Welcome to the Unbreakable Boundaries Podcast
Oct. 19, 2022

#59: Tracy Redfearn: Finding Your Voice

Outline of Episode

• Introduction to Tracy Redfern. 0:02
• How much does trauma play a role in the adolescent experience? 1:32
• How do I hear someone’s story? How do I not go into the place of pity? 8:53
• How do you deal with parents who don’t understand? 14:20
• Be quiet, be quiet be quiet. 19:30
• What are your questions that gives your child their voice? 26:15
• Jen’s experience with her mom and her relationship with her grandmother. 30:06
• How do we move forward from the past? 34:36
• Tough love is not about being tough on them. 40:31
• Connecting at a heart level through the heart. 44:13
• How do you know when you need to disconnect? 51:07
• Grief is in everything, not just death. 56:44
• What do you need? What do you feel you need. 1:03:51


In this episode, Tracy and I get into a great conversation about what do kids need and how that translates later in life. Safety, Security, and Love are three important things and in that, creating a safe place to be heard and how important connection is. 

Tracy Redfearn is a Licensed Psychoeducational Specialist who is certified by the SC Board of Education as a School Psychologist II, the National Association of School Psychologists as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and the International Association of Trauma Professionals as a Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional. Tracy founded Child and Family Resource Center in 2012 because she was concerned with the need in Hartsville for effective intervention services to help provide children and adolescents with successful educational experiences. Tracy has been instrumental in helping many children who struggle to meet their potential in the classroom through her expertise in assessments, learning differences, and knowledge of SC Special Education practices and procedures. 


Her educational intervention recommendations focus on the unique social, emotional, behavioral and academic needs of each student she sees. For optimal results, she collaborates closely with parents, educators and other professionals to help create supportive learning environments while strengthening connections between home, school and the community. Tracy understands special education laws and is passionate about the rights of students with special needs. She educates parents on their rights and serves as an advocate at 504 and IEP meetings. 


As a psychologist in the school system for over a decade, Tracy saw firsthand how grief, loss and trauma can interfere with learning. To help hurting families cope, she has been offering grief camps ( All Seasons Grief Camp ). Through therapeutic activities that include art, horseback riding, music, movement and breathing, and classes on grief and emotional support, families are able to push past their pain. Family members memorialize their loved ones in a ceremony at the conclusion.

Transcript

Jennifer Maneely: 

Welcome back to the unbreakable boundaries podcast with your host myself, Jennifer Maneely. I am really excited for this upcoming guest. Her name is Tracy Redfern. And I met her at an interesting place it was at my ski lake of all places, waterski like it all places, and I had put up my artwork, some of you have heard about my artwork, if you have it, you can definitely go check it out. It's a lot of inspirational art with a lot of really amazing quotes. And so I threw this thing up and was like, I don't know what's gonna happen, but we'll just see. And this is how I met Tracy. So I put it up, had no expectations, I come down, I'm sitting and she says, Oh, my gosh, I just love this. And in that launched a beautiful conversation to where we're here now. So Tracy, thank you so much for coming on. I'm so excited to have you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Jen. Yes. And so I think I'm really what started sparking this conversation was she was saying how, you know, she works with schools, as a trauma professional, correct, you can always correct me if I'm not using the right language. And obviously, when she brings up something like trauma or grief and kids, I'm like, let's, uh, we need to have this conversation. So

Tracy: 

he was on right,

Jennifer Maneely: 

it was on from there. I was like, Well, let me tell you, and, and, you know, I started telling her a little bit about what I do, working with families that have substance abuse issues. And that's how we kind of got started on that really big conversation, because how much does this the the trauma and the adolescent experience, kind of, a lot of times, we'll go into what we see that turns into like an addiction, or people that have the substance abuse issues, I'll get so many calls on parents that really focus a lot on that. Maybe that traumatic event or something that happened to people when they were younger. And now here we are, years later, as it continues to present and in how it kind of, we're looking at some of those developmental needs that go sometimes unmet, that aren't even ours as parents or the schools that they're not necessarily ours to meet. But it is good to know what those needs are so that we can support the the adolescents and the kids and finding those needs is that Tracy, please feel free to chime in.

Tracy: 

And thank you, you're on it. I think that we're hitting all those things that are important.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yes. And you know, we were talking about the kind of that grief and the needs and the trauma. And across the board, what would you say would be the top three things that you're looking for that you think that these kids, I'm gonna just refer to people as kids, that these kids kind of need to support themselves through their experience that they're having an adolescence,

Tracy: 

I'd have to say the top three things. In terms of trauma, grief and loss, Jen would have to be a voice the first thing was, it's my voice matters most, which is your story. The child's story. I have a young girl right now that just came from Mexico, horrible things. Little little sister was was murdered. And then she gets left behind because dad comes here to look for work in America and the grandma's boyfriend molester. And then there's just some and then her actual biological mother die. So you talk about trauma, trauma, trauma. Being a sister or a sibling die, in itself is a huge trauma, right? But then when you get cultural things, she ends up here. I've lost my identity as a Hispanic young woman. And then I've lost my mother to death. All of those things a child because these were all happening at different ages of her childhood. And her now to being a teenager who is still while 16 is that little three year old girl who saw her one year old sister die by gunfire Wow. So giving her a voice. And I asked her, I was like, so what is the one thing that that little girl needed? Yeah, said I just wanted somebody to pick me up, but everybody's going to. And so through all these years, she said, I don't matter. And what is she doing every day? She's smoking pot, she's having promiscuous sex, all to feel what, which I feel is the second thing that a child needs is connection. Yeah, there's gotta be connection. And I mean, I would say safety first. But they don't get that they just want to feel hurt. Oh, my God, you see me? Yeah, my sister died. But I was the one that was here when she died. I saw it.

