More and more, we are seeing how our issues as adult women can be traced back to our experiences during childhood. It is essential to understand why the issues we were dealing with when we were 10 are the same ones we’re encountering at 35. Here to help peel those layers is life coach, therapist, and hypnotherapist Alicia Marcos Birong. Alicia is the founder and owner of Changing the Chatter: Celebrating ChatterGirls and Guided Choices. She is a pioneer in the field of child mindfulness with a passion for improving and empowering the lives of individuals of all ages. In this episode, she joins host Rosie Zilinskas to discuss how they’re equipping children with tools to help empower them as women. Alicia shares valuable advice for parents on communicating and interacting with their children to help their growth and development. Listen in to gain thoughtful insight and essential knowledge on how to value mental health starting from childhood.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Changing the Chatter with Alicia Marcos Birong
I am featuring Alicia Marcus Birong. She is a pioneer in the field of child mindfulness. An international selling author and Amazon bestseller, Alicia’s passion for empowering children is evident. With over 25 years of experience as a therapist, life coach, and hypnotherapist, she shares her expertise with communities nationwide. You may have seen her on national television or working alongside companies like Coca-Cola, Air Force Academy, and the Girl Scouts of America.
This conversation is extremely important, especially for parents, because the conversation is going to be focused around empowering younger girls ages 8 to 14. Obviously, when we empower our younger girls, then we have more confident teens and that transfers into the workforce as women once they get to that spot. The conversation is going to be very interesting and we have a lot of good information for you if you are a parent on how to handle or deal with your younger children. Stay tuned for Alicia’s conversation.
Alicia Marcus Birong, thank you so much for being on the show. I wanted to ask you, tell me a little bit about why you started Chatter Girls and why you started it.
I started Chatter Girls because of my challenges as a young girl being very quiet. I’m not a talker at all and I had no self-confidence. After I spent many years working with kids and women, what brought me to the final place was one day I had a young girl who was ten in my office and I had a woman who was 45 in my office.
At the end of the day, I looked at that and said, “They still have the same issues. Both of them have no confidence.” What if we could help their confidence in the younger years to help them be powerful women? That was my ultimate goal. I did a lot of research on it. I looked at what happens between 8 and 14 and that it absolutely is the confidence time.
If you don’t look at your confidence between 8 and 14 and work on it, you will not touch it again until between 30 and 40. The reason why is now you are in the marketplace. Now you have a job and you are good at that job, but you have no self-confidence. That is what clicked for me to be able to say, “What are those women and girls telling me? How can I help them?” They had come to me individually, so now I wanted to develop as activities and situations for groups.
In the intro, I mentioned that you are a licensed therapist but a pioneer in pediatric coaching and hypnotherapy. For you to have a young girl and then an adult woman telling you the same things, that’s pretty revealing. I know that young girls’ confidence peaks at age nine because I did a study. I didn’t realize that they didn’t touch or work on their self-confidence until they are their 30s and in the workplace.
The conversation that we are having is how young girls foster that confidence when they are young, so that we don’t have women in their 40s sitting in your office talking about lack of self-confidence. I already said that it helps young girls ages 8 to 14. Tell me a little bit. What have you observed with Chatter Girls programs that you’ve done in the past and how has that helped these young girls?
One of the things that I love about the program that I wrote is that Chatter Girls worked with every young girl. She can have Asperger’s, ADD, major anxiety and not be able to speak in a room, and she can have all kinds of variety of issues. When they come together and have a common ground, they work through the process and begin to realize that they are in control of their mind with the tools and don’t necessarily have to accept what everybody else says.
They don’t have to accept that the bully says you are stupid or that somebody didn’t like how your hair looked that day, or they scare you when you come into the room with them. That was my thing. Through the process and the ways that we work with the girls, they can do the program more than once, which we have seen them as they get older as they do different times. Each session for 2 hours, 5 days a week of that parent back a different child. Moms and dads tell us, “I left this girl. She wouldn’t speak and now it’s the fifth session and she won’t be quiet.” That’s it because they have their power and that power is going to go on through high school, college, and in the workplace.
How did you come up with the name Chatter Girls? Is it talking about chatter externally or the chatter in your brain?
The chatter in your brain. As a hypnotherapist, I have always worked with the chatter in our mind and always putting it somewhere. As we do in Chatter Girls and I did for years with the kids, we put it in a box. The boxes in the image of yourself. The girls decorate the box up and it looks beautiful. Through the process, we do what we call journey to the mind.
