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Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert

Jul 27, 2021

In the second half of my interview with psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen we’re breaking down some of the hidden influences covered in his book Your Brain is Always Listening: Tame the Hidden Dragons That Control Your Happiness, Habits, and Hang-Ups. We also discuss the impact of regular exercise on mental health as well as offer some practical advice about setting goals and bonding for parents who want to raise mentally healthy kids.

Key points from our discussion:

🐉 Some of the hidden dragons in his book include Dragons from the Past that ignite your most painful emotions; Negative Thought Dragons that attack you, fueling anxiety and depression; They and Them Dragons, people in your life whose own dragons do battle with yours; Bad Habit Dragons that increase the chances you’ll be overweight, overwhelmed, and an underachiever; Addicted Dragons that make you lose control of your health, wealth, and relationships; Scheming Dragons, advertisers, and social media sites that steal your attention.

🏃‍♀️ If you want a healthy brain, exercise is critical. Walking increases blood flow to the brain and has been found to be an effective treatment for depression when done 20-30 minutes 3-5 times a week.

👍 Affirmations help retrain your brain. If you want to get the affirmations to root more effectively, say them while you walk.

📝 Write down your goals and assess daily if your behaviors fit the goals you have as a parent.

⛓ If you're bonded with a child, they will pick your values; if you’re not, they will pick the opposite simply to irritate you.

👩‍👦‍When kids start rebelling, they need more connection, not more discipline. Connected kids are more cooperative kids.

👂 Connection requires time and willingness to listen. Talk less and try using the prompts “tell me more” and “what I hear you saying”.

📏 Rules are good but should be simple such as “don’t make a problem” and “do what we say the first time you’re asked.” Setting healthy boundaries is essential and beneficial for both parent and child.

💕 We need to stop asking what's wrong and focus on what’s right with our families. 

Resources Mentioned:

Your Brain is Always Listening
The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child
Parenting with Love and Logic
Learn more about Dr. Amen’s supplements

Follow Dr. Daniel Amen: website | Instagram | Facebook | podcast

You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at

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