Climbing up mountains and walking down hills. 

Sticking with the motivation theme

As it tends to be an overarching element of being a single parent. The challenges come thick and fast.

I find that there is a common theme; my mind.

Whatever is facing you it can be easy to fall into the paradigm of perceiving it as as problem. I call it the dentist visit syndrome.

I have nothing against dentists, but I have had bad experiences in the past that had led me to fear them. As a result, during my late teens my dental health suffered. The turning point was when pain took over, and I had to do something.

£5 short of £700 later, I was fixed.

Oh, there was also the little matter of 12 separate injections in my gums to add to the experience.

That set me thinking. I was just realising my journey as a budding psychologist so I started to research mental sets and paradigms. It occurred to me that despite my fears, the procedures actually weren’t all that bad. I had built up this fear and picture in my mind that was so powerful, it drowned out all reason. My thoughts of the event were stronger than the reality of the event.

I had to change.

black-and-white-sport-fight-boxer

BSD

Short ones..

A collection of times my cubs have made me laugh

#You babe; draw back your bow, you babe; draw back your bow!

‘Actually darling, it’s “Cupid”.

‘That doesn’t make any sense…’

‘Yeah. I prefer your version’

#You babe….


Cub 1 to cub 2; ‘Tickle Punch!’

Cub 2, punches her squarely in the face.

‘DADDY!!’

Play with the bull; get the horns. Both of you; naughty step.


‘Darling; start to take your hair down so we can wash and plait it’

‘Ok dad. Have a look; do you think I’ve still got it in my hair?’

‘Got what?’

‘DO YOU THINK I’VE STILL GOT IT IN MY HAIR!?’

‘Darling, if someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying, rather than shouting you should find a different way to say the same thing’

Silence

‘DO-YOU-THINK-I’VE-STILL-GOT-IT-IN-MY-HAIR!!!’

‘Did you understand what I just said to you? that was just slow shouting..’

‘I miss mummy. I think she understands English better than you.’

‘Naughty step’ (not really, but I thought it)


‘Daddy?’

‘Yes?’

‘You say “Christ” a lot’

‘Just asking for help darling’

‘Maybe you should try the Police; at least we know their number’

Christ

BSD

If you learn one thing; make it this.

You have the power to save a life.

Potentially anyway. Effective first aid, CPR and even simply calling for help can make all the difference when seconds count.

BSD is my alter-ego. I use him to express things that I might not be able to professionally, or just to get things off my chest. The real me knows a bit about saving lives, having dedicated over two decades to it.

CPR, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation can greatly increase an individual’s chances of survival if administered as soon as possible after an accident or incident. In basic terms, pumping the chest and breathing exhaled air into someone else’s mouth.

chest compressions

Education

A debate rages in this country as to whether CPR should be taught in the national curriculum; it’s one that has gone on for ages but seems to be going unanswered. My opinion is ‘don’t wait for the state to educate you’ in what I think is one of life’s greatest skills.

From a very young age children can comprehend things such as helping someone. We’ve all heard seen those videos of a cute child calmly explaining to an emergency call handler that ‘mummy won’t wake up’ and we’ve no doubt all held our breath waiting for the sound of sirens.

There are some advocates that teach preschoolers to do chest compressions but personally I think this can be counter-productive. It’s unlikely that they will have the strength the do effective chest compressions and while something is better than nothing, I would rather that the under 5’s know the following.

  • How to call the emergency services
  • Where they live

and at the most,

  • How to check for breathing
  • How to clear an airway.

Every child will be different and some will have better language skills than others but that initial summoning of professional help is vital as seconds will count.

Once children get older, the more advanced lessons can be taught, such as DR,ABC.

  • Dangers
  • Response (and assistance)
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation.

Knowing these five things really makes a world of difference. Wound management such as controlling bleeds and infection control can also be introduced, depending on aptitude.

Learn now and remember forever

Exactly how to resuscitate people changes year on year as more information is gathered from clinical practice and elsewhere and because of that, I purposely haven’t gone into great detail on here.