We grew a visualization process with the girls to listen to what all that stuff is that we call chatter that says, “You are nasty. I’m angry. I’m ugly.” All those things that keep on and on. As an adult, for me, they kept on for long times. I’m not saying that we eliminate them. I teach you to take the tools and learn how to keep on letting go because it’s always going to come back. There’s going to always be some chatter.
When I’m standing in front of a stage and getting ready to talk to a group of people, some of it comes in and says, “What do you think you are doing?” Then I look around and I go, “I know what I’m doing. I’m changing lives.” All that little young girl who was quiet and afraid leaves. She leaves. That’s what we want to happen for women. I worked with women in halfway houses and they had no confidence. They had no self-esteem, but they didn’t know how to be women because they never grew up at all. They didn’t. They decided to do drugs, and then they decided to be a mother, they got pregnant, or all that other stuff happened.
The process of becoming a mom and becoming a woman was let go. When I worked with those women, I was working with kids. It was kids who I was working with because that was their mentality. We took them to the world of teaching them that there was more out there for them. How to be able to cook, how to a garden, or be able to write a thought in a book and go, “That’s how I feel.”
All of those things belong to us as women if we decide to own them, but they also should belong to us as children so that when we become women, we are not behind. We are ahead of the game. We can do it because we have learned these tools. I had one girl who came to my very first Chatter Girls. Years later, she came back to be a mentor.
I use high school girls and college girls as mentors because I’m a little older and those young girls know how to talk to girls. She came back and it was time to go to college, and she said, “I’m writing my dissertation for college to get into college about Chatter Girls and how it changed my life and how coming back and helping the girls and telling them my story changed my life.” The amazing thing is that the year she got ready to graduate, her dad died right before Christmas. When we talked, she said, “I have the strength within to be able to do what I need to do.” It was tough, but she already had the strength. As she did, she dealt with it very differently than a lot of other people.
Let’s teach them the tools. I have a granddaughter and every year that she’s gone through Chatter Girls since the age of nine, I see her grow more and more. I see her user tools. I see her stand up for who she is. Her mom is a big part of that, and her mom helped me write Chatter Girls because she went through her challenges and she knew what we had her and I had challenged with. She also knew the skills that I taught her that I didn’t know to be able to have her be a very successful woman in her life.
You said a lot there, but I want to go back to the visualization of these young girls. If you teach them to visualize how they can be, what goals they can attain, and how good life can be in the future, then visualization is perfect for that. On the flip side, the women that you said were adults that were mothers or drug addicts, that you were dealing with their mind because inside they were full-grown women, but their mind was from a child. What do you think lacked those women that they weren’t able to mature into a full-grown women?
A lot of these women were in a low-income poverty situation. It wasn’t the priority to be able to do things, and then the choices were limited. A lot of them chose drugs and alcohol because they thought it made things easier. Even in those areas, in other areas, when I was a youth minister, it was the same thing. One of the ways that we do Chatter Girls is we looked at look at five things. We look at a mirror. We have the girls look at a mirror. We look at the mask that we all put on and we all put one on. No matter how old we are, we look at the chatter in our mind.
We look at where is our voice? Is it here? Are we going to learn how to open it and be able to say, “This is who I am, this is who I want to be, and I have the power within myself to do it.” The last session is 100% me being able to continue to celebrate where they are going and what they are doing. Yes, we are going to all stumble.
One of the things that we do with the visualization is we have audios and those girls have those audios for life. All they have to do is turn on their little phone or iPad. If they have had a bad day at school, moms know, “Why don’t you go listen to one of your audios from Chatter Girls?” Mom says the girl comes back. She’s fine.
She has taken back her power. She’s remembered what she can do about the situation and she’s ready to move on, and it’s a matter of life back. It’s not this long period that we do that. We carry stuff for months and years. Imagine the letting go of it, and that was what I was doing with the women. They began to change and realize they had value. That was the most important thing with working with them to teach them and help them understand. No matter what road you are going down, it doesn’t mean you have to keep on going down that road.
Even for people that don’t have the means to say, “Go to therapy or have higher education.” You can still journal. In any book notebook that you had, you can still sit down and meditate. There are one million different types of meditation on YouTube that most people have a phone nowadays or a computer. It doesn’t necessarily be that you have to go to a therapist like Alicia, but there are tools that you can seek.
