You have got to teach your kids that not everything they read and see online is true!

You have got to teach your kids that not everything they read and see online is true!

3rd and last Part of my Interview with Child Therapist and Author Ulla Dyrløv. We talk about the physical and mental side-effects of exposing your child to screens (tablets, smartphones, laptops, social media, computer games etc) too soon and for too long time. Ulla gives us a “Digital Guideline” for how to best help our kids to healthy online habits and a healthy use of screens in our parenting. Right now you can follow Ulla on a Danish TV documentary (Når skærmene styrer familien) as she gives advice to families with kids showing a severe addiction to screens.

Ulla Dyrløv – Child Therapist and Author

Here you can read Part 1 and Part 2 of the Interview with Ulla Dyrløv.

I hope you’ll enjoy this highly informative Interview.

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Ulla: Another major problem is that kids see and hear way too much too early, because they have access to the internet and often view it alone. Small kids have seen everything from porn to horror. Researchers have also found that what frightens children the most is the news, more than anything else.

So as a parent you must be aware of that your kids are exposed to a lot of things they need to reflect upon with you. They also search for various things on Google or Wikpedia. I tried to make a search on Google and I wrote: “Scary videos” as a search term. I immediately got access to Youtube’s 10 most scary videos with the headline: “These videos will ensure that you cannot sleep tonight!” I clicked on them and they were very frightening. They were all about ghosts, I mean real ghosts, or poltergeists.

So, if you do not talk to your child about what they find online and if it is disturbing them, then they will believe that ghosts do exist. Naturally we cannot necessarily rule out whether or not they do exist, but I don’t believe in them.

You have to teach your kids that not everything they see online is true and this can only be done through dialogue.

The best solution is naturally to close down all those things that are disturbing for your child online, and it begins with you as the role-model. Children learn from their parents. They learn more from what they see than what they hear.

It is also crucial that you show interest in what your child is spending his or her time on. Don’t only do it when it is about correcting them. Go into their world and explore it together with them.

When they are around the age of 8, you could sit down together and type:”scary movie” or “sex” in Google and see what comes up, cause they are doing this. Then you can click on some of the links together and then you can say: “if someone wants to show you things like this, then you had better not watch it yet”. So, you address all these things with your child.

Nina: Yes, well, it feels like it is quite early to take up some of these subjects with your 8-year-old, but on the other hand, if they are exposed to it through browsing the web alone or with friends, then I guess you have to.

Ulla: Yes, or a friend from your class finds it funny to push a phone in front of your face and show you a violent video clip. So, that is why it is good to prepare your children. But of course, you do tons of other things with your children too. Go outside – for example to the forest and make animals from chestnuts or other games, which many today label as “old-fashioned”.

Nina: Haha…I was just going to call that an old-fashioned game.

Ulla: Yes, it is crazy that we call it that, cause the kids love it. They love exploring nature with you.

Kids really want to spend time with their parents, which I also stress many times throughout my book. However, it also depends on if the parents are fun to be around.

If the only thing you hear from your parents is: “Remember to do your homework. Did you remember to do this or that?”, then they most likely prefer other company.

You know they love playing old-fashioned board games, walking the dog with you, cooking together with you, which is teaching them a super important skill. The same goes for cleaning.

Nina: Yes, they need to learn that one day anyway, so we might as well pass on those important and basic skills from home.

Ulla: Yes, and kids cannot control or foresee the consequences of what might happen to their brain and well-being if they play 4 hours computer games daily. This is your task as a parent.

Or if you, Nina, gave your boy a tablet tomorrow, I promise you he would work out how it works within no time. It is designed so that even a chimpanzee can use it! (Note to you dear reader, my boy is 2 years and 8 months)

Nina: Sometimes my Son watches a video clip of himself on my phone and he knows exactly how to find the videos, from observing me.

Well, now we have been talking a lot about the more explicit signs of screen-stress if we should call it that, where the kids experience fatigue, depression, isolation, lack of social skills etc. But there is one more element to it all, which is the massive exposure to the radiation from the wifi.

Ulla: Yes, with the sleep disturbances, and the ability to focus…

Nina: Yes and the ability to reproduce later on in life. There are so many things we can only guess the long-term consequences of, as we have not had enough time to experience it yet. We have yet to see the downside of being exposed to radiation / wifi at such early ages. We have a lot of devices in one room, all of which are sending out or receiving data. I find it very frightening.

Ulla: So do I.

One of the things that has really got me up from my chair after writing this book, is that it has become mandatory in some schools in Denmark, that children from 0-class (note to reader: this is around the age of 6-7 years) must have a Tablet to follow the teaching.

So as a parent, you are not allowed to say no. I don’t know if it is in all the regions here in Denmark, but in Gladsaxe, where I live, it is mandatory.

It is a law made by the Parliament, so not even the school can say no to it. That really scared me. If I had had kids in that school at the age, I would have put my foot down and said “no way!” I wonder what would have happened then?

Nina: Well, that does seem quite crazy. I live in Germany now, in Berlin, and in comparison to Denmark we are way behind when it comes to how technologically advanced everything is here. When I visit Denmark, which I do a handful of times per year, I feel like we are 10 years behind Denmark here in Germany.

I mean, almost everything you do in Denmark happens via the phone. It has replaced the wallet as a means to pay for your groceries etc, you can control your lights, locks etc at home via an app, while you are away on holiday.

When everything is online, it also just makes it an integrated part of your every day life and you stop paying so much attention to it and also to the possible negative sides of it. The phone has really become your lifeline.

I think a lot about how it is “taking over” because I can be objective living here in Berlin in another culture, while diving deeper into my Danish roots from time to time. 

Another thing I have noticed happening a lot more in Denmark (or in Copenhagen) than here in Berlin, is the large number of parents, who are busy with their smart phones while being together with their kids – especially on the playground.

They sit next to their toddlers (0-3 year olds) who are playing in the sand and the parent is clearly much more busy with something on their smartphone.

It makes me feel sad and I wish that they could just enjoy sitting there with their child and not need to constantly get out their phone from their pocket or bag. Just put that phone far away. What is it that is so important it cannot wait ‘till after the playground? But then again, the parents have also become addicted.

Ulla: Yes, that is the point.

Nina: In many ways I am actually relieved to be living a more “technologically-laid-back-life” here in Berlin.

Ulla: I really understand that. It is incredible what it is that makes it so different in Berlin? 

Nina: Well various reasons I presume. One thing is that it is a great deal faster to implement new technology in Denmark, being such a small country with 6mio people in comparison to Germany with its 83mio people.

