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In this 2012Doctors Brian and Giuseppe speak with Dr. Gordon Neufeld about chronically inflexible, bossy, defiant kids and those who need to be the boss. Topics include: What are alpha children and...

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00:00:00your kids probably have a classmate who needs to be the boss when they play together or perhaps your child is the one who prefers to be in control the number of inflexible kids seems to be on the rise leading to problem Behavior such as bullying in defiance find out how to improve the behavior of alpha children in our interview with dr. Gordon neufeld this week on family Anatomy
00:01:08the host of Family and mattamy are psychologist but they're not your psychologist so if you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues you can get a referral from your family doctor this show is for information only
00:01:25welcome to family Anatomy your source for parenting a relationship information with your host dr. Giuseppe's Pizza and dr. Brian McDonald you can find us at Family Anatomy. Com or over on iTunes and let's get right into the discussion today we're talking about Alpha children were talking about off of children. Beta children are VHS children formed their foot adjusting mode no they are not yeah we're going to be talking with dr. Gordon neufeld once again today dr. Gordon neufeld he's a developmental psychologist we talked to him before he's in private practice we just found out that he's so busy with International engagements this speaking tour workshops that he's not doing Private Practice directly anymore but he still has his Institute open in in Vancouver British Columbia he is internationally recognized for his work with children and families and he's got a very long resume here he butt
00:02:24the book that we talked about last time with them hold on to your kids is is still alive of a relevant book and I think he might be working well hopefully he is working on another Buck certainly he's recorded some videos and you can find those at his website neufeld institute.com and today we're going to be talking about those Alpha children which are kids who kind of get stuck in this this role in this need will primarily make the problems that we're going to talk about in the kids who need to be the boss the kids who can't take Direction the kids who kind of rule the roost so to speak at their hand in their home relationship it's that's this Alpha kind of instinct in this dependency like they go on a dance to be in a marriage relationship even friendships with adults there's there's you know what tendency to want to take charge at a times when someone's feeling more vulnerable than they want to be cared for hopefully when this is a fluid thing in the healthy relationships that go back and forth cuz everybody
00:03:24sometimes you need help sometimes you need to take charge of the situation and hopefully it's not one person who's in one of those rolls all the time that's right that's what happens sometimes with kids I guess and then that's not what you want but that's not do all the work for dr. neufeld why don't we get him on the line when we may as well get him to do some work let's get him on the phone okay
00:03:52dr. neufeld welcome to the family Anatomy Mark it's where we're very happy to have you again on the show and we've been looking forward to talking to you again the last time we talked we talked more about secure insecure attachment and the closest and distance the parents have with their kids tonight on the show what we're going to do is talk about another dimension that that that you focused on tonight is it kind of alpha versus dependent aspects of relationships to tell us about this and why it's important this is a huge Dynamic that we seem to be blind to as human beings we have such a strong value I think of equality
00:04:39that we we we simply don't see this sat this dynamic in relationships it's obvious when we look at other animals in terms of humans this drive to dominate this need to dominate has been misperceived Nietzsche and from there Adler I perceived it as a as in hero quest for power that needed to be changed and so this is greatly influenced how people think other see it as a as an entitlement or as something that needs to be confronted and so on so their various ideas about this and of course the most perverse manifestation of of this drive to dominate tickets is bullion from which we can see we have quite an aversion to this but an actual fact that it when we look at it from through the lens of attachment
00:05:39we see that is absolutely in here and it is natural it is part of the family of attachment instincts it it is existed every single mammal and it because attachment is primarily there a to create a context in which we can take care of our Offspring attachment is primarily hierarchically arrange there's no such thing as equality an attachment it is actually High Rock going to rain so the only instincts when we come close to each other the instincts are either too to take care of that is the healthy instincts an attachment or two moved to to dominate to be the answer of the other or to move to depend upon the other and even in and out of relationships as we become attached we move naturally and hopefully in it in a very fluid dance that when we perceive the need of the other
