's had that time to think about her feelings on her own and it becomes a much.  easier conversation.  for both of us, to be able to sit and talk about whatever it is.  that's bothering her. 


00:14:41    Alyssa

Yeah. She needs to be with that emotion for a while. 


00:14:44    Nao

Yes, for sure. And I understand that because I'm, I'm, I'm that type as well. If something is happening, is something is bothering me. I don't want people to come and talk to me about it right away. Because that is very overwhelming for me, as well. So, as parents we're learning and, you know, so Maya, is that way, Emily on the other hand. She wants that attention. So she is expressing her frustration physically or, you know, through crying and she wants that attention right away for us to come and say Emily. What's wrong? 


00:15:29    Alyssa



00:15:29    Nao

She doesn't necessarily want to talk about it maybe, but she wants that attention immediately. So she wants that comfort immediately. She wants us to come to her immediately. We had that conversation because we want to know what it is.  that's bothering her and we want to teach her that she can't just physically express her frustration because not everybody understands.  what's bothering her just through the physical expressions? . So we're trying to teach her, you know, Emily. Tell us you have to use your words and tell us what's bothering you and tell us, what are you feeling? So sometimes she needs. We don't want to provide them with the language, always because we want them to use their own language to express to us how they're feeling. But for Emily, sometimes she needs a little bit of that, those those verbal prompts. So I might give her give like, are you are you angry? Are you worried? Are you frustrated? And then maybe, she'll she'll tell us, she'll choose out of those words. And then maybe we'll expand on that. Okay, you're frustrated. What happened? Did something happened to make you frustrated? And sometimes she doesn't even, even then.  sometimes she doesn't, she doesn't answer.  


00:17:03    Alyssa

Mhm. What helps her calm enough in the moment to be able to act. Yeah. cess that language, like what helps her calm enough to even say like, yeah. I'm frustrated. 


00:17:14    Nao

For her. Well for both of our girls, I think physical touch. Hmm,  always helps so Emily likes.  you know, she needs the hugs and she needs the tight hugs. So the tight hugging usually will will help her to calm her down . Maya, now that she's older initially.  she'll need that space to herself. So we let her go to room, she'll closed her door. She'll do whatever she needs to do to self-regulate herself. And then once she comes out, she she's she's a very huggy girl too. So, So yeah, the physical hugging and and and you know, rubbing her back things like that will help her feel more comfortable. 


00:18:02    Alyssa

What does it look like for the girls for each of them? When, you know, I think we talked about this and social media.  a lot of like here. Like here's what it looks like when we respond to their emotions and then they respond this way and great. And like, we know that so much of the time we go over and we validate and we connect and they're not ready or we have to get out the door and we don't have time to like sit and  a emotion process for 20 minutes, and we're going to an appointment, or we're going to school or whatever.  What does it look like when it is in that, like raw imperfect time. What does the repair look like for each of the girls afterwards? Is it the same? Do they like, to reconnect in the same way or revisit things in the same way? Or is it different for them?  


00:18:52    Nao

So like, for example, for Emily, our daily struggle is that she loves fashion. 


00:19:01    Alyssa

She does. 


00:19:05    Nao

If you, if you've seen us on social media, you've seen us on Instagram and the pictures, you know, she loves, she loves to, she loves fashion. She's very passionate about it. She's very, she likes to pick out her own clothes. She's very independent in that regard. It's not necessarily independent in all fields, but when it comes to her clothes, she loves, the first thing.  she does in the morning before most of us are even out of bed. Is she changes out of her pajamas? . She will flip her room upside down trying to, like, pick out her outfit for the, not for the day. , I almost said for the day, but it's not for the day . 


00:19:50    Alyssa

Outfit change number one. 


00:19:51    Nao

Because yes. , it's her outfit of the day, number one. And so it's great. We want we want to we want to nurture that independence of her wanting to pick her own clothes to change independently. That's a great skill. Like, that's great, life skill and we want to celebrate that and we want to nurture that but our problem becomes she wants to change all the time. Mmm-hmm. time. She wants you. to change all the time. And you know, for example, I bring the girls home for lunch during their school day. 


