The Grateful Jar Project with Krystin Clark (#11)

The Grateful Jar Project with Krystin Clark (#11)

Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we are talking with Krystin Clark who is the accidental author of the best-selling Amazon book — The Grateful Jar Project. The premise is simple. Would life be any different if she committed to focusing on gratitude every single day, for a year, no matter what?

The unexpected effect that this practice had on her own life as well as the lives of her 2 daughters is truly inspirational. The immediate effects of using gratitude as a tool to resolve conflict and to bring joy to one another is a life lesson that we can all learn from. Listen in as Krystin shares her powerful journey of gratitude and the lasting positive effects it has had on her family.

Connect with Krystin:

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Feeling Challenged By Your Child’s Behavior?

Learn A “Highly Effective” Method For Transforming Bad Behavior In Just 3 Simple Steps!

This FREE workshop will introduce you to a NEW 3-step method of dealing with challenging behavior that will increase your chances of getting it right. When this workshop is finished, you’ll know exactly why your child is misbehaving and what to do about it.

Click here to register for the FREE Blissful Parenting Workshop

Your Parenting Questions Answered with Chuck Anderson (#10)

Your Parenting Questions Answered with Chuck Anderson (#10)

Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast founder and faculty member Chuck Anderson, is answering your most pressing parenting questions.

If you have a question, please head on over to our website linked below and submit yours for a future Q&A episode. What is it you really want to know? Don’t be afraid to ask, as each submission is completely anonymous.Take advantage of our expertise and submit your question today.

Submit your questions here

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page.

Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a note in the comment section below!

Subscribe to the podcast

If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also subscribe to the podcast app on your mobile device.

Leave us an iTunes review

Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on iTunes, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on iTunes.

Feeling Challenged By Your Child’s Behavior?

Learn A “Highly Effective” Method For Transforming Bad Behavior In Just 3 Simple Steps!

This FREE workshop will introduce you to a NEW 3-step method of dealing with challenging behavior that will increase your chances of getting it right. When this workshop is finished, you’ll know exactly why your child is misbehaving and what to do about it.

Click here to register for the FREE Blissful Parenting Workshop

Helping Kids Launch Their Own Business with Leah Coss and Braden Ricketts (#9)

Helping Kids Launch Their Own Business with Leah Coss and Braden Ricketts (#9)

Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we are talking to Leah Coss and Braden Ricketts about their Build a Biz program. A program where kids learn to take their business ideas and make them a reality.

Leah is  the President of Build a Biz Kids (a nonprofit society, helping kids launch their own business); Co-Founder & CEO of The Fuel Academy (a Business Incubator & Academy Providing Experiential Learning in Entrepreneurship, Social Impact & Innovation to Youth); Professional Speaker on Mindset & Soft Skill Development in Youth & Adults.

Braden Ricketts is the Vice President of Build a Biz Kids Kids (a nonprofit society, helping kids launch their own business); Co-Founder of The Fuel Academy (a Business Incubator & Academy Providing Experiential Learning in Entrepreneurship, Social Impact & Innovation to Youth) With a background in career counseling and single parenting, Braden is professional high-fiver who aims to empower children to believe they can make a difference and inspire them to take action on their ideas. 

Michelle: Welcome Blissful Parenting Family. I’m your host, Michelle Abraham and I’m very excited today we have two guests with us from Build a Biz Kids. So we have Leah Cos and Braden Ricketts. Leah is the president of Build a Biz Kids which is a nonprofit society helping kids launch their own businesses. How cool is that? So Leah is also the co-founder and CEO of the Fuel Academy, which is another project that they are working on, which is a business incubator and academy providing experiential learning and entrepreneurship, social impact and innovation for Youth. Leah is a professional speaker on mindset and soft skill development in youth and adults. And Braden Ricketts is the vice president Build a Biz Kids. It’s which is, which I just said is a nonprofit organization that they run and also the co-founder of the Fuel Academy. And Braden is got a background in career counseling and single parenting Braden is a professional high fiver who aims to empower children to believe that they can make a difference and inspire them to take action on their ideas. Now, I’ve known you guys for a while and it’s been very cool to see this Build a Biz coming from idea to fruition and it just seems like it’s just taking off. So I’m very excited to introduce you guys to our Blissful Parenting audience out there because it’s just one of those things obviously as an entrepreneur myself dear to my heart and I think it’s so fantastic that you guys are doing so welcome to the show guys.

Braden and Leah: Yeah, I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having us.

Michelle: No problem. So let’s just get started guys. Like where did this idea come from? Because I’ve heard now so many people over the past few years, you guys worked on this project saying, oh my gosh, what a great idea guys. Like this is such a fantastic idea for kids. I want my kids to learn this. So where did this all start for you guys?

Leah: Well, I suppose with, um, specifically for us, I mean, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur as well myself since graduating college. I actually used to sell franchises for 1-800- Got-Junk. And that was my first exposure to it. Even realizing entrepreneurship was an option. And growing up I think for a lot of us our option is a stable government job, stable other job. And then people who are entrepreneurs were either born into it or they kind of fell into it by accident or something and there was never really this idea that you could do it on purpose. So Braden and I, Braden was at a point where he’d been working with YWCA, which is a nonprofit society where he did a lot of program development, project management and career development for people in need. But he was looking for what is that next step?

He wanted to help in a bigger capacity. And with my entrepreneurial background, the stars kind of aligned and I met up with an old entrepreneur friend from 1-800-Got-Junk. So this is 15 years later. And she developed this incredible curriculum that helps kids look at entrepreneurship as an option. And for us, it just clicked. It made sense with Ethan, our 10-year-old. He was at that, I guess at the time he was nine, 10, eight, nine, somewhere around there. And we realized that the school systems are providing them with a certain type of education, but that he was still falling in this the same rep that we were, that entrepreneurship wasn’t really an option on the table. And what we always tell people as well, what we’re teaching yes, is entrepreneurship, but it’s really the skills that the students are getting through entrepreneurship that’s going to help to guide them through making any large choice in their life. So, to make a long story long, how we fell into it is it made sense, the opportunity arose and they say good luck is when opportunity meets preparation. And I myself felt like I’ve been preparing for it my whole life. This is my way of paying forward and frankly living vicariously through every single student that takes our program.

Michelle: That’s awesome guys. That’s such a great way that your program started. And it’s interesting that you went into entrepreneurship, Leah. And it’s funny because Braden is actually my brother. I’m just going to say that out to everyone in the audience. Braden and I are brother and sister and how we grew up being entrepreneurs. Well seeing an entrepreneur and our father was an entrepreneur, like a total serial entrepreneur. So for me, I always knew I wasn’t going to be employed. I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. But Braden chose to the employed, throughout his years. And it’s funny how we were talking about this the other day, how we had this very similar experiences in jobs in the business. And then it’s interesting to see now he’s an entrepreneur as well. So it doesn’t mean that you have your entrepreneurial parents are going to have entrepreneurial kids or your work in a stable job parents are gonna not have entrepreneurial kids. So you never know what’s going to happen. I love what you guys said about, you know, the program being a different skill set. So, Braden, I know you’re the facilitator in the program. What are some of the skill sets that you’ve seen the kids come out of the program with?

Braden: As the facilitator, my aim, my sole purpose with the facilitated program really is to get the kids to believe in their ideas that they have the power in themselves to actually take action on their ideas, to make a difference, to do something that they want to do. You don’t have to wait to be told it’s okay. So the skill sets that I looked for are, you know, creativity. Not accepting that a problem is the end of their creative process, but it’s an opportunity for them to get more creative and get actually resourceful. So they learned some tenacity to be able to power through the barriers and objections that they might see and then learning how to communicate their ideas. So having the actual skill set to go from this is what I want to do and explain it to their friends or especially adults that this is what I’m trying to achieve is a skill set that I think is going to empower these kids because their minds are brilliant, but getting people to buy in to what their ideas are, it’s going serve them long term no matter what they decide to do.

Michelle: Yeah. It sounds like you guys are really setting them up for not just the financial literacy but also like just other skills that are going to be so valuable and other parts of their lives. So what’s like, can you guys give us an example of a really great success story from your guys’ program?

Braden: Oh wow, we have so many, I have to go way back to the beginning. So gotta think we’re just launching, it’s our first summer camp. We get a pair of brothers that come into our program, never met them before the first week of camp and they do our lemonade stand challenge. So this is a week-long camp where they learn the fundamentals of business by launching a lemonade stand on the last day. But throughout the week they’re learning how to communicate with marketing, how to test the market to find out what is the best flavor of lemonade that’s going to sell. They do their sales pitch, they learn their profit margins. It’s exciting. The last day they have their lemonade stands and the brothers are out there. They’re cheerleaders or they’ve got pom-poms going. They’re getting lots of sales. The youngest one was really shy, but by the end of the day, he was the one talking to all these customers.

This is also the first time these kids are experiencing no from a stranger. If they’re hearing strangers say, no thank you, I don’t want that. No thanks. Why are you doing that? I don’t need that. But they powered through. Right. They didn’t let that stop them. The week after that program ended, we got a picture from the parents sent to us by email of these two boys outside their home. They had launched a snow cone stand the week after and what they had done is they had put outside, they all proceeds go to charity. They were raising money for make a wish foundation. We then got a photo a few days later of them presenting the big check of the money that they’ve earned for snow cone stand over to the make a wish foundation. So for us to see these kids, you know, have fun in our program, that’s fantastic.

But what they went home and decided to implement on their own with their own ideas and wanting to help other people with their efforts means the world to us. That’s what’s remarkable for us to see. And again, to make a long story long, the same child has now children. They now continue to go to other markets and they’ve donated so much money to the children’s hospital that they are now an official fundraiser and they have their own children’s hospital banner that goes and sits behind them when they’re out at these market things. So we’re pretty excited and proud to see what these kids do on their own.

Michelle: Oh, that’s so cool. I love it. So Leah, can you just walk us through like it sounds like you guys have this lemonade stand challenge, program. So is that an afterschool program? That’s a summer camp program. And do you then continue on through the school year as well with the kids?

Leah: You Bet. So we have two, two companies if you will, that are helping two different demographics. So building as kids is for seven to 12 year olds and those are module based. We want to give students that age a taste and just the understanding as well, even for parents. And it’s not just a choice between do I want to be in dance class or do I want to be in soccer? You know, there’s more than just those two aspects. And there’s also something more than just the academic afterschool programs that are out there. So we have a 10 week program which helps them to launch their own business and they’re making their own real money. They are hearing no as Braden heard, and they’re going through every step in a very simple term on how to launch their own business over the course of those 10 weeks, including that four hour market day where they launch a pop up shop and indirect to the general public.

So it’s getting them a lot of skills, but that’s a memory that they’re going to reflect on for many years to come. If anyone’s taken junior achievement it’s not uncommon that someone says, I remember the business that I started and I remember this one situation. So that’s what we’re doing is we’re creating a very, very impactful memories. The other parts are for spring and summer camp, so those are a chance for kids that are maybe just wanting a taste of it. So the lemonade stand challenge is like a one week full time boot camp where the students are showing up for one week and launching business in a team atmosphere and we’re really emphasizing social impact. And then we have other camps such as inventors paradise for example, and that’s focusing on just the first aspect of entrepreneurship. So they’re not fully launching a business.

What they’re doing is they’re really hammering in on finding and seeing problems in the world, their own problems, families problems, world problems, figuring out multiple solutions and then immediately taking action to make a prototype and then doing it again. And the idea what the prototype is realizing there’s never anything that’s 100% done, nothing is ever a hundred percent solved and it’s really getting their brain working into a problem solving mode. We want these kids to, we really want to make sure they don’t grow up with that victim mentality. You were talking about success stories, Violet, she continued as well to build her business at adult fairs and she was selling jewelry and you know, there’s other jewelers there of course who are adults selling really pretty stuff. And we had asked you at the end of the day, you know, how did you do? And she had sold a lot of bracelets but she didn’t feel a lot of earrings.

And we said, well what does that mean? And she said, it means I need to either, change my price or I need to display them differently. But not once did she say, nobody’s being nice to me today. Nobody likes my stuff. There was no victim mentality. So by doing these modules and summer camps you are able to really hone in on those specific avenues of entrepreneurship or a particular soft skill that we’re really trying to do. The Fuel Academy though, that’s where 13 to 19 year olds and that’s where we’re not just focusing on entrepreneurship. In fact, it’s not entrepreneurship at all. There’s just modules where they’re doing entrepreneurial aspects. We’re really focusing on social impact innovation. And those manifest through all sorts of things from charity, fundraising, volunteering, starting a business, but also just making a difference, feeling that empowerment that they are one person, but as one person we make significant impact and they’re going to be able to see that you know, for graduation, which is very exciting.

Michelle: Yeah. I imagine that they’re 18 and 19-year-olds that’s the perfect demographic to get those guys into, you know, seen as more into the world out there than themselves and getting them exposed to things like volunteering and social impact. That’s amazing. I know for me, girl guides did that for me during my years in that had I not had a good group of friends and girl guides or I probably wouldn’t have been in it through my teens. And I did and I’m glad I did because that opens so many doors with all the volunteering that we were doing and the social impact things that we were doing as well. I can’t imagine like, how if I graduated from high school without any of that experience, it would be a lot harder to get jobs. And also just, you know, the skills you learn in doing that you become, I imagined that the marketplaces you see are kids really opening up from like maybe shy to, you know, they’re presenting their products and services in the marketplace that must be a really great thing to see.

Leah: It’s given the perspective, right? These kids live in a bubble. And we were just commenting with, you know, kids going back to school and saying, you know, I want to be this when I grow up, well that’s the child who’s seven, eight, nine, 10, what do you want to be when you grow up? They can maybe name 10 things, right? In fact, adults only can name so many things. There are these people in roles we have no idea exist. And most of them they created themselves, right? So it’s really just giving them that perspective of the world, the people that are in it, the people they can help in the power that they have.

Michelle: That’s awesome. So what can parents do to really you know, see they say, hey guys, do you want to go to this, you know, entrepreneurial kind of camp. And the kids are like, no, no, definitely not. I’d rather play video games and what some of the things that parents as parents can do to maybe inspire, promote, for provoke, get the kids interested in doing something like that. Our agenda of course.

Braden: Well a lot of the kids are motivated to join one of our programs because there is potential to earn their own money to take control and ownership of their financial abilities to see that there are opportunities all around them for them to make a dollar and then that’s their dollar to reinvest and grow their business or to spend right? When they earn it themselves they have a little more freedom, but it also gives them that confidence that there is freedom around them to inspire themselves to make a difference. So really it’s in social impact, social impact, helping those get out.

Leah: Yeah. Like you know, we, there’s so much in the news about millennial’s and how they’re lazy and this and that, but when it really comes down to what it is is millennial’s are just not willing to settle. They want to know that what they’re doing is making an impact. And when you’re looking at Gen z and on all the generations coming up behind and with social media the way that it is, you can’t escape at least being touched by some of the things happening in the world. And kids are just naturally empathetic. I think over time we can tell them, you know, toughen up and stop crying and that can be kind of deadened a little bit in there. But naturally they’re very empathetic and if they can help, they want to. In fact even adults if they know they have the power and they can help as long as it doesn’t interrupt their day too much, they want to help.

And so we can capture these students at that young age. And that’s where we really hone in on the social impact that matters to them and give them that perspective. Then they want to take action. It’s, I don’t think anyone could disagree that when you feel like you’ve made a difference for somebody, whether it’s holding the door open for them, helping them carry their groceries when you hadn’t planned on doing something like that that day, it feels really good and students will react to that. That’s, that’s positive incentive for that for sure. And if they can be exposed to it early, they’ll want to keep doing it ongoing. Just like the make a wish foundation student that we had the very first camp that we had.

Michelle: Yeah. That’s amazing. So then you guys have a son who has gone through these programs and now you’ve seen him at home and now you’ve seen him starting middle school this week. So what are some things that you’ve seen a change in him just by participating in these programs?

Braden: I have to tell you, I’m laughing Leah is explaining what our programs do for kids because I can see our motivation to run these programs so that he will gain the skills we want him to have. For instance, the, you know, the resilience that something with the prototypes that things are not always a hundred percent complete, you can always improve them. He’s great at saying, okay, I’ve done this, it’s done. I don’t have to do it again. Yeah. But we want to go back and look at that. Can you do it better? Can you improve it? So those are skill sets that we’re trying to put into the programming. Right. What’s another example?

Leah: Well, you know, there’s Ethan’s an interesting example and I think a lot of parents can empathize with this. So being entrepreneurial myself, I’ll look at Ethan and be like, come on, you know, like, just pull up your bootstraps and take ownership. Do it. Right. And he’s, you know what made me laugh is he came home from soccer one day and he said, oh my Gosh, dad, yes, what coach told me? And whatever it was that he had said, we kind of looked at each other and we’re like, Ethan, we’ve been telling you that for like a year. And the thing is, is these are parent deaths, right? And so one of the things we tell parents is that we are that other voice for you with the sanity or I are saying, and just to reassure parents, you’re not doing a bad job. You’re telling them the right things.

They just don’t always hear it from you because they take for granted the information that comes out of your mouth. Right? And so for Ethan, he does have his moments of being parent deaf. But in those moments, like just two weeks ago, so all of our summer camps, it ended, we had some leftover supplies from one of the lemonade stand challenges and Ethan found out he was tall enough to drive the adult go carts. He very excited, but we said, you know, we’re not gonna do it this weekend. But he realized from his previous time at Build a Biz Kids that he could take this leftover lemonade supplies, go downstairs, start his own lemonade stand and raise enough money to be able to buy his own ticket to be able to go and drive these go carts. So, you know, the thing I would say to parents is just simply one kids are parent deaf.

It’s not you, it’s them. And you know, we think there are ways for you to instill these skills that those life lessons. Like that’s what we’re here for. And hopefully we can add a few extra tidbits that maybe you hadn’t thought of or hadn’t come up yet. Or the other is in some time they are paying attention. You know gosh, you know, iPads are always a common thing these days, but it’s incredible. You know, we’ll be talking directly to him to say, Ethan can you do this? He doesn’t hear you. But meanwhile you talk about him thinking he’s not listening. He hears every word. So they are paying attention. They will come around. It’s like the child that maybe is, you know, two years old and still a little wobbly on their feet, don’t worry about it. They all catch up. Right. And it’s just about planting those seeds, even on that opportunity to use their creativity and whatever skills it is that they have. And then they’ll be fine, you know?

Braden: Yeah. One more thing to add on to that is because you’re talking about these generations. I’m calling this auto-play generation because they have the next video coming out. They have the next video. You have a game starting in just three seconds. The next episode starts in three, two, one. There’s a bit of a door frame for that right?

Michelle: Yeah, I remember we had to wait a week for that.

Braden: So what I’m seeing is we’ve got, um, these kids that are going to school to learn what they need to learn. They’re learning the math, they’re learning English and learning how to write. But what they’re missing is they’re not learning the why. They need to learn it and we’re hoping to give them hope a why or help them find the why so that if they want to start a business, okay, I need to pay attention to math because I need to understand my profit margins so that I can understand properly what to charge customers on making money. Or are we getting the why out there? Is it a social issue? This plastics in the ocean. That’s why I need to really pay attention in science class because I want to learn how to get those plastics out of the ocean so that we can save these animals. You know, we’re giving them the why so that they understand the reason to learn the how.

Michelle: I think that’s so important because you know our curriculum in school hasn’t changed in the last 30 years. Yet our world around us has changed incredibly. So I think having that why and relating it back to their role as they know it, then that helps them maybe be a little bit more inspired in school or a little bit more, maybe a little bit more attention. And if they can see that they did, they learn these things in school. I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur, so I, I actually purposely didn’t take math regular math. I went into accounting so that could help me in my business and knowing that I was heading towards the business. So if they can know these things that they’re interested in and finding out what they’re interested in through exploring these kinds of skills, I think that’s so great because then when they graduate, they have a little bit better idea what they’re going to do. Cause going to get just a regular old art degree doesn’t really get you anywhere anymore. It’s like, you know, those more specific specialized training is going to get you much further. So I think the skills that they’re learning is amazing.

Leah: Yeah, it is. And it isn’t. So specialized skills is a tough one these days. I’ve been to numerous panel discussions about automation right now. So people are concerned because there are certainly industries that are completely disappearing and there are certain roles and levels of a business that are completely different because disappeared. And you look at even receptionist, right? Where you’re like, oh gosh, someone’s gotta be there to answer the phone. Someone’s gotta be there. That, and it’s like, no, you walk in and it’s a computer on the wall and you essentially go, I’m here to meet Joe. And then Joe gets notified. So lot of changes are happening and if you get too specialized, you know, if you’re going to be a doctor and a lawyer or even in robotics, yes, you’re going to be specializing. Well, what’s so critical and what a top employers are starting to say is they need someone who is able to come into a role and not be obsolete in five years, right?

We’re going to be hitting this, this interesting threshold where we’re going to have all these people getting laid off in positions in industries that are no longer relevant and are now considered or once considered skill. Now they’re unskilled labor and they’re, they’re unemployable. But then we have all this new industry, these new positions that are being created because of innovation and nobody there to fill it. You know, it’s this oddity. Oh, we’re gonna have all these unskilled people with all of these crazy amounts of roles that need to be filled. What’s going to happen to the economy? What we need to do is teach students, is entrepreneurial mindset. So I do only still parents. We don’t matter, it doesn’t matter if they become an entrepreneur. That’s not the point. It’s about teaching them the skills so that they can pivot through life and learn how to learn, learn what they need to learn and if you’re the person who shows up to work each day with a to do list given to them one by one.

The things on my to-do list will become automated, but if you show up to work each day with no to do list and what that means is that the company is saying you are in a position to drive your own role. You tell us what you need to do to be successful in this role and to drive this company forward and the only way you can do that is if you understand how your role impacts the company’s bottom line. If you understand how your role affects manufacturing and the scalability, but if you don’t understand that you don’t have that perspective, you will become obsolete and we need to prevent that because we’ve got too much new industry happening right now and the roles need to be filled.

Braden: I heard a great analogy the other day is that the traditional education system was built like a brick structure or give you a solid foundation and everything you need to know to succeed in this economy because the economy was slow-changing. But now it’s changing so much. Our education needs to be more like a tent, something that you can pack up and take anywhere and have success in any type of environment. Right? We work with kids as young as seven years old. So if you consider it that, that means we have students right now that are going into grade three this week and their graduation year is 2030. Consider that 2030 there’ll be graduating. And one of the things that I like to think about is we’ve got entrepreneurs out there like Elon Musk, his big mission goal is to make the human species an interplanetary species. He wants to populate Mars. So you expect to do that in the next five to 10 years. So when these kids in grade two and grade three are graduating in 2030, they will have seen potentially the human species becoming interplanetary and having homes or locations on Mars. So that opens up a whole different world into with different types of needs in the economy. Like an interplanetary, Uber will be, Amazon will have to be doing deliveries to Mars. The problems these kids are going to be asked to solve when they graduate high school.

