Are you ready to transform your parenting journey and unlock the secret to raising confident and free-thinking children?
In our conversation with parenting expert, author, and counselor Naomi Aldort, we reveal the powerful philosophy of raising ourselves to raise our children, allowing them to flourish in a supportive environment.
Naomi shares her inspiring journey from being a piano teacher to discovering her gift for helping families and the incredible advantages of virtually conducting her transformative retreats.
We also tackle some challenging topics, such as finding a balance between parental expectations and children's needs, and Naomi's advice on how couples can work together will provide invaluable guidance.
We go beyond conventional parenting advice and explore the concept of authentic parenting, where Naomi shares how you can recognize those moments when your own thoughts hijack you and how you can use this awareness to create a peaceful environment for your children.
In a thought-provoking discussion about the harmful effects of praise, Naomi emphasizes the importance of providing freedom, allowing children to be themselves, and expressing gratitude in a more specific and empowering way.
Connect with Naomi Aldort
Naomi Aldort's article series "The Price of Praise."
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Transcript of Self-Directed Episode 19
E19 - The Power of Connection in Parenting - A Dialogue with Naomi Aldort
Please note: This transcript is autogenerated by AI voice recognition - so there will probably be some transcription errors along the way 🙂
Jesper Conrad: So, Naomi, besides writing books, you also do a lot of courses and have been teaching other people how to parent for many, many, many years. If we can briefly touch on how it started, that would be wonderful.
Naomi Aldort: How it started. People started me. I didn't start anything. I was actually a piano teacher, which I still do a bit. Parents started telling me that their children, who are my students, were getting therapy out of piano lessons. So that's kind of what started it. And then there was a family with an 11-years-old daughter who, the parents, came to me and said she's been in therapy with a psychiatrist for seven years And in two months of lessons with me achieved more psychologically than in seven years of therapy, and they asked me to give the whole family some sessions. They were, you know, the father wasn't her birth father, she was the only child. Anyway, i said only if we do it for a limited time. I'm not a counselor by profession. I know that I have that skill because a lot of people always ask me for help. But you know, and we agreed on seven sessions. Well, after seven sessions they had all the breakthroughs that they didn't have in seven years. We fixed everything basically. In fact, a year later I met the mother on the street and she said can I solve a problem in one session with you? a personal first. So we did So that kind of initiated it And the other initiation.
Naomi Aldort: Then I didn't go full time into this work, but it gave me the idea that I have a gift there And I started writing and I had three children that didn't go to school and I did my own thing and everything. And when the youngest was born I wrote an article. I wrote articles for newspapers and magazines locally but I wrote and sent to Mothering Magazine the article about why not to praise And it was accepted right away and it was very hard at the time to get into Mothering Magazine. So that initiated specifically for parenting because I started being asked. So they published it and I started being asked to public speak And then people called me by phone.
Naomi Aldort: There was no internet And I had a bunch of people calling me by phone every week and asking questions and I just answered free, i just shared. And then this one woman from New York that called me every single week said Naomi, you should charge me, you're putting a lot of time into me. And that's when I turned it around. And still there was no website or anything. It was just magazines, articles that they started writing in in Life Learning Magazine and other homes, unschooling magazines and parenting magazines worldwide. And my book came out and it just evolved of its own. It's not anything I ever planned or did much about.
Cecilie Conrad: So what was the? what was your first book about?
Naomi Aldort: Raising our children, raising ourselves is the name of the book And it is what the title says that in order to raise children, you have to raise yourself, you have to on yourself And that's the greatest gift you can give your children is to work yourself, because we have. We have a choice in life when we raise children. Raising children wakes us up to where we're stuck, so they trigger us behavior, wise and relationship And the thing with triggers those are what you need to heal. So either work on yourself and heal while you're triggered or you control your kids to not trigger you, in which case they are harmed and you stay stuck.
Cecilie Conrad: And then they are ready to harm the next generation Exactly.
Naomi Aldort: So either cause harm, and it's harm to yourself because you stay stuck as well, So you don't use the opportunity to heal yourself and to take. This is true not just with children. You know, we have a culture now that's. That's exactly the opposite of what I teach.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, i was thinking that That's not what I see. Yeah, yeah, trigger warning.
Naomi Aldort: Trigger warning. That triggers me. Work on not being triggered. Be free.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, I'd be grateful you're triggered because that is a learning.
Naomi Aldort: You know what you need to heal, you know what you need to free yourself from. So my teaching and my book is about becoming free as a human being And as a parent. When you're free, then your child can be free, like if you are not, if you are stuck in emotional limitations and triggers and you can't say this because that feels like this and you make me feel that the sentence make me feel is absurd, no one, but you can make you feel something. Yeah, so, so, yeah. So my book is about raising ourselves and I have many clients from all over the world. They call by zoom, sometimes by phone, sometimes by email, sometimes they have a translator, so zoom works really well. If they don't speak English, they hire a translator who is with us and can translate, and I work with people and I, you know, public speak also in Europe, Australia, but since COVID I haven't traveled and I'm really delighted to be able to do all of that by zoom and not travel.
