In this episode, I am joined by my friend and guest – Curt Jordan, who is the founder of Kong Academy, which empowers children through movement and play. This is honestly such an amazing episode; as you may or may not know, I do not have children; ...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/what-parents-can-do-to-help-their-kids-grow-with-curt-jordan-mental-health-coach/#show-notes
In this episode, I am joined by my friend and guest – Curt Jordan, who is the founder of Kong Academy, which empowers children through movement and play. This is honestly such an amazing episode; as you may or may not know, I do not have children; I do not know that I will ever have children at some point; one of my huge goals is to adopt and foster children, but we're not there yet. And I was thinking to myself when I came across Curt, what tools I would need to be successful in my life, having been a child of trauma who has now gone through this healing journey, who wants to raise children that are not impacted by generational trauma? This is an unbelievable episode; if you have children or you don't have children, and you're thinking about it, or if you just want to be able to interact with kids better, give them more empowerment, freedom and love but also still retain your control and your authority and what it means to be a parent someone like an usher in this new youth into adulthood. You want to listen to this episode, and in fact, you want to get a pen and a paper and sit down and take notes and then probably listen again. You know, when I was growing up, I was a nightmare child. I think to myself important parcel that's because of the foundation that I grew up in being an abusive home, and the other side of it is my parents did not have any tools, none, for how to manage to raise kids effectively. And I think that unfortunately holds true for thousands and thousands of millions of parents around the world.
One of the things that are such an honor about having this podcast in this show is that I continually learn. I was sitting here just in awe, taking in all this information and knowledge from Curt, thinking to myself, man, if I can put this out in the world and make this the best episode we've ever made. We can impact the lives of millions of people; this moves us one step closer to the goal of Think Unbroken, which is to end generational trauma in my lifetime through education and information.
Have you ever thought to yourself, why is there no game plan, rule book, or road roadmap for raising empowering kids?
So, I encourage you to show up and play a lot on this episode!
Catch Up Now, Unbroken Nation!
Learn more about Curt Jordan at: http://www.kongacademy.org
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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guess Curt Jordan who is the founder of Kong Academy Organization that empowers kids physically and emotionally through prey and movement. Curt, my friend welcome to the show, I'm very excited to have you here and have been looking forward to this conversation, how are you today?
Curt: I'm great thank you for inviting me here and making some time in space for topic conversation, so, yeah, thank you doing great!
Michael: It's totally my pleasure. For those who don't know you can you tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are today?
Curt: Yeah. So, for those who don't know me my name is Curt Jordan, I'm the founder of Kong Academy. But I had not started there obviously so, I grew up in Michigan, I live now in Seattle Washington, and when I was fifteen, I ran to Mexico and I live down there on my own at children's or orphanage for a year. I did all these different studies, tried to find my right career path, tried to find the thing that I was supposed to be doing even though the thing that came natural to me, the thing that was a virtue I guess you could call it was something that I had tried to put over to the side and on the shelf because, yeah, but what's my real job going to be and I don't know if anybody can relate to this like, they have a passion or love and then it's like, but what are you really gonna do and turns out that's the thing I should been doing all along. So, I tried to go to school for multiple of things was expelled from college twice eventually even and it sounds like, I was completely on my own or whatever but like you know, I got to be become a paramedic, I got to work as a physical therapy assistant, I've done trades and things but nothing ever fit or aligned, I just wanted to help serve people, I always interested it in health and I was always interested in people, relationships are always more important to me; people are always more important than things.
And so, it came to a point where I had three thousand dollars to my name, I used that money to buy like a set of you know some tumbling blocks and a busted-up van and then I started this company called the Kong academy. And you know, without a lifeline or without something to fall back on, this was it; this was all of my dollars, this I was gonna put my passion into it and it turns out that that actually was a good decision because then I was able to actually make the change that I believed I could make and should make and it really has made all the difference in the world, so now here I am, getting to talk to you and to your listeners and yeah, looking forward to share it.
Michael: That's powerful! You know, I often think about how important it is to go all in on yourself, to trust yourself, to go and build that thing and you know that this audience will resonate, I know I certainly do about all the times where we're like, what am I doing? How did I get here? I'm like, life is not what I wanted then trying to effectively make that come to pass. And so first and foremost, congratulations for that because I know how incredibly difficult but also simultaneously rewarding that can be. Break down and dive in a little bit deeper into Kong Academy and what you guys do?
