My guest this week is Tara Hunkin, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPS Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, mother and founder of My Child Will Thrive and host of the ‘Autism, ADHD and SPD Summit’. Tara is passionate about helping parents because she has been in their shoes. After doctor visits left her with more questions than answers, Tara realized that it was up to her to figure out how to get her daughter the help she needed.
She went on to pursue an education in nutrition with the Nutritional Therapy Association and trained with Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD as a Certified GAPS Practitioner. She is also a student of Julie Matthews, CN with the Bioindividual Nutrition Institute and has completed the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs training, as well as, training with Dr. Mellio through IAFNR to better understand the brain and the applications of functional neurology.
In this episode, Tara and I discuss the fundamental foundations for success when parents are setting out on an integrative approach for the treatment of their child’s neurodevelopmental disorder. Children diagnosed or suspected with disorders such as autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other learning disabilities can greatly benefit from a guided framework of the integrative approach. To learn more about Tara and access an entire community of support click here.
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The Internet & Information Overload
- The internet provides us with so much information it can be extremely overwhelming for parents searching for ways to help their struggling children
- As a parent you need to learn many different avenues but using a framework to approach them all will save you time, money, and a lot of excess stress
Framework and Tools
- By beginning an integrative approach with a framework set in place, parents are able to organize and confront treatment with more ease
- Remember: “There is no clear one solution for every child.” – Tara Hunkin
Fundamental Foundations of Healing
- It is easy to forget or disregard fundamental practices before going straight into advanced healing strategies and therapies – the two must go hand and hand to prevent as many setbacks as possible
- Nutrition is key
- Keeping the body well-nourished literally feeds every cell in our body and brain
- Maintain optimal hydration with good quality water sources
- Ensure that your child is getting enough outdoor time in the fresh air and sunlight igniting their five senses
- Address your environment, such as the possible toxins in and around your home
- Nutrition is key
- Finding and implementing appropriate neuro-rehab programs
- Neuro rehab examples: listening, vision, occupational, and neurofeedback therapies
Multiple Protocols & Record-Keeping
- You are your child’s best advocate and record-keeper
- Having records to refer to for yourself and your practitioner will save you time, money, and grief
- To help Tara has created a ‘Protocol and Therapy Worksheet’
- It sets out objectives to help track practice, advice from your practitioner and expectations
- These kinds of record-keeping are essential to approaching an integrative model of treatment
- The more thorough the history recorded the better you and your practitioner can prepare for and execute treatment plans
Working With The Right Practitioner
- Make sure the practitioner is able to explain to you the aim and goals of the treatment at hand
- You shouldn’t walk out of their office more confused than when you went in
- When you understand the possibilities and outcomes you are more equipped to push through
- When you have older children who are able to comprehend the goals and outcomes – they will feel more empowered to make the right decisions if they understand why of the situation
Where to learn more about Tara Hunkin…
Episode Intro … 00:00:30
Internet + Information Overload … 00:06:40
Using A Framework + Tools … 00:09:20
Foundations For Success … 00:12:19
Multiple Protocols & Records … 00:22:20
The Right Practitioner … 00:28:30
Episode Wrap Up … 00:35:20
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Hi everyone, welcome to the show. I am Dr. Nicole and on today’s show, we’re going to talk about one of the most common challenges that parents face when they’re trying to figure out treatment options for their child, whether you have a child who has been diagnosed with something like ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory processing disorders, maybe mood or behavioral disorders or you have a child who has a lot of these challenges and symptoms, maybe hasn’t been diagnosed but you’re just struggling with some things.
We’re going to talk about ways that you can not only figure out what might be helpful for your child in terms of treatment, but how to organize and manage all of that, because I think that’s one of the big issues as parents become more educated in what are different types of treatment that might help my child and especially when you go on online — we’re almost just bombarded nowadays with how many things are out there and lots of it may sound interesting, you may think oh, that could help my child, or that could help my child or this could help my child.
