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Making Love and Logic a Lifetime Habit

Sep 13, 2008
Those of you who know me are aware that I wasn't raised with Love and Logic. My dad had his own special parenting program. It was called "My Way or the Highway." When I complained to my childhood friends that my dad bossed me around and made a household slave out of me, I was told how lucky I was because that's what loving parents were supposed to do. When he said, "Sit down and shut up," I sat down and shut up.

Needless to say I grew up knowing nothing else and tried to use the same techniques on my own child. Unfortunately, when I said, "Sit down and shut up," my kids didn't sit down and shut up. They said, "We're calling Social Services. We have rights." The parenting style my dad used so effectively didn't work on kids a generation later. I also had a hard time getting his style to work for me as a classroom teacher. I was fortunate enough to discover some new skills that worked better. But they only worked when I remembered to use them. Unfortunately that wasn't often enough. I was getting frustrated.

Then a wonderful thing happened. I was given a challenge by a good counselor. This person challenged me to run an experiment. It was an experiment in which I was to repeat a phrase over and over. This phrase was, "When I get angry, I'm going to whisper. When I get angry, I'm going to whisper." It was suggested that I do this just before falling asleep. I remember her telling me to repeat this phrase 30 times each night for 30 days.

I was impressed when she told me that I didn't have a lot of control over whether or not I got angry, but I did have control over how I acted when I got angry. At the time I thought this was just some more of that 1970's psychobabble, but I was desperate, so I gave it a try.

To my surprise, after a few weeks, I found myself thinking about his phrase during the day. And then one day, to my utter amazement, I found myself getting angry with one of my kids and realized that I was whispering instead of yelling. Wow!

Needless to say, this caused a big change in my life. It launched my study about the way people can adopt new attitudes and reactions.

A QUESTION FOR YOU

Are you ever frustrated or disappointed with the way you've reacted to your child? Do you ever say to yourself, "I know better than that. I love that kid too much to do that," or "I've learned new parenting techniques, but I just don't remember to use them when I need them the most?" If you answer yes to these questions then join the human race. We all have these moments. This is normal human behavior.

Our normal reactions are just habits. They are habits that were programmed into that magic computer called our subconscious mind. This programming took place years ago when we were young. It was the result of viewing and hearing the repetitive behaviors we saw in our parents. The scientific name for these reactions is "conditioned response."

Our minds are filled with these conditioned responses. In fact, I've read studies claiming 88% of human thinking and reacting comes right out of our subconscious minds. That leaves only 12% for conscious thinking and reasoning.

What a scary thought, right? Not really. These conditioned reactions make it possible for us to move smoothly through our lives. They only get in the way when we try to make changes in the way we do things.

Parenting, like most of our daily behaviors, is governed by habit or conditioning. Even when we've learned new skills and want to change, we often automatically revert to our old habits. So yes, it can be troublesome to make the leap from knowing how to do something to actually making it a new habit.

A WAY TO OVERRIDE OLD HABITS

Hypnosis or self-hypnosis can help us program new reactions into our subconscious mind.

How does this happen? Let's go back to see how these original habits were formed. This involves looking at the different circumstances in which the subconscious mind is open to accepting the messages that are sent to it.

Generally the conscious mind serves as a filter for the subconscious. It protects it, keeping the subconscious from being overloaded. But there are three unique times when the conscious mind has a hard time warding off the messages that are sent to the subconscious.

The first situation is during the early years of life. This is a time when the conscious mind is not fully developed. Since this filter is not fully developed, external messages burrow directly into the subconscious. They quickly become the child's reality. Many of our conditioned responses come from this time of life. This is especially true of those that have to do with parenting.

The second condition in which the conscious filter doesn't protect the subconscious is under extreme stress. At this time the filter becomes overloaded. It is so overwhelmed with both external and internal messages that it allows messages to bypass the filter, burrowing directly into the subconscious. This can often result in what we know as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The third situation in which this filter is not active is during the highly relaxed state of hypnosis. At this time the filter seems to feel no need to be protective. It becomes so relaxed that it allows the subconscious to take over.

This is that special time when people can examine the messages that have been stored there and have become habits. It is a time to build new conditioned responses. There is no magic to it. During times of hypnosis people are in total control, but relaxed enough to accept new attitudes and understandings. It is a time when we can build new responses.

We all experience a hypnotic state at least twice a day, once as we are waking up and again as we drift off to sleep. If, at any time during the day, you happen to be engrossed in a television program or a good book, that is a hypnotic state. Another everyday example of a hypnotic state is driving somewhere, only to realize upon arriving, that you don't remember anything about the actual trip. Your conscious mind was focused on things other than driving. Your subconscious took over control of the car and the road. We call this "road hypnosis."

Hypnosis is the intentional use of this naturally occurring state of awareness. When you are in this state, your subconscious mind is much more open to accepting suggestions. This can be used to your advantage when you make a conscious choice about the suggestions or "programming" that you allow in. By deliberately choosing suggestions that are in your best interest, as well as ones that are in line with your goals, you gain access to your own subconscious and become master of your own reactions.

This is the process that the counselor taught me to use years ago when she challenged me to repeat, "When I get mad, I'm going to whisper." I didn"t understand the science behind it at that time, but I soon came to appreciate the power of repetitive statements while in a very relaxed state.

Hypnotic suggestions often begin immediately to have the desired effects. However, most of the time, multiple exposures to the suggestions are required. This can be accomplished with the help of a therapist, or by listening to audio recorded sessions.

If you would like to make use of recorded sessions, go to the Love and Logic website. You will find a recording titled, "MAKING LOVE AND LOGIC A LIFETIME HABIT." This is a downloadable audio recording that will help you the way that counselor helped me years ago.

Using this recording you will experience the voice of Hartley Acero. Hartley is a professional hypnotist. She will help you develop a wonderful feeling of relaxation and calm. After you have reached that relaxed state, she will help you examine your feelings about your child and allow you to begin the process of turning your new Love and Logic beliefs and techniques into lifelong habits.

Listen to this recording often. Even if you have no intention of changing the ways you parent, you will find that it will do wonders toward reducing the stress of everyday life. Those stresses can melt away and you will experience a new sense of well being and calm.
About the Author
Jim Fay, one of America's most sought-after presenters in the fields of parenting and school discipline, and Kristan Leatherman co-authored "Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats?," the newest book from the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. To learn more about Jim Fay, Love and Logic, or Kristan Leatherman, visit Millionaire Babies.
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