Discover a Child's Genius
By Nicole MacKenzie
At the birth of my first child I noticed that a very important detail was missing. My child was not born with an instruction manual. The methods of parenting I studied while looking for one did not reflect what I had learned and taught participants in my weekend trainings about appreciation, accountability and living in magnificence. I knew I wanted to thoroughly enjoy the process of raising my child, while simultaneously providing her with self-respect and Emotional Intelligence (often referred to as EI or sometimes EQ). The question was how to create a parenting technique that included the experiences of fun and accountability at the same time.
One thing I am certain about is that every person is born with a unique gift. People who recognize that gift and act upon it tend to lead a more fulfilled life. Almost anyone may truly pick a "game" they love to play and make a living from it. So my quest became how to raise my children in a way that would best prepare them to live a happy, fulfilled and responsive life. Neither the authoritarian nor the "laissez-faire" systems seemed to fulfill my criteria. There needed to be something new, something honoring our fast moving world, something that could bring out a child's genius. So I applied my expertise in the teaching of emotional intelligence to develop better techniques of parenting.
Emotional intelligence is the key to building a successful life. People who learn to respond to life rather than react to it (by taking everything personally), have a much greater chance of success. The beauty of emotional intelligence is that you can learn it. Like math or reading, anybody with curiosity can learn emotional intelligence. If you work with a young child in this way, parenting becomes particularly easy. The older a person is, the more 'enculturated' habits you have to undo in order to enhance the emotional response mechanism. It's easier with a child.
Here is how it begins: in order to test his or her power, the child uses emotional manipulation to see if he or she can get the grown-up engaged. Most of the time this engagement ends up in a power-struggle and both sides lose. The child has to be extremely observant and brilliant in order to pick the correct "weak spot" that will guarantee the grown-up's engagement.
By the age of two, each one of us has become an expert in this particular arena. At that age it is like playing a game: the game is: "Let me see if I can wind up this big strong person. If I succeed that increases my feeling of power. I will win, no matter what the consequence may be." Every parenting manual suggests you should not engage emotionally or reactively with your children when they misbehave but not one, until now, advises how to handle it differently.
We all had to learn our emotions. Children are not born with sadness, anger, anxiety or any other emotions. It takes the first two years of life to learn about these "mind made" phenomena, which, in so many cases later on in life, dictate the level of happiness, satisfaction and even health in a person. Babies are uninhibited. They live in the moment without care or worries, in a state of wonder or self-actualization. The mind is not yet controlling every thought and constantly suggesting that everything is wrong. This is what makes the company of babies so refreshing.
Around the age of two, children also begin to recognize their reflection in the mirror; they start to build their own persona. Now they have to prove that this little person has power. In order to do that they use the emotions they have learned from their environment and start to manipulate with them. The purpose of this is to see if they can get a big person engaged. For them it is like playing a game and if the grown up engages and reacts it is quite an accomplishment. Yet if you look at the child's brilliance at finding exactly the right "hot button" with each different grown up, you will notice that this is quite an accomplishment. According to Glen Doman, at the Institute for Human Potential in Philadelphia, every child has the genius of Leonardo da Vinci until the age of five. I believe this is absolutely true. As parents we can expect far more rewarding interactions with our little ones if we hold them accountable to their own genius.
If the child succeeds over and over again in winding a parent up by using emotional manipulation, this game will develop into a habit, which later on can develop into a way of experiencing life. Let's look at the very well known manipulation of "whining." If a child gets away with whining then soon a habit will develop out of the game. Now, whatever they do, they use whining to get what they want. This then develops into a way of seeing and experiencing life. What a service to that person to actually stop this behavior at a very young age! How to do this now becomes the question.
Accountability and non-judgmental feedback are the answer. In the case of whining many parents react by saying, "Don't whine!" whilst getting more and more agitated. A proper response in this case would be first the feedback, "You are whining." Then make sure the child knows the difference between their awesome voice and their whining voice. Show the difference first by using the whining voice yourself and then the awesome voice - make it a game. Now have the child try. When they find their awesome voice tell them how much you like it. Now that you have established the awesome voice you can hold them accountable to it. So every time they use the whining voice to ask for something you can now say, "You are whining right now. I need to hear your awesome voice! Try again in your awesome voice!"
