Why Parents May Need Both a “Good” and “Bad” Kid


We may (subconsciously) encourage the very chaos we want to end.

Here’s what commonly happens among Brain Highways participants.

Parents who have multiple children often enroll just the one they view as problematic. To be clear: These parents definitely love that child.

But the Brain Highways participant is the one they’ve identified as being difficult and challenging. Some of those parents even go as far as to say their child is aggressive, disruptive, manipulative, controlling, and more.

However, once that child starts organizing his or her brain and begins to apply the create-a-positive brain approaches included in the course, suddenly . . . there’s a major shift in the home.

That problematic child now becomes the “good” one, while the sibling who was not enrolled starts acting up and becomes the “bad” one. The siblings have just switched roles.

Of course, there’s still chaos in the home. After all, the only change has been the source of the turmoil.

Can’t even count how many times parents have shared that scenario happened once they started the program.

So, what’s going on here? Well, first we have to ask this question: Why might a parent (subconsciously) want one “bad” and one “good” child? It’s a fair question since that crazy shift more than infers the child is not the variable.

To start answering that question, we need to first remember that the brain doesn’t participate in anything, again and again, if it doesn’t perceive some benefit. Since that’s true, then what might be the upside of having a “bad” kid? I know that sounds strange, but (trust me) a parent’s brain is experiencing some benefit if kids in the home just keep shifting back-and-forth in terms of who is good and who is bad.

Here’s a possibility. When kids create chaos in the home, there’s now a distraction.

And then, when we’re distracted by all that mayhem, we can’t possibly have time to reflect on, let alone do, whatever we may need to address in our own lives, right?

For example, maybe we’re subconsciously worried that our spouse is not as connected to us as when we were first married. Or, maybe we’ve been putting off quitting our job or re-entering the work force we left so many years ago.

It doesn’t matter “what” we’re avoiding. The common thread is . . . there’s some kind of fear attached to whatever we’re avoiding—and that fear is then greater than our desire for peace in the home.

Ouch. But that’s why fear does often disrupt our lives in so many ways.

To note: More times than not, we probably have no conscious awareness that we’re avoiding something. But again, that’s the beauty of keeping a distraction in our home, right?

From a brain’s perspective, living in chaos means that we’re hardly ever in our cortex—which then ensures that we have little or no time to ponder and reflect on whatever we are avoiding.

And since living in chaos requires that we expend lots of extra time and energy, here’s the next question: What could we be doing with that time if the chaos was suddenly gone from our lives? Believe it or not, many of our prior participants could not even envision a life without chaos when they first started the program.

Okay, so then why do we also need a “good” kid? Wouldn’t double or triple the amount of “bad” kids create even more chaos? And then, if the subconscious goal is to avoid focusing on something we don’t want to face, wouldn’t even more chaos be better?

True, but we probably also fear that people judge us. If so, then we’ll still need a “good” kid to validate our parenting skills and to deflect the spotlight from shining right on us. In other words, see? It’s not us. Right here is also our “good” child, and he can (fill in the blank) without any problem, and he never (fill in the blank).

That’s why it doesn’t matter which kid is good and which is not. The avoidance set-up works, regardless.

Now, I acknowledge that some parents may think I’m way off here. They may even be angry with me for suggesting there’s a subconscious message that actually invites siblings in a family to step into the role of “bad” kid.

But here’s what I know and have experienced. When parents ponder and then address whatever they are avoiding, the good kid/bad kid set-up goes away.

I also know this. At Brain Highways, there are never “good” or “bad” kids in any of our classes.

I’m not just saying that. When parents first broach the subject of how their “other” child is now causing problems, I always ask, “Are any of the kids in our classes perceived as better than others?”

And they’re always quick to say, “No.”

To which I agree. Even when siblings are enrolled in the same class, there’s no notable difference in their behavior, no matter if one is perceived “good” and the other “bad” when at home.

That’s because there’s only one role for kids in our classes—and that’s the role of “champion.”

Simply put: If kids are given the role of a champion wherever they go—with zero openings for any other role to fill—then only champions will show up.


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