And what I see at the clinic is a lot of families who come in who have either done a lot of things and felt like it was totally disorganized, they were completely overwhelmed by it or parents who are just sort of sitting paralyzed, thinking, “I can’t get started with anything because I don’t know what to do first, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to handle all of this.” So because I see that a lot in practice, I wanted to have as my guest today my good friend and colleague Tara Hunkin. She not only is a parent who has managed this for herself and her family, but also has so many resources to help other parents do that.
So let me tell you a little bit about Tara. She has a lot of different practitioner trainings that she has done — Nutritional therapy, practitioner GAPS, practitioner restorative wellness, practitioner mother, which I think is one of the most important designations that she and I share, and she’s the founder of ‘My Child Will Thrive’ and the host of the ‘Autism, ADHD and SPD Summit’. She is passionate about helping parents like you because she has been in your shoes. Doctor visits left her with more questions than answers and she soon realized that it was up to her to figure out how to get her daughter the help she needed.
She pursued an education in nutrition with Nutritional Therapy Association, several other organizations and groups, has taken lots of classes, is still doing that to further her own knowledge — not only for her child but for all of the families that she works with. So she just has a vast amount of personal and professional experience with this, and we’re going to talk about how to successfully use an integrative approach so that your child can thrive and how to manage that process. Super excited to have you here, Tara.
Oh, I’m thrilled to be here so thanks so much for having me today. It’s a great topic, and obviously — I love talking about it.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah, and you’re one of the best to do that, I think. So let’s dive into sharing with our listeners how you got started in this line of work — so this has become a professional endeavor for you, but how did this all start?
So, I mean it is — it’s a very different line of work than when I started out when I was first a parent. I was in the world of finance, so this is very, very, different. And it all started with my child, so I think you and I both have encountered many people throughout the years in terms of practitioners that their area of focus changed when they had their child and something wasn’t the way you were told it was going to be. And so I was like a lot of the parents that you talk to and I talk to all the time.
I had a child that had all sorts of symptoms and we didn’t actually have a diagnosis for a long time, but we knew we had a lot of developmental challenges in terms of milestones weren’t being met. You know, life just wasn’t as easy for her and for us as you would expect it to be and so I did, I had way more questions than answers that I was getting. So it was an evolution, like these things are — it’s not like I’ve figured it all out overnight, it took a really long time and because of that and because my friends and colleagues that were around me — I have friends that are physicians, they said to me, “Why don’t you just become a nutritionist? You’ve learned so much about nutrition!”
So I just eventually evolved into all the different — as you said, I’m a bit of an education junkie. I keep going and so will for I don’t know if I will ever stop. And now what I do is not only use that, obviously but also to help my own child and she’s just about to turn 15 and is doing really, really well. But I also — she and I made a decision a few years ago because I asked her permission and said, “I’d like to share what we’ve learned with other people but I need to have your permission because you’re going to come up in that conversation.” And she said to me, “If it helps one other child not struggle the way I have, then yes. Go ahead and do that.” So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last while and it’s a real honor to be able to help other parents shorten that learning curve and also keep their sanity during the process.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I love that, that it’s sort of a shared mission for you and your daughter to educate other people and share what you’ve learned and that she feels passionate about that too, that’s great. So you just talked about being able to help your child and figure out what needs to happen and implement these things without losing your own sanity, which I think is a big piece, I mean when we’re already struggling with a child who is having challenges, the idea then to of figuring out what we need to do with them and how to implement all of that — it’s a lot, and it can feel like, “Oh, I can’t take all that on.” Why do you think that so many parents are struggling to find the path for their kids?
Yeah, well it is information overload and I’m guilty of it on both sides. So obviously, I continue to learn things. A bit part of the problem is that there is not clear one solution for every child. So because there is no cookie-cutter solution like we’ve been told — in terms of traditional western medicine, usually once you get that diagnosed, there is a treatment plan and it’s in place — what most parents find is that not only is there not that many solutions in western medicine for these types of challenges, so there’s not a lot that is offered — the ones that they are offered often either are not moving the needle in a great way, which is what we experienced, or they’re just not comfortable with some of the solutions for whatever reason.