The biggest thing is, do you know that there’s better out there, that you can be different and think differently? I have known people I have been doing personal development for many years now. I know that there are people out there that are YouTube personal development or that they are now figuring out that there is such a thing as personal development. I’m not talking about education like textbooks or anything like that.
I’m talking about your spirit, the chatter in your head, your self-confidence, and all that good stuff. Children’s mental health translates into women empower. Chatter Girls is a specific program, but what other things do you see with even younger children? Do you see even younger children in your practice? What are some of the concerns that you see even with younger children?
The big question here goes to the situation of a new use of work, and this is what we are looking at, especially during COVID. Mental illnesses all of a sudden skyrocketed, but we also have mental health, and that’s why I have practiced as a live pediatric coach and a regular life coach because we give everyone an opportunity if they are afraid. They know like, “I don’t have a mental illness, but I can’t manage my anxiety, stress, or any of that.”
There are many people out there that are approaching it in that way, and there are lots more books. I always tell people and you’ve probably understood this. When I decided to be a hypnotherapist and a life coach, there wasn’t anybody doing what I was doing anywhere. Now there’s one on every block. As there is one on every block, find one that’ll help you. You don’t have to go there and say, “I don’t need meds.”
Maybe you don’t need meds, but you need some tools, and that’s what coaches are about. They are giving you tools, but most coaches also have the knowledge to be able to say, “I’m only able to help you in this area. Maybe you need me to go to the next step.” I work with a lot of psychiatrists because I have my LPC and my background in counseling. They have a lot of respect for me because a lot of times they will say, “I know that when I get a client from you, Alicia, it’s one that does need meds because you’ve done everything possible, so they need me and you,” and that’s it.
It’s not a competition. It’s collaborating with other professionals. I don’t see women as much as I used to because I’m focusing on the kids to be stronger kids. I sent you somebody to be able to work with, because I know that there are people who are focusing on that and people know that I’m mainly focusing on this generation to make a difference because they got a slap in their face through COVID.
The younger kids, are there specific tools or conditions that you are seeing that impact that mental health conversation? Which specifically is more towards for our purposes that self-confidence that translates into adult life?
A lot of the kids are angry, anxious, and living in fear. Imagine that you see the last day of school on the news or you hear that all these kids were killed at their school. The last day of school. Wouldn’t you think your kid might if they got that information? They might be scared about going back to school. I have kids who don’t want to go to parades ever again. There’s all of it. What I say to parents is you’ve got to have the time and sit down with them. You’ve got to listen to them. You got to hear what they are hearing. The younger ones are not exposed to the media as much as the other kids are, but the kids are still talking.
If there is a focus that your child comes home and is scared one day, you have to ask them. Remember, listen to them. Keep the door open for them to know that you are going to be there to listen to them. Teach them how to journal. We have journals for girls’ period that we put out. The other thing that I love to do is affirmations. We have affirmations and put an affirmation.
We have some free ones on our page. Put an affirmation in that backpack. Put an affirmation on that mirror or that refrigerator. Give them a positive thought. It’s not just for them. It’s for you too. Start your day out with that positive thing. Journaling helps us take things from the mind and take away its power. My thought always has been, if we keep it in the mind, it has too much power. If you put it on a piece of paper, then it takes some of the power away and it begins to allow us to free our minds up to figure out what to do with it. A 5 or 6-year-old can do it, and if they can’t write, they can draw.
I love to see them draw their pictures. “Ms. Alicia, this little boy was doing this or whatever.” I smile because I’m like, “That kid is not going to be seeing me when he’s fifteen.” The kid that made him angry and in 2nd grade or 1st grade. I won’t be around, but there’ll be other people around with me, but we have to work on this. There are a lot of people out there trying to help, and I want to have a lot more. That’s why I teach pediatric hypnosis and life coaching, because I want to have a lot more people to help these kids and of the future.
You have a certification program. Do the people going through this program have a medical background?
No. They have to love kids and want to help the kids on their journey. I will give them all the knowledge, background, development stages, and everything they know to be able to be qualified to set with that child, but most of all, they have to have a story with the child. When the child hears your story, they are feeling the freedom to tell you theirs.
