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Brian R. King, MSW teaches compassionate parenting to parents raising all kinds of children. Including those with ADHD, Asperger’s or chronic illnesses. He has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is the father of three sons with Asperger’s & ADHD. Two of his sons also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). Brian lives his life while navigating the challenges of his own diagnosis of ADHD, Dyslexia, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis. As a Coach, Professional Workshop Facilitator and Keynote Presenter who has been wowing audiences since he was 17 years old, Brian has become increasingly known for his story of resilience in the face of Learning and Physical disabilities to become a #1 Best- Selling Author and successful Entrepreneur. In his popular keynote presentations, Brian reveals key decisions we all must make in order to be consistently successful regardless of our challenges.
Find his website Here: http://CompassionateParents.com
Hi, I’m Betsy Pake. I’m a reinvention strategist and NLP coach, author and speaker. But really, I feel like I just work with people all over the country to help them be happier. And to help them have a little bit more ease in their life. Today, I hope to do the same for you. Thanks for listening. Now let’s go live. Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. This week. I’m really excited because this is gonna be an awesome topic. I have my friend with me today, Brian King. Hey, Brian. Hey, how’s
it going, Betsy?
Hey, it’s good. I’m so glad that you had some time to jump on Skype with me today. Tell everybody a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Well, you know, some people have bumps in the road of their life. I think it’s fair to say that my life has been an unpaved road and continues to be so professionally speaking, is I am a parenting coach. And what I focus on is teaching parents how to raise their kids to be more compassionate and resilient. And the first step to doing that is you must be compassionate, resilient yourself. Because if you’re a hypocrite instead of a role model, you’re not going to teach your kid anything of value. Now, how the heck did I get here? I grew up with undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia, which made school very, very hard. I was always the one sitting on the outside looking in, I was bullied by teachers and students who thought that I was a wimp was you know, every derogatory name you can think of to emasculate a young man. And I struggled through school thinking I was stupid, I was worthless. I didn’t have any friends. Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t produce any meaningful results. Well, I managed to get through all 12 grades, and my graduation present from high school with stage three testicular cancer.
Oh my gosh, yeah, you’re right about the road.
And so I spent the summer in chemotherapy. A lot of my friends, you know, kind of a stopped talking to me, either because they didn’t know I was in chemo, or because they move down with their lives, or they were afraid to see somebody their age in such
a Well, yeah, I mean, I think that that age, especially like, you know, and I’ve talked before on the podcast, my mom died when I was a junior in high school. And I remember the day I came back to school, there were a couple of my friends that like kind of looked away when I went by. And I remember that even then, recognizing that it wasn’t me that it was really that they, they were so afraid that that might happen to them. Right. I think there is that fear when you’re that age, like you don’t know how to handle stuff. And you’re afraid that might happen to you too. Even though your logic tells you differently, that part of your brain that wants to survive thinks that if you’re near somebody that’s struggling, you’ll catch it. Yes, sure. Sure. Yeah.
So I managed to find some bearing and got married had three wonderful boys, all three boys have forms of autism and ADHD. Okay, and I found out through them about my own ADHD and dyslexia. And their mom decided to leave us at one point. So I was a single dad for a year and reconnected with a childhood friend, and we eventually got married, which is really awesome. And four years ago, I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Ehlers danlos Syndrome, which explains my loose and floppy joints and the fact that things like to slip out of place when they shouldn’t. Often when I walk, bones in my feet will dislocate. And that hurts like an sob. Yes, I injure my joints very, very easily. So it was getting hard enough to live and I couldn’t take walks anymore. And I started using a cane or a walker more often. And things started getting really bad really fast. And one day I was having a bad day and ended up at the ER. And a neurologist randomly discovered at an MRI that I had lesions in my brain. So further testing revealed that I also have multiple sclerosis.
And so how does all this feed into your work as a parenting coach? Like, what did that develop
for you? It feeds into the fact that no matter how we’re living our lives, our kids are always watching. Yeah. And you want them to see somebody that’s whining and complaining and making excuses and feeling like a victim? Or do you want them to see somebody that’s empowered solution focused and is always looking for opportunities to grow and be successful? And I’ve got I’ve got three boys with their struggles Anyway, you know, they’ve already got some things stacked against them. In terms of their own issues, I want them to see somebody that keeps going no matter what, that no one, no matter how hard the situation is, they see me taking chances going out again, no matter how many times I’ve seen Fallen. And a big part of the compassion piece is you have to be kind to yourself as a fragile, vulnerable human being in order to be resilient. Because if when you fall, you beat the snot out of yourself between your ears. That’s that kind of self criticism and negativity will keep you down.