Michelle: Yeah. The artificial intelligence and just, you know, everything has changed so much in there and you know, in the materials too that are not developed yet, that they’re going to be, that’s going to be developed that they’ll be working with maybe in construction or other things too. Right. But there’s just so many things changing, that it’s really great. Just the, see, I like what you said about the packing up the tents and taking it to go and I think some of the things you guys are teaching the kids there is exactly that. It’s the tent that the brick foundation needs to have the portable skills to go with you wherever you go.

Leah: One thing that we’re excited about is with Build A Biz kids and then the Fuel Academy being kind of the sequel if you will. If we do, if we’re able to have an impact on a child as young as seven by the time they graduate high school and they’re still with us in the Fuel Academy, 10 years of hands-on tangible experience. And you know, I, went to college myself. I’m a big fan of it. If you know what you want to do, but if you don’t, you know by the time you graduate high school having these kinds of experiential learning, you have 10 years of experience under your belt. And now education after high school is an empowered choice. It’s not a pigeon hole. You are not forced and you can go out and immediately in high school if not before, earn an income. You have experience under your belt. You have the ability to go, come and, go from school. I think school in a college sense is really going to change a lot over the next 10, 20 years. It’s going to be, oh, I need an upgrade. You know, so I’m going to go and do once one semester and kind of just Bootcamp it. Right. I think that’s going to have to fluctuate with how the world is going.

Braden: Yeah. The greatest skillset to have is to know what skills you need to have so you can, and the desire to go learn them. Those are the skill sets you need, right. To know what you don’t know and to go get them.

Michelle: That’s great. So guys, tell us how parents can find out more about you guys and where to look for you online.

Leah: So, Fuel Academy is launching next fall. So the website’s not up, but when it is it’ll be the And then in terms of all of the social media handles, they are all at Build a Biz Kids. So Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even on Linkedin.

Michelle: Awesome. That’s great. So any last words for parents out there? Guys are just sitting on the fence who like [inaudible] I don’t want my kid to just be a kid for, you know, their, their elementary school lives. And, uh, you know, what about soccer? What about all these other sports? So any, any last words for parents out there?

Leah: Yeah. This is, not this is a life skill aspect, but depending on the age of your child if they’re between seven and 12, you know, a 10-week module, a 10-week program for them to launch their own business is just something to accentuate. And in my opinion, will offer them skills that will actually make them better on their soccer team. You know, they’re going to understand teamwork and leadership in a completely different context. They’re gonna understand communication skills in a completely different way. All of these skills are going to help to accentuate whatever it is that you have enrolled them in. And if it’s something that they decide to continue to do, don’t worry. Having a son who’s in soccer and baseball, this does not take the same amount of, dedicated commitment on a very structured, rigorous schedule as, as those are. It’s something that can absolutely fit into anyone’s schedule if it’s something that you find value.

Braden: I can’t say anything more than that, but some of the feedback we’ve gotten from parents with kids as young as seven parents saying, I had no idea that my child was this capable. I’ve never given them the opportunity to fail like this before. And I’m absolutely floored with what they’ve been able to achieve to their own ambitions. So it’s really, it’s remarkable to see what these kids can do when we let them play.

Leah: And on that note, I got to mention just one thing if I can, sorry. We also help the parents because that only happens when the parent is able to stand back. So we actually don’t allow parents at the market day tables. We do not allow parents, inside the classroom, we send them an email on how to accentuate on the lessons that we learned that day to help their child to continue to grow but then to stand back and allow their child to take ownership. So we also kind of teach the parents a little bit as well.

Michelle: Thank you cause we all need help on that. So it’s really cool to see like I remember going to a market day with you guys and seeing some of the cool things that these kids came up with on their own. Everything from that bath salts, to food items to jewelry, to dog leashes to all sorts of different crazy things. And I think it’s really cool to see the kids like have an idea and then actually like have a prototype and selling it. It’s so cool.

Braden: They used to say it takes a village to raise a child and these days it takes a network.

Michelle: Hmm. Good one. I liked that one as well. Well on that note, thank you so much, guys. Parents make sure you reach out to Braden and Leah and connect with them. They’re just expanding their business all over the place. You have any way to, there are also a not for profit business, so any way to help them get more exposure or get out there, any ideas, please let them know and connect with them because what they’re doing is so important for our kids. So on that note thank you, Braden and Leah, for being with us today.

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Talking About The Birds and The Bees with Amy Lang (#8)

Talking About The Birds and The Bees with Amy Lang (#8)

Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we are talking with sexual health educator Amy Lang. For over 20 years, Amy Lang, MA has been helping parents of all beliefs talk with kids about the birds and the bees.

She is the author of the award-winning book Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships and her book for teens Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs to Know to Date, Relate or Wait. Amy’s talks, books, online resource center, and podcast helps parents learn how to talk to their kids about this important and awkward part of life. Amy is still married to her first husband and they are getting the hang of parenting their teenage son. She lives in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Amy and her work at

Michelle: Hello, Blissful Parenting its Michelle Abraham, your host here today and I’m so excited for this episode. I have a really special treat for you guys today. We brought on Amy Lang. She is a parenting expert and she really focuses on really helping us parents get to that birds and bees talk. So Amy, thank you so, so much for being with us and I hope you’ll tell us a little bit more about what you all do.

Amy: Thank you for having me. I am super excited to chat with you and to help the parents that are listening right now. So I was the sexuality educator for over 15 years. Is that right? It was a long time from my early twenties on and I love to talk about sexuality and talk to anybody you could think of. And then I had a kid and I was stumped. I did not know how to talk to a child about sex. I realized at one point I was like, Yay. I’d rather talk to a pregnant 14 year old girl than my kid who’s four at the time. And I realized that that was going to be a little bit of a problem. So I started doing some research and I realized that we didn’t really have any approachable information about how to talk to kids about sex. And I also suspected that it was kind of out of date.

And so I dug into like how to talk to kids about sex. And then I did a little research and discovered that in the Netherlands they do everything right when it comes to talking to kids about sexuality. So when I when I kind of got myself ready to talk to my child, I also realized that other parents needed help. And so I started Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids. And I’ve been doing this for 13 years. Milo was about five when I started and now he’s 18. So I’ve done all the things with my boy and you know, he’s launched now he has his first girlfriend. And so I just, you know, I just wanted to help other folks. And I have a master’s degree in, group facilitation and adult education. And so I just combined my two favorite things and started a company.

Michelle: I love it, Amy. And you know, I originally found you online when I was searching for an expert, kind of specifically in this field. And interesting, I know and your website just really spoke to me as a parent. It’s very welcoming and you know, as a, since your podcasts you have a podcast called “Just Say This”. And I really, really love it that it’s parents that are having recorded the questions that maybe they’re a little bit shy to ask or may their afraid to like speak about it in public like about it or whatever. And then you just give this no BS answer and you make it sound so simple and so easy and nonchalant about it. I just love it. So I really encourage our audience, go check out Amy’s podcast. It’s really cool. And you can find it on iTunes and then also on your website, which is So you can really make sure you go listen to it. So tell us a little bit about the podcast Amy and how that kind of started.

Amy: Well, I love the Q and A style podcasts myself and I’m an avid Dan Savage, Savage Love podcast listener. And so I was like, Dan’s got it all going on. So I’m just going to copy him and had been on his show a few times and, and I’m Palsey walsey with his producer. And so I realized that this was a great way for me to do a podcast cause it’s not dependent on interviews or scheduling time with anything, anybody. And it gives an opportunity, like you said, for parents to ask those questions where they just feel like a big dummy. And so they leave a voicemail and then I answer, you know, I answer their questions and I also do a little like blurb at the beginning where I pick a specific topic and talk about that. And I have really great advertisers because I want like, it’s almost all parenting oriented and I want parents to have like all the resources they need to really tackle this part of, you know, parenting.

And then other parts too. And I’m loving doing it. And you know, I’m getting really great feedback and you know, I think that when it comes to this part of parenting, people are, you know, they’re uncomfortable. They have their histories that are showing up. They don’t want to ruin their kids. And I think also we’re operating in this culture that is so saturated, saturated with sexual messages and information that most of us don’t want our kids to have, until they’re like, I dunno, late twenties. But we’re not going to get in our way and it’s not going away. And, you know, we have to really get our kids ready for when they’re exposed to crappy stuff online or their friends are, you know, throwing around different terms. So, you know, my whole mission is to help every child grow up to be a whole and healthy adults.

And if you just pause and think about sexuality, it is with us from the beginning and it is a through line to just about everything that we do as human beings. And sometimes it’s, you know, overt, it’s like right there, the thing that’s on your mind and then sometimes it’s kinda running around in the background. So yeah, I mean I just really want parents to feel comfortable and confident and be willing to jump in and I promise the conversations don’t have to be too scary. Sure, they’re going to be uncomfortable, but lots of times they’re just hilarious. So that’s my jam.

Michelle: Well, I’ve definitely been to listen to your podcast on several occasions and I just, I have laughed at all of the questions and all the answers because they are funny. And like, especially when they’re coming from younger children doing silly things, and you’re like how, do I deal with this? I remember one particular episode where the little girl was humping her teddy bear.

Amy: Right? Right. Yeah. She’s humping her teddy bear in front of God and everyone, right. So she’s like, I’m bored. This feels good. Like any time. And I mean, so we talked about how, you know, and parents should know this, like sexuality, like we’re wired up for pleasure from the beginning. And so it’s super common for kids to figure out that it feels good to touch their penis or their clitoris and they don’t know it’s something we do in private, you know, they don’t know that there’s anything, you know, bad about it. They’re just like, I’m bored. I’m in a safe place. I’m just gonna stick my hand down my pants. And, you know, usually we can predict when they’re going to engage in this kind of sexual behavior. You know, it’s usually, a bedtime or nap time. It’s self-soothing, you know, they’re not, thinking about, you know, John Stamos for example.

So they’re just like, it feels good. I’m bored, I’m tired. I’m just going to do this. And as adults, we tend to turn that in. We tend to sexualize that. We tend to think, oh my God, that’s a grownup thing. Like we shame kids. We’re afraid of that. It means something. And usually, it doesn’t. So, you know, one of my big tips for parents of young kids, in particular, is just to say, hey, I know that feels good, but that’s something people do in private. It’s okay to do that in your bedroom when you’re alone, but never in front of other people. People feel uncomfortable and then, you know, help them remember that because sometimes it takes a few, a few little reminders to, you know, get their hands out of their pants. So yeah, that’s one of the big concerns for parents. And I just want to reassure you that it’s very common, considered natural, considered healthy, and then we have boundaries right about when that’s okay.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s a great idea. And you know, just, you just normalizing the normalizing, but we as parents take it as a crazy big deal and you making it not a big deal, which I really appreciate that you do and I think that’s a great way of looking at it. So, you know, what, when is the right time to start bringing up these conversations? Is it, when, is it more like kid led or is it we really need to like sit down at a certain point and have a conversation.

Amy: Yeah, it’s really adult-led and you know some kids will never ever ask and that’s for a variety of reasons. They’re super private. They think they already know. They read you as not ask able. Like you get a little tweaky around this. So they’re like, oh, she’s not safe, so I’m not gonna, I can’t go here with you. So it really needs to be parent-led. And the place to start for everyone is just using the correct names for private body parts. They have a right to know. And you know, we are all hung up because of the way we were raised that you don’t say penis, you don’t say clitoris as you don’t say vulva. You know, lots of us are using, you know, terms like Taco and down there and front bottom and back bottom and you know, winky and you know, all these other terms and what that tells kids is that something different about that body part.

And there’s something actually not okay. Because they don’t, you know, like everything else has a kind of an anatomical name. Like, you know, my nose is not my smeller, right. Like we don’t say that, hey, you know, wipe your smeller, please. So this is the place to start and it’s actually protective when it comes to folks that might want to, molester abuse your child. Because if a child says, hey, you know, do not touch my vulva or don’t touch my vagina. That correct word tells that person. That’s that you there, the kids being talked, spoken to you by someone. But if a child says, don’t touch my cookie, that’s not okay. That indicates to that person that there isn’t an open, open line of communication. Interesting.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s a great point. And very good for their safety too. That’s a really great idea. So we can start having these conversations by certain eating the right body card for being an adult about the conversation. Yeah. Call it what it is, don’t it weird. And then what about when the kids start asking us questions?

Amy: Most kids start asking about how babies are made when they are like five or six or so. And if your child asks you that, this is an indication that they are ready to know. In fact, most kids are ready to know what about five or six, whether or not they’re asking. And the reason for this is that they don’t know about sex. Like they don’t know there’s anything Yucky, bad, embarrassing, shameful. They also don’t know that there’s anything marvelous, fabulous, amazing about sex. And so we have an opportunity as parents to start to launch them with like, this is an amazing part of life. It’s very cool. It’s not for kids.

So you gotta be very clear about that and then, and then start the conversations. And most parents shy away from penises and entering vaginas. And that being the usual way babies are made. We know the babies are made all kinds of different ways these days, which is of course lovely for lots of families. But that’s the thing that people need to get kind of out of the way. And so the other reason is they start school. So kids talk, especially now when kids are porn exposed really early, so they kind of have this sense of what sex is. So it’s again, protective. So if the kid says, you know, hey, I know it’s sex is, it’s when people read their bodies all over each other and get naked and your kid’s like, yeah, and right. So you want your child really to be the smartest kid on the playground.

And I know I just said porn exposed. So everyone needs to take a big deep breath and shove that in a dark place. Cause we’ll talk about it again in a minute. So we’re just talking about basic anatomy and setting kids up to feel good about themselves as a sexual person. And then, you know, really like talking about your family values in terms of waiting. You know, I’m not I don’t believe that you should wait until you’re married to have sex. I think that is like kind of bonkers. So what we say in our family is that sex is for later in life. You know, if you do believe that sex is for marriage, that’s great, but you need to talk about why because it’s marriage is not compelling. As you may know yourself, so talking about why it’s important to wait and why those are your family values.

So the other thing we know about kids who are sex educated from an early age is that they are safer from sexual abuse. They do better, they feel better. And while they may not wait longer to have sex they do use protection. And you know, no one wants a teen pregnancy. Right. That’s a really hard thing to deal with. And lots of teen parents do really well and thrive. And then, you know, I mean, we’re grown, right? We’ve had babies. We know what it’s like to have kids. It is hard. It is hard. It is. Sure.

Michelle: Yeah. It’s really one of those things that, you know, actually, sometimes I wish I was younger when I had kids. I kids at 30, 32 35, definitely not teens. I really appreciate it. I did have my teens in my twenties too, to have fun, be a kid enjoying that age. So yeah, that’s a great point. So helping them, is interesting that there are definitely a scientific correlation between like having those conversations early and of being safer and actually using protection later on. That’s great.

Amy: Yeah, it really makes a big difference. And you know and the folks who are listening in the United States and Britain we have Canada’s better than we are. But we have the highest teen pregnancy and STD and HIV rate in among young people in the world. And so we can’t depend on the school system or doctors or anybody but us to make sure our kids are really well sex educated. And you know, I think one of the myths is like, I don’t want to make this really clear, like, you know, Park your five-year-old and say, okay, it’s time for the talk and then, you know, talk at them for three hours. The thing that’s most effective is short and sweet conversations throughout the years. Not being afraid of like if something comes up like in the news or whatever and just saying, you know, hey, you know, oh my goodness, there’s this article or I heard this thing on the radio or whatever and you know, let’s chat about it.

Or so-and-so is going to have a baby. And you know, they usually people get pregnant when they have a sperm and an egg join up cause the penis and the vagina, it goes in the vagina. But these guys had this other way of getting pregnant. It’s two moms, it’s two dads. Like you talk about that a week and or in your own family just say, no, this is the usual way. But in our family, this is how you came to be. And the other piece is this, kids do not, they’re not judgmental. They’re just like, oh, okay. So like when I told Milo, we read a book, which I highly recommend, and there are a bunch of books on my website that I are my favorites. I’ve read them all. And so I read a book with him and I got to the penis in vagina part and I was like skipping it and he hopped off my lap and he said, okay, thanks Mama.

And went and played with Legos. And so I sat there and I was like yeah, baked chicken. And so a couple of days later I read the book or read the whole thing and you know what he said, okay, thanks Mama. And went back to playing legos. Right? So they don’t know. We know. So we need to remember that and like, and then like, and my park our anxiety park everything we know. And you know, we know all this stuff and it’s important for us to acknowledge that it’s important for us to deal with our hurt and our damage around sexuality because again, we’re going to project this onto our kids and just remember your kid’s an empty vessel. They deserve to know about this. They deserve to know that sex feels great. It’s a good part of life. It’s a healthy part of life.

It’s a normal part of life. And then talk about the troublesome stuff. Right? So by the time your kid is nine-ish, they should know all parts, what goes where your values about sex, they should know about start knowing about puberty. Girls have their periods as young as eight. It is straight up mean to not tell girl she’s going to be bleeding from down there. And so getting for girls in particular, I think they should know about periods by eight. And again, they don’t know there’s anything weird. It’s a natural function of the body. Yes its an inconvenience. But you know, there are ways to handle it and you’re right there for them and we’ll make sure that they’re prepared. And of course boys need to know about periods. Everybody needs to know about everybody else, right? So by the time they start middle school, they should know the basics of everything.

And that means everything they should know about STI’s, HIV, they should know about orgasms, masturbation, puberty. They need to know about all the different kinds of sex, oral, anal, vaginal, they should know that most of sex is touching, hugging, kissing. You know, having your body’s rub together, like the parts and wholes piece of it is, kind of the, not the full, the full idea of sexuality. And so I know some of you just like had a heart attack and are wishing you had a drink. So I just want to assure you again, that seems like a really big deal, a lot of conversations to have.

This doesn’t happen in one go right. So it’s like, Hey, just want to talk to you about this little piece and hey, do you know what STI’s are? And you talk a little bit about that. So you’re not the you’re not the Wikipedia of sex for your kids.

You are giving them like, what is the thing what is it, what’s your value about it and what are the limits, right? So, you know, just talking about all of that they need to know about birth control. And again, I know this feels like a lot of information, but it’s over time. That’s why we have books. So you don’t have to be the one that goes like, okay, the Fallopian Tube, you can just read it. Right, and the other thing about that is it puts a little space between you and your kid. So if you’re like reading your book and you’re like, okay, I need another glass of wine, they’re not going to notice your discomfort. In the same way they would if you’re like, okay, we’re going to talk about orgasms and you’re like, having this eye to eye conversation doesn’t work for anybody.

Michelle: Yeah. It seems like we only will make it like a deeper, harder, difficult conversation. Yeah. They are kids they just need to know, like you’re saying the basics, but the easy and the, Hey, do you know what this is like? That sounds like a good way of approaching it. Now let’s hear, come here. Let’s talk about the birds and bees.

Amy: Let’s sit down. It’s Wednesday, it’s the talk day, right? It’s Wednesday, it’s Hump Day. We’re going to have our sex talk today. And it’s actually, I mean, you can be funny about it, right? And you can just say, hey, it’s Wednesday. It’s time for a sex talk and there’ll be like, oh my God, you know, and it doesn’t matter. Right? Like even if they say like I already know what that is. They don’t, or maybe they do, but the thing they’re missing is your values, which is super important, which is super important. That’s actually the most important thing you can do for yourself and for your kids. And just to clarify your values. And I have a book called Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids, which is all about clarifying your values and you know, it’s weird, we don’t think about like we think about our sexual values in terms of like when is it okay to do it?

But really we have values about all kinds of things. Like we have values about tampons, we have values about any number of things. And so when you clarify your values, you’ll feel better, you’ll feel better, and then you’ll do better. So when you’re rattling off some, you know, term or your kid’s like, oh my God, what’s a blow job? What’s a blow job mom? And you’re like, Ahhh! Right. You’ll be able to say it later, they’ll be able to do a better job of thinking about it, thinking about how you wanna respond. So I, and you know, I think the other thing about this is that there’s this myth that when the kids are ready to know, they’re gonna ask, some kids don’t ask. Right. And what do you do with that kid? Right. My kid he never asked.

Michelle: We just assume. Yeah, we just can’t assume that they know. So they don’t need to ask it.

Amy: Or that they know the right timing. Right. And you know, it’s just not, it’s just not true.

Michelle: Do you have some tips for, you said earlier that like maybe they’re not asking me because they don’t feel safe like that you’re a safe person. Do you have some tips for parents? You know, try to become that safe person so they feel comfortable.

Amy:  Yeah. So I’m a big fan of just admitting like, I’m not comfortable to talk about this. My parents never talked to me, but you’re old enough now. It’s really good one. You’re old enough now for us to start having these conversations. So I might be awkward. You might be awkward, I might be uncomfortable, you might be uncomfortable, but you need to know about this cause it’s such an important and really great part of life. And that’s it. And then you get a book and then you say you’re driving in the car and you’re like, Hey, remember right, we were gonna start talking about this sex thing. So I just wanted to let you know, like sex means two things. It’s like whether you are female or male. And it also has to do with you know, being really close to somebody and like having pleasure or making love.

And so it’s kind of going to hear those words. And so I just want you to know that there’s two different ways talking about it or you know, I would just like chuck things over my shoulder in the car. It’s like, Hey, did you know that when girls have women and girls and women have pants on, that their periods, like they can use this thing called Tampon, which goes up inside their body. It’s like cotton thing. Or they can use a pad to catch the blood and everybody will be like, Ah God, and then you’re like, you got to know this stuff. Like I did that for the boys in my car. Right. And I had permission from my son’s besties, parents that I could just talk about whatever I wanted. There were moments when I was like, I’m not doing that one, but I was very open with them as well.

Michelle: That’s awesome. I love that. You know what? You can drive the kids anywhere you want and take them anywhere and then you can have those conversations with them. Yeah. My Mom said she used to love driving us places and when we were in middle school, high school age, because that’s how she found out what was happening in our lives is by driving us and hearing our conversation.

Amy: He’s good. Cracks me up. How like they forget that you’re listening and like they’re just having this little back and forth and it’s like, where are you people? Like do you realize that I am like, I here right here, but don’t abuse your time in the car. I had one mom say to me. She’s like, Hey Amy, I took your advice about talking to kids in the car. And she said, I think I’ve, I think I overdid it. She said, she said, yeah, you know, my like the other day though, like getting in the car and they’re like, no sex talks, no sex talks. So use it judiciously. Yeah, everybody does better if you’re talking while you’re doing something else, playing Legos, washing dishes, folding clothes, walking the dog. And it’s okay to just, you know, say hey, I just want to talk to you about something real quick and then say what it is. Keep it to two minutes or you know, max, as your kids get older, you’re going to have longer, deeper conversations.

Michelle: I love that. But just setting up the little tiny conversations, throughout their lives. I think that’s a really good, that’s not just one big long three hour talk that they’re like totally done at the end.

Amy: Yeah. I mean it’s exhausting for you. Like the kids, whatever, it’s going to wipe you out. And you know, and again, it also makes this like an event, you know, rather than a part of their, in part of your family life and how you roll.