Jennifer Maneely: 

And so when you say, you know, it's, you say safety first. And you're talking about really? Someone being heard. But isn't someone being heard? Really a part of safety?

Tracy: 

Oh, come on. You're so? Yeah,

Jennifer Maneely: 

yeah. Because

Tracy: 

you're ready, you can't tell that story. It's got to be a safe place, it's got to have a safe space, a haven to really be able to just unload all of that, you know, right.

Jennifer Maneely: 

And because I am thinking about so many times where it and this is just this is I think this is almost just a natural thing. When someone is talking about something that is difficult to hear by someone else, whether it's, you know, even if it's like my own mother, or just someone in general. So I think about what happens to me if someone calls me up, and they're telling me a story that's difficult and painful. What is my immediate response? And maybe I will start, like, kind of being uncomfortable. Oh, yeah. And I might play like, I'm listening. But I have not, because the only thing I really want to do is get a phone. It's uncomfortable, right? It's it's uncomfortable.

Tracy: 

Oh my gosh, I remember like, you know, one of the things we trained for in graduate school is, you know, you want to have that I'm not moved by this. Right. What when, I mean, it's just the way I'm created. And I know I'm doing what I'm destined to do. Is that heart to help others to be healing, to bring healing into situations. But there are still almost every time because every story is unique. You go, Oh, all right. There's that wash and nothing at that makes me feel like that. What is that make that person feel like? It's their shame that I've gone through this? What was that? Like, you know, this after, you know, so many years, I'm just learning what you just said. And that's just to be in it. And to listen with unconditional positive regard. Right? person saying so that they know, dang, she heard me and that might be just reiterating those key points that they said. So I've got to really tune in instead of listening to my heart. Like, oh, my God, that child went through that. But just listening to them is when children feel heard, then they don't feel like they've got to open up doors to be validated in venues, whether it's promiscuous sex, drugs, alcohol, you know, right. When I think I think there are a healthy relationship.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Right. And I think there are a lot of feelings that are associated with the trauma, right? And like when we don't really hear people, and I want to point this out, because I think this is really important. And this is, this is where our work comes in. Right? Where How do I hear someone their story? Allow myself not only to be uncomfortable, but how do I not go into the place of pitying them? Because pity just doesn't serve anyone right? Like it's it's not a great and that person, I can tell you on the other side of things don't want your pity.

Tracy: 

That's right. That's the last thing they want. They don't want you to feel they don't want that they really want to know is that does it really matter what I went through?

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yes. And so when but it's not the sympathy.

Tracy: 

It's the care. Wow, that must have been really hard as a little girl. Yes. Whatever. Do you remember what you were thinking that day? What went through your head when everybody went to the little girl that was shot, you know? Yeah. I'm here for weeks of work from days, hours, really two days, two weeks, two years. You're she's 16. And she's just now going from age three to 16 to get help, right? Yeah, I was never feeling like I could tell this to anybody. Yeah.

Jennifer Maneely: 

And I, you know, for me, because we're talking about loss as well. And I know for the people that I have lost in my own life. So it as difficult as it is, but as more emotionally mature and healthy I become, the more I feel like, it's important for me to talk about those people. Because there's something one that you said that I think is very important is when I when I talk about people that I really care about. And even if it's painful, in that moment, not only am I connected to myself, but I'm connected to them, right. And I'm sure that she wanted to feel connected to her sister, connected to her mom and connected to, you know, the situation and even as hard as, as it is, is even connected to her own feelings about the situation. And so she has that platform, it creates this security, for her to feel like she can really be supported in going through those feelings for herself. Isn't that kind of a, an important thing for people?

Tracy: 

I agree with you wholeheartedly. And in this particular case, she's been through numerous counselors in the process, but went because dad and stepmom made her go through it right, you know, you go through, but she wasn't ready yet. Right. And it was because in those initial times when the trauma first happened, she was shut down. So what he what was the the, the the layer that she put on us? I don't matter? Yeah. I'm not chosen. Not only you know, of course, everybody she has said to me, had to deal with my little sister who was laying there and ended up dying in route to the hospital. But then it was Daddy. And then it was mama. And then you know, Mama ends up dying because she's pregnant. You know, this story, like you've I mean, it's like alphas, something of a lifetime. But for her, it was like, there was never a time for her. And it's like, there's never going to be the perfect time for you to break off all those layers that you put online, since that little tiny girl. But at the same time you you've taken on the persona is that little girl, she looks like a little girl. Ya know what I mean? When she speaks the voice and all of it, I'm like, go back. Yeah. What were your thoughts in that day? And you wish she said, Hey, I'm mad or doesn't even see me here. She didn't know how to process the death. She didn't know how to process all the other things that came about over the years. Is that so? Yeah, just feeling like you matter. And there's no more that rejection, you know? And that's where I think she is, is that I wasn't her words were I wasn't chosen. Yeah. But think of a three year old little girl, what would a three year old little girl went back to the developmental history. She didn't have a lot of language at that time. Dad was between America and you know, in Mexico, and she didn't have a really strong foundation of language. So what was her strong way of interpreting and taking in information was super visual in her auditory. Yeah. And it was very skied, it was very off. Because, you know, know what parent wants to be a bad parent, my dad and mom, just nobody, nobody looked at me to see what I needed. Right. But I think that all parents do, what they can do. And here they were with their own grief and loss, and a huge trauma that was like so many implications from a legal standpoint because it involved the gun that was in the house, you know, and the father took on the it's my thought I had a loaded gun in the house and then another child playing with the gun, you know, but she was the little sister who was in between and didn't get shot. So she's like, I'm just the one that no way wishes. But that's really not what happened at all. The three year old cognition how she perceived it,

