The following talk by Jeru Kabbal was recorded live and is part of a Clarity Process training offered by the APT Institute.
Jeru: During the past few days, you have been getting acquainted with your four year old, this inner child that basically directs your life. After meeting the four year old, the next step is learning how to live with the four year old. This is what we would like to look at this morning.
It’s as if you take a new child into your house. Let’s suppose that you adopt an orphan. And when you adopt this orphan, you don’t know his background. And you notice, of course, that this child has certain patterns, certain habits, certain fears, certain desires, and you may not know where they came from, but they obviously came from someplace. It is also going to be obvious to you that this child is not going to be able to meet your expectations immediately, or to be what you want him to be immediately.
Let’s suppose also that this child has been in some way abused or hurt, and that something caused this child to contract in some way – maybe not totally – but in some aspects. So you start noticing those aspects that are contracted or afraid. You may say to the child, “It’s okay now, you don’t have to be afraid of such-and-such. You are staying with me now.” And the child will hear what you are saying, but may not be able to let it in. If this child has been in a place where it is not okay to go to the fridge, and you recognize that the child would like to do that but is afraid to, and you say, “It’s okay here to go to the fridge if you want to,” this child may not be able to do that immediately, because of past conditioning.
What you learn to do is to be very patient with this child. You learn to try to see the world through the eyes of this child, not trying to push the child around, not trying to dominate the child, but rather trying to go into the inner core of this child, to understand this child, and then re-educate this child from his or her inner core, and not just because you want the child to be a certain way. Because if you push this child too much, the child will contract even more. Even if you are trying to push the child into being happy, into being free, into being creative, into being open, this can cause the child to contract, because of past experience and past conditioning.
Remember that the way to be with your four-year-old is not to be arrogant, not to be pushy, but to be understanding. Do what you can do to open the doors so that the four-year-old wants to come out of them. But don’t pound on the door and say, “Come out! Come out! I want you to be free!” It won’t work. A lot of people, when they are doing these processes, start talking to their four-year-old the way their parents talked to them. At first perhaps rather lovingly and gently, and then if that doesn’t work, a bit condescendingly, and when that doesn’t work, getting firm, and when that doesn’t work, getting angry. That is not the way to do it. It didn’t work with you, and it won’t work with your four-year-old. The thing to do is listen, listen, always listen. Allow your four-year-old to express itself.
The four-year-old is dreaming. But just because the four year old is dreaming, doesn’t mean you should say to the four year old, “Shut up. You are just dreaming.” You say, “Tell me what you think is happening.” And then listen, all the way to the end. When you do this, you will see for yourself that what the four year old thinks is happening is not happening – because it is memory, it is a projection. And when you see that it is not happening, then you will also see that the four year old is actually dreaming.
The way to help the four year old come out of the dream is not to say, “It’s just a dream,” but to ask the four year old to compare what it thinks is happening with what is really happening. This takes some time. Sometimes it is very easy, and sometimes it is a little more difficult. But you want to find out what the four year old thinks is happening. Then you will see that the four year old is having some kind of nightmare, and then you do whatever you need to do to help your four year old come out of the nightmare.
Let’s just suppose that you have a three-year-old. And in the middle of the night the three-year-old comes into your bedroom, and is crying and frightened, and says, “There’s a dragon under my bed.” Now the first thing that you think about, of course, is that he has had a nightmare. But if you say to this child, “You just had a bad dream. There are no such things as dragons. Go back to bed.” Then you are going to scare the child. He is not going to be able to go back to bed. If he does, he is going to be in panic all night long. It’s not very loving to do that.
But you also want to help this child to come out of this idea, come away from this idea that there is a dragon under the bed. So you use whatever you might use with a three-year-old. You might say, “Oh, a dragon. That is really something. What color is it? Oh, a green one. How big is it?” And you keep talking about it, and you keep listening. And you say, “Okay, you stay here, and I am going to go look at it. I haven’t seen a green dragon in a long time. And anyway, I know how to get rid of green dragons.” So you go and look, and say, “Oh, yes, a green dragon. But I know how to get rid of him. I’ll just say these four words, and then look, he is gone.” And you let the child look, and the dragon is gone.
Maybe you will find some other way to do this. But you don’t say, “Come on, silly, there are no such things as dragons, especially green ones.” You let the child know that you are willing to listen. And at the same time that you are listening to the child tell about the dragon, you don’t get caught up in it. This is very important. While you are listening to the child talk about the dragon, you don’t start believing in the dragon, otherwise you are no help.