Cecilie Conrad: So much easier.
Naomi Aldort: Yeah, i have a program. I have a family coming in June from London, so that's a program that happens in the summer where family can have a workshop for themselves from a couple of days to five days, usually here and there. They do a whole week. It's called family intensive retreat. It's more intensive than it is retreat but but it is a beautiful place.
Naomi Aldort: I live on an island and they're swimming and boating and climbing trees and endless forest and beauty and hiking and trails and games and we have a zip line And so it is also a retreat. But we spend most of the time. The children have a retreat, maybe I or babysitters, and get the playground et cetera, but the parents are working hard on themselves And sometimes the children, depending on age, have some sessions too with me. So I work with the whole family. So that's one amazing program. When families start with that program it's a jumpstart. Then they can take sessions and it's like this, they don't need many every now and then and adjustment or something. So I work with marriage and pregnancy and birth and and and babyhood and toddlerhood and childhood And then the whole thing in the context of respecting children autonomy and letting them do their own learning and everything. But the book is not so much on the unschooling. But I speak in unschooling conferences and I unschooled my three sons as well, so is it mostly unschoolers.
Cecilie Conrad: you work with families who already decided to unschool, or is it No?
Naomi Aldort: I'm a little different than some of the speakers in this movement. I'm very open to work with anybody on their terms, in their ways, just like treat a child who is unschooled. If they want to go to school or they want to have a rigid schedule or hire a teacher who gives them homework, that's their choice. So I treat adults in the same way. So if I have clients whose children go to school, i work with them within that parameter. It may come up and they may end up taking their child out of school as a result of spending time with me.
Naomi Aldort: Not always and it's not always possible, but if I see a possibility, yeah, i may mention it.
Naomi Aldort: If there is a problem and a stress that comes out of the child being in school, i present the question Is there a possibility that they would go to a democratic school or have you considered unschooling? And again, it depends also on their finances. And if both people work and if they need both to work. A lot of parents think they need both to work and with my thought they realize that they don't have to, that their priorities can shift. So, yeah, so some do change Majority are doing attachment, parenting, natural birth, but not everybody, and a lot of them do unschooling. But I try to stay very open so that I get even the religious people who are homeschooling and putting more restrictions in the house. I'd like to not discriminate and to respect adults the way I respect children. It's their path, it's their children and I work with them within that paradigm to optimize it, because even within a paradigm that the child goes to school, there's a lot that they can teach them.
Naomi Aldort: Yeah, so, Like you know, they often parents whose children are in school care about their grades or, within a couple of sessions with me, they realize that the best thing is to tell the child I don't care about your grades. Just you know I need you to go to school, so pass as long as you pass to the next grade. Study what you, the lessons that you love, do as much as you want. The lessons you don't like, do the minimum, and you don't even have to show me your report card. I don't care, i love you regardless of you know the grades have nothing to do with love or with who you are or with what you're actually interested in life. And then, when you're at home, i'm not going to ask you. I also teach them not to push to do homework or go to sleep early.
Naomi Aldort: Children learn from the experience.
Naomi Aldort: They don't like to follow the class, they like to pass the grade just enough to not be scolded or put on the spot or shamed or any of the other atrocities they can do in a school setting. So they learn and find a way to cope, and I ask parents to be on the side of the child and teach cope with the. You know some teachers are great and some teachers are not so great and some teachers are atrocious. Right So to empower the child to deal with the atrocious teacher rather than side with the teacher, which is most what usually parents do. Before they come to me, the teacher calls and say you know your child is misbehaving. And they side with the teacher and scold the child instead of let's see what's going wrong with my child And now I can help my child and talk to the teacher about making it better for them. But yeah, it could be a good majority, or 60, 70% of my clients are unschoolers and home birthers, et cetera, but definitely not a requirement. I work with anyone without an agenda.
Jesper Conrad: All of them have children. All of them need love and care.
Naomi Aldort: Exactly. We also it ends up with marriage counseling often because, if the parents don't agree, often the mother wants all this freedom and The father is a little more strict or old-fashioned or doesn't do as much of the reading and the studying And it's all anxious about I.
Jesper Conrad: Was like that myself, but, but luckily I've.
Cecilie Conrad: Well, we had the perfect balance of you. Not really caring too much no and me Not really listening to you.
Jesper Conrad: I.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, now it's perfect Yeah.
Naomi Aldort: I had a perfect husband. He has passed away three years ago, but he just said it's basically he wanted to be involved. He wanted to be involved in the decisions, but then he would say Let's discuss, but at the end you decide because you know more. And that's the main mistake a lot of couples do, especially about schooling is You are take away from this conversation?
Naomi Aldort: Yeah, So If, if one of us knows the material and one of us doesn't, the opinion is not equally valuable or useful for the decision about the kids.