My advice is this: seek out trained professionals and learn the basics. In the UK we have many providers such as St John, the Red Cross et al. Heck; I’m sure if you knocked the door of your local ambulance station they’d run through the basics with you (they are extremely busy though).

As I said earlier, I speak from experience, both professional and personal.

In his first 18 months my son suffered from a series of febrile convulsions and a full tonic/clonic seizure. It was terrifying. With everything I know the shock rendered me able to do very little, other than summon help. Thank God, our amazing ambulance service were at our door in minutes.

He’s fine now but the whole episode reinforced what I already believed; we should all get some training.

If you use it once in your entire life to save a life, then it’s time well spent.

first-aid-kit-9

BSD

The lessons they teach us..

Today is my birthday (relax; I don’t want anything..)

We planned to visit the local Sea-Life centre but by the time I’d managed to mobilise the cubs, it was too late. I decided that we should go for a bite to eat instead.

‘McUsual dad?’ my daughter asked. ‘Nope’ I replied, wondering if I go there more often than I think. I decided to try an american diner that I drive past every day on my way home from work.

My son was asleep almost as soon as I’d shut the car door; I guess he’s growing again.

Table manners

In and seated by a very gregarious waiter who then spent an enormous amount of time and energy attempting to de-wobble our table. Fail.

‘DAD; IS HE A SERVANT?’

‘no’

Her voice was still set to outdoor but I think he was out of earshot.

Service; eventually..

The place wasn’t overly busy but there seemed to be more managers than waiters. We eventually got served but when the food arrived, my daughter’s order was wrong. I politely refused and asked for our original request.

After a few minutes he came back ‘It’ll be about 5 minutes i’m afraid’

‘That’s fine; thank you’

After another few minutes he came back again;

‘You did say beefburger right?’

‘No; cheeseburger; please’

I hadn’t managed to convince my son of the correct etiquette of the 50% rule of waiting; he had shifted the figures to 33% and was already pushing hotdog into his face hole.

Lonely

Her food arrived and we all tucked in. It was absolutely average. The cubs were already planning dessert. Then came the wait.

We waited; and waited; and waited but still the table remained uncleared, let alone a dessert enquiry. The two managers were now having some food at the bar, talking to a 3rd member of staff.

The cubs decided that we’d had enough and that they’d rather just go home now. As the smiling waiter came over I asked for the bill.

Then we waited; and waited…

Time

I eventually got up and put my coat on; the cubs duly followed. The waiter took the hint and rang everything up. He handed me the card machine at the gratuity screen. I hit the no button and entered my PIN. He looked disappointed when I handed the terminal back to him.

Before we walked out, he let the cubs take a balloon each from the static display.

We walked back to the car and drove home; I was already planning a tripadvisor roasting. As I did so, I must have muttered my discontent aloud. My daughter asked what was wrong, so I regaled everything that wasn’t right about our meal. She thought carefully and replied:

Well he was a very smiley person and seemed like he was the only one doing any work. He also apologised for messing up my food and was very nice to give us a colouring sheet and balloons; you probably shouldn’t be too hard on him because he looked like he was trying.

That 10% now sits heavily in my pocket.

learning

BSD

The lessons they learn.

I often wonder about the lessons we teach our children.

I’ve always been mindful of these and as such I’m very conscious of who I am. This is a thought that has grown over the last eight years or so as I got my head around becoming and being a parent. I had to establish an inner integrity that would manifest itself in my unconscious actions.

It wasn’t enough to act like a good person around my kids; I had to be a good person.

A while ago I was in the car park of the golden arched one taking on some empty calories. The day was warm and my windows were down. Another dad was walking briskly back to his car with his son; I could see that dad wasn’t happy. He stopped to talk to his child and the conversation went something like this:

“I’m really p***ed off with the way you behaved in there! you were an absolute f***ing embarrassment to me and if you keep it up we’ll never go there again”

Now understand this; I swear. I like to think I swear appropriately but yes I do swear. I won’t swear on this blog, because I want you to read it and I can articulate myself appropriately without the use of expletives. I will never, I repeat, never swear in front of my children whilst they are in their formative years. In my mind, this is tantamount to child-abuse.

