Episode # 307 John Edwards
Natalie: Hi, Everyone! My name is Natalie Ledwell and this is the Inspiration Show. Today, we are coming to you live. I’m actually coming to you live from San Diego. I’m actually in Glenn’s office at this very moment. Down here, visiting the team, so I’d thought I’d do the show from here today. Now, today we’re actually going to talk about conscious parenting. And I have, my guest is going to be sharing a very personal story of how he got hooked up with this type of work and how he is empowering parents around the world to be able to parent scream free
(laughs). So can you please help me in joining my guest Mr. John Edwards. How are you John?
John: Yeah. Good, Natalie, thanks so much for having me.
N: It is an absolute pleasure and as you can hear, John is also from Texas like myself, he’s actually coming to us from South Australia at the moment. So that’s so great. What we are going to do is to start first John with your story and how you got into doing this kind of work?
J: Yeah, Natalie. I grew up in a family with an alcoholic, very (1:09), alcoholic father, and a mother on most occasions, just battled to survive. It wasn’t a great start to life. I remember, if you can picture a 10 or 12-year old boy in pyjamas sitting on the corner of the bed, shaking, crying and a mother sitting beside him doing the same thing. And my father would be standing on the bedroom door scream abuse and yell and really pick my mother so that she would come out of the room and she would stay for hours and hours. And she would do that, the majority of the week, Natalie, and she would stay there because she was there and she was safe, the soonest she walked out of the room, she’d be hit. So, she had a terrible life and it was a terrible way to be raised. My sister, she would just be in the other bedroom wondering what was going on and her perspective wasn’t much better. And that went on for years and years until I was about 18 and we left home. And we left home, Natalie, because the final straw was when Daddy broke all the beer bottles on the floor in our house. He’d walk through them all, cut all this feet (2:26) and didn’t even realized. So, he got home, we’ve left (2:32) but we did leave. And he started ringing hospitals because he was fearful with what he has done to us and he didn’t even realized that he walked through the glass with his own feet. So, life was pretty tough to start with and I’m sure many of your people listening now can probably relate and probably had worse stories on their own, but that was mine and it led to my parenting. I was a parent at a very early age, 23 I had a wife who was 21. But luckily, I found the right person, Natalie, because we’ve been married for 23 years, which is a blessing. But starting of parenting, I did a terrible job. In fact, I brought a whole lot of sub-conscious triggers or behaviours into my parenting that I didn’t even realize. I screamed. I yelled. (3:28) and they were only toddlers at that stage, and I mean 4, 5 and younger. They weren’t doing anything wrong, they were just being normal kids. But I was way over the top, I was my dad. I brought everything that I’ve had when I was raised and bought that into my parenting. Many of us do that and not until my son was about 12, 13 and again I remember, it wasn’t something I was proud of but it was the turning point for me, I’ll share it with your audience and it was, we had a dog and my son wouldn’t clean up the mess. It was outside and it was his job to clean up the mess after the dog and he hadn’t done it, as usual. And I went outside, and he was outside, I had him by the throat up against the brick wall of the house and I had my fist back and I was ready to punch him in the face. Who punches his own kid, Natalie? And that was the moment I realized I had to do something and I had to change something. Again, he was in tears, I was in tears. I was often in tears, Natalie. Wracked by guilt by the way I was behaving but I didn’t know what to do, and from that moment on, things changed. So, I really want to empower parents. Parents who are having difficulties or not have a great start to life because not everybody had a blessed childhood. And if you don’t have that, there is no rule book, there is no parenting guide book that they give you when you leave the hospital. It’s really interesting Natalie, you become pregnant or the lady becomes pregnant, you have a gynaecologist, she had all these tests all the way through. You give birth and you’ve got a gynaecologist, maybe an anesthesist, epideural, all these sort of things. The baby’s looked after, once it’s over they say, see you later, and go home. There is no rule book and everyone fumbles and bumbles along the way, as best they can. But while the kids are young it’s time to really engage with them in a conscious, positive and considerate manner of parenting because it makes the world of a difference in a way that those kids are raised.
N: Yeah. So what would you say is your definition of what conscious parenting is? Because it seems that it’s a new term that’s hardly ever heard before.
