Eps 423: Understanding and processing our teens emotions with Alyssa Campbell

Episode 423

Alyssa Campbell is back this week!  

I am thrilled to have Alyssa here to chat about her new book, “Little People, Big Emotions” and her Collaborative Emotion Processing method.  Alyssa explains what “safe to feel” means, how we can figure out which emotions in our kids make us uncomfortable & why, and explains that our adolescents have completely different tools & experiences than we did.  I ask Alyssa how considering long-term goals for our teens can help our relationship, and we dig into why having a toolbox to get through the tough times is more important than just “being happy.”  We discuss how important failure is for growth, enabling vs. empowering, and when we can reduce task demand when our teens are overwhelmed.  Alyssa and I get into enabling versus collaborating,  interdependence, and the importance of daily self-care.  As we wrap up, I ask for tips for parents who are practicing their own emotional safety, keeping ownership over our own emotions, and normalizing the self-regulation journey.

Guest Description 

Alyssa has an M.Ed. in Early Childhood, is a leading expert in emotional development, speaking to people around the world, podcast host for Voices of Your Village, and CEO of Seed & Sew LLC. 

She co-created the Collaborative Emotion Processing method, and researched it across the country .

Alyssa’s “show up as you are” approach welcomes people into her village to get support at all ages and stages, shame free and is “on a mission to change the ways adults experience children’s emotions so we can respond with intention to raise emotionally intelligent humans.”

Alyssa is here to promote her new book, Tiny Humans Big Emotions, which is written for parents of younger kids AND we felt like we could take plenty of the concepts and bring them to life for parents of teens

Community is everything!

Join our community Facebook groups:

Takeaways from the show

  • Emotional safety in your relationship with your teen 
  • Providing a safe space for children to express themselves without fear, judgment, or rejection 
  • Your adolescents have completely different experiences than you did 
  • Defining your long-term goals for your teen (is happiness the goal, or is having tools for hard times more important)? 
  • Keeping long-term goals top of mind 
  • Rescuing our kids versus letting them fail 
  • Age bias, expectations, and “you should know better” 
  • Reducing task demands when adolescents are overwhelmed 
  • Enabling versus collaborating; interdependence 
  • Daily, consistent self-care adds up 
  • Being mad, frustrated, and/or scared is not dysregulation 
  • Taking ownership of our own emotions

What does joyful courage mean to you

Joyful courage to me is – I want to break these two into two – because I think for me, the courage part has to come in order for the joyful part to come. Iit is the ability to be vulnerable and brave and do the hard stuff so that we can enjoy the other things.



Joyful Courage Episode 217 – Exploring Collaborative Emotion Processing with Alyssa Blask Campbell 

Seed & Sew

Voices of Your Village Podcast 

“Tiny Humans, Big Emotions” Book 

Alyssa’s Instagram 

Take Time for Training Tool Card

Subscribe to the Podcast

We are here for you

Join the email list

Join our email list! Joyful Courage is so much more than a podcast! Joyful Courage is the adolescent brand here at Sproutable. We bring support and community to parents of tweens and teens. Not a parent of a teen or tween? No worries, click on the button to sign up to the email list specifically cultivated for you: Preschool, school-aged, nannies, and teachers. We are here for everyone who loves and cares for children.

I'm in!

Classes & coaching

I know that you love listening every week AND I want to encourage you to dig deeper into the learning with me, INVEST in your parenting journey. Casey O'Roarty, the Joyful Courage podcast host, offers classes and private coaching. See our current offerings.


feel, kids, love, emotions, nervous system, parents, teens, totally, work, relationship, toolbox, regulated, podcast, alyssa, talk, long term goal, conversation, enabling, hard, empowering
Casey O'Roarty, Alyssa Campbell

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together, while parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people and when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead. It's routable. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported today as an interviewer and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show. Hi, listeners. Welcome back to the show. My guest today is Alisa Campbell. She is a returning podcast guest you may remember her from Episode 2017 where I feel like we basically fell in love with each other on the air. I'm so excited to have you back. Alyssa has her master's in education and early childhood. She's a leading expert in emotional development, speaking to people around the world. She is a podcast host her show is the voices of your village and the CEO of seed and so she co created the collaborative emotion processing method and researched it across the country. She's super smart you guys. Alyssa says show up as you are approach welcomes people into her village to get support at all ages and stages shame free and is on a mission to change the way adults experience children's emotions. So we can respond with intention to raise emotionally intelligent humans yay. Alyssa is here to promote her new book tiny humans big emotions which is written for parents. I think of younger kids and we felt like it could definitely you know that there's plenty to take away as far as the concepts go and bring them to life for all of you parents of tweens and teens. I'm so happy to have you back. Alisa. Welcome.

Alyssa Campbell 02:52
I'm so jazzed to be here. Casey, I was just saying to you like, as I'm popping into interviews, I saw your name pop up on my calendar. And I was like, Oh, yes, it's like a breath of fresh air. I just get to hang out. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 03:04
just hanging out with a girlfriend. I love it, too. I love it too. And I mean, you pretty much blow my mind. We were talking off air just about like life and work and how exhausting it is and how we look around and see other people doing things. And they seem to have like superhuman abilities. You have a brand new book that you're promoting. You have a two and a half year old and you have a bun in the oven,

Alyssa Campbell 03:30
you know, very aggressively in the 32 weeks.