I think the challenge is that in Denmark, we feel we are so far ahead of other nations and that it is great for us. I used to share that opinion when I lived there 6 years ago! It is something we are proud of. But, when you step back and take a look at how people actually thrive or feel mentally during this rapid change, it has not really been worse than it is right now has it?

Ulla: No. It is true. You are right, we could talk about a ton of things here.

Nina: Yes, I will have to do another interview with you! If people want to know more then they can find your books online, unfortunately only in Danish at the moment, but hopefully also in English at some point.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge with us Ulla. It has been very inspiring and I hope it may help many parents out there.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading the interview with Ulla Dyrløv.

If you want to know more about Ulla Dyrløv or read her Danish books, you can visit her website by clicking here.

Do you want to read other inspiring interviews? Then you can click on the links below.

Enjoy reading and feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Smiles from Berlin

Nina

Interview with Lars Muhl – A world famous Danish Esoteric Author and Rock Star – click here.

Interview with the famous Danish Painter René Holm – click here.

Interview with Singer Marcia Barrett of BoneyM – click here.


Why is it dangerous to introduce your child to screens (iPhone, Tablet, Computer) and social media too early? What are some “best practices” for us parents?

Why is it dangerous to introduce your child to screens (iPhone, Tablet, Computer) and social media too early? What are some “best practices” for us parents?

This is Part 2 of my interview with Ulla Dyrløv, Child Therapist and Author of four books (in Danish). We talk about the mental and physical consequences of too much screen-time for your child. Ulla has first hand insight into the increasing problems of addiction, isolation and depression among our kids and gives us guidance on “best screen / online practices” in this interview. Right now you can follow Ulla on a Danish TV documentary (Når skærmene styrer familien) as she gives advice to families with kids showing a severe addiction to screens.

Child Therapist and Author Ulla Dyrløv

If you did not read Part 1 of the Interview with Ulla Dyrløv, you can find it by clicking here. Below I have posted the last questions from part 1, so more of you can follow where we “left off”. Enjoy !

These small kids see a lot of very serious expressions on the faces of their parents, who are busy looking at their screen.

These little kids don’t know what that screen is. But from birth they are trying to create a connection to the people around them. They are creating social relations. So, they want and need eye-contact, but they cannot get this. Instead they see this serious face, which results in the kids not getting enough necessary interaction.

That is actually the single most important thing the small kids have to learn in the very beginning of life. They have to create an ongoing bond with their parents. They need to have someone to smile to. Almost everything small kids learn, they learn by being encouraged or corrected by a parent, all the time.

After this they need to learn all the motor skills.

Nina: Yes, not just learn to sit still and watch a screen.

Ulla: Yes, exactly. They need to learn to play with cubes, 3 – dimensional things, feel things, taste things, smell things. Pretty much all of which is not in an iPad.

On a screen you can build LEGO or Dublo or have someone read you a story. There are even books where you press a button and it says ”cow” when you press the image of a cow. But this is far from the same as sitting with a physical book, cause a book most often includes a parent reading aloud.

Nina: Yes, and by reading a book together with your child, you can talk about what you are seeing and give the child a chance to ask further questions.

Ulla: Exactly.

Nina: I can tell you about my own experience. I have a son who is 2 ½ and when he was around 1 year-old, I let him watch 10-20min Peppa Pig daily for about a month or so. This is a popular children’s cartoon on Youtube. This would give me 10 minutes ”me time” if I needed a small brake.

The famous children’s cartoon called Peppa Pig

It did not take long before I could see the negative effects of this. He would scream a lot in his sleep and be very uneasy. As soon as he saw my iPhone he would get hysterical, almost slightly aggressive if I would not give it to him.

I could see how bad it was for him and decided to not let him watch screens, apart from when I do a video-chat with my family abroad. It was also back then that I began doing more research on kids and screens.

I am also a mother who decided not to go back to a part-time or full-time job, while my son is so small. For me it just did not feel right and together with my boyfriend, my son’s farther, we have arranged it so I only work very little as self-employed and he is the provider at the moment.

We live in a smaller flat and keep our costs low. This gives me the time and extra energy I need to sit and play with our son instead of having to involve screens. It also enables me to better handle the ”battles” that come when borders have to be set, although I don’t always find this an easy task either.

I totally understand the overwhelming feeling it must be for all those parents and in particular mothers, who are caught up in what I call the “hamster-wheel” lifestyle. Everything is about work, practical things and there is very little room for fun and play.

I mean, let’s face it, our society is not really geared towards us women spending enough time with our kids.

It feels like a challenge to be able to give our kids what they need, if you at the same time want to live up to the enormous pressure of perfection, which seems to be the new set of values we live by. Everything has to be perfect.

Ulla: Exactly

Nina: I feel fortunate to have made the choices I have, but I know it is far from everyone who feels they can do the same.

Ulla: Yes, that is true.

Nina: But this was more about the very small kids.

What is the effect of the extensive use of smartphones and iPads etc. on bigger kids and teenagers?

Ulla: Well it is actually quite similar to the negative effects it has on the smaller kids. However, it is not so destructive on the brain, as it is for the 0-3 year-olds. I mean, for those little kids even the TV-screen provokes this Horror-state-of-mind described earlier on.

When you are above the age of 3, your brain automatically goes on a form of “standby” mode when you watch TV. That is why it can have a relaxing effect. But remember, they have to be more than 3 years-old for the TV to have this effect on the brain. It is TV, not iPad or computers or smartphones!

Nina: Is that because you cannot scroll or swipe on the TV?

Ulla: I actually don’t know why. These were just the findings I found during my research. The relaxing effect that watching TV has on the brain is the reason why we so easily fall asleep in front of it. So that is also why it can be quite all right to watch a little TV during the afternoon when you get home.

Once more I would like to recommend that you watch TV with your child, but that is not to say that watching a kids film on their own would cause your kids harm. Just do not allow them to “binge watch” where one film or program begins 10-seconds after the first one has finished.

You have to remove that function called autoplay, which I know they have on Apple TV and Youtube. So for the bigger kids, TV can be a good way to wind down after a long day.

In the upper right corner on Youtube you can see the “Autoplay” button with a blue dot. When it is blue, like mine is on the screenshot, the next video will automatically play.

Then you have social media. If I should talk about how much time I recommend kids being online or watching a screen from when they begin school until they are eleven, I recommend 1 hour per day.

Nina: Just 1 hour per day?! I don’t think a lot of them are doing to that.

Ulla: No. And then I recommend 2 hours per day from age 11 until around 15 years of age.

Nina: Wow, just 2 hours.

Ulla: Yes, because findings reveal that 3-4 hours per day are damaging for their brains!