If we keep it in the mind, it has too much power. If we put it on a piece of paper, then it takes some of the power away and it begins to allow us to free our mind up. – Alicia M. Birong Click To Tweet
I’m going to give you a perfect example of what you said as far as journaling. I was going through a bad divorce and went to a personal development course called the Landmark Forum. In Landmark, they make you write down your story, everything that’s holding power in your head and heart. They give you 30 minutes to write and you have to physically write it.
We had notebooks, we wrote our story, and you write. At the end of the exercise, you have to sit with a partner and you have to read your story. The magic came in when you were reading your story, and at the end of the exercise, everybody was laughing about everything that they wrote because once you wrote the 4th or the 5th time, you are like, “This is so stupid. Why do I have all this negativity about this event that is happening and that I have no control over?”
You could see a collective sigh of relief in the room because you let that go. Landmark Forum saved my sanity because it still took me probably another couple of years to get done with my divorce, but after that, it was like, “It’s just a process.” In my head, the worst-case scenario would be that I would lose custody of my children, but I was still going to be their mother. I was still going to see them. I was still going to care for them.
Once I got that fear out of my head and my heart, I was able to go through the process, and I ended up getting full custody of my kids. It was exactly what you said where you journal it. It’s like a brain dump. If you read it over and over, you are like, “It’s words on a piece of paper.” It works. I know it works.
It does. For the kids, sometimes they want something immediate, so they don’t want to write a journal, so that’s why I tell them. You find your piece of paper. You write that word angry on it or mad at Johnny, or whatever. Put it in your secret place for your box, and then on another day, when you are feeling good, go get that box and look at that piece of paper and go, “I’m not angry at Johnny anymore. He did this and he’s a wonderful person.”
Johnny would have still been feeling that situation from you if you hadn’t let it go and put it aside so you could move forward. I feel like tools for kids and for adults are essential. I was laughing with someone. I don’t know if it was at the event where you and I were at. We were talking about journals at I’m at this event, and everybody’s like, “I got hundreds of tools, but I burned them up and I’m going, ‘I did not.’” I want my kids to see it when I’m older. I went through all this crud, and I know I still survived because I have lots of secrets.
There were things we don’t tell our kids because we protect them. As we become adults and best friends with our children, it’s okay for them to be able to share those secrets and stuff like that. My daughter was me one day and she says, “I can’t wait to read these well.” Unless Bill burns them or my husband reads them or whatever, but it’s the best thing.
I’m going to talk a little bit about a mutual friend that we both love, Michelle Mehta. One of the cool things that she said that she recommends parents to do is to change language slightly. For example, if your kid is always playing video games, your go-to is like, “Why do you always play video games?” Instead of saying why which is accusatory, say, “What do you feel when you play video games? What is it about video games that you enjoy?” It’s going from the why to the what or the how. Do you find that that’s the same with younger kids as well?
It is because immediately if it’s a situation of you are accusing them of something. Once the accusation comes out, they shut down like we all do. Teaching parents. I do this like Michelle does. I work with parents a lot. When I have a child, I spend part of my time with the parents going, “This is the issue. Let’s look and see if we can approach it this way.” As I said earlier, it’s more about listening to your child than talking to your child. In other words, your child needs to know that you are going to listen.
One of the things that we do in Chatter Girls is that at the end of every session before moms and dads come and pick their kids up, they have a letter from me. In the letter, it says, “This is what we did today.” Here are the questions to ask your child so that you get something besides, “How was it?” “Fine.” We don’t like any more fines. We want to know.
When the children realize, you do want to know that the fines go out the window, but you do. You have to change your tone and your language, and you have to engage. Engaging is an important thing, and if you have lots of children, separating each child and engaging with them separately on special days. We are going to go out and have our nails done. We are going to go for a walk or whatever. Every child deserves that opportunity to be with their parents at special times when they are not putting out a fire. Think about all the different things going on daily, but that child deserves the time of the real you, the one of quality who wants to say, “That’s cool.”
That same wording that you are teaching parents, they, in turn, can use it at work. If they are managers and they have direct reports, then instead of doing the, “Why are you doing this?” You can completely change the language and say, “What is it about this that’s being difficult? What is it about this that’s challenging?” Change the verbiage a little bit.
I will go even one step further. When you ask for feedback, you go in there with a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset and you take the feedback. When someone tells you that you are doing something wrong, it’s always going to sting a little bit. We are human. You take the tools that they are telling you to use and be able to implement them so that you can improve in whatever it is that you are having challenges with. That same language applies to children, teens, and adults.
