I met today’s guest, Fern Tausig, a Certified Hypnotist, at a recent National Speaker’s Association chapter meeting. After the meeting was over, she approached me about her hypnosis business and how it could help children. Needless to say, I was skeptical, but wanted to learn more. I think, like me, you’ll be surprised to hear what Fern has to say about the importance of mindful parenting and how critical our communications are in our children’s early lives.
JC: How did you become interested in hypnosis?
JC: Why is hypnosis a passion for you?
FT: I was always into alternative wellness and believed in the power of the mind to create wellness. I saw it every day as a teacher. Thoughts create feelings and negative thoughts create negative feelings. When I learned the power of hypnosis to change the old programming, there was no stopping me!
JC: Why does hypnosis work?
FT: Hypnosis is based on the science of the mind and how it works. We have 2 mind states: conscious and unconscious. Up until age 8 or so, the conscious mind is not
developed, hence why children believe in Santa Claus. Then the conscious mind
develops, which is logical, rational and analytical. Then child realizes that Santa is not logical and the belief is gone.
The nature of the unconscious mind is very different. It does not know the difference between reality and fantasy, true or false, or right and wrong. It only knows what it is told. It is like a video camera in that it just takes in information that becomes our beliefs. An excellent example is going to the movies. When the lights go down, and the screen fills with pictures and sounds, the conscious minds drifts off, or zones out and we watch the movie with our unconscious mind. It is just like being in hypnosis. We get scared or cry or feel empathy for what we are watching on the movie screen. If we were watching the movie consciously, we would say, “That’s not real blood, they’re not getting hurt, they are actors. Why am I scared? I am sitting in a theater!” Then the lights go on, and you go back to normal, unless you are a child under 8 years old. Then you don’t know it was fake, which can have very negative consequences. My advice? Don’t take kids to see movies that are not appropriate for their age!
JC: You say parents “hypnotize” their children every day without realizing it. How?
FT: You are your child’s hypnotist. We program our children sometimes without realizing it. Everything we say and do as parents – the good, the bad, and the ugly, acts as an imprint on our children up to approximately 8 or 9 years old. This is when their conscious critical minds develop. A good indicator is when they no longer believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. This programming can be helpful or create unnecessary fears, phobias and anxiety.
Did you ever notice that you may have some of the same fears as your parents? You don’t need to pass those on to your children. Repetition is a big part of the programming of our children. They not only learn what they live, they learn by what they hear and feel. I tell parents to be mindful of the experiences their children have and be very careful of the words they use when speaking to their children, or spouse, as the unconscious mind, (where the programming happens), is very literal. Saying “You remind me of Uncle John” and Uncle John is rude, becomes a powerful imprint in the child’s mind.
JC: It sounds like this is really mindful parenting, rather than hypnosis. How do parents do this without crossing the line of “controlling” them?
FT: We can’t control our children. If we could then they would be like little perfect machines and there would be no parental frustration. We mold them and give the input that becomes part of their beliefs through our interaction with them every day. Repetition is the most powerful programming. Things said in anger or in an attempt to discipline or punish are like imprints. My goal is to increase parent’s awareness of what their parents did to them, so they don’t repeat those negative patterns with their children.
JC: How do parents transfer these negative patterns to their children?
FT: Because of the way the brain develops during those early years, children are actually in a hypnotic state all the time. That is the nature of a child’s mind. Parents
are actually transferring their fears, values, beliefs, likes and dislikes to their children until they get to an age where they can think for themselves. Then they rebel…teenagers!
If you are aware of what’s happening, you can support and encourage them to be their best selves and feel confident to withstand peer pressure, negative situations, and to love their individuality. I use the term “hypnosis” because I am a hypnotist, but behavioral psychologists use the same techniques. It just has a different name. Our biggest job as a parent is to be our children’s first and best teacher. We often just teach them the wrong things without knowing it.
JC: You note that we should send our children positive affirmations. Some would say that too much of this can do harm as well. For example, telling them they sing great, when they really don’t. What would you say to this?
FT: I agree that we don’t need to lie to them. Being proud of the way they cooperate or demonstrate patience when waiting for something are great positive affirmations. Telling them they are good at something when they are not is setting them up for failure when they find out it is not true. They lose trust in the parent. If they don’t sing well you can tell them, “I am so proud of the way you feel comfortable singing nice and loud. It’s fun, isn’t it?”
And never….never…never…tell your children to ‘try’ something. The unconscious mind is so literal that it knows that ‘trying’ means ‘failing’. Just tell them to do it!
JC: You have a terrific bedtime ritual suggestion for parents. Would you share this?
FT: Help program your children to success with simple bedtime stories. Every time your child is on the way to sleep, the unconscious mind is very vulnerable and open to suggestions. It resembles the trance-like state called hypnosis. You can create a list of positive affirmations that you would like your child to believe and slip them in at bedtime. It doesn’t even matter if they have already dozed off as the unconscious mind does not sleep.
Some sample affirmations might be, “I am so proud of the way you cooperate with your teachers” or “You are so good in math” or “I am so proud of the way you are so patient with your little brother” The possibilities are endless.
JC: Where can parents go to learn more about your services?
JC: Do you have any upcoming events or workshops?
FT: I will be teaching a 2-session adult ed course in the fall in Woodbridge, CT. I can also schedule small group sessions.