Casey O'Roarty 03:35
Like, gosh, so close. Congratulations on all of this success. I know that your podcast is listened to by so many. And thank you for having me as a speaker on your podcast. It's just been such a blessing to witness you and your work, which is so important. And the reason we love each other, so relatable and real. Yeah, it's just been awesome to watch you take over the world.

Alyssa Campbell 04:01
Hey, thanks. I think it's super rad that there are so many humans that care about emotional intelligence.

Casey O'Roarty 04:07
Yeah. Yeah. It's a good time to be alive. Yeah. Yeah. Like it's so cool that that's buzzworthy. Yeah, totally, totally. And so start us off with what was your inspiration for writing this new book?

Alyssa Campbell 04:21
Yeah, this book has been in the process longer than students that was existed. So we created the set method. Lauren was a teaching preschool at the time and I was an infant toddler and we were having mimosas and she was like, I think we're doing something different. And I was like, Cool. Let's dive into it. And so we started like video lessening each other teaching. And what we realised was that so much of what we had been exposed to was about just the kids like, what do you say in the moment? What do you do in the moment? And it like sounded great in theory, but then when like a kid would slap me across the face or tell me that I'm stupid or whatever. In that moment. I can't Access all those things that like sound great to say to kids. And even if I can, it's not authentic. Like, in that moment, I want to fight a child, right? Like, I'm pissed the kid. And so so much of what we were doing was really focused on us as the adults. And so we created the collaborative emotion processing method, we call it the set method, and applied to researchers across the US and gather some data on like, how did this resonate with other folks? Our goal, mostly, really looking at this was like, to change the way that adults experience those kids emotions, because then it changes the way we show up

Casey O'Roarty 05:41
with them. Oh, yeah. 100%. And I love like that contrast around how we're experiencing them, versus how desperately we want there to be just like, tell me that there's something I can do or say, that will result in the outcome that I want. Totally, yeah, that feels so safe. And something we can really do. The other stuff is really messy and requires, like a lot of really hard work. And I remember talking to you about this a couple weeks ago, you know, applying that mean, it's not that different than how emotionally attached we are to our toddlers and their wild behaviour, as it is our teens and their wild behaviour and how differently we can respond and how, like, when I say different, like we can respond in a way that makes things worse. Yep. Or we can respond in a way that's really helpful. That provides the platform for the possibility of things actually getting better. And learning from mistakes, right?

Alyssa Campbell 06:46
100%. I mean, I use this method with every human in my life, my husband with everybody, because it's about being in relationship with people. And because so much of it is about us. It's really noticing like pan, what are my triggers that are coming up here? And what is my bag to carry? And how do I frickin carry it, and then respond to this person in front of me, right? Because so much of the like, responding to the person in front of us is what's coming up. For me that's leading to my reaction. And I really just see like, whether you're working with toddlers, or you're with teens, or it's your partner, just as relationships, and that's all that we're doing here with the set method is looking at, like, how are we in relationship with each other in a way that can be connected or disconnected? And I'm shooting for connection wherever I can get it.

Casey O'Roarty 07:37
Yeah. And you talk in the book about the idea of being safe to feel as well. So emotional safety. It's such a huge theme. And I noticed in my world of parents of teenagers, there's a lot of conversation around, they won't talk to me, they don't share with me, they won't tell me things. And I try to bring people back to is there emotional safety in your relationship for your team to step into? Will you talk a little bit about that idea of being safe to feel what does that mean to you?

Alyssa Campbell 08:12
Yeah, 100%. So for all of us, there are going to be different emotions and different topics that will be more triggering or less, right. So I grew up in a household where my dad, when he was 16, his mom died suddenly of a stroke. And he was the oldest of six kids. And also just like sign of the times, like his dad's job was to provide for the family financially. And his mom's job was to take care of the family. And so all of a sudden, that part was gone, right? And everything was just like put away pictures of her. Nobody was allowed to talk about her. There was no like, path to grieving, or here's how you experience sadness, right? Like there was nothing modelled along those lines for him. And so then, like, not shocking when I'm growing up, sadness was distracted, it was you're okay. It was kind of like minimised or shunned and a lot of like humour around it to try and make it go away. And so now, fast forward, now I'm the adult and with the kids, and when my kid is feeling sad, I immediately the first thing that comes up is like, I just want it to go away as fast as possible. Versus like, in my house, fear Growing up, like feeling scared or something or feeling nervous, was really welcomed. Like, they definitely weren't emotion coaching, but there was this like, the it wasn't pushed away wasn't minimised as much. It was like, oh, yeah, you're scared of that like, yep. And like it totally different response in the sadness. And for me, I have way more comfort with fear. So when my kid is experiencing fear, or is feeling scared or anxious, it's not as triggering for me. So to know this about ourselves, first of like, What emotions? Do we feel safe to feel is going to be huge? And what do we allow our kids to feel? And what did they then feel safe to feel? Because maybe they come to us with some stuff. And it's the stuff that we feel pretty confident with. And we do provide that safety with and maybe with other things, we can't get them to turn to us for the life of us, right? Like, it just feels like, yeah, they're not, they're shutting us out. And those are the ones that I'm like, Okay, what does it look like for us? When they do come? What does it look like when they were younger? What does it look like, for us personally, when I feel this thing, or when I experienced that one of my biggest triggers is being left out. And so when kids come to me who are feeling left out, they didn't get invited to the thing, or somebody's being mean to them, and they're not included in the group, I have to like, really be mindful of my own trigger there in order to provide that safety for them to feel otherwise, I just want to save them from it.