Curt: Yeah. So, Kong Academy is a play based organization or teach through play in movement but what we really do is we teach social emotional skills because that is primarily where mammals learn most of their social skills like, it doesn't matter if you are a human or a puppy or a monkey it's like, all mammals learn this neural network through play and from that experience we're actually able to create something that resonates with kids because if you're truly gonna try to teach something that is going to be lasting, internalized and actually make a change it has to be relevant, right? It's not like, if you put down a kid and say, okay, I want you to imagine you are frustrated and then it's like, already they're kind probably giggling a little bit, right? It's like, you know, how internal is that going to be? But if you give them a challenge and a task and it's through a play-based channel and they're having to in real-time work with another kid and they're getting frustrated that they're not getting the results they want, well, now we have a true opportunity to teach something, right? So, using play and you know, we use parkour, we use some rough and tumble programming, we use different things that kids are essentially not getting the opportunity anymore to be able to take risks, to be able to develop that responsible decision making skill set, you know we teach kids through the lens they want to be taught in something that is now relevant and meaningful to their lives which then has a cascade effect for the next time that they are frustrated they have had actual reps in practicing what do I do and how do I do it, right? As opposed to like, okay, kids now here's a worksheet and I want you to write a poem about being sat it's like, that could be cool but is it how what's the learning objective and how well is it being met? And so, it turns out if you give kids the space to actually do some of this stuff then they're actually gonna be able to get more practice, right? So, we provide that space for kids and that education that for social emotional development.
Michael: It makes a lot of sense and as I sit here, I think to myself know as a kid when I was growing up we were always outside, we always had recess, I mean, I distinctly remember falling off the monkey bars multiple times and it builds up this resiliency, this willingness to face fear, it's very communal and you understand what's happening in schools especially in America these days and that's almost all but gone and that feels slightly terrifying to me, I'm sure you can probably resonate with that. So, for parents who are listening and they're hearing this idea about empowerment and we're gonna go into depth in this conversation about impacting kids’ lives for the better. But I think empowerment like, such a beautiful place to start. I would have to say that most people and as someone who has parent, I can only make assumptions so, I'm gonna be clear about that, but I would have to assume that most parents do not know where to begin to help their kids to grow up in empowerment. What does that look like, how do you give your children whether you're a teacher or parent or a community supporter like, how can you give children empowerment especially in the world that we live in right now?
Curt: Yeah, that's really great question. So, if you want your kids to grow up empowered then you need to give them the power; you need to give them some power, you need to give them freedom, flexibility and ultimately that leads into responsibility because if all freedom is essentially responsibility, if you want the freedom to be able to you know, get your work done when you choose, that's great, but then now you're responsible to get it done regardless of someone else's timetable like, you're the one who has to get it done. And so, for kids one of the main things that is tricky is we want to take away a lot of their choices to keep them protected because we are you know, under this practice of I will do things for you until you're able to figure it out how to do it completely on your own and then you're on your own, which is great, we wanna be able to give them the amount of… let me put it this way there are two sides of the scale and there is preparation and there's protection and literally everything that you prepare your kid for, you do not protect them from and everything that you protect them from, you're not preparing them for. And all preparation is independence and choices and responsibility.
So, if you want your kids to become empowered, become responsible and become these people that have that ability to do this themselves and independence then they need to be able to make choices, they need to be able to take chances, they need to be able to decide you know maybe climbing up to that tree branch is something I might be able to do obviously there is a negotiation element between comfort levels of parent and child. But if you want your kid to be resilient then they need to fall down, if you want your kid to be brave they need to be scared, if you want your kid to be empowered they need the ability to make choices and then they also need the ability to deal with the consequences of those choices, which means that parents need to hold them accountable which is not something parents like to do off the time because usually it’s either more work or it's more stressful and I'd rather just move on, right? There's a lot of elements to it but essentially if you keep in mind the two scales protection and preparation and the whole goal of being parent is to slowly move the weights from one side of protection into preparation. You're not gonna leave a baby out into the woods, you know it's not gonna work, it's just that's leaving them, that's giving them way too much before they can handle it. So, the balance is finding the threshold and that line is as much as they can tolerate or as much as you're willing to tolerate. So, hopefully that is in a nutshell kind of the makes sense for how do you get a kid to be empowered.