You want to listen so that it all comes out. The more you listen, the easier it is for you to see that it is all a dream. When you talk to the four-year-old, you say, “How are you feeling?” And he says, “I am angry. I am angry at so-and-so.” You might think that is the end of it, but keep listening, and keep asking questions. “So you are angry at so-and-so. Why are you angry? What are you angry about? How does that make you feel?”
Then the next level of questions which are the most important are, “What does that remind you of? Does that remind you of something from your childhood? How were you feeling then?” Because if your anger is being caused by a memory, then you don’t know what the cause of it is until you go into the memory. You can’t say, “My girlfriend makes me angry.” If that anger is coming from a memory, then it is not the girlfriend that is making you angry. You have to listen to the four-year-old, keep asking questions, and keep listening.
But as you listen, you stay in touch with reality, you stay in touch with the here and now, you stay in touch with the moment. And you recognize that what the four-year-old is telling you is not happening now. It is a memory already. Or maybe a memory for years and years. Always try to see the difference between memory and reality. This is what we are trying to share with you. This is the first big step. See the difference between reality and memory.
You divide the work up tremendously when you do that. Because you deal with reality one way, and you deal with fantasy or memory in another way. So the first thing, before you start adjusting your life, before you start solving your problems, you see what is memory and what is reality. See what is the past, and see what is the present.
This is what you want to do in your conversations with your four-year-old. Let the four-year-old represent memory. It does anyway. Let the four-year-old represent conditioning, represent the past. Let the adult that you are be the adult body, in the here and now, with all of your capabilities, all of your strengths, all of your ability to take care of yourself. And see in the moment that your survival is not in danger.
Remember that the four-year-old thinks that his survival is in danger, or that the danger is just around the corner. Maybe momentarily it is okay, but how about tomorrow?
You can almost always be certain of these two things being true. That the adult, the real you, will not be in danger. It is very, very rare that an adult is in danger. But the four-year-old is always going to feel in danger. So you have these two givens that you can start with. You always have to be careful, realizing that the four-year-old thinks that he is in danger. You will become schizophrenic. As a matter of fact you already are schizophrenic, and it is best to admit it. And once you admit it, you can use it in a very positive way.
You have this child inside of you that feels weak, and helpless, and vulnerable, and feels that he is dependent and won’t survive unless the other takes care of him. And at the same time, you have your real being, your physical body which is strong, capable, and adequate, able to take care of itself, able to interact with other people. And these are two totally different things, two totally different kinds of people. And yet, up until now, these two have been all mixed up together. One moment you feel like an infant, the next moment you feel like a three-year-old, the next moment you feel like a ten-year-old, the next moment you feel like a thirty-three-year old, and it goes up and down until you don’t really know who you are.
Separate these two aspects of yourself. The four year old with all of its experiences – your core personality plus its experiences on the one hand – and the here and now on the other. Try to keep those two as separate as you can. Then be in the here and now as the adult. You want to re-educate this child. You want to say to this child, “Look, regardless of what you have learned in the past, regardless of what you have been through, regardless of what fears you have experienced, and what desires you have created, regardless of what strategies you felt you had to practice in order to stay alive, I want you to know now that you live with me, I want you to know that you are safe. I want you to know now that there is someone with you twenty-four hours a day. And I can take care of you better than anyone else in the world. I am big and strong, I can earn a living, I can fix lunch, I can take care of us.” This is what the adult is saying. And you are re-educating the child.
But in the meantime let’s shift our analogies for a moment from the four year old to the computer. The four year old, as you recall, is the programs in the bio-computer. But we can teach the bio-computer that it is not a four year old any longer, that it is not a helpless infant any longer. We can teach the bio-computer to be in the here and now. We can teach the bio-computer that it is now in the body of a full-grown adult.
In dealing with the bio-computer, or the four-year-old, you want to be sure that you don’t deal with it in such a way that you activate defensive programs. You want to deal with it in such a way that the computer does not shut down, so that it doesn’t say, “This is too much for me,” or “I decided never to do that.” You have to be very, very patient and understanding, and that means that you have to understand where the four-year-old is coming from, you have to understand the programs that are in the bio-computer.
So it’s a matter of going into the computer. In some places you can go rather openly, and in some places you have to go very gently. Just like in a normal computer, there are some switches that are very big, and easy to manipulate, and there are some things that have little, tiny wires, and you just have to go in there very slowly and gently to get the right one. But you have to adjust yourself to the bio-computer, you have to influence the bio-computer. This is the way you change it – you influence it, you convince it, you don’t dominate it, you don’t force it. You cannot force this computer the size of Texas and a hundred stories high – it just doesn’t work. But you can influence it. You can re-educate it, you can teach it.
