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?

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

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Introducing … The Blissful Parenting Podcast (#1)

Introducing … The Blissful Parenting Podcast (#1)


Today on The Blissful Parent Podcast we meet the creator and founder Chuck Anderson. We talk about his journey into fatherhood and find out the why behind his creation of “Blissful Parenting”.

Like so many of us parents, he too faces the same struggles when it comes to parenting his own 4 children. For this reason, Chuck wants to share his journey, connections and supportive help that he has had along the way.

Join us as we talk with Chuck and discover the goals and plans for the upcoming shows.

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

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.