We know there is a link between being on social media and feeling lonely. We also know there is a link between playing computer games and feeling depressed. We just don’t know what the link is. We do not know which one causes which result.

Do the kids use social media cause they feel alone, or does the social media make them feel lonely. The same goes for the computer games and depression. There is absolutely no doubt that there is a correlation here.

Nina: We live in a time, where technology and screens have become such a huge part of our lives at home, in the school and at our work place, so how do we give our kids the best tools to navigate in this world without being classified as the “weirdos who don’t do like everyone else”?

Ulla: That is why it is important to stress that if you do all these things together with your child, then it is a completely different scenario. On Steam (a site for computer games) you can create an account and classify it as family friendly. Then you select the age of your child and the program will only show you appropriate computer games for that age group.

This way you become the “cool” parent who introduces his or her child to new and fun computer games. Instead of the other scenario where it is always the child that comes home and says: ”Now I want to play this game called Fortnite” and introduces the parent to new games.

One other thing that amazes me is that many parents don’t seem to pay any interest to what kind of computer games their kids are playing. They just let the kids play. 

Nina: Maybe it is because it is a world the parents don’t know anything about and also again the “lack of energy” to control it? Maybe also cause many of us did not have this deep immersion in computer games in the same way when we grew up, so we have no idea of how it is to be so hooked on it.

Ulla: Yes, and I also say: “Thank your child for the invitation”. By this I mean, that if your kids ask you if you want to hear about the latest film they want to see or a new game they are playing, then say “yes”.

They go into so much detail at this age, so it takes them almost the same amount of time to tell you about the new movie as it takes to watch it.

But it is so important to show your child that you are interested in learning more about what they are into.

All of a sudden you are so far behind what they are busy with, that it becomes to overwhelming for them to introduce you to “their world” of i.e. gaming later on.

One more important thing I would like to address regarding computer games. There is a big difference between how offline and online games affect the brain.

If your child really loves to play computer games, then you could try and find some good offline games and introduce them to your child. Playing offline games is far less stressful for the child then playing online games, where they also have to pay attention to other players, who are online.

Nina: Oh, so it is because you play against others?

Ulla: Yes, and you play in teams as well. Maybe you play with others, who get angry if you don’t get good results. So, at the same time as you are playing a game, you have to be able to deal with all the “online” social aspects and potential pressure from that, too. Top that with the fact that many of the kids often play a game that on its own is rather stressful.

The problem with computer games is that the brain is constantly releasing adrenaline, because it thinks you are in danger.

It is not dangerous as such, cause it normally is released from the body quickly again if you remove yourself from the situation causing you “danger”. However, if you keep on playing the game, which is giving your brain stress and making it release adrenaline, and you play for 3-4 hours per day, then you have a problem.

After a while the brain will begin to produce Cortisol, which is a stress hormone and this is the biggest problem. This is what makes you feel sick with headache, stomach pain, nausea, some even throw up, insomnia and difficulties to concentrate. Actually, all of these are symptoms of stress.

Nina: But are there not many kids that suffer from this today (at least in Denmark)? Not just from computer games but also from the general lifestyle.

Ulla: Yes there are!

Nina: Kids today, especially in the school system, are under such an enormous performance pressure, as well as the extra stress they experience from being online.

Nina: Around five years ago I spoke with some public school teachers about how kids in the schools were doing in comparison to when I went to public school back in the 1990’s.

My old teacher, who still teaches, told me that from around the age of 12 years and onward, 30% of the children suffer from stress symptoms and have difficulty engaging in normal social relations.

This is even a few years back before social media took over as much as it has today. I mean, today the new role models for our kids are online Influencers. Influencers, who often also have a glorified and far from authentic lifestyle.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in your Therapy Praxis when talking to our kids and teens? And what might the best solution to that problem be?

Ulla: The biggest problem is actually kids and teens with stress, anxiety and depression. But the challenge and worry is that they get younger and younger when they begin to experience these symptoms.

I have children at the age of 8, who are completely stressed out about not knowing what they want to be when they grow up.

Nina: At the age of 8!?

Ulla: Yes.

Nina: They should not be having those thoughts yet?

Ulla: No, exactly. The way I see it, the greatest challenge our kids are facing today is that they have way too much responsibility upon their shoulders, both in the school but also at home.

In addition to that, the parents make it seem as if everything at home is perfect. They have lots of healthy food and quality time with the kids, but the fact is, that the parents don’t really have time to be together with their kids. So it is the real “spending time together” that is needed.

Another important thing that happens during this time you spend together is that you learn to tackle conflict, listen to each other, express yourself, share time, relax, and have pajama days together. In short just having a cosy time, instead of this idea that we have to jam-pack a day full of valuable things we all have to do together.

You know, there are a lot of children that almost have to beg their parents to just have a quiet day at home when they have holiday time, or weekend, so they can just relax.

Are you taking pictures of me again, Mum? Are you here mum…I mean really mentally here, in this moment with me? Hmmm….or are you busy posting this picture on Instagram?

So, it is about parents looking as if they are super “there and aware” with the kids, when they are in fact not mentally there at all.

Nina: Yes, and kids feel that immediately, when the parents are physically there, but mentally somewhere else.

Ulla: Yes, and they have made many funny drawings of this in my therapy praxis.

I have an example where a child asks a parent: “mum, will you read this book with me” and the mum replies: “Sure, you can take some buttermilk”. That is one way they portray their parents.

Nina: It is also a very valuable time you loose with your child. A time where you should learn to decode their signs (body language) and find out what they are trying to express. You can only learn that by spending a lot of time together and through observing your child.

Ulla: Definitely.

Nina: Yes, and to see what does my child actually really need right now. What do these scream and shout attacks he or she has, really mean?

My own experience is often that it is too much in one way or the other. Maybe “information overload”, where my son just needs to “pull-back” and have quiet time to process all the things that are going on in his brain.

He definitely does not need me shouting back at him or being impatient during those moments. He needs hugs, quiet time and structure. My finest task is to outline the path for him to walk down.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading part 2 of my interview with Ulla Dyrløv. Part 3 will be up later this week.

If you want to know more about Ulla Dyrløv or read her Danish books, you can visit her website by clicking here.

Do you want to read other inspiring interviews? Then you can click on the links below.

Enjoy reading and feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Smiles from Berlin

Nina

Interview with Lars Muhl – A world famous Danish Esoteric Author and Rock Star – click here.

Interview with the famous Danish Painter René Holm – click here.

Interview with Singer Marcia Barrett of BoneyM – click here.


When is your child too young to use a Tablet, Smartphone, Computer and why? What are the signs of addiction? What is a healthy online life?

When is your child too young to use a Tablet, Smartphone, Computer and why? What are the signs of addiction? What is a healthy online life?

