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, teaching self-control may not always work! We discovered another idea that really shaped my understanding of our bodies.

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!

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 process, 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.

Real Improvement

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 indications of a problem. However, these insights 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 with a simple change of diet, we find terrific improvement in our health. This helps my perspective when parenting so that I am not 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  how to eat healthy
  2. Consider a gentle detox
  3. 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.
    • Visit a Chiropractor and try L-Glutamine  or visit a local health store.
    • Cabbage and/or Okra Soup heals the gut lining says, GAPS founder, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride
  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.


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 improves for everyone.

We believe in Real Food Recovery! Join us on FB and share your success stories!

1 Source: Brain Behavior and Immunity; UL1TR001070; R01 NR01366); R21 HD067670; (R01 AT006552); T32 DE01432
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29 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.

      2. As with all of your blogs, another informative, well written and presented well. Good blogs by you Mandy.

        I pray others read all of your blogs and learn from you.

        You telling of remembering the enema bags hanging up on the shower rod, reminded me of my grandma and aunt. The enema bag was hanging on the back of their bathroom door. If the bulb syringe was used, it was sitting on the side of the tub.

        As a teen and after I left home I helped my aunt by sitting my two cousins. I am 7 years older than them. My aunt did as you do for the detox. Unless there was a need to give additional enemas in the month, she gave an enema once a month.

        I read how you do the monthly detox. I am going to give a monthly enema as you told.

        If there is a need to give enemas more often for like constipation, colds, flu, behavior issues and such, I will give enemas more often than once a month.

        Like you, it amazes me to see how giving enemas helps to detox.

        After a few months I will do as you do. Give a probiotic or other things.
        Or, may give enemas every other month.

  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. It is a shame enemas are seen as something weird or hard to give in the US

    I grew I in Europe. Enemas were a common home remedy. Every home had a enema bulb for the children.

    Moms did not run right away to the doctor or to buy OTC remedies.

  12. 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

  13. Mandy I love your articles. I am amazed how much you do.

    How do you gat so much engery?

    The Lord will bless you for all you have done for people.

    I found your article about bad gut.. And the relationship to behavior in the child very interesting.

    Earlier tried to tell how I read of this exact same thing as a teen in the early 60s

    As a teen in the early 60s I remember reading in old home nursing books that this was seen more often in boys. Believe it mentioned mostly between the ages of 5 to 9 or so. So a study must have been done of this “bad gut…relationship to behavior ” in the 50s then.

    As a teen I remember my two younger brothers and cousin (also a boy) having behavioral issues then. More so than us girls did,

    Since I am 6 years older than the youngest one (my cousin) I remember my mom and aunt doing about the same thing you mention to them.

    I do not remember a garlic enema or a supplanting enema being given to them. They may have gotten them. Just don’t recall those given.
    As a teen I had much interest reading about home health, home nursing skills, and what was told then for toddler – older child issues and care.

    I was surprised reading then that the child be given enemas for many things. Including behavioral issues.
    Since being much older than them I do remember them being told no more candy. Change of diet.

    I wonder why this is more with the boys so much instead of the girls? Do you know?

    Sorry to talk so much. I was surprised to read your article on this topic. Glad you wrote it. Hope many moms also read it and learn that bad behavior could stem from the gut..

    I remember my two younger brothers and boy cousin receiving more enemas (or so it seemed) than my older sister and I.

    For some reason (because of behavior and encopresis) my cousin got more enemas. When he was around 8 or so he had many behavioral issues. And would with hold poo. I also learned of his condition (with holding) from the nursing books. Enemas helped him.

    My aunt Taught me about enemas as a teen. She was a LPN nurse.

    She allowed me to assist her a few times when my cousin needed an enema. She taught me how to prepare the patient (my cousin), the room, the enema and how to give it. Also after the enema was given how to care for the patient. Clean the enema device. Ask the patient how he felt after getting an enema and expelling the enema.

    Most important she taught me to look for dehydration. To give the patient (my cousin when she taught me) a large glass of water about an hour before his enema. And if no water comes out in a BM, a second enema may be needed. Especially when he had a fever.

    Her teaching was of great value later on for me with my children and grand kids.

