A gorgeous mum rang me today to book her family into the holiday workshops in July. She told me her two kids were driving her and her husband crazy.
This lovely mum explained that her youngest daughter was anxious and that she tried to cover that up by being a ‘show off’. The older daughter was doing great at school and had some good friends (which the little one didn’t) but her problem was that she was a total bitch to her sister.
I know this beautiful mum isn’t the only human being on the planet with challenging kids! So how do you get your kids to cooperate?
In a nutshell you teach them three things:
Our kids are trying to get their needs met. These needs include physiological (food, water, shelter, etc.), safety & security, love & belonging, self-esteem (importance) and self-actualisation (fulfilling their purpose). See Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for more on this.
Shady the scared part of our kids tries to meet these needs by telling them to worry about their safety, or to show off to get love & belonging (in the younger daughter’s case). Shady’s way kind of works in the short term (otherwise they wouldn’t behave like that) but it isn’t good for them or everyone else in the long term.
Our kids need to know that Shady has been trying his or her hardest but it isn’t ever going to work out for everyone in the long term because Shady only knows fear! Our kids need to say to Shady, “I love you Shady and I appreciate you doing your best to protect me and meet my needs but I’m not going to do what you say anymore!” That’s ‘Love Shady’!
Sparky can meet all our kids needs in a way that is good for them, good for others and good for the earth (or not bad for any of these) in the long term. Our kids need to ask Sparky, “Sparky can you help me when I’m worried and help me make friends please?” Once kids are connected to their inner loving force they have all the answers inside them. All they have to do is ask for help, listen to the answer and do what Sparky says. That’s ‘Trust Sparky’!
“It doesn’t work, I can’t hear Sparky” or, “It doesn’t work, they refuse to do what Sparky says!” Loving Shady and trusting Sparky isn’t enough. The next bit is the make or break!
Our kids have baggage inside them (fearful beliefs and bottled up feelings) that they have believed and acted on for years.
In our example the big sister has the classic baggage that her little sister gets more attention and love than she does. Or that she isn’t as important or as loved as her sister.
If I met the big sister and introduced her to Sparky and she then asked Sparky what the truth was, she would clearly hear and know that she was loved and important. BUT this wouldn’t necessarily change her behaviour towards her sister because she is in a seven or eight year habit of believing the old belief and she has all the hurt to go with it bottled up inside her.
That’s where ‘Let go’ comes into it. Our brains are wired by habit, they run automatically or on autopilot 95% of the time, which means even though we accept something or learn something with our conscious mind our thoughts, words and actions still revert to what we believe in our subconscious.
For the big sister to change her thoughts, words and actions towards her little sister she needs to change the belief that she isn’t loved and important at a subconscious level.
Pit Stops are a natural way to change our Shady subconscious beliefs and replace them with Sparky beliefs instead. When you help your child take a Pit Stop you take time out with them, listen to them talk about their feelings, listen to their Shady thoughts and beliefs, support them to express their bottled up feelings, and help them ask Sparky what to do now and what to believe instead. Finally you help your child imagine the old baggage physically leaving their mind and body and see them replace it with the new belief.
Once you get into the habit of supporting your kids to take Pit Stops they get easier and easier and your child will grow up knowing how to change the beliefs, thoughts, words and actions that aren’t helping them anymore!
So if you want co-operative and empowered kids teach them to Love Shady, Trust Sparky and Let go of baggage!