00:20:30    Alyssa

Oh cool. 


00:20:30    Nao

So we have an hour for the girls to come home. , eat lunch, take a little breather and then they go back to school . For Emily.  she eats her lunch, and then, you know, maybe she has 10 minutes left and she's in her room.  trying to pick out a new outfit and change. 


00:20:52    Alyssa

Her afternoon outfit. 


00:20:54    Nao

Yes, of course, can't be seen in the same clothes in the morning and afternoon. God forbid, like... unacceptable! So that's, okay.  that's a laundry nightmare for me. First of all. 


00:21:09    Alyssa



00:21:09    Nao

 But also, like, I just don't want to. I mean, in the grand scheme of things like it's really not that big of a deal. But also I personally just don't want to make that a habit like every time we come home we change outfits. It's a lot or sometimes she'll put on one of her like dress-up dresses on top of her already.  she's already wearing a dress and she'll put on another dress on top of that. And it's like a huge princess ball gown, and she's like, yep. I'm ready to go back to school now, and we have to have a conversation about Emily. We can't go to school in this outfit. Like Emily. You can't change outfits. Every time we come home or like Emily, you were already wearing another outfit. 10 minutes ago. Can you please please put that back on and that's like a huge struggle. For for me. It doesn't sound like it's a big deal. But when it happens five times a day, everybody. day, it's a lot. So the line between wanting to respect her independence and respect her choice, but also realistically not having like 200 loads of laundry a week and... 


00:22:32    Alyssa

It's like, where do we put the boundary.


00:22:34    Nao

Yeah, the time that it takes for her to change or sometimes the outfit that she's wearing, is not practical like you wearing a bathing suit in January and you want to go back to school. Like that's not an option. And let's talk about why that's not an option. 


00:22:54    Alyssa

I love her so much. It's so good and I can just picture her in front of her full length.  


00:23:02    Nao

Oh, yeah. Yeah, you've see you guys have seen her wearing bathing suits in like February and be like, yeah, let's go. 


00:23:13    Alyssa

Just the amount that she loves herself in her like outfit. 


00:23:16    Nao

Yes, and we want to celebrate that her love for herself and her and that, that that translates to love for others as well. And her confidence in herself and her love for herself, that translates to others as well. When other people are feeling a little bit down, like when Maya is feeling sad or when Maya is, is upset about something. She is the first person that will always go to Maya and say Maya, what's wrong? Maya, do you need a hug? Maya, it's okay. Don't feel sad, like...


00:23:49    Alyssa

Oh sweet babe. 


00:23:50    Nao

She is everybody's biggest cheerleader. And we love that about her and we want to nurture that and we don't, you know, mmm, but like I said, coming back to the clothes issue, especially when it's like a time crunch.  and we gotta go back to school or like, we've got to head out the door for a doctor's appointment. And she's like, yes, I'm ready. In her , in her, I dont know, ballet outfit. And it's like, um, we gotta change and she's pissed.  Because she's like, I'm ready. Yeah, this is the outfit that I've chosen. I'm good to go. Let's go. And for us to be like, no, go change your outfit. Sometimes it just turns into, like, we don't have time for this. I'm sorry. I'm just gonna to take this off of you and you're going to be really mad.


00:24:46    Alyssa



00:24:46    Nao

Bu it has to be done because we got to go to this doctor's appointment and we're going to be late . 


00:24:52    Alyssa



00:24:52    Nao

So there's no comment. , there's no time for that conversation to say, I respect your choice. , I respect your opinion? However, can we make like, no, there's no time for that. And I'm just, I'm just peeling it off of her.  while she very vocally tells me off. 


00:25:16    Alyssa

Does she respond well, or do they help like visual aids of like the timer for when you're going to go or does she like nope? I don't care. 


00:25:33    Nao

Sometimes I'm not good at warning them like time.  giving them advance notice. Now that she's older. I'm pretty, I try my best to be like Emily today.  we have this appointment and then we talk about that appointment because she has so many appointments. 


00:25:50    Alyssa



00:25:51    Nao

And it helps her to know in advance who we're going to see and what we'll be doing there. 