Yeah. And I mean, I think that goes back to like, your belief systems, what you really believe about life, like, you know, like when my mom will use that as an example, just because I’ve already talked about it when my mom died, I could have said that that, like, you know, that made my life harder. I mean, I can look at and say, in some ways it did. But I chose not to see that it wasn’t about, you know, it wasn’t about being something stacked against me, it was really about how I could use that to leverage my life and learn something new. And it sounds like that’s sort of what you’re trying to show them that it’s not really something that’s against them. It’s actually something that can help propel them on to something else.
They see it, they hear it, you know, when new things come up, and there are times where it hits me a little harder. And then I need to lean on my wife who is often a far wiser than I am. You know, and she reminds me that this is not the adventure we planned, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less of an adventure. Right? Right. We’re just we’re just taking a detour here. And then I have to process a process that and remind myself that that’s absolutely right. And that’s because it’s easy to slip into that. Oh, my God, don’t I have enough these diagnoses already? You know, what? Why another one, I just came to grips and acceptance of the previous one. Now, here’s a new one. What the heck, right. Right. So having people in my corner to remind me of the things I know and remind me to you, it was what I know. Yeah. Very handy to have in my corner.
Yeah. So when did you become a parenting coach?
I became a parenting coach, he kind of found me Actually, when my, I’m a social worker by training, okay. And I had a day job. And when my oldest boy started school, we found out that he had Asperger’s. And he was struggling so bad, he was in crisis, he was running from the classroom, he was shutting down, he was making verbal threats, he was turning desks over, just you know, completely out of control. And the school only wanted him medicated, they didn’t want to make any kind of accommodations, you know, give him a pill and tell him to behave himself like a good little boy. And I knew I had to become the overhead expert, because the people that were supposed to be in my team, were useless. So one of the resources I found was a parent support group. And as they began talking about how they were helping their kids, and so on my knowledge of my son and my knowledge of my own neurology, because I have a lot of Asperger tendencies, that I could look at the parents and say, I think you’re missing something. And then I would fill in some gaps, and they would go home and utilize what I suggested that better results and they were getting with the people they’ve been seeing for the past five years. So they found that I was a social worker, and basically begged me to open my own practice so they could bring their kids to me instead. And I finally did that when I got sick of my day job. And it took me four months to replace my daytime income.
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah.
So I’ve been doing it in some form ever since.
So what’s one of the biggest things like when you talk about, you know, you help kids become more compassionate and resilient? Like, how how, how is that manifested? How do you do that? Like, if someone listening, how can they start to, to build those characteristics in their own children,
one of the things that’s really, that’s really critical at the foundation of learning compassion, is you must accept your imperfect humanity. Because there are so many people that are walking through the world, faking it, thinking I have to appear flawless, I have to appear happy all the time, I have to appear in a way that everyone will like me. And if the parents are modeling that, that you have to play Kiss, kiss, and, you know, put on this front, you’re modeling your kids that it’s okay. It’s more important to be a people pleaser than it is to make sure you’re okay.
And so what? And so. And so how do you what do you do then? If you’re having a bad day? What do you tell your kids? Or how do you because I have my own views on this, but I’m curious of what how you think you
did one of the first things that says when you make a mistake on it. Oh, I messed up. How about that, man? What am I learned from this? It’s not just seeing it. It’s letting them hear what you do with it. Right now you see us you spill something on the floor, and you can hit yourself in the head and say, Man, I was so stupid, Why wasn’t I paying attention? Or you can see, oh, well, you know, I guess that happens, doesn’t it? Then you can ask the child you know, Hey, can you get me a broom? Or can you give me some paper towels? And yeah, look at that mess. But you know, sometimes this happens gets a little clumsy. Good thing, we have these paper towels so that we can clean it up. So you share the vision that there is a solution hear these things just happen. And the way you handle it is to just move through it. You see it you saw the problem and you move forward. Right? Yeah. So you’re they’re seeing you accepting your humanity accepting that these things happen. And you’re resilient because you’re bouncing forward.
Yeah. Yeah, go ahead. Listen, these these moments occur in abundance throughout the day, there are so many teachable moments where you can use this.
Yeah, yeah, I like that. And, you know, one of the things, and I agree, and I think that that’s so true, I, I think, and I teach to really watch our words, you know, to really be careful of what it is we’re saying how we’re presenting whatever it is that we’re working through. So you know, if we drop something on the floor, or if we make a mistake, like to actually frame that in a way that isn’t putting ourselves down, because I think that the kids and ourselves hear that, and it’s really, that can really manifest itself in some really negative thoughts. And so to always frame that in a way that like up I, you know, you’re learning some new way not to do something, but that it doesn’t really reflect on who you are as a person, or, you know, I am not this thing, I just this just, I just did this separate, right.
