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How Children Are Made or Broken By Family Issues or Trauma

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

Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen talk about the Fine balance between love and logic. They give tips on how to be a good listener and elevate confidence in children.


Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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 amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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 brainmd.com.

Welcome back. We are in the week of letting go, if you’ve got children who are about to fly the nest or even something else in your life, where you know, it’s time to let go of something, and you’re struggling a little bit. And, in this episode, we’re going to talk about the consequences of not letting go. So, if you’re struggling with letting go, we want you to start thinking about, “Well, what’s the flip side of that? What are the consequences if you don’t let go?”

Daniel Amen, MD:

And, before we do, we have a review to read, from Angel.Joe, “So glad, I’m so thankful I found this podcast, I really wish I had the ability to go to one of the clinics. I’ve suffered so much with mental illness, “For as long as I can remember, medication after medication, after medication, provider after provider, suicidal ideation, different diagnosis, I feel like I have no emotion being on medication. I look forward to listening to the entire series and reading your books and hopefully finding a way out for me. Not sure if it will be possible to come off these medications or if I can find a good psychiatrist in my area, but now I have hope.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Hope is a big thing.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I love that, because hope is so important. And, on my blogs again, the mental illness, it’s like these are mental, their brain, if they can unlock why your brain is struggling, then you’re just more likely to feel better. And, people don’t really understand that about medication, medication can decrease depression, but it tends to decrease a lot of feelings. So, Angel Joe, thank you so much.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Awesome. So, I want to talk about the consequences of not letting go, I think this was one of the things that helped me to start to realize, “It’s time to let go”. Because, the consequences of not letting go is, really enabling your kids, it’s handicapping them. And, it’s also sort of, now you have to take care of them, so you sort of enabled them.

And, when I realized that, I read something when I was studying Love and Logic, is that, entitled people can never be happy. And, that’s what happens, is you, unwittingly, unintentionally, sort of make them entitled than enabled. And so, the college scandal was a perfect example of this, these are parents who became so wrapped up in, first of all, their kids became their identity, their success became their identity, but it’s like-

Daniel Amen, MD:

And, it wasn’t really about the kids.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

No. But, it’s like thinking that their kids can’t do this on their own or their success isn’t their own. You want your kids to be able to, whatever success they achieve, is their own. And so, if you don’t do that, then you get so wrapped up in it, and now you… That’s an extreme example. But, it happens, and it happens a lot, you’re constantly rescuing them.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And, by helping them take responsibility by not rescuing them, you’re actually elevating their sense of confidence, of competence and self-esteem. So, we watched, I guess it was on Netflix, about the college admission scandal, it’s just horrifying.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Terrible.

Daniel Amen, MD:

What you saw, is the parents didn’t have confidence in their children, and it really became about them.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

“What are my friends going to think? What are…”

Daniel Amen, MD:

“And, they have to go to this school or that school.” And, the thing I took away from it, the word, “Prestige”, if you didn’t go to one of these prestigious universities. The word, “Prestige”, actually comes from a French word that means, deceit.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Isn’t that interesting?

Daniel Amen, MD:

And, I’m sensitive to this. When I turned 18, I went into the military, I got a year of college done while I was in Europe, serving in the military at the University of Maryland, they had an extension campus. And then, I came back and did a year at a community college, Orange Coast College-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So did I, two years.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… And, went to a small Christian college-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So did I.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… Vanguard University. And, I don’t think that impaired me at all. It’s not where you go to school that matters-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s what you do with it.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… It’s who you are and what you do with the education that you get. So, at this point, children are being rejected from Duke and Harvard, and Princeton.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And, to find out that your parents did that. And, I heard some of the conversations, if you listened to some of the phone conversations of the parents, talking about their children, that is so devastating, if you’re the child, to hear, that you think your kid’s not smart enough to get into some of these schools. It’s like, well, first of all, so what, if they into another school, and it’s not Harvard? So what, why would you not be proud? I was just mind blown.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Why would you not root for them or the reality of them? And, when you cheat to get them ahead, you teach them to cheek.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So, what really helped me was when, [Chloe [00:06:19] was in second grade, and I was really struggling, I mean, she was just such a strong-willed child, and I learned Love and Logic. And, the one line that really helps me was, “You’ve already done school, this is not about you, this is about them learning, not about you learning, let it be theirs.” And, for some reason that just really struck me.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And it starts early, from, they’re in second grade and they have a project to do, and-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You’re doing it for them.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… The mother or father steps in and does it for them. What you’re teaching them, is they are not competent. And so-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I backed out, completely.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… Getting back to the theme of letting go…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