Michael: I wanna go into a little bit deeper because I hear what you're saying and I think a lot of people are resonating with this and they wanna be able to create that environment. But how do you determine what that threshold is? My instinct tells me that people hearing this say, I'm scared to give my child that much space but they hear you and say well that might be necessary. So, how do you kind of create and understand what that threshold may be that's beneficial?
Curt: Yeah. There's a couple of different things. One is you have aged milestones, right? But the main thing is that you wanna give them as much as they can tolerate or as much as they can perceive to tolerate. We're not setting up our kids for success if we give a three-year-old like, hey, you're responsible for making dinner, that's too much and I think the other aspect too is that there is a human element of intuition that we can play into this as well but if we're looking for that line that one little like, how do I know? It's giving them choices and chances and the choices we want to give them are ones that they can tolerate that seem to be in their normal scope of behavior.
So, for example if you know, your kid has the ability to put on their own shoes, they can be responsible for dressing themselves and then that may be turns into well you know, you get to decide what you're gonna wear today, and then that is empowerment, right? If you want your kid to let’s, say, you wanna raise a more helpful child at home well, then we can give them responsibilities for the home which is, let's set the tables and then setting the table might turn into helping put away the dishes and that might turn into helping prep for cooking and then maybe that turns into cooking. And so, then it's these little micro doses of responsibility and it grows as the child's abilities grow. So, we're not gonna give them any responsibilities that are outside of their capacity. You're not gonna give a five-year-old fifty past of the car, right? Maybe you give them you know a jug of milk and says like, hey! can you carry this to the car for me? You know it’s what are they perceived to be able to handle and then you helping them build that because you know that's the other aspect is they're not gonna develop the skill if we don't give them the practice.
So, if you want them to help become more helpful like preparing a meal then a three-year-old could totally help wipe the table with just a rag regardless of how helpful it is, we want to give them the opportunity to be helpful so then that skill set grows, that makes sense?
Michael: Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And I see that as kind like this step-by-step process and for me, I think about it and everything that even has adults that we do it's like, you have to start at step one, right? People are always like, I wanna climb Mount Everest and I'm like, well you might wanna get some shoes first, you know, and so, I think that's a really beautiful way to lay that out. As you were talking about this you time up this idea about needs and helping children be prepared, one of the things that I remember that I recall just being young is feeling like, people did not understand my needs, they didn't understand what I wanted. I'm sure many children and many adults who are listening this relate, how do you help figure out what kids needs are in a way that's both practical for them but also like, because as a kid I was like I need gummy bears but that's not true, right? So, how figure out what needs are?
Curt: Yeah. I remember that you actually like, gummy bears too. But so every kid has a need, there are human needs, right? This is the other thing, humans are not vastly different from between when they're five or thirty five or fifty five, there are milestones cognitive, emotionally things like that but we all have needs like, we have basic needs food, shelter, water, right? Those are needs without those I cannot develop myself morally or it's just gonna be I'm setting the game against myself.
So, we all have basic human needs but then we also have our mammal needs, right? We belong to groups, we belong as a mammal and as you know as an animal we need love connection, right? Every child needs love and connection, they need to know that they matter, they need some form of significance within their world, which is why a lot of kids wanna be seen as being big like, hey, look at me, I tied my shoes, I am now a big boy, right? It's like, you want them to be able to like they need to feel the significance need as well. But then also safety like, not just physical safety this is another component too. When a kid is growing up they're literally looking at the world, I mean like how do I contend with this? What are the rules of this game? Because like, the rules of monopoly or any other board game or video game or whatever it is, there's intrinsic rules whether it's out in a field plane tag same thing with lifelike what is the structure that we can create for our kids, so they understand modes of behavior they understand like, what are the rules, what are routines, what are consequences of behaving in this manner, by creating structure we create safety and security for kids without that they're left to just kind of explore into this unknown without boundaries being set and then that doesn't feel very safe because the caregiver is not setting those lines and boundaries which then creates this like, well you know if you're just figuring this out how am I supposed to in a sense, right? It's like, we're all lost.
