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This week Dr. Tsunami talked about Red Notice and the underlying message throughout the movie of the important role that parents play in their children’s development. We talk about how the choices you make in your life directly impact your child’s choices and values as they grow up. Dr. Tsunami takes a look at the relationships the main characters (played by Ryan Reynolds, Dwaye Johnson, and Gal Gadot) had with their fathers in Red Notice and what you can learn from this.
Things we talk about:
0:37 How my parents influenced me
2:05 Summary of Red Notice
3:44 The impact of fathers
9:03 How you can influence your child
I know you’re a very busy person and you haven’t got all day, so I’m here to help you, stressed-out parents, with upset kids, access a clearer understanding of how to calm down your children. I’m your host, Dr. Tsunami Turner. Today we are talking about a parenting superpower and that is the power of influence. During the discussion I will take some key examples from the movie Red Notice.
When I was a child my parents bought me a personalized doctor’s kit with my name on it. I loved playing with that thing. It had a working stethoscope, plastic bandages, and a thermometer. You couldn’t be a doll in my house without getting regular check ups from Dr. Tsunami. Did this influence me to become a doctor when I grew up? Yes, it most certainly did. I mean my parents were hoping for a medical doctor, and I was thinking about being a neurosurgeon for a while, but I decided to work with the brain without cutting heads open. Regardless, my early experiences with this doctor’s kit and my close relationship with my parents greatly influenced my choices as I grew up.
Influence is defined as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
While there is no crystal ball to look through to see how your choices will impact your child, there are clear greenlights that you can observe in your interactions with your kids to help you guide them better. For the power of influence to work in your favor you need to know how to position your values so that your child will accept them. There’s a lot of stuff in the way to obstruct your influence like the temperament of your child, peers and media, but at the end of the day the relationship your child has with you is special and can never be duplicated.
In the movie Red Notice we are introduced to John Hartley, an FBI profiler who has made it his mission to capture notorious art thief, Nolan Booth. If you haven’t seen it yet then know that there will be spoilers, so please grab some popcorn and go and watch the movie first.
Okay you back? Let’s get into it. Red Notice wastes no time getting into the action and drama we know and love from other movies featuring Johnson, Reynolds, and Gadot. We are immediately sucked into the world of John Hartley who is focused on recovering 1 of 3 eggs of Cleopatra’s which were stolen moments before by Nolan Booth. As the two, plus a handful of security guards, blunder about the museum destroying scaffolding and a beautiful stained glass window, we learn that Hartley and Booth have a cat and mouse history. After the chase is over Booth appears to have gotten away and strolls up to his beachside bungalow golden egg in hand only to encounter Hartley who was one step ahead of him after all. While celebrating his win on his way out of town, Hartley is stopped and accused of double-crossing Interpol Inspector Das. He’s arrested and sent to a Russian prison with guess who, Booth. While still maintaining his innocence Hartley and Booth hatch a plan to escape the prison and go in search of the second egg of Cleopatra. Along the way they are continually thwarted by Bishop which improves their bromance to the point that they begin sharing intimate details about themselves, namely how their fathers influenced their life choices.
Booth opens up first, curious about the dig that Hartley made about him seeking the approval of his father. According to Booth his father was a police officer who never had time for him, choosing to focus on other pursuits. One day his father’s watch went missing and Booth’s father blamed his son for the disappearance. As punishment Mr. Booth gave his son the silent treatment. Let me stop here for a second and take a bit of a detour and talk about appropriate discipline.
Is it okay to ignore your child? Yes, but there is a reason why you would do it and there is a method for how to do it. In Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) one of the tasks to create behavioral change is to ignore any unwanted behavior during a play session. As soon as the behavior changes and your child begins to interact with you appropriately you pay attention and praise them. This is vastly different from what Booth’s father did.
Now where was I? Yes, so eventually Booth’s dad finds that his watch was in his office this whole time and he never apologizes to Booth, just starts talking to him again as though nothing had happened. Now I cannot imagine being a child and getting the silent treatment from a parent, a grown adult! What Booth’s father did caused a huge disruption in their attachment with each other. This disruption led to a situation where their relationship was unable to be repaired, especially since Booth’s father never admitted his mistake or apologized for it.