00:25:58    Alyssa

Well, and maybe what clothes aren't, , like swimsuits, we're not wearing the o PT or whatever. 


00:26:06    Nao

Now that we're thinking about it. Maybe it might be good in the future.  to also talk about outfit options in that conversation, that's actually a good idea. Like to talk about outfit options. And what outfits are not an option, like, Hey, we're going to the doctor's today. So in terms of outfits, please, no. Princess ball gowns, please? No bathing suits, right? Or ballet costumes? Those kinds of things. 


00:26:30    Alyssa

Or let's brainstorm together, what are?


00:26:37    Nao

but But yeah, in those in those. So when we're in a real time crunch, like, I'll just pick something out and she might not be happy and we put it on and I usually will talk in the car with her driving and just be like Emily. I know you wanted to wear, you know, that outfit. I'm sorry. We couldn't wear that if you really want to, you can put it back on when we get home. But when we're going to the doctors in January, it's cold outside. You know, you see the snow outside. We can't wear bathing suit in the snow because it's too cold and we don't want you to feel cold. We don't want you to catch a cold, etc, etc. And then we'll also talk about like and look at your dress that you're wearing. It's beautiful. It looks so nice on you. And you know, eventually she comes around and she's the type of child that doesn't hold on to those things. So she'll move on. She's good. She'll move on. 


00:27:38    Alyssa

Sheila. But she really likes that conversation like acknowledgement of what happened? The feeling behind it. And the why essentially.


00:27:43    Nao

Yes, and she loves to be acknowledged for the outfit that she's wearing too. 


00:27:53    Nao



00:27:56    Nao

So when we do have a little bit more time and she's wearing something that we don't want her to be wearing. I will try to then be like, okay, I'm like you can't wear that but what else do you want to wear? Let's try to pick something out together. So then I'm there trying to try to, you know, gently coax her away from the options that are not right. , not appropriate but still, let her give her the autonomy to pick something else out. 


00:28:30    Alyssa

Right. Right. My mom said I was 18 months old when she laid out an outfit. And I said different one. So, I relate to Emily on this on a deep deep level. 


00:28:43    Alyssa



00:28:45    Alyssa

And yeah, I think also, you know, for me, I think part of it. I'm one of five kids and there was a lot that was outside of my control. I think for kids in general there's a lot that's outside of their control. And yeah, and I think I when you're in a family that big like  I was just talking to someone the other day, he was talking about things that their kid doesn't like to eat and I was and I literally said, I was like, I genuinely don't know if my mom even knew the foods that we didn't like to eat because there was no food choice, but we also were low income. 


00:29:19    Nao

Right, right. 


00:29:20    Alyssa

And so like didn't have money. There wasn't going to be another meal in my house. 


00:29:25    Alyssa

It was like you can eat this or you don't eat, but there is another choice and we're not going to ask you what vegetable you want with dinner or whatever. 


00:29:32    Nao

It's like this is what we have and this is what's going to be on the table, right? . 


00:29:37    Alyssa

Right, And so I think in a world where I looking back like they're there just wasn't a lot of choice. Clothing was something I had choice around right, it gave me the control. I could control that and I think that was empowering for me that like that was something I could control and so, when I look at kids and I see them like really, I think the word we often use this like a stubborn or assertive around certain topics. I get curious about that and maybe it's just like oh this was just my experience. It's not for other kids, but I wonder like are, are they trying to control something in this feels like something they can control. Do you think that comes up for Emily too? 


00:30:22    Nao

Maybe, I mean, it's definitely a way of her self expression for sure, which is why we also 


00:30:28    Nao

try to nurture that as well. 


00:30:30    Alyssa



00:30:31    Nao

Because it's her way of expressing herself. It's something that she's very passionate about. So when we're at home and she's going through six outfits, each time.  she she changes her outfit. She expects that reaction from us, that acknowledgement.  from us. So we always, we have always made it a point to say, woo. Nice new outfit. 


00:30:59    Alyssa

She's like, do you see me?