In changing a program or a pattern, you have to find out what works. You have to find out why the computer believes that this particular defense mechanism is important, and help it to see that those old dangers, or whatever was there originally, are not there now, and that it is okay to let go of them. You can’t just say to your four-year-old, “I command you, drop your armor.” But if you can take a little more gentle approach, “Oh, that is a nice suit of armor you have there. Where did you get that? You have been carrying it a long time, haven’t you? What are you wearing it for? Oh, it protects you from dragons – green dragons. Have you seen any lately?” And you keep talking about the need for the armor, and comparing it to reality. Is that armor still needed? What do you think the chances are of seeing another green dragon? And you just keep talking, until the four year old becomes aware that the armor is heavy, and maybe not needed. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t needed originally, but maybe it isn’t needed now.
In the winter time, if you put on a heavy overcoat to protect you from the cold, that’s great. But suppose you work for a company that moves you to the middle of the Sahara Desert. You must have done something good. But it’s the middle of the winter, and you are still wearing your overcoat. You are going to get very uncomfortable, and you are going to look around and see that you don’t need the overcoat anymore. And no one is going to have to convince you to take the overcoat off. It’s a drag. And once you see that you don’t need it, you take it off. But as long as you think you need it, you are going to keep it on.
And that is the way it is with our psychological armor, our psychological defense system. As long as the computer thinks we need it, we have to have it. So the thing to do is not to try to convince the four year old or the biocomputer to get rid of armor which it thinks it needs, but rather, help it to see that it doesn’t need that armor any longer. Then it is willing to let go of it, and it wants to let go of it.
But you can’t pull the armor off. There are a lot of therapies, especially some groups, that try to pull people’s armor off. Sometimes it works. But as soon as the group is over, the person says, “I am never going to let that happen again.” And they put the armor back on, and they screw on the screws a little more tightly.
Once in a great while, if it is done very carefully, you can pull the armor off, and the person sees that it is okay. But it usually doesn’t work that way, because people who want to pull your armor off, they usually don’t do it gently. They just want you to look at your trips and admit that you are this way. And that is very threatening.
Remember that your attitude toward the four-year-old is one of understanding that what the four-year-old has created is a defense system. It believes that it needs that defense system because there was a time when it actually did need it. Now it no longer needs the defense system, but it doesn’t know that yet. And that is your job.
You need to help the bio-computer understand that it is not being threatened the way it was when you were an infant, that your life is not in danger the way it was when you were born, that you don’t need the strategies that you developed as a young child. But you have to go into the computer and convince the computer of that. And once you learn the knack of that, it goes quite quickly. But as long as you hammer on the armor and demand that the four year old let go of the armor and let go of the defense system, you will find that you don’t make much progress.
That is what a lot of people do. They are trying to force themselves to change, and it doesn’t really work. When you can convince the biocomputer that you don’t need the old programs, they start falling away. And we have techniques to speed that process up. But even without those techniques, the falling away will happen, because the intelligence is there to see that if you don’t need it, and that it is okay to let go of it.
Therefore, listening to your four-year-old is the important thing. It is the way to find out what is going on. It is the way to find out why the armor has been put there in the first place, why these strategies were needed in the first place, why these attitudes developed in the first place. When you can get to the core of things, and then help your four- year-old to compare these memories to the reality of the here and now, your four-year-old will also see that the old memories are not relevant, that they are not real, they are not true.
Our work consists of bringing things up from the bio-computer in the subconscious, bringing things up to the surface so that we can see them, comparing those things to the here and now, so that we can see that the memories are false, and that the here and now is real. We keep doing that, bringing things up to the surface and comparing them to the here and now, and seeing what is real, letting go of the unreal. That is all. This is the way to clear out. Not being afraid to let these things come up, and as a matter of fact, encouraging them to come up, and comparing them always to the here and now.
A lot of people do one or the other. A lot of people will get into regression work, but they don’t compare that to the here and now. They don’t compare what comes up to the here and now. So they live in their nightmare, thinking it is real, and thinking that they are working on themselves, but they are just torturing themselves. They are just creating more nightmares.
There are a lot of therapies that do this. They work with the dream, but they don’t work with reality. They will tell you that your problems are real, but your problems are not real. They keep the problems alive by telling you that they are real. There are other disciplines or approaches that try to get you in the here and now, but they don’t deal with the green dragon at the subconscious level. So it doesn’t work. The green dragon keeps breaking through.