This is Part 1 of my interview with Ulla Dyrløv, Child Therapist and Author of four books. We talk about the mental and physical consequences of too much screen-time for your child. Ulla has first hand insight into the increasing problems of addiction, isolation and depression among our kids and gives us guidance on “best screen / online practices” in this interview.

Ulla Dyrløv is an authorized child psychologist and has been working as that for 20 years. Apart from having her own private therapy praxis, she is a popular speaker, a therapist used on Danish TV and has also written four books. Her latest book is about how our children’s brains and behavior is affected by the use of Smartphones, Tablets, in general screens and surfing the net.

Based on Ulla’s own observations she felt an urgent need for this book, as she was seeing too many large and negative side effects of the extensive use of screens in parenting today.

All Ulla’s work evolves around working with kids, teens and their families.

Ulla is 52 years-old and has three kids (one girl and two boys) of the ages 27, 24 and 20 and says: ”I have had kids around the time that the internet became more a house-hold item, but I never experienced it being overwhelming as many parents do today. ”she says.

Nina: I am guessing there has been quite a lot of computer games in your household too, if you have boys?

Ulla: Well yes, they did not play that much, but they did play some FIFA games on a Playstation. Then they played this Assasins Creed and then after having played that for a week it was enough. One of the boys played more than the other though. My daughter was always interested in computer games, but would observe rather than play. She also just wrote her Thesis on Computer games as an overlooked piece of art.

Nina: Very interesting, so you actually both write about something technological, but from two very different angles!

Ulla: She has actually helped me write my latest book. She helps me put some structure into my stream of thoughts as I write. So it has been a joint effort.

Nina: How wonderful! But Ulla, You new book is about kids, teens and the use of screens and being online. What is the Danish title?

Ulla: ”Få styr på dit barns digitale verden – En guide til dit barns online liv” (in English: Learn to control your childs Digital world – a guide to your child’s life online).

Nina: What was it that made you want to write this book?

Ulla: Well, the decisive factor was actually that when I give my lectures for professionals I always say, that they have to remember that parents always do the best they can. Suddenly I experienced a huge field where I could hear that parents did not do the best they can and also admit it! Many would say: ”We know that it is not for his own good that we allow him to sit in front of the screen 4 hours per day” or ”We know it might not be the best for her that she gets her own Instagram profile when she is only 10 years old” or they simply just give their kids, what I in my book refer to as the digital dummy.

Instead you could get the kids out in the kitchen and let them help you prepare the food. Instead of bringing them with you when you do the grocery shopping, they stay in the car with their iPad. When they are on holiday they are also just given an iPad. The parents know that this is not the best for their kids. But they do it anyway!

This made me decide to write the book. I thought to myself. ”This is really serious!” If parents are no longer doing what is best for their kids, and being aware of it too, then there is something wrong!

Nina: Why do you think parents don’t have the energy to set these limits, for I guess it is about not having the energy to do it, or what is your experience?

Ulla: Yes, this is what I see too. This is actually connected to the first book I wrote back in 2014 called ”Be a pilot for your child” (in Danish: Pilot for dit barn).

I still see the trends from back then just much more apparent today. Parents are pushed to their limits. They suffer from stress and when you do that, it becomes more difficult to handle conflicts. In order to avoid these conflicts or confrontations with your child, he or she is just given an iPad. So, I know this is a solution for many parents.

The kids are also allowed to play games on the screens for much longer time than what the parents know is good for them. Maybe they also allow the kids to play certain games that they should not be playing, but all of it is done to avoid conflicts.

Nina: Are there not several areas of parenting where parents are avoiding conflicts due to lack of emotional resources?

Ulla: Definitely yes. It is from everything related to meals, bed times, dropping off the kids in the institutions with a comments such as: ”is it ok daddy is leaving now”?

Kids are given more questions than ever before and special agreements are being made with them.

In reality the kids have been given far too much responsibility way too soon and again everything is done to avoid conflicts.

Then it gets much more manipulative, as the parents pretend that the child gets to make the decision, often without the parents being aware of that they are pushing all this responsibility upon the children.

The kids cannot handle the consequences of what a “yes” or a “no” may imply to many of the questions they are given. But yes, it is definitely a clear sign that many parents are in over their heads.

Parents are also busy with social media and they are often trying to live up to an image of the perfect family life, which is so often portrayed there. But parenting is most often not like how it is being portrayed on social media.

Nina: Do you mean that people mostly post the ”best” pictures of the ”best moments” ?

Ulla: Yes, exactly, and also all the good things you are doing for your kids and all the amazing results your kids have achieved. So it is very rarely a truthful picture we are shown.

In the past we were affected by ads, but today we are also very influenced by what others are posting via social media.

Nina: Yes, and also in a way, which is making us more addicted and we have access to it 24/7. Before when we just had the TV. Once the programs were finished and there was no more to watch on the TV, you would just turn it off. Today we have unlimited access.

In your new book, you have grouped our children into different age-groups, which then are given different guidelines when it comes to being online and screen-time, correct?

Ulla: Yes and no. I was thinking about it, but I do have some age-groups, although it was a little tricky to make them. I have the 0-3 year-olds. Then I have a topic on kids up until the age where they begin school (note to reader: in Denmark this is around 6-7 years of age). The next group is from 6-7 until 11 years of age and the last group from 11 and up until 15-16 years of age.

Nina: Ok. Can you tell us why you chose these age-groups?

Ulla: Yes, it actually came about cause I was reading through several scientific findings and what surprised me the most was that the brain of the 0-3 year-old child is a very special brain! It is completely lets say, over-alert. This is not so strange, because children of that age develop so incredibly fast the first three years.

So this little brain is wired to take everything in using all senses. Scientist have been looking at the brains of children in that age to determine what happens, when you put a screen in the room, even when the screen is not put in front of the child (so not having a program on for their purpose).

So, the thing that happens is that the brain switches to a form of ”horror-modus”, which is what the scientists called it.

You can compare it to the feeling you get if you go down a dark alley and someone just shouted: ”boo” at you. It is the feeling you are left with afterwards, which is labelled as this ”horror-modus”. So, it is actually very damaging for small kids’ brains just to be in the same room as a screen that is ”on”. 

Nina: Damaging even though the toddlers are not even looking directly at the screen or should we say, are interacting with it?

Ulla: Yes, cause they are reacting to sound and light.

Nina: Wow, that is crazy.

Ulla: Yes, it is very alarming.

Nina: So, that means their small brains are in a form of constant alert similar to what we feel when we sit on the edge of a chair watching a horror movie?