Some people choose to use some pharmaceuticals and that’s totally fine. Everybody’s situation is different in terms of how you manage it, but not everybody is excited about those options. So you get stuck in that and then you start to look into — so there’s now, fortunately, online — not when my child was little but there is a lot of information out there about all these different things that we could be doing and looking at all those root causes that can be creating these different behaviors or challenges in terms of the development of the brain and all that stuff. It gets very scientific and then you have every expert in the world telling you something with what their specialty and it’s that thing and then it’s another thing and another thing.
So you go down a million rabbit holes and then come up more exhausted than you started. So it’s a challenge because you do need to learn a lot of things in order to successfully manage it but I think that if it’s done in a measured way in terms of how we look at it and create a framework for ourselves and create disciplines around we go about doing it, it will 1 — shorten the time to getting results, it reduces your cost associated with doing it, which is already massive for a lot of parents and it will reduce your stress load as well in terms of trying to figure it all out.
So that’s one of the things that come in probably from a business/finance background originally. Systems and processes, believe it or not. I love organization and so it just kind of was a natural fit for me to try. And it really just evolved over time in my own use and then working with other parents to have a framework for them to follow and tools to assist them in managing their child’s care, I call it ‘case management’ but it really is just figuring a way to live your life along with your child.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
It’s interesting, as you were talking, I was thinking about — you know, I’ve been in this line of work in my career now for almost 22 years and thinking about — for families with kids with these kinds of neurodevelopmental issues, 20+ years ago there were virtually no resources. I mean there were like a handful of books that you could check out from the library that really didn’t have much information. Your physicians didn’t know much about things, the internet didn’t exist or was just in the beginning of existing. You couldn’t go on there and Google things. It just was occurring to me, how different it is now.
That pendulum has gone almost the other way where now there’s too much! Or just this onslaught of information where you start looking at even something as simple like nutrition and brain health or whatever and suddenly you have 5000 different opinions on what you should feed your kid, what supplements you should give, what kinds of practitioners and it’s almost like gone — both of those extremes are equally as problematic, right? Having no potential solutions and having a million potential solutions are almost both as problematic to deal with, and it’s just interesting as I think over the course of my career, that’s really what’s happened and you know, I really like what you said about having a framework for sort of distilling and sifting through to figure out what’s going to be applicable to my child.
Because boy, one of the things you said is so true that there is no cookie-cutter, right? We can have a hundred kids all exhibiting symptoms of sensory processing problems or anxiety or autism and the underlying issues that need to be addressed can be so different. So how do we as parents sift through that and have a process for figuring out what’s going to be applicable to my child or my life and in a way that doesn’t increase stress because I think that one of the most important things we can do for kids and families from a treatment perspective is to reduce the overall burden of stress on the entire family, right?
I mean, these are some of the most stressed parents and families through no fault of their own. When you have kids with challenges, that is just what happens. And so to be able to sort through all this and implement things in a way that also reduces the burden of stress? That’s powerful stuff. So I want to dive into that and why don’t we start by having you talk about — what do you think were the keys to success with your child? So you said you had this child who is having challenges, you didn’t really have a diagnosis but you knew that there were neurodevelopmental issues, there are all these possibilities out there. What would you say now, looking back, were keys to helping you be successful with her?
Well, first of all — what you said about the stress is very, very true. So there’s obviously the stress response in the child because they’re in a chronic state of stress and then there is parental stress around it as well. So in terms of the turning — what I would call actually, and it’s funny because keys to success or turning points for my child may be different from the turning points for someone else’s child — so I will say that too. However, one of the things that I found through sifting through all this information is I do think that there is a set of foundations for healing that come across for any chronic disease or disorder but can also be fundamental. They are fundamental to these types of disorders. I didn’t learn them in the right order necessarily. So that’s one of the things that often I’ll talk about, but obviously, nutrition is key.
