“Changing” Our Kids…by Changing Ourselves!

(And all of the following applies to ourselves -kids or no kids- too!)

If you don’t immediately recognize her name, her book titles may ring a bell. One of my all-time favourite writers/self-help gurus is Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Intimacy, The Dance of Anger, and The Mother Dance, among others. In The Mother Dance (which I wish I had read at least a day before my son was born), she refers to her own parenting guru, and strongly recommends we check out his work. Excellent stuff, indeed -and deeply applicable to folks implementing any change in their family, including in the area of diet.

I’ve said something along these lines to countless fathers and mothers who have posted to my blog or emailed me personally, but in his amazing book Parenting by Heart, Dr Ron Taffel states a key truth so beautifully. After describing a father’s unintended sabotage of family change, he writes:

Many of us are like Michael’s father. We often revert to the status quo because we haven’t anticipated our own reactions to changing an old parenting dance. So we allow our kids’ initial response to push us back to a familiar but ineffective routine.

Dr Taffel notes that this “dance” happens across the realm of parenting and parenting change. Like I said moments ago, this includes the area of diet. It is quite common that when a parent moves to implement dense nutrition, the children balk and push back -HARD. They whine, they stomp, they yell, they scream, they refuse all foods, they slam a door, they throw their toys. I mean these little ‘uns really, really balk.

Even more than the first, GAPS Guide 2nd Edition emphasizes preparation -especially emotional, psychological, and relational. This is because if we are not prepared for the inevitable challenges, we may be surprised, frightened, and stressed by the natural “dance” that will initially occur, and we will likely quit.

That’s a shame, because if we can hang in there for just a few days or weeks, we will see outstanding results, and overall our lives will be much easier and lighter. Our children will be vastly healthier and, as a result, much better behaved, and having infinitely stronger communication skills. The spiral curves upward; we see ever increasing gains.

When my own son had the Tantrum to Beat All Tantrums last Saturday, I was beyond disheartened. I was discouraged, exhausted, “done”. But at some point, I remembered that he used to do this every single day. And I realized that the reason I was so disheartened now was because it had caught me off guard -that is, my discouragement was a direct reflection of how rare these tantrums are now (which is, of course, a good thing).

When I assessed for what had preceded this tantrum (was he tired? stressed? hungry?), I was not able to determine any major issue. Sometimes a person just has “something” going on and needs to let it all out. If it’s not a daily or dangerous matter, we might do best just to let it go and move on.

My son used to suffer daily, so he screamed daily. After implementing a gut-friendly diet, he no longer suffered, thus no longer screamed (except, apparently, once every autumn).

To get here -to a place where he eats all foods with enthusiasm, feels well, is cheerful most of the time, is gentle, and so on- it was necessary that I manage my own emotions – my own anxiety, fear, stress, and discomfort- long enough to support his transition to a new way.

Boy, was doing so ever worth it!


The dramatic life changes my son and I experienced as a result of changing our diet, and the simplified steps for how you can do likewise, are detailed in the book GAPS Guide 2nd Edition. (Commenting anywhere on this site -past, present, and future- gains you chances to win a free hardcopy! Start now; watch for details in a subsequent post.)

2 Replies to ““Changing” Our Kids…by Changing Ourselves!”

  1. Thank you for writing about this. Yes, we all go through a period of detox when first implementing a nutrient dense food diet and kids are especially vocal about it. During this time, we are releasing toxins, including emotional ones, that no longer serve us. And kids seem to be more in touch with what they are feeling and are apt to more freely express it (even if they don’t know exactly why they are feeling the way they are at the time).

    As far as the “tantrum to beat all tantrums last Saturday” goes, the equinoxes are always a time for transition and release and last Saturday was especially significant because it was also the birth of the Age of Aquarius, where humans will move into a different way of being, centered on unconditional love and conscientiousness. The birthing process was intense and required major releases in everyone on the planet so that we could get rid of all that does not serve us and enter into the new age of love and light.

    • Dear Sonia,

      I just wanted to thank you for this comment. You said it all so well!

      Your words about the emotional detoxing were brilliant. And your words about the tantrum/equinoxes/Aquarius was very helpful to me personally. I’m not very in touch with these concepts, and I found your message very helpful, positive, and hope-inspiring. Interestingly, my son has indeed demonstrated tremendous development in this area (recognizing frustration and dealing with it more proactively) since that day.


      Thanks so much.

      All my best,

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