School

 

The son in the example above was about 6 years old. I watched his face as his dad scolded him and it was a horrific mixture of fear and shame. Dad then saw me looking, gave me a look, which I returned with interest, raising him a head shake for good measure.

Understand this.

What this dad failed to understand was that to a great extent whatever action his son was displaying within that restaurant was probably learned behaviour from his most influential teacher, dear daddy himself. Our kids are a mirror of who we are and in this fine example, dad was showing the behaviours that he was berating his child for. Awesome.

Be better

The trick is this; your kids will learn from you by osmosis. Doing what you do daily and unconsciously are the things that they learn. The reason for this is simple; it’s to do with the way that all of us learn things, repetition and reward.

The repetition is the behaviour that we keep doing over and over and over…you get the picture. This could be anything; the language we use, the way we interact with a significant other or the way we treat difference in general. Our children see this behaviour as the norm and they will emulate it.

The reward can be positive or negative. Behaviours that have a positive outcome are usually repeated, whereas those with a negative outcome are avoided. Again, this is human behaviour and learning. We are wired to avoid pain, physical and emotional. If something has caused us pain historically then we will avoid anything like it in the future as long as we’ve learnt that lesson of course. So a child, learning behaviours from a parent’s unconscious actions has no idea whether these actions are good or bad, but if those actions go unpunished (in that child’s eyes) then the assumption is that they behaviour is the social norm and therefore acceptable; that behaviour is then perpetuated.

mum teach

My point

My youngest cub rushed into my bedroom last week and in his broken English, he gestured me towards his room and reached for my hand. I took it and followed.

I had spent the last few occasions telling my oldest that she should make her bed in the morning once she gets out of it.

He proudly pointed towards his bed which was in a state of being made. It wasn’t perfect (it didn’t need to be) but had definitely had something done to it. He pointed to it and looked at me with a look of pride on his face. I praised him both verbally and physically, in the form of a hug.

In his broken English, he then asked for a high five; he got it.

BSD

CONTROLLING THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS – time to stop running and start hunting. pt.3

But as I said last week; a day is just a day. We make it what it is and our internal coach has a huge part to play in that.

Neutrality

Ok; we’ve established that now; there is no such thing as a bad day or a good day, but how do we really live up to that? How do you stop that one occurrence in the morning from clouding your whole day?

You need to coach your inner coach, and here is why.

You wake up, you stub your toe getting out of bed; what does your coach have to say about that?

“Awesome start you klutz!”

Now at this point, you have a choice; write it off as a one off or let it snowball..to some degree it does depend on what happens next, or more importantly how you reference what happens next.
A thought that becomes an > expectation that manifests into > a reality that forms an > experience.

Let’s go deeper; what if that whole process I described is repeated, and the experience is the same?

Kolb’s Experiential Cycle

This is a theory that really stuck in my mind when I was studying psychology. My mind likes order and I see in models and algorithms.

Kolb

 

Concrete Experience

You stub your toe; you lose your keys; you get toothpaste on your tie; you ladder your tights; you’re stuck in roadworks….

roadworks

Reflective Observation

You think about what’s happened/happening  and give that event a label mentally.

Abstract Hypothesis

Here is the watershed; the fork in the road. You can label the event as ‘bad luck’, or ‘That wasn’t the outcome I wanted; I should change my approach’. This is the most important part of the cycle and where thoughts are reinforced in our minds.

Fork in the road.jpg

Left or right…?

Active Testing

Deal breaker; if only we recognised it.

Active testing is the part of the scientific method (a set way of doing and testing things. This is where in theory, we test our concrete experience against our perception of the outcome. For example, leaving the house at the same time, taking the same route and becoming stuck at the same set of roadworks, instead of either leaving earlier or taking a different route.

OK, I’ve over simplified things in that example but it serves to illustrate my point.

If you attribute too many experiences to bad luck, you will conclude that you are an unlucky person. This isn’t true.