Naomi Aldort: So I say to couples, i would say to the men in this case usually the men, but not always Why don't you read the same books your wife read, because they really want to be involved in decisions, so we can at the meeting, at our zoom session, have a conversation. We're both of you know the same thing and you don't pay me hundreds of dollars To give you the information that your wife is giving you from the books you read, etc. It will save you money and then we'll be on the same page And you will have questions that I can answer because you have read, you know where we're going Or where your wife wants to go, and we can come to some. And and then their vote is Valuable because they're learning all of this. And, of course, if they did that, that would solve the problem because they would understand better. Most of them don't. They just want to dictate their opinion While not really having all the information.
Cecilie Conrad: So is that very often the father has not been actually interacting with the children On the same extent as the mother, even though the father might be a very good father, caring, loving.
Naomi Aldort: Lovely father.
Cecilie Conrad: very often They just spent more time at work, they spent more time Away from the children. the children start preparing the mother when they, you know, hurt their knee or whatever, and and this is just how it goes. I am not going to judge whether it's good or bad, but that is the situation, which means the mother also has all this information about the personality of the child And history of the child and how they would you know, she can predict in many cases much better How would my child react to this situation and and yeah, yeah, yeah, i think it's very, very normal.
Naomi Aldort: We've worked with the same things very often, with people And the other thing I advise couples in terms of the marriage is to actually decide who is in charge of what. So you know in most families that maintaining the car is not The. The woman doesn't choose to do that and she doesn't care about the details and it's you know. So Why have an opinion? You know I had my husband buy the car. It's like I don't want to have an opinion, i don't know anything about cars. So when we ran out of a car he went and got another car And I said thank you, and I didn't go into an argument that he should have gotten a different car. It's like who cares? he did the money. A lot of women are actually better at that. I find that a lot of women do the, the taxes, and you know money calculations, etc. Etc. So either one.
Naomi Aldort: But just deciding who is furnishing the house, who is deciding what the house would look like, who is deciding All kinds of details, you know, in a household. So in parenting it's the same thing. You know there are things I want fathers to have close relationship with the children without the stress of. You know, mommy doesn't let you do this, so I have to, i'm going to do behind her back, or all these things that happen that create tension for the couple, which is not good for the children right there or for the couple. So if you sit down and decide who is in charge of what you know, so maybe, yeah, usually the mother would be The better person to have the final word on education doesn't mean you don't have a conversation, but more listening to her and looking at all the details. So that's why my husband was very good about that And he wasn't as skilled.
Naomi Aldort: So if the children were fighting and he had a problem dealing with them, he would call me, he called me a miracle worker. So, yeah, me if I did what I want to do, it won't look very good Because he knew he would get angry, he would raise his voice or whatever. So he was wise enough To know the differences, to know who is good at what. So, you know, not be bothered about the cars or about Income or investments. I didn't care about these things, not that I couldn't, but I Can't stand the subject. And yet with when was the children? it was up to me At the end of the day yeah, i Have a question on already.
Jesper Conrad: While answering asking it, i think okay, yes, but that is a two-brought question. But why do you think we have in general become so bad at parenting? I think that should be so natural for the most people.
Naomi Aldort: Maybe too broad it would have been natural if you grew up, natural, but the human mind it's almost like. I'm not sure there is a natural in modern society And even in original tribal societies each tribe had its Dogma. It's the way you do it. You know what age, what. So I think humans are extremely pliable. Who we are is Unknown to us. We actually, if philosophically, don't exist. Because if I erased your mind right now, who would you be? So the mind is a collection of thoughts. None of them are yours. You inherited them. You're keeping inheriting from media and friends and wife and husband and relatives and friends and newspapers, etc. So all this material up here, i don't know that that's natural. It's natural about you know, because people say, naturally I should spank my child. That's what I feel like right now And I wrote an article don't call it spanking, that's a lie. You mean hitting, you mean abusing, right, and you give it a different word so that, well, for children it's called spanking, so it's all right.
Cecilie Conrad: No, it's not all right. Never was all right.
Naomi Aldort: Don't care, what you know. So I have an article about it in a magazine from Australia, anyway. So we talk about being intuitive, natural, with the children. But many people intuitively want to yell, want to hit, want to control. So you know, even in small. So I have clients who are the most loving parents, would never punish or hit or anything they do. They read my book, you know, and you can still make mistakes.
Naomi Aldort: And the mother tells me this story that the child, three years old, got a little shovel and got really excited about digging in the dirt And so there was a place of dirt right next to the grass So he dug and threw and created a pile of dirt on the grass And she told him not to do that And he wouldn't listen. Eventually she got angry and took him in the house and he had a meltdown. And so I work with her. She was so prepared because she already studied my stuff a lot and she changed her ways and all those kind of things just about overnight. But you know she got it. It's like that control came out of her, what you call natural. It came to her naturally. She said to him gently, let's put the dirt on the dirt And not on the grass. And he said no, i like it here. That was you know what's the deal of cleaning some dirt off the grass at the end of the day, there's nothing.
