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You’re Not Your Child’s Best Friend: How to Raise Responsible Children

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast
We all want our children to be happy and avoid suffering, but sometimes that can run counter to your job as a parent – to raise responsible, prepared children ready to face the challenges the world will throw at them. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen discuss the ‘Children Dragon’ and how to keep your child’s voice in your head from manipulating you.
For more info on Dr. Daniel Amen’s new book, “Your Brain is Always Listening”, visit https://yourbrainisalwayslistening.com/

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 Brain MD, 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 talking about the they, them, and other dragons. We sort of introduced the birth order dragons in the last episode. And we’re going to talk about children. How once you have children, children’s voices are always in your head. Do you ever want to feel like you can’t do anything right? Just have kids. So…

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, it’s actually so funny because I was talking to someone the other day who was going to get the vaccination. And she was talking about wanting to be happy. Husband, children. And I’m like, “I’m sorry, you want to be happy, and those are the two things that can make you the most unhappy in the world.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well fortunately, that’s not true for me. But-

Daniel Amen, MD:

And, or us. But they say insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You know, becoming a parent, I have to say, is the most rewarding thing, the most challenging thing, and the most frustrating thing all wrapped into one because, but it’s also the thing that will help you grow the most and bring you the most love. But you will feel the most frustration you’ve ever felt. So…

Daniel Amen, MD:

So in my first marriage, I married someone who had a two year old. She was my childhood sweetheart and we’d separated and she got married and had a child. And then we got together, right as I got into medical school and-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And you adopted him.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… and I adopted him because his biological father wasn’t a responsible person. And so I have not been without children since 1979.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

We all know that this is a thing for you, having children around.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And so talk about taming the insignificant dragons. It’s up to that point, my life had been all about me. Which is not that satisfying to have a life that’s all about you. And it just felt so good, while at the same time, I’ve never had such angry thoughts in my life before.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right. It’s both. It can be frustrating and yet fulfilling. And yet when they succeed or you see them develop certain positive character traits, you just, you get this joy. I mean, it’s like all of the above. Right?

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yeah. You’ll get all of the above when you have children.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right. But they can, when they criticize you, when your kids criticize you, it hurts. Like it’s in your head. It makes you feel like a failure.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well because it’s really criticizing the core of who you are. So before we get into children, we will. Marianne writes in “I’m 71 years old. And they used to call me skinny. I watched your show on Sunday and realized I was eating too much sugar. That even juice has too much sugar.” Absolutely. I mean, it’s just sugar water. “I also drink red wine daily, which has 14% alcohol. Is that too much alcohol for one day? And is it hurting my liver? I can feel that I’m overweight and don’t like it. How long does it take to lose 10 pounds? Do you think this would happen to me? I look to you and Tana, and you’re both slender. What do I do to get rid of the cravings?”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The more carbs you eat, the more carbs you crave. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you will crave. If you cut out the sugar, especially starting with juice or sugar in the mornings, is going to set you up to crave stuff all day long. So what I would start with, Marianne, is eating some healthy fat and protein for breakfast. Eggs and avocado, something like that for breakfast, or a smoothie with some kind of a really healthy, clean protein. A plant-based protein is probably best. Start with some sort of a healthy protein in the morning. You can have greens with that, would be great. But set yourself up to balance your blood sugar and not spike insulin, which is what carbs do. That’s how you start. And then I’ve got all kinds of resources on my website, Tanaamen.com. All kinds of great recipes for breakfast. And the alcohol, yes, I would limit it to two glasses a week. Max.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Can I talk about the alcohol?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Of course. Can I stop you?

Daniel Amen, MD:

So alcohol. Yes.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

No. I don’t want to stop you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You have red hair, red hair, red stop sign. Alcohol increases cravings. Alcohol drops the dragon, Tamer, your frontal lobes, and you eat more. You forget about the calories you eat. And I just, people saw me typing on my phone. What I did just to show you. So 14 ounces of alcohol is about 200 calories. If you do that every day multiplied that times 365 days a year.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

She said one glass. So 14 ounces is two.