00:06:39we take the position of moving to become their answer in the areas of of belonging and I and Love and Affection and all of those kinds of things and and vice versa and so this is Alpha dependent dances very important factor when you really understand this as I've come to understand this it's made more sense of the marriage conflicts we have than any other Dynamic we trip all over each other when we're both Alpha as in where you don't work always trying to Trump each other it's like two people trying to drive at the same time or or like in any kind of dance one person has to have the lead and of course if you're if you're both that trying to follow it said it is equally frustrating so this chicken here and attachment dance attachment is not about equality it is it's about hierarchy and and this is Politically Incorrect we have a hard time really seeing this and
00:07:39talking about it and you mentioned bullying as one aspect Earl or one element of of Alpha kinds of behavior but it's not always a negative situation right the Elsa is it is positive without it we wouldn't move to take care of the needy to take care of the vulnerable in the wild the Elsa instincts you can see they're at their intended purpose is to protect them to defend and to provide and so these and this is a very strong attachment needed very positive the problem comes when when are emotional brain the limbic system that cannot move us at the very same time that you care or to assume responsibility these are very to two very important emotions so there's this there's three instincts are emotions that must come simultaneously
00:08:39add me to to take charge at to care and to assume responsibility the problem with caring and responsibilities as they're very vulnerable emotions and we can easily become defended it to those even even mice can even other mammals can it so bullying exists in in in all these creatures and it's so if we become to send it again and then the of the intended the alpha instincts get divorced from a from what they were intended there they are intended purpose and the instincts become perverted and this is what ultimately happens in Bowling you have this this said drive to dominate to that is strong but to the other characteristics of every bully I've met in my life and I used to work with prisons of them is that their defended against the feelings of caring and responsibilities and sell the motorcycle rende then is to assert dominance
00:09:39exploiting a vulnerability rather than what you would see it to it you and you should see it as helping another all kinds of manifestations of the alpha you and I probably share one which is The Rescuer helper syndrome and and this is when you're over responsible and you assume to take care of everyone and so it's well known among therapists well known among others in and this is this is when your move to be over responsible if you hold others responsible which is a very interesting thing you hold others responsible and then the alpha manifestation takes a demanding turn and we are having an escalating problem with demanding children who are Elf of children who try to orchestrate the care of the adults around them and you also have a very competitive and manifestation this is when the Elsa instincts come when you're with
00:10:39your so-called equals because it's not in the position of hierarchy then you seek to displace the other which is a very primitive very primitive Instinct of alpha is this displacement and that's the basis of all competition is your displacing the other moving to the top and so on and so that's a very strong Instinct in for some people much more so than others so it's I mean the initial instinct is a is a healthy one it's one to take charge and to take care of but I guess it's some point if that becomes the character trait as opposed to a way that you could be fluid in any particular situation if you if you are a parent and you see or even in a marriage and you see that the person that you're with is this is hurt that's that's where that outfit instant can come in handy but if it's the motive behind it is not to care for the other but just to prove
00:11:39your own goals are your own self promotion I guess that's that's one of the problems that's right the elephant instincts are meant to be highly fluid if you put a baby in the arms of a two-year-old and you do some matchmaking a whole he's so lucky to have a big brother like you look at him smile at you oh he just loves you and he watch that 2 year old flying every little elephant Instinct in any just you can just feel the elephant sings come to the fore as he moves to take care of and to assume responsibility for the for the baby now the caring isn't informed that's another issue but the Instinct orchid care and in so these instincts are in every single person research shows that says that to even in the sexual domain the dominance and dependence instincts are all there it's part of the family it's culture in context that's that determines which will be expressed and then the more common maybe Dimension that people might be too
00:12:39you're with is that dominance and submission but you're calling in a little bit different from that is is there a difference but I think there is basically because the whole purpose of attachment in the purpose of attachment is is for one to take care of the other and and so the talk but an actual fact the opposite of alpha is not submission or you know it it is it it is to depend upon and it is this Saturday and so the real purpose is to provide in to seek the provider is the answer to the Seeker that it is seeking you you're seeking for the answers in terms of attachment belongings love and affection and so this is that submission is that I think is a very harmful construct and that you're giving up something but whereas when you depend