Naomi Aldort: And when she realized that, that she creates all this fight and meltdown because she ruined his day you know he was having such a blast with this new shovel and she ruined everything And you know it ruins her relationship with him, of course. But when she realized that, she really transformed. But that's what happens with parents who work with me, i sense how ready they are And I go with them. With her, i could go fast, right away. We did the process.
Naomi Aldort: The work of Byron Katie I use for, like in the cell formula in my book, the S part is looking at yourself and what thoughts are hijacking you away from love And with it away from peace and away from your child and from being loving and peaceful with your child. She had the thought, and the thought was he shouldn't put the dirt on the grass. I want to keep the grass clean. And that thought is just not true, because he did put the dirt off the grass and had a blast doing that. That's what that was, this creation and the pile on the green probably looked so much better than piling it on more dirt where it's not I'm up with all And when I do the process, i help the parent come up with their realization on their own.
Naomi Aldort: So what is great about him putting it in the grass other than it's his thing? that's number one and the most important. And yeah, it looks prettier. You can see the pile. It's brown pile on green grass. Yeah, it's just so much nicer.
Naomi Aldort: Why is mommy coming and ruining this and telling me to do something a lot less satisfying? So she realized all of that with me just asking questions. So it's her own realization. I don't tell people what to think. I ask them questions so they come to their own realization, as in the solve formula in the book. But it's the S part, the self realization, the self talk, the questioning.
Naomi Aldort: So that's a long answer to your comment about natural. I don't know what is natural. It's not natural. Everything in your mind isn't natural. But it can be a strong drive And that doesn't mean that it's the thing to do And we're full of it.
Naomi Aldort: Women going to street and may have a natural desire to have sex with some woman that goes by very, very half naked And it doesn't mean he's going and doing that. So we suppress our nature all the time. or we want to eat sugar all the time and we don't because we know how bad it is for us, or maybe we want to. It's a lot of things we want to do across the street in a red light, we're in a hurry and we don't do it. We know the rules. So no, i wouldn't say that there is a parameter called natural, but maybe on the other side of it there is a parameter where we go so far from nature, like how we birth or schooling. It all goes against the nature of the human being.
Naomi Aldort: A child doesn't learn by sitting in a classroom and being told what to do, with 20 other kids being told what to do at the same time, and they're all the same age. They can help each other. They can only fight with each other and learn about fighting and competition and all other bad things that are being learned, not content-wise, but just. The setup is so unnatural and unproductive. So in that sense there is a point to using the word natural or authentic. I like to use authentic parenting, authentic child. What is real, what is autonomous for the child who is digging in the dirt and making a pile on the grass, is whatever satisfaction he's getting in that moment And there are beautiful mirrors of us, because they don't have a lot of junk yet. We're full of it, but they are empty enough. They're like an enlightened unaware. So it's not lightened, it's not aware of it, but they're just giving us back whatever we are.
Jesper Conrad: What you said just made me think about justifying how, earlier in our life, when we sent our kids to institutions, there is this inner dialogue where you justify your choices, even though it felt wrong to leave your child in the kindergarten or nursery when they cried. When we left, then the person in charge down there said, oh, hurry away, you will stop crying. And I remember justifying to myself oh, but I need to go to work, i need to do this, and that is a thing I believe. If people have justified things over many years, it may be difficult to acknowledge that pain that comes with removing it again and saying, ok, look at what I did.
Naomi Aldort: It's very interesting And your example is very useful, because it's hard, also because we live in a society that opposes our love are intuitive. So bring a child to a daycare and they tell you they won't cry. And they're right, they won't cry because you're not there. So what's the point of crying? My mom is, or my father is gone anyway, i can't get them. So and then they tell you that the child was happy. It's like, no, the child wasn't happy. The child resigned. And and you know what am I going to do until my mother come? I may as well play. I'm not going to just sit here and cry the whole day. They're too intelligent for that, although this first few times. Some of them cry the whole day, but the teacher, would you know, destruct them and, you know, do all kind of song and dance and pirouettes to avoid the natural reaction of the child. And then you come to pick them up and they said oh, they were just fine. The moment you left, they stopped crying and they played and they were great And basically lying to themselves and to you because their own brainwashing, indoctrination, in having children go through all this pain in order to arrive at what That we control them.
Naomi Aldort: You know it's what's. What's the point? Where are they supposed to arrive? Because on their own they're arriving all the time, in their own language and in their own blueprint, following inside, not outside, which is one of the main things that I teach, you know. When people ask me so what's the bottom line? It says like keep your child rooted in themselves and not seeking approval, because we are seekers of approvals. We're addicts. We grew up seeking approval, even as parents.
Naomi Aldort: I find that one of the factors in my counseling of parents about unschooling or co-sleeping or whatever it is, is that they're worried about what the relatives would say or the neighbors. Yeah, we do. You know the wrong thing They're. My mother-in-law is going nuts. She's telling me not to sleep with my child because this and this would happen, or to send them to school because they want no, to read and they won't know anything and they want people to go to college and all this nonsense, right?
