I am a Master Coach, hypnotherapist, trainer and writer and the Transforming ADHD Movement is rolling to let you and your child realize that there's more to life than normal, and to help you both transform your ADHD minds from the inside out. Read about the movement and the ADHD Power Mind courses.
In my coach training, I was told to acknowledge whatever came out of the mouth of the client as that person’s subjective truth. And then work with that.
No matter how strange it sounded.
So when my very first practice client presented me with the metaphor that all her aspirations and interests were like an army with no general and that every one of the soldiers was trying to make her go in their direction, I just went along with the metaphor. As a result of her inner experience described in the metaphor, she didn’t know which direction she wanted to go in and had no idea what to do with her career.
I got curious and asked her about the army and the soldiers and everything, and we spent more than two hours understanding and making the metaphor come alive – and then transforming every element of the army. In the end, her experience was that she was the leader of her army and understood that being a generalist with many interests could be a very powerful thing when directed properly.
It took her only days after that session to embark on an incredibly successful career where she would draw on all the soldiers’ competencies and eventually become a founder in her own business.
By then I was deep in the work with clients with the ADHD diagnosis and working with metaphors all day every day.
The Power of Metaphors
We all communicate in metaphor about what is going on inside of us. When I work with externalization, I take the metaphor seriously and use it to help create transformation from the inside out.
If we look at common metaphors among adults, we can see that we use these in our everyday language:
My anger is all bottled up inside.
I am in a sea of despair
I have a broken heart
I am feeling bubbly
If we look at common metaphors among adults with the ADHD diagnosis, we can see that they are rich descriptions of what is going on inside of them:
Part of me just wants to go outside and play instead of being in class.
It’s like there are 16 TV screens in my mind and I feel that I have to focus on all of them to make sure I don’t miss anything.
It was the ADHD Monster that made me do it.
You may recognize these metaphors, either from your own child or from the common literature on ADHD. The great thing is that when we accept the metaphors as the inner experience of the person, magic starts to happen.
Metaphors are the programming elements of the mind. The brain may use neurons and firing of electric pulses, but the mind uses metaphors to explain what is going on in there, – and the mind uses metaphors to change the programming of the mind.
Change the metaphor => change the inner experience => change the behavior.
Transforming the Metaphor
This is where it gets really interesting because metaphors can be changed in normal conversation. This means that you can have a discussion with your partner or friend, – and if your understanding of a subject changes, so does your metaphor for how you understand and talk about the subject.
You might say something like: “I had him up on a pedestal before, but when I know that about him, I can’t help but look down on him.”
You might say: “I couldn’t make sense of the movie, but now the ingenuity plot has fallen into place for me!”
These are both metaphors that describe what is going on inside of you. Neither the pedestals or the piece that fall into place exists in the “real” world. Yet they describe beautifully the transformation that has happened and that it happened fast. It turns out that the mental fabric that metaphors are made of, is more malleable than children’s play-doh. You can transform one thing into another in seconds.
Imagine instead that your child says:
“I don’t need my anger volcano any longer, so I made it into a statue that tells me in a funny voice that I should relax.”
This transformation did actually occur to one of my clients in a one-hour session.
The key to transforming a metaphor (which is equal to the inner experience, remember!) is to enter a What-if scenario, where you explore the possibility that the metaphor can change.
This happens with questions like:
What would you transform the (insert inexpedient metaphor here) into, if you could change it into anything you want?
If you could choose something else than (insert inexpedient metaphor here) to pop up in those situations, what would you like it to be instead?
For example, if the metaphor is “I have a short fuse!”, then you can first explore the metaphor and ask what is at the end of the fuse and how fuse gets lit in the first place. All the questions are within the metaphor. Once you find out that the fuse is attached to a round bomb, you can ask a transformational question like: “if you could transform that round bomb into something else entirely, what would you transform it into?”
And on the conversation goes.
Metaphors For Anger
It can be surprisingly simple to transform from the inside out. Even for very small children. I have worked successfully with children down to 6 years with this method, and my oldest daughter has done this kind of work since she was 3.