Casey O'Roarty 11:00
Yeah, it's so interesting how our stuff manifests, because for me, it's avoiding rejection and criticism, like, those are big for me. I mean, they cut me to the core, right? And I notice that I have to really pay attention to the critical voice that I create in my relationship with my kids. Right. So even as I don't want criticism, it also is something that is my shoot from the hip. Like, why did you do that? Like, let's look at all the reasons that that was the worst possible decision, you can make sure. And dancing with that is so hard. And I know, for teenagers, the last place they want to step into is one that's going to make them feel worse about whatever it is that they're already holding, as, you know, a mistake, a pain point, total own rejection. And yeah, it's so interesting to me, especially like, when our kids went through middle school. And, you know, I love to hear the stories of the kids in the classroom and their friends and everything. And as soon as those stories started to bubble up with any sort of, like, possibility for my kids to be rejected, it was like a full body experience for Yeah, yeah, it's just so interesting. Yeah.

Alyssa Campbell 12:18
Well, your body's like, I remember what this feels like. And I'm gonna fight like hell to make sure you don't have to feel it.

Casey O'Roarty 12:25
Right. Oh, man, there's a lot of those things that come up, right, so many, so not us, everyone, they're not gonna have our experience. They're gonna have their own experience. There might be some overlap. But anyway,

Alyssa Campbell 12:37
yeah. And the reality being like, vivid, different toolbox than we have. Right? Like, yeah, even the fact that you're here and you're tuning into a podcast like this, like, your kid probably already has a different toolbox, and you had as a kid. Yeah. And so when I look at, like, teenage Alyssa, like, I was drowning, right, like treading water, trying to stay afloat, didn't have a toolbox for emotions didn't have a safe person to turn to, to feel for most of my emotions. And so now when I look at my kids, or frankly, a lot of the kids that we get to experience today, they have a whole different toolbox they've been exposed to, because I think of it kind of like that. I was at my mom's house. When I was looking at old pictures. I saw a picture of the car seat I was in as a kid. And I was like, Oh, mother of pearl, like, thank goodness, we didn't. You had a car seat. That's what she said. She was like, there wasn't even a car seat for me. She was like, my mom just held us. But I was like, That is like a bucket with a strap. And then I look at the car seat that my little guys in and it like, is a fortress, he's not going anywhere. And it is just one of those things that were like, progress was expected there. Yeah. And here in the land of emotional development, and how we respond to emotions. I really hope that down the road, Sage looks at me and is like, oh, yeah, here are things we've learned here are things we're doing differently. Now. Because we know better we know differently. It's not like my mom had saved his car seat and was just like, No, I'm gonna put her in this bucket with straps, like, that's what was available. And that's what she used. And so now looking at our kids today, it's like they have tools we didn't have. So when they feel that rejection, when they experienced those things that for us, we had no toolbox for they've got a different toolbox to pull from.

Casey O'Roarty 14:23
Yeah, that's what I try to remind parents too, like, there's no way our kids can be us because they're in a totally different family system in a totally different time of history, you know, is what it is. And I really believe with all of my heart that teenagers, adolescents, I mean, all kids, all people, but in the context of what we're talking about adolescents, they want to have relationship with healthy adults. Like they want to be able to talk to their parents about what's hard and what's going on in their life and we do so many things to taint the waters. Yeah, right. And so just Keep that in mind, parents, I'm sure my listeners are so tired of me saying this, but like, do an inventory. Right? Where have you perhaps added to the dynamic that is making it challenging for your kiddo to step in? Yeah, and I'm gonna just gonna launch the next piece, because you have some really good prompts for parents that I think fit into this, which is considering what are our long term goals for our kids, which, by the way, it's all great to have those long term goals, and they're living their own narrative. So long term goals. What's my goal for our relationship? How do I want the relationship to feel? And am I modelling the values that I want them to inherit? Am I modelling the values also that create this space that feels safe for them to step into? How can thinking about these questions and answering these questions shift the way we parent our kids?

Alyssa Campbell 15:54
I think it's huge. Because if you really sit down, you're like, What is my long term goal for this child, if you really think about it, for so many of us, it's not a certain job, it's not a certain house, they're gonna live in their car, they're gonna drive or whatever, I think for a lot of us, we want kids to the number one answer that I've gotten from parents is for them to be happy, which like, I just want to let you know that unless there's a chemical imbalance, no one's living in a state of happiness all the time. And so if that's your goal is that they're going to be happy, then you're going to feel disappointed a lot, and you're gonna feel like you've got a lot.