It does. The one thing that I find is that when people come in and have their issues and stuff, especially like leadership or being able to work with a team and in situations, the issues usually aren’t necessarily about that team or the leader. It’s about the background. It’s about what happened on the playground. That, once again, is a matter of developing something to be able to have those tools, so we don’t take it into adulthood.
When I did leadership training with women years ago, that would be the first question. Tell me your story of when you were ten. What happened at ten that was so horrible? Now tell me, what is happening at 35 that’s so horrible now? Link them together. You didn’t fix it, work through it, journal it, or didn’t take care of it in your mind. It’s coming back. Do you want to keep having it come back at 45? Do you want to keep losing your job because it’s the same thing? That’s why we have to equip our children.
We have to work with the people in the marketplace who didn’t have the luxury of being able to do that. Taking them all the skills. We are getting ready to do a Chatter Girls moms and daughter retreat, and the reason to do it is for moms to be able to look at their issues because do you remember the situation of when you get ready to speak and you are going, “I swore I would never say that because that’s what my mom said.” There it comes out and you are going, “Uh-oh.” It’s a situation of give the moms. They didn’t have what they need, but allow them to go back on their journey and help them say, “It’s time to go. I’m a grown-up. I need to move forward.”
The Landmark Forum and this is not an advertisement for the Landmark Forum whatsoever but does that very thing. It goes back and you uncover your wounds. Incidentally, after that, I don’t remember what my story was because I just forgot it. It didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t give it power anymore. It left me because I tried to remember, I’m like, “I have no idea.”
Not that I’m perfect or by any means, but as you shed all of the hurts you go through your life, you can make room for other things that you can enjoy and move on. A lot of times, people are so focused on all the bad things that happened in their life in the past that it’s hard to let go and open up to that future. You tell me if that sounds right.
It does. I always tell everybody. Even the kids, I always say, “Life is an onion and we a lot of layers, but we have a core, and we started somewhere. Through life, we put on layers and layers.” It comes to a point where one of the layers is being revisited with a new layer, and when it does that, then everything falls apart in our mind. What we want to do is let go of it before it comes back. I agree. I love Landmark. I learned a lot from Landmark. I went to a life coaching school with a whole team of Landmark. It was great fun.
We all have the same philosophies and that’s why we talk so much about hypnosis and how hypnosis can help that because everybody thinks hypnosis is this magic thing, but it isn’t. It allows you to go deep and go in. Not everybody can go to the place of NLP and have it released. Some people have to go in deeper. As we teach kids how to go deeper at an early age and develop it, then those children are going to be able to do NLP, EMDR, and all those other avenues to be able to release.
I love the world that we live in right now when it comes to things to be able to help people heal. I don’t like the way the world is, but I like the healing mentality of, “I don’t have to go get a pill for this. I can work on it myself and if I can’t fix it, then it’s okay to get somebody to help me.” That part of the world has changed. I never saw a therapist until late in life when I was going through a divorce and my life was falling apart. Then I thought I was this horrible mom and all this other stuff.
I also didn’t go to therapy until I was going through my divorce. What’s interesting to me, what’s a big difference now is that we are having these mental health conversations and we are saying, “It’s okay to go to therapy. You don’t have a problem with you. You are not defective. Nobody’s going to make fun of you for going to therapy. It’s good to get therapy so you can take care of your mental health.”
Whereas back then, it was embarrassing to tell people that you were going to therapy. I remember making that phone call. I’m like, “I can’t believe I’m making this phone call.” I hung up a couple of times because we had physical phones back then. It’s a good place to be in the fact that we are talking about mental health. The one thing that I also mentioned often in different venues is, I don’t know if you ever saw the show Ted Lasso.
It’s one of my most favorite shows. To be transparent. The first time that I tried to watch it, my husband and I watched the first two episodes and we were like, “This is too silly,” but someone’s like, “Keep watching it.” I went back to it and it captured me because he transitioned from this silly person to someone who had panic attacks and eventually said in a conference, like one of those newspaper conferences, that he has anxiety and panic attacks.
He was embarrassed at first, but then he started to see a therapist and he was like, “I can do this,” and the therapist helped him. I loved the show because it was funny. Roy was one of my favorites, even though he cursed like a truck driver. In the end, it was all about mental health and community, people helping each other and being there for each other. I loved it. It was fantastic.