I talk a lot about nutrition because I have a strong nutrition background. But it is when I think about it — this is the fuel that we’re feeding all the cells in the body. And without proper nutrition, no one can really thrive. So getting the nutrition dialed in appropriately for that child and how that works. That was a huge turning point for us. The other turning point was getting the right neuro-rehab program in place as well. And when you combine those two along with — there’s a number of other ones but for us, those were the two key turning points.
And the reason why I said that is sometimes it’s that story of the chicken and the egg for each kid. We were doing a lot of nutritional things, but without doing the neuro-rehab side, we had a child that had a lot of — a number of years had gone by, so we have a lot of negative neuroplasticity that was playing into it. And without taking advantage of what we were doing in terms of supporting her body biochemically, which a lot of us do — a lot of work in that area. Then it was time to retrain that brain so it started to communicate appropriately back to her as well. So it gave her the strength in terms of the biochemical processes to start rebuilding through using neuro-rehab, which can mean a lot of things.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I was going to ask you to define that because that may not be a term that many listeners are familiar with. I know what you mean by that, but can you just describe sort of what you mean by that?
Absolutely. So examples of that can be everything from listening therapy to vision therapy to occupational therapy — in particular looking at retaining primitive reflexes and integrating those. It can be — some people use neurofeedback. There are so many different ones now too because a lot of it as well can be a combination of lots of gross motor movements, so the funny thing is that just going outside and playing and doing balance — it does not have to be complicated. And that’s the other thing that we try and do is talk about all of the things that we can do that don’t cost any extra money and have multiple benefits, so just layers the impact on top of one another, so you can not have to think through that thing.
So if you think that getting your child outside to play in the playground — although that is activating the brain pathways in ways that you want to in terms of getting that sensory experience, there are specific ones that need to be done in repetition to retrain something. But still — just getting outside and playing and doing all the things that a child would typically do in terms of engaging with their environment with their hands and their fingers and their smells and getting in fresh air and sunlight, so all those things help as well. But I would say for us, those were the two turning points but in the foundations of healing, we talk about a whole bunch of other things too. We talk about the environment — so just looking at what’s going on in our environment and changing things, the basic stuff in terms of what toxins are in our household. And again, a lot of this stuff can be done in a very inexpensive, easy way that doesn’t overwhelm us. And those are all the things. It’s like the low-hanging fruit we want to go after first.
And then we start to look at these more — what I would call ‘advanced healing strategies’ that may be more complicated, which certain forms of neuro-rehab can be. Or they may be more costly or maybe more time-consuming. And they all have their time and their place but that’s why sorting through those basic foundations: Is your child drinking enough water? Good quality water? There are some basic things we can do before we ever start having to get into those and it’s amazing how many parents will say those basic things were massive turning points for them. And it just is another — one of my favorite instructors, although there are a lot of great ones from the Medical Academy for Pediatric Special Needs is Dr. Sid Baker, and he has been around forever in this field — and he talks about your child sitting on a pile of tacks — and removing one tack may not make them feel that much better, but you have to keep on doing that tack removal until the cumulative effect is there. So sometimes even we think that adding proper hydration didn’t do anything, but if we do that and we layer on that getting the toxins out from around our home and all of those things — so these are the things we want to be looking at first is the easy low-hanging fruit things that are the basic foundations of our children’s health, all of our healths. And then we can start getting into some of the other things.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I think that’s really powerful advice because often we will see families at our clinic who come to us having done a whole lot of really in-depth, complicated things but they’re not — they’re still not getting the results that they need. First of all, they are completely stressed out and overwhelmed, especially if they’re trying to do multiple protocols and all kinds of things at the same time, which I want to ask your opinion on that — but I think is a real mistake that a lot of people make and also not building good foundations first.
Like to your point, if your kid is poorly hydrated, not sleeping well at night, doesn’t get outside — has their face in a screen all day, you can do all the fancy detoxification protocols or neuro-rehab protocols or all that stuff and you’re not going to get very far because you don’t have the basics in place that can create a foundation for that. So I think what you’re talking about there is so powerful and really gives parents a way to start thinking about what to prioritize. Because do you see that too? Parents sort of jumping into a full-on like hardcore nutritional protocol or they go see a certain practitioner and they end up with a 17-page booklet of recommendations, everything that they’re supposed to do all at once — do you see that? Because I do.
