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How to explain to your children what is happening in the world right now

I’m doing this live and I’ve literally just come out of the supermarket, picking up a few things for the family and the kids etcetera, but this is a subject that seems to be popping up a lot at the moment amid everything that is going on with coronavirus.

I literally just overheard two sets of parents individually talking about their kids and the kid’s reaction to what is happening.

One lady was saying then I genuinely don’t know how to explain this to my children and one of her daughters was almost hysterical, they heard something in the classroom through another child and the other lady mentioned the fact that her son had something said by the teacher, which created an alarm for him. 

He then went home and had a conversation about what’s the impact on the family. I have two daughters and this is a message to you parents listening to this and remember this is just my view, my belief system.

Anything I say does not have to be your belief system. If I try and frame this up and give you some context I’ve been in the field of personal development working with people from all over the world now for some 30 years. 

My first audience I was in front of was probably when I was 19, 20 years of age and I’m 54.

When you’re in that space in this field for this long, you tend to hear patterns, you have conversations with people you see patterns I should say, and I’ve done a lot of interventional work over the years with people that have had major challenges.

Much of the work I do with grownups, adults, and I’m talking about teenagers through to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years of age, people who are carrying blocks.

Some of that work I’ve done and if any of you have been in a room with me and seen me do these interventions with people you’ll know that often someone is having a meltdown, they’re self-harming.

They’ve attempted something not pleasant to themselves potentially attempted suicide and when I dig down and peel the onion and start doing unconscious work with them live in front of an audience, asking certain questions, a lot of it stems back to conversations they saw between two parents.

Or conversations they witnessed with their parents and these have left what I call significant emotional events or significant emotional scars, psychic wounds.

So I’ve had a lot of time to work with people on this and the drilling down of that process has led me to then help them unlock that and often it’s to do with something that happened like what is happening at the moment, which has really enhanced their emotional state, for one of a better word.

Neuro Linguistic programming they refer to as peak state and when you have a peak state anchored to an experience like a breakup with a loved one, think about back to those of you watching who fell in love with somebody, may a childhood love and then that broke up.

At that moment in time there was a specific song playing all the time and now when you hear that song you go back to that memory and you merely remember that emotion, that scene.

We have it with perfumes. You might remember somebody from the past from an aftershave and it’s so anchored to that person that when you smell it you instantly remember that person. 

That is our unconscious anchoring to a heightened experience. That’s what’s happening at the moment we have right now a global state of heightened awareness of covid19, coronavirus. But more importantly, the impact of that on our lives.

As a parent I’m just sharing this as I’m a parent to two kids and the psychological with what I do with people, the human intervention work that I’ve done with people has made me very, very conscious about the type of conversation that we have.

An example being today myself and my lovely lady were talking about the subject and about some of the things we heard just recently and of course rumours are rumours.

As we were talking about it my 11-year-old walked in the room and she immediately picked up on it, she caught the back end of the sentence.

Normally we try to separate those conversations and she starts asking questions. I got back last night from speaking to a group of people in London, last time I’m going to do that for a while and there had exactly been a meeting during the course of the day as well. My daughter said to me, “can I sleep in the same room as you? Is something going to happen?” 

We have to remember kids are not stupid and they hear stuff. So if you said to me from all the work I’ve done with people over the years what do I think would be a good way to manage this as a parent, but also as an interventional coach?

I would say first of all, in the book Turning Point I wrote, one of the things I wrote about was managing the environment that you’re living in. I think it’s step five in the process of a transformational change in your life, it’s managing the environment you’re in.

I sat next to somebody yesterday who said to me, he physically changed the environment within which they were living based on a conversation he had with me on a subject I covered at an event, many, many years ago.

That change in environment helped him and his family and daughters change their mental environment so that they were waking up and living in the environment that was more healthy for them in terms of their emotions.

We create that environment on a daily basis every single day, we have a conversation in our home about the subject outside of our home, we are bringing the outside conversation, bringing the outside environment into our home.

Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the mind doesn’t understand the difference between what’s real and what is imagined. In neuro linguistic programming for example they talk about the map is not the territory, meaning that when you look at something it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s real to you.

When you picture something it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s real to you but your mind believes that it’s real.

If you have a conversation about coronavirus and it’s a negatively geared conversation, a fear driven conversation, even though you’re living in your little cocoon of a home and people are talking about the fact they’re staying inside now for a week or two weeks.

Elderly people, that’s another conversation for another video by the way about elderly people, because that’s another conversation I’ve been having today with people. I’ve been asked questions about how to manage that, what about parents etcetera.

How am I doing it? My parents are in their 70s and 80s, but I’ll keep that for a separate video.

Our children, their ecosystem, their world, their belief system, we’re talking about one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 years of age.

That first five years, six, seven years, 11 years literally their world is based on our world. If you’re parents watching this right now every sentence, every word, every tonality, every physiological shift that you have, the way you communicate yourself in front of your kids will absolutely sit in their psyche and it will stay there in some cases for decades. 

If you don’t believe me come and see one of my events that I run, when we start running events again and you will see how unbelievable it is that a certain experience and I say to somebody when they’re 60 when did this happen?

Take me back and I walk them back through the process and you can see a shift, they get emotional and I go what was that? What year was that?

What date, what age were you? And they say I was 12 or 13, 11. What happened? And they describe it.

That one incident created a significant emotional event that meant that they left this emotional scar that goes down deep into a psychology. It goes into our unconscious mind; it goes into the cells in our body and we remember it in the same way a piece of music might trigger a memory.

That means you have to be the person that controls the environment in your home with your kids and what I mean by that is, choose your words carefully, choose the subject carefully.

Be mindful of whatever you say to them can create a fear in them that can last for years, but more importantly right now it can create a fear that this little young age where they’re vulnerable we are the one thing that protects them.

So we protect them physically, emotionally and verbally, if we say the wrong thing it can leave a scar.

When you’re talking about this subject is it even appropriate to talk about it in front of them? What age does it become appropriate?

What age is it not appropriate? I can’t give you an answer to that when the subject comes up at home we talk about it in a softer way, for example, we encourage our kids to wash their hands, obviously.

But also, you’ve probably heard me talk about this we juice, we take certain supplements. We have a green drink which you’ve heard me talk about in the previous messages which is good green stuff. A scoop of this with some water and we know it’s going to help their immune system.

Will it prevent it happening to them? I can’t guarantee that. Will it stop them from getting coronavirus?

If they happen to go out and get in contact with somebody and then they suddenly contract it. I can’t guarantee that, but what I’m doing is teaching my children to do the best you can to improve your immune system.

If they’ve got their eye on something sweet, sugary we say we really want to look after our health.

We tell them from a health perspective, we want you to be the strongest and the healthiest you can be to resist this. And when the children have asked us how do people get sick we explain about the immune system and we say everybody’s immune system is different and your immune system is like a defensive wall.

If the defensive wall is really high, the bugs, the germs, the virus can’t climb over the wall and it can’t attack you and they get that.

They understand this concept and then we talk about the fact that when your immune system is low it’s a little bit like somebody’s taken a hammer and breaks down the wall to a point where the virus rocks up to the wall and goes hey no wall, let me just crawl over and get to you.

The kids get that and then the obvious question from a child is how do I get my immune system up?

How do I get the brick wall up?

We say, well drinking the right drink, the green drink juice, that really helps build the wall back up. Eating lots of fresh vegetables which they know and already do that routinely.

Every time you bring down the wall that’s like eating a sugar bar, eating some sugary sweets or having this can of pop or whatever it brings the wall down. 

That’s our way of explaining to them and that visual for children they get it. You might have seen some of the adverts in the cinema recently they’ve been talking about eating vegetables and things like that.