J: Yeah, conscious parenting to me is not parenting by the seat of your pants and I’m not sure if that’s an Australian expression, Natalie, but it means not parenting in the moment. It actually means when a situation occurs handling them in a considerate, calm manner. It means when misbehaviour occurs, I was actually thinking why that misbehaviour occurred because kids just start to misbehave just to cause us grief. There’s actually underlying reasons or they’re not being emotionally, they’ve got emotional needs that were not addressing. So, being a conscious parent is being aware of those emotional needs that sit behind the behaviour that you experienced and addressing those behaviours. It’s also understanding that, how often have you heard Natalie, that a parent would say, (6:40) my kid made me do that or he was just playing up so badly that I have to do that. It’s his fault. We are the parents, we’re the adults. It’s a whole load of rubbish. The only person that you can change and be responsible for is yourself. I can’t make you change, Natalie, and you can’t make me change. And the same apply to parenting. You can’t make your kids change. You can lock them in your bedroom but they’re not going to change if they don’t want to change. So, conscious parenting is about being able to adapt your behaviour as a parent to effect change in your children.
N: Right. So tell me what is one of the lessons or what are pieces of information that you should share with parents that seem to have the biggest revelation, seems to be the oh my goodness, I wish I had known this years ago.
J: I think there are a couple of things: number one is, nothing is personal. Parents tend to take things, their children’s misbehaviour very personally. And it’s not a personal instruction. Your kids are not trying to actually hurt you because you’re the mom or dad. They’re actually trying to engage you in a way that they can get a reaction that they require to fulfil their needs. I think that’s a really big one. You need to address these parenting issues in a sort of a semi-detached way, Natalie. Take the hurtfulness out of it. And the other one is, when you engage your child, if you change your behaviour then they’re going to change theirs. And that’s a really big one, for instance, you’ve got a child that’s struggling for power in the house, they’re always debating and arguing on the point of view. If you continue to argue with them, they’re getting exactly what they want. If you just stop, you actually modified your behaviour and the child doesn’t want to fight or argue with themselves. It may take a couple of minutes for them to stop but they will stop. And you continue to modify your behaviour in that way, theirs is becoming ineffective and they will change the way they are addressing the issues. So you don’t take things personally and modify your behaviour and choices and consequences. Don’t think of punishment, but think of ways you can provide choice, particularly for toddlers, if you don’t pick up your toys then I’m going to put your toys away for a day and give them a choice. And with teenagers set them with consequence, if they’re driving your car and they bring it a little later and did not put petrol in the car, then they don’t get to drive the car for a couple of days. And that puts the decision making process on the children, takes it off of you as being the bad parents. Parents are often, you know, the bad parents syndrome. No more of that but that should put the decision-making process on your kids. And if we can teach toddlers at a very early age to be responsible for their own choices, their own decision and the consequences that follow then we’re really empowering for later in life.
N: And you’re helping them with their decision-making process, the whole thing…
N: And a lot of what you’re talking about is also giving children parameters, giving them border guidelines, giving them structure (10:00). Now, what you are saying is making a lot of sense so how did you get from that point of desperation to knowing all these really cool stuff?
J: Yeah. It didn’t happen overnight, Natalie. I probably had two journeys. I had a journey to deal with my past and a journey to deal with my parenting future. So, I did a lot of causes with, I don’t know if they’re popular in the states, but Dr. John Dimatini, did a lot of John’s work. It made me realize that there are a whole lot of positives out of my upbringing that I didn’t recognize. It made me a stronger person. It made me a much more compassionate person
(10:44) and I think school had always been my safe-haven as a child and it followed through and it made me a damn good teacher for 18 years, that compassion I got from my childhood. So, I dealt with that and then look at my parenting and just realized that many of the things that I just discussed with you, my children weren’t really behaving poorly, they weren’t trying to get at me. That wasn’t their motive. I really wasn’t addressing their emotional needs. They were walking around on egg shells, if you like, they were tiptoeing trying not to upset their dad. And it took a while for me to realize that, but once I realized that I could start to address how I was parenting. And it probably took 18 months to 2 years, Natalie, for my kids to start to trust me again. And that I wasn’t just being a good parent for one week, that I was going to be a stretch or tone. Also, something that I teach in my master course is journaling and action plans. Part of being a conscious parent is actually journaling each incident the child (11:53) with your kid, because you’re actually then becoming conscious of what’s happening on how you’re behaving and triggers that are occurring that you may not be aware of. For me, when we were younger, we didn’t have much money, my wife and I, so soonest we discuss finances I was on an angry conscious state and it didn’t matter what my kids did, I’d scream at them. Yeah, you’re shaking your head because it is something we all can relate to and much of this isn’t brain surgery, Natalie. But simply about becoming conscious about how you’re behaving and how you can change that to raise great kids.
