Effective Parenting
Parenting #101

Article by Shawn Dwyer and Dr.L.Michael Hall ~

You Parent as You Were Parented!

Parenting #101 – Would like to hear something really scary? You will tend to parent as you were parented. Now scream and get it out. That’s right, and a little more screaming, and that should do it. Yes, what you received is generally speaking, what you have to give. And give it you will. This is why and how really good parenting tends to pass on through the generations and why and how really bad parenting also dominates in some families.

Parenting Awareness

This also explains why so many people wake up in their 20s and 30s saying to their own dis-belief: “I have become my mom!” “I have become my dad!”

“I swore I would never do to my kids what was done to me, but now I hear myself say things and see myself do things that I never thought I’d see or hear. What’s going on? I don’t understand why I act as I do or get so irritated!”

Not only that but things actually get worse because how you make sense of your experiences during childhood have a profound effect on how you parent your own children. We can easily explain this in NLP and Neuro-Semantics. Parenting #101

Here’s the explanation.

We are all born with a profoundly under-developed brain- one with great potentials- but also one with no content understanding of things. So it develops. And it develops in the context of our early home environment.

That’s why early experiences are so impactful. Like any “first impression,” your first impressions about human life, love, and liberty come from your experiences with your caregivers- mom and dad. In other words, how they related to you, interacted with you, nurtured you, cared for you, communicated, treated you, etc. was the first context in which you learned what you learned.

How was it for you?

 Studies in Attachment Theory in the past three decades have established some basic attachment patterns that are typical by parents.

After the categorizing of these patterns, research has traced the effect of these attachment patterns in people’s lives. As a result, we now understand that the patterns of attachment profoundly influences a person’s well-being, mental health, social intelligence, memory, resilience, learning capacity, and much more. 

What are the categories? 

Secure attachment. A bonding pattern of love and support, parents giving compassion, patience, time, etc.  Parents able to “read” the infant’s signals, respond empathetically.

Avoidant attachment. A non-bonding pattern. Parents essentially not available emotionally or mentally, preoccupied, busy, stressed-out, etc.

Ambivalent attachment. An on-and-off bonding pattern. Parents sometimes available, sometimes not.  Sometimes highly intrusive, sometimes completely dis-connected.

 Disorganized attachment. A dis-orienting non-bonding pattern. Parents themselves unstable and therefore frightening to the child.

These categories are in Daniel Siegel’s work, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (1999/ 2008) which he took from the original work of John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. Later he wrote a simpler book, Parenting From the Inside-Out (2004). And at the heart of that work is his point about meaning. If you are unable to “make sense” of the experiences of your childhood and have leftover issues or unresolved issues, then there are things that can (and will) get in your way of parenting.

Translation: You have got to get yourself healthy and present in order to do a good job parenting. Otherwise all sorts of things in children (their dependence, neediness, vulnerability, exploration, incessant questioning, complaining, crying, etc.) can and will trigger you to respond in an automatic way.

“When we become parents, we bring with us issues from our own past that influence the way we parent our children. Experiences that are not fully processed may create unresolved and leftover issues that influence how we react to our children.” (2004, p. 1)

Talk about a great big motivation for Parenting #101 Training!

Parenting #101 That’s it. Due to our infant brain at birth and our childhood brain as we grow up- we make sense of things the best we can with a child’s brain from the experiences that we have. That’s why highly stressful experiences, and worse, traumatic experiences, for a child have such a profound effect. But that’s not all. There’s something even worse.  Because the child’s brain is just developing, all “memory” in the first two years is “implicit memory.”

No wonder the child will not remember it and will not remember how she encoded it. This will also be generally true for the first 5 to 7 years of life.

What the child will have is an implicit non-conscious mental map deep within of “how life is,” “how he is,” “what people are like,” etc. And because it is non-conscious, it will operate as an automatic program making that child, when he grows up, reactionary as an adult. It is in this way that the cognitive distortions are still so much alive and well deep inside the mind of the new parent and ready to be activated by the annoying things kids do.

Parenting #101, No wonder that adult who can seem so mature and grown up in so many aspects of life, can be unbelievably triggered to behave so badly at home.

