Dr. Justin Coulson, PhD, says we can get phenomenal results if we are open and understand other people’s point of view.
Are your children giving you a hard time? It doesn’t have to be this way! Combine your passion for them with applied psychology. Everything will change!
Dr. Justin Coulson got his PhD in psychology and now focuses on parenting. He uses his psychological knowledge to solve family conflicts and misunderstandings.
Justin says that whenever something doesn’t have to be settled in that very moment, it’s better to talk a bit later when you calm down to avoid arguments. We have to be aware of the fact that others are dealing with their own emotional confusion.
The parenting expert strongly advises a highly useful rule: Explain, Explore, Empower.
The foundation of this rule is: ‘Help me to see the world through your eyes.’ Explain what you expect. Understand where the other person is coming from and how he/she thinks you should proceed.
This rule can do wonders in all types of teams and relationship conflicts.
Want to be a better leader of your family or group? Learn from psychology specialists. Share it with your friends and spread the passion.
Passionpreneur & Chief Energy Officer
Award Winning Author & Speaker
Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays – the best way to end a week and start another! Our guest today has got a PhD in psychology, specializing in happy parenting – Justin Coulson! Thank you very much for being with us today!
Justin: It’s great to meet you, Moustafa!
Moustafa: It an interesting topic. I’ve seen people talking about happiness, people talking about parenting. But putting both together is an interesting twist. Tell me more!
Justin: When you watch parents walking down the street with their children, what sort of look do you see on their faces? Parents don’t tend to be going: ‘Haha, this is great!’. You see them in shops with their children and they frown, they look miserable. Everyone thinks that parenting is supposed to make us happy. Having children is supposed to bring us joy. But when I was studying, what I discovered was research telling that having children is not the same as having happiness. In fact, quite often they can be counter-productive. Children wake us up in the middle of the night, they won’t eat the food we give them. They have problems with their friends. They don’t know how to use bathrooms and toilets properly when they are young and when they get older we start to worry about sex and drugs and rock’n’roll and all that sort of thing. Having kids can be really hard work. But there is something inside me that just thought that even though kids are hard work and even though the science says that it’s hard to be happy and be a parent, there is got to be something more to it. So I went to school, I’ve spent 8 and a half years studying undergrad, postgrad, PhD and did my studies in happiness and parenting. And I’ve learned a whole lot about how people can be happy. I’ve learned a whole lot about parenting and I also learned how parents can be happy.
Moustafa: That sounds like phenomenal service to the world and a great business opportunity. And it sounds beautiful when it’s beautiful. How about when it was getting tough? Because I’m sure when you said I want to put parenting and happiness together it didn’t just gel well.
Justin: I have 6 children.
Justin: And they are all girls. I love them like crazy but there have been days when I’m not happy to be a dad. You know, I just think: ‘Oh my goodness, I just want to get away from it’, they are stressing me out. And after those particular unfortunate days when it was a bad day for the kids and it was a bad day for me, I realized that implementation and knowledge are two totally different things. You can know everything about it but if you are not implementing it, the knowledge is pointless. And I made a commitment that day that I won’t get angry again, that I would not allow my children’s challenges to frustrate me. And I think there is an important lesson here not just for parents, but for leaders. If you lead a team, if you’re a manager, if you’re a teacher, an educator and you’ve got a room full of people that you’ve got some sort of responsibility for, every now and again they are going to start flinging their crap at you. They are going to start flinging stuff at you that you don’t want to have to hold or clean up. And some parents, some leaders, some teachers, some managers they go pick up all that mess and they start to fling it around right back. And it turns into a…
Moustafa: Messy fact.
Justin: Yes, a big fact that it would be impolite to call it what it really is. We don’t want to have that kind of experiences in our homes or in our workplaces. What I do is I teach people how you can deal with that stuff that’s been flung at you without flinging it back and also without being a doormat. Because parents or managers it’s not our job to have people wipe their feet on us. We are supposed to guide them and help them and that’s what I’m about. And the interesting thing is – when we do this right, when we spend time in a relationship, when we look at our kids who are struggling and we realize that our child isn’t a challenge, our child experiences a challenge. Or our team member isn’t a challenger, our team member is experiencing a challenge. Without pointing at them and saying: ‘Moustafa you’re a problem. You need to sit in your room and figure it out. Here is your written warning. Figure it out or you’re off the team’. We don’t do that. Instead, we say: ‘Moustafa, you are having a challenge and I’m here to help you. What can I do to help?’. Shifting the mindset, which is so hard to do in the moment, but when we shift that, we change our families, we change our relationships, we build trust. We change our workplaces and our team. We create a different culture. And as a kind of culture where we don’t have to get frustrated or angry. We can actually be happy because we are serving one another.