Jennifer Maneely: 

isn't that an interesting because it's it's what you're saying is it's the perceptions of what happened, right? She didn't get shot. And somehow now, that grew into a belief that she didn't met like, Why? Why did I get shot, right? Like it I don't mean to laugh, because not funny, but it is uncomfortable. And that's my way of dealing with it. Right? But but it's, it's that it's that kind of how people are perceiving. And this is something I want to bring forward to my audience, because, you know, this is the audience that we're talking about where, you know, I'm working with families that have these loved ones with substance abuse. So what does all of this have to do with that particular thing, and this is, what I'll say is when you talk about being heard that voice that safety, I can't tell you how many because I'm in recovery. And the pain that I've heard 1000s of people talk about is how they wish that their parents just understood that their parents heard their experience that they just heard, and this is as grown people in recovery, not the, you know, the 10 year old or whatever. But these are the grown people that cry in meetings, begging and pleading that they had a better connection with their parents, but their parents just won't hear them, they won't listen to them. They don't, they don't want to understand they don't want to, you know, deal with it. And so that's really painful for them. And I think about a life changing moment, even in the last maybe like for five years for myself, was when I was able to have a really difficult conversation with my mom about something. And at first, she did what, I think a human any human being has a tendency to do, wants to push back and cut it off it No. And I kind of said, No, we're going to talk about this matters. And of course, I'm older, I'm mature, I have a better language, I can kind of say, No, we're gonna talk like, I can kind of say that, but me just being able to say, my side of the story, and heard not go into defensiveness and just hear that. And even not that she had a part to own necessarily, but there was like a more of that I can hear like, I'm going to stand and hear what you're seeing as uncomfortable as it makes me. Somehow, and I don't that moment for me, and I don't even think I've talked to her about this shifted so many things, because I felt like I could actually finally move on. Now, it was not her job to help me move on. But it certainly helped. Oh, absolutely, I would have had to find a different way to do that. That would have not been as almost instant. If you could say,

Tracy: 

you know, if not even therapeutic right? It will set you back instead of forward could

Jennifer Maneely: 

have I mean, there's so many ways that could have been but her being grounded in herself enough in that moment, to just hear what my experience was like whether it was true or not, is irrelevant. But what my experience of the situation was, and my perceptions of the situation. That's all I just wanted people to hear is that this is what I experienced. And so when I think about my audience, and how important it is, how can we be very clear on ourselves, to not put a wall a metaphorical wall between me and what someone else is saying? Just because it's either true or not true? It's their perception is of the truth. We can sift out the real truth later. But they have to be able to state their perceptions of the truth in order to get to the truth.

Tracy: 

It's like Be quiet. Be quiet. Be quiet is what I've learned to speak quiet. Be quiet, be quiet, Tracy. Even if it doesn't seem rational, it doesn't seem logical, but that's not the way it really is, you know, but being quiet Yeah, empathetic. Just a nod. Yeah. Wow, what was that? Like for you? Yeah. Even it opens the door for them to go, Oh, they're hearing me and go deeper, deeper. Tell me more about that. What? What was that, like when you thought that? And it's like when you can go deeper and have those really good listening ears that they're like, talking themselves through what's truth? And what's this place is because children and even adults disconnect, right? And so their reality does become really skewed, but just allowing them to talk it through in everyday life, right, you know, and then we can talk it through and we feel heard no matter what the situation traumatic or not, it helps us stay grounded. And in the moment in the truth. And teaching young people to stay in truth is really is my core is at night. Because then they know reality. Is that really what happened? But I don't have to say it even like that. It's just the nods. It's just the Wow. And then like, well, well, wait a minute, let me you know, when they start, yeah. And as they begin to process, because they've packed it in so deep, and you can hear some that their stories are so deep, that when they start pulling it out, well, she's not shutting me down, dang, I'm gonna go further. You know, it just allows for those things that need to be uprooted and broken up. You know that portions? Wow, you you get it? That's what you get healing and it doesn't happen in one session? No, you start session two. And you're like telling me last week you were data data? And then they're like, Whoa, she didn't forget? No, no. Hearing people is the I think with the best skills that whether you're in a workplace or a therapeutic session, or family in the den, you know, listening is a skill that is far underrated in society, they were everybody's got a voice talking on social media, you know, but when you're in one on one relationship with somebody, you're just saying, Wow, I never knew you went through all that. And and when we start talking about family, and I'll be the first to say, I've got stuff in my family. And so you know, allowing somebody to say I was at a really bad place in my life. And this is what I did. Wow. I didn't know. Yeah, you don't have to have eloquent words or language. It's just having the empathy and the heart connection that can bring healing in. I know, I'm not, you know, yes, I've got degrees. But I submit that a heart connection brings greater healing any day that any all the letters in the world you can have after your name, right? And just what you're doing in your in your podcast.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yeah. Well, and you know, a lot of people when I, whenever I put, I start talking about boundaries, I think a lot of people immediately make this assumption or this visualization, that they're like, oh, I have to put a wall between me and another person. Right? And like, they're like, Oh, that's so uncomfortable. And I'm like, you know, listen, when I talk about creating like the unbreakable boundaries, I am talking about how do I be very clear in myself, to remain in connection with another person. Right, because I think that's so important. It's not actually it's about tearing the walls down, but also being mindful of where we're sacrificing ourselves. And let's not do that, right, let's not sacrifice ourselves. But if you're going to have a relationship with a person that is doing a lot of things that puts you at risk or as dangerous or whatever, let's talk about how you can stay out of that, but also how you're going to stay in a relationship with that person. And that comes with a lot of clarity and back to what you're saying about really being heard and listening. Really listening, what it takes is that competence to sit and not take things personally that there