Alyssa Campbell 16:35
My goal for them is that they have a toolbox to navigate kind of whatever comes up, that don't see it as my job to prevent them from experiencing hard things, frankly, even from experiencing trauma. And what I do want is that, when that comes up, they're like, What do I do next? Right? Where do I pull from? Who do I turn to? What do I have in my toolbox? To move through this, we get back to those feelings that are easy to feel happiness, excitement, joy, calm, contentment, things like that. We can't experience those if we don't have tools for getting through the hard stuff. And so when I look at that as like, if that's my long term goal, then Damn, that means I've got to let them feel the hard stuff. They have to experience rejection, they have to feel left out, they have to feel sad, sometimes, without me saving them in order to reach that long term goal. Yeah. And when I can go in with that in mind, if like, this is serving the long term goal, it's then easier for me to show up in those moments where it's, it is hard, they're in a hard spot, and all I want to do is take their pain away.

Casey O'Roarty 17:44
Yeah, serving the long term goal. I love that, like, that's a total post it note kind of thing, right? Is this what's going to serve the long term goal and thinking, you know, I there's been a lot of conversation, I just did an interview with somebody about college application process. And you know, that we feel like the stakes are so high here in mid to late adolescence. And on one hand, I mean, yeah, it's a big deal. It's a big time, it's this, sure the beginning of this huge transition into leaving the nest. And if my long term goal is for my kiddo to leave the nest, whether that's getting a job, or going to college, or going to trade school, leaving the nest, my long term goal is for them to recognise, like, how they contribute to the process matters, flexibility, determination, right, being able to meet deadlines, if these are all the things I want for them, when they've left the house, then I can't rob them of that in the process of getting them out the door. And I think there's this hyper, like, you know, especially around college applications, right now, this is kind of a hot topic in my world. And we feel like, Oh, my God, they won't get it done if I don't micromanage them. And in the meantime, they're not learning anything about flexibility about meeting deadlines, but the idea of them not meeting a deadline and not getting into one of the schools on their list or whatever. Like that's the end of the world. And you guys, it's not the end of the world. It's an amazing opportunity to be like, Wow, man, yes, that does suck. That is too bad. You got a couple more deadlines ahead of you is there you know, something you want to do differently to make sure that those get met? You know, there's just so much rich opportunity, especially when you're in this struggle with them. Right. And that long term goal. What do I want most for my kiddo? Keeping that top of mind gets us out of the way? I think?

Alyssa Campbell 19:49
I think so too. It allows us to let them fail. Yeah. And you've got to write like, I think you've just Leahy's book The Gift of Failure. That's so good. Yes, yeah. I How just like key failure is for growth. And when we're stepping in constantly to make sure they don't fail, then eventually they leave the nest. And boy, do they fail hard. Yeah, they don't have those

Casey O'Roarty 20:13
tools. Now, I did an interview with Ned Johnson to the self truth and what he's the author of the self driven child. And that's, you know, we get so parents get so frustrated by what feels like a lack of motivation, laziness, and it's like, there's a reason typically, I mean, there's a lot of reasons, right, why we would end up there, but one that we don't consider is, well, when you do everything for them, you know, they aren't flexing those muscles. And so then all of a sudden to be like, This is yours. You know, I laugh, my youngest brother went to boarding school, and he was struggling. And my dad said, Yeah, you know, his hardest thing is like, keeping his room tidy. And I was like, Well, Dad, you know, Ofelia has been in his life from the beginning. And she put his clothes away and made his bed and she was our helper, like, where did he ever learn the skills to keep his room tidy? And it was so interesting, because I remember, I could see exactly where we were standing. My dad just kind of looked at me and was like, Ah, yes. I never really thought about, like, yeah,

Alyssa Campbell 21:18
yeah, yeah, interesting thing, too, this idea of like independence and self help skills, versus reducing task demand. And I think sometimes, especially when we're looking at teens, there's so much going on for them. Like there's so much with school, there's so much socially happening, and then we're prepping for this transition, right, this leaving the nest. And it's a lot. It's a lot to be in all the time. And so I want to find this balance there of like, how do we support them with these skills for independence and learning how to do something new, and then also recognise that they're not always going to have access to those skills all the time, right? Like, yeah, I know how to do the dishes. I totally know how to do the dishes. And when I had a really long day, and I came home, and my husband was like, had made dinner, and he was like, Hey, I have to catch up on some work after dinner. Can you do the dishes tonight, and I just started sobbing, just full sobbing. And he was like, Alright, I guess I'm on dishes, right? I was like, of course, I know how, and I feel so overwhelmed in this moment that I don't have access to it. And so I think really that balance and one bias that comes in a lot. I do work with middle of high school teachers a bunch. And one of the biases that comes in a lot is an age bias of like, You're old enough, you should know better, etc. Yeah, you

Casey O'Roarty 22:41
look like an adult.

