I had a ‘scientific’ dad in the last holiday workshop explain that a single thought is like a track through the bush, then if you have that thought or similar thoughts over and over again the track becomes a road and eventually, if you keep thinking the same kinds of thoughts (like “I can’t do that” or “I hate school”) your track becomes a freeway!
If your beautiful child has been thinking Shady thoughts over and over again about something they don’t enjoy (the morning routine, school, friends, homework, dinner, the night routine) then they may have a freeway! (Which is another way of explaining baggage!)
Now whenever anything to do with that ‘thing’ comes up they are instantly on the low road freeway!
To help them demolish the low road freeway and create a high road freeway instead we have to support them to take a Pit Stop.
The problem is Pit Stops are painful!
So here’s a sneaky idea to help your child take a Pit Stop without making it a big deal!
Lets use an example and imagine that your child hates brushing their teeth. Every morning and every evening they carry on about it, “Why do I have to brush my teeth?” “I hate brushing my teeth.” “I’m not doing it, I don’t care if my teeth fall out.”
So in the middle of it you say, “What’s wrong with brushing your teeth?” (Jump to the “What’s wrong?” step of a Pit Stop.)
Let them carry on and on while you keep listening. Encourage them to say everything that is wrong with brushing their teeth. Yes, they are driving on the freeway while they do this, but the freeway is already there so one last time won’t matter!
If they are angry, encourage them to get their anger out in a safe way. If they are sad or scared offer to cuddle them so they can cry.
When they have their Shady thoughts, beliefs and feelings out, ask them…
“What does Sparky say about brushing your teeth?” (The “What now?” step in a Pit Stop.)
They will undoubtedly give you a profound answer like, “Just do it!”
(If they can’t hear Sparky they probably need to get more Shady stuff out – so ask, “What’s wrong?” again and give them all your attention until they can’t think of anything else to complain about.)
Once they get some good advice from Sparky (or you end up giving them some good advice from your Sparky and they agree) they are up to Let go – which in this example means your child is up to demolishing their low road freeway.
Tell your child about the track – road – freeway and how their ongoing Shady thoughts have made a “I hate brushing my teeth” freeway on the low road.
Ask them if they would like to smash up that part of the road. Explain that destroying the road means they no longer have to feel bad every time they brush their teeth.
Give them a real hammer and a real empty box (with a low road drawn on it) and get them to smash it up completely! (How fun!!)
Now explain that their Sparky is going to help them make a high road freeway called, “I like brushing my teeth” and get them to ask their Sparky for help to think of ways to make brushing their teeth fun!
My Sparky suggested stuff like; get mum to read me a book while I clean my teeth, get dad to tell me how much he loves me while I clean my teeth, get my brother to tell me all the things he likes about me while I clean my teeth, play a game of noughts and crosses with toothpaste on the mirror while I brush my teeth.
Their Sparky will undoubtedly come up with some awesome ideas, because Sparky wants them to clean their teeth!
If (or more likely when) they go back to the old belief or the low road freeway, get them to tell Shady, “I love you Shady, but that’s not helping” and imagine throwing Shady’s thought in the bin on the side of the road. They have already listened to Shady, (he has had his fair share of attention); so if the bin trick doesn’t work suggest they say, “Shut-up Shady, that’s enough!” (A four year old gave me that advice!)
Going back to the Sparky ideas to make teeth cleaning fun… if your child gets manipulative and says something like, “Sparky said you have to give me $20 each time I clean my teeth” tell them they are listening to Shady! (Sparky tells us stuff that is best for everyone in the long term and $20 a teeth clean isn’t good for anyone in the long run!)
If and when it gets tough, persevere and remind your child to say, “I love you Shady, but that’s not helping” and get them to follow up with, “What now Sparky?” And then help them do what Sparky says.
If all this doesn’t work try taking a Pit Stop yourself, because maybe you have a low road freeway called, “Nothing works!” “It’s too hard!” “I can’t do it!”
Sparky says you are the exact right parent for your child. You can do it! Go for it! Smash that low road freeway!
PS Thanks ‘Scientific’ dad!
PPS Don’t you love it when people share their gifts?