So, structure, security same thing, loving connection we all need it where we're humans, we belong to social groups before it was don't cast me out of the tribe, I might get eaten or starve now it's Instagram don't cast me out of the tribe or it's just shifted essentially but we still have that need for love and connection. But then we also have a need for growth and we also have a need for making choices and independence. So, I would say there again, we could break it into protection and preparation.
Protection we need our basic needs met, we need safety and security, we need our love in connection to know that we are we matter and that we have importance and then we also need our Independence or you know in a sense our preparation which is I need to be able to make choices and I need to be able to have freedom to fail and I need to be able to have that because that's what gives me my growth and that growth gives me accomplishment and sense of you know what? I'm living a life and I feel good, right? So, again I would frame it in those two contexts.
Michael: Is there a level in this in which… this came in a thought as we're talking here. There's a level of this in which it makes sense to for lack of a better word like let go and allow children to explore to find out what this thing that they're contending with in life actually is?
Curt: Yes, a hundred percent. I mean you definitely need kids to be able to go to have the freedom to explore and you need them to be able to have field consequences. And if you think about the way that consequences are even structured just by nature you have natural consequences and this could be, I forgot my coat, I'm cold or wet this could be, I didn't prepare for a test, I failed, right? Like, okay, well those are natural consequences. But then there's also enforced consequences which are essentially designed to keep the child or the person from feeling the full brunt of a natural consequence. So, for example if a kid does not do their homework by dinner time or whatever your household rules or whatever it might be or maybe they're playing video games before they did their homework chores or whatever your rules are. Then we can give them consequences because essentially we are teaching them ahead of time before the consequence becomes more detrimental which consequences always are increasing in detriment as we get older because we have more responsibility but previous to me having a lot of responsibility or being responsible for other people, I need to know and understand why the consequences exist for those behaviors because if I go out and I am irresponsible for getting my work done and I just hang out on social media for four hours a day and I waste that time, well, then that means that I didn't complete my projects at my job and that means that I didn't get promoted or I got fired. That is a much worse consequence than like, I didn't do my homework but who really cares, right? So, the earlier we teach the structure the better our kid’s chances of having independence be successful.
Michael: That made me think of a quote from Jordan Peterson and look, I know people don't like him he's polarizing but that's not the point. The point is the quote is don't bother children as they are skateboarding. And that makes me think about these moments growing up and I'm sure you relate to this of we're out here, we're trying things, we're screwing up, we're getting a hurt, we're getting in trouble or you know whatever is that we're doing and without those experiences I don't think I know there's no way I'd be where I am right now. And now some of that was just to be straight up because of lack of parental involvement, my parents were busy doing drugs and God knows what else and so I was left to my own devices but that actually kinda served me really well once I really understood the foundational consequences of those actions and had not been for that the massive, massive changes of my life that took place would not have happened because what I was looking at is watching the world unravel in and going wait a second, I feel like if I continue down this path then I'm gonna be screwed and I assure you my path was death or jail, there is no in between. So, I love this idea about letting children be able to have some sense of freedom to explore to build resiliency, I mean obviously, I would hope that especially the folks listening like, aren't like, letting their children do the things that I did as a kid but there is space for that exploration. You use that word structure multiple times here and I am a proponent of structure, I teach it constantly to the Unbroken Nation through the Think Unbroken Academy, I'm always talking about building these frameworks because they matter so much and I know with so many unequivocal number of single parents especially single female parents in the world, we are less communal than we've ever been, most people don't know their neighbors. The thing that I'm thinking about here is like, how do you create a family structure in a world that is almost without structure as a whole?
Curt: It starts with you first of all and your values. If any time I've ever asked parents and I've worked with thousands of kids like, probably ten thousand kids plus at this point over twenty plus years and in that entire time I have asked parents what do you want for your kids? I have only ever really heard you know, ninety-nine-point nine percent of the time, I want my kid to be brave, I want my kid to be kind, I want my kid to be respectful, all the things that we want for our kids are values and values that we hold sacred. If you want to create structure then you first need to understand and put down what your values are because if you create your rules from your values and then you align your consequences to those rules and those consequences are seen as being a choice from that kid's perspective, they understand through practice that their choices or their responsibility and then their consequences are for their actions both positive and negative, right? And so, if you want to develop structure for your kid first, the biggest thing I would say is understand what your values are, make those your rules because that is what's going to create a successful happy child because if they know that being grateful for example is something that's important to you and that's a value well then the next time you hear your kid go, well it's not fair, I didn't wanna have a purple one or whatever they case maybe then you can remind them, hey, be grateful and then it becomes this practiced value and from that value then character is formed.