So what does Booth do? Well, what a lot of people will do when they’re upset by an attachment trauma, he decided to give into the self-fulfilling prophecy story that his father had created for him. He wanted to be the exact opposite of his father. The opposite of a cop. He became a thief.
Not only that but poor Booth also lost his ability to trust other people. He began to see the world in a very different way had he never had this experience. You see when we lose our ability to trust others we begin to feel that the world is a dangerous place and that people will actively try to hurt us. Booth connects with Hartley because he is lonely. He wants to find a friend he can trust and he begins to feel like he can have that with Hartley.
Booth feels that he knows who Hartley is. An FBI profiler who he can have this back and forth frienemies relationship with. He feels that their daddy issues connect them in a meaningful way. Now Hartley wants Booth to feel this way about him because he has an ulterior motive.
Hartley’s father, we are told, was a police officer. A good one that Hartley had a good relationship with. Therefore he became a police officer. Now this is a very common experience that those children who experience secure attachment and a goodness of fit with their parents follow in their parents lead. It’s basically what happened to me with the doctor’s kit. But, Hartley was not being honest.
In a plot twist we find out Hartley’s father was a con man who got caught. Hartley did not like his father so he became a con man just to rub in his father’s face that he was better than him. Now I wish this backstory had been given more details, so I have to make some guesses as to why Hartley’s anger drove him to choose this path.
I feel, now don’t quote me on this because I haven’t looked at any research, but from what I’ve come across in my work with clients people who reject their parents usually end up trying out the opposite end of the spectrum and respond to their child in the opposite way. For example, if you were grounded as a child and you hated it you may have told yourself I’ll never ground my children. Then you have kids and never ground them or discipline them because you want to be the “fun” mom. Then you realize that your kids are getting older and they have no respect for you and you try to fix it, but it seems like it’s too late because they have somehow become the parents and they’re telling you what to do. Yeah…. That’s a problem.
But my point is that Booth and most other people go that route. With Hartley there is this sense of, not quite entitlement, but resilience and perfection. He seems to believe that to protect himself he needs to be the best. He has retained his ability to trust others to a point. His moral compass is strong, but slightly skewed. Clearly his relationship with his father impacted him, but it was more that he felt driven to not make the same mistakes.
Finally, the Bishop it turns out is Hartley’s partner in love and in crime. She seems to have a complicated relationship with her father who taught her everything she knows. However, she feels a lot of pressure to perform well. Her father influenced her in that being a strong independent female requires planning, working well with others, but in the end protecting yourself. Her father seems like he was tough, but fair, which is essentially the ultimate parenting goal. In wanting to impress her father she placed a lot of overwhelm and stress on herself.
Research has found that children are influenced by two things. Their genetics and their environment. If a child is genetically predisposed to being short they usually don’t receive cues from their environment to work towards being NBA players. They may be influenced by parents, peers, and teachers to hone their other skills. For example, if a child is a great singer. Their environment may be set up where they are exposed to lots of music and give opportunities to perform.
The thing about using your influence as a parent to guide your child’s growth and development is that it is easy to get it wrong. Like the only Spiderman quotes I can ever remember “With great power comes great responsibility.” That is essentially the power of influence. If you abuse it you risk ruining your relationship with your child. If you try to avoid using it, guess what, you’re still using it! I know I’m being unhelpful. But what I’m trying to say is that you should never rely on one thing to get parenting right.
Influence requires active listening, letting go of expectations, empathy, modeling, patience and so many other parenting skills that we talk about on this podcast. It’s not a one and done thing and it’s not the only thing.
So what should you do? Encourage and praise your child for all of their efforts regardless of outcome. Set up their environment to focus on the things that they enjoy doing or are good at, aside from like video games, that’s a whole other story. And most importantly take out any pressure or expectations around the things that they enjoy because this can backfire real quick.
What do I mean by this? There was this study done where preschoolers were asked to color pictures. One group was given rewards to complete their drawings and the other group wasn’t. Would you believe that the group of kids who colored for their own enjoyment colored longer. They were intrinsically motivated to complete the task and didn’t need anything else. The same goes for your children (and yourself). If it is something that they enjoy, don't turn it into a chore.
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss the next one.
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