But, if you start letting go young, it’s not easy to watch your kids fall and scrape their knees and make mistakes, but trust me, it’s much easier to watch them do that when they’re in second grade, when they’re 10, 12, 15, then when they’re 25, 30, 40. So, much better to let them learn those mistakes when they’re young. And, I remember, so I adopted the practice of, “I don’t take sweaters to school, if you forget them, you’ll be cold and maybe you have to stay inside for recess. I don’t take lunches to school. I don’t take school projects. I don’t take homework. I don’t do your homework. If you have a question, you can help me. If you don’t turn your homework in, you’ll make friends, next.”

Daniel Amen, MD:

“If you have a question, I will help you.” Not, “You can help me.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh, yeah, “I will help you.” “If you have a question, I will help you.” But, these are things that I adopt, and I had to learn them, they were not easy to learn. And, they made a huge difference, in the type of kid that I have now versus the type of kid I was going to have.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So, before we close, letting go. I think it’s critical to really ask yourself, “Am I doing this for me or am I doing it for them?” And, from a parenting standpoint, not enabling your kids to, not be successful, but to root for them and to let it be on them, unless they’re doing dangerous things.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So, the one thing I want to ask you is, because you see a lot of these kids, what have you seen, with parents who sort of put the responsibility and the onus on the kids versus parents who try to fix everything for their kids? When they run into, even a mental health issue, who tends to do better?

Daniel Amen, MD:

When it’s the child’s idea to get help, it’s much better, when it becomes a requirement to the parents, kids often are not cooperative, they don’t get as much out of it. So, I think being a good listener, I can’t say this more, I was working with one of my patients yesterday, and they were an adult couple, and the band said something, and rather than the wife just repeating it so he could hear what he was saying and talk himself through it, she finished it, as she would finish it, “Well, how can you do that? And, that’s not going to work.” I mean, completely, it was just filled with direction, judgment and caused him to get angry. And, I’m like, “If you just would’ve stopped at, “You think your life depends on it”, and then, don’t say anything else, he would’ve talked himself through it.” So, the most important thing you can do, with your kids, your spouse, is be a good listener.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

But, we’re not taught this.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Too often, the anxiety that you have, somebody says something, you don’t let them finish what they’re going to say, and then you just have verbal diarrhea all over them. And, it doesn’t keep the conversation going. And, we want our teenagers, especially, to have the mindset, where they’re solving their own problems, because soon you’re not going to be there. And, trust me, when they’re 30, you don’t want to be solving their problems.

And, I often say, “Well, does it fit?” When a child brings a problem to me, it’s like, “Does it fit with what you want?” And so, letting go, it’s hard because we’re attached. But, I love Ariana Grande’s song, Thank U, Next. When I first heard it, I’m like, “Oh, this is just about all of her relationships,” but then, as I thought about it, I’m like, “It’s mental health, it’s being grateful for what happened and then looking forward.” So, it’s thank you, and for her, it’s her relationships. And, if you listen to the song, it’s about, she wants to find that person, get married, have a family and a life. So, it’s thank you, next. And so-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s, not hanging onto what’s not working.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And, not hanging on to what’s not going to happen. If you hung on to Chloe when she was seven, or maybe better, when she was nine, and this amazing attachment, and you are an amazing mother, I mean, for 15 years, every night you read to her. I mean, you guys were-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well, [inaudible [00:12:14] 15, she sort of stopped that when she was 12.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, it seemed to me, for a long time, I mean, every night you’d spend an hour or so, reading to her, so she already has you in her head. I know, if I gave her a multiple choice question, “Mom would like this decision, she’d be neutral on it, she would be sad, she would be furious,” that 98 times out of a hundred, she knows what you think, your voice is already in her head.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. And, it’s important for her to learn to listen to her voice, not just mine.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And so, when your kids come to you with a problem, odds are they know your voice, you want to help them find their voice. So, what did you learn today? Helping people find their voice, that’d be awesome. Write it down, take a picture of it, post it on any of your social media sites, hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. And, we would just dearly love it if you left us a comment, question or review.

We’re going to read the questions coming up this week, but before we do that, we’re going to do random [inaudible [00:13:30], so stay with us.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re interested in coming to Amen Clinics, use the code, podcast10, to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation, at amenclinics.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.