So, if you're having a hard time and you're like how do I create these rules and structures? Well, then understand your values and then also the other important part is to stick with them because we need consequence structures. A lot of parents because either out of convenience or fear out of loss of love from their kid, they don't want to hold consequences because what if that makes them upset and we're already kind of I don't wanna rock the boat or whatever they will overall respect you even if they are unhappy with the choices which is actually another thing is if you wanna create more structure knowing what the rules are and what the consequences are it makes all consequences of choice and then therefore the kids stops looking at you as the arbiter for of judgment because you already the rules of the game are already set up, right? Like if you want this to exist and you don't wanna have to fight your kid every fifteen minutes over you know like, putting away their things or like, don't talk to you have tell you be respectful or whatever your values are, then you don't have to have this constant tug of war all the time, right? Because if my rules and consequences are set up then it's not left to me in an emotional state to then decide you know what, no video games for the rest of the year, Christmas is canceled, you know, these are not threat, these just become blackmail or threats because we're upset and then we're asking our kid to make responsible you know emotional decisions when we're in the same boat, right? So, they have less experience, know your rules, know your consequences make them obvious and apparent to the kids and then that way all of their decisions are already frame choices.
Michael: One of the things that again I'm loving this conversation because I'm like, I don't know if I'm have kids but if I do like, I've got this step by step here, right? And I think about also the things that lacked in my childhood and one of the things I feel like people may be hesitant of and listening this conversation is this idea of consequences because for many of us growing up in abusive households and coming from traumatic childhood, which I'm sure many of the children unfortunately that you work with experience consequences is this terrifying word, right? So, what I’m curious about is how do you create this, I'm gonna go a little bit deeper here, maybe this is from an emotional standpoint but how do you create this understanding of consequences become choice and I wanna use the word in a healthy way that is productive and that's not violent or traumatic like, what does that look like? One of the biggest arguments that I have with people in social media about spanking and it's not that we necessarily need to go that way Curt but what I wanna move towards those like, how do you create that emotional safety around consequences for children that are nonviolent?
Curt: Yeah. Well, the first thing comes from you know what is a consequence, right? Like when we say consequences already there's an emotional like loaded, you know, oh bad, right?
Consequences are not punishments. Punishments are different.
Consequences are designed to teach you moral awareness to be able to install good decision making.
Punishments to make you feel bad or sorry or you know like we don't give consequences. You know people who are imprisoned have experienced punishments but essentially, right? You know, it's not that, you know what? You're out now, right? It's like consequences are you know hey, you're learning. Consequences are also not all negative there are positive consequences to things and a consequence first define it, a consequence is the result of every choice, right? Like, I set an alarm to be here with you today as a result I’m on time, right? That's a positive consequence, like, a consequence is not a negative loaded term it's just one we've only really heard in a negative light but there are positive consequences. You study for a test, you do better, that's a positive consequence, right? You decide that you know actually I don't want to do my homework right now and I'm gonna just go out and play well now I have to spend two days in a high stress situation and I’m trying to get it all done and I feel really panicked, right? That's a negative consequence. So, first it would be to frame the definition what is a consequence and if we can teach our kids that consequences are the result of our decisions or our actions or in inaction then it's easier to than for kids to have a more empowerment in their decision making and that their lives are up to them. Like, you get to decide that's the beautiful thing and the scary thing because if you don't like where you are and you have to acknowledge like, look in the mirror and acknowledge I brought myself here that's really hard, so it might be beneficial for people to not want to accept that these consequences are my decision. But then you have kids you know so, I would first say one would be to understand there's positive and negative consequences and understand the definition of consequences is something that is a result of every action, right?