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Super-Charge Your Ego-Strength

Super-Charge Your Ego-Strength

Ego Strength


~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer, ACMC ~
What we call ego-strength is the strength that a person has in his or her sense of self to look reality in the face without blinking. It is the strength that enables a person to face a challenge in life or an upsetting circumstance and not cave in. With ego-strength you are able to stand up to the negative circumstances, stand up against what you might be tempted to do (give up, quit, etc.), and demonstrates an inner strength of determination, patience, persistence, and resilience. That’s what we mean by the term ego-strength. It has nothing to do with pride, arrogance, selfishness, etc.

Assertive Strength

If that’s ego-strength, do you have that kind of internal strength? How much of it do you have today? How much of it would you like to have?
Without ego-strength people react. They may passive shrink away or they may aggressively over-react with unthinking actions. Both the fight and flight responses, however, are the opposite of ego-strength. Now all of this becomes critical when it comes to knowing if your client is truly a coaching client or someone who needs therapy. Therapy is designed to heal traumas and hurts and enable one to build up a new and strong sense of self.
Coaching requires ego-strength from the start- ego-strength to be able to handle the challenges that are inherent in coaching.

Clarity about “Ego”

We are all born without any ego-strength because we are all born without a sense of ego or self. There is no “I” at first, there is enmeshment. Baby does not distinguish self from mother. For the infant, it is all one and the same. The word “ego” is Greek for “I” or “me.” Open up a version of the Greek New Testament and every time someone says, “I am…” it is the Greek word ego. Sigmund Freud designated ego as the sense of self, the “I” that deals with and relates to reality.


Normally our ego-strength grows and develops as we grow and develop as persons. It’s part of our psycho-cognitive-social development. We develop more and more of a sense of self as we face reality. As that “I” develops the ability to see and accept reality for whatever it is, without the magical thinking of wishing and confusing our wishing with reality, we have more strength to cope and master the facts and constraints before us.


Weak ego-strength means a senses of self that does not easily face, take in, or cope with life’s challenges. A weak sense fo self fights reality, hates it, and wishes it to be otherwise. Expectations are unrealistic and based on inadequate understanding. Reality seems too big, too frightening, too overwhelming … and so we avoid the encounter. Weak ego-strength means that the person doesn’t feel up to the task and so unresourceful, weak, fragile, unable to cope, etc.


Strong ego-strength describes the person who first accepts whatever is as existing, then it looks at it and explores it with a view of dealing with it, coping and mastering it. With strong ego-strength you do not personalize the things out there in the world or what others say or do. You notice and you access the necessary resources to deal with it. The strong your ego-strength grows, the more of a sense of self we develop, a sense of your skills and resources, of your ability to handle whatever comes.

Ego on the line

This use of “ego” differs from how we sometimes use the word, as when we say, “He has his ego involved” in this or that. Then we are speaking about his self-definition, his pride, and his reputation. Typically this indicates a weak ego strength and the need to boaster it up by fighting and defending and being defensive. The stronger our ego, the less our “ego” is
involved, or on the line. Strengthening our ego-strength enables us to sit our “ego” aside and to engage the world in a straightforward way.

Strengthening Our Ego-Strength

Suppose you want to strengthening your ego, what do you do? What patterns enables you to do that? What frames, beliefs, values, expectations, etc. would support you doing that? Start with the following four.


First, meta-stating yourself with acceptance. Access the state of acceptance and apply that feeling to your “self.” Think of something small and simple that you just accept. You could get yourself worked up about it, even furious and frustrated, but you have learned to just go along and accept it. The rain, the traffic, changing the baby’s diaper, taking out the garbage, etc. What is that like? Feel that and reflexively turn that feeling back onto yourself- your sense of self, life, the cards that life has dealt you, when and where you were born, your aptitudes and lack of aptitudes, etc. Acceptance is not necessarily a positive feeling. It’s not resignation or condoning, it is welcoming something into your world without any negative fanfare.

Adjusting Expectancies

Second, look at your self-expectancies and expectancies of others, the world, work, etc. and adjust them so that you have a fairly accurate map about what is, how things work, and what you can legitimately expect. What have you mapped about yourself, people, relationships, fairness, life, etc.?
Every unrealistic expectation sets us up for a cognitive and semantic jar. If it is unrealistic, then you are trying to navigate and work in a world that is an illusion and that will knock you down. This is where and why learning and developing greater understandings about things increases your ego-strength. Knowing what is, how things work, the rules and principles of people, relationships, careers, etc. gives you the ability to adjust your thinking-and-emoting which increases ego-strength. It takes the surprise and shock out of being caught up short.