Tracy: 

you go, and you know, I'm not going to punish you because you have this view or this thought or you handled your situation differently than way then I think you should are the way that I would Should I say it that way? Right? No, we don't have to agree. people disagree all the time. But it's in that place of honoring and not disrespecting, because this was the path I went down. But God, I realized it was the wrong. I want to get back to here, but people just push me further apart. Because that moment, you're real. And you say, you know, that thing that they know, but you know, we needed to talk about it, and just have those hugs in that, you know, gosh, I'm so sorry, I did not listen very well. And that you felt the need to do that. And to validate and honor people. I think our society has really lost sight of a lot of that good stuff, you know, of honor, of

Jennifer Maneely: 

honor. And going beyond of like, when we talk about listening, it's not always necessarily, what are they saying? Versus what are they really saying, right, and really hearing them and what they're really saying, like, asking questions to spark a conversation to get a clear idea of where they're getting this information. And why did they perceive it in that way? So, you know, I guess, I, there was so many things that I did not know, were happening when I was growing up. Because, you know, as parents and kids, there's just this, we're not going to share everything with the kids that's happening. We're just not, you shouldn't do that.

Tracy: 

You need to share everything with a kid. That's right. Right, it but it doesn't

Jennifer Maneely: 

mean that the kid isn't developing a perception around what's happening with the information that they're presented with,

Tracy: 

go there, we should go. But you need to do it on a healthy level, that's not going to cause fear and produce more anxiety. But if a child is perceiving that someone's using and there's something off in your home, I think a platform where you can say, you know, you may have overheard something last night? Yeah. What what was going through your head, and explaining and giving enough explanation on a child level that we're going through something, but what are your questions, that gives them their voice, and a same time you're getting to say, Man, I really messed up last spring, and it probably didn't feel so good in our home. But I just think it's I think parents indulge too much. And they don't know, they're either doing nothing or saying nothing. Or they're going over the top and telling the child everything. And you don't have to do that. Yeah. Just want to know, did you know that I was in the other ring. Did you know I knew so. And so. Wow. What were you thinking? Just let them say it? Yeah. Tell them what really was going on. Just hear what they got to say. and validate that. I didn't mean for all that to happen.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yeah, I was. This brings up an interesting story. So I was I was probably five years old. You know, I don't remember everything when I'm five. But this stuck out to me, right. And my mom and I have since talked about this. And we I kind of laugh at it now. But I remember a very specific day, in which my mom got very, very upset what she was upset with. I have no idea. I do now because we talked about it. But I'm at the time. I'm five years old, and all I know is my mom is screaming into her pillow. Right? That's the only information I have is screaming into the pillow. Okay, now, my five year old little kid brain is sitting there looking at her going mom is really upset. What have I done wrong? That's right. Yeah. Right. So she must be really mad at something. But she does. She's so mad at me. Yeah, they India. She doesn't want to talk about it because it's so bad. Now. What have I done recently that would make her that mad? Yeah, so now my five little kid year old brain I'm thinking was it this was it that was it. This Now eventually, you know, I'm like, Okay, well, she's as a five year old. I am not asking my mom that screaming into the pillow. What's wrong or asking her to because I don't even she didn't even know I was there. She didn't know that I this was part of my experience, even as an adult, right? We talk about it later. She goes yeah, you know what? I used to do that a lot when I got really mad at my own mom because she was saying Something that was just so

Tracy: 

that is giving me advice this overwhelming,

Jennifer Maneely: 

right. And like, I think, you know, I think my grandmother, at least towards me, and in the relationship, my, my grandmother loves me. But she was very hard on my mom when it came to me. And she said a lot of not really wonderful things to my mom about me, but I didn't know any of that. I didn't know that my mom would get angry and yell into her pillow. Because she was upset with her mom, right? Like, because I only have my relationship with my grandmother, which was very loving, very kind, very supportive. But my mom had her own relationship. And it was very different. And, but But my point in saying that is my little kid brain took a situation and made a whole lot of beliefs about that situation, that it somehow had to do with me,

Tracy: 

internalized.

Jennifer Maneely: 

And I grew up with that. And now Now I'm in recovery. And years and years later, I think about those things. And I get to ask my mom about her experience. And now I'm in a situation where it's like, man, all of these really like deep beliefs are still impacting my journey that I created in my mom is not responsible for that piece of things. Because she doesn't know how I internalized situations that had nothing to do with her. You see,

Tracy: 

so having that conversation, just what you said was when humor that time, and I want to process this, stay with me and mom, you know, when you think of adults to their parent, this is what I remember. And a parent being able to say, Well, what did you need at that moment? What did you need? What at that little girl? And a moment that mom says, Well, let me give that now. Or the dad says, let me give that now. It just allows for forgiveness to come in and healing to come whatever it was that that child needed. Yeah. changes the perception of everything. You mean, you really felt that way? Yeah, and that little girl suddenly goes from five all of a sudden, to like eight or 10, you know, and moving ahead. And the next memory that really settled in memories, I think are truly Jen. When I think of grief and loss, they're the I won't say that pillar, I'll say they're the blanket of healing and hope. Because you know, when you have at least one good memory that you can pull out, it's that amazing fuzzy blanket that we all have, you know, sitting on the couch, or, you know, across the bed that we can just put on. And good memories are what bring hope into situations. Well, what I hoped for, which is what is needed. If I had had this, that this could have been the outcome. So you've got those ideas of I need, you know, child, or adult needing a voice and safe and secure and unconditional positive regard. But also knowing and being able to have that person that they can have a dialogue with that allows for them to say what was needed. And even in this day, what do you need? How can I help you? And it just brings them out and up into the from the there to the here in the now. And it's an it's beautiful stories. It's a beautiful story.