Michelle: Right. While we’re on the topic of questions, do you think when your child comes to you with a question, you’re not quite sure how to answer that? Would you try to answer as best you can at that moment? Or would you say let’s table for a minute and come back to that conversation? How would you deal with that?

Amy: Yeah, I a if you’re like, oh, I don’t know how to handle this, then you can you just say, I don’t quite know how to answer a question, so I need to think about it. I’ll get back to you at bedtime and then you go run around and research research, right. And figure out how you want to talk about it. It’s really important for kids to see us not make like being like, uh-oh, I don’t quite know how to answer that. And, and just showing how you don’t have to be out working out, working on the fly. That you can take a moment before you respond to something. And you know, if you do answer a question on the fly, cause you think I got this and then later you’re like, oh, I just said something crazy cause I was anxious then go back to your kid.

And it’s so important to apologize and say I’m so sorry I didn’t answer that very well. Here we go again. And again, you know, this is another parenting important parenting technique or whatever. Whatever. It’s not even a technique thing is to apologize. Yeah. Cause when we say I’m sorry, our kids lean into us. If we’re running around acting like we’re all experts. So if you apologize when you do something, when you misbehave, cause we all misbehave, your kid respects you more, they’re more likely to take responsibility when they’ve made a mistake. So it’s really modeling how to be a decent human being.

Michelle: Yeah. And you know, it’s funny cause I feel like parents get a little weird about the parent child thing, but like you just be a normal human being. Like would you do that, would you do not go back and apologize if it was your friends or you know, your husband or something. We forget they’re younger. They need to be treated the same way as everybody else. Yeah.

Amy: They need to see that. They need to see that. Yeah. It’s a good skill. So don’t overuse that as well because it’s really effective. Yeah. You really screw up then use it. But if you’re moderately script cause women tend to, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t like fill your coffee cup right or you know, whatever. I’m sorry honey. I didn’t, I gave you a fork instead of a spoon. So that’s another little tip, like monitor yourself. Like when do you really need to apologize? Yeah. Right. You don’t need to apologize if you gave your kid the wrong fork. Right. Or fill their cup halfway when they wanted it all, whatever. You know all the weirdness that they do. Yeah. Yeah. Cause it really, when you’re apologizing all the time, it oh what’s the word? You know, it kind of makes the real apology less powerful.

Michelle: Right. Makes sense. You were saying at the beginning of that you learned a lot of things like Amsterdam or they’re really doing it right in Holland. What were some of the things that they’re doing differently than we’ve been able to do in North America?

Amy: So they have a re, so this is a kind of a like a thing we can’t really fix, but they have a really open culture about sexuality. They see it as a positive, lovely, wonderful part of life. And our culture sees it as dangerous. We see it as problematic. We see it as secret, we see it as like a don’t ask, don’t tell kind of situation. So we have very different cultural values and attitudes about it. And so the takeaway for parents is make your family values like the Netherlands, right.

Copy that within your own family, cause you do have the most influence there. They had sex ed from kindergarten all the way through. So there is no not knowing, there’s no not knowing and those kids wait a little bit longer to have sex. And again, when they do, they do it safely, lowest teen pregnancy rate, lowest HIV, STI rate and the world and so, you know, who doesn’t want that, right? So there’s a definite correlation between lots of information and better decision making or safer decision making.The families tend to have like they’re more chill with dating and you know, the boyfriends that I’ve girlfriends like partners can stay over at each other’s houses because even though that might feel a little bit uncomfortable to the parents, again, it’s safer. Right. You know, we were all bonking in the park or you know, some, you know, right.

Like wherever we were getting it on, it was not at a party. And of course, speaking for myself here, you know, at a party or whatever. So like hooking up with folks and it wasn’t in a safe space. So they have that going on and then they have socialized medicine, which frankly is helps everyone be healthier so that there’s no anxiety about where am I going to get birth control? How do I learn about this? You know, I think I might have an STI. Something’s up down there. Like it’s not a big deal to go get your care. And here it’s complicated. I just had a mom call me because her son has his first girlfriend and they’ve had sex. And fortunately he told her, which is great. And she said, I’ve been doing what you say and look what happened and then I’m freaking out.

So this is whole like, Yay. Help! And so one of the problems was like where she, when the question was where she going to get birth control. They’re using condoms, but she needs to be on birth control. And so she has a teen clinic at our school. You know, there’s always planned parenthood. So there was some conversation about how she going to do that, where she gonna do that. And you know, there, it doesn’t even, it’s like not even thing, right? You just go to the doctor and nobody cares. Right. So that’s basically what they have going on for them. And I believe we should all be little Netherlands at our house, like all the we should be doing that and helping our kids that way. It doesn’t hurt them. It doesn’t hurt them to know this stuff.

Michelle: I really like what you said about doing, thinking about our values, about sexuality before we have those conversations with our kids because I’m going to go get that book you suggested on your website because I think that’s a good idea to go back and think about you know, what it is that, what is our family values that before we even have a conversation about it. I think that’s a, that was a really great tip and thank you. You, mentioned something else and when we were first talking about it, how our kids are porn exposed, I wanted to go back to that for a second. So tell us about that.

Amy: Big deep breath. Everybody. Here we go again. Okay. So here’s the deal and I’m just going to keep this sort of short and not really sweet.Because this is one of the things that is making me most crazy when it comes to childhood sexuality. And so every child will be exposed, to pornography that they cannot escape childhood without seeing it. And, the bad news is, and it can be very scary. It can be very distressing. It can be very upsetting and confusing. It seems gross to kids, which it should.

It can also be really fascinating because they can get, you know, we’re wired up to feel sexual from the beginning. It just looks different kids so they can get sexual feelings from it. And so they can go down a rabbit hole. And, um, so the difference between seeing still images and seeing video is that it’s video is much more powerful. Like, you know, I had playboy magazine, right, and play girl and like penthouse rights, which was the really naughty one. And so seeing those still images can also be influential but not in the same way. So the first thing is that most parents think, oh, no, not my kid. My kid would never, they’re not interested. And if you’re not talking openly with your child and they’re curious about bodies, they can Google boob and or penis. And I had a couple, a mom that called me and she was in a relationship with a woman and they had a little boy and she said, so my partner’s talking to my son, he was about six or seven talking to my son and she was saying, hey, when he gets older, when you get older, your body’s going to grow, you’re going to get taller, your feet are going to get bigger, you’re going to get, you know, hair on your chest and your legs even your penis is going to get bigger.

And then that smarty pants, little guy ran downstairs and guess what? He googled penis. So he saw some mighty big penises and you know, the moms were freaked out. But you know, I was like, did you see videos? They were like, no, it was still photographs. And I said, okay, good. But still, right. So he’s curious. He, Google’s big penis. He doesn’t live with adult men by who would have big penises that he might see. So yeah, he saw some really big penises. So we need to think about this like that. Like they’re curious, where do we go for answers? We’re gonna Google, and it’s their natural curiosity that can lead them into this. And so some kids will just be like, oh my God, and shut it down. And some kids will be like, what’s happening here? And look for more.

And you know, the internet doesn’t care how old your child is. The Internet’s not going to say, oh, honey, you’re 12. We’re just going to say no. Right? So most parents, and this is where I’m going to be a little scoldy and mean, most parents think, oh no, my kid would never, so they don’t have parental controls and they don’t have monitoring software to protect their kids. And that monitoring software and those parental controls should be set on every single device your kid can access. Even at Grandmas, even at their childcare, it should be locked down so that when they do Google big penis, they’re not gonna get anywhere. None of this is foolproof, but it’s in terms of like doing our due diligence to protect our kids, this is what you need to do. And it works. You know, I had a couple come into my office for consultation because their eight year old daughter had googled horses even though they had everything locked down and she managed to get to some, as they put it bad seventies porn, through one thing and another. And so they were worried about her, but it was like not, it was, it was totally manageable cause she knew what she knew. She was sex educated. Right. It was all, it all ended up being fine, but you know, so I’m not gonna lie to you and say it’s foolproof, but it’s better than nothing. And go ahead, you have a question.

Michelle: I was just gonna say, we just had this conversation in our family. My son got an iPad for his birthday and my sister in law was sharing with, her kids are 10 and 13, and she’s got a very strict parent rental controls on apple devices, but then also a Youtube and then also on they’re different. So you could he problem that she said she was having is that the sex toys are not, They’re easier to find because there was no, like you can’t set it to g and it’d be only g videos that would come up or you know, g-rated things because those aren’t there things, not .

Amy: Oh, right, right, right, right. Their items Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I mean, like I said, it’s not foolproof. And the thing about monitoring software, and if you go to my website, Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids and go to my resources page, there is the monitoring software I’ve used again, Milo’s 18, we’re done. He’s ruined. Hopefully he is not ruined. It’s called “Custodio” and it, you put it on every device and you block terms, you’re going to have double blocking between the parental controls and the “Custodio”. And then the cool thing is that you’ll get an email telling you if your kids have tried to search something that’s off limits and then that’s an opportunity for conversation. You don’t tell your kids that you have monitoring software and you’re putting parental controls on to keep them safe. It’s not spying.

Right. Spying is when you don’t tell them. Right. So tell them because that’s also respectful, right? And then as they get older, you can start unblocking things so they can, you know, stretch that need to like flex that muscle of self control. Yeah. You don’t take it off. So if you see them go too, I don’t know what he, and you’d be like, Oh God. And you know, you can hit him, click on the link, which sometimes can be really distressing and then you’re going to have a conversation and you know, before you you know, you should have conversations and some folks have contracts with their kids about what’s okay and what’s not okay to do online. But contracts smontracts. I don’t know how well they work. Some kids are real rules oriented, especially when the kids in general or when they’re like before like 11 or so. And then after that there’s a lot of poking right. Trying to be.

Michelle: A lot of rebelling against those rules.

Amy: Yeah. And so this stuff is inexpensive. It’s worth it. It’s takes just, you know, it’s not too hard to install. I’m not super techie. I did it myself. It was fine. And you know, as they, by the time they’re in ninth grade, you take up all the blocking cause they need to be able to do stuff and be out there in the world. But here’s the deal. They have work arounds. Now kids are really savvy. It doesn’t mean you don’t do, it doesn’t mean you don’t do it just because by the time they’re in high school, they’re going to be looking at other stuff. And the thing to remember is, I don’t know the statistics, but I would guess that 80% of parents have no parental controls and no monitoring software on the devices, their kids access.

Michelle: It’s scary.

Amy: And it’s not just sex stuff, it’s not just porn. It’s like how do you commit suicide? What’s, you know, like all kinds of awful things. Yeah. Guns, bombs,

Bombs, anything on YouTube. How do you shoot up? Right. Safely, like awful, awful stuff. So it’s not just porn of course. For me, I’m most worried about the porn. Right. So that’s great. That’s my porn talk. So take a deep breath. If you do, if you take nothing away from our conversation, this is the thing. There’s one last thing. You do not want to be the parent that has, that gets a phone call from another parent who says, your kid showed my kid porn on the phone, on the school bus. You do not want to be that parent. It is. It sucks. It’s scary and it’s hard. So protect yourself. How’s that?

Michelle: Amazing. Thank you Amy. You’ve given us so many great nuggets here and so I could set up some great, like the glue, so many great places to start from, which is amazing. And so we can go ahead over to Amy’s website, go check out her resources. She has a book. She’s got the software, she just mentioned. Lots of great, amazing things and lots of more education there too. And don’t forget to check out her podcast because it is hilarious. You’ll really love it. And so, Amy, thank you so, so, so much for spending time with our community today on the Blissful Parenting Podcast. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to come and spend with us and enlightening us on, and we will definitely bring you back again. Yeah. For talks, more topics. There’s so much to talk about, so thank you.

Amy: Yeah, my total pleasure is really fun.

Michelle: Great. Oh, look forward to seeing you again soon.

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The Yelling Cure For Parents With Robbin McManne (#7)

The Yelling Cure For Parents With Robbin McManne (#7)

Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we are talking to faculty member, Robbin McManne. She is a Certified Parent Coach, author and speaker who works with parents from all over the world to help them build more connections and bring more joy and cooperation to their parenting.

Robbin is a former ‘Angry Mom’ and for over 12 years, Robbin juggled a full-time corporate career while being a mom and wife, prior to becoming a Parenting Coach.  In her corporate career, Robbin has a background in marketing and public relations, training, and event planning. She understands firsthand how many moms struggle to balance work and family.

Michelle: Hello and welcome to The Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Abraham. And today I am joined by special guest Robbin McManne.

And what’s so awesome about Robbin is she’s a certified parenting coach and an author and a speaker and she’s also one of our Blissful Parenting faculty members. She’s done a course with us at Blissful Parenting called, “How not to lose your …you know what!”. So you can that fill in the blanks there. Cause this is a PG podcast so you don’t want to say it but it actually is titled. And so back to Robbin, she works with parents from all over the world and help them and she helps them to be kind of have more connection and find more joy and cooperation in their parenting. So Robbin is a former angry mom. I can totally relate to that. And for over 12 years Robbin’s juggled full time corporate career while being a mom and a wife. Prior to becoming a parenting coach in her corporate career, Robbin had a background in marketing and public relations training and event planning. She understands firsthand how many moms struggle to balance work and family because of her struggles as a parent that she found the world of peaceful parenting and has dedicated her life to teaching parents how to build a strong family so their kids thrive. So Robbin, welcome to the show today. We’re so happy to hear from you today.

Robbin: Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks Michelle.

Michelle: Oh, no problem. Well, I’m so happy you’re here too. So Robbin’s an author, as we’ve mentioned before, and her, the name of your book is called “The Yelling Cure”. So what we’re really going to talk about a lot today is this yelling here. So how Robbin’s going to be able to help some parents with figuring out, oh, they are a yelling parent. Oh, you probably already know you’re yelling parent if you’re yelling parent. And what are some things that we can help to us to stop be yelling parents. And so if it’s okay with you Robbin, I’d like to dive right into the conversation and I want to hear a little bit more about your background. How did you get started becoming a parenting coach?

Robbin: Well, yeah, thank you. Yeah, I know I have a background in marketing and events and different things. And so this is definitely a departure from that. You know, when I first became a parent, I had no idea what I was in for and I, was really, it kind of rocked me to the core. You know, I had, we were lucky, to have a baby right away, but, you know, it really started as I was giving birth my journey into struggle in parenting. My sweet boy went up instead of down when I had my epidural and I had a c-section and was in so much pain as I know a lot of women can relate to. And I had heard stories of women who you had trouble reconciling the way the birth went with their child. And I thought that was ridiculous. Well, I got it. I got that lesson and I definitely knew what it was like, but the problem for me is that I couldn’t get over it. Not just the birth, but it was the start of the cycle of shame that I felt because I felt like I wasn’t good enough, right? I couldn’t nurse my child. I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to with my child. And it affected my confidence, my self-esteem. It affected my happiness, my joy, my connection with my child too. He wasn’t, this wasn’t what I thought it was going to be like. And I wasn’t the mother I thought I would be. And through the struggle over the years with my child, and we have another son as well, we have two boys who are just the best boys ever, and they’re now are 14 and 11. And they, you know, through this journey and through the darkness and the depression that I fell into, I found peaceful parenting. And I found a way to connect with my kids. But ultimately I found a way back to myself. And the transformation was undeniable that I had to, it changed my life so much. I had to do this, I had to do this because it brought me so much joy.

Michelle: So wow. And you know, with your, thank you. So I mean, so glad that you went through that as and being vulnerable now you can now share that experience. And I know so many moms can relate to that story. Yeah. The shame or not feeling good enough and not prepared like, oh my gosh, we didn’t get a bible or any sort of like book to come with this parenting gig. And it’s tough in the first little while, and I love that you say that you love your boys, you have the best boys and they’re 11 and 14 year old boys. So parents out there, I want you to hear that the all teenage boys don’t have to be difficult and crazy and hard and you know, please listen to Robbin. It can be joyful having teenage boys, I’ll think you know.

Robbin: But yes, it’s, well, yes, that’s true for sure. But the thing is too, right? And this is what I tell parents all the time, and I know we’re going to get into like the nitty gritty of the parenting stuff, but your teenagers, your toddlers, it’s the same in terms of their behavior. That behavior is just communication that’s letting us know that something is going on with them, that other, there’s a need that isn’t getting met or there’s an emotion that is unacknowledged or they don’t have a skill to do something right. So it isn’t even about us. It’s about them and them navigating to the world and how can we support them. So for teenagers, it’s a whole different list of things and struggles and topics that we have to face than we do with our toddlers. But essentially across the board, we, if we changed the way we look at behavior and stop labeling it good or bad, and start questioning it and saying, how come then that is what brings you closer and also helps you to work it out. And when your child is getting their needs met and their feelings acknowledged and they feel good, they’re way more likely to cooperate, and that’s the key right? We want cooperation, don’t we?

Michelle: Absolutely. And I like that. What, you said is key is that, you know, the, the communication is that there’s something that is missing there. Like it has nothing to do with you. Like I know a lot of parents, myself guilty as well at points have been like, why you, why are you making mommy so mad? Right. Like, you know, and it has their behavior is nothing to do with you. So, you know, and we got to really like work.

Robbin: Why are you embarrassing me? Why are you trying to make me mad?

Michelle: Yeah. Nothing to do with you. Nothing to do with you. So that’s a good, that was a good lesson I learned. You know, I’m new to parenting. It’s still relatively in the first, you know, six years. So, that’s something that I’ve learned recently. So it’s really helped a lot to realize that that’s not all about you. And so Robbin, you know, your, you wrote “The Yelling Cure” and it’s because you were at angry mom. So tell us a little bit about that and how the book kind of came about.

Robbin: Yeah. So, you know, I was an angry mom because of my own issues, but I was also an angry mom because my oldest child is a really difficult kid. You know the stuff that I talk about isn’t just for typical kids. It’s for kids that have really high needs and he’s one of those kids. And so throughout the, the, the first few years we knew there was something off, but we didn’t know what it was. And so we talked to healthcare providers, we tried to find ways to help him. He was really anxious, he was really angry, he was really oppositional. And so we’re at a place now where we really understand what’s going on with him. And he has challenges that we as parents, my husband and I, we have to help him through. And it’s not always easy and I’ll never say I’m perfect and that I always have the answer because there are some days where I struggle sometimes, you know, because it is a lot.

So my son, just to tell you, and, and I want to be clear that I have his permission to talk about this because for a long time I never talked about this and I was, I was so ashamed of my own self and thought it was all my fault, which is why I didn’t want to talk about it. And now that we have some answers and I’m in a better place, I can. So, he struggles with intense anxiety. So an anxiety disorder that manifests itself as obsessive compulsive disorder and OCD is thrown around as, you know, sort of anecdotally like, oh, I’m so OCD, I have to make sure my bed is made every day or whatever. But you know, that’s not OCD. OCD is debilitating and my son has that kind of OCD and it’s, you know, it’s hard to see, you know, I know this is his lot in life, but as his mom, it’s sad to see, you know.

But I know that this is his calling to find a way to work through this, right? So we help them with that. And, there’s work that he needs to do. So there’s obsessive compulsive disorder. He also has some depression and there is also, an explosive anger just order that he has to. So sometimes he will have meltdowns and they last a long time, you know, not as much as he gets older, but they can be pretty big and pretty, pretty long lasting and loud. So all of those things put together with the regular overwhelm, you feel the regular busy schedule that you have, all of those things, it was pretty hard on me. It was pretty hard on me. So, and, and I consider him my greatest gift because if it wasn’t for him, you know, I wouldn’t want to have been a better mom or a better person. And he’s definitely opened the door for me to heal myself, you know, which is what I’ve already said. But I mean, it’s a really, I always believed that the pain that you feel, no matter where it is in your life it is your invitation for healing. So I’m so grateful to him for that.

Michelle: Oh, that’s so great. I love that. You can see it in that way now and it’s opened the door really for you to become a parenting coach and now help so many other parents as well, which is fantastic. So this is where “The Yelling Cure” came from, being frustrated, angry mom. And so what are some tips for parents that maybe are finding themselves in this particular situation? With, their kids right now where they just are frustrated and you know, just having, having some issues, keeping their own cool when they’re talking to their kids.

Robbin: Well, when parents are finding themselves in these positions and they’re finding themselves really struggling, you know, they’ve got to look at, and this is what I teach parents to do. Look at parenting from two sides, right? On the one side, we’re looking at your child and your child’s behavior, right? But we’re looking at their behavior. Like I always say, not as good or bad, but as communication, but we also want to look at them in terms of developmental stages. Brain science always comes into play. And then there is, I’m also recognizing that there may be a skill that they don’t yet have, right? So we want to look at the child’s right when you’re in this position where you’re frustrated, you’re angry and things aren’t going the way you want. We look at your child, we look at their behavior, and if behavior is communication, then the other side of it is you.

How are you interpreting their communication, their behavior, communication? Are you, is it triggering you? Is it making you angry? Is it making you frustrated? Does your child whine too much? Does your child have meltdowns? Too many times, is your child rude or disrespectful? So, how do we interpret that? What’s really going on? And, what I always tell parents to do when they’re in these situations is to to look what’s under the behavior. Don’t look at the first, look at it as secondary, right? Don’t label it as good or bad. Look at it as secondary and find out what’s driving it. There’s always either unmet need, unacknowledged emotion, or they just don’t have the skill yet. Right? And so, then what, what I teach in, the reason I wrote the book is because I want parents to understand that there are eight core needs of a child that needs to be met at any given time and I’m not talking about the need to have a toy or an ice cream cone or whatever it is. It’s not that kind of need, but their basic core human needs, the need for unconditional love, for connection, for attention. You know, we blame and shame our kids for just needing attention or you’re just doing that to get attention. Well yeah, maybe they are doing that to get attention and that’s why they’re doing what they’re doing. And so we need to give them quality attention and really lean into that. And when your child is getting their needs met, they’re much more likely to cooperate. They’re going to be happier, they’re going to be more calm as well. So that’s all that I talk about in my book. It’s all in there on how to do that and how to get to a new place with your child.

Michelle: I have read part of your book and I’m looking for it to continue reading it. It’s got some great resources in there. It’s got those core needs I think are so fascinating and I think it’s something that every parent should take a look at your book because it really, it’s really not about the obviously not about behavior and some of the things I learned in there was really more about looking at those, those basic needs and like you know, you know I was one of those parents that used to say, oh yeah, bad behavior, good behavior. Okay no, it’s the attention they need or they need some more love or they just need you to look them in their eyes and talk with them and sit down and have that, that those moments. So highly recommend picking up Robbin’s book. Robbin where can we find your book can you tell us where that is.

Robbin: Yeah, you can find it in a couple of different places. One is on my website, which is just and it’s for not the number. So and you can also do go to So either place, you’ll put that in the show notes I know, so people can get it. Can I add something really quickly to what we’ve just said? I just want to, I want to say that those, those core needs for a child are really important, but I also include core needs for you as a parent as well because that’s also really, really important. We’ve got to get your needs met, right? And I just want you to know that there’s a list of needs in there and call to action for you to identify which ones, which of your needs aren’t getting met. So that’s important too. That’s awesome.