Stepping into Your Power Zone

Weak and strong ego-strength is related to your sense of personal power or the lack thereof. You increase it when you accept your personal responses of thinking, emoting, speaking, and behaving, meta-state them with a frame of ownership and then by welcoming and practicing the use of your powers, step more and more into your power zone. This increase self-efficacy, activity, proactivity, etc.

Meta-Stating Flexibility

A fourth process for strengthening ego-strength is replace rigidity and closeness of mind with flexibility, willingness to accept change, and an openness to the flux and flow of life. The sense of insecurity predominates when you have a weak ego-strength. It is then that you don’t want things to change and we want things to stay the same. As you develop more personal security, you are more open to change and to adapting and to using your resources.
If you would like help with developing your inner strength, give me, Shawn a call on 0439194323

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limiting belief

limiting belief

Childhood Perception Part 1 – Limiting Beliefs

Written by Shawn Dwyer at The Coaching Centre
Limiting beliefs involve the specific cognitive style of processing information. When unconscious parts form or limiting beliefs originate, they result from the brain operating in certain ways. These parts, or limitations, require particular perception and thought in order to generate and remain supported.
Almost all, if not all, limiting beliefs about self, others or life form during childhood, in childhood I mean the first 12-15 years of life.
This article is about describing some of the processes involved in limiting beliefs.
When beliefs or concepts become rigid, they reach a condition known as nominalized. For example, the word ‘educating’ nominalizes into ‘education’. “Depressing’ nominalizes into ‘depression’. In general, nominalizing converts a process into a rigid, frozen condition.


An effective meta-coach uses a form of language so it demoninalizes, or de-crystallizes a concept or belief. To comprehend the language your meta-coach uses with you, you then (internally) step out of, go meta to, the rigid nominalized state and associate into a denominalised state (state is another word for what you are experiencing). This activity in fact helps you to communicate effectively when you are adjusting your thoughts, or what we call your own ‘map of the world’. Assume that behind every person’s behaviour they have a positive intent and people are fallible human beings. However when the intent comes from a cognitive style that is used as a child and while creating a problem state (experience) or belief, then the thinking style can be limited by the mind in the way it thought during the forming of the limiting belief.
If these beliefs or states form in adulthood they still conform to certain laws of misperception – flawed laws you may call them.
Certain perceptual flaws will occur to form a limiting belief or a non-resource state. These flaws dominate childhood perception and also take place when developing a ‘problem state’ in adulthood.

These Perceptual Flaws Of Childhood Are Normal As A Child

Nominal Data / Either-or-thinking. Thinking in black and white terms, all or nothing terms. This level of information contains no grey area. Nominal data also evidences itself when a person speaks in all-or-nothing language patterns, i’e ‘you are either with me or against me’. ‘Its this or that’, ‘either you want this one or that one’. The nominal perceptual style limits awareness and choice. This type of thinking frequently accompanies limiting beliefs and their consequences. Young children cannot escape this style of thinking due to their cognitive limitations naturally. They can not simultaneously hold differing or competing ideas so their evaluations of situations become either-or-types. When under stress some adults revert to the child like either-or thinking style.


Furthermore this style of thinking may also occur in adults when they feel emotional stress. The information is dichotomized into either-or categories. Leaving out of details is one of the trademarks and fits nicely with how information staging occurs in the mind whilst discounting anything in the middle. Hence no middle ground exists. Another example could be someone believing that someone is all good or all bad with no in-between.

Meta-Coaching Limiting Beliefs

Certified Meta-Coaches at The Coaching Centre use many advanced techniques to unleash and develop human potentials. One of the techniques is called reframing. Reframing relies on this nominal category because it seeks to change the meaning of a circumstance. In doing this, it shifts the meaning from one category to another more resourceful category of meaning. For example, just because you changed some behaviour and now someone else objects doesn’t mean you have to return to your former ways. It actually means you have successfully changed and that you can now more fully strengthen this new way, reaping the benefits!
Do you have some ideas that you would like to change the meaning to? Come and find a higher quality of life in The Coaching Centre,
Join us for the internationally accredited NLP Practitioner starting on April 7th

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