And one thing that’s unfortunate is that the, the public school system still penalizes for doing wrong things. You made a mistake on a test, you lose a point, you don’t gain a lesson. And because if you miss something on a test, that’s an indication of where you can go back and improve your learning. So there’s an opportunity there, but it’s not framed that way. It’s framed, you got this wrong. And now you’re a B students that have a student, and there are so many beliefs and parameters that are fed into our kids in terms of where they wreck, comparing them to each other. Where are you in the class ranking? Are you the valedictorian? Or are you 323 out of 400? You know, there’s all of these ways just in school alone, where our kids can feel not good enough.
Right? Well, I mean, I think that it depends on the teacher, right? So I do believe that there are some good teachers that could reframe the way that is done. I see what you’re saying, though, the basis of school and how it’s set up is really to rank you. Right? Do you feel like, because then it brings us to that question about, like, everybody getting an award, right? So like, that’s, that is life, right? Do you think that? Or do you think that kids should just always feel really good about everything they’re doing?
I don’t feel good about everything I’m doing. You know, there are things there are things that are tougher than others. Yeah, there are moments where you are not going to shine, not going to be at your best because frankly, there are things that we suck at. Right, right. Yeah, you know, we don’t we’re not born with these generalizable skill sets. We are specialists. Yeah, we are put on this earth to solve particular problems. And instead of being encouraged to specialize, or being encouraged to generalize, and so we spend more time in areas that were not good than areas where we are.
Right, right. Yeah, I know, Gary Vee talks about that, like, do what you’re great at, right? Instead of just trying to do everything. So do you think that if kids can learn this if they can, like, make a mistake and own it and, and feel like it’s okay, and that they’re learning something that that’s what helps teach them this compassion and compassion and resilience?
That’s the beginning of them being more compassionate towards themselves. Yeah.
Okay. Yep. And this is sort of like the work of Bernie Brown. Are you familiar with?
I love Bernie, I hope to give her a hug someday. I
know. Right? Yeah. She’s, her research is just so so interesting. And so I love it, because it feels like you’re like implementing, you know, it’s one thing to like, hear it. But to be able to implement that and teach other parents how to do it. Oh, yeah.
If you’re not living it, you got no business teaching it,
right. Well, yeah,
yes. As far as where it goes from there, once you’ve had the self compassion, one of the core beliefs of what I teach is that compassion is based on the understanding that we are connected to every other human being by the simple fact that we’re all still trying to figure it out. We’re all stumbling through life, making mistakes, trying to make sense of this. And as we stumble and fall and scrape our knees, we all experience suffering. And it’s that suffering that connects us all. And each one of us is looking for some relief to that suffering. And the most powerful way to feel relief, relief from the suffering is when someone shows you compassion, right. And the reason you give them compassion is because you can look at them and say, me, too. I know what this human experience is like. It’s a rough ride. There are some moments that are blissful. There are some moments where they’re suffering, some moments where there’s fear, and you’re not alone because the rest of us are going through this as well. We’re in this together, so I can show you compassion because you’re essentially me. This is our experience, and feeling that sense of connection and responsibility to others. It’s very difficult to look down on somebody as though they’re any different from you because they’re not. Right,
right. And we all have that thread of familiarity, which is like, we all want respect. We all want compassion, we all want like there are these things that we all want as human beings, right? So if we can connect with those things, it helps take out the differences between us.
yeah. So when you’re working with a parent, then how do you help them to understand this and to teach that to their kids?
Well, one of the first things we do is we look at their or I look at their core beliefs about what it means to be a parent. And a lot of them come in with this perfectionistic idea that they’re supposed to be all wise, like Mr. Brady, have all have all the answers and have the infallible moral compass, and never make mistakes. And they hold themselves at such a high standard, that it inhibits their ability to function as a parent, they end up being very reactive. Because if they don’t know how to solve their kids problems, they feel guilty. And they will sometimes take it out on their child. Or there’s a whole lot of go ask your dad or go ask your mom, and so the kid feels put off by you.
Yeah. And you know, I think that many times, parents think that they are represented in their kid instead of their child being a separate being with their own hopes and dreams and values and beliefs. Right. So if your kid isn’t doing what you think they should do, which brings you right back to the whole school scenario, you’re either doing it right, or you’re doing it wrong. So many parents, I think, place that on their kids. So I have a belief about what’s right or wrong. If you don’t abide by that, then you’re doing it wrong. And and really, they’re not recognizing that this is a completely other person with with totally different, you know, beliefs and attitudes and all of those things. Right.