Michelle: Thank you, Robbin, for that. That’s so important for parents to know. And so apparent important for parents to know that they have some support and they need to get their needs met too. And now Robin, you just started a podcast too. So parenting for our future, “Parenting Our Future” is the podcast, Robbin just started and I, it’s excellent. Go over to iTunes, check it out, make sure you subscribe, like and review her show because it’s really great to have continue this conversation on. If you’ll love what Robbin’s saying today, you’ll love what she says on her podcast too. So make sure you check that out. For sure. So Robbin, can you tell us a little bit about what would it be like for a parent to come and work with you? What does that look like and what’s the process you take parents through and who at what point should parents really reach out?

Robbin: Well, thank you. That’s a great question. When I work with parents, I work with them one on one usually. Like that’s the main way. I do have some courses which are more of a group environment, but really if you’re looking for individual help than working with me, one on one is what you do. And I work with clients for about three months and there are ten one on one calls during that time. And that’s where I really break down and help parents to move past the issues that they’re facing that are really unique to them and their family, right? Every family is different. Every set of circumstances is different. All personalities are different. So to find somebody that can help you with things that are unique to you. And look, I work with parents all day long. It’s exclusively what I do. I don’t work with the kids.

I just work with the parents. So you know, for me, this is about helping you to, to get unstuck and move forward. Because the idea is that we want you, or I want you to build a relationship. We want to have relationships with our kids and we want it to not be so much of a control and dominance over our kids as in relationship with our kids because we want them to see us as trusted allies that they can come to when they’ve done something bad or wrong or made a mistake. And we are there not to criticize them, not to judge them or shame them, but just to help them work it out. And what that does is that helps them grow into the kind of people who have emotional intelligence and resilience. And those are the kinds of people in this world, in today’s society that really thrive. So that’s what I help parents to do on an individual basis. So and it’s been such a rewarding experience working with parents that, you know, excitedly tell me that they got their kids to do what they asked them to do. They listen now. There’s not, as much as there’s no disrespect, there’s not as much complaining, you know, it’s really exciting.

Michelle: You don’t, you know, we’re not, I remember back in with your kids like it was like that the parents are the scary thing. Like they’re, you’re supposed to be afraid of your parents. And my parents never raised me that way, but I know a lot of my friends’ parents were like, they were afraid of their parents. How awful is that? Like that, that’s not what you want. You want to be able to have that be that ally person. And I like what you and I hope parents are listening at home. You want your children to be able to come to you as that trusted person to work out a problem. Now be ashamed by it, not get criticized for it and not getting punished for it, but to help them work it out. I think that’s so key. And having resilient emotionally intelligent people in this world is what we really need more of.

So I’m glad that you’re helping parents find ways to raise those kinds of children. Cause those are the kids that are really going to thrive in the future. It’s really what our future needs is for people that are emotionally intelligent and not broken. And you know, so that’s really great. Thanks Robbin. And I wanna talk a little bit about the course that you did with Blissful Parenting. So we can’t say the whole title, but it’s like how much you’re, you know, and, tell us a little bit about this course and what’s included in it.

Robbin: Okay, sure. So this course is a, I love it. I mean I do love the name too because I think that as much as parenting is serious and sacred, I still think that we could have a little bit of fun. Something happens when we become parents. We get really serious and we need to have some fun. So, anyway, and I know every parent can relate to losing your stuff, right? So in this course, what, I teach you is in six modules, it’s six modules. So it’s really easy to consume. I give you a full workbook too, so that the meat of the course that you’re going to watch online, they are video, the video classes, you get that all in the workbook too. So the first thing I do is walk you through setting your intentions for you and your child. Then I share with you a tool that I’ve created, which is four steps to keeping yourself cool and stopping a meltdown in its tracks. And that could be your meltdown or your child’s meltdown. Cause I know we have those too. Then I talk about how to really get your kids to listen.

And then I talk about the pitfalls of punishment. There’s a lot of parents that, you know, really up until this point in history, punishment has been the norm, right? You don’t do what I like, so I’m going to punish you. So the thing is is that it doesn’t work. It may work in the short term, but it doesn’t work in the long time to foster that strong relationship. And so I really want to unpack why we use punishment and how it ends up backfiring for us. And then also one of my most favorite things that I love to do with my clients is set up their values, their family values that are unique to them and the boundaries for their kids that correspond to those values. And the great thing is everybody agrees so everybody knows where they stand and everybody knows what’s okay and what’s not okay. So that is a module I love. And then the last one is something, of course, I’m passionate about, which is creating a plan for self-care. I’m not just talking about it, I’m helping you to create a plan to get your needs met. So that you can fully show in a peaceful way with peaceful responses for yourself and for your kids and your family.

Michelle: I just love the word peaceful parenting. It just sounds so nice. It sounds lovely,

Robbin: But it is also about boundaries. It’s about, you know them knowing what’s okay and what’s not okay. You know, this isn’t a free for all. You know, there are stick our kids need structure and boundaries so that they can flourish within that scaffolding of support.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s important. You know, as someone who I call myself more of a free spirit, I’ve learned this in the business world as well as now learning it in a parenting role. Like I always rebelled against the structure and the structure and routine and things that it’s so important, especially for the kids. They really, I really see my kids thrive with routine and structure and they, it wasn’t something that is natural to me. I had to work extra hard as a parent to do that.

Robbin: Well, and it’s funny because you know, you talk about that and you said that you rebelled. And what happens is we see the results of our parenting in the early years when kids are teenagers. Right? And you know, really in terms of the work that I do, it’s never too late. Right? So when, when parents come to me, usually their kids are at least two and older, right? Because two is kind of where they go from being cute to Kinda, making you crazy. But if you’ve got teenagers, you’ve got young adult children, it’s still never too late to mend that relationship and to move forward because you know, it’s okay that we’ve made mistakes, we can always go back, right? We can always go back and heal that relationship. So that’s really important for you to know too. I think for anybody who has kids that thinks, well, you know what, the ship has sailed. I can’t go back. Well, you can. You can.

Michelle: That’s great. That was my next question. What age group do you usually work with? So that’s fantastic to know that you can work with parents, with kids of all age groups. So anyone at any stage in any anywhere is never too late. It’s time to take time to rectify the shift and have a peaceful existence in your family. And how nice does that sound? Right till dinner, Nice Dinner, nice bedtime routines, nice school routines, all that kind of stuff. That sounds, that sounds lovely

Robbin: And it’s all doable without losing your, you know what?

Michelle: Awesome. So you guys will have to check out Robbin’s course on it is on our site there and make sure you check it out cause I think it’s so many great tools that parents need to kinda, you know, take a look at and, and start using in a, in their lives and with their kids. So great. So, Robbin, I wanna thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and your wisdom today with us. I know you’ve enlightened myself and I know others have been touched by what you’ve said today. So let’s keep in touch with you, Robbin. Make sure you guys go check out her podcast, “Parenting Our Future”. Check out her website. It’s Robbin, it’s connected, right?

Robbin: Yup.

Michelle: Yup. Perfect. So make sure you check out Robbin. Follow along and stay tuned for more from Robbin as our Blissful Parenting faculty. We’ll bring her back again, I promise, and we’ll hear more from her down the road. So thank you, Robbin, for being with us today.

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ASK The Blissful Parent with Chuck Anderson (#6)

ASK The Blissful Parent with Chuck Anderson (#6)


Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast founder and faculty member Chuck Anderson, is answering your most pressing parenting questions. 

This is a new format we are trying out. If you have a question, please head on over to our website linked below and submit yours for a future Q&A episode. What is it you really want to know? Don’t be afraid to ask, as each submission is completely anonymous.Take advantage of our expertise and submit your question today.

Michelle:  Hello and welcome to the Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m your host again, Michelle Abraham. Nice to see you all here today. I am here with our founder and faculty member, Chuck Anderson. So, welcome, Chuck. I’m so happy to have you here with us again today.

Chuck: Michelle, it’s my pleasure to be here and I’m really thrilled about how the podcast is going so far, so awesome.

Michelle: That’s great. So we’ve been hearing from all sorts of amazing experts over the last few episodes and it’s so great to, you know, hear everyone’s different, take in their different specialties, whether it’s anxiety or back to school stuff or you know, any more medical kind of issues or you know, food issues, whatever our experts have been talking about over the last few episodes has been really fantastic. And it’s really great to kind of then come back together with you, our founder and faculty member. And what we’re going to do today is kind of a check-in and have some expert questions. So you’re gonna answer some questions. We might do this from time to time, now we’re getting lots of questions in to Blissful Parenting. And so this is the new format we’re going to check out today. And if you guys have questions, feel free to head over to and you too can submit your question and maybe we’ll answer it live on our show.

Chuck: That’s awesome. And we really encourage you to send your questions in, because you get that this is your chance to program the show. What is it that you want to know? What is it that you want to hear from us? I mean, you know, as faculty members we have so much information to share and it’s usually comments from our own brainstorming or inspiration or whatever. But I always find that that the best sessions are when I’ve discovered this a lot in my live workshops, is that when we do this sort of live Q and A people are asking what they want to ask. Then that’s content that I think you’re going to be a lot more interested in as well. So we are really counting on getting your feedback, getting your questions and we are happy to answer anything that comes in.

Michelle:  Yeah. And you know sometimes people might be a little shy to ask a specific question. They don’t want to be judged or you know, they don’t want, you know, it’s a little bit embarrassing asked this question or that question. So this is a perfect platform to be able to do this because it is anonymous and we are just going to read your question out as if it was just someone who sent it in. And it’s a great way to get that answered and why not use the expertise that we have here. It’s great to get their expert advice on all these questions. So Chuck, why don’t we kick it off with our first question here.

Chuck: Let’s go for it.

Michelle: So first question, why do some people get so defensive when you try to give them helpful parenting advice? Is it maybe because they are actually a little bit insecure about their parenting style? What do you think?

Chuck: Oh boy. Yeah. This, this, this is a question. We’ve actually had this discussion, some of our why workshops and you know, I think everyone can relate to that time where somebody gives you advice and it’s unsolicited advice. Meaning you didn’t ask for some well-meaning individual or family member or friend felt compelled to share their wisdom with you even though you didn’t ask for it. And you know, I think whenever that happens, and it wasn’t asked for, I think that that’s a time where it could be one of those automatic triggers where it’s like, wait, wait a minute. I didn’t really ask you for that advice and doing the best I can and therefore, you know, I might, you know, have this reaction like, you know, who are you to be giving me this advice? And and so I think that’s one reason that it happens is that we’re unprepared to get advice and we didn’t ask for it.

And I think that most people don’t want to hear it unless they ask for it. In the coaching world. And when we went through our coach certification in our coaching certification program where we teach new coaches, we teach people like, don’t give people advice. They didn’t ask for it. Ask permission. If you’re going to give feedback, ask permission. It’s a much nicer way to do it and you’re not going to kind of get that resistance or that defensiveness. So I think that’s the first reason that it happens is that we’re maybe caught unprepared for it.

The second reason that it happens is that maybe there is a little truth to hey, we’re not really feeling good about how things are going. You know, I know I’ve certainly had moments where you know, I just didn’t really feel confident in my parenting or maybe I had a bad moment, you know you know my default definitely being controlled freak when I’m not rested and when, when I’m not journaling regularly and I’m not doing all of the things that help me to stay blissful and happy and not angry dad.

When I’m not doing those things, it’s very, very easy for me to have those reactions. And like I said, everyone I think is doing their absolute best. That being said though, I don’t think that when people are being defensive, they necessarily know that they’re being defensive. I think it’s just an automatic autopilot sort of reaction. I know anytime that I’ve done it, it certainly has been. And one of the things that, you know, I’ve learned over the last decade of doing this is, you know, to recognize when it’s happening and then to ask myself, you know, what’s really going on? Like, why am I defensive about that? And my journal is my best friend. So it’s my therapist. It’s where I write everything down and when I have an issue, when maybe I didn’t behave in the most appropriate way or whatever I’m writing it down and resolving that. And I find that when I do that, I’m a lot less likely to be defensive or even to be doing anything that I need to be defensive about. So I do think that that perhaps as a parent who maybe isn’t feeling good about something that’s happened recently, but also may have been receiving some advice well-meaning or not that they did not ask for.

Michelle: Yeah. I mean, there’s nothing worse than it was somebody telling you. You’re maybe giving you some advice that you don’t want when you’re like not rested, not well-nourished, haven’t exercise, not feeling great about yourself, and then it’s like someone’s dumping on you. I think our automatic response is, like you said, it was going into defense note. And I know I’ve done that before. It’s not a good, it’s not a good feeling. Right. And oh gosh, that’s crazy. And you know, one of the things that we’ll, we’re talking about, you know, unsolicited advice. One of the things that I find that the way I get defensive is when people are, who don’t have children, are giving you parenting advice or trying to parent my children while I’m there. It’s like, oh, wait a second. You don’t have kids, you know, and don’t know what it’s like. So that’s my take on it.

Chuck: Yeah, it happens a lot. And you know, I love it when it’s people who don’t have kids but they’re dog owners and they think that having a dog is, is the same as having kids. I love that. What I do with my dogs is one of the reasons too, like even with, you know, our philosophy with the podcast, and I know we’ve mentioned this before, Michelle, is that we only get guests on this show who are actually parents because we believe that only parents really know what it’s like to be parents. And you have had to have been in the thick of it, you know, to really to really understand. But even in our support groups and whatnot, I mean to give someone advice that they didn’t ask for, it’s probably going to get rejected. Right. And so the best thing is, and like I said, with our coaching, we always ask permission, would you like some feedback on this? Would you like some suggestions? And sometimes the answer is no. And that’s okay. That’s okay. If you’re not open to feedback, if you’re not open to advice, then don’t take it. Right. So yeah,

Michelle: It’s a good point. You don’t have to listen to it. Right.

Chuck: Absolutely.

Michelle: Although some of them may be very helpful. You got to be in the right time in the right place to be able to accept it and be open to it too. Right. So I’m going to jump over to another topic that’s kind of similar and this is the question that we got. And it’s why do some people have a tendency to want to blame their parents? Are they unable to accept responsibility for their own lives? So I thought that was kind of a little bit along the same lines.

Chuck: Yeah. And this is something that I’ve experienced two different ways. I’ve experienced parents who blame their parents or the child’s grandparents. I’ve also seen children, especially teens, blame their parents for things. And you know, let’s start with the first situation. So, you know, Oh, if only my parents would have taught me better to do that, or if only they were more nurturing or if only they, this wouldn’t have happened when I was 11 or whatever. And yes, I’m sure that there, that there’s these experiences that have happened. And at a certain point, you know, especially if we’re someone and at Blissful Parenting we kind of believe in, you know, the sign of a great parent is one that, you know, is conscious of their own behavior. And when we’re conscious of our own behavior, then it doesn’t matter where we got it from.

It doesn’t matter if we got it from our parents. I’m sure, absolutely sure that my parents did the absolute best job they could under their circumstances. And just the way things were, I mean, in the 70s, things were done a lot differently than they are now. Consciousness was, I think, different. And the attitude towards nurturing a child and nurturing family was different. And you know, also I had parents who were very, very busy, and were working, 12, 14, sometimes 16 hours a day. And so I, from my own story, I believe that my parents did the absolute best they could. And I believe that’s probably true that your parents as well, I think everyone’s sort of well meaning, even though they might not be perfect, but at a certain point we have to sort of draw the line and say, okay, this is the way things are.

This is an, and this is what’s happening. What can I do about it? And when we shift from a place of blame, which is, oh, this is happening because of this person, or it’s happening because of this circumstance or it’s happening because the government or whatever, when we shift away from that and we go into, okay, what can I do about this? A different type of answer is going to come back to you. A different type of it’s a different type of attitude completely. And it completely disregards any reason why it’s happening. It doesn’t matter why, what matters is, what can I do about this? And even adding some intention into this, you know, how can I deal with this in such a way that I leave my child feeling good about themselves and I can also feel good about myself and the way I handled it.

You know, how can I do this in the most positive way possible? And so when we ask ourselves better questions, we don’t have to blame. And then when we ask even higher quality questions where we set some intention in it, the kind of answer and support we’re going to get back is even that much better. And, you know, give this a try and just notice the types of thoughts and ideas that you have when you start to ask yourself those kinds of questions. So that’s the first part. That’s the parent who maybe is blaming other things. But then I noticed that a lot. I’m raising, um, a, a teenager and a preteen. So almost two teenagers here and they haven’t quite grasped that concept yet, right? So it’s like, well dad, that happened because you didn’t tell me or you know, that happened because you know you didn’t, you didn’t do this or you didn’t do that.

And so that’s something that, you know, with our own children we are dealing with from time to time. And I think it’s natural for them to want to blame their parents. And really my approach to it, and I think there’s no one size fits all answer here, but my approach to it is to be the best example I can be. So if I can demonstrate to my children how I assume responsibility for things, even though you know that might suck and maybe they’re, I’m justified in blaming or it feel justified in blaming, you know, some other person or a circumstance for what, what’s going on. By demonstrating how I take responsibility for the results and for what’s happening and for implementing a solution. I am leading by example. And you know, I know with my own children, they learn more from watching what I do and how I handle things than anything.

I could tell them intellectually they don’t want to be lectured. They don’t want to be told stuff, but they are modeling my behavior. The good and the bad and the ugly, all of it. Right. And so, you know, hopefully more good than bad, but hey, we all have those moments. We all have those human moments and they definitely learn from how I handle things. And so I think that we get to model for them what that, what it means to take responsibility and what it means to not blame others and circumstances and whatever. And that’s very empowering, very empowering. When you can always find a solution, no matter what happens. It’s a, I believe it’s, it’s giving someone ultimate power over the destiny of their life.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s great. You know, and for those of us who haven’t, you know, got rid of the blame game, like to learn it ourselves, to stopped blaming and then to model that for our kids, that’s very empowering because then they’re going to learn that as well and they’re not going to grow up blaming us for, for things that we did. Right. And then you’re so right, it’s the parenting has changed so much over the last few years and topic that we’re going to jump to next is one of those topics that’s changed in the way parents deal with it over the last few years or a few decades I should say. So this question is about how do you deal with the teenage girl 17 almost 18 who thinks she’s entitled to whatever she wants? Free money, a car, car insurance and much more when money’s tight and you’re barely scraping by financially. I’m sure this is a very popular question.

Chuck: I love this one because I deal with this from time to time as well in my family. And that is, you know, look, kids want things right? They want things. And a lot of behavior that we deal with on a day to day basis is because they want things that don’t necessarily align with what we want them to do or our means to give it to them or whatever. So, I mean, great example, if it was okay for my boys to play video games for 12, 14 hours a day without any limitations that’s what they want. As a, um, as a parent who believes that that’s not a healthy thing, I have to set limits and boundaries and sometimes when we set limits and boundaries that might get a backlash. Right? So, in this case with money, right?

So anything that costs money, I mean, you know, we’ve gone through this where, you know, they want to buy something or whatever. And I think that when that comes up, yes, that sentence entitlement or if it is an appearance on, so entitled entitlement, if I’m reading this properly, if that’s sort of what’s happening, it can be very frustrating. And I think as an automatic pilot reaction, it’s very easy to fight against that. Well, what do you mean you want me to buy you a car? And you know, and you want all these fancy clothes. Like, you know, you’re sounding so entitled there. Don’t you know the value of money? Why don’t you go get yourself a job and start making some money. And as soon as we do that, we’ve just created a one of those moments where we’re going to butt heads and we’re gonna fight.

Instead of looking at it as the opportunity that it is. And that is to teach and guide, uh, I think first of all, the value of money and the also the means in which to obtain money and to acquire the things that they want. I mean, this is a person, 18 years old, they’ve got their whole life ahead of them, of earning money and acquiring things. And, you know they’re coming through this period of, you know, mom and dad have given them everything. And you know, those in, but one of the parts of being a teenager is gaining independence over their life. And so I think it’s a huge opportunity here, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable, even if there is a few tears or whatever to say, look, I love you. I support you. You want a car? Great. Let’s sit down and talk about how you could earn the money to get that car, or you want those brand name, designer clothes that all your friends are wearing you know, that are 10 times the price of anything else.

Great. Let’s sit down and figure out how you can get those things. And let’s use this as an opportunity because I, you know, I love you and I want you to you know, be successful in life and being able to raise money and be able to make those financial decisions, I think is a, it’s an important life skill that we all need to have. And so I would look at that as an opportunity to sit down with them and say, okay, how can you do this? Whether it be, you know, support them on getting a job, take them to some job interviews, help them get a resume going. And you know, let them look at, you know, what a budget is. I guarantee if your child goes and works 20 hours and only makes like two or 300 bucks.

And all of a sudden like that’s worth like two pieces of clothing. Then they might stop and think about, okay, wait a minute, I just worked all this time and all I got was this one designer piece of clothing that they might actually start to rethink some of their wants and their demands. So I just see it as a huge opportunity to teach that value of money. And especially I would assume that the person that’s answering this question didn’t like this and probably wanted to push back a little bit, but I would look at it as an opportunity to teach about money.

Michelle: Yeah, that’s a great idea. I totally agree with that as well. It seems to be a good thing to be able to teach kids. I think even starting even younger, if you’re starting to feel it. I know my son is turning seven this week and you know, he wants and wants and wants and you know, you don’t, you want to give your child what they want, but you also want to make sure that they’re not becoming a spoiled Brat. Right? So, you know, I think this is a good opportunity to really teach them some, some value in money too. I think that’s great. And my next question, and the next question that we got in is around the same lines. Do you think that is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children practical financial advice before they move out on their own?

Chuck: Absolutely right. I, and again, that’s my own judgment. I mean, for me, I’m absolutely feel that it’s my responsibility to set them up to be, you know, successful independent adults. That doesn’t mean that they can’t ever come to me and ask for help or assistance or even to borrow money or whatever. And, you know, we’re always going to have a reasonable discussion about, you know, how, you know, how we going to approach that? But absolutely because if I just provide everything and now all of a sudden, let’s say they’re 18, 19, 20 years old and they go out there and they have no skills, they have no budgeting skills, they have no earning capacity. They have no sense of, you know, what’s good value or bad value, what’s inexpensive or expensive and or, even how to generate money.

And you know, some of my earlier work with and speaking at a financial seminars, we were very big on financial education. Some of us aren’t even financially educated. So how do we pass that onto our children? Well, that’s where the responsible piece comes in. And, you know, like we said that the sign of a great parent is one that, you know, looks at their own behavior first. Well, you know, if the, and there’s great books, I mean, Kiyosaki wrote a great book called Rich Kid, Smart Kid. I would say get a copy of that. There’s great advice in that book and you know, get educated yourself on, on what’s the best way to introduce financial literacy to your child or your teenager or even your young adults and support them through that. And it might be through your own learning and discovery and maybe you’re going through it together and whatever it is, that’s cool. But I absolutely believe that it’s my job to prepare my children for independent adulthood. Right?