Naomi Aldort: And if you're seeking approval, then you fall into the trap of feeling stressed and believing some of that. So getting that into your belief system, as well as fighting with the mother-in-law or with your own parents and trying to convince them so that you can be approved by them. You know, if I have you understand why I'm doing this, mom, then you would approve of me because you understand that I'm right. And what I teach parents to do is to let go. Not convince anybody, not persuade anybody, not explain to anybody why you're doing what you're doing, but elicit total respect. And I give techniques on how to elicit total respect from the in-laws and the parents and the uncles and aunts and neighbors and whoever it is. And you elicit respect by not being engaged but, yes, listening to them, validating their feelings. So we do in sessions and in workshops, we do a mock.
Naomi Aldort: I play them my client and they play their let's say father-in-law whoever in their family is the most pushy on their dogma. And I have a conversation with them. So father-in-law may say, oh, your child will never learn anything if he doesn't go to school. And I respond peacefully, validatingly and without getting into any argument, any defense, no defense, no, seeking their approval, just completely connecting. If you want to do a demo, I can show you how that works. But it's beautiful. Because then people say, oh, I don't need to fight with it, I don't have to convince him, I don't have to argue, I don't have to tell them they're wrong or that I'm right.
Cecilie Conrad: No, no, no, Yeah, yeah, i get you, i get you.
Naomi Aldort: I don't have to do any of that You just listen and then they have better relationships with the children because you didn't even fight them. There is no argument about the children, it's just totally peaceful and they feel more accepted because you're listening. I even teach to be grateful to say thank you for caring so much. I hear your concern. I understand that you think that they need and you repeat what they say You do the basic communication skills of letting a person know that you heard them. So you're worried that if I don't teach him to read, or if he doesn't go to school and he's already eight years old and is not reading yet, you're afraid he'll never read and never know math, et cetera, et cetera. Tell me more about that. What are you afraid would happen in the worst case scenario? You listen to them, you ask for more.
Naomi Aldort: You're peaceful because you're not seeking their approval or their agreement or their anything. You're free. And after you have sessions with me, you're free. You're done with seeking approval, because that's a defensiveness comes from seeking approval. If you seek the approval of the relatives or whoever it is, then now you're defensive. You're like no, no, i didn't do that. We're going to do that. Share your whole philosophy and why it's right, that's not going to work. That just creates enemies and problems.
Cecilie Conrad: But I think there is a fine I'm totally on board with you What we're doing, but I think there is, though, a fine line between staying with our own truth, which is, for many people, a very radical truth, and yet being connected to our relatives and old friends.
Cecilie Conrad: Obviously, we have been on schooling for many, many years, so most of our friends are on schoolers, but we still are connected with people outside of that community, and I think, it's just very interesting how we can navigate, because it's beautiful that we listen to each other, and I find it also beautiful within the human mind how we don't have to be pushovers just because it matters what other people think. If it didn't matter at all, we would be very lonely.
Naomi Aldort: Yes, but, sweetie, this method that I teach produces exactly that. You're not a pushover, because you're not. You see, the moment you explain your philosophy, you're a pushover. You justify.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, and then, instead of being pushed over, you will be the pushover. I get that.
Naomi Aldort: You don't either. That's a pushover either way, because you're sucked into their system. If you argue with them, if you have a conversation about whether your child should sleep with you or not, or go to school or not, then you've been pushed over. You're in their court having their conversation. See, in my method you stay doing what you're doing. Your passion and your conviction is so strong You have no need to convince anybody else in that. but you stay connected to that because the way you communicate with them does not have you at all considered being influenced by them, unless they say something really wise. That happens once in a while.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, it happens sometimes, and I think, sometimes this community of pushovers can be very A little bit.
Naomi Aldort: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: Stay away from me. I got this And I think it creates even though we try to work with them.
Naomi Aldort: That's not what I teach. Yeah, i was happy to hear that.
Cecilie Conrad: I just wondered how do you, by connecting Yeah, connecting.
Naomi Aldort: So if a person says they would not be ready for college, I say, oh, I see You're very concerned. I appreciate it, You're concerned that they wouldn't go to college. If they're open-minded, I say, would you like to read something about it, Because I've studied the subject. But usually they're not And in that case I just listen to them and stay connected and show appreciation, So the relationship actually becomes closer. They feel that I listen to them rather than I shut them off and try to convince them the other way. I let them keep their opinions. They're not feeling threatened by me. I'm loving and connecting and clear about the way I go about it. So it's not a detachment, It's a closer connection actually for the person And it doesn't mean you do what they say. You still do what you say, but by not engaging.