Alyssa Campbell 22:43
Yeah. And I have these like big expectations. And maybe you do no better when you have access to all of your resources. Yeah. And none of us do all the time. Almost every single night, I asked that, like, Will you carry me to bed and brush my teeth? Because I'm tired. I don't do it myself. And the reality is like, do I know how to do that? Yes. Do I want to right now? No, I really want someone to do it for me. And it's okay to have that give and take here with our kids. And I think especially with our teens and tweens to say like, if I know they have this skill, and they need a hand right now, like I can pop in and be like, Hey, I've seen that you've been working really hard. And I'm here to help you. Like, I'll take care of this chore for you today. I know you've been working really hard. Where can we reduce task demands, when we see that they're overwhelmed as a bid for connection as well as maybe like if your partner came in and was like, I know you've had a long day, I took care of dinner, and I'm gonna do the dishes. I'm like I would make out with you right now if I wasn't so tired. And like is when we're looking at that, like it's a connection point in relationship. And I think we can lose that from the emotional intelligence side. Sometimes if like, no, we want them to access all of these skills all the time. And it's okay to say on demand. Oh, yeah, yeah, looking? Where can we reduce task demands? It's so huge for regulation, it's really huge for motivation. It's to feel motivated intrinsically, when we feel overwhelmed with tasks.

Casey O'Roarty 24:11
I love that. And that also makes me think about so one of the tools we have in positive discipline is called take time for training, you know, and we talked about it a lot in the early years where the kids watch us do something, then we do it together multiple times. And then we get to watch them take it over, and then it becomes theirs. Right? And that's like the linear but sure, no, no, it's messy. And we forget, again, because of whatever you said about the age, the fancy word use age bias, age bias. And you know what, we've been doing this their whole life, like, why would we need to practice? So there's that piece and I feel it's interesting, like parents are really in the binary around enabling versus empowering, and I just had this conversation with my son, he has not given away clothes in probably five years. He has a job and he loves clothes. So he's constantly going to the Goodwill or buying things online. He has so many clothes that all of his drawers are packed, his closet is packed. He's got stacks of things like on the shelves. And so I said to him, I said, you know, I think it'd be a really good idea to go through your clothes, get rid of what you don't ever wear. I said, and you have a lot of stuff. So I just want you to know, if you need a partner. I'm totally happy to sit down with you and walk me 17 years old. Can you do it himself? Yes. Do I need to go through my clothes and get rid of shit? Yes. Have I done it? No. So I gave that offer, right? Like, it's not enabling him. It's empowering him. It's taking that time for training. It also would be if he wanted to do it. He was like, yeah, no, thanks. But it would be an opportunity for connection. And actually, what it did is it sparked in him the idea of actually he said, I think I could handle it. I don't think I need you to help me. And all of a sudden he's thinking like, oh, yeah, I do have a lot of stuff. And it's hard to keep track of everything and define what I want. So I've also simultaneously planted this little seed with it. Yeah, yeah. Which I think is really important. I

Alyssa Campbell 26:19
love that. And I think you're so right, this like enabling versus empowering piece. And I think with that also is, I think we have it a lot as adults too. And as parents that we've gotten away from the like it, this can just be collaborative to like, just the other day, my friend and I have been trying to find a time to like, get together. And I was like, Listen, my schedule is and that's right now your schedule is nuts. We always have a sick toddler or something. And I have to go run these errands this weekend, do and just run errands with me. And I was like, I have to do it anyway, keep on just jump in the car, like we're not gonna go have coffee, we're not going to lunch, like she's going to run errands with me. It's a good friend. But it's like, alright, this is where we can connect. But also like, where we can sometimes take things off each other's plate, hey, I'm running to the store, can I grab something for you? Or can I pick your kid up from this activity or sports, I'm going to be driving by Anyway, whatever. And I think when we do that, as adults, we're like, Wow, that's awesome. Like, we're leaning on each other. It's the village it's connecting. It's collaborative. But when we do it with kids, there's this narrative around it as enabling. And we're, I'm so curious about that. Because I'm like, we want that we want them to do this for other people, too, right to be the friend who says, Hey, can I help you with that? I know that life's been really nuts lately. They're not going to do that with other people if they're not seeing it.

Casey O'Roarty 27:37
Yes, 100%. And there are many a landmine that is enabling and not use totally,

Alyssa Campbell 27:42

Casey O'Roarty 27:44
for sure, for sure. But it is it's that oftentimes I use the continuum of connection and firmness. And we can go way in the extremes on either of those, the extremes are not useful, we really want to be in that middle kind, connected and firm. And even that isn't a pinpoint. We were just talking about this in my membership. It's not like a pinpoint of perfect kind and firm. Some things we're gonna lean a little bit more firm, some things we're gonna lean a little bit more connected, but both exist, right? And I'm thinking about that same thing with empowering and enabling, you know, there is that middle section, right, there is that middle section, I mean, we always want to be moving towards empowering and looking for those opportunities to open the door for them to be, you know, independent with those life skills that they're practising. And you know, sometimes with some things in some situations, it makes sense to be a part of the process with correct to be in the both and I