I kept trying to figure out who was the one who told me about it, and you told me about it at the Air Force Academy, you were the one. I kept trying to figure out, but I did. I have watched the whole thing in two days and I am going to watch it again.
Not anytime soon, but yes. I’m going to watch it again. I know that you want to spread the message across the world for young girls so that they have the tools to become stronger and confident women in the world, and you are doing it through Chatter Girls. Alicia’s contact information is going to be in my blog and all of her links. As far as the program for Chatter Girls, how many programs are you coming up with? What are you going to be doing in the near future? What is the vision for Chatter Girls in the future?
October in 2023, we’ll be ten years old. This 2022, I decided that this whole year was going to be focused on going national with our program. At this point, we are putting together a Salesforce to be able to help us spread it throughout the United States, to give the opportunity for people who love working with kids or just want to help their daughters and their friends to have a Chatter Girls program near them. We have all the training and everything, but my goal that October is to be able to say, “I’m in at least five states, if not more.”
That’s my goal. It is. We know the program works. We have got all our affirmations and we have got all our kids. We know it works and we have worked already with 100 girls, so we keep on working. Now, we have brought in the mom part, so we want to help both. That is my vision. I want to be able to stand in a room with girls from all over the country to be able to celebrate ten years.
I did read that you started the Chatter Girls in 2013, so that’s awesome. You have a book called Chatter Girls or something close to it. Tell me about your book.
It’s called Changing the Chatter: Help Your Daughter Look Beyond The Mirror For Better Self-Esteem. My daughter helped me write this book. We wrote it for my granddaughter. It goes through the phases of Chatter Girls, but it just, if moms say, “We don’t have that program near me. I can’t do it yet.” This book is there to help you right now. It’s right there.
I do want to go back to one more thing and then we’ll wrap up after that. You were talking about hypnotherapy. I know that a lot of kids these days may have cyberbullying or issues in their life, and they are very anxious. They have anxiety and depression. Obviously, Chatter Girls helps, but does hypnotherapy help the anxiety and depression we see so much in our young people now?
It’s a different depression. A lot of it is situational and we don’t always want to give meds for the situation and the anxiety is different also. What happens is people neglect hypnosis. What people are seeing is when I talk to them and everything is hypnosis with children is different. Children go into the visualization for themselves in a lighter state. They don’t need to go deep in because, as we talked about the onion, they don’t have all that stuff that we have stuff piled on.
Especially with anxiety. Anxiety is the one that I see that goes with everything. Anxiety goes to fear or anger, all of those. The anxiety gives them an opportunity to figure out where it’s coming from. How many of our kids disconnect in a quiet? They get to be quiet and listen to their mind, and I take them through the visualization and process. Afterward, we talk about what’s coming up for them, and then we begin to work on it. We begin to see the changes in everyday life and challenges. I give them audios.
The other big issue right now is sleep. Our kids are scared to sleep. They are terrified to go to sleep. I can understand. The fears keep them awake. We work a lot with being able to have a routine for sleeping. I have a routine for ADD and anxiety. That’s why life coaching and hypnosis goes together so well is because you be able to find the problem. You be able to give them other ways to be able to deal with it.
As they are learning how to let it go and realize that their mind isn’t holding onto it anymore, all those other things come in. I like both those tools that have helped me be able to work with the kids in the women in those situations, and they worked very well together. I have two kids. One that is dealing with anxiety and the others dealing with sleep, and it’s all about the school year. We are back to school. Now was the first day for our kids to go back to school, and the phones were ringing.
It’s a situation of my kid doesn’t want to get out of the car. That’s not the high school kid. It’s the five-year-old. Turn your TVs off. Reduce the amount of social media that your kids see. I don’t care how old they are. I feel calm and do what we used to do. Play a real game together. You don’t have to play a computer game. Watch a movie together. Listen. Dance the music, whatever. We don’t have to have that chatter all the time because I’m afraid. It might get worse before it gets better, but if we can change it. It might not be completely with this generation, but with everyone coming behind it, we are giving them all the tools we can get in their hands and we will have some changes.
To be clear, hypnotherapy is not the old thing you see in the movies where you have a clock and you are like, “You are getting sleepy.”
What I tell the kids all the time is the first question I said, “I can’t make you quack like a duck.” When they have those stage shows and everything, I said, “Those people want a quack like a duck.” I can’t control your mind and that’s the reality of hypnosis with children. They have to trust you first. I work on trust first and we do a number of different ways to learn trust because once they trust you, then they can relax enough to say, “I’m thinking that maybe such and such happened, and I pushed it in the back of my head.”