Jennifer Maneely: 

And I because I'm thinking about like a lot of times, you know, the people that are deep into substance abuse, and they're trying to have these relationships with the the parents that don't understand they get into these arguments all the time, right? You were such a shitty mom or shitty dad or whatever you were so mean. And but imagine, imagine changing the conversation that says you know what, you're right. I may have not been the best parent that you needed at that moment. Right? Like, and I if I could do something different, I totally would but I cannot change the past. The only thing that I can do to support you and help you is is how are we going to move forward? That's right. And it's like I am willing because this was a pivotal moment even for my mom when I was a set. This is right before I got it like the day before I got into rehab she She caught, everything caught up to me in this day, right? And I'm sitting there kind of pretty high not to have completely hearing everything that she's saying to me in this in this moment that I'm like, caught. Yeah, um, and she goes, Listen, you know, we, I may not have been the best mom, I, I have take responsibility for some things. And when you're ready to work through those things I am here, we will work through them. But I am not going to continue to allow, you know, these kinds of things into my life, I cannot have you in my life, if you're acting in this way, but I am so happy to it. She didn't say this is not verbatim. This is a generalization. But the general idea was, I will work on my stuff as a parent, if you're willing to work on your stuff, and figure your shit out. But this is not Yeah. You're using and your behavior and all of this stuff right now, that's not on me.

Tracy: 

We all have choices, these this choice that you're making, but in every choice, there's this way it can bring us together if we're willing to have some tough conversation. And I'm not just saying words to be saying words, when you you know, somebody loves you, and you love them. When you can have you really weren't. You know, or I was a really badass kid.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Right. But I was doing what

Tracy: 

I could manage. And I know that I was a 16 year old mom, I get I know, I was not there. But man. Fast forward to my mid 50s, I have garnered a lot of wisdom and a lot of tools and skills that make me have an ability in an even greater way to go back and say, right, you need to have a conversation. Yeah, that's where the memory part comes in. I remember one time, I probably hurt you with things I said, or what had around you. You know, yeah, I think I think kids need to hear that. So when you were saying that while ago, about the child saying, you know, something that happened? I think those are conversations that are very important in healing, is sometimes children just want to know, because parents, we I think children put their parents up here and that they never made mistakes, when in fact, I really, I developed parenting skills from my parents, which were really bad because it was all about addiction, you know, but I ran out of the house and said, I don't want to watch I don't want to be a part of this. And now but you know, again, fast forwarding ahead, I've been able to go back and say, even to my own mom, now my father is dead, but to say this happened, or that happened and what really happened because I was just a little girl, and I probably got it all wrong. Yeah. And I think that is a really important step. And even this week, I was working with some teen moms, because that's one of the things that is truly a passion of mine, because I wasn't young mom, Jen is I gave them all an oyster shell with a pearl glued to it. And I said, Do you know where a pearl came from, and you're like, what you know. But pearls are formed from the dirt. And you know, and I said to them, and I say this, and I'm not trying to just have a lot of fluff. But the foundation of what child and family has been built out. It's been built out of the dirt, those things that nobody else wants to talk about that elephant in the room that you know, nobody else would talk about my father, there was, you know, the drugs, the alcohol, I was molested all of these things nobody wants to talk about. And even in my teenage years, I really didn't understand that. But in this day, I was able to put a layer on there to preserve it as my story and in to help so many other people see that they're not alone in the journey and that's where the security and the connection comes from. You are not alone. And the very foundation of what Child and Family The dirt is what he's used to build the foundation of the work we do in trauma, grief and loss because there's transparency i i used to feel so much shame. And now it's like you If it helps this child, or it helps this mother or it helps this mother and father, and how they parent now, I don't, I don't really care anymore, I don't care how I'm perceived to the outer world, I just want them to say, these are tools that might be good and maybe better in your toolbox and serve you well, if you really want to connect to your son or your daughter, we have to be willing to learn and to grow and have new ways to, to love and love. Well, yeah,

Jennifer Maneely: 

yeah. And, you know, it's this is this is kind of a little bit of my belief is is that all of these core principles, connection, love, security, safety, all of that stuff that is at the core, it never changes in the human, come on what we need, right? It may start presenting differently, we may get better at hiding and pretending like it doesn't exist, or like, it doesn't bother us. But at the core of it, we need this. And I, you know, going back to something very important that you said is having the tough conversations and being present to the tough conversations, right? This is a lot of when I because a lot of people in this community, they talk about tough love, and they're like, Oh, I, I don't think tough love is really works. And it really, you know, I it didn't feel good. And I say I said tough love is not about being tough on them. It's about having or making decisions that are tough to do. And it's about also having those tough conversations, and being very grounded and present to that.