N: You know that’s a great suggestion about the journaling. I know that when it comes to our behaviours and programs, when we look at our parents behaviours it’s not only sometimes that we emulate what their behaviour was because that’s what we know but sometimes we (12:46) as well.
N: So when you look at those two, the scissor of those and then you can sit down at the end of the day and consciously say, what could I have done better? What did I do right? What could have I done better? And how I changed my behaviour before is I think is the very empowering way to be able to do that. So, I know you’ve worked with a lot of parents. Is there one story in particular that you can share and some example of those that you’ve worked with that have really been able to have a massive breakthrough with their family?
J: Yeah. I think one family, particularly one father and son – a teenager, father and son were very similar. It could often happen that they much have the same personality, can tend to butt heads, which makes life difficult and I must admit, my son and I still do that a little bit at the moment. But they weren’t talking, they fought and they argued every time they saw each other. So, it was a matter again of having the father sit down and quite often, it’s working with the parent or the mom or the dad to realize that it’s not a blame situation. It’s not a let’s-blame-the-child or I’m blaming you as a parent, but it’s how we can work together to settle this problem. And we had this parent journal for about a month, and at the end of each week, Natalie, we have trends and we put all that parent journaling together and we worked on their trends and behaviour over that week, which is really invaluable information. And what he was working out was that a lot of occasions there were a lot of events where he was screaming at his child and losing his temper that he could just let it slide. When the son hadn’t put the garbage out right when he wanted it to be but put it out an hour later, it didn’t really matter. And if the dishes weren’t done exactly on time, but they are done, let it be. And what happened was, the father started to relax a little bit, the son started to relax a little bit and they started to build a relationship again. But it was all about what he was doing as a father, and that he could relax a little bit. There are areas that he couldn’t relaxed because it would be too important and to realize that the son wanted to engage him but neither of them knew how. So the father took on a little bit of research because there’s a generation gap there now, Natalie, and our life as parents is very different from our children’s lives and their listening to music on the internet. There’s different movies, there’s video games, there’s a whole array of things that we don’t really understand. And for this father the really important thing was to start to do a research on what his son loved and actually start to engage him on a conversation about those things and he finally found a creative bond together and their relationship now is much more stronger than it ever been. So, yeah, yes.
N: Awesome. (15:48) of time, thank you so much for sharing your amazing knowledge, which I think we were talking before, I know that through your website, you could talk to people what the website at the moment, but you work with parents and creating an environment where they can share challenges that they’re facing, I think is really important because sometimes we think that we’re struggling on our own. And no one else in the world is having the same challenge that we have but that we can talk about in a safe environment. We are not alone and it’s easier for us to be able to ask for help. So if people want to find out more about you and the work that you do, John, where can we send them?
J: Yeah (coughs). It’s www.parentconsciously.com
N: Beautiful. So thanks again, John. It must be morning, mid-day over there.
J: It’s nearly 11, bottom of the road, Natalie.
N: Awesome. Thank you again for joining me and sharing for that amazing information. Now guys I encourage you to share this video, and all the information in it. You can do that by clicking the Facebook and Twitter share buttons on this page. Click the banner on the side there and you will go directly to John’s website to find out all about him and the products that he has. Make sure that you download the app, if you haven’t done so already so you can watch the shows on the go. You don’t have to be in front of your computer anymore and make sure that you leave your email on the box on the page here, because I would love to send you the manifesting with the masters e-course, valued at $87 and I would love to send it to you for free. So until next time remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We’ll see you soon.