Yeah, that’s an excellent point. I think it also demonstrates that the parents haven’t got a real clear sense of themselves. Because if they did that self exploration and got to know themselves, well, they would understand how critically important it is to be able to walk your own path,
right? Yes, yes. And that and your kids instead of feeling like you are failing, because your kids did something you didn’t think they should do, right.
Yeah. And how many parents are walking around today living the script that was fed to them by their parents of who they were supposed to be?
That’s, and that’s the work I do is work with people that are trying to shed that and figure out and it’s been buried, right. So the parents bury it, bury it, bury it, like you’re not supposed to do this, you’re supposed to be a lawyer or a doctor or a, you know what I mean? You’re supposed to go to college, you’re supposed to whatever, whatever.
And they never question that. Yeah, they just, they just follow it. So they think, well, I’m becoming the person, my mom and sister IV. So I need to pass that forward, and tell my kid, this is how they’re supposed to be. And they’re not good enough until they are where they’re supposed to be, instead of being themselves. So that mess just gets paid for it from one generation to the next. Yeah,
yeah. So can you give us some other things that parents should do? So really be able to recognize that in themselves and not and try to release the need to control the attitudes and beliefs of their children, right, but instead to help them uncover them? And you need to learn to ask solution focused questions. So when your kid makes a mistake, you don’t say, what the heck are you thinking? Yeah, that when I see somebody in a store, and they say, Are you stupid, like what? I’m like, Oh, my gosh, words matter so much. Yeah.
And again, it’s, it’s coming from that place of embarrassment and judgment that they’re doing to themselves. So I when my kids make mistakes, ask questions like, how did you do that? Yeah, yeah. How did you make that happen? Or, huh? What’s good about this?
Yeah, I like that a lot. What’s good about this? Because I am, I don’t consider myself one of those happy. I’m trying to show everybody happy all the time. But I really do try to reframe every single thing so that it’s focused in the positive because I believe that like attracts like, right. So I really like that like teaching your kids and that’s one of the things I try to teach to my kid is what’s you know, what good came out of this because there’s good news and good and lessons and everything.
And I read something the other day from one of my good friends. He said, you don’t learn from failure, because there are people, even the gurus that say failure is a part of success. And my friend said failure is not the key to success learning is Yeah, he said he said failure is one of those opportunities. Yeah. Learning, but unless you learn, you don’t move forward. And I just saw that as a wonderful distinction. So when you don’t look at the mistakes as failures, you look at them as little teachable moments, you can enter it and do this kind of curious inquiry. Like that was fascinating. You could do that if you could teach me how to do that. Because sometimes when my kids are in the mood, or validate, I can see that you’re upset or you don’t see that you’re frustrated or whatever. And I’ll ask, tell me how you’re doing that. What do you What are you thinking about right now, that ends up with you frustrated? Because in many cases, that people are not aware of the connection between their thoughts, their beliefs and their emotions. They just think this is a perfectly justifiable response to this situation,
And we need a lot more awareness around why it’s happening.
Yeah. And I think that helps release the need to rehash. rehash, rehash, because like, sometimes I’ll hear people and they’ll, like, say, all the negative stuff, right, all the crap. And like, if you get in the pattern of just talking with your children about what’s gone wrong, what happened today what you know, and just focusing on the negative part of that, that’s what they will learn to adjust churn, churn, churn, right, either inside their head or outside as their words.
The two questions that I recommend parents ask their kids at the end of the school day is what went right today. And what would you have liked to have gone better?
Yes. Yeah, I like that a lot.
Yeah. Because then it starts with, it could have gone better. But that doesn’t mean the whole thing sucked, because it wasn’t perfect. Right? Yeah. Tell me about it. What was working? Maybe you understood the directions, kinda. So you got started. But then you started making mistakes? Great. What do we know? What are you good at? And what knowledge and skill gaps Do we need to improve? So you can get even better results? So next time,
right, exactly. Yeah. And I do think that that’s a thing with with parents many times is that they’ll say like, you know, how do you do on your tests? Right? Like, how come you got these wrong? Why was this grade so low? instead of like, really looking at the whole kid and everything that happened during the day? Because there’s a lot of dynamics that go into school, and a lot of learning that goes on? That’s not just coming back as a test grade, right?
Oh, yeah. And sometimes you don’t for kiddos with special needs or kids that are very introverted. Yeah. The classroom is not the ideal context for those kids to learn.
Right? Yes. But we have like this system for schools, right. And it’s like a blanket system that we mold that we put over every single kid, right? So how do you help a kid that maybe has special needs and is struggling with that dynamic?