Tracy: 

And if I might can add to that, maybe, because I've had to practice this my own. So there might be things that start to come up inside of me. And it almost begins to feel that between the two of you, whoever it is, when you're having that conversation, that tough love moment and say, you know, I don't agree with you, we really do need to say in this, but I'm a little overwhelmed, right? This, can we take five and come back? Because this is not going to go well. If we you know, if you know that you aren't hearing them, you're you know that there's either on misperceiving what they're saving on misunderstanding, or either they are really way off. It's still whatever I think being sold out as a parent being sold out as the child and saying I'm gonna I'm willing to preserve our love. If we can keep that love connection. You know, I got to break from this for a minute, right? Yeah. But guy out here, you this is so important to you. And I want you know, I love you. But let's give it a few. But let's come right back. And given it an appointed time, making space and a time specifically for that, I think is is a tool that every parent should have in their toolbox, whether they're arguing about the lunch box, or they're arguing about something that the kid heard the night before the day before, and having regular conversations, no matter what, don't let them build up for years. Yeah, have a have a meal every night with your kids, or as often as you can, I'm sorry, I like you know, fast food meal every now and then again, too. But there is no, there is no nothing that can take the place of connection.

Jennifer Maneely: 

And I say well, and I think culturally to a certain extent we've lost and I want to get off on a tangent. So I'm gonna say this and move on, move on. But but because like, you know, before all of the technology that really distracted us and somehow made our lives very efficient, but also limits the actual real conversations that we're having the, you know, we used to have. This is not like, oh, the old days kind of conversation, but it's real, when we really used to talk to each other because that's what we had, right? We used to share wisdom, because we'd sit around at the dinner table, no TV, no distractions. All we had was like this is where our attention span has greatly diminished is because all of the social media and this isn't

Tracy: 

a gaming

Jennifer Maneely: 

TV. There's always let's be, we're not. This isn't one of those like, oh, we can't have this stuff, but it's like we can and being mindful of where also our human needs need to also be met. And it's, we've been talking a lot about that connection, Social Media TV, all the stuff are creating what I like to think of as like false connections. So like Facebook, Instagram, they're quote unquote, connecting you but it's not on a human need level. It's just in a technology way, not in a heart like It's like more of a left brain, not more of the heart center way. So how are we connecting at a real level through the heart, and it's through the conversations, the real conversations, when you're connecting with someone else at a heart level, not in in a Facebook or a message or a text or whatever,

Tracy: 

or move aiming. And I will tell you what I say to my parents all the time, because I do parenting classes often is, if that is a big thing for your family gaming, or Netflix or a ballgame, whatever. If you're not connected at the end of it. Your your children don't they're not going to trust me. If you're doing this, you've got to move and have the greatest, you're gonna have the Waltons on if you remember who the Waltons are, you can have the Waltons on, but if you're doing this, right, right, what you need to do is say there's there's no technology right now. Oh my gosh, it talk about it? Did you see you know, John boy, or you know, or maybe you can game together. But it's purposeful, mindful, I love that you use the word mindful and it's not when I say mindful, I'm not talking to fluky hooky, whatever mindful, I'm saying, I'm purposeful in this because I want me you and if you know, whoever, you know, the significant other is in that part of it, you need to be connected. If it's my husband sitting watching, you know, a show on Netflix, or if it's as a family, the whole goal of doing it is not just that you're all sitting in the same room, right? To be what you just said connection and relationship. And, you know, I had a family, a family class recently, and someone said, so what is love? And I don't know you everyone can define it differently. But I believe whether we're having conversations right here, in this podcast, or there's somebody in China or Iran, wherever I believe it's Love is something that is universal. And we all want it. And it affects affection, the core word of affection is effect. And we are either affecting someone in a positive and connected way or we're emptying them. Yeah, my heart as a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, an advocate for other families is man, I want to connect there to be an affection that feels buckets. At the end of the day, I want to do more feeling than I do MTN and I am human, I have temper. I have feelings and emotions that need to be validated. And I just think it's learning new tools of how to communicate and connect that can change the dynamic of family. And I just want to say that I love what you're doing in that. Putting the boundaries in there is what makes all the difference. Yeah, they are unbreakable. I'm not going to punish you if you don't think like me.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Right? Well, it's not Yeah. God love you.

Tracy: 

Because, you know, you crossed my boundary. But I might need to say that's what that's not making me feel loved in it.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Right. And I crossed my own. Like, there's times where, you know, I say unbreakable boundaries. And then, you know, people will always be like, Oh, but what about this? And what about that, and then I think I have to be this guru. And people can't ever, like do something that I don't like, right? But it's more of like, okay, when something happens, I'm going to take a step back. I'm going to be aware, like, what was it that I didn't like, and how can I communicate with this person to say, you know, this was not good for me and be on like, honor myself every time so it doesn't mean that someone isn't going and I'm not like a hard person, right? So I'm not going around and being mean and creating distance between people because I think about boundaries. No, it's more of like People know exactly what I willing to accept into my life and what I'm not willing to accept, through a loving and caring way when I communicate of like, yeah, man, this, that's not going to be my role. There's just certain people, I love them. I'm not going to hang out with them. Yeah, because it's not, it's, it's their behaviors impact my life too much. Sure, when those behaviors change. And I don't feel uncomfortable anymore or unsafe, that person is 100% allowed back into my life, I don't care who that person is. That person is allowed back into my life, when the behaviors that are making me feel uncomfortable and unsafe, are no longer present. Everyone has a right to change. Sure. And we can have the difficult conversations, if they've hurt me in some way. If they've lied, if they've done whatever is like, look, this is my experience. This is where I don't trust you. This is where this is why I don't you know, but you can earn it. Right? Everyone has the right to earn it back. That's good stuff. That's how that's how I see it. And one more thing, I just want to touch on this just a little bit. And then I really want to talk about this camp that you have going on. But what we've been talking about is this connection. And what does it look like when we disconnect? So when we're talking about having the tough conversations? And when you were saying you need to? Sometimes you may need to take a pause. And it's at that point in which it's like how do you know when you need to take that pause? Well, am I getting ready to react to a situation? Am I getting ready to disconnect from this person? Do I feel disconnected? Maybe that's the time to take that pause and say no, I'm gonna stay in connection. But I'm feeling disconnected. I'm going to go connect with myself real quick. And then I'm going to come back.