Cecilie Conrad: By not engaging Beginners I would call it beginners Those who just decided to go to school. The kids are just not started in school or they're extracted from the school system. It's very often the mothers and the mothers-in-laws that are the problem or will be the largest threat to the family, because it's such a radical and huge decision for people to make. Yeah, and they are so shaken by doing it. They're happy and they are overflown with freedom and the shoulders go back down and they start sleeping at night. The kids are happy but they're still shaking. It's a huge pushover of basic ideas And then if the mother-in-law comes and push them or maybe their own mother just keep pushing Then in a way I just find I hear you with the technique, but I think some of the beginners I talk to they're not strong enough for that.
Cecilie Conrad: So I kind of have to say could you discuss this with your mother a year from now and try to do something right?
Naomi Aldort: now You're misunderstanding something. I get it, the work I do with them, the mock. They don't have to talk to their mother or to their mother-in-law. They don't have to do any of this. When they do it with me as a mock, they're relieved from seeking approval, they're relieved of caring about what the mother or grandmother or mother-in-law says, so that they can naturally, as a result of their session with me, they have that strength that you think they won't have. It doesn't bother them The next time mother-in-law is visiting and saying, oh, you're still sleeping with your child, i can't believe it, or whatever. It doesn't do anything to them. So they're either able to do what we practice in the session or they do nothing and just go about their day ignoring the thing and say yeah, i know, i know it's hard for you, or whatever. Yeah, it takes sometimes more than one session, but this method, it's the conversation, it's a very good method.
Naomi Aldort: It's like a style therapy basically.
Cecilie Conrad: It's what It reminds me of, the I'm sorry, i don't know the lingo in English. Maybe you call it a style therapy by Pearl. No, he did these enactments. It sounds to me a little bit as the same So it's based more on Byron Katie and it's my. I know byron Katie the work but it goes back to this enactment of being there.
Naomi Aldort: There is also the systemic I didn't get it from Pearl or anything I kind of invented.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, i'm not saying you get it from, i just say it reminds me of some.
Naomi Aldort: Yeah, well, i think it's rather different, but it just gives it. It's what happens in the session that actually strengthen the person and yours them from needing the approval of the mother in law or the mother to a degree that they can have this conversation with them, or they don't have to, but they're rooted in themselves. So when I say you want to raise a child who's rooted in themselves, what I do in my work is help parents to be rooted in themselves.
Naomi Aldort: So they can let the child be rooted in themselves and so that they don't seem to flip over because of the opinions of other people. And it's true, in the beginning it's harder for them, but the way I work with them produce very fast results. They get very strong, no matter how beginners they are. That is wonderful to hear They really, they really transform very, very fast.
Cecilie Conrad: It's fantastic work. Yeah, they are nice techniques, yeah, yeah, yeah, i don't know what time it is because I forgot my phone.
Naomi Aldort: Give me a second, and not saying approval also means not praising children. that goes together with that famous article of mine that was in mothering magazine, and then I had a series of three more articles about this subject In life learning magazine, I think from Canada. Yeah, what country are you in?
Cecilie Conrad: We are in France and from Denmark.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, but I did read life learning magazine actually.
Naomi Aldort: Yes, you had it lying around, so anyway that was years ago And but I have it on my website.
Cecilie Conrad: It falls that concept a little bit. for those who doesn't know what it is, the idea of not praising children I, when I talk about it, it seems very many, many parents think it's very odd to not praise children.
Naomi Aldort: Yeah, because they think that when you praise a child they would feel good about themselves. But it isn't true. They're feeling good about you praising them and dependent on it. So it's very manipulative, just like rewards and prizes, and it's all of it is telling a child do it so that I tell you that you're good, so that dependency. It's hard to answer it in just few minutes because, but I'll try.
Naomi Aldort: I know, but I think there is a set of three articles on my website that's free. That's called the price of praise And it shows how it creates seeking approval. So, like my children were musicians, if I praise them about their music, they would become very anxious to always please me in the area of music and in other areas. And there are some children that are so heavily praised Good job, good job, good boy, good girl. They're not anymore doing things authentically because they want to do them, but because they want to please mommy and daddy and get the reward or get the praise. The praise is a form of reward or a form of I'm loved. They think I'm good. Yeah, and it's the opposite of my goal, which is for the child to be rooted in themselves, do things from inside. So it extracts the child out of themselves and puts them in an anxiety mode. Will I be approved? Am I doing the right thing? And they all suffer from it because we were praised before, that.
Naomi Aldort: We were spanked in the generation before and punished, and then they thought the great thing will manipulate with praise. We'll tell the child how good they are when they do good and we won't say anything when they do bad, but it's the other side of the same coin. So now the child actually in a way, somewhat worse, because if a child is punished and hit, there's something in them that tells them it's wrong. They can see you know I'm being hit at some point. It's like this is wrong, while if you praise them it's invisible. They don't know that they're hooked, they don't know that they're manipulated and they lose self motivation. Now they do things for the praise and not because they enjoy playing ball or painting a picture or playing Mozart. They're now doing it to please another. It shifts because they're focused on getting the praise, and that's what seeking approval comes from.