    Our lives are so toxic these days. Lord knows what harmful chemicals, metals and other negative things children consume, drink or breathe in these days.

    So, Like you I have assisted many moms in the home and my home .. In the bath room or bed room .. Even kitchen … Giving or teaching enemas, detoxing, diet and other helpful child care.

    Our lives are so toxic now, more than ever. Your articles help everyday.
    Again thank you for bringing this here for other moms to read and learn from you.

    1. Sue, my energy is not that great because I’m just now responding! {smile} Thank you for the blessings, I’ll take them.
      It was a cool discovery and a pattern that works well for boys and girls, but I agree, certain indications seem to affect boys worse. More boys have ADD/ADHD, behavioral, autism, etc… Sometimes I think that we also want boys to act more calmly like girls and that aggravates the problem. Working with so many foster children, there is a definite difference in boys.
      How wonderful that you remember seeing articles in the 50s and 60s. I love that! My grandmothers were incredibly smart, hard-working women and I wish that I would have learned more from them. So thankful you are helping other moms, that’s really kind of you.

  14. You have a wonderful page. Very helpful and informative. I learned of it from another mom (visiting her at the moment). We both love your pages Mandy.

    We talk about your pages. We are both amazed reading your page “Discipline Or Bad Gut?”

    We are both convinced like you are that “bad gut” causes misbehavior, eating issues, headaches, moody, sluggish and more problems and ills.

    We both have followed your articles. And have learned much.

    Being 6 years older than my siblings I remember when my younger brothers (was mostly him and my other brother having behavior problems instead of the girls in the family for some reason) were having bad moods, grumpy, fit throwing, constipation, fighting with other children and such my mom would tell him she needed to stop letting him have cookies and sugar. A change of diet “would help them.”

    I also remember her telling the one with behavior issues that “he needed a enema.” Once she gave him the enema, sometimes he got more than one enema, and diet changed — detox — his behavior changed. Magic!
    This did not happen often. But I do remember my mom telling the one misbehaving and carrying on he was “going to get a good enema” when he went through his bad times.

    I dont know if him getting a enema helped the most or diet change helped the most. or both helped. But always after the one who was having these signs was given a enema he was calmer and seemed more focused.

    Of course at the time I did not know their behavior and carrying on was caused by what you call “bad gut.”

    Following your page both of our children are given enemas. Garlic enemas for fevers and other enemas for constipation and bad gut.

    How to donate? We both want you to continue getting the word out.

    1. Vicky, I love the memory of your mom. After loving so many children through my home, it is truly amazing how food empowers good behavior. Thank you so much for your kind words. We are a small nonprofit organization; educating and demonstrating good food with an orphan home. There are donate buttons to help for those interested and share your knowledge so more families can be empowered. <3

  15. Glad you have this blog. True that bad gut, full of bad bugs — toxins if you will — is directly linked to bad behavior in the child. For some reason more so in the toddler to ten or so aged. And mostly in the boys that age.

    The child needs diet change, detoxing and enemas. Not harsh discipline. That does not go to the root of the problem.

  16. Mandy read where you told giving a monthly enema is good.

    What about during full moon cycles?

    Somewhere we read good to give daily enema just before and during full moon cycle.

    Love it when you told of remembering the enema bags hanging on the bathroom door.

    Sounds like my aunt’s home years ago! She always had the enema bag and enema bulb syringes left out. Sometimes the bulb was airing out! So I knew an enema was given.
    She was a old fashioned nurse who believed in giving the enema!

    Being 8 years older than my cousin I remember her telling him not to go far, or to stay in the house, cause he was going to get an enema.

  17. So happy the comments work again!

    I also remember reading in old home health and old home nursing books. Years ago the ones printed in the late 50s and 60 always listed and told of enemas.

    Especially giving the child enemas.

    In the old nursing books the reasons listed for giving an enema was fever reduction, of course the constipated child always got one. Also for when the child was sick in bed. Had a fever. Even listed when the child was fussing, fighting with other ones, moody and more reason to give the enema.

    I remember one home nursing book told it was good for the mother to give the child a monthly enema. Regardless if he was sick or not.

    Your grandma reminded me of my aunt. She was a nurse. I remember back in the late 50 and well into the 60s always seeing the enema bag hanging on the back of her bathroom door.

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