Tracy: 

And I think that's just really how you say it. I had a kid asked that recently. Well, I don't really know how to do that. It is a skill, like riding a bike, the more you do it, and we teach children, and that's what the heart of the camp is giving new tools to parents and children. And when you can honestly I remember saying to a kid one day, he's like, I don't think I'm brave enough to say that to my mom. Think of yourself as brave. And he says Well, no. And I'm like, Well,

Jennifer Maneely: 

you aren't brave. Yeah, you can

Tracy: 

never ever be brave until that thing you're afraid of you just do it. Yeah. But mom, I really need to talk to you. But I can't right now. And it's okay. As long as you know, in teaching children to, you know, it's something I feel like we've lost a long ways down the road was disrespect, is respect, that this respect is the place that we all from, you know, from societal, what is expected in the norm is rage and yelling, and, you know, add me Me, me, me me what I need. But we can say the reason if you can set it up in the contact that the reason that I'm here is because I really do want to hear you. But I think it's important for you to hear me too. And let's go ahead and set it up that, you know, if you're, you know, your voice gets really high. Or mine gets really hot, we might you might need to remind me, we need to take five

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yeah. So you're you're saying set the conditions and create the space intentionally. When wonderfully, yes, mindfully. And we're, we're going to have this, but here are some of the guidelines that we're going to stick to when this happens. This is how we're going to handle it when this happens. This is how we're gonna handle it. When you get to a certain point of upsetness. Where, you know, like, we're gonna take a break, we're good. Yeah. So it's like, how do we intentionally and mindfully create the space? Instead of just, you know,

Tracy: 

when we know we've got those big things that and I don't like using the term too often, so that, but it's so true. The elephant in the room, when there are things that you know, have gone on for way too long and no one's address them. I believe as parents, it's our responsibility to initiate that.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yeah. I call those sometimes depending on who's in front of me. It's the elephant in the room, or what are the Missing conversations that we're not having right? What's the missing conversation that we need to have? Right? What's that

Tracy: 

thing that you've always you have felt a need to talk about and you want to talk about? Or just understand what is it you need to understand about me and me?

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yeah, it's good stuff. That's, you know, we've talked a lot about, we've hinted at, like, tools and resources. And you you actually for kids, I'm gonna let you talk about it. But you have the narrow way ranch.

Tracy: 

We have used the narrow way ranch we I will say, last year, we outgrew we had so many people come that we now it was a rather large farm. But because of parking and the need for space, we're looking for something a little bigger this

Jennifer Maneely: 

year, right? All Seasons green all seasons,

Tracy: 

and we decided we rebranded instead of saying all seasons heal, instead of saying all seasons grief camp, it's an all seasons healing heart. Yes, I love it. And so throughout all seasons, because stuff continues to come up, you've got anniversaries, you've got birthdays, you've got holidays, where the grief will resurface. And I think a lot of people, I remember being someone saying to me, there's the grief lady in the grocery store. My granddaughter, and I'm like, it's kind of an honor that the grief, somebody's got to do and help people have the tools they need. Grief is in everything, not just death, just loss of relationships, loss of seasons, you know, you know, we lose time. Yeah, we've lost time. And that is grief. You know, when there's a parent and a child and we've lost time together. That's loss, yes, grief, and it makes you angry, it makes you go, I could have done this different or I could have done that different. I'm really sad about all those stages of grief. And it really just stood out to me probably about two years into being in private practice, that families need a voice. They need to be able to come together in a day or a weekend. And we started out doing weekends. And we're hoping to grow it into a different way. And every year we were understanding more what families need in that process of grief and loss, but it's a day of hope. You know, what is it that you need? What do you hope will happen? And a lot of it can be when there's adults there with parents is it's it's connection. Yeah, it's awesome. Both together, learning new skill, found newfound skills together, but doing some fun stuff together, like horseback riding, archery, music and arts having a meal together, learning about how you cultivate relationship when there has been a hiccup in the road. Yeah, and so it's my favorite thing that I do. And I could say probably another hour apart about all seasons healing heart, but it is absolutely a beautiful day. Like I said, we do the activities, but we share a meal together. But at the end, we have a butterfly release, oh, every participant gets a little envelope with their butterflies. And when you see hundreds of butterflies go up at one time. It's just you know, the butterfly in itself is a symbol of transformation. There's new life and newfound hope coming. It is a great day. Yeah, it is. It's truly by far my favorite thing we do.