Michelle: Yup, definitely. And I agree with that. Like if you’re not modeling good financial behaviors yourself, it’s really hard to teach your kids that. And I know you know, one of the other things that, one of the things that happened to me when I was around that age, going to college, all of a sudden you get to college and there’s all these credit card companies there, hey, sign up for this credit card. Sign up for that credit card. Well I was like, yes, sweet. I got two or three credit cards, rack them up. And I think that I’m probably still paying that off like 25 years, 20 years, 25 years later. That was not a good idea. So that was not a good idea. So if you can use, you know, if they can be educated about that before they get faced with that decision or that choice or that opportunity, you know, that would be really great. So goodness crazy.That’s a great, make sure that your kids are set up financially a little bit of their responsibility when it comes to money is a good one. Okay, so I want to jump over to kind of on a different, topic to this question says, should I let my child have a lock on their bedroom door?

Chuck: Yeah. And I could see how that could be a trigger, right? It’s like, you know, mom, Dad, I want to put a lock on my door, you know, and I know if it was me, the very first question in my would be why do you want to lock your door? Like what’s in there that you don’t want me to see? Right. And I think that that with the conversations I’ve had with people as well would be pretty typical of the initial reaction to that. And you know, one of the things that we’ve learned through this entire journey and we’ve layered throughout all the programs that we have in the Blissful Parenting library is to seek understanding of a situation, really understand the situation before responding. And so it might be very easy to assume that k teenager is looking to hide something. So they want to put a lock on their door.

Okay. Perhaps and through your own digging and your own investigation, I would say connected conversation with your child, you might aim to discover that. If you come at them with judgment or resistance, then they’re going to come back to you with resistance as well. And you’re never going to get the answers. So seek understanding from a place of compassion and you know, just really trying to get the idea. Now here’s the thing, there’s an underlying goal of all teenagers and this is something that we all have to remember because it’s so easy to take their behavior at face value. And say, how could you talk to me like that? How could you do this? Well, it’s not necessarily that they are trying to be bad or disrespectful is that they’re at a phase in their life right now where they are trying to gain independence.

Right? There’s a couple of big transitions in the whole growing up and you discover it at first when they’re like two or three years old and they want the, you know, they don’t want you to do things for them cause “No I’ll do it!”, Right. Like, you know, they want that independence. And then and then there’s another big phase of that at the teenage stage where it’s like they’re preparing to be adults. And so there is a number, there is independence. So this desire for independence for control over their destiny, for, to have some say into what happens to their future and in their lives and yeah, just to really feel like they’re in control of who they are. And it may be just as simple as that. So I mean, it could be happening for a reason.

You really don’t want or it could just be happening because of their desire to be an independent human being. And so I think that’s where that connected conversation comes in where we we’re just seeking to understand there’s not judgment or no way you’re not doing that and on, and the fight, which would really just driving them away, but just really trying to ask them questions to understand, okay, what would it mean to you if you now have a lock on your door? You know, what’s the, what’s the benefit to your life? And that might seem like a weird question, but I guarantee if you go out your teenager with questions like that, they’re going to go, Huh, you’ve never really asked me a question like that before. If You talk in questions, you will start to receive answers. If you talk in judgment or demands, you’re going to get nothing back.

Michelle: Right. And even probably more closed off conversations then too, if you continue down that path. That’s interesting. I, you know, I think my parents did that, a really great job of that. As there, I was always able to do what mostly whatever I asked to do, they’d always say yes. And it was, and I was, I got into my twenties and I finally asked them. Like, why did you always let me see? You always said yes. All my other friends, parents said no and everything. I was always allowed to do stuff. They said, well, we had no reason to say no because you we trust you. You’ve demonstrated you’re responsible and you’ve demonstrated that you’re capable, have a smart head on your shoulders and capable of having that independence. So I really appreciated my parents doing that. So I’ve kind of kept that in my, in my mind as I become a parent, of course we want to say no right away to a lot of those things. And it’s been scary when they get into those teenage years and they start asking for more independence, I’m sure.

Chuck: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s the phase of life that they’re in, you know, and it’s that desire for independence. But, that’s not to say that there can’t be bad things happening as well. I mean, the takeaway and you know, our approach always when we’re coaching people is seek to understand what’s really happening. Clarify, evaluate before responding. Right? And if there is something more dangerous or you know, detrimental to their mental or physical health that’s going on, then you know, address that. But get the facts first and don’t assume the worst, you know, expect the best and but do clarify and then respond appropriately.

Michelle: That’s great advice. I love that one. And our next question, which is going to be our last question, have you guys really liked this style? I really encourage you to go over and send us your questions. Please. This is how we get to answer them for you is by you going over there and asking them. So we love these questions coming in. They’re really good and we’ve learned a lot today from Chuck. It’s been great talking about, you know, how we were raised as kids, parenting styles, financial literacy. So many great things in asking those questions of those teenagers. You know, there’s so many great things that we’ve learned today. I’m going to ask one more question that’s kind of along the same, just talking about, and this kind of makes me smile the way this question is worded. So it says, if your child accidentally stole items from a store, would you take them back and pay? So what’s your answer to that one, Chuck?

Chuck: Yeah. So this was something that we’ve definitely thought about in our workshops as well. Sadly it happens and look, you know they’re …kids want things and sometimes when they can’t have them in the way that they should be, maybe getting them, they go to other means to get them. And I think that this, again, just like the money thing, you know, is a huge opportunity for learning and that context. So what I would not do is I would not go back to the store, pay for the item and bail them out of the situation, right. What I would do is I would take my child back to the store and as uncomfortable as it is for them, and I would say also for myself because let’s face it, you know, that’s pretty scary thing. But then to walk in and to admit that to the store owner and say, look, “I made a mistake.

Here’s what’s happened and you know, I’m very sorry. Here’s the thing back and I would also like to pay for you. And you know, you know, how can I make this right with you?” Right? And I think that’s a number one, a great way of handling the situation where you’re giving the store owner that opportunity to say yes, you know, that I’m satisfied with the way you’ve handled this. And I think what it also does is it teaches your child a couple of things. It teaches your child the life skill of owning up to their mistakes. And also you know that and through that very scary and maybe painful experience of going back and confessing to what they’ve done will help to prevent them from doing this again in the future. And I love what Jane Nelson says in her book Positive Discipline. And that is that children learn best when they learn from natural consequences. Well, what’s more natural than going back and admitting to a store owner that you made a mistake and you stole something? And it’s not that I need to get mad at them or punish them or yell at them or whatever, but it’s like, let’s go back, admit what you’ve done. Just the, this comfort of admitting that I think is natural consequences enough to perhaps get them to choose a different way of acquiring things the next time they want something.

Michelle: Absolutely. That sounds like that would be a, a great thing to do. And I think that is a phase a lot of teenagers go through with that. Acquiring things from like a drug store without money is a, I remember a bunch of friends doing that in high school and, I think that’s a great way of doing it. Going back to the store and apologizing. Well, thank you Chuck. There’s been so many great nuggets here today. Audience, I hope you’re listening in some great advice on how to deal with these tricky situations that we get into as parents. So thank you Chuck, our founder and one of our faculty members. Thank you for being with us today. Can’t wait to have you back here again soon. And you guys, this is a great format. I liked it. I hope you liked it. Chuck, I know you liked it,

Chuck: It was a lot of fun and I just want to, again, you have questions. That’s cool. You can go to and, submit your questions and look, you know, sometimes there is no easy answer. Maybe you’d like a little bit of help with that. Go to blissful and get yourself a free coaching session and you know, we’ll talk to you one on one about some whatever’s going on in your life and hope we can help.

Michelle: Great. So we’re going to do this again, down the road in a few episodes from now. We’ve got lots of questions coming in and can’t wait to do it again. So thank you, Chuck, for being with us. I hope to see you guys on our next episode.

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Transitions For Children With Sensitivities with Dr Nareeta Stephenson (#5)

Transitions For Children With Sensitivities with Dr Nareeta Stephenson (#5)


Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast our topic is battling the back to school brain and other major transitions in life. Joining us is Dr Nareeta Stephenson of Strawberries and Sunshine. Dr Nareeta is considered one of the top prenatal pediatric chiropractors in the province. She has been supporting families through chiropractic medicine for over 15 years now.

Dr Nareeta and her clinic are devoted to healing kids with neuro-developmental disorders such as ADD, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and sensory processing disorders through treating the entire body as a whole.

Join us today as we learn about what to look for in our children and best support them in their transitions.

Michelle:  Hello and welcome to the The Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Abraham and today I am here with a very special guest. Her name is Dr Nareeta Stephenson and she’s been supporting families through chiropractic medicine for over 13 years. Dr Nareeta has armed with a masters of Chiropractic from Macquire University and a postgraduate certification with International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. She’s now considered one of the top prenatal pediatric chiropractors in the province. Dr Nareeta is devoted to helping kids with neuro -developmental disorder including ADD, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, and sensory processing disorders. Unnoticed or undiagnosed. Dr Nareeta is currently studying neuro -developmental disorder and this specialization puts her at the forefront of innovative biomedical techniques and groundbreaking neurology to better support these children. And I have been having personal experience with Dr Nareeta for the last five years with my kids. Both of them saw Dr Nareeta within the first couple of days that they were born and have been seeing her ongoing for five years and the care.

This is phenomenal. So welcome Dr Nareeta. Thanks for being here with us today. It’s been a pleasure and I’m excited to get you on the call because you’re a very busy person. So I love that we’re having this time together today. And really what we want to do is really talk to our parents and let them know about what you do, how you can support families, and what is, why it’s important to look at the whole picture. And our topic today is really about battling the back to school brain and other major transitions in life. So Dr Nareeta let’s get started. Now let’s get started with what are transitions and why are they important for kids?

Dr Nareeta: Some kids really struggle with moving from one activity to the next or even different changes that are happening in their life. So as we head back to school, my son would, it was pretty much around the August long weekend, we would see a drastic change in his behavior. He would stop sleeping, he would start coming back into our bed again and his anxiety would really ramp up and basically his behavior would just turn 180 degrees and he’d become this different kid. And, he’s one of the reasons why I got into doing the work that I do with the kids. And so a lot of kids really struggle with how to change and the different stages that are coming in their life and they can feel it coming and it shows up as anxiety or it affects their behavior in negative ways.

Michelle:  That’s interesting. It’s not something that you hear talked about a lot with transitions. So what made you go down this road with your career and start focusing on kids with sensory issues?

Dr Nareeta:  So I had my twins not long after I got into practice and my son just had a whole different vibration than his sister. He needed to constantly be moving as baby. He didn’t sleep very well. He developed food allergies and sensitivities right away. And when he cuddles, it feels like he wants to crawl into your skin. He has to get so close. And so we sort of discovered that he was on a bit of a different journey that wasn’t going to be your typical child development. And we got to grade one and he started biting kids at school and he’d come home and he’d have these wicked meltdowns and he’d run into his cupboard and he closed himself in the dark every day after school. And he would have to cry for half an hour before he could come and tell us what was going on and tell us about his day.

And so I found some things that really helped Jared along the way. Chiropractic made a big difference for him. Creating a stakehold therapy and other manual hands on type techniques really helped settle in and help him feel more comfortable in his body. But I always felt like I was missing something. And it wasn’t until he was in grade one and he was really struggling that I started doing some more pediatric training. And one of the classes I had to take was called neuro-sensory integration. And I really had no idea what that meant. But when I sat in the class, she, the teacher basically described my kid. Often they have some sort of birth trauma. Often there’s a gap in their development or they develop a synchronistically. And they just process the environment different than typical kids. And so we see lots of meltdowns, we see lots of behavioral issues.

Sometimes they have challenges with school, sometimes they’re really smart, but it just shows up in their behavior differently. And anyway, so I just started doing some different types of work with Jared and the neuro-sensory work and it made such a difference for him. He was like a different kid in six months after we started doing this work with him. And it was like finally he was okay to be comfortable in his body and his nervous system started to adapt more appropriately.

Michelle:  Wow. That’s fascinating. And so now in your practice now, when you have a family come to you and you are treating them for Chiropractic, is there something that you start seeing signs of things that you can help them and then you started doing other, like you, then your practice opens up. So then you’re looking at the more of the bigger picture of the puzzle. Is that how it works?

Dr Nareeta:  Yeah, it really goes back to the birth process actually. We have these things called primitive reflexes and they help us get born and they help us survive that first year of life. And then by the time we’re one years old, those reflexes are supposed to be integrated into the rest of the nervous system. But what we find with these kids, and it, it, to me, the label doesn’t necessarily matter. It doesn’t matter if they can be labeled as ADHD or perhaps on the spectrum, or even giftedness comes with some sensory overlays. What they do have in common is these primitive reflexes. And so even with babies, I will start to work with them right from the get go to make sure that they’re hitting their milestones and their movement patterns are happening in sequence so that their nervous system engine developed at it’s best. And the older kids that I work with, I’ll usually see them because they, somebody been to a pediatrician or they’ve got a letter back from school saying that so and so’s having some challenges with sitting still or all kinds of different behaviors showing up. And then we start to explore, okay, what is the underlying cause because no child ever means to behave badly, there’s always something going on underneath. And so it’s our job to figure out what that is and the best way to support them.

Michelle:  Wow. That’s like a major puzzle that you have to solve.

Dr Nareeta:  Definitely. Each kid is different and it does, it is a big puzzle piece.

Michelle:  And how great is that going to one place that you can kind of really take a look at the whole picture? Cause what I found, with experience in going to different places for different things, but there wasn’t really one umbrella of what someone that could take a look at the whole kid as a picture until I came to your to Strawberries and Sunshine. This is the practice that Dr Nareeta has. And it’s amazing because you have so many different practitioners that can really help with all areas of a whole, whole approach. Right.

Dr Nareeta:  Well, that’s the thing I found in my own experience as a parent. And, Jared didn’t just need one thing. You know, he needed to work with a counselor that really supported him. We needed to address his nutrition and his gut and his digestion. And then, and then chiropractic and the exercise portion was, it was important for him, but because each child is different, it’s hard as a mom, you know, to run around to 8,000 different places to get your child all the services and therapies that they need. So I really wanted to make it easy for the moms. So that, you know, mom could go get a massage while Johnny’s doing his exercises or, you know, uh, Jared has a sister and he’s been really intense and hard on her. So every once in a while she needs to come in and talk to somebody to get taken care of. And so let’s take care of the whole family. But these kids, because they are so intense, it’s important that they get their needs met and we figure out the puzzle for them.

Michelle:  Hmm. So there may be some parents listening to this and there may have been a few things that you’ve said that’s maybe put some light bulbs on in their heads. What maybe can you tell us, what are maybe some signs of kids who maybe need to come in and see you know, some sort of treatment, based on what’s happening in their life. What are some signs of kids not transitioning well?

Dr Nareeta:  Well, it can affect all different types of behavior. Anxiety is a big one that we’re seeing more and more of. Often kids will have meltdowns a lot and it’s more than your typical kind of kid tantrum. I’m not getting what I want kind of behavior. Sometimes kids are really sensitive to loud sounds. They don’t do well when they go to the mall or the movies or fireworks. We have a lot of kids that have tactile or touch sensitivities. So somebody gets up in their space. You know, they’ll turn around and punch them because it’s, they’re extra sensitive to that kind of input. And then, we have a whole group of kids that just, have a hard time telling where their body is in space. So often they get labeled as clumsy or aggressive, and they’re the ones that seem to struggle the most with transitions. So moving from one activity to the next, and even if you give them sort of five, 10 minute warning, “okay, we’re going to go to the car now”, it’s still a big deal for them to move from what they’re doing into the new, the new activity.

Michelle:  So are there some things that we can help parents with? As far as you mentioned, you know, giving them a more, a warning, a 10 minute warning, five minute warning that you’re going to transition to another activity. Are there some other things that we can be doing that could help support them.

Dr Nareeta:  Lists are actually really beneficial for kids often, especially in the morning when we’re getting ready for school. So some of the kids tend to go into molasses mode. I call it where it’s like moving through molasses and you’re trying to get them to, you know, get dressed and get their teeth brushed and get ready for school. And it’s like they’re moving so slow through running molasses. So sometimes we will have a list. So I want you to get dressed, make your bed and brush your teeth and then they get to tick off on the list when they’ve done something and then go back to the list when they start getting distracted by other activities. Definitely warnings are very important. So, if you can preplan and prep what they’re doing for the day, then they can be more prepared. But just the best thing is just to have understanding, you know, so when that child is moving really slow, they’re not actually doing it on purpose and they’re not doing it to irritate us, they’re actually in some avoidance mechanism where there might be some stress and anxiety going on to because of what they’re moving into,

Michelle:  Even though it may seem like they’re trying to annoy us.

Dr Nareeta:  It’s very frustrating as a parent, believe me.

Michelle:  Yes, I can see that. So what are some things that parents can look out for and be aware of and then what are some solutions to things that we might be seeing in our kids?

Dr Nareeta:  Any time there’s unexplained behavior or I think the biggest thing is the kids that aren’t coping with the day some of them can’t sit in a desk all day, so they need more movement. Or if they’re doing sort of things that aren’t typical of what their peers are doing. Maybe it’s time to look at the underlying patterns and what’s going on underneath for them. Chiropractic is definitely really important. Balancing the nervous system helps them interpret the information coming in differently. And we do have studies and see changes in their behavior after they get regularly adjusted. And then exercise and movement is usually important too. We make our kids sit still for way too long these days. Or they’re on their screens and they’re not getting the three-dimensional movement through space that our bodies actually require.

Michelle:  Right. And do you think that’s part of the reason that we’re seeing more kids that are on the spectrum or have sensory where issues, like, it seems to be maybe was not so prevalent back in like the eighties and nineties, but now it seems to be more at the, you know, the forefront of even media or is that just because now we’re more aware of it?

Dr Nareeta:  I think it’s a bit of both. There is definitely more awareness and our education system has changed a lot in the last 20 years. And it’s more than that. There’s our kids are coming in with their cups full already. You know, our environment is really toxic and our grandparents made environmental decisions that we, that have affected our genetics. So there’s the genetic component to it as well. And then if kids are as babies moving from plastic buckets to plastic swings to Jolly Jumpers to their kids don’t crawl around on the floor like they used to.

They don’t play in the dirt like they used to. So it’s kind of a combination of all of those things that affect, that has affected how our nervous system is developed. And then if they’re on a screen too soon, it also affects their brain development as well.

Michelle:  Wow. That’s interesting. And do you think that you know, the limiting the amount of screen is a good thing or is there a certain age that kids should be, no, I know this is a very hot topic. What are your suggestions around screen time with kids?

Dr Nareeta:  Well, yes, that’s a tough one. I do agree with the American pediatrics associations guidelines. They actually recommend that kids before two, don’t have access to a screen. And it’s really tough to enforce, you know, I have two, my kids are 14 now and trying to enforce them off their screens is a battle. So you really have to pick your battles.

Michelle:  I would imagine that that would be a little bit of a tricky thing. I mean, my daughter’s not even two yet and I, she knows how to find an app on an iPad and it’s just very hard to keep that away from her because the siblings and also just environment too. So yeah, I can see, I can see that. And we just recently moved off the grid in, into an environment where we’re outside most of the day and we don’t have TV, we don’t have internet, we have Internet, but not, you know, the kids aren’t on the Internet and they’re outside playing in the dirt more. And I’ve noticed a difference in their behavior and just them physically as well.

Dr Nareeta:  Yeah. All of those things make such a huge difference.

Michelle:  So, yeah. And I would imagine that you know, parents that are living in the city and you know, kids are going to be inside a little bit more sitting in school. What are some suggestions that you can give to parents to really help us, you know embrace as some of the, some of the activities that we, the kid should be doing on a regular basis that would really be supporting their nervous system?

Dr Nareeta:  Definitely the playground is the best place for preschoolers in particular. There’s all kinds of different levels and heights of equipment. Walking along a balance beam, bouncing, spinning, touching grass, touching wood, getting all kinds of different tactile, sensory input is really important. If kids avoid certain types of textures, it is good to encourage them to, and they sometimes they might have to be desensitized so when you put a baby’s feet in the grass the first time, it’s really, it’s a funny sensation for them, but the more textures they can get exposed to as their nervous system is developing, the more they can process information later on. I’m a big fan of martial arts and gymnastics and anything that involves cross body movements, opposite hands and foot type activities. And then for babies crawling actually is really important to nervous system development. If a child doesn’t crawl properly the connections in the brain aren’t established as well as what they could be.

Michelle:  That’s really interesting and it’s not something that I ever would have thought of before you are mentioning it is just, you know, the different, you know, when you’re describing it, it’s funny going through my head, it was like, you know, touching the grass, touching the wood, that kind of thing. I’m like, that’s what all kids should be doing. But the more you think about it, a lot of kids aren’t doing that right now. And it’s interesting that you know that that is something that’s so important. And I don’t think we just thought that that’s part of childhood, but it’s really so important like you mentioned. I think that’s really interesting. So our parents who are listening today, they have kids going back to school in a couple of weeks. What is something that, what are some things that they can do to help with this transition? And help prepare their kids for a big transition coming up.

Dr Nareeta:  I think the sooner you can start a routine, the easier it helps them transition. So make sure bedtime starts getting earlier, make sure they’re eating well and getting good protein in their days. And then when if they do have behavioral challenges showing up or they start getting anxious, it’s really important to acknowledge that. They might not necessarily know what’s driving the anxiety or the feelings that they’re having. But if you can provide them with a space to talk about that. And that’s the, so for Jared, what we used to do is just make sure that we would start you know, bedtime would get a little bit earlier, we’d make sure he had a good dinner and then give him some space to talk about what he was feeling and talk about what’s coming up for school. The biggest thing is cause they don’t know what’s gonna happen. So maybe they’re going into a new classroom, maybe they don’t remember who their teachers going to be and who their friends are going to be. And all that stuff affects the kids and how they think about things.

Michelle:  And so now back to school is one of the big transitions throughout the year. There are other transitions throughout the year that are just as important and the same sort of, we should be doing the same sort of things before those transitions as well.

Dr Nareeta:  I noticed headed into Christmas, a lot of kids tend to have more struggles too. It’s a very busy time of year. There’s usually lots of late nights and there’s lots of changes in their routines. So often kids have concerts at school and so they’re not in regular class like they usually are. And so again, it is, it’s really just about awareness. So every time a child’s behavior shows up, what is it that’s driving that need? And the question is, you know, are they hungry? Are they tired, are they getting sick? And then, what can we do as parents to support them with that?

Michelle:  So Dr Nareeta, throughout our conversation today, we’ve mentioned some signs of, you know, kids struggling with transitions and maybe this is sparked some questions for parents or what are some resources or what are some things that parents can do to make sure that our kids are following along the proper sensory development paths and what’s your recommendations?