Oh, I see that and I’ve done that. I’m guilty as charged. That’s exactly the parent I was too. That the irony is that I jumped, we jumped full-on into the GAPS diet. We were just…
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Full-on! That’s a whole different conversation — GAPS or Gut And Psychology Syndrome diet is a very intense therapeutic diet. It is not for everyone. It can be very, very helpful but it is not for everyone.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
It’s probably not a starting point, right?
It’s not unless you’re type A like me and you take that bandaid off and really torture yourself and your family all at once, but yeah — so this is why I’m here, which is to help people not make the same mistakes I did and make choices that are going to work for you. Because the problem is that if you are choosing the harder path because you think that you’re going to get bigger results all the time — that’s not always the case. And that’s the thing that we have to understand is that yes, probably most stuff that you’re going to do with your children is going to be difficult but the hardest path doesn’t necessarily always end up in the biggest results.
So we want to do all of the things that are easier to do first because they are also going to give you great results and not just now but long term because they are, as I said, fundamental to making sure that our children stay healthy longer. I find that a lot of the families that I encounter that they’re doing well for a while — they’ve done something specific for a while and they see such great process and then something happens like an immune event — their child gets sick and then all of a sudden we have a huge backslide and it’s because we need to make sure that they are healthy and they have strong immune systems and strong detoxification systems, because if we don’t fix those fundamentals then every time they get exposed to something that is challenging, they’re going to backslide. So that is why I say that makes it easier — and one of the things that I did, and I do see like you asked the question about people on lots of different protocols.
Again, I’ve done that too and sometimes you do need integration and integration of practitioners and that’s a really challenging thing to do — it’s one of the reasons I developed a lot of tools for parents to use. You have to be your best recordkeeper. There’s no one that’s going to advocate for your child the way that you are. There’s no one that knows your child the way that you know your child. Most practitioners — as good as they are, they are fabulous but they can not spend a lot of time sometimes with you.
So a lot of the integrative practitioners have a really long intake protocol so that’s just part of what they do. But they won’t always have a lot of time for you. So you have to make sure that you have your stuff right in front of you or you can hand something off to them ahead of time so they can see it ahead of time and go, “Oh yeah, I see this and that and the other thing.” That information, you know that as a clinician — it’s so key. You can find things like that that the parents may not have seen if you have all that information. So tracking information is, for lack of a better word, no one likes to do it — it’s tedious.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Not glamorous. Thank you, that’s the word I wanted. Just not glamorous. It’s so incredibly important and it can save you so much time, so much money and so much grief. So one of the ones that I love and I find is the best for me and for parents I work with and for the practitioners is one that is called a ‘protocol and therapy worksheet’ and it’s a 1-pager that we just — the idea is, anytime you are going to go to another, you’d have this for anything you were doing with your child so other practitioners could see what you’re doing already but also, it sets out objectives. So we want to set out why are we doing this? What do we expect to get from doing this particular therapy or protocol treatment that we’re doing? How are we going to measure that? Are there objective measures, are they subjective? How are we going to do that? How often do we need to review it? When do we expect to see results?
Because all those expectations that are out there — there’s sometimes a massive expectation gap. And then also sometimes we take advice from practitioners but we don’t know exactly why they’re asking because then we’re too afraid to ask. But if you just get those questions filled out in this one worksheet, you’ll get an idea of why you’re doing something and it may clue in to you, even if you don’t understand that scope of it because some of it is challenging and takes us time to learn it. It may bring up ideas for you that you can bring forward to your practitioner or you may go, “Oh, goodness — we’re already doing this over here, do we really need to be doing this here?” So there are lots of reasons for doing that and that’s why having a system and having these tools to help you gather that information in a way that is easily accessible and quick to review is really key to working in that integrative model and not overdoing it for you and your child.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Such great information and I can speak from the practitioner’s side that absolutely what you’re saying about parent reporting and record-keeping is so valuable. Very often, I will ask questions or seek out information that most parents look at me and go, “Why would she even ask, that’s not relevant.” As a parent, you may not see some of the things that you are observing or that have happened with your child as relevant but I as the clinician who is trying to put the big picture together, all of your observations and experience and records that you may have are a helpful part of that process.