One thing that I, again, I really emphasize with the clients without kids, because I’ve worked with a lot of parents that have kids with ADHD, or Asperger’s. And I say you need to be on the lookout for any talent your child has that can be monetized. Because if this kid struggles through school and can’t make it into college, they can still make a living by finding a way but the beauty of the internet, right? I know a kid who has so much anxiety, he can barely leave his house. But he does three be designing like a total badass stuff that’s necessary for engineering. And one class he took he said he made the computer do something and his teacher couldn’t figure out how to do it. Oh, wow. Yeah,
that’s a great, that’s great advice. Yeah.
So if he’s able to think outside the box and deliver things in a more timely framework, things that are much more creative, offering more options than the competitors. He can be an entrepreneur, he can freelance. So I said that is something he needs to be able to figure out. Where are the applications for this? Who wants this skill? And what can they pay for it? Because look at Gary Vee he flunked out of school, right? Yeah. Yeah, he was a DNF. Student. And now he’s running a multi hundred million dollar company. Right? Yep. So yeah, he’s kind of an anomaly. You know, I wouldn’t say he’s one of the results. not typical, you know, examples, right. But it does,
but it’s a lesson for focusing on your strengths. Mm hmm.
Yeah. Because again, in the area of specialization, you can be good at writing marketing copy, be totally disastrous, and everything else, and people will hire you to write marketing copy, and you can make a comfortable living doing that, right. So it’s possible to be excellent at one or two things and make a living from it. Right. So if school ends up not being a good fit, it does not mean that life is over for that child, because there are so many more tracks to success these days.
Yeah, yeah. So so many more opportunities. And I think and I’m not sure how old you are, Brian, but like, I, I recorded another podcast this morning. And we were talking about, like when I was in college, we didn’t have internet, like Internet didn’t exist when I was in college. And so thing, like as a parent, I have to open up how I think about what opportunities really exist for my kid because it’s a different world now. I happen to be in an internet business and so on. You know, I understand that more, but there’s a lot of people that haven’t had that exposure, and so they just don’t get it. But to think out, you know, think bigger and think differently, it is just so important to kind of make that shift and open up your mind.
And nowadays, you know, when folks like you and I, we have a mission to reach larger groups of people, when new tools come out, you can look at and ask yourself, How can I leverage this to open doors to reach more people? And that’s one of the best questions to ask yourself, when new technology comes out. How can this help me be more successful? Yes. And yeah, when I when I started college, there was no, there was the beginning of email. You know, that was the bit that was the big thing. And there was the library. You couldn’t go and cite Wikipedia as a source, or anything else cuz it didn’t exist? Yeah. Yeah. And by the time I left college, they were just starting to recognize certain, you know, well regarded blogs as an acceptable resource. Right? Yeah. Now, libraries are putting a lot of their content online. So in many cases, you don’t even need to go to the building.
Yeah. Things things are evolving so quickly.
Yeah. I remember going and looking at microfiche. I don’t know if you remember that. Oh,
my God. Little film in the best screen.
Yeah, so funny. So yeah. And I also had say, stuff to my kid, and she just, she doesn’t even believe me, you know, she’s like, there’s no way you’re that old? I’m like, No, it’s just technology’s changed so quickly. And we can really use that to help our kids, if they struggle in an area or to open up what they really see as a possibility for their life. Like, it’s really cool if you can try to shift your thinking from what you know, to what’s really possible now.
Yeah, and that’s one of the beautiful things now is we can actually say that technology is changing that fast. And it’d be true. Yeah, but it’s not really that we’re that old.
Right? Yeah. No, just that it’s changed so quickly. So Well, speaking of technology, so you have a website, right? You’re online. Someone could find you
there. What’s yours? Absolutely. My primary website is compassionate. parents.com.
Okay. And do you blog? They’re like, could they find articles and that kind of thing?
They can find links to my podcast. I do that more so than blogging anymore. Yeah, I do. More video lessons. Video article. Great. And then my podcasting. So that’s the best place. That’s my hub.
Awesome. Okay, cool. So we’ll be sure to check you out there. Thank you for coming on. This was super interesting. And I think that there’s so much more to explore with this that can really help so I hope any parents listening will jump on, check out your podcast, go to those video lessons. I love that just being able to have different opportunities to learn, right. So some people learn but just like with our kids, some people learn by video some people learn by listening. So that’s awesome. So I’m gonna go check it out, too. Thanks for coming on, Brian.
It’s been a pleasure, Betsy, I really appreciate you having me.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. Remember, you can find me inside my facebook group at SS lB community.com that stands for start small live big community.com. And, as always, here’s a little message from my husband.