00:31:02    Nao

If it's in the house? And, you know, it doesn't matter if it's the middle of January or February. It doesn't matter. How cold or how warm it is outside. Like if she wants to wear that in the house. We will. We will let her wear that in the house. If her room is upside down, which it is every day from, I'm going through, you know, six to ten outfits. That's fine. That's fine. It's her way of expressing herself. And, and, and expressing her passion. And we want to let her do that. So, there are certain things, that that you know, we , I prioritize and that's definitely one of them. Like I don't like folding clothes at the end of the day or I dont like doing the extra laundry but it's something that she's so very interested in and has enthusiasm for so.


00:31:57    Alyssa

It's important wonder. 


00:31:57    Nao



00:31:59    Nao

Yeah, it's definitely, it's definitely her self-expression. 


00:32:03    Alyssa

Yeah, that's rad and I think like, Yeah, It's tricky and tough so many things. Things.  to like find like where's the boundary? What are the boundaries? other boundaries can there be? Yeah, and that allow you to continue to be you and to express and to be a part of this family right to help in the cleanup or the whatever. And I was a couple years ago. Similarly, a friend of mine had a child actually about Emily's age at the time who very into changing of the clothes.  and she got to the point where she was feeling. Mom was feeling really like frustrated and annoyed with the mess with the laundry. And she was like, this is now gotten to a place where like are we have a disconnect around this. 


00:32:54    Nao



00:32:54    Alyssa

And so she was like, she reached out and  was like how can I set boundaries around it? And we just worked together on what worked for them and for them it was you know, she could change a certain number of times in the morning, in the middle of the day, in the afternoon and like here the, here's a bin of clothes that can be worn at home. But that are not weather appropriate for outside or whatever. And so they could like separate it, which gave her some autonomy. And when you took this off, it goes back in this bin, there were certain things that they started to build into place for them. But I think it's all like, with all of these things. Even my, I can find myself, like scrolling in being a, should. I be doing X Y & Z. It's always just looking at like, what feels right for our family, right? And like your another family hearing this. Might be like, oh my gosh, I I couldn't do all the laundry I would need different boundaries and for you. It's like yeah that works for me here in this season. And yes also that freedom to be like if this isn't working I'm in six months or a year and all of a sudden there's a disconnect in your relationship related to all the laundry or the cleaning up or the whatever then we look at new boundaries.  And I like that like flexibility of the one that we set now are in this season, doesn't have to be the one for years to come. 


00:34:10    Nao

Absolutely. Yeah. No, I think those boundaries always have to be fluid because, you know, in any given life stage or on any given day those boundaries might shift a little one way or another and I think it's it's important for us as parents to just remember that that those boundaries aren't, you know, set in stone and it's not black and white and and life isn't black and white and parenting certainly isn't black and white and we gotta, we gotta be a little, a little flexible. 


00:34:42    Alyssa

Yeah, I think it's been a hard thing for folks covid wise to like allow themselves as parents to allow like yeah. The rules in this season, look different, right? Like yeah, maybe we're eating more mac and cheese for dinner or maybe we're watching more screens or maybe XYZ because it's a part of this season.  That like there are other things that that's going to help us thrive as a family or even just survive some days as a family.  and that, that's okay, you know, that grace to have flexibility. And I think the key with that is acknowledging it to kids so it doesn't feel like there are no boundaries or that they're constantly changing. But rather like, you know what? Everyone in the house is feeling kind of sick today and sometimes when we feel sick, it's really hard to clean up our toys throughout the day. I get that, I'll help you do this today, when normally it's their own job, or maybe we're going to watch a movie that we don't normally do in the middle of the day, but acknowledging that to kids and validating that and it can be a helpful part of this.


00:35:49    Nao

 Yeah, I think us, I think well, I don't, I can't speak for everybody. But for me like throughout that like parent as parents were always busy and we it's always faster to just do. Hmm. Hmm. Then then to talk about it. 


00:36:08    Alyssa

Yeah, totally. 


00:36:10    Nao

And we forget how important that talk is. Just just like how we as parents can't understand everything that our kids are thinking or feeling without the language. I think we tend to forget that it's the same way for the kids to so instead of just doing because it's faster. Yeah. I think it's important for me to remember to have that same expectation of communication for myself. , towards the kids too. So that they understand what we're doing or what we're feeling and just reminding ourselves to have that dialogue with them. 