Dr Nareeta: That’s a great question. I think the biggest thing is awareness. That there is something going on. Especially as moms, we have this mama intuition that especially with our kids are concerned that something’s not quite right or something that we need to step in because something’s off for our child. And so if you’re not getting answers from your pediatrician or your GP or the traditional modes of support, what other alternatives are out there? And, and so my full personal philosophy is that health is a little bit like a five pillar approach. We have our nutrition. We have our exercise and movement. We have our sleep patterns. But then we also have our thinking and our my philosophy with my kids is that our thoughts are things and so our thinking process can actually influence our health very much as well.

And then the foundation of it all is a properly functioning nervous system. If your nervous system is not functioning right and as a chiropractor, that’s my gig. Then it’s harder for us to be healthy if there’s interference in that nervous system. And the biggest thing that causes interference in the nervous system is stress. So whether it’s chemical stress or physical stress or emotional stress, it all adds up. It shows up in our body and it interferes with how our nerves work. And as a chiropractor we access the nervous system through the spine and help remove that interference by helping the spine physically move better. So definitely explore things like massage therapy and perhaps talk to a naturopath and a nutritionist. And definitely see a chiropractor. Those are sort of all foundational things that parents can do to support their child’s health journey.

Michelle:  That’s amazing. And you know, I have always felt by going to see you, because you’re so knowledgeable on the whole picture of everything has been great because we’d go see for Chiropractic, but I feel like, you know, I can ask you questions about, you know, you know, my son’s speech is a little bit slow what should we do? His behaviors a little bit crazy right now. What should we do? And it’s great because, you know, you’ve really embraced the whole, whole picture and the whole puzzle. And I appreciate that from a, as a practitioner because, you know, you kind of need someone to talk to about the whole picture where, you know, he can’t just be focused on one thing and it’s the whole, you know, the whole process. So we’ve gone through the food allergy testing and, you know, some of the behavior things and speech therapy and that kind of thing as a result from coming to see you, which has been really great.

And you know, we’ve really been able to work on my son at an early age and I think that’s been really helpful. So as he’s going into kindergarten this year I know there’s a big transition coming up and I feel like I’m a little bit more prepared because of knowing you and because of seeing you, because I don’t think I ever would have been aware of these kinds of things. Had it not been for coming to see you on a regular basis. So there’s something huge to be said as the taking care of the chiropractic side of things, with someone who’s so knowledgeable. So I appreciate that and I just wanted to thank you for that.

Dr Nareeta:  Thank you.

Michelle: You’re welcome. So, as we’re, as you’re moving forward with your clinic, what do you see for Strawberries and Sunshine as being in the forefront of this whole, you merging sensory development, new neuro, sensory issues,

Dr Nareeta:  Developmental disorders?

Michelle:  Developmental issues. Can you tell us what you see for Strawberries and Sunshine and where you guys are at within the industry?

Dr Nareeta:  Well, one in six of our children are being diagnosed or labeled with some kind of neuro-developmental condition. And as a parent, I understand how intense, expensive and draining these kids are. So my whole clinic is built around the philosophy of supporting them and supporting their families.And to me it’s really important that moms like me with kids like Jared can find hope and healing. And so even if we don’t have the answers here, we do everything we can to help parents and families find the answers to help their children. And it is unacceptable to me that one in six children are diagnosed. So as a society, we need to make some changes and we need to start supporting our kids before they’re even born. Moms, teenagers, and families in their parent planning years. There are things that we can do to support our child’s neuro-development in the future. And so as a clinic and a business owner, that’s the direction that we’re headed in is what kind of prevention things can we put in place because that statistic is unacceptable on my watch.

Michelle:  Agreed and wow, I didn’t realize that. Such as like, that’s huge. And do you think that is it a combination of a lot of different things or is it mainly contributed to a couple of things?

Dr Nareeta:  It’s a multi-factorial result. It, we have way more chemicals in our environment than we used to. Our genetics have changed in the last couple of years and we’re way more aware of how our genes get turned on and off. And then how our bodies are just interacting with the environment is different too. And we have to take all those things into account. So it’s not about laying blame, it’s about really looking at where things are at and what we can do differently.

Michelle:  Yeah. And that’s a scary reality of wow. Yeah. Not only do they need more play time and eat or more healthy foods and chemicals and environment, it’s just like looking at everything in your life, your between your cleaning supplies and your shampoos and your toothpastes and everything. It’s just amazing. And you know how you cut your grass and you know what plants you have in your house. It’s, it can be overwhelming.

Dr Nareeta:  It’s very overwhelming. And I remember when the twins were first born, I was just, I couldn’t listen to or read to all that stuff because I just would want to crawl into a hole and never come out. And what I’ve discovered in, you know, over the years is you have to take the steps that you’re comfortable with and you have to take it and break it down and do it at a speed that works for you and your family and what you believe about health and what your values are. So anytime we’re making decisions in our house about things like that, we come back to, okay, what do I believe about health and what are my values as a family? And then we make decisions from there.

Michelle:  That’s so important. And thank you for reminding us that it’s all about your values too. And you know, I appreciate the work you guys are doing Strawberries and Sunshine and I wish there was more clinics out there that will take, you know, follow your lead in what’s in the whole, the whole body approach and you know, treating a person as an individual,rather than what they have as a label.

So, thanks Dr Nareeta for your time today and for parents out there that are wanting to get in touch with Dr Nareeta feel free to find her on Its in Port Coquitlam, in BC. And if you are not in that area, please do get in touch with her by email or phone and she’ll be able to support you as well. And even if you’re not in our area, here in Vancouver. So thank you Dr Nareeta for your time today, and I know you’re busy, you have patients to see and lives, to change, so we won’t keep you any longer, but thanks so much for your time today.

Dr Nareeta:  Thanks so much, Michelle. It was great to be here.

Michelle: Take care.

Connect with Dr Nareeta:

Website ►
Phone ►(604) 944-6002
Email ►

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The “Neuro-Science” of Child Behavior with Adele Anderson  (#4)

The “Neuro-Science” of Child Behavior with Adele Anderson (#4)


Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we are joined by one of our expert faculty members Adele Anderson. She is an NLP (aka Neuro-Linguistic Programming) master and practitioner trainer.

Adele’s specialty is working with people and more specifically counselors, families, and children.  Her work helps with home behavior issues like listening, family connection and taking influential control of communication with your kids.

Adele’s work springboards the concepts and ability in learning how to manage both ours and our child’s emotions. Further deepening our family connections with each other.

Michelle: Hello and welcome to The Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Abraham. And today I am joined by a really special guest, one of our Blissful Parenting expert faculty members. Her name is Adele Anderson. She is an NLP master, NLP practitioner trainer. And for those of you that don’t know what NLP is, neuro linguistic programming. So Adele’s specialty is, she works with people, specifically counselors, families and children to help in home behavior issues like listening, having great connection as a family, taking control of communication in a way that’s as you can have influence with your kids. And just all sorts of great things that will help you and your children behave and communicate properly together. And then outside of the home, Adele really works with people to help. Like, oh, I know she specifically helps people with learning. So it helps you springboard your learning, grasping concepts and ability to learn how to manage our emotions.

So that’s a really great thing. And one of the great things that Adele really wants her clients to know and you out there Blissful Parenting and listeners is that you know she helps parents realize that behavior is not your children. It is a form of communication. So that’s so interesting. I Adele thank you so much for being with us today. She is also the author of “Our Communication As a Superpower”, course in The Blissful Parenting library. So make sure you check that out. You can find her at So thank you Adele for being with us today. Excited to have you here.

Adele: Thank you Michelle. I’m looking forward to our conversation. I’m always happy to check in with you and see what’s new at Blissful Parenting.

Michelle: Yeah, so great to have you on board today. I love just our conversations today. We’re specifically talking about the neuroscience of behavior. So this is going to be a juicy one guys. Make sure you’re listening into it. So Adele, I’d love to start with like really let’s some of our listeners know you already. Some are just hearing you for the first time. So let’s take a little bit of a step back and then hear a little bit about your background. So I’d love to hear what you, how you got to this place and working with families and children. Counselors.

Adele: Yeah. Well it’s been a, it’s been a road, like everyone has their journey. So my journey began with a turning point story where I was, I found myself trapped inside a plane that had crashed and overturned in water. And the phenomenal speed and recovery of my brain to source the information that I needed was something that I just couldn’t let go of. It was something that I searched for years to try to find the tools or to try to find an understanding with how that happened for me and why I was able to survive. And when I found NLP it was really the Aha moment, I can understand how the subconscious mind played an incredible role in my survival. And it sent me on a, trajectory where I wanted to know more.

And so, you know, I started up off just being a practitioner and then a Master Practitioner and finally got my trainers. And I am passionate about neuroscience because if it can save your life, it can certainly change the behavior of your child. So, it’s something that again, I love to share, because I’m so passionate about it and it really relates to each and every person on this planet because we’re all working with the same subconscious and conscious connections within our ourselves. And to explore that and to understand it better really makes us a stronger, better, faster, wiser. I could go on and on.

Michelle: Okay. I love that. Thank you, you’re so knowledgeable. In this topic and I love like just hearing all sorts of … you can hear the passion coming through you when you’re talking about these things and what an incredible story you have to start us off with that. It’s an amazing thing that your brain did in that moment. I just can’t believe that that’s something that you can remember that your subconscious works that way is incredible. So in relation to behavior, how does the subconscious and like behavior kind of work together?

Adele: Well, when we think about children, the brain is still developing. It doesn’t actually fully mature the Neocortex, which is our greatest, latest invention. And you know, human development, you know, it’s got lots of cool tools, but fundamentally the child is working within the subconscious brain, which is mature when they are born. But Neocortex doesn’t mature until they’re about 25. So you can see the difference in concepts from the two brains and which one is really in the powerhouse. And truthfully, the speed of the neocortex always is considered the slow brain, even though it’s the wise brain. And it works out about a hundred to 120 miles per hour, where the subconscious brain works at over a hundred thousand miles per hour. And so we can use this subconscious power to engage with our child sooner, but it takes a different language that we have to have different tools in order to communicate on a subconscious brain level versus, you know, a task learning, developing neocortex.

Michelle: Wow, that’s fascinating. And I know from personally working with you, with my son, you’ve got all sorts of really great tools to do this and to, for me it was fascinating to learn about the different communication styles, that each of us have in how my communication style and my son’s communications that are completely different and how to kind of money maneuver through that. Can you think, you know, just share with our parents a little bit about what those communication different styles are and how they impact our communication.

Adele: Sure. Leaping ahead a little bit because of course, all communication requires rapport, rapport builds trust, and then the child engages with you. So of course children are bonding with your parents, but at those difficult times we see them sort of separate and that’s natural to psychological evolution. But getting back to your question, Michelle, you’re talking about something called Four Tupple and there’s actually, what we’re talking about really is our senses. So our sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, olfactory, kinesthetic, which is our feeling, what we feel emotionally as well as physically. So if you, if you’re looking outside right now I’m looking outside over the Pacific Ocean and so quite visual, my world is coming into me visually. I see the sparkling sun off the water. I see, you know, the texture of the different islands as they get further away from me.

You know, I see certain things, I can feel the wind coming through my window giving me the temperature on my skin. You know, I can hear the whistling of the wind outside. So this is how I’m taking in the expression of my outer world. And this is the outer world. This inside, this bag of skin is our life, right? So our experience of our outer existence comes in through our sensory expression and there are stronger expressions in each of our children. So we want to know if they are a visual thinker or if they’re interpreting their world through auditory through sounds. Or are they listening to music versus are they looking at the written word or looking out into their environment? Are they feeling, are they picking up in grasping things, playing Lego, or are they very like deep seated emotionally. So the child is learning through their environment in a specific way.

Do you want to identify which of the senses your child is using to understand their world? And that’s known as Four Tupple.

Michelle: Oh, that’s amazing. And you know, it’s interesting because I related back to like, I remember reading the book, the four love languages and communicating with your husband. Is that the same thing that he’s using in that kind of theory in the book?

Adele: Well, I haven’t actually read that book so I can’t comment on it. But we do definitely know that men and women communicate differently on quite different levels and women are more verbal with their need to express themselves. There’s a bunch of different psychological things happening between men and women. So definitely there may be similar points in that you’re watching for certain clues and your education. But again, because I’m not aware of that specific book, I can comment on it.

Michelle: Okay. I always wondered about that since I started learning about your Four Tupple I was curious about that. Ah, that’s great. Do you,so now that we know the Four Tupple, like kind of communication styles, how can we then use that as a parent to our advantage in communicating with our kids?

Adele: Yeah, because we were talking about rapport. So rapport means that we kind of, you know, you, you have certain people that you find yourself really comfortable with because he kind of speaks the same language. You enjoy the same things. You have similar interests. So this makes us bond. And when we’re looking for connectedness with families, because we want ongoing influence over our children, we want this bond. And rapport is part of that. So knowing that your child’s representational styles, you’re the Four Tupples, the sensory intake allows you to communicate using words that fall into those groups. So again, if we’re talking, your child is very visual, you might notice that they watch you, they repeat by watching you versus an auditory child. Maybe repeat by listening to you. Where a kinesthetic child may, learn by repeating what you do. So you start to learn your child’s natural way to communicate and to bring information in.

And then we can use those, those types of words. So to explain that better, you know, if someone said, Ican see what you mean, well see is a visual word. Someone else might say, I get you. Well getting is actually a physical aspect of picking something up and I am getting it. So that’s a kinesthetic way of speaking. Where someone else might say, I hear what you’re saying. So here of course as an auditory word. So when we talk about Four Tupple, we’re actually listening within their communication to us the actual words that they’re using to describe their experience or to communicate with you. And if you hear a lot of words like hear, listen, tune into, a vibration, the song, the beat that you can hear. All of these words relate on a tutorial. So you can start to make word lists of the types of words your child’s using and then you use those types of words too because they are going to tune when they think you get them, when they think you understand them as because your communicating in their style of thinking not in your own. So you’re adapting your normal style and you’ll cross over with them on some levels. But you really want to be conscious of the words that you use when you actually have this conversation with your child.

Michelle: Oh, that’s fascinating. I love what you said, like keeping track of that and like writing it down so I can visualize, you know, parents like out there get their iPhones out, taking notes of when the kids are talking and like what kind of language they’re using. And when someone, when you feel like you’re understood, I think that will help with communication so much and just help them feeling connected with each other like you mentioned. I think that’s really great. So, now using this as a parent I think is going to be a really interesting tool. When you’re working with your parents and your families and the counselors and stuff. What exactly do you do with the families or with the counselors? Or how do you, in a sort of initiate like these kinds of things into,some of the tools that parents can use?

Adele: Yeah, so the first part is me learning the, what we call the back end of the mind, the subconscious mind. So finding out what type of thinker they are. And there’s a second aspect of that, which is called the metamodel and meta-programs. Well, the metamodel is really the force behind their decision making styles. And once you know their meta-model, again, you can gain influence over their decisions. So by using the Four Tupple to get in there and wiggle in and persuade them. And then you want to actually find out what their major metamodel, the programs that are running in the background. So I’ll name off the top four towards and away, internal or external matched or mismatched. And one time and several times. What do they mean? Well towards in a way means that people are making decisions based on either fear or something exciting.

When someone is moving towards something, they’re usually excited about it and they use that type of language. I’m moving towards greater health versus moving away from being ill. So you’ll see moving away is a fear based. You can see them backing up in a way in order to achieve what they want versus someone who’s looking forward to something as moving towards it. So that’s one way. Which way do they go? You can figure it out by starting to ask them some questions and we’ll get into that. Internal or external. Everybody likes to have a compliment, but there’s some people that need to know externally that you did a good job versus other people they know intrinsically that the job was well done and that’s enough for them. So which one is it? And of course as our children are growing and developing herself esteem, we want to encourage them.

So being an external gratification towards the good things that your children are doing is always helpful. It’s not going to be something that you necessarily see them shy away from. Although I do know of one young boy who likes absolutely no attention placed on him, don’t throw him a birthday party. He is an extremely internal type of thinker and he knows that he’s done a good job because he does it. But he would be embarrassed if you were to congratulate him. So you’ll learn that quite quickly if your child has the same way. Matched and mismatched. I love this one and I often use maybe two different styles of pens or maybe two different styles of something that holds water, a drinking glass, a mug. And if you think that they’re the same because their function is the same because they both have a flat bottom, they both hold liquid, you know, you have a rim, then you would maybe be looking at your world by things that are similar versus other people might say they’re different, they’re a different size, they’re a different shape.

One holds more water or less, the rim is a different thickness so that they’re completely different. So when you have a child that is looking at the world and comparing differences and the parent, the mother or the father has a metamodel where they compare similarities to make sense of the world, you can see how we can miscommunicate. So again, it’s very important to know if your child is a matching type of thinker or a mismatching type of thinker. And the last one, and this is really important for parents with teens is the one time or the several times thinker and we all have them. We have friends that do research that ask 10 people that never buy a certain thing until they know all of the what that Crockpot has. And then they’ll decide, well, I’m never going to bake a cake in it. I’m going to decide on the model B.

So yes, this is your seven times person and they’re never going to buy something. Or very seldom will they make a decision based on impulse. Where the other one is a one times they hear it and they leap. And this goes towards drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, nasty stuff. So these impulsive types of thinker and children of course have less life, experience. And so we understand based on that alone that they will make riskier decisions. So by knowing your child’s metamodel and being able to influence and know the likelihood of which choice they’re going to make in a certain situation allows you to have greater influence over them even when you’re not around.

Michelle: Wow. Just think of like curfews and like that. Having the, you know, don’t stay out too late. Drinking talk. That would, that would just change a lot of those conversations I think. And also maybe now …

Adele: I want to interrupt you there because don’t is a word that’s dropped from our brain. So the child doesn’t here, don’t stay out late. What actually goes in is stay out late. Don’t is one of those wishy washy words that our brain doesn’t know what to do with. And so I encourage you, the next time you’ve used the word don’t is to think of what the, what you just said and how it went into their mind.

Michelle: Amazing. Is and one of those ones as well. Or but is another one of those tricky words?

Adele: There is a lot of words that are kind of wishy washy. Like try, right? Yeah. Maybe tomorrow, somewhere, any, anywhere in the future. It’s sort of giving the brain and out might, there’s a bunch of wishy washy words that give the brain you know, the, I put my left foot in I put my left foot out. It gives them an opportunity to sway or the brain doesn’t actually get called to action. So I can’t is a brilliant one. You know, there, there’s the old saying, we, we’ve all heard it; “Can’t never did anything”. It’s true because you’ve told your brain that a solution is not available. And so you’ve stopped your brain from sourcing, from every piece of information, 400 billion bytes per second of information that’s been downloaded into your brain. Everything that you’ve seen, heard, tasted, smelled, kinesthetically or physically. It’s all in there. And your universal in university, which is, you know, your subconscious brain inside your mind, this brilliant amount of information.

When we say can’t, like if I was in that plane upside down drowning and I would say I can’t get out, I would have drowned. I absolutely know that. But I didn’t say that. I said, I’m getting out of the plane now. Then my brain’s sourced the information, the exact information that I needed to get out of a plane that had crashed and overturned and water. Bigger story. But the words matter is what I’m trying to get down to. Words matter. They matter for our physiology and they matter for our action. So, you know, our awareness of that is key.

Michelle: Yeah. Such an incredible story. And so when you’re working with families, you get to know like the communication style and then the metamodel and then you, then you’re able to kind of formulate some ideas. What happens next when you’re working with them?

Adele: Depending on the, on the child and what, what the, what the parents have come for. But when we’re working with subconscious brain, we’re working with story, we’re working with metaphor, we’re working with synonyms, we’re working with you know, bringing in a comparison. So for example, if I want to tell a child a certain decision that would be good, I would want to influence them with someone who they already feel an affinity too. So we know that our little children are watching Paw Patrol or they’re watching transformers. I like to use Optimus Prime or Ryder as two examples. So if something is sort of, you know, going down that not the pipe in the wrong direction and you want to change it and you’re finding you’re not having the influence that you want because they’re not listening to mom, maybe mom doesn’t know the answer. You can say to them something like, I already know that you know the answer because you know, Ryder and rider knows the answer.

So you can use these tools of stories that they’re already aware of and pick the white light, the White Knight, you know, the hero’s journey. And your child has grasped onto that already. They already know the values of Optimus Prime, they know truth and honesty and sticking up for the little guy and you know, saving the world, they have it all. So we can engage our child in making good decisions by adopting or just dropping, dropping, mentioning a name of somebody that they already grasp onto like these, you know, these heroes journeys and some of these child models and stories. So use the stories, use the stories that they love, use the figures that they love in order to influence them. And again, bypassing the critical thinker of the brain by saying, I already know you know this. You already have the answer. You’re asking me, but you already know what I’m going to say.

So this bypasses that and goes right in and they already know the answers. No, they can’t have another Twinkie before bedtime. Right?

Michelle: Yeah. That’s great. I’m going to use that one tonight, but I want to treat no, it’s like bedtime. Gotta start using some of these good great little nuggets you have given us…So great. So now tell us a little bit about the course that you made with us at Blissful Parenting, such a great course and it’s using communication as your superpower. So can you tell us a little bit about the course? Who it’s for ? What they can expect to get? Some of the takeaways in the course?

Adele: Yeah, it’s like, it’s meant for the, you know, the younger family we’re talking about, you know, understanding our children from an earlier age. We’re talking about all aspects of communication and we know that verbal, the things that are coming out of our mouth is such a small portion of, you know, of the communication that we do.

Body language for example, is up to 70 to 80% of what we say. So when your child walks into the breakfast table in the morning and reads the room before you even told them, have they made their bed, have they brushed their teeth? Have they done all of this? They already know if mom’s in a good mood or if you know what’s happening within the house. They can tell by your body language. They can tell by the expression the mannerisms, the way you’re holding your hands. You know, is the dogs tail wagging in the right direction. So we talk about body language in the very first module and also define what body language your child is using. Are they worried? Are they disapproving? Are they feeling resistant? Are they feeling disrespectful? You know, are they yawning, coughing? Are they looking biting their lip or are they holding their bodies inward?

So we learn about this and of course children as they grow start to express themselves in different ways. Their hairstyle, the dress code that they’re stepping into. So we, when we start to see changes in behavior and disposition on our child, it’s good to know that there’s something going on. So that’s the first module. And then we actually learn about safe zones. So when we talk about safe zones, it’s stuff that we immediately know I can say I’m a cross walk. What do you, what comes to mind when you think of a crosswalk? Well, there’s usually people there that are assisting in keeping things safe. The traffic moves slower. Kids are supposed to be able to move within that and feel protected. So that’s kind of a safe zone. If you think about a construction site, you know, is there danger? What is the natural feel of a construction site?

Or what about a church? You know? So we have these natural feelings that are connected to certain spaces and we can do the same thing within our home to create safe zones, which is kind of becomes a symbol that is within your child’s mind to know that it’s okay to share here. It’s okay to communicate here. I’m going to be listened to, I’m going to be heard. I can bring my friends, we can hang out, we know what is expected in the house. And then we get into a little bit of a deeper zone because obviously behavior happens and we want a harmonious house. So how do we manage that within a safe zone of the house? And it comes with criteria. So we learn what the criteria is and how we can engage in a respectful communication, which means two way dialogue and begin these forms of a harmonious house.