Common metaphors for anger are:
I am boiling with anger. (Hot liquid, put a lid on)
I try to fight it, but my rage always wins when she talks to me like that. (Externalized part of personality)
Then I just go on a rampage like a 3-year-old. (non-externalized childish part of personality)
It is interesting to see when children and adults alike choose different metaphors.
Most often when people realize that they have the option to transform their anger into something else, one of two things happen. Either they transform the anger into another and more constructive anger, – one that helps them set better boundaries and is aligned with their current age. Or they transform the anger into something entirely different, – like peace, calm, serenity.
What Happens When You Transform The Metaphor
Think of the metaphor as a program that has been created by the subconscious mind years ago. It hasn’t been updated since. It runs on automatic in the sense that certain outside or inside triggers start the program – and releases the inner experience best described by the metaphor. Then you might experience emotional high-jacking where you do the automatic response without being able to do something else.
When you transform a metaphor, you don’t necessarily transform the triggers, but when the program is triggered, – the program is now an updated version of the program. This “program” is the inner experience of the new or tweaked metaphor. So the trigger triggers the new metaphorical inner experience, – and you have a different behavior based on this new inner experience.
This understanding gives us a new understanding of our minds and our children’s minds. When we help them transform something in their minds, they can immediately express a new behavior. And it will even feel natural to them within 24 hours.
Now Start Listening
Whether you have something you want to change, or your child expresses behavior that needs to change, – you can now start listening for the metaphors.
If it’s you, you can write about your problem, and start sentences like: “My anger is like a …” and then just let your subconscious mind fill in the rest of the sentence. Exchange anger with your specific challenge. Fear, Intimidation, Time Management Skille, Tiredness, Etc. Everything goes. Once you have the metaphor, write a little more about it, so that your subconscious pattern becomes conscious. Then re-write it. What would you like this metaphor to transform into? You can start small and tweak the metaphor, changing the colors or sizes of things, – and if you want, you can transform the entire metaphor from unpleasant to pleasant, from ugly to beautiful, from hard to soft, – or whatever you need.
If you are helping your child, then listen to the metaphors and explore the metaphors with the child. Make it a game to catch the metaphors. And then suggest that you help the child change that inner experience, so that the child can express a different behavior. Curious exploration is what it takes. Never force anything, because if you do the child will protect itself by answering “I don’t know!”
If you want to learn more about helping your child transform through the use of metaphors, and about parenting and much, much more, I have a parenting course called Reclaim Hope coming out in early Jan. 2018. Sign up below to get early access when the course is out.
“It’s as if there are 1000 large green ants inside my legs.”
I was coaching a teenager who had a hard time sitting still with his legs.
Or – as he put it – it was impossible for him to sit still with his legs.
He had tried every possible way to get the legs to stop moving all the time. To no avail.
While he and I had worked our way through his first problem in record time, his legs where in constant motion. When we wrapped up that first problem, I asked him what happened down in the legs – inside the legs.
He told me that it was like there were 1,000 large green ants crawling around down there.
Communicating With the Subconscious Mind
The ants were of course a metaphor for how the boy’s mind could best describe the experience. It turns out that when you accept that metaphor, you are in effect having a conversation with the boy’s subconscious mind. And when you do that, things can change incredibly fast.
If you are willing to accept that whatever comes out of the mouth of other people as what is actually going on inside of them, you get a magnificent insight into what is causing their inappropriate behavior. My client’s words was an expression of what is experienced inside the parallel reality where our thoughts and feelings and mental images live.
Taking the metaphor at face value, great things happen.
Accepting the Metaphor
I asked the boy what he would like to have happen to the ants.
“I just want them out of the legs,” he said.
“In what way out of legs,” I asked.
“Like completely out, – as if they were let out through a small hatch in the front of the big toe,” he replied, pointing to the right big toe, which was sitting still despite the movement of the leg.
I also pointed to his right big toe and said, “If you imagine a small hatch in the front of the big toe, what is it like to let the ants out?”
The boy looked puzzled down on the big toe. The right leg stopped moving. Only the right. “It is strange.”