Jennifer Maneely: 

I think and I think that's so amazing. And, and just especially touching on just how important it is for people to experience different things that bring them joy and connection with themselves, connect them with nature. Get them outside, right. And it goes all into that you know that safety, security love. How do they have a platform to feel safe about opening up and communicating and a lot of times, you know even this with my art because of the nature of it. People just feel very safe to just start talking because all of a sudden they just feel confident they feel brave. They feel like empowered. And that's what you know all this is and people can find that within themselves. So whether you know they have a love for the arts. They have a love for the UK History and stuff, the music, the all of those days, it's so important for people to find their thing that they can really hold on to. So that in the darkest of the moments, they have something to lean on, they know can bring them and balance out that I think that

Tracy: 

people get trapped in it, Jen, it trapped in the routine, the monotony of the thing that they picked up that wasn't healthy. And cognitive behavioral standpoint, when you remove something, and even spiritually, you want to replace it with the opposite, something really, really good and healthy. And I don't think there's any substitute for nature and being outdoors, whether it's trail or off, whether it's bows and arrows, it's our archery or it's horseback, you know, showing them you know, we don't just jump on the horse, we got to have that relationship. Yeah, I asked that horse to talk to him, say something to him, brush them, touch, you know, that's five love languages of touch, and quality, time, and words of affirmation. All those things are important. And that's really what is a day is to launch all of that and then have follow up the weeks to come. Some people do come from all over and they need that Zoom. But there are many families that are like, Oh, for the few, first few weeks, because we do it in late spring, it's the last Saturday in April. And you know, we meet people, wherever they are, there are some people that can give a donation, but those that can't, it's okay. We want to bring hope to as many people as we can, in the Carolinas, you know.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think what you just said is so important, even for the parents out there, because I think we can, we can all find ourselves a little stuck in that darkness, right and just like it because it's like, if you have so many events that are hitting you that you don't know how you don't, you haven't developed the tools to figure out how to handle that I think we can, we can find ourselves really stuck. And I think getting out. And this is one of the things that I work a lot with parents that find themselves in this is one of the first things is like, first, we got to get you back connected to yourself to Nate, like get out, go fight, you know, get out of this darkness that you're in. And then we can make some some different decisions.

Tracy: 

So tell you what I liken it to, and then I know we need to be wrapping things up. But I had a family member that was incarcerated because of addictions. And you know, just took him down a path. I just adore him. He's, he's my brother, you know, and I don't even mind me using that part about his story. And he stayed with us, and I'm like, I'm here for you. And after being incarcerated, though, when you're in captivity, you're in bondage to this addiction. You know, I remember him saying to me, um, I'm not really sure who to connect to or what to connect myself to. But when you can have a space and a day that this is what we're doing. And you're given them the right tools. These are the right places, it may not be with me, but here you can go over here, this is what you have, when you go home to connect, you are truly giving people those resources that they need. Then the ground because you come straight out. You're like, oh, I don't know what to do. Who do I listen to? That's what my heart is in all seasons healing heart is that the road not be too rocky. Yeah, we want there to be, you know, this is safe. This is good. This is good for you. But it's going to be good if you got kids too. This is what you could be doing instead of this. So

Jennifer Maneely: 

yeah, wow. This has been such a great conversation. I'm so grateful one to get to a chance to reconnect with you and to just continue the the great conversation we were having. This is one of the reasons why I was like, when we kept talking, I said, Oh, man, we gotta like record this conversation. Because it's so powerful, right? Like

Tracy: 

me, people like us too often that have the same heart.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Right? But it's also like, oh, man, we just this is the these are the conversations, where it's like, we may not always have a perfectly ribbond up bow tied up solution to every problem. But it's like, here we are, we're just going to keep talking about it. We're going to talk about some of the tools that a person can use when they find themselves in a place that there isn't a clean cut solution to a big problem, right? Okay. There's not a clean cut solution, and yet you're still faced with the problem. What do you do? And this, these are the conversations it's like okay, well, these are the tools to help you I manage yourself to talk about what do you need the safety, security love, it's all the same. Whether you're that five year old kid, or whether you're the 60 7080 year old mom, grandmother or whatever, it's all the same.

Tracy: 

Me the words I need are your magic wands. Yes, this is what I feel I need. And then this passing that to that person in front of you and saying, so what is it you feel you need? So it's though what we need, from what I need to what we need. And then it's from there when you purpose full mindful that our goal is to love well, to connect. It can't be anything but a win win and healing in the journey.

Jennifer Maneely: 

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you again, so much. Thank you. And thank you for listening to this podcast. If you want to listen to more or find more information out about this podcast and more of what I do to help families you can go check out my page at unbreakable boundaries podcast.com It's full of other great podcasts just like this one, full of other great resources. Please remember to share this podcast with others you never know who may need to hear this people are often hiding their battles in this arena. And sharing is a great way to provide this valuable resource to a person. You may not even know who needs it. And don't forget, there is always hope, even when things seem the most hopeless.

Tracy: 

That's good. Thank you

Tracy Redfearn Profile Photo

Tracy Redfearn

Tracy Redfearn is a Licensed Psychoeducational Specialist who is certified by the SC Board of Education as a School Psychologist II, the National Association of School Psychologists as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and the International Association of Trauma Professionals as a Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional. Tracy founded Child and Family Resource Center in 2012 because she was concerned with the need in Hartsville for effective intervention services to help provide children and adolescents with successful educational experiences. Tracy has been instrumental in helping many children who struggle to meet their potential in the classroom through her expertise in assessments, learning differences, and knowledge of SC Special Education practices and procedures.

Her educational intervention recommendations focus on the unique social, emotional, behavioral and academic needs of each student she sees. For optimal results, she collaborates closely with parents, educators and other professionals to help create supportive learning environments while strengthening connections between home, school and the community. Tracy understands special education laws and is passionate about the rights of students with special needs. She educates parents on their rights and serves as an advocate at 504 and IEP meetings.

As a psychologist in the school system for over a decade, Tracy saw firsthand how grief, loss and trauma can interfere with learning. To help hurting families cope, she has been offering grief camps ( All Seasons Grief Camp ). Through therapeutic activities that include art, horseback riding, music, movement and breathing, and classes on grief and emotional support, families are able to push past their pain. Family members memorialize their loved ones in a ceremony at the conclusion.