So this is a way of articulating to a child in a way they understand whereas if you say this thing is going to attack you, it’s going to kill you, look at these people dying. Children see it as real. My daughter has asked me twice in the last week, is it possible I might die if I meet so and so?

We are trying to explain to them that there is a period where the germs get tired of eating against the wall and finally they disappear and go away and how do you do that?

If we stay in the same environment together and we protect ourselves that will help rebuild the wall to build a high wall and we build the wall long enough, it will keep the germs out, the enemy out.

That’s one of the ways we’ve articulated it. We’ve chosen not to have deep conversations and the rumour type conversations that we are hearing, or somebody in the village has got this and we just heard this about so and so.

Because children are very smart and they pick things up and not only that, your body language. Now I haven’t even talked to you about something called reverse speech minute. 

If you’ve followed me over the last decade you’ll know about four, five years ago I used to run some seminars and we actually took people through the process where their unconscious communication when they’re talking to somebody could literally be pulled apart and you can hear the dialogue.

I did an intervention with a couple going through a breakup literally whilst on the phone to them I recorded the conversation between the two of them, and they were talking about the fact how does our daughter know that, why do they keep saying, “mummy, daddy, please stay together. You’re not going to leave me are you?”

And they said they  hadn’t had that conversation in front of their daughter about what’s going on between them.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you want to look at it, there is a form of communication that happens unconsciously between two people, and this concept of reverse speech is where you can actually pull apart somebody’s conversation and hear what they’re saying in reverse.

Children picked it up and when I went back over the recordings with them they were shocked at what they could hear.

The point being when you’re talking to your kids even if you try to hide stuff and your unconscious mind is thinking this is really bad, it will come across to your children. I think honesty is important, but it’s a filtered honesty in a way that doesn’t leave them with a scar. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s a little bit like taking a knife to the body versus maybe a slap or a thump.

A thump is a bruise it will leave a bit of a bruise but it’s different to if somebody had a knife in their hand coming at you.

If you’re watching this and you’re a parent I’m trying to paint a picture rather than be specific, as I don’t know you and your children. It wouldn’t be fair for me to tell you how to talk to your children.

I’m just sharing with you what I’ve experienced and what I found from the conversation with people that I’ve done interventional work with and asked them what was the conversation with your parents, it was very direct. It was very undermining and it made the child’s sense of worth come down.

It also made the children, so this is a feedback to you is the people I worked with that have had pain in the past or vulnerability and not being able to deal with stress in the future, it’s because they watch their parents deal with stress in a bad way.

The parents imparted that onto the kids, didn’t make the children feel empowered to the point where the children didn’t feel they had a set of tools on how to deal with a situation like that, and as such then found themselves when they were growing up not being up to manage those situations.

The only model they had in their mind of a situation like this was witnessing their parents deal with it and then their parents transferred that onto them as children.

So now you’ve got somebody growing up with a weak set of tools on how to deal with a situation like this and it’s an emotional protection, which of course is not strong. How do you deal with that?

You’ve got to have a healthy conversation with your children in such a way that you’re not hiding them from it, but at the same time, you’re not completely excluding them from it as well.

We tend to explain it to them in a way where we say we have to be careful and it’s the washing of hands, there is something going on around the world at the moment and if they hear things about people dying, we don’t say you’re not going to die.

We simply say we want to make sure that we protect ourselves and keep our immune system really strong. So we stay healthy and if we do that as a family we are going to be fine.

That’s the sort of conversation whereas I have overheard parents literally saying if you don’t do this, this thing is going to kill you, etcetera. It leaves children with this really dark scar in their minds.

I think I can manage the conversations. Think about the sentence structures that you use and do it in a way that’s elegant and give your children a chance to feel empowered, show them how they can look after themselves and explain to them a little about how it works.

But at the same time share with them how to look after you and the family as well together.

I’m going to sign off, I’ve got to get this back to the kids.

Hopefully that was of some value to you and if you want to throw some messages I’m happy to come back and talk about this subject separately.


Dr Ro signing out.

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