Ulla: Yes. It is a large group of pediatricians in The States that have carried out this research. They also found that kids who are exposed to screens showing content ”directed at them”, so kids programs etc, develop their basic ”play-skills” later. You know there are even toddlers that sit with tablets.

Nina: Yes, I know, I have seen it often.

Ulla: Yes and there are lots of complications related to that. One thing they found was that these children became worse at playing.

That is most likely due to the fact that when we touch an iPad the brain releases dopamine, which is a ”motivating substance”.

Dopamine should make kids eager to learn to crawl, and push them to ”try again” every time they are just about to succeed with something, but don’t quite manage the skill yet. So the dopamine should motivate us to keep trying.

This dopamine is also released when you sit with an iPad. In my book I call this the development of the ”lazy brain”.

Kids cannot be bothered to learn to play. They don’t even want to fight to master a certain skill in the same way anymore, cause they can get the same kick from the iPad.

Nina: Are there not some findings that state that this dopamine release is similar to what happens in the brain when you get a shot of cocaine? I read that in an article a while ago, but unfortunately I forgot where. So, that is also one more reason why it is so addictive.

Ulla: I actually cannot remember if I state that about the cocaine in my book, but I think I refer to it as “that parents are putting a little bit of cocaine in their kids milk bottles”. But, nevertheless, I find it scary that you actually go in and create a lazy brain for your child, so they cannot even be bothered to do the basic things kids should be doing.

Nina: And what is it exactly toddlers should be doing in the age 0-3?

Ulla: Well, they really have to learn a lot. In the beginning the need to ”take it all in” and have peace of mind to do so. They have more than enough to do as it is. They should not also have to deal with the impressions from a screen on top of that!

They also need someone to build a relation to. They need attach themselves to others.

They need eye-contact and this is one of the major challenges today when the parents are so often looking at a screen instead. So this is also one of the topics I write about.

These small kids see a lot of very serious expressions on the faces of their parents, who are busy looking at their screen.

These little kids don’t know what that screen is. But from birth they are trying to create a connection to the people around them. They are creating social relations. So, they want and need eye-contact, but they cannot get this. Instead they see this serious face, which results in the kids not getting enough necessary interaction.

That is actually the single most important thing the small kids have to learn in the very beginning of life. They have to create an ongoing bond with their parents. They need to have someone to smile to. Almost everything small kids learn, they learn by being encouraged or corrected by a parent, all the time.

After this they need to learn all the motor skills.

Nina: Yes, not just learn to sit still and watch a screen.

Ulla: Yes, exactly. They need to learn to play with cubes, 3 – dimensional things, feel things, taste things, smell things. Pretty much all of which is not in an iPad.

On a screen you can build LEGO or Dublo or have someone read you a story. There are even books where you press a button and it says ”cow” when you press the image of a cow. But this is far from the same as sitting with a physical book, cause a book most often includes a parent reading aloud.

Nina: Yes, and by reading a book together with your child, you can talk about what you are seeing and give the child a chance to ask further questions.

Ulla: Exactly.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading part 1 of my interview with Ulla Dyrløv. Part 2 will be up next week.

If you want to know more about Ulla Dyrløv or read her Danish books, you can visit her website by clicking here.

Do you want to read other inspiring interviews? Then you can click on the links below.

Enjoy reading and feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Smiles from Berlin

Nina

Interview with Lars Muhl – A world famous Danish Esoteric Author and Rock Star – click here.

Interview with the famous Danish Painter René Holm – click here.

Interview with Singer Marcia Barrett of BoneyM – click here.

Interview – Kids, Screen time and addiction

Interview – Kids, Screen time and addiction

What impact does smartphones, tablets, online games, social media have on our children…and on us?

Ulla Dyrløv, Childrens therapist and Author

Back in December 2018 I came across an interview that instantly sparked my curiosity. It was with the Danish Child Psychologist Ulla Dyrløv, who had just published a book about The impact smartphones, iPads, computers and the internet have on our kids and teens.

Unfortunately, it already has a large negative side-effect. Larger than I had ever imagined! I have interviewed Ulla Dyrløv about this important topic and I am very excited about sharing all this valuable information with you.

“We know it is not good that our child spends so much time on his computer, iPhone, Tablet, but what can we do?”.

Ulla had heard parents say this way too often. She felt alarmed that parents seemed to have given up and placed the responsibility for something so potentially damaging in the arms of their children.

It was time to write down her observations on how too much screen time is in fact damaging to our kids in many different ways. Having been a therapist for children for the past 20 years, she has first hand experience of it. She has spoken to kids about online addiction and the isolation they feel. She has spoken to kids that don’t want the devices, which many parents have given them, and instead long for more quality time with their parents.

“How do we best guide our children through the usage of screens, computer games and being online?”

In her book and in the interview, which I will post on my blog later this week, Ulla gives us her advice on how we can best guide our kids through the usage of screens, being online, playing computer games, engaging in social media etc.

The book’s title in Danish is: ”Få styr på dit barns digitale verden”. The translation would be along the lines of: “Learn to understand your child’s digital world”. The book is only out in Danish.

“My own personal experience with screens and my almost 3 year-old son”

I have had first-hand experience of how allowing my son to watch kids cartoons online, or small clips of himself on my phone, was changing his behavior completely. Over an entire day he might have watched 30min in total. He became aggressive and slept worse. Since then I began reading about kids and how screens i.e. smartphones, iPads, computers was impacting their brain and behavior.

My son is 2 years and 8 months and we almost never let him watch videos on our laptops or phones. So yes, this also meant no toddler-movies of any kind. He gets to see a screen when we video-chat with our family abroad.

I let him watch some baby cartoons online and play with my iPhone when he was around 1 1/2 year-old, and I thought “ahh, this gives me 15-20min of time for me, while he watches that”. But, I quickly noticed he became obsessed with it, or actually mostly my Phone, cause he could hold it and swipe and look at pictures and videos on it. I only let him watch our own family videos and pictures.

“He was transfixed and did not want to play any of our normal games. He got angry and frustrated when I said he could not watch more”

Last week I forgot to turn off the screen while putting on childrens’ music on Youtube and I let him watch animated kids music videos for 10-15 minutes. The next day he would not listen to music without the screen on. I let him watch 15min, just to experiment and see how it would affect him.

He was transfixed and did not want to play any of our normal games. He got angry and frustrated when I said he could not watch more computer.

On day three the first thing he did when he woke up was to go to the computer and ask for music and videos. He stood in front of it waiting for me to turn it on. I made up my mind: no more screens. The only thing I saw was a negative change in his behavior compared to before.

“Ok, you can watch 3 videos and then my computer has to relax and will only play the music”. I sat together with him while he watched the three small clips of 3 min. each and said: “now there is 2 left”, “now this is the last one” and “now my computer has to relax”. He accepted.