Module three is about magic words, knowing that there is more power in because then in please, knowing you know, you know already that if you were to say your child’s first name and second name gets their attention, if you say their first, second and last name, then you’ve got their attention.So there, there are words and associative words that we learn have more power and words that engage the imagination. So if I right now was asking you to imagine picking up a yellow lemon, bringing it up to your nose, taking a nice sniff, and then taking a wide mouth and bite right into it. What happens?

Michelle: Oh my God, that’s so funny. You mouth starts going crazy already. So funny. So visual.

Adele: We realize that words have power, right? And they have the power to ignite our imagination into something that we as parents want to focus on.

So, this is the third module. And then the fourth module moves on to oops, I passed it. Let me just go back up to destinational parenting, which is you learning the, the map of your child’s decision making process. So that you know, the foundation of how their brain not only takes in the information, through the Four Tupple, but then what it does with it and, and how that is, is going to result in you having more comfort in knowing that your child is making a certain decision. Even when you’re not there, you’re pretty certain of how their mind works. And when they come up to a certain situation in their young life with less life experience than what we have, you know, a situation that could be dangerous to them. What is the likelihood of them making either a good decision or a decision that might not be as friendly towards them?

And the fast one, the last one is called heart harmony. And it’s recognizing that we have brain cells in our heart. We have 40,000 sensory neuro sites in our heart. And quite often we forget about that. You know, they always say, speak from your heart. You know, I once had a client say, how can you ever be mad at somebody if you come from a place of love? And I know that we get triggered, but that’s our own baggage. We have to realize that what we, what we find upsetting within us is because it resonates with us somewhere. And learning how to be more settled at remembering to speak through this smaller functioning brain that’s within our heart actually reduces strength, increases our risen resilience and actually makes us live longer. So the body chemistry associated with heart harmony is worthwhile learning.

Michelle: Amazing. I love it. Oh, in giving such a great overview, our listeners, I’m sure now can really get a good picture of, and good idea of what it’s like to work with you and what it’s like to learn about the superpowers and using communication as a super power. I think that’s so important. And the connectedness, you know, we talked about that a lot. And I think with all the devices we have these days and the computers and the long commutes and you know, kids in daycares and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re just not as connected as we used to be as families. And I think this is really, you know, it’s really important to learn these things, to really feel that connectedness again with the families. I know as my kids have gone from two years old to three years old to now, you know, my oldest is going to be seven in a few weeks.

I feel not as connected as he’s getting older because he didn’t need me as much. So you know learning to get those connected things back through our communication and through, you know, just listening and taking the time with each other too is so important. So thank you for inspiring us today with your amazing skills and NLP and I’m so excited to, you know, just let parents know that this is something that’s available out there. This is a tool that we have, the science backed tools that are at our tips for resources to use for parenting. Like we’re not alone. This is, this has been around for a long time. This is proven techniques. This is very cool. And I think applying it to parenting is such a good thing. So Adele, thank you so much for being with us today. I wanted to thank you.

We are so lucky to have you on our faculty of Blissful Parenting. You know, guys, if you’re interested in this, in the communication of superpower course, please go check it out at And Adele, make sure you follow Adele. She’s got lots of great, lots of great things. Her podcast is “Mind Your Freedom”. You can find that on Apple podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify, all the major platforms out there. And you know, just want to get into this minding, you know being mindful of our communication and I think this will help us all become better parents. So thank you Adele for being with us today.

Adele: Thanks so much for allowing me to share. Michelle, I’m so passionate about what we can do for ourselves, for our families, for our children, to make all of our lives you know, just function better. But also to, you know, enjoy the process. Raising kids is one of the biggest things we’ll ever do. And to have a few more tools, ways to switch out what’s not working is a, you know, is just, it’s there for you if you need it, it’s there for you.

Michelle: That’s amazing. And I heard a statistic from someone earlier where we spend 90% of the time we’re ever going to spend with our children before they turn age 10. So that’s crazy. We can think of it that way. But you know that’s when it’s so important in this, you know, in their early stages of the communication. And Adele, if people want to reach out to you directly, where can they find you?

Adele: My email is, you can go to my website, which is I’m here for you. If you have a quick question, just pop it in. I’m more than happy to send you back a quick text and tell you a little bit more about what I do or even just answer a quick question for you.

Michelle: Wow. Yeah. That parents who’ve got her cell phone number to text her question. That’s amazing. Thank you, Adele, for your generosity and your wisdom today. And parents make sure you connect with Adele and keep following her, listen to her podcast “Mind Your Freedom”. It’s awesome, and stay tuned. See you next time on the Blissful Parenting Podcast. Thanks again.

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Self-Esteem Activities For Kids with Paula Howley  (#3)

Self-Esteem Activities For Kids with Paula Howley (#3)



Do you have a child that is struggling with confidence and being assertive outside of the home? If so, then join us today as we talk to Paula Howley owner of Headstart Public Speaking. She is a mother and a homeschooler who works with children in the area of confidence building through public speaking. 

Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we learn just how valuable public speaking is when it comes to nurturing confidence in our children.

Michelle:  Welcome everyone to The Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m Michelle Abraham, your host today and today I’m joined by a really special guest. I’m really excited to have her here today with us to shed some light on public speaking for kids. So I’m with Paula Howley today and she is the owner and founder of Head Start Public Speaking For Kids. She’s a mom and she’s homeschooled her daughter and has been speaking and winning awards for her speaking. And she’s now working with kids in workshops and classes and is about to take over the world of public speaking for kids. So welcome Paula, so happy to have you here with us today.

Paula: I’m glad to be here Michelle.

Michelle: And it’s interesting, Paula, I love to start with right from the beginning because public speaking for kids, when I saw your, when you start your business, I was like, wow, I’ve never seen that before. As a, as a class or a workshop for kids. So can you tell us a little bit about how you got there and what made you focus on public speaking for kids?

Paula: This is kind of a two part story actually. And I’ll start way back when I was a kid, I was 16 years old and I was one of those kids who spent a lot of time smoking cigarettes in the parking lot and not going to a lot of classes. I was kind of bored and trouble at home and stuff like that. Like a lot of teenagers. Luckily for me there was a teacher, her name was Miss Gorski. And I was, I was a talented writer. I liked writing still. And one day she took me aside, she was my English teacher and said, Paula, I like this essay that you’ve written and I think that you should enter it in a public speaking contest. The thing was, was that when she took me aside and said that, it was like somebody saying, I see something in you.

Paula: And she was probably the only person to have said that to me in a very long time. So it sparked a desire in me to live up to that. And I spent the next few weeks and months practicing that speech, going to the library, trying to figure out what was good for public speaking. This was back pre-internet days, right? And I ended up doing really well. I won that contest. I went on to all city and came in second. And, it really changed the way I thought about myself for the rest of my life because I knew that I could do something hard now or what people considered to be hard and, and an important skill. So, despite the fact that I didn’t get my stuff together for another decade and a half, that experience gave me the knowledge that I could do something of worth. And I used that, that skill to speak up for people for the rest of my life. Really. Now we’ll fast forward to, a couple decades later when I married, I’ve got a little girl who’s two years old. I’m at home and I’m slowly losing my mind due to lack of communication with adults.

Michelle: Yeah, I can relate too.

Paula: So I’m at home and my husband says, hey honey, I heard about this thing called toastmasters. It’s a public speaking club with clubs all over the world. And I thought, okay, I, that was something I liked to do back in the day, so I’ll give it a shot. And I, I mostly went for social reasons. I wanted to get out and speak to other adults and kind of get my brain working in an intellectual way again. And, I really enjoyed it and I ended up doing really well. Ended up winning a bunch of contests there too and made it to, you know, the finals in British Columbia one year. And, yeah, it was something I really enjoyed. I also have, a bit of a background in gymnastics coaching too, so I’d worked with kids prior, but I had a friend come up to me and say, she was a leader of a girl scout troop and she said, Hey Paula, would you consider doing a public speaking workshop for my girl scout troop?

Paula: And Wow, I loved the idea of that. I was super excited about it. So I put something together and did this workshop with these girls for nine weeks and oh my gosh, it was so much fun. I just saw these kids transform, you know, and it was something else. I, I was, I was fired up by it. I was excited by it. I knew, I felt like, oh, it’s, it’s what happened to me when I was a kid, you know, and I saw it making a difference. So I ended up doing a few more workshops and one of those workshops was so successful that the parents have pounding me to turn it into a business so that I could serve more people. And they were so persistent that I finally said, okay, okay, I’ll do it. And so that was four years ago and started giving classes and, and here we are today.

Michelle: Oh, that’s awesome. I love how that, you just went for it and you did a program for some girls and you saw such a huge transformation. Can you tell us a story from one of your clients over the last couple of years and what kind of an impact it’s made on, on the kids lives. One of my favorite students, I probably shouldn’t say that, but one of my favorite students I guess I’ll say is Brooke. Brooke came to me a couple of years ago and she was so shy, she wouldn’t even look up from the ground when she was speaking to me. She wouldn’t, she couldn’t look up at anybody and she couldn’t get more than, um, um, out of her mouth. And it was, it was painful to watch because I knew how difficult it was for her. It was the, the discomfort was emanating from body, you know, but I have to save something for Brooke.

Paula: She’s a determined young lady. She decided that she wanted to get better at this. And so she worked the program. She really did. She did the work and slowly, gradually she got better and better. And she ended up emceeing the final presentation night that year, which basically was, you know, running the show in front of an audience of about 60 people. So that’s a huge, and she did a great job. She was, she was witty and she was funny, and you could tell it wasn’t, it still wasn’t natural for her, but she was doing it and I was so proud of her, Michelle. Really!

Michelle: Wow. That’s amazing. I love stories like that. I’m sure you have thousands of stories like that. Yeah, definitely. So what do you think it is? Like if you were to, if you were to be able to talk to some parents, earlier in their kids, like, you know, going into school or whatever, what were, what would be some things that you’d be able to, you know, based on your experience, what you’ve seen, tell our parents to kind of, help kids get through that confidence, or fear of speaking, as they get older?

Paula: This is something that I still work with with my daughter who’s been taking public speaking for four years and she’s quite outspoken, but there are still some days when she struggles. For example, recently she’s 11 now and recently there’s been a boy who has been borderline whistling at her while she rides her bike by. And I’ve told her, honey, you have to get off your bike and walk up to him and look him in the eye and say, I don’t like what you’re doing. It makes me uncomfortable and I want you to stop and you, and to be very blunt and basic about it and, and try and shut off the emotion when you say it, which is very difficult to do. She’s done things like this in the past. She’s, she’s been very forthright with people. But she still struggles. It’s, it’s an ongoing thing.

Paula: But I, I know she’s going to get there because this is important to her too. So I think that you, you have to be able to give your kids a voice very young and also to listen to them very young. And that’s really hard to do because as moms and Dads, we have a lot of other things going on too, so it’s hard to sit and listen sometimes, but it’s a really important thing to do to let them say what they want to say and then let them know that it’s okay to say what they want to say and to give them opportunities to continue to voice their opinion in other avenues in front of other people in front of other adults. Just give them as many opportunities as possible to speak who they are and to encourage them to do it publicly too, because this is a skill that we all need and we’re all going to be taking out into the world, whether it’s making a new friends or in a job interview or asking someone out on a date or whatever.

Michelle: That’s really interesting. Do you have any suggestions, like is there a time in the day that you sit down and say, you know, when everyone comes home from work or school, do you sit down and do like 10 minutes of just, you know, conversation? How was your day? That kind of thing? Or is it more about you know, letting kids know that, they can talk without judgment in just like breaking down those, fearful barriers maybe for them.

Paula: I think both of those things are a great idea. I personally don’t set aside specific time with Megan, but she and I converse a lot and people, she, she’s probably got the vocabulary, of an adult really she can carry on a conversation with adults. I think it’s just really important to hear your kids and to continue to give them, uh, more, uh, language, uh, repeat back what they’ve said and use other words so that they can expand their vocabulary as well because it’s fun to, to, to play with language, you know?

Michelle: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Is there something that you see, do you see parents doing things wrong? Like, are there any suggestions that you have for maybe things that you’ve seen along the way that could really help parents that are just about to enter into, you know, kids growing up, they’re old enough to have conversations now what’s some things that we can look for?

Paula: I think it’s really important to push our kids a little bit. I think, I think we’re, there’s a lot of fear in our generation and the generation before of parenting and that’s been cultivated by the society that we live in. And a lot of it is irrational, but we’ve still latched onto it because fear is really powerful. It’s it’s one of the most powerful emotions we have, but pushing our kids a little bit.

Paula: For example, instead, if your child wants something at a store, perhaps tell them that they have to go ask the salesperson for it. Don’t do it for them or the library, you know, ask, tell them if you want this book, I want you to go up to the librarian and say, can you help me find this book? So empower them to empower themselves because the more they do it, the better they’ll get at it. And then it’ll just become natural. They’ll just do it. They will seek out opportunity, they will seek out people to speak to, they’ll know, oh, if I want something I can ask somebody for it and they will help me find it. And that in itself is a skill.

Michelle: Those are great ideas. Another one came to my mind was like ordering your own food at a restaurant or something. I’m sure that would help.

Paula: Oh for sure. Definitely. Definitely every opportunity that you get to let them speak for themselves. Do it.

Michelle: So now when you see kids come to you, like Brooke who is really shy and won’t look at you,are there some things that maybe could have prevented that from happening? Like is there anything that maybe parents have like a more, like more open conversations or, you know, what’s there any signs to look for in your kids?

Paula: Well, Brooke’s mom is actually a teacher and she recognized that, uh, Brooke needed more skills. She might’ve sent her to me a little younger because I find that the younger you start, the easier it is and you can also try and make a game of it. Have you ever heard of the game table topics ? Yeah, that’s a fantastic game to play with your kids. I think they have a junior version too and it’s just a box of questions and you can play this at the dinner table. You can play this with your friends, but it’s a questions, you know, like, what’s the, what’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you or who’s your favorite teacher and why? So you have to think on the spot and then come up with your answer. And if you present it as a game, then it’s not as intimidating. It’s just fun. And you can slowly do that with bigger and bigger audiences or crowds or groups of friends too. So, yeah, the younger you start, the better.

Michelle: That’s awesome. I was just going to ask for your programs, what, what, what do you find is like a really good age to start doing some public speaking?

Paula: I actually think that I, I don’t think that you’re ever too young to start right now I’m teaching kids who are eight and up, but I put the eight, nine and 10 year olds in a separate class. Mostly because the content of older kids might be a bit much for them sometimes. But, I really would like to work with even younger kids in the future just for fun, you know, spinning the table topics, wheel and playing table topics and getting them to come up to the front and just say, what’s your name? How old are you? What are three of your favorite things to do? I, I think that no age, is too young. I, I, I’d like to see it’s starting in kindergarten. Frankly.

Michelle: I can see that being really valuable. My son was a little bit delayed with his speech going through speech therapy with him for the last few years, kind of doing those kind of games with the speech therapist. So yeah, it’s excellent. I see the value of that. It’s just helped his speech much with playing games on talking more to parents and adults. And having really, really good conversations and it’s amazing how simple the answer really is. Right. Just come more conversation for sure.

Paula: I think the more he does it, the better he’ll get.

Michelle: Right. Yeah. And do you think screen time has an effect of like how kids communicate now than when they did like say 10 years ago? I mean more like, like because they are on the screen so much more. Then you know, how the playing with friends or you know, acting or being out or whatever. Do you think that has had an impact maybe?

Paula: Definitely, definitely. I, it’s funny. We live in a rural area so Megan doesn’t get to see her friends a lot, so she’s on the screen with them communicating quite a bit, but there’s nothing like being in person. She had a friend who she was predominantly a screen friend with and they just had a get together in a sleepover and just being together, talking with each other that amount of time. Completely different dynamic, you know? Uh, I think that the less screen time, the better, frankly.

Michelle: Right. I would imagine so. Do you find, what are some of the things that, kids coming in, maybe they’re like shy or whatever, or not communicating very well and not looking in the eye. What are some of the things that at the end of a program that you see see with them?

Paula: Definite improvement in eye contact, definite even posture. Kids who are shy even stand a different way than kids who are not shy. Also the ability to think on your feet, the ability to express yourself, even just to, one, one of the things that I like about my program, the most actually is I ask kids to think about who they are and what’s important to them. And, and I find that that’s not a question that a lot of people ask. A lot of adults say, what do you want to be when you grow up? But like, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Right. So we’re, we’re asking seven and eight year olds this. The better question might be, what do you like, what’s fun for you in the world? Tell me about that. Because when you ask somebody what’s important to them, then they want to tell you. And so if you give them that opening, they’re going to walk right through it. And, even shy kids.

Michelle: That’s great. I love that. I think that’s really neat. That’s true. We do ask them what they want to be in not many adults. I find that I find the younger kids know what they want to be. Where as the adults don’t

Paula: True. True. Sometimes you have to go right back to what our desires were when we were really little and, and think, oh I really liked that when I was seven or eight and ended up going back to it.

Michelle: That’s great. I love it. So now, do you inspire the, kids or no I am going to restart that question, do you find the kids want to do more public speaking once they’ve got it, a little bit of a taste of it?

Paula: They do. It’s kind of cool that way. I had one girl last year. Oh, what was her name again?

Paula: Oh, I can’t remember her name. I’m going to call her Nancy cause that’s her mom’s name. Nancy actually was seeking out opportunities outside of class, which was really cool. She wasn’t particularly outgoing either. She was kind of shy too, but she kind of got fired up by the challenges and she liked the, she liked to be challenged. So she was actually going out to little cafes and asking, can I play my violin here? Can I read a poem here? And that’s part of, my program too, is one of the challenges is to actually go outside of Head Start and, perform for strangers in at least one place. I encourage kids to do another thing called the Avery drill, which is kind of scary. It was even scary for me, but it’s, I named it after the 2012 world champion of public speaking, Ryan Avery, who used to go into public, , in, in preparation for the world championship.

Paula: He would go into public places and just start saying his speech. He would go into a market square, for example, and he didn’t gather people to sit down. He would just start saying it. So people would walk by and think, is this guy losing his mind? You know, but there’s a mission and that you’re pushing through that weirdness and that discomfort so that when you actually are doing that speech in the intended place and time, it’s a breeze. The every drill is, it’s a great drill. I’ve done it myself and it really works. And the thing is too is when you’re finished, you feel like a superhero. You feel like you can do anything.

Michelle: I bet you to push through some stuff to do that. You know the kids, you have the kids doing that. That’s amazing. They do and they have fun. And then I actually

Paula: Then I have them come to class and tell us about the experience because I want them to relay the feelings that they pushed through. I want them to remember the experience of pushing through their fear and so that they can remember later on in life. I did that thing. That was really scary. I know I can do anything

Michelle: Amazing. I bet you see the skills that they were learning in your program transcend through like school work, homework, sports, relationships with family, that kind of thing. Is that definitely what happens? Yeah,

Paula: Absolutely. There was a girl named Ella who was in one of the first workshops that I did. She came up to me at the end of the program. She said, Paula, I actually auditioned for the lead in the school play today. And I never would’ve done that before, but she just, she saw herself differently. She saw herself as being able to speak and having some leadership qualities. So it was super exciting to see that bleed over into the rest of her life.

Michelle: What an exciting, empowering position you’re in right now tot watch these kids transform in front of your eyes? So what’s, what’s next on the agenda for Head Start Public Speaking For kids?

Paula: Next on the agenda is expansion. Actually, I’m on the sunshine coast right now in two cities and I’m expanding into North Van this year. I’d like to go more, but I’m still homeschooling my daughter, so there’s only so much one mother can do. But yeah, North Van is the next step. And frankly I’d like to see Head Start in cities across North America and the world because there’s nothing like this going on anywhere. And if there’s one skill everybody’s going to need in the future, it’s the ability to communicate yourself to others.

Michelle: Absolutely. That’s amazing. And I saw on your website you have 10 steps for parents to help them kind of with their kids’ confidence. Is that on your websites though and what’s your website address?

Paula: Yeah, yeah. It’s That’s and yeah, there is a downloadable sheet there for confidence for kids. So yeah, head over there and sign up for it. So we’d be happy to send it to you.

Michelle: Great. Yeah, I think that would be really helpful for parents to have to kind of guide their students. And if you’re in one of the cities that Paula is in with her program, definitely check her out. And, if you’re interested in this kind of program coming to a place near you, you know, reach out to Paula and let her know for sure. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show this morning and I am so excited for where this is going and the impact is having in kids, and starting in your own community and spreading your wings farther and farther. I think what a ripple effect that is going to cause the kids that are growing up today. So thanks for making such an impact in their lives. And thanks for joining us today.

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Your Child’s Hidden Behavior Agenda with Chuck Anderson (#2)

Your Child’s Hidden Behavior Agenda with Chuck Anderson (#2)


Today on The Blissful Parenting Podcast we’ll be sitting down with Chuck Anderson to talk about what he  likes to refer to as the “Four Hidden Agendas” when it comes to our child’s behaviours. We will be discussing the reasons behind our children’s bad behaviours and learn how we can go about handling them without losing our cool.

Michelle Abraham: Welcome to the Blissful Parenting Podcast. I’m Michelle Abraham, and today I’m here with Chuck Anderson, and we are talking about the four hidden agendas method for dealing with difficult, and disrespectful behavior. Chuck is a father of three energetic boys that range from school age to teenager. He’s been teaching parent education workshops for the past eight years. He’s a regular guest speaker at schools, events, and conferences. He’s worked with nearly 10,000 parents worldwide through classes, workshops, and coaching. Welcome to the show today Chuck. We’re so happy to have you here.

Chuck: Thanks Michelle. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Michelle: Awesome, I have a picture up right now of you and a whole bunch of people, and it’s showing you as your mission to serve a million parents to live a happier, and more fulfilling life. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Chuck: Yes,, absolutely. You know, it’s my mission through this work, and through Blissful Parenting to really be that lifeline to parents who are struggling every day with getting their children to behave appropriately, getting them to listen, getting them to contribute, and avoid all the conflicts. Everyday we just see parents out there that need that kind of help.

You can spot a parent very quickly where the toolbox has run dry. There’s not a lot of hope in dealing with the child’s behavior, and you can just see the desperation. So it’s my mission through this work, and through The Blissful Parenting organization that we will serve a million parents to help them live happier, and more fulfilling lives, and to really have a blissful, incredible relationships with their children, their partner, and of course themselves. 

We really do feel that that’s a package deal, and we really just want to be that caring voice, and that lifeline for parents who are really out there struggling.

Michelle: What an amazing mission. I love your package deal, the parents, the relationship, and themselves. And it’s such a unique package that I think a lot of people don’t really think about that. You need all three really to make everything work, don’t you?