Naomi Aldort: That's where insecurity comes from. Insecurity is worrying about what others think of me. So you go into a party as an adult and you spend two hours how you would look and you know most people are women especially right And I look good. Will they like it? And what do I bring? And what will I say? Oh, did I say the wrong thing? And will I impress them? And you know, am I laughing too loud? It's just. You lose your sense of just freedom to be yourself because you're so concerned about what would they say about me.
Naomi Aldort: And that's what it trains the child to do. It's like to put the praise to do things, not because I want to, but because when I do this, mommy loves me, she tells me I'm good, and I don't know if I'm good or not. I have to seek it outside. That's insecurity, that's weakness, that's anxiety. So the opposite of anxiety is security being rooted in oneself and asking yourself is it good? So when people ask me, so what do you do instead? Remember, this is a very short, so go and listen. There are other videos on my website specifically about praise, and there is those three articles and also the mothering article which is called Getting Out of the Way. So four articles in all about this subject.
Naomi Aldort: So they all the links making approval that we all suffer from point to enact it again. So the whole good boy, good girl extract the child away from his freedom and authenticity.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, as adults I know I have sometimes call it the pleaser gene. I could also call it the seeking approval gene. It's a way of excusing myself from it. I'm trying to work with it. Last year we changed our life around. We were in a situation I could work less You changed our lives around you.
Cecilie Conrad: Quit your job.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, quit a job. No, no, seriously. Life changed, but my life changed in the way that I quit a job with a high profile and everything. And it has been a wonderful emotional rollercoaster of saying to myself hey, i'm good enough without that title. I'm happy I wasn't fired then it would have been a different feeling here. It was a choice, but it is still something I work on.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, right now you had to say it was a high profile job.
Jesper Conrad: Yes, yes, just for the record. It's hard to be married. It's wonderful.
Cecilie Conrad: Don't marry a psychologist.
Jesper Conrad: She'll call on you?
Naomi Aldort: No, but You may be a psychologist. You'll grow up a lot faster.
Jesper Conrad: Yes, absolutely.
Cecilie Conrad: That was a big need for that.
Jesper Conrad: I needed that. I needed that absolutely. But as most parents have lived with praise, or the most adults have lived with praise, so what would your first advice be? beside that, we will put up the links to your website, what would your first advice be? for people to start working on themselves, to seek less approval from outside.
Naomi Aldort: Well, first of all, to notice about themselves that they seek it, and to notice what they say to themselves and why they do what they do when they're inauthentic, and to notice the inauthenticity all the time, and then they will learn a lot. by stopping praising their child, it'll force them to look at themselves. So when they want to say to a child, what a beautiful picture you drew, and they have to shut up because they got instructions from Naomi, try it for a week and see what happens, and the child is usually already programmed. so the child will come with the picture. mommy, do you like it or is it good? Because they're used to, they're already dependent. That means harm already done. that needs to be walked backward. And so I give some tricks and ideas what to say to get out of that mode, depending on the age of the child. Like did you enjoy doing it? Do you like it? Eventually, the child doesn't even ask. So look at this picture, i love it, i want to hang it, and they do it themselves. They don't need you know, they don't need our help.
Naomi Aldort: In one of the workshops I was leading years ago, i was talking about this And there was one woman that were like 200 people, conference, whatever. And this one woman raised her hand at the session and said I understand what you're saying, but I'm going to keep praising my daughter because she loves it, of course, addicted to it, dependent on it. And I just said you know, i'm here to give a lecture and share whatever and talk to you what to use. same attitude as good people, right? Well, at lunchtime I walk out after I'm done eating and she's sitting with her daughter at the table. She calls me to the table and she says to me Naomi, i told my daughter what you said and I told her that, not to worry, that I'll keep praising her. Her and the child's answer was no, mommy, she's right, don't do that.
Naomi Aldort: So not every child has that insight. obviously a brilliant kid, but you know it depends on the age. And. but the child saw right away the weakness, the dependency, how much she wanted to be free of this manipulation. It is just manipulation. You know you praise something because you are trying to manipulate how they feel, to control them. It's just another method of control and manipulation. So I think most children recover quite fast And, depending on the child and what the parents tell me that the child is saying.
Naomi Aldort: I guide them to give them some ideas of what they can say to get out of it Is the child is old enough than what this woman did. Like you know, i'm talking to this counselor, naomi Alderton. she suggested that when I praise you, this is this what it does, and I'm not going to do that anymore. Most of them say what that child says like yeah, she's right in great hallelujah. Once in a while a child would say no, no, but I love when you praise me.
Naomi Aldort: That's a very bad sign. of course, the child is already addicted and dependent, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make the shift to say I understand how you're used to it And it actually shows that you're already very dependent on it. So I'm going to also ask daddy to, or mommy to, not praise me. You know we're all going to work on it as a family to feel free and not needing the approval of other people. And if it's a younger child, usually they recover simply by the omission of the whole thing. you stop saying good boy, good girl. they don't even notice because they never. They never were bothered by it anyway.
