How Can You Prevent Mental Issues In Your Children?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

This past week of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast has explored the concept of daddy issues, with Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen describing the many ways that it can affect a child. In the final episode of the series, the Amens give you tips for preventing these issues from developing in your own children.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back to Daddy Issues Week and we thought we would spend the last podcast of this week talking about how to prevent daddy issues in your children.
Tana Amen: So, what is our question for today? Let's ask them a question that they can be thinking about and pondering.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, what's the one thing I can do to prevent daddy issues in my-
Tana Amen: To break the cycle-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Daughter or my son.
Tana Amen: And please don't use the one that one of my daughter's friends used which is, "I'm going to give my dad daughter issues because I don't want daddy issues." Let's not do that. Okay.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, let me read this review. Everybody should hear this by brain warrior Rachel ... Love that. A fantastic podcast of bite-sized insights into the immensely important work of Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife, Tana. I've been a student for about 20 years when I bought my first copy of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and it is still a hugely important reference tool for me today. Can't believe that 20 years later, psychiatrists are still not looking at the organ they are supposed to be treating. Dr. Amen's work should be part of the curriculum, not just for psychiatrists, but at all schools. Understanding how our brains work and its impact on our every thought, decision and action, it is life-changing. Thank you both for continuing to share this hugely valuable information.
Tana Amen: That's awesome. So, you know I have something to say really quick about that. So I worked for Medtronic, you know I'm a neurosurgical ICU nurse, trauma nurse, and then I worked for Medtronic for a while, which is part of why we had such a great first date. We were talking about the brain so much. One of my therapies when I worked for Medtronic was deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease and also for depression, okay. So here's my question. It makes no sense that if we know ... So, what we would do is go into the operating room. The patient's awake, has to be awake and they're putting this little probe down into the brain. The reasons the patient's awake is because they have to find the right spot. So someone with a massive tremor who can't be still, if you get the right spot, all of a sudden they're completely still and they can write their name, okay. Same thing with depression, you hit the right spot, the depression goes away.
Now, if that is true and something like that affects ... If you're touching the brain in certain places and it affects a person's life that much, then how on earth can you say that you shouldn't be looking at the brain to figure out what's going on?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, that's the whole concept behind the end of mental illness is these are not mental illnesses, they're brain illnesses.
Tana Amen: But, do you see what I'm saying? It's obvious.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, for like 30 years, I see what you're saying.
Tana Amen: But to me it was just like so clear.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah. No, it's insane-
Tana Amen: Because I dealt with it in the operating room.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Look at the brain. But the question for this podcast is, how do you prevent daddy issues in your child? And I'm going to give you the answer that has worked for me, not that ... I mean, you have to talk to my kids on whether or not they have daddy issues.
Tana Amen: Everybody's got some sort of daddy issue.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But it's being a good listener, it's not over-speaking them, not you know they say something and you just talk too much, it's learning about active listening that we've talked about over and over again, and it's time.
Tana Amen: Time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's actual, physical time-
Tana Amen: Bonding and time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: When I was a child psychiatry-fellow, so I'm learning to be a child psychiatrist. So I realized nobody really listened to me at home and as great as my mom was there were seven of us. So my most special times, you know, maybe once a week or once every other week, I would read to her for 20 minutes and that was gold for me. And it's why I loved my grandfather so much because I actually got that alone time with him. And it's a problem in our society because we have two-parent working families, now I don't want anybody to feel guilty about it, it's what you need ... You know, 90% of mothers in California work outside the home because it's expensive to live here. It doesn't need to be a lot of time but it needs to be consistent time. If you can find 20 minutes, 10 minutes, a day to just be with your child, do something they want to do, no commands, no questions, no directions just be in their space and listen to them that's going to go a long way to preventing mommy issues or daddy issues.
Tana Amen: I agree.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So really critically important for parents. I have this one story. So, Carl, who was my first entertainment attorney a long time ago, like 30 years ago he had a daughter when he was older and he's like, "She never wants to spend any time with me." And I'm like, "It's because you're ignoring her.' 'What do you mean I'm ignoring her?" I'm like, "You're ignoring her. Don't lie about it."
