Powerful Suggestions

Woman under hypnosisIf you have ever seen a hypnosis show, you already know how this works, but if you have not, this should be very interesting for you. Either way, after watching a hypnosis performance recently, I think there are important lessons we can all learn from it.

On Ronit’s birthday, we went to a local comedy club. There is nothing happier than laughter and good comedy can really brighten up a birthday night, so there we were. The first act was a very good, but normal, stand up routine. We ate, we laughed and we had a good time.

The second act was called a “Comedy Hypnosis Show”. It started during the break with a multimedia presentation showing swinging watches, spinning spirals and other “street” symbols of hypnosis, along with boasting words about the performer himself and his abilities to deal with the subconscious mind.

“This is going to be cheesy”, I thought, “Maybe the hypnosis is just a gimmick”.

But I was partly wrong. It was only cheesy. The hypnosis was real. And impressive. And quite educational, actually.

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Talking Down at Your Kids

Two funny boysI often observe parents as they interact with their children and listen to how they use language and tone of voice. All too often, they “talk down” at their kids, rather than having a conversation with them, and that saddens me.

Think back to a time when somebody talked down at you. Maybe it was your boss, maybe it was your own parents and maybe it was your partner. Not a good feeling, right?

Did you feel any respect? How did you think the other person was perceiving you? Did they treat you as an independent, capable human being or see you only from their own perspective? Were they driven by love or perhaps by fear?

Let’s start with the language.

Many parents ask their kids closed or single-choice questions, like “Did you have a good day today?” “Do you have any homework?” “That was great fun, wasn’t it, honey?” “How about we go shopping first and then you can play?” or “Do you want to use the blue crayon for the sky?”

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From the Life Coaching Deck: Trust Your Healing Powers

Young woman with smooth skinAs a life coach, I have to keep a strong belief in the power of coaching even when those who come for coaching seem impossible to help at first. Recently, I had to question my belief when a new client came to me that made me doubt my ability to help her. After years of working with people and helping them see the amazing power of the mind, when Millie came, I had some doubts.

Millie was referred to me by a friend. He said to me, “Ronit, Millie needs to come and see you urgently”. So we scheduled a session and to my coaching deck came a gentle, beautiful 40-year-old woman with spots all over her face.

The more she told me about the problem, the more I doubted about my ability to help her. How on Earth can I help a woman with a 35-year-old skin problem? I am not a dermatologist. I panicked a bit and talked to myself, “Come on, Ronit, you’ve helped people who had taken antidepressants for 24 years, you’ve helped people who had used drugs, you’ve helped sick people. You can do this”. One side of me said, “You can do it”, while the other asked, “How?”

I had no answer.

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Troubled Teens: Scary Times

clip_image004_thumb[1]This series is meant to help parents of teens and parents of kids who are turning into teens understand what teenagers think and what they go through as part of this tough period of their life. Each “twisted” thought is followed by something parents can do to help their teenagers and everyone else involved.

As in previous chapters, here are 5 things teens think and feel that scare them and make them act weird, and what you can do about them. I hope it will help you find alternative ways to address the issues and prevent them from keeping those thoughts any longer.

My parents are cruel and weak

“I think my parents are cruel. They hate me. They scream, shout and always tell me I’m wrong. They brought me into the world to torture me. They are weak. How can I trust them when I need help if they are so weak?”

What parents can do

When children are upset, they may think that you are behaving the way you do with the ultimate purpose of hurting them. Many parents mistake discipline for power when in fact, abusing your power and yelling, shouting or telling kids they are wrong are signs of weakness and may cause your children, especially teenagers, not to trust you to support them when they need help. This is because using pressure and force is all about you, not them.

Read more about how to deal with troubled teenagers

Troubled Teens: Disturbing Thoughts

Teenage boy riding a busBeing a teenager is not easy. Being a parent of teenagers is not easy either, but there are ways for parents to help make life easier for both. Here is a list of 5 more thoughts that teens have, which your behavior and attitude as a parent can change to make the teen years much nicer.

I must be adopted

“Maybe I was adopted. That explains the way they treat me. I’ve heard them saying I looked like Mom, but I look at my photos as a baby and I don’t look like either one of my parents or even like myself today. They could have adopted me when I was just a baby. That makes sense. I think this is why they love my brother more than they love me.”

What parents can do

Every child has this horrible thought at some stage. It is very natural to question your parents’ behavior as that of adoptive parents. There is no real way to prevent this thought from getting into kids’ mind, but there are good ways to make sure it will go away quickly, before it creates any damage.

Talk to your kids about their birth and talk about it a lot. Kids ask question about their pregnancy and birth to check if all the stories match. If Mom tells one story and Dad tells another one about the same birth, that will be odd, but if they tell the stories over and over and everything matches, they must be true!

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Troubled Teens: Confusing Years

Teen girl posingIn the past, people thought that teens’ behavior during the teenage years was directly connected to physical changes they start to experience at the age of 12, which makes them feel strange with their body changes and confuses them. Today, the approach is that adolescence is a more gradual process that starts with the first time children want to try doing things on their own, sometime as early as the age of 3.