Jesper Conrad: Naomi, i follow you wholeheartedly. But there's one thing popping in my mind, which is sometimes when our daughter, who loves to draw dogs, she'll show me one. I get super impressed by it and you can see me I light up and I say, oh, wow, okay, that is super cool. I'm not doing it to praise her, but I would be afraid that if I was all the time thinking, oh, do not praise, do not praise that I could also limit my own emotions.
Naomi Aldort: Yeah, you don't have to. You don't have to. You can be yourself. Don't use words that evaluate the quality of her dance. Right, you're just there and you're enjoying it. My ad that was fun watching you.
Naomi Aldort: You speak about your feeling or say nothing. It's on your face. You're beaming. It's like my example.
Naomi Aldort: In most of my lectures about praise I give the example of the guy from a workshop who said he thought he was mentally disabled all his life because when he went down the slide first time in his life at age two, his parents were cheerleaders. They made so much fuss that he thought that something must be wrong with him, that they make such a big deal out of it. And they probably did it about other achievements, right? So people ask me so what should these parents have done? And I said nothing. But what if they're excited when he comes down this slide?
Naomi Aldort: You can beam, you can smile, just keep your mouth shut. You know nobody likes to be evaluated. How would you like to do something? and oh, you look like you're having so much fun washing the dishes Cleat dishes very nice. Would you like that patronizing trend? It's the same thing.
Naomi Aldort: You know, we're just constant commentators. Children are playing. Oh, are you playing with your truck? Are you being the fireman? You know we do all this baby talk and all this constantly. It's like they're a lab rat that we have to constantly evaluate and say things about just living alone. They're fine. So you're there and you think it's really fine. Smile, laugh.
Naomi Aldort: If they're laughing, child could have come down the slide and it's the first time and it could have the face of just as much. And you don't smile because you know you echo the child's feeling, you know. So if the child comes down and look alarmed, you just give them a hug and it's like how was it? You say who was scary? And you don't offer to do it again because you see, okay, that was too much.
Naomi Aldort: And if they ask to do it again, fine, they want to hold your hand the second time, fine, just follow the little one. You know they have their, you know whole university in here, they know what they need. Just follow, don't try to manipulate them to feel a certain way. Just be the echo, the mirror of what's going on for them. So if she's happy with her moves, her dance moves, and you're smiling and look like you had a good time watching her, that's fine. But when you start telling her boy what a great dancer you are now, you're harming her. If she asks you specifically and I call it giving feedback. So there's praise, there's feedback Was my leg straight when I did the grand ja'té. Once you do it again, i'll look carefully And then you give her feedback about the one thing she asked, right.
Cecilie Conrad: And I tell her yes, for what's going on with the drawings of our daughter? she will come to you and say look at this, isn't it great. I just learned this new technique and it looks exactly how I wanted it to look. And she would be proud of what she did, she achieved something and you will be basically jealous.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, yeah, I'm jealous And you will say I can't do that, But I'm saying it out loud, actually.
Naomi Aldort: So that's why there are three articles about praise, because there is the praise as manipulation. Then I have an article about feedback how to give feedback and how to get kids, who are used to praise, to start asking for feedback for specific things. Was it in tune? Was the ball high enough? Whatever it is. And then the third one is gratitude.
Naomi Aldort: So sometimes parents say, oh, but my child made me breakfast and brought it to bed when I was sick, so you don't have to praise them, you can just say thank you. So gratitude Somebody did something for you. A little three years old brought to a flower. Thank you, the children were quiet so that you can have a nap. Oh, i'm feeling so much fresher now for the evening and the guests or whatever. Thank you for letting me sleep. That was really helpful.
Naomi Aldort: So specific gratitude. When it's cold, for Most of the time it's just thank you. Sometimes you can say something specific about what, the service that they did, how it helped you. The nap helped you. You did yoga for half an hour instead of being with them, and the older brother kept them, or the wife or husband or whatever. When you say thank you, that really helps me. I feel a lot fresher now or whatever it is specific. So there is, you know, the general praise as a valuation out the window, feedback in very good, but yet a conversation going that it's about feedback being authentic, just fine, and when they serve, you be grateful and say thank you.
Cecilie Conrad: And that's maybe.
Jesper Conrad: And on the subject of gratitude, that now we would really love to thank you for your time. I know I have gotten feedback A mirror I didn't like to look at which is, yes, but you're seeking approval very often and still And it's something I will Yeah, i know it will be good for me to work with it, so I will try to do that. I don't want to do it, i just want to do the work. It's painful sometimes, but I go. Yeah, but, but, but no, thank you, and we will put up the links to the different articles you mentioned and your website So people out there listening can seek you out if they want your help.
Cecilie Conrad: You wanted to say I just wanted to say that you're one of your basic ideas. The idea of not praising children was one that entered my life as a mother fairly early, and I've been very grateful for that. It was a good insight that I picked up when they were small. It made sense and it helped us a lot along the way.