Why Mindstyle Matters        (CONTINUED)

In an Age of Overwhelm, Parents’ Have More Power than They Realize

We are used to turning problems on their heads, searching from different perspectives for where they intersect with other issues in society, education, socially, or in all the Circles of Influence that surround children and parents today. For example, when we looked at anxiety and depression, we also looked at how it was increasing in adults, especially in occupations that showed massive “burnout” rates where nurses, doctors, teachers, and first responders are leaving at alarming rates. Setting aside the obvious elements such as long shifts and stressful work, I asked Dr. Reiher what we could learn about burnout in these careers that might tell us something about how kids are feeling today.

“When you consider Deci and Ryan’s theory of Self Determination ,people become burned out, losing motivation and hope when their needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are unfulfilled. This translates into the fact that having awareness and ability is simply not enough today. The awareness and ability must be translated into actions and feedback, that completes the cycle for actually fulfilling the basic needs.

By that I mean that you have developed an astute awareness of incoming information about the world around you (your job, your family, social norms, your country, etc.). Now, however, we are in an historically rapid time of change on all those fronts. In that tsunami of information coming at us constantly---and coming at our kids also--- we are trying to decide what is true, what has been twisted, and what is good for our family. In the middle of this daily deluge, on all fronts we need to figure out how to be aware of our own thoughts and emotions. These are two different kinds of awareness, and without a way to understand both types of awareness and respond with the necessary actions, anxiety increases constantly. This is true of the occupations we listed above, but we have seen this rise in adults and children consistently since 2007.” *

Now, in order to cope with all these changes in information, social contexts, academic pressures, etc. Both adults and kids need the cognitive ability to slow down and become reflective…more inner control. We don’t learn this from someone telling us to be nice or that everything is going to be fine. Ability and alternative problem solving behaviors are always based on learning, reflection, and seeing things from a new perspective. “

“So if we work on our awareness, both internally and externally,” I asked Dr. Reiher, “and we are offered new ways to learn and take new perspectives about what is going on around us, why isn’t that enough? Why can’t we just help kids become aware and help them consider different perspectives in order to help them cope with all the changes around them? I read about so many advice tips for parents, or vague solutions like, ‘this is just a teen phase’, or ‘try to limit tech’ but they don’t seem to make a real difference.”

Parents have Power

This is where Dr. Reiher and I realized that without the Control factor in their lives, kids were suffering from the same anxiety and depression factor that nurses, doctors, teachers, and first responders suffered from, but on a hidden stage. “It doesn't matter who you are, when you experience loss of control over an extended stressful time period, anxiety and depression are expected,” explained Reiher. Loss of control over time is the result of not being able to meet the basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness (Deci and Ryan) by employing the appropriate actions and strategies to gain a sense of control.

At that moment, I realized that as an educator, not only was Control a the key factor in my stress, but it is my students’ stress, as well as the stress of the parents’ of my students. We were all trying to paddle upstream, but somebody else was in control of the current. However, in spite of this, the people with the most positive power now are still the parents!

This is how Mindstyle Matters became a mission for Dr. Reiher and I. While he developed the psychological strategies and easy-to-use tools necessary for kids and working parents to develop their Awareness, Ability and Control, I took on children and teens biggest worries (academic pressures and social life).*

Research shows that parents are still the strongest influence in their children’s lives, but the difference between the Mindstyle Matters approach and others, is that parents only need to focus on ONE VALUABLE STEP AT A TIME in order to begin to regain a sense of control. We offer both an overall Time Design for parents, and a School Time Design, that are NOT the same as time management programs. They are individualized life balance tools that help parents understand the critical differences in the types of time they engage in. This understanding leads to a decrease in anxiety, boosting passions, the love of learning, connection, and an increased motivation in school, relationships, and work.

Every step along the way should be simple, powerful, valuable, and give back control to Conscious Working Parents and their children.

Welcome to our team!