Daniel Amen, MD:

But 14 ounces, is two.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

She said 14%. She’s having one glass a day.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Oh, I also drink wine daily. Oh, 14% alcohol. So one glass is a hundred calories. Times 365 is 36,000 calories divided by 3,500 calories to make a pound. Every year, just from the alcohol, you’re putting 10 and a half pounds of fat on your body.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And now if you take out the juice that you, if you’re having that daily, it’s the same thing. So replace the juice and the alcohol. And you’re going to have wine, no more than two glasses a week. You’ll do much better. But cut the wine, I mean, cut the juice out. And you just did the same thing. You just reduced your caloric intake drastically. Not to mention, it’s not just the calories. It’s spiking your insulin. So every time you spike insulin, you can’t burn fat with insulin present. So juice, sugar, especially when it’s simple sugar like juice, it’s going to spike your insulin quickly. And then you’ve got this insulin present and you’re not burning fat. There you go.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You’re so smart. I love that about you. Okay.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you want more help, we have the Brain Warrior’s Way. I’ve got the Brain Warrior’s Way cookbook. We’ve got, I’ve got The Omni Diet.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way course at Amen University. That’s a great course. You can actually spend 26 hours with Tana and I.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I go into great detail about insulin and fat burning and calories and juice and sugar in The Omni Diet as well.

Daniel Amen, MD:

All right, children, dragons. Your brain is always listening to what your children think of you, what they say to you. And they know that and they use it to manipulate you. So Chloe was, “that’s not fair.” There was a lot of “that’s not fair.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So my suggestion to you is have, so I love, Love and Logic parenting. It freed me. So I had a very, very, very strong-willed, difficult child when she was young, but fortunately I’m fairly intelligent. And I came to the conclusion and realization that it’s not her job. It’s mine to figure it out. And so Love and Logic really helped me and freed me. So that was really important. But you know, have these standard responses and be a broken record when your kids do these crazy things that drive you nuts. She, “it’s not fair” and throwing the temper tantrum. And I’m like, “Life isn’t fair. It’s a place with bad food and farm animals.” And which completely confuse her. She had no idea what I was talking about-

Daniel Amen, MD:

The state fair is what Tana’s talking about.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

… but I, would look at her. I’m like, “It’s not about being fair. It’s about what you do to make it better. What are you doing to make a difference?” And I would put the responsibility back in her court.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And I don’t do things…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

…For children who treat me that way,

Daniel Amen, MD:

For children that don’t treat me with respect.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I would tell, and I would tell her, “I don’t do things for people who treat me that way. And neither should you.” So it was teaching her to expect people to treat you with respect. It was modeling how to draw boundaries and expect people to treat you with respect.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And one of the biggest mistakes, and I’ve made this mistake as a parent, is you love kids so much. You don’t want them to suffer like you suffered.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Except, and this was a huge, this was another lesson I learned, entitled people can never be happy. So if you take away all of their learning lessons and you make life so easy for them, that they never have to experience challenges because you don’t want them to suffer the way you did. You just robbed them of not only opportunities to grow. You’ve created entitlement and entitled people can never be happy. And the minute I learned that I was like, “Whoa.” And I literally, maybe I went a little extreme, but it was like, I stopped taking forgotten homework to school. I stopped taking forgotten sweaters to school, forgotten lunches to school. It’s your responsibility. It’s like, this is your responsibility. And so I already did second grade. I already did third grade. It’s up to you. And so- a couple times.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And you only have to do that a couple times. And then they learn the lesson that they’re responsible for how their life turns out. Which is the number one hallmark of self-defeating behavior, blaming other people for how your life is turning out. But if you don’t teach children to be responsible, whose fault is it, and it won’t stop when they’re 18. I mean, you’ll end up taking care of them when they’re 40.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And if you’re constantly worried about like, “Oh, well they forgot their sweater. They’re going to be cold.” Well, they’re not going to forget their sweater again. And is it going to be the end of the world that they have to sit inside the classroom at lunchtime? So they don’t go outside and play because it’s cold. It’s not going to be the end of the world. It’s going to be a learning lesson.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So what did you learn? Write us about your experience with your children. Write it down, post it at any of your social media sites, hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. You can also go to BrainWarriorsWayPodcast.com. Leave us a comment, question, or review. And if we read it, we’ll enter you into a drawing to win either a signed copy of Tana’s book or my book. 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 at it feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast. 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.