It has now been one week without the screen

The following day, when he asked for the video, I told him my computer was still tired and could only play music. I did not let him watch video’s and just made sure we had other games lined up to catch his attention. It worked. It has now been 7 days with no screen again and he is fine. He happily listens to the music without the screen being on. And so we are back to our “no screen” policy at home.

Jordan (my son) did not stop asking for videos, but I just kept on repeating that my computer needed to relax and he accepted.

I would rather avoid screens all together for as long as I possibly can, cause he will be introduced to all of it eventually anyway.

Let me just clarify one thing. I am in no way against internet, smartphones and advancing technologically. But I am against not regulating the use of it, especially when I so clearly (!) see the negative side effect of it.


Ulla Dyrløv’s new book about how we best can understand and guide our children as they navigate through the digital world.

“Letting my child sit with a tablet or smartphone, gives me a moment to myself”

Have you binge watched something for 2-3 hours or more? How did it make you feel afterwards? I have tried it. I recall watching up to 5 hours non-stop of the series 24Hours once. I felt sick.

I dreamt about Kiefer Sutherland all night. My dreams were action packed and not very relaxing and on top of that I kept hearing his whispering voice. I can laugh at it now, but boy I felt bad.

I felt as if my whole body was tingling with nervous energy. I felt like I had to jump or exercise to get this stress-energy out, but was too tired to do it. Instead I took just one more episode…and then one! I was totally hooked an did not relax until I had watched all the episodes. It was like a drug. I was totally out of control!

“Now, imagine how your kids feel after having been online or busy with a screen for hours?”

I recall reading an article a little while back by a group of scientists. They had found that when we scroll or swipe or ”interact” with a iPad or smartphone, the chemical release in the brain is the same as if you have a shot of cocaine! Yes COCAINE! So, this massive high leaves you with craving more and more and yes, it is addictive.

“What are the most frequent and damaging side-effects and what can we do as parents?”

In my interview with Ulla Dyrløv she shares the damaging side-effects of too much screentime, too soon and what happens to our kids and teens. Then she gives us us advice on how to best help guide and set limits for our children, when it comes to them being online and looking at screens.

I am very happy to be able to share this important interview with you later this week. Feel free to post a comment on your own experience if you have something to share.

Warm regards from Berlin

Nina

PSssst… if you want to read more about Ulla, and if you understand Danish, you can find her website here. http://ulladyrløv.dk/

Sitges in Spain with a 2 year-old

Sitges in Spain with a 2 year-old

Dear reader,

I promised to tell you about Sitges in Spain and if it ended up being a place I would recommend you go to with kids (a toddler of almost 2 1/2 in my case) for a holiday. Read on my dear…and you will soon find out.

We were in Sitges from the 15-23rd of October. Sitges is located on the coast about 30mins from Barcelona. I went there with my boyfriend and boy, Jordan. Our holiday was my birthday gift and two weeks before we left my boyfriend finally told me where we were off to: “We are going to Sitges!”. “That is wonderful!” I said. Deep inside I had this feeling that I had heard something about Sitges before, but what was it?

After a few minutes I remembered:”Is that not the gay-hub of Spain?” My boyfriend had no idea, so we googled Sitges and YES, this is definately a very gay-friendly place. Good for us that we both are pro gay. “Well, that means I will be able to walk in peace, but you my dear….you might be in for a lot of hot looks!” I said laughing and that was indeed true!

One of the beautlful beaches with a touch of “gay-ness” 😉 I had no filter on camera..amazing colors in the sky right?

Sitges. The old town where we were lucky to live. By the statue in the picture (where I am taking the picture from, actually), there is a nice little playground with a magnificent view!

Getting there

We flew from Berlin to Barcelona with Easy-peasy-jet and from there we took a bus to Sitges. It was only a 20min bus-drive from the airport. We landed at Terminal 1 and as there is 5km between Terminal 1 and 2, you have to take a small free shuttle bus. The bus to Sitges leaves from Terminal 2. There is also a train going to Sitges, but it takes much longer.

Our Accomodation

We had booked a flat over Airbnb. The flat was amazing and we could see the sea from our Balcony. Our host was super friendly and even gave me a birthday gift when she found out it was my birthday. We had booked 5 nights there and the last 2 nights we stayed in a Hotel in the Port of Sitges at the other end of the Promenade. The hotel was called Hotel Port Sitges (more about that later in description).

The view from our cosy AirBnB flat.

I immediately fell in love with Sitges. The vibe was tranquil, the narrow streets full of life, beautiful old buildings and lots of inviting tapas bars and restaurants. A stones throw from our flat was the beautiful Promenade in the old town. I loved the peaceful early morning vibe down by the promenade where the only others out so early were dog-owners and families with kids. We were often just a handful of people on the beach around 9.00 in the morning.

Jordan on one of the most beautifully situated playgrounds in town. Here you see the little beach 2 min from our flat in the morning. The shallow water and protected space also makes it great for kids to play and swim. We saw people clean the beach, so it is nice for everyone.

Sitges is not too big (28.000 people) and because it is less touristic than Barcelona it is also cheaper. Apparently around 30% of the population is from the UK.

If you can travel outside the high-season like us, you can have a very relaxing time and also better prices for accommodation. If you miss the buzz of a big city you can reach Barcelona by train or bus and it takes about 30min. We ended up spending the whole week in Sitges. I felt so relaxed there and missed nothing. There were several playgrounds for our son to play on, but the beach and sea was by far the best place to play and relax for all of us.

My two boys

Another playground with an amazing view right by the beach.

I was surprised that we could swim in the sea without turning into ice. Ok the initial feeling was: “Omg omg omg this is cold…keep smiling…soon it will get better”, and after my body had adjusted to the “fresh feeling” I loved it and could not get enough. I think it was around 19-20 degrees. The streaming could get quite strong, so one should watch out for that.

The road to La Tahona Bakery. From the outside the Bakery may look less inviting, but I promise you – it is SO worth a visit!

Food and eating out

It ended up becoming a small tradition to go and get our freshly backed croissants (SO TASTY) and coffee to go from the well-hidden gem of a bakery called “La Tahona” on Calle de San Sebastian and then sit on the beach and eat breakfast, while playing in the sand and waiting for the sun to warm up the air before going for a swim.

We also visited Forn 9, another great place to have breakfast. To give you an idea of the prices, we had two large, fresh squeezed Orange Juices, two bread and cheese buns, a bun for Jordan, two coffees and all of it for €10! I just love the tomato spread they put under the cheese in their buns. It is delicious! They also gave Jordan (our Son) a free long bread stick, a balloon and lots of smiles.