Alyssa Campbell 28:49
think if we replace those words, empowering and enabling, empowering with I'm gonna go with independent, codependent. Oh, middle ground would be interdependence, where we can like, Oh, I love a non each other here and there. And sometimes we're gonna fall more into that codependent side, where if somebody's grieving, for instance, I'm not like, yeah, figure that out on your own sister. Like, no, I'm giving away this is where like, Yeah, I'm gonna lean in and see how can I support you? What are ways I can be there? Do you need me to sit with you while you cry? You know. And then there are times where we're leaning more towards independence with kids, and we want them to be able to stand on their own two feet and do this without us there. And looking at that continuum, as this ebb and flow and that independence all the time is often a trauma response of like, I don't have somebody to turn to like, that's not my goal. This like, I'm always empowered, I'm independent. I can do it on my own. Typically, all the way on that side is a trauma response. And so when we're looking at this, like I do want this middle ground and this balance of sometimes we're in more of a codependent space. Sometimes we're in more of a independent space and we're really aiming for that in Her dependent of we rely on each other to move through this world. And sometimes we do things independently. Sometimes we do them together. But ultimately we're just in relationship.

Casey O'Roarty 30:10
Look at us just drop in the mind, left and right. New continuum to consider. I love that. I love that. I love that. I love that. I love that. Yes. Listeners, if you're in the question of that, how do I know when to be this, that or the other thing? Like what I would respond to with that? Because everybody wants like, okay, so how do I do it? What does it look like? When do I do it, you get to look on the inside, you get to pay attention to your body, you get to pay attention to your gut, you get to consider the variables you get to be thoughtful. And that comes from also being resourced. Totally Right. Like you were saying before, we can show up as our best selves, and use the tools when we're resourced. And the same is true for our team. Correct? Right. And so one, I think there's a conversation that we won't have, but we'll just highlight like, taking care of yourself. I know, we all kind of go, I know self care, blah, blah, blah, no,

Alyssa Campbell 31:16
it's not a blah, blah, it's one of the five components of this method is self care.

Casey O'Roarty 31:20
Okay, you want to talk a little bit about that, that's about

Alyssa Campbell 31:24
it. For me, it's just like, if you're living in this space, we're treating self care as like, Alright, I'm gonna go till I'm burnt out. And then I really need this break to recharge me enough to come back to a space where I'm gonna go till I'm burnt out, then we're doing self care. For me self care is what are we doing every day? In little ways to take care of ourselves? am I drinking enough water? Am I eating food? That makes me feel good? Am I moving my bodies in ways that make me feel good? Am I setting boundaries with people and saying no, in ways that make me feel good? am I noticing when I'm feeling guilt, from comparing myself to this random person that I don't even freaking know or care about? Like, those little things, right? That like really add up. That, to me is what self care is it's about our nervous system, are we taking care of our nervous system, and that's an everyday in small ways things. And then we don't end up in this cycle where like, I'm so burnt out and exhausted that I need a break. And I hope that break is enough to recharge me to come back to get to that point again. You know, like, yeah, that, for me is not what self care is, for every human, whether you're two or 22, or 52. Like, that's what self care means to us. And we're looking at the step method. And oh, you said something else in there that I was like, Oh, they're like, how do you do this in the actual moment? That's where I revisit those prompts. Right? If you find yourself and you're like, oh, I don't know if I'm in this independent or codependent space are interdependent. If I am empowering or enabling, coming back and saying, What's my long term goal? Are we working at What's my goal for our relationship, because maybe my long term goal is that they can do these things independently on their own. And right now in our relationship, we're really disconnected. And what they really need is to come back into connection and that might require pulling into that codependence for a little bit where you say, I want to be here and support you and help you in a way that makes sense and is helpful for you. Even if for a second, we put that independent skills to the side to come back into connection. And then we can move back in to the long term goal situation.

Casey O'Roarty 33:32
Yeah, yeah, that relationship he is. So I have clients who, you know, the cut that question like they won't clean up after themselves, they won't contribute. And I noticed when we had a family meeting that went totally sideways, all my fault recently, several nights ago, I'm just going to own that started off strong, leaned into some control

Alyssa Campbell 33:50
took a little nosedive. Whoopsie,

Casey O'Roarty 33:53
but before things went shitty, I did ask in because we don't have set routines anymore. Like we used to where it was like a post totally Oh, or a checklist. It's more flowy. Like all honestly, I want the checklist. I would love a poster of Ian doing all the things with pictures of him like we had when he was eight years old. Right? That's what I want, and nobody else wants that. But because of the relationship that we have, I was able to ask him, like, how do you feel about your level of contribution to the household, you know, meaning like the community spaces, and he was like, you know, I could probably do a better job. I could kick it up a notch. That wasn't exactly what he said, There's something around that. And I was like, sweet, you know, like, what's that gonna look like? What could that look like? And we had this whole conversation and I think about that. And I realised like the reason we can have a conversation that sounds like that and feels like that is because we have a relationship that because of our relationship. He has a high tolerance for one And I get credit for controlling. And contributing to the household has been a value since, you know, day one. And we really treat it like human to human, not like, Dude, we all live together, but like, we all live together, right? And it makes sense to him as an equally valued member of the household that he would put in. I mean, he knows he's not contributing at the same level as Sure. Right? And he's really easy going about it. So if you're listening to us, and you're like, Gosh, I wish that was the case at my house. What I'm hearing you say Alyssa is put aside those tasks and really focus in on what's going on inside of this relationship. And what do I want to create inside of this relationship? And as we build there, the easy going NIS has a chance to show up because they're not in this defiant. I'll show you you're super critical. You don't get me mindset, just guard up, right? Yeah, yeah. And I