And so knowing that you are the best reporter on your child and taking that role seriously — I love it when families come in and provide me with things ahead of time or at the first appointment because, to your point, that is time and money-saving. Right? If I can get information from parents that clearly shows me what they’ve already done and what the results were from that — okay. I don’t need to go down those paths, or I can ask a couple of questions to see. And time is money, right? The longer you spend in my office with me and the more appointments you have to have, the more you’re paying for that. So to be able to streamline that by having an effective process for communicating information is just so key.
Yeah. Well I mean it comes back to the thing too, as a parent, my struggle always was that you’re tired. You forget. Like I’d love to say that I remember every little cold and this and that that happened. There were bigger things going on but all those things are actually important. So if you keep an ongoing record of these things plus you get your kids mixed up as they get older. I love it when they ask me the question like, who did this at this age, I’m like oh, dear.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
I’m not sure, let me see if I can find it in my photos somewhere. But you don’t keep that record. It’s the age-old thing of saying garbage in, garbage out. You don’t give great information to your practitioners or you’re not even using it yourself — then you can’t get the best outcomes and results and it will just take you longer to get there. So the same thing what you said is what I hear from practitioners time and time again. The really great practitioners are really excited about a great medical history. Again, I bring up Sid Baker again because Dr. Baker — I love him.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
He’s awesome, yeah.
He teaches the foundations course when you go through the fellowship program at the Medical Academy — and one big talk was on his medical history intake process, which is really extensive and he says a lot of parents ask exactly what you’ve said, it’s like “Why would you be asking these questions?” And he said that it informs everything that he does. He has a really long intake. So one of the tools I had created, actually the irony was that just before I went to that was actually I combined, I created a massive medical history form for parents to sort of gather information on if they didn’t have it already. Combining a lot of different intake forms that I had encountered over the years from lots of different practitioners because they ask — as you said, you’re going to ask different questions than somebody else and it’s actually really interesting to understand why some of those questions are being answered because it helps you learn what the different things we want to find out about our children to inform what types of therapies and treatments will help them the best.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Yeah, that’s a great resource. And I think too, one of the things that you said about understanding what the aims or the goals of a treatment is — not just the ‘what we’re going to do’ but ‘why are we doing this?’ I don’t know about you, but so often, I have parents come in and they’ve done lots of different things — they can’t even tell me why they’ve done them. It’s because somebody told them, a practitioner or a physician, somebody told them to and one of the benchmarks that I use for myself as a parent, but I’m also speaking from the clinician side, so I’ll be interested to see what you think — one of the benchmarks that I use and help parents think about in terms of who you want to be working with is: Do you understand what they’re saying to you? Can they explain to you in a way that is understandable and meaningful to you, what it is that they think needs to happen for your child, how you’re going to do that and why that’s important?
To me, as a practitioner, I have failed to do my job effectively if parents don’t leave my office understanding those things. So I think as I’ve advised many families over the years who are looking into different types of treatment options and things — to me that’s a really clear benchmark to use to determine: Is this something that I feel good about pursuing? Is this the practitioner that is going to be a good fit for us? That’s a great benchmark, can they explain not only what they think you should do and how it’s going to work, but why you’re doing it. What do you think about that?
Oh, absolutely. I mean you’re speaking my language. I’m a big why person. I want to know why. If I don’t know why I truly believe, and I don’t know if it’s true of everyone, I know it’s true of me: If I don’t understand why I’m doing something, adhering and complying to a plan is a lot harder. If I know why and what the possibilities are as the outcome, and that’s why setting those outcome objectives are so key — then I’m going to have a much easier time saying — when I am having a tough time implementing something, there are always going to be those times — I know why I’m doing this. It’s worth it to me. And I’ll say that, like I said how difficult the GAPS diet is, it is a really difficult diet.