It self fulfils and we now have a behaviour that is based on those concrete experiences that just keep happening to us. We expect it to happen because it has done so many times before. So we find ourselves in the situation again and guess what? The same thing happens..

Why?

This know as a self fulfilling prophecy and usually climaxes with an ‘I told you that would happen’ from that internal coach. It can work for us, stopping us from engaging in harmful activities, or it can work against us, stopping us from pushing through our barriers.

But if our thoughts are that powerful, what would happen if we could only imagine the best for ourselves, all the time?

Breaking the cycle

Now we know what our limiting beliefs are we need to take action to stop them. This is easier said than done, don’t forget you’ve probably had these thoughts all of your life; I know I have.

Perhaps given to you by your parents then reinforced through those oh so real experiences they are now well and truly engrained.

Technically speaking it should take the same amount of time to rewrite them. If that’s correct, I’ve got something to look forward to on my 86th birthday.

Well I’m not having that; and neither should you!

Next week: Let’s finish this. I’ll explore some scripts that work for me in pt.4

BSD

Champ

CONTROLLING THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS – time to stop running and start hunting. pt.2

What is coaching?

Coaching is a way of improving your ability or performance. We tend to associate coaching with athletes but more and more we see it in the world of work and even daily life.

What does coaching look like?

It quite often happens on a one to one ratio (the most effective way) with the coach and the student. The coach will observe a specific act, performance or behaviour, analyse and then tweak that performance through a number of means in order for the individual to improve in some way.

Why are you discussing coaching? A moment ago we were talking about limiting beliefs?

The two are connected.

So what is the connection?

  • Imagine if you had a coach.
  • One who followed you around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • A coach that never takes a holiday, rarely sleeps and better still, works for free.
  • A coach that knows you better than anyone else on Earth; knows your strengths and more importantly, your weaknesses.
  • A coach that really, doesn’t care if they upset you or even reduce you to tears.

I think you know where i’m going with this one.

So ok. We have a coach inside our head who sometimes works against us. Sometimes, it thinks it’s being cruel to be kind. Most of the times, it’s not a very smart coach. Always, absolutely always, it’s an effective coach.

Limiting beliefs>internal thoughts>inner coach..

Thoughts become things

I’d love to claim this one but it’s been around for a while. The power of the mind to create the physical environment has long been recognised and quick search of the internet will show you examples.

Have you ever wondered why a day that starts badly often ends badly and vice versa? Let’s be honest; a day is just a day. We will leave a footprint on that point in time and give it a title, in order to categorise it in our memories.

‘Good’ days have a positive effect on us and therefore anything that happens during that good day will be thought of positively. Again, vice versa, things that happen on a ‘bad’ day will be reflected on badly.

But as I said earlier, a day is just a day. We make it what it is and our internal coach has a huge part to play in that.

Success

I apologise for this cheesiness of this pic but, you get it; right?

Part 3 next week, where I do what I say I’ll do.

I’ve also tried something new; sticking this post to the front page. Let’s see how that works.

BSD

CONTROLLING THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS – time to stop running and start hunting.

Introduction

The human mind is still the most powerful, instantly available computer that we can use. It’s amazing; it’s that simple.

All day, every day, that computer makes billions of calculations and adjustments that keep us alive. We don’t even have to tell it to do that thankfully, otherwise sleeping would be a very brief experience.The problem is, we take it for granted! I mean; it’ll always be there, won’t it?

Accident victims and those suffering mental health issues will tell you differently. Just like any other piece of complex machinery, the human brain can fail.

Accident victims can get help; people suffering from mental health issues can get help, if they’re fortunate enough to get diagnosed correctly; but what if what ails you can’t be seen? Or worse still, you don’t even realise that it is happening to you?

Limiting beliefs

What is a limiting belief?

You’ve probably heard of the expression a ‘glass ceiling’, well think of limiting beliefs as a glass shroud. It’s above you, and sometimes around you. You’ve put it there to keep you safe. What it actually does, is keep you still.

Safe, and still, are two very different things.

