Discipline or a Bad Gut?! Repopulate!

Let’s talk Discipline

Discipline is important for us all; it offers self-control. Yet, in my experience with children who repeatedly misbehave, my diligence teaching self-control may not work! A few years back some information really shook my approach.

Is Bad Behavior about Discipline or is it a Bad Gut?!

Discipline or Bad Gut


Is the child responsible for bad decisions or is the gut to blame for the inability to make a good decision?! Our gut flora is not just about our health…it’s about our behavior. For a while, I kept getting really creative on how to help our foster children and birth children learn to; be honest, enjoy nutritious food, have kindness, manage anger, etc…

The Case for Healthy Living

Some children are just harder than others. Discipline is unobtainable. Parents say this, but as a Foster Mom, it becomes vividly apparent. When you teach each child to eat with health in mind, you will see a significant improvement in behavior within two weeks. The connection is obvious, and when we put the pieces together it became exciting! The health of the gut affects the brain and the behavior.

But it shook and completely adjusted our world. Because the difficult child was now understood as the child with a leaky gut, overpopulated bad flora, or hosting too many chemicals and/or metals. It completely changes the perspective, right?!

In no way does this negate loving, being a role model, correcting harmful behaviors. However, this is a major shift that we found absolutely life-changing for raising our children.

Encouraging healthy foods becomes more of a behavior remedy, rather than a bother to enforce. The value of the food (organic, grass-fed, minimal processing, clean, whole foods) becomes a highly desired necessity. Just think! Would you rather fight, wrangle, talk-yourself-blue-in-the-face to help your children make good decisions, or would you rather make the effort to feed them healthier foods and enable them to make good decisions? Being healthy allows a child (and an adult!) to become more capable, kind, and a contributing member of the family and ultimately society.

So to drive this point in a little further; is your child that healthy? Or do you notice dark circles under the eyes? Glazing over of the eyes? Easily frustrated? Irritated and disrespectful? Allergies? Frequent headaches? Really picky eater? Craving bread all the time? All these are signs that we need to view as gifts. These gifts are only the symptoms, not the problem. The symptom exists so that we can discover what is wrong from within and then fix it before it becomes chronic. Once we change the diet; the root problem, the guidance and correction become a lot easier.

Many times we can simply change our diet and find terrific improvement in our health. This helps my perspective and I try not to be too hard on my children. Getting them healthy is a great start to help them become their greatest! The Ohio State University did a study evaluating the gut bacteria of 18 – 27 month old babies and made clear observations in personalities.1 This study documented better behavior and moods in babies with lots of good bacterium. And it was most noticeable in boys.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Read an article on how to eat healthy
  2. As you accomplish #1,  consider a gentle detox
  3. Then replenish your gut with one or more (we alternate):
    • Food is always our first choice! Fermented foods have lots of good bugs; cabbage, carrots, peppers, salsa, onions, olives, salad dressing, and soda. These are simple ways to ferment that make a huge difference!
    • Supplanting Enema – it stays!
    • Transient probiotics like these or adult version
    • More dormant probiotics like PreScript Assist
    • Good yeast via a soda to combat bad yeast
    • Broth and meat stock to re-mineralize and sooth the gut and gut lining.
    • Take L-Glutamine or IPS, we use Biotics order through me or a health care practitioner because Biotics does not approve sales online or manage these expiration dates.
    • Cabbage and/or Okra Soup
  4. Be emotionally positive. If food in the gut affects the brain, then it only makes sense that it works in reverse. So be kind to yourself.

It is surprisingly fast; just remember the days are long, but the years go fast. Hang in there and be positive! The recovery will be much faster. And be sure to appreciate any level of recovery. Find doctors (holistic MD, ND, DC) that validate and support good, real food nutrition.

Discipline or bad gut

We have gratefully moved through this dangerous behavior that plagues many families of autism. It was astounding when we discovered how many families have children that run away. Whatever you face, know that you are amazing! Know that your children are amazing. And know that as you move to a healthier diet, detox periodically, and replenish your gut; teaching discipline becomes easier. Behavior and the behavior of your children will improve.