We did not dine out a lot as we had a kitchen in our flat and cooked most evening meals at home. However, we had the most amazing Italian food on my birthday at a restaurant called La Grotta (San Pedro 1), recommended by our local Airbnb host. It was a nice and calm place and not too big. We had a 3 course meal and one glass of wine for €35 for 2 people (A lunch deal!).

There were many places that looked amazing and when you go to trip-advisor and look at the best places to eat, I am sure you’ll find some hidden gems (not germs :o) !

The other bakery we visited a few times was Forn 9, Carrer de Santiago Rusiñol. Also worth a visit!

Kids love this

We also took the little Tourist Train one day to the end of the beach. It was cute and a hit for our boy, who had a blast. We were only us and 2 other guys on the train, so it was quite the VIP style.

The whole trip takes about 25min and it was €4 for a return ticket. That way you also get a good overview of what there is to see on the beach front (packed with restaurants and cafés) and how close everything actually is. At the very end of the waterfront is a huge hotel with a Golf Course if you are into that kinda thing.

The little train driving along the waterfront.

The port of Sitges

The last 2 nights we stayed at Hotel Port Sitges. I had the feeling this hotel had had its glory days, not that there was anything wrong with it at all, but the decor was very 90s and a little worn down here and there. However, the price we paid for a room was very worth it and then we got to experience another vibe in Sitges. The views were absolutely amazing and the staff friendly too.

We had a small 2-room flat with a kitchen, so one would think you could cook a meal there. However, the kitchen was mostly for making a sandwich and tea / coffee as there was not a lot of kitchen wear.

I was once in Saint Tropes and walked along the promenade there, where it was a gigantic “show off vibe”. This you feel around the Port area too. It is packed with fancy boats, cars, lots of restaurants and people just checking one-another out. Yes, we also saw plenty of the Botoxed-I-Wanna-Be-Forever-Young women and also rather old men with quite young girls (ok…VERY young girls).

I must admit I prefer the more chilled and down-to-earth vibe around the old town. In Sitges you can indeed find a bit of everything, which makes life so much more colorful. I love that.

The View from the Hotel Port del Sitges – almost like a painting.

The Beach at Hotel Port Sitges (also with a lot of nudists). This was the only nudist beach we saw in the area.

My boys watching the sun set. Another wow moment.

So in short…I highly recommend visiting Sitges with small kids. I am definately going back!

Smiles from Berlin,

Nina

(None of the places I recommend have paid me / sponsored me to write these recommendations)

 

Sitges with a toddler!

Sitges with a toddler!

Me and my Man – a picture taken last night after we had performed a show together. I sang my own songs and he read funny short stories from his recent two books (In German). Ahh, sweet when you can combine both of your passions into one show.

Tomorrow we are off on a weeks holiday to Sitges in Spain. My birthday gift this year – lucky me! When my boyfriend told me we were going to Sitges, I thought: “I remember hearing about that place….what is it….hmm…ahh now I remember…it is famous for its gay life!”.

I have to tell you straight away that I have many gay friends and absolutely embrace the gay community, however it was a bit funny as my boyfriend had no idea Sitges was gay heaven. Well, off we are going tomorrow with our son of almost 2 1/2 and I am excited. I may be the one who has to watch over my hunky boyfriend on this trip though.

I just browsed through the internet and came across a Blog where a family father wrote about why he LOVES Sitges and why him, his wife and kids keep returning to this place and no, they are not gay. They just love the vibe there and that it is just 1 hour from the buzz in Barcelona. So, dear you, when I am back from Sitges in a weeks time I will write you an update on how I found this place and if I recommend going there with kids, too.

Peace, love and holiday – vibes,

Nina

PS – if you want to read some very inspiring interviews in the mean time, I suggest you check out the ones I have done here on the links below. Just click on the name.

Lars Muhl (Esoteric Author and Danish Rockstar) – Theme: Why are so many kids and teens (and adults) depressed, anxious and suffering today and what can we do about it?

René Holm (Danish painter) – Theme: Daring to follow a dream and live well of it. Parenting. Do’s and Dont’s of the Artworld.

Marcia Barrett (Singer of THE famous BONEY M Band) – Theme: Life before, during and after Boney M

— The Interviews below here are only in Danish !!!!!! —

Kate Hall (Singer, Vocal coach and Yoga teacher) – How was it to be in Popstars both as a contestant and later as a vocal coach. How does a singing career and family life go hand in hand. A few Health tips and tasty recipes.

Maj Bjerre (Coach and author) – Theme: How do we best give and receive criticism and why do so many of us dislike it. Maj talks about the gift in embracing criticism.

Ditte Young (Clairvoyant, Animal healer, Mother of an Autistic Child, and Author) – Theme: What is clairvoyance and how did Ditte develop her skills. How is it to be able to communicate with animals? Which challenges do Ditte face being a mom of an autistic child, who was born blind, but who Ditte trained up to see (against doctors predictions).

 

 

Part 3 – Interview w. Lars Muhl – Why are so many kids depressed today?

Part 3 – Interview w. Lars Muhl – Why are so many kids depressed today?

Lars Muhl with his Wife Ghita Ben-David

This is the final part of an interview I have done with the famous Danish esoteric Author and Rockstar Lars Muhl. I wanted to know Lars Muhl’s take on why so many young people suffer from depression today. Why so many parents find it difficult to raise their kids. Why so many kids are put on anti-depressives and diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression and ADHD. How does he think we can help our younger generation and what is the reason for this massive down-ward spiral in our mental health?

Did you read part 1 and 2? If not, I suggest you follow this interesting talk from the beginning. You can find Part 1 of the interview right here and link to Lars Muhl’s website at the end of this post.

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(This first part is a re-post of what we just talked about in the previous part of the interview, so you can more easily follow our conversation)

L: I also think that besides meditation, it starts with finding out what the Law of Light is. That which is connecting everything in the universe. There is a secret law and that is to treat other people the same way that you would like to be treated. Because if you just walk on the street and throw things like paper on the pavement, I mean someone is going to clean it up after you. Just by that small thing, you have broken the law of light.

It is that we start to be more present and see how we affect other peoples lives by just walking through it and that we start to be more passionate, more grateful and more graceful and be more helpful towards others, you know. Because in that is actually where we start connecting. And we can do it everywhere and with whatever we do.

When we go down to the drugstore or supermarket, or where ever we are we can start practicing the Law of Light. I think that is the base of everything. Find a new view on who you are and who other people are. Just begin to see that the world was not created for your sake only. Everybody is not just some “xtras” in a film where you are the main role.