Now this is where things get a little tricky – you’ve probably read the last statement and thought to yourself  “I haven’t put any limits on myself! Have I?” The problem is internal limits are seldom that clear.

A limiting belief can also be described as an ingrained thought or thoughts, deep within us that control what we do. In fact, it controls everything that we do. It shows itself in the form of a voice; the one inside your head that communicates with you, constantly.

Let me give you some examples of what that voice can say to you,

  • I can’t do that…

 

I’m never on time…

 

I’m so unlucky…

 

I’ll never get the hang of this…

 

I’m too old..

 

I don’t have time..

 

I wouldn’t know where to start..

 

Silly me…

I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture.

Those beliefs then are what mould our thoughts. Every moment of every day and in every aspect of our lives.

With the eight examples above you’ll notice that I never associated those comments with a specific topic. That’s because they can fit any or all topics (and areas of our lives) at any given time.

The thing about these thoughts is that they breed. They multiply like a virus and they will infect anywhere and everywhere you allow them to.

Limiting beliefs>internal thoughts….

So what’s the issue? Where is the harm in these having such thoughts because surely, everybody has them?

This is true; this inner voice is present in all of us, coaching us in our lifetime pursuits. What most of us fail to do however, is to make sure that that voice is working for us and not against us, especially when it can be difficult to know the difference.

Want more? On Tuesday I will explore how to control your inner thoughts with practical examples.

BSD

This morning..

Having sat up way too late last night to do her hair I elected to take things a bit easier this morning.  

Working on the ‘a little of what you like’ principle they both get a bowl of frosted corn flakes for breakfast rather than the usual porridge. I’ve decided to begin intermittent fasting again.

They’re with their mum tonight and indeed for the rest of the week as I’m working so I want to make the most of them. I’ve packed their bags with everything they’ll need until they’re back under my roof again.

This is going to take some getting used to…

My time-keeping  anxieties came back with a vengeance and I was quickly aware of the language I was using around the kids. ‘Hurry up!’ ‘Stop dawdling’ ‘Speed up!’ ‘Tell me in the car!’

One thing I do quite well is listen to myself, and this time I didn’t like what I was hearing. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them, I smiled. I was suddenly aware of the message that I needed to give my children right now.

 

I sat on the closed toilet, and hugged my daughter tightly.

 

My son, hating to miss out on intimacy comes barreling in. On noticing the comb in my other hand he swiftly 180s and sprints away into the bedroom.

The second error of the day hits me when I take a friends advice and ditch the motorway for the more rural route. I become traffic for quite a while.

Opportunity for learning knocks

Post separation I moved further away from everything that I really needed to be near.

It seemed like a great idea at the time but a year later, the novelty has not only worn off but I also fear that the punchline isn’t coming.

However it does afford the cubs and I some time together whilst travelling. Sometimes that space gets filled by ‘Angry Birds’ on my phone for the eldest, or more cognitive games such as I-Spy, What Colour Is? and Spell This. The youngest busies himself by dipping in to the games as he wishes, if he’s not too busy fighting a losing battle with the Sun in his eyes or the wind in his face.

I find that these games are great opportunities for learning and I tend to push her spelling more and more.

I can’t believe that people struggle to spell school!

She calls out as we drive back from a shopping trip (where I’ve just remembered that I’ve forgotten to get loo roll).

Ok brainy; spell ‘Hospital’

“H-o-s-p-i-t-i-l”

Close; one wrong letter; try again. Say it slowly out loud, but this time feel the letters in your mouth before you say them.

I’ve figured out that her dominant learning style is kinesthetic, so the more tactile her learning can be, the more effective it is.

The youngest, now minus a shoe, chips in ‘a’ before going back to removing his sock from the shoeless foot.

Nice one lad. I’m sure it was a coincidence but it was impressive nonetheless.

We now finish the last mile of the journey home singing ‘S-C-I-E-N-C-E’ at the tops of our voices (window’s open) to the tune of nothing in particular.

Make it fun; they will learn, especially if they don’t realise they’re learning.

I knew that teaching qualification and 4 years as a training instructor would pay dividends one day.

BSD