But if you will do both of these things, if you will bring the stuff up from the subconscious, expose it to the sunlight, compare it to the here and now, then it dissolves. And when it dissolves, it leaves space for something else to come up. This is the process, repeating one thing after the other. Letting old stuff come up, exposing it to the here and now, and letting it dissolve. Pretty soon, you start getting lighter and lighter, because you are not carrying these old fears. And as you get lighter, it gets easier and easier to actually be in the here and now, to be in the moment. You become more relaxed, your energy is more flowing, your aura actually expands. You are more intuitive, more present, and more alive. The more you clean up the past, the more you will be in the present.
You don’t have to work at being in the present, but it does require awareness. Either of these, if you do them separately, won’t really help you that much. You have to do both. Bring it up, and compare it to the here and now. For example, in the intuitive dialogue, that is what we do. We let the four-year-old express itself, bring it up, and as we are being the adult, we compare it to the here and now.
In the intuitive dialogue, when you are being the adult, the idea is not to be the parent, and say, “Look, how many times have I told you that you are not weak and helpless anymore?” and “How many times do I have to tell you that you can trust me?” It doesn’t work like that. Don’t talk to your four-year-old the way your mother talked to you. Listen. Listening is like a vacuum that needs to be filled. You listen, and the four-year-old starts talking to you. And it’s all this stuff from the subconscious that will start coming up. When I say listen, I mean allow space for emotions, for fears, for desires, or whatever is there, provide space for it. You provide the space, and the four-year-old will fill that space with his old stuff. And then you compare it to the here and now. Comparison will help dissolve it.
It does take patience. This process of re-educating your four-year-old is re-educating your bio-computer. The bio-computer has the programs put there by your four-year-old, which say, “I am helpless. I am weak. I am inadequate.” Now you want to tell the bio-computer, “Hey, that is not true any longer. You are now in a body that is big and strong.” You want to re-educate. Remember that the process of re-education is the same as the process of re-learning. Actually what we are aiming for is unlearning. We want to unlearn these old patterns, unlearn these old attitudes.
The process of unlearning is basically the same as the process of learning, and one important thing about learning is repetition. There are different ways that we can learn. One is that we can learn from a very strong experience, like when you put your hand on a hot stove, you usually don’t repeat it. You can learn from authority. If your mother, Mrs. God, says, “Don’t put your hand on the stove because it will burn,” and if you accept her as an authority, you don’t put your hand on the stove. You have learned that it is hot. And the other way is through repetition. We learn through repetition.
Most of our learning is through repetition, especially as adults. We repeat, repeat, and repeat, until we can do it. Whether we are learning to type, learning to drive a car, or learning to brush our teeth, or learning to tie our shoes, it is repetition that solidifies that learning process. So the unlearning process is the same way. To unlearn these old habits requires repetition. So be patient with your four-year-old. Understand that it is going to take repetition, going over the same things again, and again, and again. Just like being with this child that comes to live with you. “It’s okay for you to go to the fridge, you don’t have to be afraid,” or “It’s okay for you to do this, I am not going to punish you.” You have to repeat, repeat, repeat. So give yourself time for that. Understand that it is necessary. You can be patient.
And always be respectful and grateful to your four-year-old. If you are using the pendulum, ask your four-year-old as the first question, “To what degree are you willing to talk with me right now?” Don’t just assume that you can barge in there and ask your questions. Be respectful. You will get a lot more cooperation. Once the child realizes that you are not going to be pushing him around, and that you can become friends, you will get results. And that is what you want, you want to be friends.
But go from the space of understanding, go from the space of respect. You respect the child that you used to be. It’s not that you respect the movie, it’s not that you respect the nightmare, it’s not that you respect the dream. But you have to respect this bio-computer, because it is just too big to push around. So if this huge computer says, “I am afraid of brass buttons,” you say, “Oh, that is interesting. Will you tell me more about it? How big are the brass buttons that you are afraid of? When did you first become afraid of them?” Go into it, instead of just saying, “Oh, that is stupid.”
It’s the attitude that is important in this work. And a lot of this will depend on what you experienced during your first four years. You might have experienced that it was not safe to trust, so you have programs in the biocomputer that say, “Don’t trust.” Today you are trying to do something, and those programs will still be there. And you will have to deal with them.