No, we don’t do that. I do use a big screen and some colors going off for them to have something to focus on. Some music and stuff. Everybody goes, “My kids said that they played in your room,” and I go, “They did.” We played and I got to this issue. It looks like a play and sometimes it is play. I love playing. Sometimes it’s a storybook. Sometimes there’s a book.
When I do hypnosis, I tell a story for them to be able to relax and let go of the stuff. One of the biggest things is that in our systems, we don’t listen to our children in our education systems and everything. We are talking at them, but the people who are teachers or parents who talk with them make the difference.
I can tell you that you are making a difference with Chatter Girls. I love your program. I want you to please provide us with two tips that either moms can apply for the young girls or the young girls can apply or something that Chatter Girls program can impact so that it makes a difference in their lives.
One tip I say is what I said at the very beginning. You have to have that time to listen to your child. Not talk to your child, but listen to them and do it without everybody else around. Even if it’s at bedtime or whenever, but listen to your child, but don’t try to always solve it. They can solve it too, and sometimes listening to them helps them solve that situation.
I once again believe very strongly in the journaling and in the affirmations. Write affirmations. You have the kids write three affirmations for themselves or write an affirmation for the whole family. Affirmations, positive information in their mind as they begin their day. When they are brushing their teeth on that mirror or they go to get that water out of the fridge and they see that, or they open that bag for lunch and there’s that affirmation, that makes a difference. The little things count as much as running them over to the therapy or whatever. You can all do a little stuff yourselves and make a difference too.
Tip number one is to listen to your children and what’s tip number two?
Tip number two is to do affirmations, quality of affirmations, and then suggest journaling for your children at the end of the day. Let them write about what happened at school and have them write about it before you come in to say goodnight. Then they put it away and then maybe they might want to talk about it and let go of it before they close their eyes. They might sleep then.
Those two tips also apply to adults because you can listen to your spouse or partner. You can also do affirmations and journaling. This has been a fantastic conversation. All of the things that we are talking about as far as Chatter Girls and even children, and trying to listen to them, to empower them, to make them stronger and more confident will all translate into strong women in the workplace. That’s what my mission is all about. My mission is to eradicate the gender gap in the corporate world. I’m doing so by empowering women in their careers. Everything that you are doing will make a difference in the futures of these young women. Thank you for your service. Any final thoughts?
Change the chatter. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep it. You have the power to change the chatter.
Alicia Marcus Birong, thank you so much for your time.
That was such a great conversation with Alicia. As a reminder, I had a conversation with Michelle Mehta, who was a Teen Confidence coach. This conversation with Alicia follows Michelle’s conversation because with Michelle and I, we talked about teens. Now, we’re focusing on girls between 8 and 14. I love Alicia’s program called Chatter Girls. The reason is that that program provides that foundation for girls in order to gain that confidence and let go of anything that may be taking up space in their head or heart.
One of my prior show, we talked to Jane Wesman, who says that we, women, ruminates so much, meaning that we make a mistake and we hold on to that mistake. It’s not any good for us to keep reliving and keep holding on to whatever situation we failed at or didn’t accomplish. It’s always better to be able to experience it, feel the feelings and let it go. Chatter Girls is a program for the younger girls to be able to get their power back. I absolutely love that.
To finalize our show, Alicia’s two tips are 1) Listen to your children. 2) Have your children do affirmations, whether you put a little sticky note on the mirror. The affirmations are good. She also said as part of tip number two is to have your child journal. I know it’s not the easiest thing, but some younger kids would potentially like to write out their feelings to let them go and bring the power back to them. With that, remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.
- Alicia Marcus Birong
- Chatter Girls
- Landmark Forum
- Michelle Mehta – Previous Episode
- Jane Wesman – Previous Episode
- Changing the Chatter: Help your daughter look beyond the mirror for better self-esteem.
About Alicia Marcos Birong
Alicia M. Birong is a pioneer in the field of child mindfulness. An International Best-Selling author and Amazon Best Seller, Alicia’s passion for empowering children is evident. With 25+ years of experience as a therapist, life coach, and hypnotherapist, Alicia shares her expertise with communities nationwide. You may have seen her on national television or working alongside companies like Coca-Cola, Air Force Academy, and Girls Scouts of America.