The second thing I would do is to frame is for kids to understand with empathy and love that these consequences are for their benefit and that would be equal to that like, consequences the reason why we're giving this consequence is because we want you to be able to make these decisions independently and safely as you get older. And then the other form is when you are giving what kind of consequences are you giving like, you mentioned spanking for example, like, in my philosophy you should only ever have the minimum of amount of force necessary for any situation and when it comes to kids I should be like zero, however when we are giving consequences to our kids if we're able to frame consequences and practical advice for anyone who's listening three things there are three main ways of giving out consequences of loss of time, loss of privilege or a break fix policy. Those three things are gonna make a big difference when you're trying to figure out how do I form consequences for my kid? If you frame it in those three buckets there's not really a consequence outside of those three buckets that I can think of, like hey, I didn't do this thing well, now this is taken away, right? Oh, I did this thing, well, now there's a responsibility added now you gotta complete a chore. I broke the tv alright, well, now you gotta help me clean it up and you're gonna you know maybe work off a little of the debt even though you know if they're not gonna be able to afford you know, eight-hundred-dollar tv or whatever you got, you know maybe you're they have to help clean up and then their time is lost as a replacement. So, it just depends on how you form consequences and how you teach your kid about consequences, right? Are you trying to make your kids scared of you in order to not make that decision again that's not healthy, that's not gonna work because they're gonna get bigger and move away,is it gonna be like actually the reason why is because I want you to make ethical responsible decisions independently that makes a difference and kids will know especially when you give that, when you are emotionally controlled when delivering them.
Michael: Yeah. I think unfortunately one of the things peep adults, I will frame this in this way that adults often do is they fail to realize that children are incredibly intelligent. And I often go back to being in classrooms or being in my home and being it just constantly thinking of myself this doesn't make sense, why do we do things this way like, I feel you guys are just doing this wrong and honestly, I was look back on, I go yeah, I was definitely right. And so, one of the things that I was always labeled as I'm the bad kid, I'm the jokes kid, I'm the difficult kid and the thing that I would love to talk about here is like, you know, dealing with difficult behaviors and kind of like that subtle not so subtle correlation with like the ACE score.
Curt: Yeah. So, okay, can you frame the question again for me?
Michael: Yeah, what I'd love to know let's start up this first like, so we know about ACE Adverse Childhood Experiences and you're welcome to dive into that but more so, like how do you deal with the difficult behavior of children?
Curt: Okay. So, the first thing when you're dealing with any difficult behavior for a child is too devoid the attachment of the problem to the child. The child is not the problem, the child has a problem, right? As soon as you attach the problem to the person then all hope is lost because you've identified that person as a thing and therefore you've stopped all reconciliation for how that could be different because they just are blank, right? And that's one of the worst things that we can do to a kid is be like, you know what, you're just irresponsible, well, thanks now that I know that I'm irresponsible, now I don't have to worry about making responsible decisions, I've just shut that down for me entirely, right? So, you cannot attach the problem to the child, the child has a problem that's the first thing that we need to understand. And from there it with empathy and love we need to understand that all problems are solvable, right? We just need to define them in solvable the terms.
So, that's the main, detach the problem from the person and see the problem as solvable, though if you can do that then you're going to already be like, ninety nine percent ahead of the game because most people get caught in the emotional nitty gritty like, you know, I'm upset with you and I can't believe that this is happening. If you're dealing with a kid with a difficult behavior, one of the things that we can do again is and I know that this is like a gong, but if you're dealing with difficult behavior if you know what your rules and consequences are, you have something that constantly refer back to and then it becomes a lot easier to know what to do in the moment because when you're dealing with a difficult behavior you are emotionally charged already because you have to be patient, you're the one that has to be in control and you have to be still loving and firm and it's not easy being a parent, right?
So, if you had consequences and rules you don't need to figure out what you're gonna do in that emotional moment that makes a big difference. So, I cannot stress enough doing this in a calm state is already gonna be having rules and consequences are already gonna set you up for success because then it's just emotional control and deliveries. And then when it comes to, you know, we talked about ACE’s as well, I think one of the things that we need to understand is there are some behaviors that are more difficult to contend with than others. Like, if a kid is aggressive how you deal with an aggressive kid versus you know if a kid is lying often and you're upset by it or a kid is not being responsible in getting their work done or whatever the issue is. Problems and consequences go a long way and then seeing that person and talking communicating them with love and empathy. You know, tone makes a big difference, or just the way that we communicate words are very small percentage of when we're actually talking to people, right? Body language plays a huge thing, tone makes a big thing. I can talk to my dog without saying a syllable and she knows exactly what I mean when I'm like unhappy with her doing something, it's like, there's a lot into communication that is not just words.
