Many parents in my Unbeatable Mind Program have reported experiencing breakthroughs with their kids when they use or teach some of the simple principles with them. Many of the tools and practices can be adapted for use with your family as a team, or for your kids solo to use on their own. The principles work well for both young kids and pesky teens…though the language you use to present or teach them will be different.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Authentic Communication Practice. This will ensure a closer relationship with your kids and a deeper mutual understanding – that will prove more powerful than any punishment – in getting your kids to act in accordance with your values. The practice is simply to be present with your kid, “hang out,” and see what comes up. As conversation arises, listen intently without judgment, lecturing or trying to impose your will. Then when you speak, actively connect to your “Kokoro heart” and again, endeavor to do it with presence and be aware of the thoughts and emotions lurking behind your words. Kids have a refined bullshit detector and can tell, in an instant, if you are trying to manipulate them or aren’t really paying attention. Bottom line: kids (and teens) just want to be heard and spoken to as humans, not as some yet to be fully formed race of little beings to be talked down to or ignored. Incidentally, this skill is crucial for achieving your full potential in the “adult world” as well, so what a great way to practice!
- What Wolf Am I Feeding? This drill is for maintaining a positive state of mind when things begin to devolve into the abyss of negativity. For young kids, you can tell them the story of the wolf of fear that resides in their mind, and the wolf of courage that resides in their hearts. The wolf that is fed the most is the one that will be the most dominant in their life. So if they ae afraid or someone is mean or negative, they can ask themselves (or you can prod them if it happens in your presence) “what wolf am I feeding?” Then immediately feed the courage wolf positive words such as “I’ve got this, this is easy, no problem, I am strong, I am courageous.” I love this simple drill and have seen it produce profound results.
- Keep It Simple Silly (KISS). Even kids can overcomplicate things. This is a tool to teach them to focus on the most important thing and ignore the rest. In the SEALs, we called this the “critical node,” that essential point of focus which would determine success or failure of a mission.
- Box breathing. I have written at length about this tool. If it works for me to train Navy SEALs to be better spec ops warriors, you can bet it will work to help your kids and teens be warriors in training. Seriously, this is probably the most important tool and I would start with this one, then move to the courage wolf. Breathe in through the nose to a 4 count, hold your breath for 4, breathe out slowly to 4 and hold for 4. Easy day, seems too simple to be anything special – but trust me this will be a secret weapon for them to stay focused, calm and on target.
For all these reasons and more, I encourage you not to shy away from including your family and those “little humans in training” of yours in your work with the Unbeatable Mind principles. It will help you get them focused, be more courageous, stay on track and learn how to communicate effectively. The entire family culture will become more positive and productive as well. A family that trains with Unbeatable Mind together, grows together. And that is an amazing thing to be part of.