There might be another person who is full of programs that say it is okay to trust. And that person will be totally different. But you have to deal with the programs that you have in your bio-computer, remembering that when you put them there, they made good sense. And today, now that you are not helpless and dependent any longer, they may not make any sense. They may be detrimental to you. But that is what you have to decide, once they come up to the surface.
Let this relationship with your four-year-old be a friendship. First it is going to be a relationship with a frightened child, a child who has created armor, a child who has created strategies, a child who has certain attitudes about life, a child that was born totally helpless. These programs are now in the computer, and what you want to do is help the computer see that these old programs are not relevant any longer. And in that process, you are going to change this bio-computer the size of Texas from being full of programs of being a helpless infant, to having the programs of being a strong and capable adult who will be a friend. And believe me, once you have turned that computer around, you are going to have a real friend. And then miracles are possible.
Question: “Twice now, in the final stages of a transformation, I have had the experience that how I was describing the event and the transformation was the way that it actually had been on some level, and that it had really been something really wonderful, and I am wondering if that would seem to be significant information, if that can be considered real in the sense of being an adult in the here and now.”
Jeru: Let me see if I understood you. You have had an experience which you would call a positive experience, as you are remembering. And you are asking, what relevancy does that have now? Is that it?
Question: “Even though I had been beaten up, when I transformed the beating up session, I saw it on a different level, in a different way, so that it was better than just getting beaten up.”
Jeru: Well, the main thing is, whatever it was, it was a memory. That is really the main thing we are trying to share with you. Whatever it was, it isn’t now, and it is okay to let go of it. And we do the transformation technique because it makes it easier to let go of those things. That is the purpose of it. We transform the negative energy into positive, and that is easier to let go of than the negative. Because the negative causes us to contract, and the positive causes us to relax. So that is why we do this, so that we can let go of it.
And of course, with the transformation technique, when you do the positive side of things, very often you see aspects of the original experience that you hadn’t seen before. That is another one of the advantages of that. But again, it is not that we are trying to analyze the past, but to let go of it. And we do what we can to bring the memories up, to make it easier to let go of them. It is not so necessary to understand them, or analyze them, or whatever. So I would just keep looking at it. I wouldn’t give too much significance to any single thing, but just keep plugging away, one step after the other. The only thing that is real is the here and now.
Question: “When something happens in the moment, something practical, like it happened to me last night that all of a sudden I felt angry because something happened, and I had a reason to be angry. How do I deal with that, in order to get back to being with myself?”
Jeru: This is a problem that everyone has – what to do when something makes you angry. Well, nothing makes you angry. You make yourself angry. You always have a choice whether to be angry or not. And there are some things that are more difficult, but still you have a choice. But as long as you think that it is something else that makes you angry, you are never going to make the attempt to take responsibility for that.
Question: “What I mean is, I see something, and I get angry. And so what do I do with this anger?”
Jeru: Well, the first thing to do is to watch your language. You said, “Something made me angry.” That is a totally different story than saying, “I made myself angry.” If you say, “I made myself angry,” okay, that is where you start to look at things. That is where the cause is. So why do you make yourself angry, that is the question. The answer usually is that whatever has happened is reminding you of a memory, or activating a memory of a time when you were helpless and dependent, and frustrated.
If you will start seeing that, you will get angry less often, and when you are angry, you will get over it more quickly. Because you will see that what you are doing is you are re-running an old movie. Find out how old you are in the movie, and deal with the movie as a movie. Intuitive dialogue is a way, and we will be showing you other ways later on.
But if something happens, and you see that, and you sort of push a certain button inside of yourself, it activates a certain movie. The movie is a memory of a much earlier time. And a key element of that movie will be your helplessness, your dependency, and your frustration about it. That is why you get angry. But deal with it as a memory, because that is what it is. And we will be learning to do that.
Question: “My experience yesterday from doing the rebirthing was that when you activate this computer, basically almost all thinking comes from this fear space. I can’t actually see any thought that happens in myself that doesn’t root itself in fear. And what you are saying is, that as the adult, when you are looking at the computer, you are saying, “Okay, this is the present, and there is no reason to fear,” and basically you are just de-activating the defense system. But the awareness, when you are saying, “Be present,” that is not even conditioned in any way, that is even separate from the adult. It’s not anything. So the watcher is just the awareness, just learning about this defense system, so it doesn’t go off in all situations.”
Jeru: Yes, you said it beautifully. The important thing is to see that all of your thoughts are coming from this fear space. If you don’t see it now, don’t be upset. But you will experience it, that is the case, that all of your thoughts are coming from fear. And the fear space is coming because you felt helpless. Now that you are no longer helpless, by any means, you also don’t need this fear space, and all of the strategies and defense mechanisms that you have created because of it.