Alyssa Campbell 36:02
think that us being just very real and vulnerable, there is so helpful, like, Hey, I feel like lately, we have just been snapping at each other. And I feel like we haven't been connected. And I know that I'm playing a role in this, too. I've been snappy, and I'm not sure what the next steps are. But I want you to know that I love you. And I want to figure this out. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 36:28
I've we've had that exact conversation. Yeah, exactly. With Ian, he's like, yeah, you've been

Alyssa Campbell 36:33
a little. He kind of met a match. Yeah, I am. But I think that like us owning that. It also shows them like, I don't have all the answers. Yeah. But I know that at the end of the day, I love you. And I want to be in relationship with you. And I want to figure this out. Yeah. And then I value your contribution to it that like, I want us to figure this out.

Casey O'Roarty 36:54
Yeah, yeah. And I loved what you said earlier about doing what we need to do to attend to our nervous system. And I've got a couple of questions that I think are actually the same question. So I'm just going to throw a couple things at you and see what you have to say. The first is, what tips do you have for parents to be in the practice of their own emotional safety while not making their emotional experience something they're putting on their teen? So there's that piece? Right. And then the other question is about normalising the self regulation journey, while also supporting our teens with their emerging self regulation skills. I feel like those are kind of similar. Sure. So

Alyssa Campbell 37:37
the first is like, really? How do we share our emotions and be vulnerable humans without making our kids feel responsible for them and projecting them onto? Yeah, yes, yeah. So this is huge. We have a whole part of the book on this, because I think it's really important, and it's a dance. And I think what's super key here is that when we share our emotions, that, you know, oh, gosh, I'm feeling so frustrated with this right now, or I'm feeling really overwhelmed. Then we say, I'm going to take a minute, and I'm gonna calm or I'm going to regulate so that I can have this conversation or I can help you, or we can figure this out together. What's key is that in owning our emotions, we also own our regulation. It's not a child's job to calm us down. It's our job to calm us down. Because we separate all throughout the book, we separate sensory regulation and emotional regulation. Sensory is that like, activated nervous system, when you're like, Alright, I'm firing, I'm triggered. I, for me, this is like, I feel like I have to have this conversation right now. And I'm going to talk so fast, and my shoulders are up to my ears and my heart's racing. And those usually are signs physiological that you? Yeah, for me that I'm like, Okay, your nervous system is dysregulated. And now as I build that, like awareness of like, Yep, those are my signs. Now, I've got to regulate that nervous system before I can work on emotional regulation, or even emotion processing and communicating about it. Because when I get into a calmer body, I might still feel mad, I might still feel frustrated or overwhelmed. And now I have a whole new set of tools that I can access because I've regulated my nervous system.

Casey O'Roarty 39:19
I love that Alyssa, I love what you just set up to stop. So being mad, being frustrated, being scared in and of itself is not dysregulation, we can feel those things and still be connected to our nervous system. That is so huge, and I'm learning right now because sometimes I feel like the practices I need to be calm, right? But instead it's like, oh, yes, I need a regulated nervous. I need to be regulated. And yeah, and I love what you said, our job is to calm ourselves down. It's not our kid's job. And when I hear you say that what I was thinking of was like Well, yeah, like, it's not our kid's job to, you know, energetically Pat us on the back. But here's the other thing that I think we get really slippery with, which is, also there's this, I mean, I'm just gonna throw this out there. Because sometimes it's like, you take care of me when you're doing all the right things. And you're not taking care of me when you're making mistakes, getting into mischief misbehaving. So that's just another way, I think that we send the message that it's yours. It's not mine, I feel like this because you're off the rails.

Alyssa Campbell 40:31
Yeah, that's such a key point. And it starts with us being able to say things like, I feel frustrated, it's okay for me to feel frustrated. Yeah, they don't have to change their language, their tone, their whatever their behaviour, in order for you to get into a regulated state. That's the practice. Yeah, you can do that when they can be defiant, when they can be snippy when they can be sarcastic when whenever, and you can get into a regulated state. It's a game changer. And this is what I mean by experiencing kids emotions differently, that when we take ownership over our reaction to their emotions, and we can regulate, it doesn't mean that I am like, Oh, this is fun. I'm having a good time now that I'm regulated, you're still acting this way, like, No, but I'm able to then see it as like, oh, they need help, like, they're being defiant, or they're being sarcastic, or their whatever, what's going on for them?