00:36:58    Alyssa

Yeah, I think for me that's a huge part of like what?  respectful parenting means. Just treating them with respect, but the respect of like, yeah, I will communicate with you. That's a part of respectful relationships in my mind. 


00:37:11    Nao



00:37:11    Alyssa

And like, I don't expect my husband to read my mind. Would I love for him to look around the house and see the same things that I see. Sure . Is.  it always going to happen? No. And there are definitely times where I'm like, I don't want to have to say, will you do the dishes and the laundry during his nap? I just want you to see it. And if I just wait and see if you do and you don't and it doesn't get done. Then I move through the day with resentment and anger and frustration, right? And like part of, for me, part of being in respectful.  relationships is that communication component? . And we were we did a little staycation, getaway weekend a few months ago with a family that were in the same pod and they have a two-and-a-half-year-old. And at one point, we were sitting down at the table and eating and I was sitting next to the two and a half year old. And she did some things that was like, for me. It was like nonverbal communication and two starting to like push some boundaries and she was curious about something and I validated that curiosity and asked her if she wanted to explore something with my support. And one of her mom's was like, oh, you know what I've noticed she was like you talked so much to her like so much more than I realized. I was like, yeah, I think so often we go through the motions throughout the day, right? And like, we do this when they're young, when they're babies, where we will just like talk. Not expecting them to respond. 


00:38:47    Nao

Yes, yes.


00:38:48    Alyssa

Right?I'm gonna change your diaper. We're going to get ready to go to the park. Whatever. And I think sometimes as they get older we do and I think it's something that actually is still pretty crucial that a lot happens in our brains that we don't say out loud necessary. Yeah. And yeah, I think for me that's a that's a huge part of respectful parenting. Is that respectful communication. Not just like saying things in a respectful way, but I'm going to say something.  at all. That.  like it has been going on in my head. I'm going to communicate it. 


00:39:19    Nao



00:39:19    Alyssa

What just as we get ready to wrap up here. What do you feel like it's lacking in the respectful parenting world and like communication, I guess like in social media and out there in the world. And what do you feel like is missing? 


00:39:36    Nao

I don't know. I guess just touching on the same thing that I was talking about. Just now about you know, reminding myself to communicate. I think there's like in this day and age with, you know, the internet and social media. There's just so much information coming in whether that's good or bad and we get so bombarded with the influx of information that 


00:40:07    Nao

we tend 


00:40:09    Nao

to forget. 


00:40:12    Nao

, to carve out time for self-reflection.  So we're so busy seeing things that other people are doing. Whether it's parenting or whatever else, you know, on social media and we get caught up in. You know, somebody is doing this or somebody's doing that or you know, look how that person is doing that thing and we forget.  to reflect on what we were doing in our own life, in our own world and how that affects us ourselves or how that affects the people around us, whether that's positive or negative. And so, you know, we always talk about, oh, you know, I need to stop spending so much time on on the Internet or on Instagram looking at other people's lives. And I think it's way harder to actually do.  what we're saying here? Like to actually put down our phone and actually look inwards into ourselves and our own life. And how what our relationship looks like with our spouse or our kids. 