00:13:39very positive things and there's dignity in it to lean upon to trust in to see another as the answer at the Japanese culture doesn't use the term submission they use a term dependence and and they find great dignity in this I we have great problems with this and are North American culture but sometimes now like you've sent the idea is that in couples people will move in in and out of these two rolls and not attachment Dancewear sometimes one person will be depending upon the other and the other will need to take charge and sometimes the roles might be reversed but you written about an alpha complex which is a little bit different and how does that develop and what is the alpha complex all about you stuck in elephant instincts and it's not so fluid any more like Mother Teresa would be stuck in Ho Hitler would have been stuck there's all kinds of manifestations
00:14:39are you just a study was done on the u.s. presidents and they are the dri for dominance they call it a Fearless drive for dominance and what they have in common with that was Psycho-Pass is it it's stuck so it can be stuck in a rescuer syndrome that could be stuck in a bully syndrome it could be stuck in various ways but it's it's when it's no longer fluid the difference is is Alpha instincts they should depend upon the situation when they're more characteristic of the personality of bossy pants that person who who always has to take charge and over then it's more characteristic of the of the person if its characteristic of a person and then that person has has an alpha complex than you know what's funny is if I just watched the debate last night a lot of the commentators were talking about the two alpha males on stage
00:15:39battle what it was what was the what is it that a particular person so that it becomes detrimental to them and the people around them there's two things we can be elf of a by default when we didn't have a proper experience in our childhood of being taken care of and so we did encounter a strong Alpha presents I think this is happening to more and more children who simply don't encounter that I had this experience when I was young I was the oldest child and my mother was very sick when I was 5 years of age and my father was absent and it put me into an incredible Alpha roll and it became innocence my survival and I'm quite stuck I get exhausted sometimes in my Alpha roll when I do a week intensive are my Alpha instincts are so exhausted
00:16:39after that I I can't I don't even want to drive I want my wife to sue make the decisions about where we're going to eat and everything like that but as soon as my energy comes back you'll damn I go right back into the cell thing again and so what you're really saying is that you're having to take charge of things you having to give erection all the time Brian care of others that will teach you things get exhausted and that's and that's the only time for me sometimes that they lay down and back but I had this experience so it's really put me into an alpha position the other the other reason for becoming Alpha is very simple it's not safe to dependent and so if you were abused neglected if if if the relationship was used to gain steel if if there was a lot of law firm in your childhood if it's not safe to depend then then
00:17:39need to get stuck in that Alpha mode so there's different if there's different reasons for the alpha complex but at the end if you have an alpha complex and you become defend It games caring and defended against responsibility this is where the bully is born and it's so that that is the that's where it turns dark and that the alpha becomes very perverted that we have in our culture that we want our kids to be independent sometimes that Independence happens by necessity and not out of out of a sense of security patch meant that's almost a negative type of Independence Independence cannot be pushed the research shows that to that parents said to advise parents basically of toddlers into two types of parents one who says to their toddler you can walk very well on your own
00:18:39expect me to do anything for you that you could have should do for yourself and the other kind of parent who says Oh Come here I miss the picking you up but please hear all care of you and ironically in paradoxically the parents who are generous about inviting their children to depend have children who are who are invested in preoccupied with being independent is it the parents who are pushing the independence of their children have have children who are stuck at the wanting to be carry to depend and so it's very paradoxical and unfortunately we have we been thinking that we have to push Independence instead of realizing that no Nature has a plan when when we invite our children to depend upon us when they have a sense of being taken care of when they feel generously provided for automatically their limbic system goes into the the next year and nature say
00:19:39okay now we're ready for doing it myself for becoming their own person and so on and so that's Nature's jobs at Bush Independence our job is to take care of them now we've talked so much on family anatomy and talk with you as well about attachment and I think sometimes there's a risk for parents who are so concerned about their relationship with their children that they might even be afraid to set limits they might be afraid to disagree or to take that Alpha roll because of the impact it might have on the relationship but what does ineffective Alpha parent look like that's the thing is is yes that is so much and so many parents have lost their confidence they're afraid of upset that you don't express your own needs spell it's just like as it as a therapist it's not time for you to express your own needs because that would bring the client to take care of you and that would up and the whole stole the whole the whole