“In what way strange?” I asked. Also puzzled – but mostly because only one of the legs had calmed down.
“All the ants have gathered out on the floor now.”
“All? What about those in the left leg,” I asked.
“Oh well, they didn’t come out. We have to get them out as well.”
“In what way do you want to let them out?”
“Perhaps through a hatch in the left big toe.”
“Good idea. What is it like to let them all out that way?”
“Wild!” he said and laughed. Now with both feet firmly planted on the floor.
And maybe just a little bit crazy…
Why We Get Ants In Our Pants
Our beautiful, strange brains may be hard to understand sometimes, and in this case when the boy started elementary school he had had a hard time being “tied” to a chair. Part of him just wanted to go out and play. So part of his subconscious mind had tried in every possible way to get him up from the chair and out of the room. Another part of him wanted to be well behaved, so he sat still in his seat trying to ignore the part of him that wanted to get out and play.
And so the inner battle started between the part of him that wanted to get out and the part of him that wanted to stay. In this case, the part of him that wanted to get out became an inner experience of having ants in his legs. The experience may only have become ants after an adult used the expression to describe his behavior.
And when you have ants in your legs, you move around.
Work With What Comes From the Child
When you hear your child use a metaphor, what you have to do is just accept it at face value.
“Oh, your home work is killing you?” “In what way is homework killing you?”
“Did you say that your thoughts are spinning around?” “Which way are they spinning?”
I promise you that you’ll have interesting conversations with your child, and that you’ll learn things about the way he thinks that you never knew about.
Of course your child may not accept that you are headed into metaphor land with him. Then just let it go for now. And catch another metaphor some other time.
Transforming ADHD Through Metaphors
The ADHD diagnosis is based on unwanted behavior, and most often people try to have the child change the behavior first. However for every unwanted behavior there’s one or more underlying inner experiences that makes the child act inappropriately.
These are the experiences that we need to get to and change, in order to transform ADHD into an asset. We do this easily by getting to the metaphors that drive the behavior.
It is so much easier to change the metaphors (thoughts and emotions), when we want to change the behavior. Then behavior that has not budged previously can be changed from the inside out instead.
Now over to you
What are some metaphors that your child is using about what is going on inside of him or her?
If you are inspired by this article, please share it on social. There are great links for that below. ?
Have a great day!
PS: If you are a parent and want more tools that work with your child, then get access to the free Transformational ToolBox – a series of tools that will help you get started Transforming ADHD with your child.
Does your child have difficulty learning from his mistakes? In this article you’ll get insights into one of the most common mistakes that we do as parents, that teaches our children to not learn for their mistakes.
Our neighbor living above us in the apartment building had a 3 year old daughter. She was always running around in the apartment and since she was running on her heels, we always knew which room she was in. Dokdokdokdok. Running around.
No problem. We were starting a family as well and knew that we would have our own girl running around like that soon.
One day it went dokdokdokdokdok-bang, and we could hear that she fell to the floor and started crying. We looked at each other. She okay?
Then her dad came running – also a heel runner – to help her. And because of her crying, he spoke so loud that we could her what he said to her. And he said something that we have used to completely transform our parenting style. In fact, he said something so profound that we still talk about it almost every week, when we hear references to the phenomenon in daily life.
His words were: “Stupid, stupid door! Poor you!”
We looked at each other and went “What?!”
In that one sentence, trying to help his little girl not feel so bad about the accident, he also managed to take away her responsibility in the crash, – and blamed the static door! As if the door stuck it’s side out just as the girl was about to pass it with a safe margin, and hit her in the face with its full capacity.
Come on. Doors don’t do that! Then why did he blame it on the door? And more importantly – what is the long term effect on the girl and her understanding of herself and her responsibility in the world?
Now, you might think that this is a funny story, poor girl, – but what does it have to do with bigger kids, teens or us as adults? We know that doors don’t do that. Riiiight!? Obviously we do know this – with our adult conscious mind, but parts of our subconscious mind are functioning in a different way as we shall see in the next section.
