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   PARENTING WITH DIGNITY®

Parents Workbook

Lesson 1
   
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The ideas in your head will rule your world!

"Any attempt we make at changing human performance that does not first address what we think or feel about ourselves is destined to failure!"

Change the Script . . . . Chamge the Play!

The ideas in your kid's heads will rule their world...
what ideas will you allow into your kid's head?

(We must teach our children that the ideas in their head are up to them, and nobody can put any idea in their head without their consent!)

 

"Judgment is a fine commodity, but it is virtually useless in the thick of battle!"

George Washington

("Simply put: we are going to fight with what was already in our script… not what we think about during the fight!")

As parents, we must have a plan to our actions and we must teach our children how to make the big decisions in their lives long before they are in the situations demanding their strength of character.

The Three Functions of the Brain

CONSCIOUS:

The Conscious Brain is that part of our brain we use for doing things we think about. We can only think one thing at a time with our Conscious Brain. The idea in our mind at any given moment is our Conscious Brain at work. (If you want to hear it at work, just listen to your silent voice as you continually talk to yourself. That is your Conscious Brain.) At this point let's use a metaphor and imagine that each of the three parts of our brain is a little person inside our head. The Conscious Brain is our "Actor/Actress" who plays our part in the world, always making sure we act just like ourselves! It makes you dress like you, talk like you, walk like you, and do all the things you can do. The "Actor/Actress" also becomes very uncomfortable if our actions do not match our script.

SUB-CONSCIOUS:

The Sub-Conscious Brain is that part of our brain we use for doing all the thousands of things we don't think about. Many of these fall into the category of autonomic functions that are biologically determined like breathing, blinking, and heart rate. However the bulk of the activity controlled by the Sub-Conscious Brain is learned! We learn how to do them, and then we do them without conscious thought every bit as naturally as our heart beats or we breathe and blink. Using the metaphor, again, of each part of our brain being a little person inside our head, the Sub-Conscious Brain is our "Script-Writer" who continually writes a script for our "Actor/Actress" to follow in playing our part in the world. 

As we learn things about ourselves, the "Script-Writer" records them so we can act without having to think consciously about the every action. This script runs the gamut from things as simple as buttoning a shirt or combing our hair, to complex activities like driving a car or operating a word processor. It also stores scripts about things we learn about our capabilities like, "I'm messy," or "I'm not very good at sports and math," or "I'm really a happy person who always finds the silver lining in every cloud!"

All our "Actor/Actress" has to do for most actions is simply check with our script in order act like us. We go through life effortlessly and efficiently doing most of what we do very naturally because we have learned how we act and have stored it in our script. This script is often accurate in recording our abilities but it can be just as easily mistaken in recording our level of ability or function. The "Actor/Actress" has no choice but to follow this detailed script. Most of what is stored in the script is not the result of actual experience but rather is the result of self-talk. So, it is not what happens to us that shapes our script as much as it is what we say to ourselves about what happens to us. The key is to focus on the positive aspects of what happens to us and repeat those aspects to ourselves.

CREATIVE SUB-CONSCIOUS:

The Creative Sub-Conscious Brain is that part of our brain that has the job of making the Conscious and Sub-Conscious work in harmony with each other. Many times it is referred to as the part of our brain entrusted with keeping us sane by making sure our actions are consistent with our stored or learned picture of how we should act. Again, using the metaphor of each part our brain being a little person inside our head, the Creative Sub-Conscious Brain is the "Director" who is given the job of producing the movie of our life. Just like the director of a movie, this "Director" has the job of making the movie match the script. The "Director" must insure that the script is closely followed. To do this the "Director" has been given a three-part contract, which must be followed if the movie is to be properly produced. (This contract is shown in the lower the right in the above diagram.)

Three Part "Contract for the Director"

First, Balance:

The contract states that the "Director" must make absolutely sure the "Actor's/Actress's" actions balance with the script written by the "Script-Writer." If our conduct is not in balance with the script, the "Director" must act to restore balance as quickly and as efficiently as is possible. The "Director" has control of all the psychological drive and energy necessary to achieve this balance even at great physical cost to the individual. 