We believe in Real Food Recovery! Join us on FB and share your success stories! It took 2 years but I wrote a cookbook of the same name to really help in your kitchen! You can do this!

1 Source: Brain Behavior and Immunity; UL1TR001070; R01 NR01366); R21 HD067670; (R01 AT006552); T32 DE01432

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Mandy is the force behind the advocacy portal Real Food Recovery. Since losing a 4 yr old to cancer while fostering to adopt, Mandy founded a nonprofit organization recovering children at-risk using fun and real food. As a Mom to birth, foster, and adopted children, author, Nutritional Therapist, & NRT, Mandy shares simple, affordable ways to recover health and to have fun, while supporting your doctor... Connect with Mandy through Twitter and Facebook.
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20 thoughts on “Discipline or a Bad Gut?! Repopulate!

  1. The same questions should be asked of the discipliner as well 🙂 Are we too quick to anger? Too quick to tears? I have realized on my journey that the state of my gut and hormonal health guides my “sound decision-making” ability. Thank you, Mandy, another great and informative post!

  2. Yes, Sally! It’s all of us. 🙂 Thank you for always encouraging!

  3. Thank you, Mandy! On every autism spectrum or ADD/ADHD list of symptoms is the glaring “diarrhea/constipation” symptom. My one child who has had so many digestive issues has always had way more interpersonal, discipline, concentration, and physical ailments than my other children. Another one of mine gets all weepy and dark circles under her eyes by 2 pm, until bed- so the first pushes her buttons and she cries about any little teasing she gets from him, he makes fun of and complains about the crying, etc, etc. And the other kids, who don’t have the physical signs, are so much easier to parent, although I love them all the same. I’m so glad I figured this out, but I’m not sure if I’ve done enough. We have come a long way with the older child, but my younger still doesn’t do well with swallowing capsules (krill oil, probiotics, Himalayan salt). This is such a great list for me for more ideas, as it’s overwhelming sometimes. It does make me sad that my son, who has always struggled with so much, wants to know why he’s the one in trouble all the time, so much more than his younger siblings. I hope parents read this and listen- the struggle is real! But I do know from experience that there is so much that helps. Thanks again!

    1. Thank you, Erika. Our son felt such a relief when we were able to explain that his bad habits were rooted from a bad gut and that we needed to get the bad bugs out. It relieved him as much as it did us. And it has helped him not sneak up foods so much!

  4. With mine, constipation and diet were issues in behavior! Mine were moody, out of line, out of control, head aches, tummy aches. Behavior issues.

    Took them to the doctor. Never got a clear answer as to their behavior issues.

    Discipline was used when help was needed instead.

    Another mom suggested to me that they needed to be detoxed…cleansed… given enemas…more or less what Mandy has listed in the Tips above.

    The mom kept telling me what the behavior problem was caused by, but I never associated their bad behavior with constipation and the wrong diet. Bad gut as Mandy says.

    I was not sold on the idea of giving enemas. Finally she convinced me to at least try diet and enemas.

    They were full of toxins, junk foods and chemicals. Constipated often. This caused bad behavior.

    Having “bad gut” was horrible.

    I put them on a healthy diet. As Mandy also suggests, I gave enemas. Garlic ones, supplanting enemas and regular cleansing enemas.

    Yes it can be a fight to give an enema. Especially for the first one ever. Take your time and be in control.
    But they get easier to give after a few have been given.

    Don’t be skittish, or scared, about enemas. Read what Mandy has on this page. She has given many enemas. They are a wonderful natural home remedy. And work wonders for fevers, constipation and more.

    Omg what a change in behavior !

    I did not know of this page when I changed their diet and started to give enemas. When I read this page, I was surprised by it and the remedies suggested here. That is exactly what the mom told me to do. It works!

    Read and follow the Quick Tips listed. You will notice a change in behavior..