Chuck:  Absolutely, it’s not just the kids, there’s so much more to it. In parenting there is so much emphasis on the children. But there’s these other relationships as well. Primarily with your partner, the person you had children with, and then yourself. In our organization, we have a lot of moms especially, who put themselves last. Taking care of themselves is the very last thing they do. They tirelessly spend time taking care of everyone else. 

This is a package deal, and we want you to have great relationships with your children, a great, and powerful, empowering relationship with your partner, and a really special, and fulfilling relationship with yourself.

Michelle: That sounds great. I love that you have put it all together like that. What I’d love to know is how did this all start for you? It’s evolved over the last eight years of you doing lots of coaching, and speaking and lots of events, and programs for parents, how did it all begin for you?

Chuck: This journey all started for me when my first child was around five years old, and we were just moving out of that sort of happy toddler stage. The one you know where everything is so special, and so sweet. The one where all their firsts, happen. And then as they transition from toddler age into the five-year-old, and then onto teenage years, they develop ways of getting what they want. And sometimes those ways are very positive, and sometimes they’re not. 

I found myself really challenged as a parent, and not only as a parent, but as a human being, really challenged with my own emotional responses. I would get angry in places where I didn’t really consider myself to be an angry person. I found myself getting angry, and frustrated, you know, and speaking to my child, who I love very, very much in a way that, just really felt horrible. All in the name of getting them to behave, or to teach them the proper way to do things, have manners, to listen, and do chores. It just didn’t make any sense to me, after a while, the best thing I could come up with to get them to behave better is to make them feel worse. It felt horrible. 

I knew that that wasn’t going to work long term. My wife and I had lots of conversations about it, and so I joined a local support group just to kind of talk with other parents who were going through the same things. One thing led to another, through that organization, and I ended up getting trained as a parenting educator, teaching positive behavior management skills, and then also running that support group for a few years. I now get invited back from this organization to train new support group leaders. 

So it started off just as this problem that I was having with dealing with my five-year-old, who is now a teenager. We’re dealing with all that that encompasses. But I’m so glad that it did start that, because it gives me that new found confidence that look, even in a stressful situation, I’m going to be able to remain calm and not to do anything from anger that could potentially make the problem worse.

Michelle: Wow, that’s so great, Chuck. I’m so glad that we’re connecting now, because I’m just on the cusp of having a four year old, and everything is peachy, peachy happy now. But I can see that on the horizon, and you can see how parents, when they’re tired, they just don’t know any other way to talk to their children. I can see how the anchor can come out so easily. I’ve seen it in myself, and my husband, and even friends. It’s so nice to have you as an expert, leading the way in this, because you’ve been through it. Now you’ve learned some tools that you’re gonna be able to share with us today. I’m so excited to hear what you have to say. 

So our promise today in this interview is Chuck is going to teach us the three step roadmap, how to deal with challenging behavior, and how to use simple methods that don’t take a lot of time to learn, and also work really critically. We’re also going to learn how to be effective at getting our child to listen, be well-behaved, and treat us with respect. While learning about effective alternatives to spanking, and other fear-based punishments so that you can feel more in control of your own behavior. 

Chuck as you mentioned, you’re going to add some more tools to our parenting toolbox that are both positive, and effective. So I’m so excited to hear what you have to share with us. So can you please tell us a little bit about the three step roadmap?

Chuck: Absolutely. So there’s a three step roadmap that we take people through that does a couple of things. Number one is it starts to develop our awareness of what’s really going on. We’re not always aware of things that make it worse. When we’re in it, trying to see another way to make it better is not always going to be clear. 

The  first step is to really understand from an unawareness point of view, the three reasons why bad behavior actually happens, what makes it worse, and what we can do about it to get things turned around. Then once we have that awareness, building upon that, we’re going to look at the four hidden agendas method for dealing with difficult, and disrespectful behavior. This deals with the idea that there’s really only four reasons why children seem to be misbehaving, and we don’t need to become masters of thousands of different behavior challenges. We only need to get good at mastering the four reasons why behavior happens, and then respond appropriately to that.

Once we really understand those agendas, we can move into five simple steps for solving any parenting problem, even the ones that seem unsolvable, because armed with four hidden agendas, you are going to be able to get to the real reason why the behavior is actually happening.

Michelle: That sounds amazing. This is like the perfect recipe for parents. I love it. So can you tell us a little bit about bad behavior and, and you know, it seems complicated, and I’m surprised, I was surprised to hear that there were only four hidden agendas that come from bad behaviors. So can you speak a little bit, to that?

Chuck:  The thing about bad behavior is that it’s not really complicated, and sometimes what we do makes it more complicated than it actually is. We need to start to look for solutions that do not involve using fear to frighten the child into compliance, and ultimately becoming afraid of you. When they become afraid of you, it can actually make things worse. So we want to avoid things that are going to make things worse and do not address the need. This is going to help us to move forward without having to yell, and bribe, take things away, put them in time outs, or threaten their video game time.

I think a big thing, and this really comes out from the conversations I have with parents at the workshops, and that is worrying about who your child is going to become in the future. Ultimately what we’re doing here is shaping new adults. They’re going to become adults at some point. And the question is what kind of adults are they going to be?

Michelle: It’s interesting, and I liked that you’re going to give us some alternatives to like the bribing, yelling, or taking things away. Because it doesn’t work, and it does make things worse. 

Chuck: When we bribe, and we yell, and we take things away, it’s a shortcut. It’s a sign that the toolbox is not full, and we need to learn some better ways to get the behavior turned around.

Michelle: I think that it’s interesting, because I’m a new parent, and I didn’t even realize that there were tools, and toolboxes. It’s great to know that there is some help, and some resources available. It makes me curious as to why, you know, your step one is the three reasons why bad behavior gets worse. Is it that because we are trying to control the behavior by, bribing, or yelling, is that making it worse in the long run then?

Chuck: When we bribe, and we yell, it actually does make things worse, because it is not addressing the real reason behind the behavior. When we use those kinds of methods, we’re kind of trying to use fear to scare our child into complying with whatever we’re asking them to do. 

There’s three reasons why bad behavior gets worse. And so we’re going to talk a little bit about that just from an awareness point of view so that we can start to notice when this happens. When we notice when it happens, we can start to do something about it. 

Reason number one is that so much of parenting, and discipline is done as a reaction at a time when we are not calm. So reason number one is that we’re dealing with things without taking time to calm ourselves down, calm the situation down, and calm the child down. The reason why behavior, and really any type of problem is so difficult to deal with when we’re upset is because when we are emotional, when we’re angry, when we are having that emotional reaction, something happens in our brain that temporarily disconnects us from being able to deal with emotions, and to solve problems creatively. It’s the part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. And when we’re angry, it exposes your fight, flight, or freeze response. In that moment you are completely incapable of rational thought. 

Chuck: Sometimes it’s done in the name of being very short on time. And other times it’s being done simply because it’s inconvenient, or their behavior that they’re doing is making you feel angry. One of the shortcuts we kind of do unconsciously is to use fear to get them to comply. Of course, anyone who’s yelled at their child knows that, that never works. It always makes things worse. Instead of reacting, we need to take that time to calm down. When we do that, we’re going to be able to rationally figure out what is really going on, and what to do about it.

That leads us to reason number two of why behavior problems just seem to be so ongoing. We do not take the time to understand the real reason. We call it a hidden agenda, why the behavior is happening. This is something that I really, really noticed. If my child wasn’t going to bed, I mean, how many of you have ever noticed that when you ask your children to go to bed, they suddenly have more energy at bedtime than they did all day?

Michelle: Oh, that’s true, yes.

Chuck: Absolutely, or you want them to eat the meal and you know, it’s one of their favorites. They’ve eaten it, you know, a hundred times, but on that particular day they’re refusing to eat or, or they’re going on their fourth hour of video game time today, and refusing to get off the computer, whatever that is, it’s not the behavior. This is something that I didn’t really understand at first, but I certainly do now. That is, it’s not the behavior, and it renders almost every book, every sort of method, kind of useless, because it’s not about the behavior. It’s about the reason for the behavior. 

We call it a hidden agenda, and what a hidden agenda really is, it’s an unfulfilled need. It’s not about the behavior, it’s about a need that your child has. So you’ve got to figure out what is the need, and there’s only four. It’s either they need attention, or it could be power. It could be revenge. They feel hurt, and they are just lashing out in a way that is kind of an indicator that they’re hurting inside, and they’re in need of some healing. Or it could be inadequacy. They’re just for whatever reason, physically, emotionally, whatever, not feeling up to the task in that moment, and nothing, no amount of forcing them is going to get them through that. In fact, it would just send them deeper. And so there’s four.

Now, when we are guessing at how we’re gonna deal with behavior, you only have a 25% chance of guessing it right. And you do get it right sometimes and you walk away from that situation going, nailed it, right? And then the next time that same behavior happens, this time happens for a different reason. Your memory says, ah, last time I did this, you do that, and this time instead of it working, it blows up in your face. Why? Because it’s a different hidden agenda. So when we’re winging it, we only have a 25% chance of guessing it, right? But we have a 75% chance of guessing wrong, and making the behavior worse. So we need to learn what these hidden agendas are, and the correct response to them.

Michelle: Wow, that’s interesting. And I know you’re going to get more into the hidden agendas a little bit later on in our talk. Did you come up with those four hidden agendas, or is that something that you’ve learned somewhere?

Chuck: The way we came up with the hidden agendas method is really a compilation of everything that I read, and experienced, numerous trainings, numerous video programs, numerous workshops, numerous books. Some of them dating all the way back to the 1800s. Just taking the best of everything, and compiling it together. So I can’t really take credit for inventing the methods, but what I did do, and what our team did was put it together in a way that makes it simple to identify what the real reason is, and then to kind of laser target towards the correct response that’s going to meet that need, or that hidden agenda.

Michelle: That’s great. It makes it easier to understand the reasonings why your children are behaving badly. And so we’ve gotten through the first couple of reasons as to why we have the bad behavior. Is there a third reason as to why there is bad behavior in the first place?

Chuck: The third reason why behavior seems to get worse is, we’re simply reacting to the behavior, rather than preparing proactive solutions that actually prevent it from happening in the first place. You’ve heard the expression no news is good news. Well that’s not always true when it comes to parenting. So they’re not misbehaving in this moment, therefore there’s nothing for me to do. But it’s kind of like a pro athlete. You know, they spend their time preparing for the big game. They’re practicing, they’re learning and sharpening their skills. As parents we don’t often take the time to do that. So we often get caught by surprise with a behavior challenge that we’ve never seen before, or we were completely unprepared for dealing with.

One of the things we can do, now for everyone who just said, I don’t have time for that. What if you took the time to learn some new skills, to be proactive, to learn some new life skills, model those for your children, and influence them to use those life skills for themselves? 

See, all of this is about problem solving, and dealing with emotions that these little people are not used to dealing with. So you take these emotions, and these needs, and you put those together, and that equals what seems to be misbehavior. But really it’s just an unfulfilled need, and we just need to get really good at redirecting that. The more you can do to prepare yourself with some tools that can help to redirect that behavior, and fulfill the need, not only does the behavior stop in the moments that it’s happening, it starts to prevent it to the point where it doesn’t happen at all.

Michelle: Wow, that’s amazing. And I love how you compare parenting to pro athletes. The same sort of training involved. I love it. And so now we’ve gotten onto the second step. So that’s great. Now we know the three reasons, that the behavior happens in the first place. Now you can get into a little bit more about the four hidden agendas. 

Here is what the hidden agenda looks like. You’ve collaborated this amazing, sheet for us to make it so simple, and easy to follow. So can you just kind of explain, the four hidden agendas, and how we navigate ourselves through this?

Chuck: Yes, the second part of this is to identify the correct hidden agenda that’s the real cause of the bad behavior, or what seems to be bad behavior. And what I mean by that is that they are not really intending to misbehave. It’s just that there’s this need that they have, or some feelings that they have. What they’re doing right now is the best that they can do, or could come up with in that moment to fulfill it. 

The first hidden agenda is attention. So when behavior happens for attention, their goal, or their hidden agenda, or their unfulfilled need is to get your attention. Maybe you’ve been really busy doing other things and there hasn’t been a lot of time for connection, to be involved together. And sometimes out of convenience, we just need them to go, and play by themselves, or you know, be involved in something independently. What happens is that attention fuel tank starts to run on empty, and they are going to start to try to get your attention. If they’re craving attention, they’re going to get it any way possible, whether it be positive, or negative, because it’s the unfulfilled need. Only fulfilling that need, giving them some attention, positive, or negative, is going to fulfill that need. 

The second hidden agenda could be power. Power happens when a child maybe feels like they don’t have any control over their lives. Maybe they haven’t been given very many choices, and they’re just simply tired of being told what to do. They want to feel like they’re in control. They want to feel powerful. And so with power, no amount of yelling at them is going to make this go away. In fact, it’s only going to make it worse. With power, what we have to do is speak to them in a way that makes them feel powerful, that makes them feel like they’re part of the decision making process, and that they’re perhaps part of the team and they get to choose. The power of choice is what really diffuses power struggles. 

The third one is revenge. And revenge happens when the child feels hurt. Maybe you’ve wronged them, or they feel you wronged them. Maybe not in your mind, but in their mind you’ve wronged them, or someone has. Maybe it’s sibling, or some other situation, and they’re hurting inside. The way they’re dealing with that is to hurt others the way they feel hurt. So when we notice that it’s revenge, or a pattern of revenge, or that it’s happening, because of this, the way to deal with this is to heal the hurt. We have to learn to heal the hurt, and to make amends possibly, and to rebuild trust, get them feeling good about themselves again. When they feel good about themselves again, then their pattern of revenge will stop. 

The fourth one is inadequacy. And for whatever reason in that moment they just don’t feel up to the task. Even though it may be something you know that they know how to do, in that moment, maybe they’re tired, or hungry. Maybe they just forgot, or they’re worried about something else. But it’s showing up as inadequacy, because they’re not able to move forward. In these moments, it’s like, forget it, I’ll do it myself type of thing. And when you find yourself doing that, it’s probably happening because of inadequacy. You can’t yell at them. It’s going to send them deeper into this. You can’t give them choice, because they won’t choose. The only thing you can do here is to start to guide them, break things down into small steps, avoid criticizing, and go to the encouragement cheerleader mode. And that’s really going to help lift them out of that.

The key to dealing with behavior, is we don’t need a thousand different solutions for any parenting problem, or behavior problem that happens. We really only need to understand these four main reasons. And when we get really good at identifying the reasons, and responding in the most appropriate way, the behavior gets better.

Michelle: Wow, these are amazing. I hope everyone gets their hands on this. I know at the end of our talk today we’re going to tell you how you can get your hands on this as a PDF download. It’s such a useful tool. With this tool what is the process for our parenting now?

Chuck: I suggest that everybody takes this chart, print it out, and put it up on their wall. It’s going to  take some practice. I highly recommend giving yourself, you know, a 30 day time period to really try this out, and to practice it, and get good at it. It’s like any other skill. We talked about the professional athletes developing their skills. Well as parents we have to develop our skills for the big game, and the process is very simple. 

We can start to use our own emotions, what’s really going on inside of us as the first clue. It’s kind of an emotional compass, right? And what does a compass do? It helps point you north, south, east, or west. Well, in this case, the emotional compass will point us to, whether it is attention, power, revenge, or inadequacy? And based on what’s happening for you, and some of the reactions that are happening in the child, you’re going to be able to use that information to look it up on the chart, choose the most appropriate response, and then to respond accordingly, based upon the actual hidden agenda, or unfulfilled need.

Michelle: I bet the confidence in parents grows too. You know, you have something that works, and you know you have something that’s kind of like the key. I’m sure our confidence as parents grows as well, which is really neat. So that was step two in our three step roadmap to becoming an amazing parent, and helping deal with challenging behavior. And so step number three is the five simple steps for solving any parenting problem that seems unsolvable. So can you walk us through what these are?

Chuck: When you’re armed with the four hidden agendas method, there’s really only five steps that you need to remember to be able to use the tool effectively. And step number one is just simply to take a moment to calm yourself down, calm your child down, calm the situation down. Because until everything calms down, it’s only going to get worse. You’re going to feel worse and you’re going to feel more frustrated. The child is not even going to listen to you, because you know they’re disconnected and triggered as well. We just need to take five, or ten minutes to calm the situation down. And from that calm place, we can start to think rationally again, and you can carry on a real conversation.

Then we can move into step number two, which is to check in to what’s really going on inside of you, what are you feeling, and experiencing? You want to take that time to understand why the behavior is happening. Look at your own emotions, look at your reactions and their reactions. You want to correctly identify the emotion.

Now with this, you have to start to develop a bit of an emotional vocabulary. It’s got to move beyond, I’m frustrated, or I’m angry. In the workshops we often talk about those being umbrella words that actually describe a whole range of different emotions. So what is it specifically? Is it annoyed? Is it despair? Is it hopelessness? Is it fear? Is it inadequacy? What is the specific emotion that you’re feeling?

Have you ever sat beside someone who’s having emotion, and you start to feel what they’re feeling? And that’s because we’re always radiating emotions. When our children are misbehaving, or having an emotional response, we’re going to start to have that response as well. It’s like little radio waves, and we kind of start to feel what everyone around us is feeling. That is why you’d want to just simply stop, check into what is it that you are feeling, how is it that you find yourself reacting? Then compare that to how they seem to be feeling, and reacting as well.

Then once you’ve identified that feeling, you can move on to step three, which is to look it up on the four hidden agendas chart. You want to choose the response that is fulfilling that secret need, or that hidden agenda. You want to identify the correct hidden agenda as accurately as possible. It could take a little bit of practice, some time possibly even some training, would be worthwhile getting, so that you can really prepare yourself, and get good at identifying the hidden agenda, and then how to respond appropriately, based on what the hidden agenda is.

If it’s attention, what can you do that fulfills the need for attention? If it’s power, what can you do that fulfills that need for power? If it’s revenge, what can you do to help them repair the hurt that is causing the revenge? And if it’s inadequacy, what can you do to help build up their confidence, and get them to move through it? Choose the most appropriate response, based on the actual hidden agenda.

Step number four is to respond in a way that is both firm in your expectations but, and also delivered with kindness. One of my favorite ways to do this from the Blissful Parenting program is the, “I love you, and…”  communication template. In the program, we have lots of different communication templates. When you learn to use these, they just start to roll off your tongue after awhile. They’re super effective and easy to learn.

I love you, and we’re having chicken for dinner tonight. And if you would like to help me make dinner tomorrow, maybe we can make something that’s more of your favorite. I love you, and your one hour video game time is up for the day. And so if you don’t want this to affect your next video game time, you’ll shut the computer down now, right? I love you, and the expectation is that you’ll clean up your room, and after you do that, we’re going to go play in the park for a little while, whatever it is. It’s phrasing whatever your response is with “I love you, and…” here’s what we’re gonna do.

It really kind of gives you that framework to again, reinforce that you do care. This isn’t because you hate them. And at the same time you’re being firm in your expectations. So you want to really be conscious of how this is being delivered. When we do this, we don’t have to yell. We don’t have to bribe, we don’t have to punish, we don’t have to use timeouts. We don’t have to take things away. That right there will help not only the situation in that moment, but it will help to prevent the bad behavior from happening again.

That leads us to step number five. And that is we need to spend more time teaching, and training. And so as parents, we need to learn how to reclaim control over our busy schedules so that we can take more time out for connecting, training, teaching, guiding, and just plain being with. When we do that, the needs are being proactively met. When the needs are being proactively met, there is no reason to misbehave to try to get those needs met. And so you are going to find that after a while, the behaviors that you’ve been experiencing over, and over, and over, and over again, simply fade away. Things get on to a much more peaceful, and fulfilling time well spent with family.

Michelle: Wow, how exciting to have that on the horizon for parents, because I think that’s what everyone really wants. Peaceful, happy family times, and a Blissful Parenting experience really. I do have a question for you about step number one. In step number one, you were talking about calming down, do you suggest calming down physically with your child, like by holding them, or hugging them, or is it better to walk away, and calm down on your own? Is there one way, or another that works better for parents usually?

Chuck: A very common question that we get from parents is exactly how do I calm down? How do I calm the situation down? In the program we talk about having a positive time out. So I might say to the child in that moment, look, I want to talk to you about this but I feel very upset right now. I can see that you are upset also. I’m going to go and take 10 minutes for myself right now, and let’s just put this on pause for a moment. Then let’s come back and we’re going to address this.

So look, if they’re freaking out, you know, trying to force a hug on them, or trying to calm them down by telling them to calm down, it’s not going to happen. Just walk away. Go and take five minutes to yourself. A very simple exercise that anyone can do is go lock yourself in the bedroom, or the bathroom, wherever you are going to get privacy for five, or 10 minutes. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths in, and out. Exhale really deeply just to start to calm down.

Then just mentally, and silently to yourself, start counting backwards from a hundred. Now this is going to seem silly the first time you do it. I was like, oh man, whatever. I’m not going to do this. Believe me, it did the first time this was recommended to me. And when I really embraced this, the first time that I actually did it, and I counted all the way from a hundred down to one, by the time you get to one, sometimes you can’t even remember what was making you angry in the first place. And so mission accomplished, you’re calm. They’ve had this time to themselves as well. They’re now calm, and now you can address the situation from a rational place.

Michelle: Wow, that’s great advice. I like that last tip there. That was awesome. So now we have our tools. We have some idea of where the behavior comes from. We have some tools in our toolbox now to help direct us. Now what’s the next steps for parents? What do you suggest we do to learn… Well, first of all, let’s tell the audience how to get this chart, so that they can print it out and put it on their fridge, and start learning how to use the chart. Then what should we do after that?

Chuck: Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the four hidden agendas method, and the five steps to solving behavior challenges, you now have this new awareness. It also takes some time, and some practice to really get good at it. Like any new skill, it’s going to feel a little awkward at first, and that’s normal. And so you want to give yourself a 30 day commitment to learning this new method. You also want to get yourself some additional training. I highly recommend a couple of things.

Number one is you want to print out a copy of the behavior chart. You can get one by going to, and it’s got some instructions there.It has a copy of the four hidden agendas behavior chart, which is my gift to you. It also has a fill in the blanks worksheet. Take that worksheet, and register for one of my free Blissful Parenting workshops, that are happening online all the time.

During the workshop we’re going to work on some scenarios, and actually practice this a little bit, so that you can start to use it on a regular basis, to where it starts to become part of your autopilot. After a while, you won’t even have to think about it anymore, because it is a new skill that you’ve developed. So you want to print out a copy of the chart, and the worksheet, and then join in in one of our free Blissful Parenting workshops, get the training, and the practice, so that you can start to use this whenever behavior happens in your family.

Michelle: That’s great Chuck, thank you so much for being on the show today. Thank you for your expertise, your knowledge, and your gift of this amazing tool that we can use in our own personal lives, with our families and to start seeing a change in our children’s behavior. Thanks for being on the show today Chuck, and we hope you have a great day. Once again, everyone go to, download and print it out, and put it on your fridge.

Feeling Challenged By Your Child’s Behavior?

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