Mercedes Samudio, Shame-Proof Parenting Coach
Let’s start with the obvious question you probably have:
How can someone without kids help me as a parent?
The best way that I can answer that is by letting you know that I am the child of the parent that I want to help!
Being raised by someone who was not my biological mother (but who I called mom) really shaped how I saw myself, how I saw families, and how I saw parenting. And, it also put me on the path to figuring out how to support and heal families.
Whether you are a biological parent or not, being in a family system is complicated. As I healed my own relationship with my mother (a relationship I talk about in my book), and as I began to work with more and more families professionally, I realized that so many parents crumble under the pressure of being shamed, not knowing if they’re doing this parenting thing right, and struggling to connect with themselves and their children.
I have the credentials, I have the training, but you have the experience of raising a human while trying to be authentically human yourself.
The more I began to connect the dots between my healing journey and education and the experiences I was hearing from the parents I worked with, I began to see a very vivid and beautiful picture:
It didn’t matter whether I had children. What mattered was that I had the empathy and heart to give space to parents because I was the grown-up child they were trying to raise – I am the child of each and every parent that I am on a mission to support.
That might seem really odd. I know it sounded odd the first time that I said it.
But, as I began to embrace this truth for myself I stopped trying to save families or make parents change. As I gave myself space to be an imperfect, messy human (as well as an imperfect, messy healing professional), I found that it was easier to do the same for the parents I enjoyed collaborating with in my coaching sessions.
Over time, that healing lead me to another truth: We can no longer go about healing families and raising children by shaming their parents.
Yes, there are parents who do atrocious things to their children. Yes, parents need to be held accountable for their own children. But, that does not have to be done by shaming and judging.
The #endparentshaming campaign grew out of the understanding that parents are humans too!
That they don’t get a manual to raise healthy humans; and, that the development of a parenting identity deserves the same space as we give to every other instance of developing a new set of skills. It’s not about letting parents off the hook; it’s about opening a space for parents to heal, grow, and connect to themselves and their children.
As the mission to #endparentshaming grew, so did my philosophy on how we could begin to put an end to parent shaming. I was reminded of Mother Theresa’s quote:
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
In that quote, I found the solution I was searching for – Shame-Proof Parenting.
The idea for this framework – this Shame-Proof Parenting framework – stems from the notion that in order to change anything it must start with individuals who are ready to change. In the work that I’ve done – and even in my own healing – I noticed that people change and maintain that change in a space that does not have shame or judgement. Shame-Proof Parenting is not saying that there is no shame; it’s saying, when the shame hits you in your parenting you have the skills and tools to reflect and respond as opposed to deflecting and reacting.
In others words, shame-proof parenting is all about taking what others meant for harm and using it to build up you and your family’s strength!
Ultimately, I want to change the world. I know, I know, lofty goals and all that. But, seriously, I love parents and I love giving them the space to be fully human. We can’t expect parents to raise healthy humans if they don’t have the space to be healthy humans themselves, right?
Want to know more about my credentials and experience?
For almost a decade, I have been working with families to help them develop healthy
communication skills, manage severe emotional issues, develop coping skills to manage behaviors, create dynamic parent-child relationships, and navigate social media & technology as a family. Throughout the course of my career I have worked with adoptive families, foster families teen parents, parents navigating the child protective services system, and children living with mental illness. In 2014 I began to transition into my private practice where I focused on parent coaching and guiding families to reducing unwanted behaviors, developing effective parenting strategies, creating healthy communication habits, and designing social media/tech plans for their household.
Education & Certifications
- Master’s of Social Work, University of Southern California, 2011
- Bachelor’s of Psychology (with emphasis on Child Development), University of California Los Angeles, 2007
- Certified Nonviolent Parenting Educator, 2015
- Certified Attachment Parenting Educator, 2013
Want to know what I’m doing when I’m not shame-proofing parents?
When I’m not shame-proofing parents, I am a self-declared geek (and would consider myself a huge fan of the Marvel movies, Harry Potter, and the Whedonverse)! I am also a huge supporter of woman’s rights, child welfare, and ending mental health stigma.
I am madly in love with my adorably geeky husband. And, I enjoy spending time with my sweet and mischievous fur babies (2 kitties and a Jack Chi pup)! You can also find me spending time in bed cuddled up with my iPad binge-watching television shows on Netflix (currently watching The Good Wife and any form of documentary I get my hands on)!!