Tana Amen: Well, don't lawyers have a tendency to put their family on the stand when they get home? You have to be careful not to do that with kids.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And he said, "That's a girl thing. Girls want their moms." I'm like, "No, girls want their daddies too." And so I basically said, "Do this 20 minutes a day," and she was like two, "sit on the floor and play with her. And don't do anything else, don't look at your phone, don't respond, don't do anything else. Just be with her." And he's like, "Oh, it's not going to work." I'm like, "Oh great. You represent an idiot. I'm telling you what to do." And so he's, "All right, I'll do it." And he did it and three weeks later he calls me up, "She won't leave me alone. As soon as I walk in the door, all she wants to do is be with me."
Tana Amen: Because we started to ... If you start to go in-
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's time and a willingness to listen, just be in their space, don't use so many words. And that's actually why children listen to their dads more than their moms because-
Tana Amen: Not mine.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because moms talk too much.
Tana Amen: Not my child. My child listens to me but I think it's because I'm bonded to her. So I think the bonding really goes a long way. So I want to touch on one thing. I love what you said about bonding though because I think it's hugely important. You know how you always say that you can make your child a Republican or Democrat or anything you want?
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's by the relationship.
Tana Amen: Right. It's the relationship. It's the bonding. So, but I want to touch on something because we're talking about how you can break the cycle and I started out by talking about working with Medtronic, seeing how doing certain things to the brain affected the brain, which means that if you have brain issues it's going to affect how you're behaving. It's going to affect whether you have depression. So I think one of the things that's really important to start with is make sure that your brain is healthy, make sure you are optimizing yourself, that you're your best self as a parent. I know it really helped me to see that because I really have this belief, it's just a strong belief of mine, that you have a choice but you only have that choice, that freewill if you're coming from a place of having all your tools, having your hardware work right. So if you get your brain, if you start from a place of having a healthy brain, even just go online and take our brain health assessment, it'll really give you an idea of where you're at. That's free, just go to, start there.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Go to I mean, you can find it from but it's complicated. So, you'll say which of the 16 brain types you have and also how healthy or not your brain might be.
Tana Amen: Right. So it's a good place to start because once you balance your brain, you get your brain optimized right from where you are, it increases your choices, it increases your choice to do better, your ability to take responsibility. So I really think that's a place to start.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, brain health for the parents, brain health for the child because sometimes people have daddy issues and ... Your dad was fine, you were the problem.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I love the quote, "Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children."
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And those of you that have more than one, you know they come out different ... My two girls, Breanne and Katelyn, Breanne came out more reserved-
Tana Amen: Quiet-
Dr. Daniel Amen: A bit more anxious, quieter. She's an introvert, where Katelyn came out waving at you.
Tana Amen: Taking off across the parking lot.
Dr. Daniel Amen: "Hi, my name is Katelyn." And [inaudible 00:09:48]-
Tana Amen: Oh my God, oh she's so cute.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Who's now 10 months old is so cute but she's just very much like Katelyn and she's waving.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And was wiggly when she was young. So they come out differently and often it's the fit between the parents temperament and the child's temperament that determines the relationship. So optimize your brain, optimize your child's brain. Spend as much time as you can on bonding, time and willingness to listen and your child is less likely to have daddy issues.
Tana Amen: I love that. So we started off with a question and let's end with ... We told them what they could do. So if you wouldn't mind posting something you learned, we would love to hear it. We love to read our testimonials. We love to read things that you tell us. So post what you've learned, post something you're doing, anything, any comment from the podcast. And also use #brainwarriorsway on any social media site and share this if you've enjoyed it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So the question, just to review is, what are the things you can do to prevent daddy issues in your child? Again, #brainwarriorsway, leave a review. Thanks so much.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. And while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're interested in coming to Amen Clinics, give us a call at 855-978-1363.