    1. Joan, thank you for sharing your experiences as well. It is truly wonderful to enable a child to be their best. Glad there was a mom to help you with your children! Most of the time, Bad behavior is really a symptom to let you know something (bad bugs, toxins) has gotten into your baby. It’s a whole new perspective on parenting.

  5. Sorry to mention… mine also felt a relief when I was able to explain that their bad behavior were rooted from a “bad gut” To me that was constipation. I also explained to them that we needed to get the “bad bugs out” and they would feel better.

    I sat them down one by one and explained what was causing their behavior. I explained to them the need for diet change and explained that they would need an enema.

    If they are old enough to understand, it helps to talk with them and discuss it. Answer their questions. Explain the enema. I showed them the bulb and told them it was good for them and would not hurt. But they would feel much better after the enema.

    I agree with Mandy, it relieved my three as much as it did me!.

    This helped mine. Behavior changed.

  6. You are welcome Mandy. It is good to share experiences to learn.

    You call it “bad gut.” I guess you include constipation in that “bad gut?”

    I am convinced that constipation causes bad behavior.

    Once I put them on a diet and gave enemas, the behavior issues went away.

    Have you ever heard of constipation causing bad behavior?

    I am convinced that the diet and giving enemas not only helped but also changed their behavior.

    Yes, the other mom told me about enemas. She taught me about the Supplanting Enema and the garlic enema.

    I give a cleansing enema before giving the Supplanting Enema. It is best to wait for about a hour after the cleansing enema to give the Supplanting Enema. That way all of the enema water has been expelled and the body will absorb the probiotic enema better. Just my opinion.

    Best to always check with your pedi before giving a enema.

  7. […] It helps to have a visual…especially for the children. Imagine a battle going on inside your gut. Somehow the bad; bacteria, yeast, parasites are on the winning side. We must send in an Ally Nation. A nation of good; bacteria and yeast to fight the battle and overcome. This is how we “repopulate” the gut and turn around our health and subsequently our behavior. See More Here. […]

  8. […] discover your sensitivities. Here are some links to get your “juices” flowing towards healthy changes. I actually recovered a birth food allergy , so it may be a temporary removal of some foods until […]

  9. Wonderful article! Neighbor mom and I read it. Both of us had kids that had most of the symptoms Mandy mentioned above. Frustrated, fighting with siblings. Tummy aches and headaches. And other symptoms.
    We got the run around from the doctors. Always told to give miralax and “will grow out of it.”

    Behavior was really bad. Constipated often. Moody,
    Seemed to never be a moment of peace and quite in the house.

    Divorced moms here with four kids and she has three kids.
    So dealing with behavior issues is hard on all of us.

    After reading this article we decided to do the things listed by Mandy.

    We changed diet. Gave a mild detox. Cleansed. Gave daily garlic enemas and regular enemas. omg the behavior changed!

    All of mine and hers are now given enemas. Convinced detoxing, change of diet and enemas changed behavior.

    1. If one of yours has issues and you cannot seem to get a grasp on what is causing the behavior issues, try what Mandy has listed in the article.
      Doing so can only improve things.
      Not a doctor here. So, do need to tell you to check with your pedi doctor before changing diet, giving remedies and enemas.

      1. Yes, it’s always good to check with your healthcare provider and get them on board as your partner.

    2. Yay. Thank you for sharing your experience and success. We’ve seen it so many times, but it still amazes me. It really makes me happy for you two amazing moms! My grandmother always had enema bags hanging on her shower rod and she did it as needed and I think once a month for maintenance when no issues. 🙂

      1. Mandy, I am glad you mentioned the enema bag hanging up and your grand mother giving or doing monthly enemas.
        Do you recommend a monthly maintenance enema be given to the kids?

        Once a month enema given?
        Even if no fever or illness is present, give an enema once a month anyway?

        If you recommend a monthly enema be given, I have four and she has three kids.
        So would have to space out, schedule, enemas each month some how.