What I kept going back to at that time was why I was doing it. I felt it was going to be way harder for my daughter to go through her life in the way that she was at the time than it was for me to implement a diet and go wholeheartedly into it and deal with all that came along with it. So it was when I understood what the possibilities and the outcomes were for it and why this would work — a dietary intervention could work, I understood the science behind it — I was like, why wouldn’t I do this? If it can have the results that it can have, then why wouldn’t I do something like that?
So it really is important to understand those things and that’s why having that sheet. And usually the parents — and I’m the same. I mean I even get caught up in it now where I don’t want to ask someone why — because I’m thinking should I know that? Maybe I should know that. But I just ask why anyway because I want to know. But it gives you that excuse to say hey, I’m trying to keep these records for myself, I want to — even if you’re shy about asking, you say I want to make sure I do the best job for you. I want to implement exactly what you want and I don’t want to bother you with too many questions. Can you just let me know this and that about it so I can understand it and I can do a better job? I can’t imagine any practitioner that you really want to work with that would have a problem with that.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Well, it’s a good screening measure for who you don’t want to work with, right? If someone’s not willing to explain that or take the time to give you that information, my advice would be to keep moving along because what you’re talking about is fundamental to human motivation, right? We’re motivated to do things that feel meaningful to us. And so when we understand why we’re implementing something, it does make the compliance piece easier, especially on the days that are a struggle with telling your kid they can’t have this thing that they like to eat or they can’t play Xbox for 14 hours today or whatever it is. And you know what? Understanding the potential outcomes and the whys are really important for our kids too if they’re old enough to understand that. For them to understand why it is that Dr. Nicole is asking them to do these things. Why it is that I am torturing them in this way by having their parents do some of this. That why stuff and understanding the goal outcomes and what the potentials are? So, so powerful.
Yeah, well it actually goes back to what you just said — as they’re getting older and they start to be able to make some of these independent choices, and I’m going through that now with my daughters is they’re getting to that age where they can go off-plan, they have access to food — I don’t get to control their environment the way that I did when they were younger. And so you need to also educate them as a parent moving forward, so they can make the best choices for them and understand why that may or may not be — because they’re not always going to make the best choice, but you want them to be aware of where those choices — and be looking for how it’s impacting them so they can self-correct eventually, because ideally, we all want to get to that point where our children are completely independent and so they’re going to be making these choices themselves so they have to understand why they need to make good ones.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
That’s a great point. So many more things that we could talk about with this, I’m realizing that we’re running out of time. This has been awesome. So many great things for parents to think about from this — I want to make sure that people know where they can find you online, how they can get more information — I know you’ve got a ton of great resources available, so how can people find you online?
Well the best thing to do is just head over to mychildwillthrive.com and you could pretty much find everything there, you could find links to our social media, we are on Facebook and we have a great free Facebook group that you can get into, it’s called ‘The My Child Will Thrive Village’ and it really is there for parents to support each other as they are investigating and working through all these different treatment and therapy options to support each other and get questions answered and learn from each other because again — great practitioners will tell you they learn wonderful things from their patients and the parents that they are involved with.
They often start investigating new things that they’ve heard from other parents — but if it’s not overwhelming to you, not everybody loves hearing about all the different things but that’s a great place to come and what I like to do in a group setting is I do work with parents to use all the tools and methods and the framework that I’ve developed called the ‘RARE method’ to work through all these choices that we have to make and help you and those individual parents make those choices that are best for their particular child, given where they’re at today, as opposed to trying to pigeonhole everybody into the same plan.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Awesome. So wonderful. So many great resources and options to access there and I highly recommend that you all go check that out. Tara, this has been such a fun and informative conversation. I appreciate your time and thank you so much for being here with us today.
Oh, it was lots of fun — thanks so much, we’ll do this again soon.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens:
Absolutely. Okay, everybody — that’s it for this episode! We will see you next time on The Better Behavior Show!