Casey O'Roarty 41:27
Yeah. And if the dance that currently exists, is one where, you know, they trigger you, you get really pissed, and it's this back and forth. And then all of a sudden, all of a sudden, with practice, you are able to practice that self regulation. I just want to say this for the listeners, that may instigate a higher response in the moment from your teenager, because it is a little bit like what do you not even fucking care totally, you know, like, I'm gonna deliver even more Jay Nelson says, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better when we shift the way we're showing up. So I just wanted to highlight that too, because that could happen.

Alyssa Campbell 42:07
Totally. I'm gonna hit you with some nerdiness on why that happens. Yes, super. And I love your nerdiness. So what's happening there is like, we have what's called neural pathways. When one thing occurs, like, they come in, they throw their backpack down, and they're rude. And then you snap back at them, and then they snap back. The nervous system comes to expect this, it forms what's called a neural pathway, the more times we repeat that same pattern, the stronger it gets, it becomes a part of like expectation and habit within our brain and body. And then when something different happens, they come in, they do the same thing. And you do something else. Their nervous system says, Wait, what's going on? And anything for the nervous system that's new and different is immediately a threat? It's immediately scary? Because they don't know yet. Is this safe? Am I safe when you do this? I know what to expect. When we bicker back and forth. I don't know what to expect when you don't play your role. And so as you shift your role, it takes a little bit of time for their brain and body like literally their nervous system to learn what to expect from you. And to know like, oh, no, I am still safe when they do this. So there's like the nerdiness background of like, why it'll take a little while and why your consistency and showing up in that way will actually expedite the process because you're going to go through this neural pathway firing over and over, it's going to strengthen it. And I think if it I'm like a terrible Vermonter in that, like, I'm not super outdoorsy. But I imagine like animals in the wild where like there's posturing up, right, like one animal gets up and they get big, and the other animal gets up in there and like fight mode with each other. And that's what happens with us when the kid throws their backpack and they swear or they whatever. And then we posture up. What it does on a neuroscience level is tells their body Do not let your guard down, because this person is here to fight. And so they literally can't calm. They can't override that in order to stay safe. When we regulate. What it ends up doing is telling their nervous system, especially with practice over time. It's safe for you to let your guard down now.

Casey O'Roarty 44:15
Oh my gosh. Alyssa, God, I mean, every time we have a conversation, I'm like, Oh, I didn't know it was gonna be so great. I mean, I always know it's gonna be great. But then here we are. Ah, this was so so useful. I'm so grateful that you're out in the world and that you're writing books and then you're talking on your podcast and coming on mine and I could geek out with you for another hour. Oh my gosh, the time just flew right by so thank you for who you are and what you bring. Thank you to families of the world. Is there anything else you want to make sure to leave listeners with today about the book about your work?

Alyssa Campbell 44:53
No, I just am grateful for the opportunity. Come on. I know it's called Tiny humans big emotions and I think it So I really read that you were like, Let's have this conversation about teens too, because it's still so applicable. It's the same science, different examples. And, you know, I

Casey O'Roarty 45:09
love the science and the books pretty sciency, right?

Alyssa Campbell 45:12
Part one is like the nerdiness. What's happening in that nervous system? What's happening for us, it's really about us part one. Part two is about the kids. And a lot of those examples are geared toward birth to age eight. And so same principles, you're just going to tweak the examples. Part three is how we build empathy and what it looks like to navigate challenging times like to talk to them and navigate death or moving or deployment of a parent or a divorce, separation, things like that.

Casey O'Roarty 45:43
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you and your co author, thank you both for bringing this to the world. Thank you for being willing to come on and play in the adolescence I'm always here for you when you want to. Always come talk,

Alyssa Campbell 45:57
I'll get nerdy with you I any day, any day. Oh

Casey O'Roarty 46:00
my gosh, I just learned so much listeners we recorded for Alyssa show not very long ago. And I just remember saying like I am so I read all the sciency things, but it doesn't stick in my brain. What sticks in my brain is the emotion of an experience. Right? And so I always love having guests on and people in my life who are like, well, let me quote science. Let me quote the research. I'm, I'm so in awe of that. And also it's useful, like, oh, you know, when the kid won't back down and it's like, well, this doesn't work, you know? No, it's actually the wiring the brain wiring, and there's things we can do to like you said, expedite the process, and that's being consistent, doing our own work. Love it, love it. So today, my friend, what does joyful courage mean to you?

Alyssa Campbell 46:50
Joyful courage to me is I want to break these two into two because I think for me, the courage part has to come in order for the joyful part to come out like it is the ability to be vulnerable and brave and do the hard stuff so that we can enjoy the other things.

Casey O'Roarty 47:14
Mm hmm. Thank you for that. I haven't ever heard it quite that way. So I appreciate that. Where can people find you and your podcast and your book and your work?

Alyssa Campbell 47:25
I hang out on Instagram quite a bit so at seed that and that so voices of your village podcast and we have a more teen specific episodes actually coming out over these next few months. Yeah, we've had a big request for that. Yours being one of them. And seed and so s e w.org is like the mothership the book is tiny humans big emotions. If you want to snag it or you know someone especially who has someone younger and you want to share this with them these two

Casey O'Roarty 47:55
awesome yeah, thanks for being here. Thanks, Casey.

Casey O'Roarty 48:06
Thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at BS for audible.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

See more