00:41:38    Alyssa

Yeah. Well, it's so easy to enter the comparison writing like, yes, absolutely, so easy and yeah, I feel it so much. I was listening to an interview the other day with Brene Brown and she said she's working with a new business coach. That asked her a question that was really powerful for her and it's stuck with me. He asked her. What do you want to be held accountable to and are accountable for and I and for her she was like I sat with that, you know, she's at a point in her career where she has all these opportunities and she's like I said with it and realize like I want to be held accountable for being home for dinner with my family, not missing a lacrosse game of my child. And like, when I really think about, Like where do I want to be accountable? It's in those areas right now and that might change in a different season but with a kid still in my household and not at college and etcetera it like, that's what I want to be held accountable to. And was, it was really helpful for me in a season of like, I think in becoming a parent comparison. Increased for sure, but also like being a working mom, right? That like I used to.  have a million more hours a day to pour into work. And now if I'm pouring into work, anytime I'm saying, yes to anything, I'm saying no to something else, right? So if I'm saying, yes to things at work, I'm saying no to home time or me time or partner time or whatever and it's I don't think that there's a balance. I don't believe that it's a balance. I feel like it's a constant kind of juggle of like what balls need me at this time. And you know, just yesterday. We had a scenario where It was, it was a day where there are a number of things outside of my immediate family unit that were a higher priority than my immediate family unit. And in last month. When Sage was sick, that was switched, where Sage came first and family came first, and that's what needed me most in that season, and there were things I had to table, or say no to in order to show up there. Right? And I think, when we're in that comparison space, and we're looking outward. What we don't see is that juggle for everybody else, right? That plan.  in order to have that certain meal on the table every day or that craft or that way of engaging with their children or whatever, they're saying no to other things and maybe those are things that you don't want to say no to or you don't have the privilege to say no to or maybe there are other like supports in their life that you don't have access to whatever. There's so much that we dont see. But what we do is we compare our messy insides to their like, curated perfected outsides.  in that snapshot and we don't know, they're messy backstory and I've worked at this point with thousands of families and I haven't met a single family without messiness in it throughout the day, to day there. We all have it and we all have different messiness, right? Like different things that for us are the hardships and I think that's the biggest challenge of comparison is that we don't know what they're saying no to or what they're trying to juggle or what they're wrestling with.  we only see what were juggling and then when we see somebody else excelling or choosing to carry, to juggle that one ball and hold that ball up right now. We're like, oh, should I be doing that? And man? Yeah. Oh my gosh, I feel it so much and I think it's so true that like there's a there's so much time looking out. ward and not enough time looking into say actually I'm doing a pretty good job of juggling all things right now, you know, like not all these things. Got all of this at one point I was in a therapy session.  and she was like alright just offload everything. All the things in your brain is, so I was writing it all down and then we put it into categories. Like what?  fell into house stuff, what fell into job, what fell into kid? What fell into partner, what fell into family friends, me, whatever. And looking at it and was like, I can't do all of those all the time at 100% And so it's always going to ebb and flow and allowing that ebb and flow to exist is a challenge. 


00:46:05    Nao

Yeah, for sure. 


00:46:07    Alyssa

Well, thank you so much Nao for sharing.


00:46:09    Nao

Thank you! 


00:46:11    Alyssa



00:46:11    Alyssa

And for that Nao, I'm going to be I'm going to be in reflection mode around that today 


00:46:16    Alyssa

and thank you for sharing your sweet. 


00:46:18    Alyssa

 incredible little gals. 


00:46:20    Nao

Thank you! 


00:46:21    Alyssa

You're slaying it. 


00:46:21    Alyssa



00:46:23    Alyssa

, Mama.


00:46:24    Nao

Oh, I don't feel like it


00:46:27    Alyssa

I think most of us don't.  


00:46:29    Nao

But thank you for the recognition. I appreciate it. And you're always such a cheerleader for for everybody and for us, and for Emily, of course, so, let's see what she's wearing. 


00:46:45    Alyssa

Let's see it, Emily what do you have on? 


00:46:46    Alyssa

Look at her in her 


00:46:46    Nao



00:46:50    Alyssa

ballet outfit. 


00:46:52    Alyssa

Looking fancy ready for dancing! 


00:46:54    Nao

Oh, okay. You don't want to be okay. Yeah, that's right. e on camera that's fine.


00:46:58    Alyssa

Yeah that's fine, you take your space. Fresh new haircuts over there. 


00:47:00    Nao

Oh my gosh. Yes. That was another thing. That was very emotional for the girls.  It was , it was difficult, especially for Maya because she's very emotionally attached to her hair. And so getting a haircut was was a big deal for her. 


00:47:18    Alyssa

I feel her and all of her feelings!  


00:47:22    Nao

Thank you so much. 


00:47:23    Alyssa

Thank you so much! Thanks for being here. 


00:47:25    Nao

Thank you. 


00:47:28    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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