Question: “Yesterday I had the experience that someone shouted at me, and I had immediately this impulse to shout back, because I know from experience that I get rid of this tension, and I am feeling strong, and that I got back at her, and this will teach her a lesson, and this kind of feeling. And then I didn’t do it, and I felt in that moment like this energy was still in me, because I am much more used to giving back, to actually venting myself if I am feeling weak and helpless. It’s like in society, or if you see these Italian movies, it’s really great, they have these big scenes, and then they hug again and everything is great. And then you think that this is the way it is supposed to be done. And if you just don’t react, then it is somehow strange, it is not natural. And so I have this whole thing happening.”
Jeru: Well, two things are probably happening there, and both of them are memories. One was a memory of wanting to strike back, and the other was a memory of telling yourself that it’s not okay to do that. The key is the fact that something made you angry. How did you make yourself angry? Why did you choose to be angry? That is the key question – not what you did about it, but what created it. And it is a memory that created it. That is what you have to see. The fact that someone is saying something to you in a loud voice is no reason to get upset. It’s just someone saying something to you in a loud voice, that’s all. The fact that you choose to take that and activate an old memory with it, and in that old memory you are weak and helpless, and defenseless, that is another issue.
But that is what actually happens. You set off a certain movie, an old movie of anger, of frustration, of helplessness, and you lived in it. But instead of fighting back the way you usually do, you didn’t say anything, and then became frustrated by that. But either of those two things are not really the best way to do it. The best way to do it is to see that you are creating a nightmare inside yourself, that is the first thing, that you are creating the nightmare. And then of course what you do about it is another story, but first see that you are creating the nightmare, that you are the one making yourself angry.
See that you have a choice not to do that – and that is not repression. It is not like being angry and then saying, “Oh, I shouldn’t be angry.” That is repression. What it really means is to look at it, at what is actually happening. What is actually happening if someone shouts at you? What is actually happening? You hear sounds, you see a distorted face, there is some air being moved in your direction. So what? Suppose that you are an acting coach, and you are trying to teach someone how to be angry. And you have been practicing, and finally it happens, they get it. You hear a loud noise, you see a distorted face, there is air being moved in your direction, and you don’t feel threatened, you feel happy. So what is the difference?
Question: “I think it’s about the intention coming from that person. I think it’s about refusing to accept the content of that intention.”
Jeru: Be as realistic as you can. That is the point. Is your life being threatened just because someone is raising their voice? Do you need to feel weak, and helpless, and frustrated, just because someone is raising their voice? Do you need to regress just because someone else is regressed? That is the point.
Question: “But when you are angry, you can’t see it, because you are living in it.”
Jeru: Yes, but it is your responsibility to see why you are creating your own anger. Where is the anger coming from? Is it coming from what the other person is doing, or is it coming from you? If you think that it is coming from the other person, then of course you are just a helpless victim. But if you can see that the anger is coming from you, then you can change it. You can do something about it.
Question: “I am in the same situation. I am in a beautiful space, no problems, and then someone comes and slaps me.”
Jeru: Okay, fine. So what happened there? You feel an impact. But has your life been threatened? That is the thing to do. Be realistic about it. Maybe you are in danger. And if you are in danger, then fine, respond accordingly. But the question is, are you in danger? Is your life threatened? Do you need to respond to that situation like a helpless, frustrated infant, or like a strong and capable adult? That is the question. That is what we are trying to see.
Question: “I think that it is really important to respect what your four-year-old is saying in that situation, and not push it away. I have had the thought also that you don’t want to live as a slave to your four-year-old, and always do only what he wants you to do. I am wondering about the idea of discipline. Because an example in my own life is that I do martial arts, and there are some times when my kid just doesn’t want to go to class, and there are situations when my adult wants something, and my four-year-old doesn’t want to.”
Jeru: That is a very good question. There will be times when you feel like there is a limit. And you have to use that with tender loving care. And very often, there will be certain things that if you talk to the four-year-old, he will concede. If you say, “Look, I know we feel this way sometimes, and we don’t really want to go. But haven’t you noticed that every time we go, we feel better?” Get the four-year-old to say, “Yes, that is true. We do feel better.” In other words, talk to your four-year-old about it. Hear why he doesn’t want to go. Maybe he has a reason. It has nothing to do with that. You are not to become a slave to your four- year-old. But you will learn that by being open to your four year old, he will become a lot more cooperative than when you are trying to push him around. That is really the main point.