I think that after reading this article, you will realize just how often you and your kids do this exact thing no matter how old you and they are.
And even better, – you’ll have ways to help yourself and your child change the way you think and learn and take responsibility in life.
What is the problem?
There really are two problems. One would be enough, but as the kids get older, the other one kicks in because of the first one.
The first is that fact that we ascribe actions and intentions to things. Not only to other people which would be bad enough, but to things. We’ll say stuff like:
These shoe laces are teasing me.
The ice cream fell out of the cup.
My bike slid on the pavement, so I fell over.
The sofa attacked me and sucked me in.
School wasn’t fun today.
Traffic was acting up today.
And so on. We make (often static) things the initator of the problem.
It is not because I can’t quite figure out how to tie my shoelaced. No. It’s the shoe laces fault.
It’s not because I was deeply entranced by what was happening in the street that I forgot to hold my ice cream cup upright. No. The ice cream decided that it didn’t want to stay in the cup anymore. So it fell out of the cup.
I didn’t drive recklessly on my bike. The bike was unable to hold on to the pavement while I was speeding where there was gravel on the pavement.
You see the picture, I’m sure.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Often times it’s even more obvious in our language that something is wrong:
These shoe laces frustrate me!
My bike makes me so angry!
School just pisses me off!
Home work makes me want to cry.
Traffic gets the worst up in me.
And so on.
You see what happened there?
Not only did the thing do something to you, the thing actually caused an emotion in you.
Things can’t cause emotions in you, but the words that come out of our mouths are an effect of what is on our minds. There’s a one to one correlation between the stuff that comes out of our mouths and what we are thinking (often subconsciously) and how we have constructed our understanding of the world.
Notice the difference here:
These shoelaces frustrate me. vs. I frustrate myself over these shoelaces.
See who’s doing the frustrating now?
Home work makes me want to cry. vs. I want to cry when I have to do home work.
So when you hear your child start blaming things for his emotions, you can gently guide him to another understanding over time, by repeating what he said back to him, but with him at the active participant in the encounter. Just like in the examples above.
The other consequence is worse
When we teach the kids that the door did it, then we also teach them that the thing that just happened was not their fault. They don’t have to resume responsibility for the crash, and they don’t have to change anything in the future to avoid further crashes.
When they are not to blame, they don’t have to change a thing. This means that they’ll have a harder time learning from their mistakes because subconsciously they are not to blame. Part of them will internalize this and continue to blame outside things or people.
When we let homework get our kids down and we let shoelaces start cascades of emotions in the kids, then they have a hard time realizing that they are the emoting part. They are much better of realizing the causality of things and their responsibility in the world. That way they can learn from it and change their actions.
That way they don’t have to rely on the things around them to create better emotions in them…
Just saying it out loud makes it kind of ridiculous, right?
To sum it up
The consequences of letting things outside of you be at fault work on a deep subconscious level.
The kid becomes a victim. This is serious. You don’t want you child feeling like a victim. You want him to be responsible. Then talk to her like he is responsible.
The kid does not learn from his mistakes. When it’s not his fault, there really is no reason to adjust his own part in this.
One of the most important things that you need to learn to successfully navigate life, is to learn from your failures. What else is there to learn from? When everything is going well, we are in flow. When things go bad, we have a chance to learn from it.
Your part in your child’s learning process in crucial.
You can do like our neighbor and let the child off and let her become a victim of the situation and the viscious door.
Or you can – without blame – inspire your child to learn from the incident.
So – how to do this.
How do you then “blame” your child without turning it into a blame game?
When the child goes: “The door hit me! Waaaaaah!”
You remain calm and goes: “I can see that. You ran into the door. That must have really hurt you!” or “Ouch, that must have hurt, when you ran into the door!”
This way you return responsibility to the owner and still show the child the proper care.
Then – when the child is ready (and this may be seconds, minutes or hours) – ask the child what he learned from the experience. And let him guide you to understand what must be done differently next time this situation arises.