00:20:39relationship and many parents Express their own needs to their children and express their own emotions to the children you're making me sad I'm lonely now or you know what you're upsetting me which juice invites the child to take care of the parent the elephant the elephant presence is in the eyes it's in the manner it's in a demeanor and there's a take-charge attitude which really gives the child a sense that that everything is safe everything's okay and that they are the ones that are being taken care of and a big week this is I found it when I was in Provence on sabbatical there and in Bali when I had a brief sabbatical there that the alpha presents in parents and in Grand parents and teachers it was a very strong scripted and culture they walked as if they were the Children's after they talked as if they were their children
00:21:38and children move naturally in the dependent position looking up to them and then you come to North America and we have a whole host of adults who look so confused who are following their children were running two girls to tell them what to do and of course when you're in that you're in the dependent position and I even have to have the parents who who would buy my book and I could hardly wait to read this is my child oh my goodness don't you ever let your child know that you bought a book on parenting that's the worst thing they could do what it comes to your child you got to blow off at they got to know that you are there answer keep that they keep that that the secret but we've lost somehow these are very important elephant instincts with our children and so our children are becoming anxious they're becoming Alpha as a result highly alarmed because they do not feel our strength they do not feel or our confidence in
00:22:38be able to take care of them and so they take on the alpha roll and parents might be seen parents might be listening to this now and and thinking while my son seems kind of bossy and my child is pretty inflexible and I've heard about some bullying at school if a child is is stuck in that alpha position what can parents do to move them out of that position in their life are you need to establish a caring dominance with them and that's not if that's not an issue with of lording it over it's an issue with making that it easy for them to depend upon us and that is the part that we're having difficulty with get off work over 50 years now the key word in parenting has been has been you know yes it's okay for them to depend is an infant but by two years of age don't do anything for them that they could or could or should do for themselves and it's been a drastic message and told Leah taking us away from traditional wisdom and culture
00:23:38and so it is finding our rightful place on Earth are caring dominance difference in no traditional culture does a child feed themselves the parent makes up their mind what the child is going to eat and you know if you have a Ukrainian mother still you the queen mother isn't going to ask you what it is that you would like to eat not even after battle and you eat what she provide said that's the way you love her and she loves you by providing and in traditional cultures are are like this but we've we put children in the lead we have lost our confidence and in this our children are becoming bossy prescriptive controlling and then we misinterpreted as being strong rather than being as it is a desperate the fan in an actual fact the right relationship for children is to depend upon the adults who are responsible for them it's the only way we can truly take care of them it's the only
00:24:38way we can make them feel safe so you said several times you know that it's important for you as a parent not to look for the answer but to be the answer what is the question that the children are questions that the children are presenting to parents or bottom question of all of us is are we invited to exist in your presence and it's an attachment question we look for contacting closeness that this goes back to the attachment hunger for love and belonging for a sense of sameness what we're looking for this said this connection and so many ways and that is our basic hunger and just as we are our relationship should be to their food into their safety that we are there Defender we are there we are there provider the same thing should be the true in terms of their attachment hunger and so as parents we've come to think that we have to say
00:25:38we have to learn how to parent we we we have to find out what the answers are in an actual fact we've neglected the most important place of all out of just rising up to be the answer of our children and that's where the alpha instincts are found is in that aspiration that mission that confidence to become the answer my child needs so it's all about making sure that the children know that there are a priority for you but also that you are the one who's in authority over then absolutely yes absolutely you're willing to make the decisions including the tough decisions that they may be upset about your not afraid of upset the alpha. It is not afraid of upset you can help them get through that upset but you can ask still are firm and sending those limits do you ask for their input when you're making those decisions
00:26:38dinner maybe some people might be thinking well should we be conversing about what their needs might be before of course child cannot accept a no from you then the whole point of reasoning is is it's a moot point because the fact is the child except to know so all you're trying to do is avoid offset
00:27:04there's no point in ever having any kind of negotiation with somebody and taking their needs into consideration unless you're accepted as an agent of futility if you say no I'm not going to read the second story tonight and they are able to accept it then you're free to find out what their needs are all kinds of things but if the bottom line is they can't accept you as an agent of futility then that's what needs to be dealt with so what are the consequences if they can't accept you as it and is an agent if you say they start taking charge what what's happening or what what's the consequences of that need to be changed at when they're up against the things that they cannot change this this is the whole issue of human adaptation and it requires a lot of Courage of the parents to be the representative of that real