        To be honest, we didn’t think your article would work for behavior issues. It worked! Never would have thought behavior issues can be because of constipation and gut issues!
        The two that had behavior issues were detoxed. Changed diet and given enemas. We followed your listed things above.
        Those two will be detoxed and given enemas again. When we feel the need is there again to detox and enemas are needed.
        How often should they be detoxed and given enemas? Wait till we see behavior issues again? Or do it about every two or three months for those two?
        Enemas are given only for an occasional fever, cold or very seldom constipation. All of them have been given an enema.
        As far as the behavior change, it also amazed both of us. Both of our kids improved looks. Behavior issues went away.

        Love your articles.
        You work hard on them.
        Is there a way to help support the board? like donation?

        1. I felt the same way and it still amazes me how much an enema helps to detox. We try to do a monthly maintenance detox. Sometimes we just take a good probiotic in the evening of a full moon, it just depends on our schedule and temperaments. You will know. It’s that mom instinct and it’s perfect!.
          Thank you for the compliment. It means so much just to hear that you two have found success! Especially as single moms! That’s not easy. It seems that we parents have forgotten how gifted we are and that we can do a lot of preventative healing at home and partnering with our doctors when acute issues arise.
          I can always use help getting the word out about these helpful tips and my book/cookbook called “Real Food Recovery”. This funds my nonprofit. We’ve been able to build gardens, teach and help empower foster kids in homes for kids who don’t have a mommy to help them. We are trying to inspire them to take their health into their own hands. 🙂 Thank you for caring and I’m truly happy that this has worked for your families.

        2. We vary in our monthly detox. For several months, we did an enema every month, then we began to alter the methods. Sometimes and enema, sometimes a supplant or just taking a probiotic during the full moon. Your plan is similar…if constipation or a fever, I’ll give an enema. Thank you for sharing your success, it makes me really happy. Also, I just added a button on my page for donations. I hadn’t thought of it before, so thanks for asking. Blessings to you and your family.

  10. Where is the donation button at? How do I make a donation? via pay pal?
    Mandy thanks for the tips above. Truly love your blogs.
    I also give monthly enemas. I am glad you mentioned altering the methods to detox. I am going to do the same by following your tips.
    Why give probiotic during the full moon? Possibly because parasites (worms)?
    I also give enemas for constipation or a fever,
    I posted a comment on your supplanting blog. I am looking to buy a 6 or 8 oz one piece enema bulb. Were you able to find this enema bulb again?
    Your grandmother sounds like my grandmother, aunt and mother! Enema bag hanging in the bathroom. I do the same.
    The more moms I can recommend your blogs to the better for health.
    You are so right about a link between bad gut and behavior!
    I give a detox and enemas to mine when the bad behavior symptoms appear. But did not have a good list of what to do until I read your blog on bad gut.

    1. So glad you are finding our material helpful. I love that your family is similar. It alarms me how much we have lost touch with empowering health aides at home. These simple techniques are so helpful and have been practiced for years. The donate button is on the right under “Meet Mandy”. It’s a paypal account so we can build gardens and empower foster kids to get healthy. Thank you for asking, ChristianMomof3. Here is the link: https://www.paypal.me/RealFoodRecovery

  11. Mandy so many excellent articles by you regarding natural holistic health (guess that is correct term?). Thank you.

    I have no idea how you can take care of the children, run your home, manage your pages and so much more you do helping people!

    Just to mointor mine (meaning for health and BMs) takes me a long time.

    To keep track I note on a calendar hanging in their room when ever not feeling well. I note temp taken. Herbs used and more. sptoms such as fever, constipated or noted bad behavior.
    Especially make a note when enemas are given. Type of enema given. How many ounces given. Time given and time repeated. How given. On bed, lap or table. Position given in. Type of BM from enema. Note reaction to enema. Such as enema taken well or resisted getting an enema.

    especially note if enema helped.

    Looking back on the calendars I see every time I saw bad behavior, tummy aches, head aches, moody and the other things you listed and enemas were given all of those things went away. So you are right Mandy.

    Cannot give medical advice. Ask your doctor if ok to give herbs and enemas.

    I have found they are wonderful. A good natural home remedy.

    Great job you have done mandy

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