This will help the child feel empowered and you put him in the “teacher” role, letting him come up with the best possible solution he can imagine. It may not be as good as the one the you can imagine, but it’ll fit with his understanding of the world and his perceived options in it. If there’s far between his solution and a “good” solution, you may want to assist him by giving him open questions to reflect on.
“Are there any other ways that you can avoid getting hurt falling on your bicycle in the turn – other than never bike again?”
Now over to you
Did you notice this pattern in your family/child/you?
How do you help your child change his/her feeling of empowerment in those situations?
Have a great day!
PS. I am doing a followup to this article to tell you about another common pattern that makes it almost impossible for your child to learn anything constructive from his mistakes. Sign up to the newsletter to get the article when it comes out.
In this second video on my YouTube channel, I continue to talk about transforming ADHD problems from the inside out. This time I got the question:
“Now I’ll get out of the door in time to be somewhere, but how do I make sure that I get out the door with everything I need having packed my bags, my keys in my pocket, my phone and whatever I need for that day?”
How To Get Out The Door With Your Keys and Stuff - ADHD Mind Tricks - YouTube
The transcript below is unedited, so if anything is unclear, you might need to see my hand gestures and facial expressions! ?
Anders from TransformingADHD.com here.
I wanted to just give you a quick update. I got a question after the first video on this channel about how. When you do transform your thinking about time so that you can get out of the door and be at a specific place at the right time. If you didn’t watch that video, do go see it, and. The question that I was given was: Well, now I’ll get out of the door in time to be somewhere, but how do I make sure that I get out the door with everything I need having packed my bags, my keys in my pocket, my phone and whatever I need for that day?
There’re a couple of ways to do this and I’ll go through them now. So, you probably know a lot of the strategies, the standard strategies for behavioral transformation that are out there. You’ll know that… you need to put everything that you need always in a little bowl right next to the door and… So, these things help, but they’re not a transformation from the inside out.
How do people who do this with ease, how do they do it? That’s what we’re gonna look at today. In our minds we have in our images we have thoughts, we have feelings and we have all these different things that support our daily procedures. One thing that people with successful strategies around coming out of the door, getting out of the door with everything in their pockets and what not.
One of the things they do so, strategy number one for transforming ADHD from the inside out with regard to coming, getting out of the door with everything you need. Strategy number one is… you want to create an image in your mind, so really what you want to do is getting everything that you need. So, say that you have a problem. So, we want to look at how to get out of the door with everything. If we’re looking at this as a transformation from the inside out, we need to figure out what kind of thought processes, what kind of emotional processes has to happen in order for you to have the behavior or do the behavior that you want to do.
In order for you to do this, something has to change. Like, normally, when you get to the door, you’re probably not be thinking about what you need to take with you so you’ll forget and you’ll walk out the door and maybe have your mind focused on something else.
There’re a couple of different strategies to change this problem. One is… strategy number one is… in your mind, you wanna create an image of you with all your stuff and you want that image to trigger at the right time. So, one way you can do that is to really… get in front of the door as if you’re ready to grab the handle of the door maybe even grab the handle of the door and in that image, so, I’m talking about a real physical photography, photo, that you have to get somebody to take of you.
In the image has to be you with your hand on the door, and in the other hand, it has to show everything that you want in your pockets when you walk out the door. So, the principle here is… that you wanna make absolutely sure that the image shows you having all your stuff with you on your way out the door.
Now, then you need to print that picture and put it somewhere where you can start memorizing it slowly or fast if you’re good at memorizing. So, specifically, you might even wanna hang it on the inside of the door, overlapping in some way so that you actually see it a lot of times when you get to the door. If you get to the door and you see that photography, your mind will go “Alright! That’s what I want to look like when I walk out the door”.
Does that make sense to you? I hope it does. And… this video is getting a little bit long, so I think I’ll wait with strategy number two and other strategies for a later video.
So, hang on in there! If you have a tendency to forget things when you’re walking out the door, do have somebody take a photo of you. If you don’t have anybody to take photos of you, take it yourself and… put you and everything you need to have when you walk out the door in that photography and hang that on the inside of the door and you’ll be set in no time.