00:28:04of futility and the first word of course it's just something like no you know Mommy is the boss of that I can't let you do this or whatever it is or I can't let you have this and so on and so it's no and then the response to futility if it really sinks yet that the only thing left to do but it is for a child to have their tears and and it's that's where the body language comes then the limbic system went utility registers in the limbic system if they are too soft enough of the eyes water and so the tears of futility are there and then of course the next response yet from the parent should check to come along as an angel of comfort and so that you can make room for those tears at the same time being Asian to futility but we've lost that wisdom in our culture along with the alpha instincts and so we take way too many cues from our children in terms of what will upset them and then we find that they can't they can adapt to anything
00:29:04when they're up against things that they cannot change the they simply become more friends eat in their attempts to alter reality that they have no business altering and so this is all part again of the selfie thing are the alpha roll in a parent is to be able to have our gaze be a xandar naseby name is to be able to to then collect the tears that need to come with this and the forward the adaptation of our children over the little things in life so that they are prepared for the bigger things in life that they will be up against but of course when you have a parent who has difficulty accessing those Alpha instincts and then you have a child who may be bossy or inflexible something else is going to happen we haven't really talked about very much sooner or later you sending that child off to school and a teacher is going to have to deal with a child who feels like he's the boss yes that's exactly it and what secures our lost of course if you do stand up if you do say no
00:30:04can you get eruption to follow frustration of aggression and so on then the real issue is is that goes much more deeply into addressing the elephant issues in that child and helping them get their feelings back you know what's interesting of people listening to you probably think you know here's this warm and gentle man who advocates for talking about attachment and caring for four children and four other people and what people might not know but I kind of mentioned a little earlier was that you you worked in prison for a long time almost the opposite of what you might think someone like you would have been doing but that really informed a lot of what you came to develop in your series never it did and many do I do think of attachment based parenting as putting a child in the lead and as
00:31:04avoiding upset and taking the cues from the child and and and that's not what it is attachment is hierarchical and it is a parent taking their rightful position and responsibility because that's the only way that a child can feel satiated nurtured and safe so there isn't there are often misunderstandings when when people get into this attachment stuff it is yes it is nurturing but to nurture one person has to be in charge otherwise nurturance doesn't take place and ensuring that kids don't become defended against those vulnerable feelings is making sure they know it's normal to feel sad to worry about things normalizing those feelings is so important for parents to do absolutely absolutely and not to be afraid of them their self
00:32:05it's very important to make room for them in our cells and in our children it's been great talking to you again we want to thank you for coming on the show we want to let people know where they can find out more about your work and your books and where you're going to be next to finding out more it's just through the website institute.com and I'm just about to leave on a 10 Country tour or will be in 10 countries and nine other countries and then Canada but the away before I think I have 26 events that I'm doing over a period of 5 weeks and will be in in Mexico and then in Europe in and and Russia some political address is actually I get to address the parliament in your communion in Brussels on the well-being of children so some exciting things that there was an opening for me and I'll be in the
00:33:05Montreal area just as this coming up very very quickly here 22nd 23rd and 24th for a day seminars on anxiety alarm the alpha child on Tuesday and Wednesday of bullying and then I'll be back in the Ottowa region in the beginning of April of next year and I think I'm I'm doing a public address on the trouble to child I'm doing a day seminar on play actually which goes to the very core of the developmental approach the concept of play in there so much exciting stuff coming in from science now it's just I think it's the hottest topic now is is the constructive play very interesting and I both are looking forward to seeing you next week will be at the at the second two days of your three days in Montreal so hopefully we'll get a chance to chat in person
00:34:05that would be great thanks very much for joining us thank you for having me on yourself
00:34:25and that's it for us I hope you enjoyed our interview with dr. Gordon neufeld you can visit us, or email it said, you can find us on Facebook you can find us on Twitter if you're using an iPhone or iPod you can find us on the podcast app and as usual will leave you with a bit of a tune by brother love and he's over at brother love rocks.com thanks for listening see you in 2 weeks.
00:35:06family Anatomy. Com

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