Example: When a person is asked to do something out of character with what they would normally do, like singing a difficult song to strangers, the "Director" will call up many common human responses to this perceived imbalance like giggling, fidgeting, appealing to others for help, sweating, getting red in the face, increasing the heart and breathing rate, producing light-headedness, and even causing flight (removing ones self physically from the situation.) If our script says singing is something we are neither good at nor comfortable with, then the "Director" will be certain that we fail at singing when asked to do it. Not only will the "Director" have us fail, but also will have us feel very uncomfortable as we try.

Second, Amoral:

The contract states that the "Director" must be amoral. The "Director" does not make decisions about right or wrong, good or bad, happy or sad. The "Director" simply looks at the script and produces the movie as it is written. The "Director" does not evaluate talent or ability or select what actions are best for us. The "Director" simply uses the script to direct the action and performance of the "Actor/Actress" so it matches the script as closely as possible.

This explains why some people who seem to have remarkable abilities just never rise to a high level of performance while others with seemingly insurmountable handicaps achieve astonishing accomplishments. It explains how a person with no arms or hands can become a skilled painter using a brush held between toes, while a person with two very functional hands cannot even create a simple painting. The key here is to aim for those positive scripts in our heads and most importantly in the heads of our children!

Third, No Access to the Script:

The contract states that in maintaining or restoring balance, the "Director" has no access to the script. Just like the director of a real movie, our "Director" does not have the ability or authority to change the script to match some new action by the "Actor/Actress" even though the new action may be more to the liking of either, or both. Once the script is written, the movie must be produced to match!

So, what does it all mean?

This can be a very depressing plot for our life or the lives of our children because it says if we have a script of poor performance, we are doomed to that level of performance forever. Because it is in our script, it is thus in our "movie". The key is that our "Actor/Actress" has access to our "Script-Writer" and thus to our script!

We can change our script through our self-talk. This continuous conversation our Conscious Brain has with our Sub-Conscious Brain is the process our mind uses to program itself and rule our actions. We need to know this as we structure our techniques for working with our kids for two reasons: First, we must use our own self-talk to structure our own behavior (or else we are doomed to repeat the scripts we have in our heads for parenting). Second, in working with our children, we must use techniques that encourage their own productive self-talk to bring about positive scripts in their heads.

The rest of this course will be dedicated to teaching some effective techniques for parents to use in bringing about productive behavior in children by changing both our own scripts as parents, and the scripts of our children's lives.

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Assignment Sheet - Lesson 1

  • Name three of your own behaviors that were learned, and that no longer require conscious thought on your part. (Like: tying your shoes, shifting your car, or that you are kind of messy.)

 

  • Name three behaviors in each of your children that were learned that no longer require them to think about consciously. (As you are thinking of these try to not just list negative or annoying behaviors. List things like: dressing themselves, the manner in which they speak to you, a certain favorite food that they like, or a special ability that they have.)

 

  • Name three ideas that you have allowed to rule your world that are very positive in nature and produce outcomes that are very desirable. (Like: "I am a very productive person in the morning," or "I love to talk with others and they like to talk to me because I am such a good listener," or "I am a very organized person," or "I am a very frugal person and I get the most out of my money."

 

  • Name three ideas that you have allowed to rule your world that are not necessarily accurate and are definitely not positive ideas. Many of these are ideas that you would not choose if you were to really stop and think about it. (Like: "I hate Mondays," or "I'm too busy to play with my kids," or "I'm always unlucky and I never win anything," or "I never have enough time to do the things that I want to do."

 

  • Name three ideas that each of your children has allowed to rule their world that are very positive in nature and produce outcomes that are very desirable. (Like: "I am a happy kid and I never let things get me down," or "I love music and I allow music to brighten my life," or "I am an extremely curious person so I am constantly learning new stuff," or "I am especially kind to my grandparents.")

 

  • Name three ideas that each of your children has allowed to rule their world that are not necessarily accurate and are definitely not positive ideas. Many of these are ideas that neither of you would choose if you were to really to stop and think. (Like: "I often blame others for my poor performance," or "I often respond to my family and friends in less than friendly and respectful ways," or "I sometimes do not give my best effort at school.")

Please keep in mind that the purpose of these exercises is to maximize the number of positive and productive ideas that are stored in your mind and the minds of your children. Also, at the same time it is hoped that the negative and non-productive ideas can be identified and eliminated or kept to a minimum. Many of the negative ideas will simply become of no consequence, however, because your new positive ideas will displace those ideas, which do not produce desirable behavior.

 

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