I hope you have fun with this and I hope it gives you kind of inside into how we can transform our thinking, we can transform ADHD from the inside out and create different strategies that won’t have you, that won’t have you struggling to make a transformation because the transformation comes from the inside out, instead of outside in which is the harder route.
So… let me know in the comments how you put this strategy into play.
The client was a woman was in her mid-twenties with the ADHD diagnosis. Her studies were not going well. She was failing courses, not attending classes, not handing in homework, etc. And while she really wanted to do all these things, it was like she couldn’t do it. She was bright, intelligent and loved her studies.
She complained about her insecurities, fear and self hate.
We tried to power up her motivation, so she could do the right things at her school. But it was obvious that there was something else in the way. While working, I had noticed a pattern in the way she moved. Every time she said something positive or expressed hope or any type of direction or goal setting, she would twitch her head ever so slightly forward.
When I mirrored back to her what I saw, and asked what was happening with the head, she started crying.
The young woman realized at that moment what was going on. It was as if her father was standing right behind her, telling her to stop dreaming. And he was giving her a whack on the back of the head every time she had any kind of positivity in her. She could physically feel his presence and the blows to her head.
That was why she had been twitching her head. And that was why she was unable to make any kind of progress that mattered to her in her life.
But how did he make his way into her head like that? And how can you avoid being the source of this kind of negative inner dialogue in your differently wired child’s mind?
The Origin of Negative Inner Dialogue
Inner dialogue is normal and completely healthy. The only reason why it may come across as strange is really that we don’t realize that we all have it – and because we don’t talk about it very much.
We all hear voices in our heads. How ever else can you be thinking: “I wonder how I got my own negative inner dialogue?” Or maybe you’re thinking: “Wow, now it makes sense.” Either way it comes from a voice inside your head.
We normally just call them thoughts.
Negative inner dialogue is what happens when parts of your personality have something to say. Parts of your personality are interesting “creatures” in the sense that they can take on any form or function that it wishes. This means that parts of your personality can literally be a devil and an angel. Most often they are just different expressions of your own younger personality. They can be expressed as important people in your life, and most people have the voices of their mother and father inside their minds.
What you’ll notice is that your thoughts have different qualities when you are excited or sad, when you are proud of yourself or when you are mad at yourself. Those are four different parts of your personality speaking to you in your mind.
Once again, they are normal and part of having a healthy mind. You may want to shut some of them up, but they are really there to help you. They may not be helping you, but they are trying.
So where do they come from?
Imagine being a small girl who just started school. You are a happy girl and you have a rich imagination and you love to share what’s on your mind. You love your mom and dad.
But to other people you come across as unfocused and chatty. You talk a lot – about everything else but homework.
Your dad does not have any insights or tools to help you, so he scolds you, tells you that you are going to be a loser if you don’t focus. To help you focus on your home work, he stands behind you and gives you a gentle whack to bring you back to what’s important. Every time you loose focus!
Every time you have one of those happy thoughts that your imagination serves you!
You hate the experience, and it feels like you are being punished and like you are losing your fathers love. Why else would he be hitting you for doing what you love to do?
So in order for you to avoid being whacked on the back of the head by your dad, you incorporate a “dad” part into your subconscious to help whack you from the inside, – so that your real dad doesn’t have to do it!
This is of course a poor strategy, because the inner as well as the outer whack only comes when you have already lost focus to your imagination. But it helps enough that dad doesn’t hit you anymore, and the coping strategy worked “enough” for you to commit it to the subconscious.
All this happens subconsciously. A mental coping strategy has been created and will continue to “help” the girl as long as she has something to focus on and an imagination that likes to serve up funny things. Which means forever.
Unless you change it. I’ll get back to the changing part. Right now I want you to understand what is going on, and how to avoid causing your child to create a lot of negative inner dialogues.
3 Ways You can avoid being the source of your childs negative inner dialogue
Working with clients they often remember very distinct situations that we the source of the negative inner dialogue. Sometimes these situations were part of the daily ritual, like home work in the client story above.
Your primary job is to steer clear of those situations, and find ways to express your values in action in the kindest and most accepting way.