Whenever you catch a child in a manipulative game and you acknowledge them by seeing the brilliance within the game, yet hold them accountable to the behavior you want, you will find that your child actually loves to be held accountable. They thrive on honest, non-judgmental feedback. It shows them that you are paying attention. See their brilliance and ask them to be at their best.
Responding from a position of emotional strength simply takes a person much farther than reactive behavior. To achieve this, the focus of the parent has to become "Rule #1: I have fun." Most parents work it the other way around by constantly looking for what could be fun for their child. In doing so, all of the attention is put on the child and the child is constantly "taking," yet never quite satisfied. The parents become the victims of their children and can become resentful. So turn it around. Make it Rule #1 that you have fun. You will be surprised by the results.
Isn't it more fun to give a present than getting one? What a feeling of satisfaction there is in making somebody's day! There is nothing quite like it. Let your children have that feeling by looking out for you and seeing that you have fun. It demands that the attention is off of them and onto you. Whenever the attention is off of a person it is very difficult for them to be in an emotional state, mood or have an attitude. Children love this technique because it both takes the tension out of their daily lives and acknowledges their brilliance. The saying, "When Mom doesn't have fun, nobody has fun!" is after all rather accurate.
The tools offered by this parenting technique work. The genius children whose parents have used these tools prove it with a quality of life that is not attainable with traditional parenting approaches. Without having come up with this unique parenting technique, I would never have ventured to have six children!!
The 'Mom Has Fun' Parenting Method
It seems like no matter what age your child is, you are always wishing you had an instruction book. Starting at age one she has learned to engage in power struggles, temper tantrums, and - your favorite - using her "whiny voice." You find yourself reacting rather than responding, and at the end of the day you question, "Why am I not having fun?"
Nicole MacKenzie, author of the "Mom Has Fun!" home-study course, has perhaps written the closest thing to a parenting instruction manual you can find. It is inspiring and resourceful - and offers step-by-step guidance over the series of twelve 10-day lessons. MacKenzie's course teaches about responsive parenting - raising children in a way that nurtures your child's unique potential while keeping you, the parent, sane.
The method shows you how not to get emotionally hooked, overreact and end up in power struggles. Mom Has Fun! suggests that you appreciate your child's brilliance in coming up with sophisticated manipulative games. If you can take a step back in what they are doing, you become an observer, which helps prevent your getting engaged and taking things personally. It also teaches you how to help your child understand the consequences when they do misbehave.
Who said life didn't come with a book of instructions?
Here's just a few of the parenting secrets you'll learn:
- That's is OK for Mom and Dad to have different household rules.
- That kids really love for you to set rules and boundaries for them.
- How judging right/wrong or good/bad traps you in a hidden parenting pitfall.
- Why you can't raise today's kids the same way your parents raised you.
- How discipline builds (and punishment destroys) your child's confidence and self-esteem.
- How to nurture your kids spirit, bring out their genius, and unlock their full potential - without spoiling them.
- How to increase your child's self-esteem, self-awareness, and self confidence.
- How to raise your children to be curious, considerate, enthusiastic, responsible, and eager to contribute.
- How to honor your own needs as a parent and avoid feelings of guilt and sacrifice.
- Why Mom and Dad having fun is not an option - it's essential to being an effective parent!
The old adage, "When Mom doesn't have fun, nobody has fun!" gets turned around into its corollary, "When Mom has fun, everyone has fun!" This is a subtle and profound distinction. Nicole points out that parents often fall into the trap of assuming responsibility for the child's fun, usually at the expense of the parents' own happiness. This can quickly create resentment in the parents, as the child is never satisfied, and always wants more. The fix is to turn it around, so the focus is on mom and dad having fun. The positive results of this simple shift can be amazing.
This book is a golden treasure for anyone who has responsibility for others, including parents, teachers, nursery workers, coaches, caretakers, managers, etc. It is full of easy-to-learn tips and techniques for holding others accountable to their natural genius. An endorsement on the cover by Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul says it all: "It's time Mom has fun and here is how. May everyone embrace these brilliant concepts!"
The single, most fundamental skill your kids need to grow up to be happy, successful, responsible adults and reach their fullest potential is Emotional Intelligence. When parents apply these methods, the child will automatically develop strong emotional intelligence and, therefore, have a much better start toward a fulfilling life. By having a 120-day home study course, you get a very satisfying way of learning that creates the greatest and most long-lasting results.
For more info... The 'Mom Has Fun' Parenting Method