In this episode of Waking Up With Melissa Ruiz, I sit down with Leslie Priscilla, Founder of Latinx Parenting. The brand believes passionately in shifting the paradigm of raising children towards creating a trauma-informed, healing centered, nonviolent and cultural sustaining approach where Latinx familias can nurture connection in their homes and culture in ways that support individual, family and intergenerational collective healing.
A BREAKDOWN OF THIS EPISODE
[12:04] How Latinx Parenting contributes to the reclamation of your authentic self
[16:01] The path to forgiveness
[22:07] Why parents and Latinx adults should operate with their heart, not their mind
[26:13] Restoring ancestral systems by looking outside the Western system
[29:48] Embracing your sacredness
How did you get started on your journey?
Leslie: I think this work started in generations previous to me. This healing- and heart-centered work came about through reflection on what the past generations have not had access to. As a child, I didn’t have the best relationship with my mom, who was a Mexican immigrant who came here at 14 years old. A lot happened to her that didn’t allow my mom to become the parent I needed. I realized I knew nothing when I got pregnant at 23. But I knew a whole lot about how not to parent. There was a really big gap between what I read in parenting books and the realities of being part of an immigrant family. I had no concept of systemic oppression or cultural and ancestral trauma even though I lived its effects every day. I felt that there were parts of me that I had to hide in order to fit in this space where most of my support came in the form of white moms. The content they had to share was not going to benefit people like me in the long run. It wasn’t until my second daughter was born in 2017 that I realized that being in nonprofit work was making me mentally sick, to the point where I wanted to die. I felt a strong pull to work in the parenting community again, because it always gave me the most life. But I also knew that I wanted to work exclusively with those in my community. So, in 2018, I started Latinx Parenting.
How do you go about forgiving someone who contributed to your trauma?
Leslie: I’d never go around telling someone when the right time to forgive someone is. It’s such a personal process. It’s such an intimate journey, and everyone has to engage with this journey at a pace that is most gentle to them. Forgiveness was something that I had to move into because the anger, frustration, and resentment in my body manifested itself almost all the time in unhealthy ways, and I always tried to suppress it. But I learned that embracing anger is part of the healing process. Sometimes, you have to balance the anger—the honoring of the inner child—with how you see your parents. You have to give a certain amount of respect to your own parents or those authority figures that harmed you, because it’s very unlikely that they weren’t harmed as children themselves. I learned to look at my mom and say that it’s not just her as an adult, but also as a dark-brown woman who migrated here as a 14-year-old who experienced a lot of physical and sexual trauma—that still managed to put food on the table and and a roof over our heads, who worked multiple, dangerous jobs. She deserves so much better, to be the kind of parent that I needed, but it wasn’t given to her due to the systems she grew up around and the history she had to grapple with. It’s a privilege to process and reflect, and this is part of the forgiveness process.
What is your approach to helping your clients?
Leslie: There are three different kinds of people that come to me through Latinx Parenting: 1) parents, with whom I have to communicate how culture plays a part in their experience; 2) former Latinx children, who are interested in reparenting work and the inner child connection while honoring their culture and ancestry; 3) professionals, who want to be trained in more decolonial and liberated ways of engaging with clients. But whoever they are, the messaging is pretty consistent. My goal is not to change anybody’s mind about how they parent or how they were parented. Wherever I show up, my invitation is to operate with your heart. I don’t want to change your mind. I want us to come into this relationship with open hearts. Trust is established through that relationship, and then we can do some work.
What do you want to leave listeners with?
Leslie: You’re sacred, and you deserve everything that comes with that sacredness. You are now just as innocent and as worthy of love and just as beautiful as you were from the moment you entered your mother’s womb. Everything that happened after does not negate your sacredness.
Connect with Leslie Priscilla
Visit her website: www.latinxparenting.org
Follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/latinxparenting
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