Stop Scolding You Child
It’s not a bug surprise that scolding is not only ineffective, but also harmful in the long run. Stop it. Acknowledge that he is really trying his very best, even when it doesn’t look and feel like it. He doesn’t have good mental strategies for handling the situation *yet*.
Then start working with your child instead of against your child. When you give your child a full voice, he’ll be able to hear yours as well. And you’ll be surprised at how good he soon becomes at finding solutions when he realizes that you listen. It’s called the coaching approach that you can learn in Transformational Parenting.
Don’t Blame Your Child
Do you ever ask “Why …?” questions? They are received universally as a personal attack and as a way of throwing blame around. Start there. Don’t ask why questions. Don’t look for reasons. Accept that he has a positive intention that drives him – and that you don’t understand it *yet*.
Instead look for motivation. What was your child trying to make happen? What was he hoping that would happen? Then listen and find ways to help him understand the situation and/or make the right things happen in a better way.
Never Degrade Your Child
When a parent degrades a child by name-calling or letting the child know that it’s a failure in the parent’s eyes, it sticks to the child’s self worth like lint to velcro. It takes forever to get off.
Instead find ways to uplift your child’s self worth in every way possible. Not only by praise, but primarily by letting your child know that you see him, you love him for who he is, and that you understand that he is trying his very best. Help him keep trying and be motivated by trying even when it’s not working.
What if the damage is already done?
Since you are reading this article on this homepage, the damage is most likely already done. Very few will be able to help their complex child grow into a harmonious young person without getting irritated, frustrated or angry. And most likely words have been said, that were regretted moments later.
All that makes an impact on the child. And we’ve all done it.
I can see it on my daughters. In fact some of their patterns we can trace back to very distinct situations. And we are confident that we’ll be able to help them get through those patterns and build very constructive patterns to substitute for the old ones as they grow older and more aware and conscious.
Becoming aware that damage is being done is the first step.
The second sted is to understand that there are thousands of parts to every personality. Most of them are just fine or even great.
We want more of the great ones, so the third step is to start helping the child produce supporting, motivating, uplifting, powerful parts that will eventually help the child succeed in life.
Creating Positive Inner Dialogue
Positive inner dialogue is created just like negative inner dialogue. By exposure to positive reinforcement from people who really mean it. And for the child to understand that this is special.
You can think of parts creation as something that mostly happens when the child is in a new situation, a surprising situation or some other situation that will stick in their memory. You might be able to think back on some of the pivotal moments in your life, those moments that were course corrections in your life.
Those are the ones that you want to create.
When I got down on my knees with my girl (who had lied to me), looked her in the eyes, and told her with power in my voice that I loved it when she told me the truth, – in that moment – I am positive that she created a part of her personality that sets the truth to a high standard.
I could see the shift in her eyes – and in her behavior afterwards.
Transforming Inner Dialogue
Negative Inner Dialogue, like Positive Inner Dialogue, is a subconscious coping strategy. The problem is that this particular coping strategy is no longer working correctly.
We normally don’t *just* change and transform our subconscious coping strategies. Of course we normally don’t *just* change any of our coping strategies, – that’s why there are thousands of books written on the subject.
But through conscious work, with the power of externalization and metaphors, which I have written about here and here, we can transform even the most evil, condescending, depleting, self hating inner dialogues.
If you have a child with negative inner dialogue, and you are interested in getting the insights and tools to help your child, then read through the archive of articles, – or get on the mailing list so you know when my new course Transformational Parenting is out.
To start helping your child produce positive inner dialogue, start by figuring out what that inner dialogue should be saying.
Then start embodying the quality of that inner dialogue in your own actions and interactions with your child.
And when the child embody the quality, make sure that you make it absolutely clear that you value your child and his actions. So clear that he will never forget the moment, when you let him know that the part of him that creates this kind of behavior is fantastic.
And when he exhibits the opposite traits, find a way to honor the parts of him that are struggling to do the right thing.
What parts of your child will you be bringing out?
Let me know in the comments!
And do share this article on social media, if you found it valuable.