So, controlling yourself when you are dealing with a kid that is being difficult is one of the super powers, it's even what they teach kids with bullying, you wanna stop a bully from a bully from messing with you? Take away their power by showing them they had none, right? But you know like, your reaction is nothing you walk away leaf. Those are actually like as soon as you show that I'm not bothered by this behavior then that already is a huge power so emotional control is huge. Seen children as an or anyone as not being the problem but having problems creates empathy and that can create space for solving a problem and all problems are solvable from there it just depends on the specific behavioral issue, but yeah is that helpful?
Michael: Yeah, I'm well doing. I’m thinking about like the parents who are listening to this right now and they're like I'm at my wits end Curt, I don't know what's to do like, I mean, I personally was such a violent and aggressive kid, I learned that behavior in my home so me be very clear about that first I don't think that's and made for children, I think that's learned behavior but I also was a bad student didn't care, like, you go down the list of all the things that are part of that and I know that because there's so many incredible parents right now who are breaking the generational trauma cycle but they're trying to navigate their experience growing up with trying to raise healthy and unwanted children but they're finding themselves like holy shit, I'm gonna freak out on this kid or something doesn't change. What advice would you give to them just for their own emotional well-being and trying to navigate this?
Curt: Okay. I wanna make it simple because it's the only way that it's gonna make a difference, right? So, you know if it's too complicated it won't be executed. So, during an emotional outburst what are you gonna do? Like, you're upset, you're angry, the first thing to do is to control your own emotions, if you don't control your emotions, you cannot expect your kid to because modeling makes a difference. Control yourself first if you need to tell your kid we're gonna deal with this in just a minute and then you need to walk out and you know, yell, scream whatever it is you need to just take a moment and control your breathing, you need to do some exercise whatever is that is a healthy outlet especially if you want your kid to follow that example needs to come from you first. So, you know be the change you wanna see, right? Control your own emotions that's the first thing to do.
The second thing to do like, I said in the past is to be started loving.
You need to make sure that you are holding your kids to the expectations that you set, if you haven't said any expectations well then it's no wonder why there's a constant back and forth struggle because there's this you know well, what about today's is today okay, right? It's encouraging more testing of boundaries and limits. And so but then whatever expectations you have make sure that you hold to those expectations and that you are always when delivering a consequence or anything that you do so in a stern but loving tone or manner because if they know that this is the way that it is and that you're not going to be flexible and you're gonna hold them to the expectations and that it's with love then you're building healthy relationships. So, control your emotions, hold your expectations, and be loving.
Michael: It's powerful and practical just like you said, it's simple, right? And I think, I agree with you entirely simplicity is always the way to accomplish a goal. Curt this has been a phenomenal conversation my friend before I ask you my last question can you tell everyone where they can find you?
Curt: Yeah. So, we are www.kongacademy.org and you can always check out our website and the thing that we're encouraging people who are listening is to join our thriving kits parenting. We have free modules and workbook and worksheets because we want kids to grow up and powered and be set up for success and part of that starts with parenting and to be able to help parents set you know making their jobs easier so their kids’ lives are easier. So, I would recommend there's a link that we're gonna share with you I think for your listeners specifically, so, I would look us up there.
Michael: Yeah, and we'll put the link in the show notes so when the episode releases say it will be there at thinkunbrokenpodcast.com. Curt, my last question for you my friend what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
Curt: To me unbroken would mean that you stay true to your heart because I think we're all born with an individual spark, virtue, characteristics and to stay true to that nature you would come out unbroken.
Michael: Beautifully said my friend. Thank you so much for being here. Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.
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Founder / Head Monkey
In todays world kids are often seen as incapable. Curt is the founder of Kong Academy. An organization that empowers kids physically and emotionally through play and movement so that all children may grow up ready to face and better the world.
Curt a monkey and he loves to share what he knows! He has been trained and worked as a physical therapy assistant, personal trainer, lifeguard, parkour instructor, paramedic, and a Special Education teacher. He has been working with kids for over20 years and loves to help people improve their minds, bodies, and spirits. Helping people to be at their best and to help them on their path is his passion and he is grateful to bring people together through play, moement, and learning. .