Moustafa: I love it! It’s so beautiful and I get excited about that and equally I see times in my head as you’re talking when I’ve tried that and for some reason that person didn’t want to. Because for some reason they are dealing, as you said, with their own emotional stuffs. So if you’re coming from a place of awareness and you’re passionate about them so you really want to help them, especially if it’s a family member. Sometimes if it’s a team member, it’s easier to let go.
Justin: You’re off the team, that’s right.
Moustafa: Or whatever, let them be. But if it’s a family member and, you know, you’ve got girls, and they are doing something that it’s not good for the future, you truly believe you have to protect them from someone or something, then it becomes challenging because your passion for something is fighting with their passion to doing something. How do you resolve situations like these?
Justin: Sometimes you can’t resolve them in the moment.
Justin: Sometimes you just have to say: ‘Ok, I’m not going to behave at my best so I’ll go to my room and I’ll come back when I can behave like an adult’. Or sometimes I might say to the kids: ‘At the moment you don’t seem to be responding to what I’m offering. Why don’t we just call it quits for a bit and then we can come back and talk about it later?’. It’s very rare that issues have to be resolved right here right now.
Moustafa: We get caught up in our own emotions that we want, yeah…
Justin: Right. And sometimes they do. Sometimes you have to say: ‘You wear your seatbelt or we don’t drive’ and as a parent you’ve got to say ‘I’m a parent and I have to make sure that you do this because you are 3 and you don’t get to decide this’. But most of the time, children are getting older and they are fighting with their sibling or they don’t share or having an argument about their curfew or whatever it might be. We can actually take that time away. And we can come back. And when we come back there are three things that we need to do. I call them the 3 Es. We need to explain. This is what I expect and why. This is my rationale. We need to explore. Help me to understand how it is for you. Help me to see the world through your eyes. Why is this so important to you? Why are we having this conflict? Where is this power struggle coming from? This obviously matters to you. But why? And then we need to empower. We say to them. Ok, I explained where I’m coming from. We’ve explored where you’re coming from. Where to from here? What do you think we should do? How can we get through this? You might even say: If you were in my position, what would you do? Now this works in families with kids from the age of 3 or 4 and up, it works in teams, it works in classrooms, any setting where you have some sort of relationship conflict. If you Explain, Explore, Empower you get phenomenal results.
Moustafa: And for you to be able to Explain, Explore, Empower, you need to be really passionate about the topic because otherwise you won’t have the stamina to do it or to stay at it.
Justin: Kids have so much energy for the things they believe in. And I actually watched so many parents, especially as children get older, when they become teenagers. I watch so many parents just check out. In fact, my oldest daughter is about to turn 18 at the time of recording this and I’ve had her say things to me like: ‘Dad, why did you even care? None of my friends’ parents car. They just let them do whatever they want. They don’t have these conversations anymore.’ and I’ve said: ‘I’m not checking out. I’m in this relationship. I’m your dad. I love you. You don’t walk away from this and neither do I. We figure this out’…
Moustafa: Beautiful! Sharing how passionate you are…
Justin: About her.
Moustafa: Yes, beautiful! Not about you being a parent, about her as a person. And I’m assuming that would have worked at least to a certain extend for her to stay throughout that journey.
Justin: Yeah, yeah and sometimes we have to step back from it again and say: ‘Alright, not now. We are going to talk about it tomorrow. Let’s try again’ but I let her know that I’m not walking out of this. You matter too much.
Moustafa: Beautiful! You matter too much… that’s the kind of passion we like in parenting.
Moustafa: Thank you very much for this amazing interview! I really love it!
Justin: Thank you, Moustafa!
Moustafa and Justin: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I really hope you’ve found this episode about parenting as passionate as I did. If so, leave your comments on the blog below and do share it with other parents. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website, go to Moustafa.com. Until next episode – live passionately!