If teenagers seem confused to you, it is mainly because they have reached a point in their life when they need to define who they are, what they think, what they like or hate, what their beliefs are and what they wants to be later on in life. These thoughts are tough. I know many adults who have not reached that self-definition yet, so this is not easy for a 12-year-old to do, although they are expected to have some clue about it.

Around the age of 10, beliefs that were part of children’s identity are shattered and they need to put the pieces together to survive emotionally. Kids with high emotional intelligence can do that, but most cannot, so they have to ask for help from those who unintentionally create the problem – their parents or their teachers.

This series will give you a sneak peek into teens’ confused brain and help you understand why it is so hard do be a teenager. I still remember my adolescence, I am raising my second teen, the third one is reaching puberty soon and I have worked with lots of teenagers in the last 25 years, so this list is quite reliable.

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Col. Nathan R. JessupPersonal integrity and honesty are very important to me. One of the strongest values my dad managed to pass on to me is the truth. Numerous times during my childhood, I saw him sacrifice acceptance and even money in order to follow what he believed to be true and real. He also repeated that lesson to me often.

While growing up, however, I found out this was not the case with everyone. There were many situations in which I knew the truth and witnessed people denying it or acting as if the opposite was the case.

When I talked to my mom about it, she told me, “Sometimes, people don’t exactly lie, but they tell a ‘white lie’ to avoid complications or embarrassment”. The world, it turned out, was not a courtroom drama, where it was “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

In fact, it seems that lies have been institutionalized and you cannot get very far without them anymore.

Some time ago, I attended what I thought would be a series of presentations on building great websites, but turned out to be a series of presentations on various topics, including personal philosophy, business, training and other things. One particular presentation was called “Do not lie” and it made me revisit the issue of living honestly from an adult and even a parent perspective.

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Topsy Turvy World (4)

Happy toddler on an ice slideOur world is a weird and wonderful place, but sometimes, we act in weird ways that make it not so wonderful anymore. In many situations, there is a conflict between what is good for us personally and what is good for everybody. In others, the conflict is between what is good for us right now and what will be good in the future. Without considering the implications of our actions, they sometimes make the world just a little bit less pleasant.

Of course, when we do many of these things and lots of other people do them too, the decline accelerates. I often think of my kids and the kind of place I would like them to have when they grow up and it makes me worry.

No Running, No Jumping, No Playing

When Tsoof was 4 years old, his favorite activity was soccer, he loved to play drums and was a very energetic and talkative little boy. We wanted him to be with other kids, so we sent him to a nearby kindergarten that had great facilities and looked really nice.

Over time, we noticed our little boy was becoming sad and agitated, until he said he did not want to go to kindie anymore. When we ask him about it, he said, “They just want me to sit all the time. I can’t run and I can’t jump and I can’t climb anything. And they want me to be quiet all the time. If I sing or shout because I’m happy, they say ‘keep it down’. I heard something outside and I climbed the toy box to see what’s happening and the teacher pulled me down”, he said.

The next time we dropped him off, we went in with him and asked about all these restrictions. His teacher told us there had been some accidents and some children had gotten injured from climbing or bumping into each other while running, so their insurance company had told them they would not pay for these anymore and they should make sure the kids did not do anything dangerous.

“But this is what kids do”, we said, “They run and climb and experiment. It’s good for them”.

“Sorry”, said the teacher, “We can’t afford to lose our cover”.

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Be Friendly, Be Happy

Happy girls sitting on grassPeople are social creatures. They live in groups, they need the groups and they rely on the groups to survive. This creates some dependency that no one likes. Yes, some people need friends more than others do, but living on our own, not seeing or being in contact with the outside world, would bring an end to human kind.

Friends and friendships are very important to all people, even to those who find it hard to admit, and what social skills we do not have naturally, we can develop.

In the past year, I have had many opportunities to talk and write about my successes. When I examined each of them, I realized that being a very social creature, loving people, understanding the way they function and using my good social skills were real assets to me.

Social skills – Nature or Nurture?

I have not always been a very friendly person. Not that I did not like company, but until the age of 16, I did not really understand the social rules I needed to live by. I had no friends, I got into frequent conflicts with the ones I did hang around with and I was lonely and miserable. My parents had no friends either, so I could not learn from them the right things to say and do around other people.

Then, I stopped reacting without thinking about the impact it has on my relationships and I learned that friendly people are happy people and that social skills can be learned.

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More Control – Less Power

Father watching daughter on computerThere are many parents out there who spend much of their time with their children trying to get them to do certain things, like homework or chores, or to teach them how to do things “right”, like spelling words correct or spreading peanut butter without making a big mess. If you ever see these parents in action, there is one thing that jumps at you – they are stressed and almost everything their kids do makes them jump.

And that is no way to live. It is not good for the parents and it is not good for the kids.

What happens in these situations is that the parents try to control their children. In fact, they try to control the fine details of what their children do, say and sometimes even feel. They tell themselves and anyone else who will listen how important it is to get all the answers on every assignment correctly. That is how they justify the hours of grilling their kids over homework. They explain the long-term impact of passing a basketball using the scientifically proven motion on their kids’ sporting future. That is how they justify the yelling from the sidelines and the intensive drilling at home.

But how important are these things really?

Who are they really important to?

And what are the effects of this controlling behavior on the children, the parents and their relationships for the rest of their lives?

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