Lars Muhl meets Dalai Lama. Photo by Oliver Adam.

So really start to see that we are all coming from the same place: we are all one! That is actually what Christianity was all about and we forgot. I think, like Dalai Lama he says when he comes to Europe and sees people coming in dressed like Buddhists in orange robes: “why do you dress like this when you have Christianity?”

I mean it is no accident that you are born into this, you just have to go deeper. If you are not satisfied with what they teach you in the church, then go deeper into the Esoteric Christianity. That is a challenge for us. We don’t go to church and why not? Cause they are just scratching the surface. Nobody is going deep anywhere in Christianity, so this has been a part of my work in my book The Law of Light, and in the latest The Gate of Light.

I have been very much into the old practices of the old mystery schools that Jesus also attended. Because I found that we need a practice that everybody can do. I mean it is so simple! It is just about deciding that: “now I want to do it”. You don’t need to go to university and any child can do this. Any child can start healing using their healing abilities that we all are carrying.

Everybody can work with reading the Book of Life to open up to the higher clairvoyance or intuition or whatever you want to call it. Anybody can do it. It was given to us freely. Nobody is using it and that is why we are frustrated because deep down in every being we know about these things. We have just forgotten about them. So, there is something within us that is responding towards this negligence. Even when we go out in the world we are becoming more and more sad because of that. We are looking for a reason for why we are sad and we get medicated because we are sad, not knowing that the only reason is that we turned our back on ourselves.

N: Yes, and became disconnected.

L: YES! So we need people who know about these things who can go out in the world and try to tell people about this. I just finished my latest book that comes out in Danish now and which is the most important book written not only by me, but I dare say, I have not read a book like that myself. It is a book that is offering everything that I have been working with all of my life. All the experiences I have done, and I am giving all the practices that anybody can do. Also practices I learnt from “The Seer”. Everything is in that book. The new book is called “The light within a human being”.

N: And what is the title in Danish?

L: Lyset I et menneskes hjerte. It will be out at the end of this year and next year hopefully also in German, just like my other books are translated into other languages. Because this is the most important book.

N: The most important book out of all those you have written so far?

L: Yeah I find that this is the most important.

N: You know, I would like to ask you something else Lars, which is that we often read about how the kids that are born today or maybe during the last 10-15 years are more high-vibrational and often very intelligent. Do you believe this is true?

At this point in the interview my recorder paused on its own. Yes, the dream scenario while you are doing an interview! Luckily enough I had pen and paper and could write down his answer in good old-fashioned style on paper.

Lars’ agreed to the fact that many of the kids born today are highly sensitive (note by Nina: This means that they experience and sense things much more than many of us adults do. That is also why things often get too overwhelming for them faster, cause they “take so much in”. However, they are often highly intelligent both in terms of a high IQ but also often a high emotional intelligence).

More of these souls are “arriving” as the world (and people here) is in dire need of more high vibrational souls to aid it. It is so unfortunate that they are often just diagnosed with ADHD and other attention deficit disorders, when they are in fact just operating on another level than us older humans. They are not “sick”, they are just misunderstood and finding it difficult to “operate” in a dense and intense world such as ours.

Because these kids are more sensitive they also are more affected by the poisons in our foods and these have been building up since the 1950’s. Lars even talks about how he thinks that some people may have a secret interest in making us all more sick through our food, such as the medicine industries.

At this point my recorder began recording again, so from here on you get the exact words 😉

Lars Muhl by Vembyephoto

L: There are actually powers that would like to maintain this despite that the world in crumbling down around us, you know. I think until the last day or the day before everything is just exploding there will be people defending it just because of money.

I mean all those people who are waking up, and we are lucky that more and more people are waking up, they see that politicians are not doing enough and they then realize that: “Oh, it is up to us know”. So you will see more and more people in the streets.

I also foresee that there will be a Civil War in the USA because of that crazy president and all those crazy people who support him. And they have so many weapons there. So I think it is building up and a lot of it is coming to Europe to. We have the Brexit people and all those Neo Nazis. All these things.

People who are frustrated and want to get their frustrations out and then need a cause and hang their frustration on some crazy politician, who need his or her 15minutes of fame. I mean it is all insane and it is up to us, you know. And you cannot do it by twisting people’s arms around you.

You just have to keep on providing the facts as good as you can and also show by your own example that there IS another way of doing things. You cannot preach but you can show other people by your own example and it starts down in the supermarket today!

You can go down and treat people like you want to be treated and you can buy things that you find are proper to buy. If more and more people buy organic food, then they have to produce more Organic food.

N: Listen to the consumers needs.

L: The only thing we can hope for is that it is not too late.

N: Yeah and just look at the weather and how hot it has been in Germany and Denmark this summer.

L: Yes, ALL over. Even in America. It is all over the world. And still there are people denying that it is happening (Global Warming).

N: Yes, as you say it is good that people are beginning to wake up, we just need more people to wake up faster.

L: And the minute that people find out that they can actually sit down anywhere and start practicing and actually change the environment around them in the space that they are. For instance if you are in a delicate spot and there are a lot of people screaming and shouting, you can sit down and actually just by practicing peace (visualizing peace and thinking peaceful thoughts) you can spread that peace in that room or where ever you are. And within a few minutes it will just dissolve and it will be peaceful. I do that all the time.

N: So you can just sit down and send out kind of a peaceful energy?

L: Yeah and you know it is all about dedication and being present and then you can do it. I do it every day and every where I go if I feel for it. I just step aside for a few minutes and practice and then …

N: And then you feel a change?

L: Yes.

N: That is a powerful tool and probably also one you describe in your new book?

L: It is!

N: Sounds like something that would be good to have on my bookshelf and not just to read but also practice. Well, I think I have come to the end of my questions so thank you so much for doing this interview Lars.

L: Thank you.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading this somewhat different take on why Lars Muhl thinks so many kids (and parents) suffer from anxiety, depression and attention disorders. If you wish to read more about Lars Muhl or order his books, you can visit his websites below:

Lars Muhl Personal Website – click here.

Lars Muhl and wife Ghita Ben David’s Danish/English website Cosmoporta.net – click here.

Warm regards from me to you,

Nina

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PS !!! – If you wish to read another inspiring interview, then you can read about the Famous Danish Artist René Holm and his road to success right here. Or, maybe you feel like reading about the life of the famous singer from Boney M, Miss Marcia Barrett. She openly talks about her life before, during and after Boney M right here.

Part 2 – Interview w. Lars Muhl – A Danish Rockstar and Esoteric Author

Part 2 – Interview w. Lars Muhl – A Danish Rockstar and Esoteric Author

Lars Muhl, photo by Ole Bernt Frøshaug

A few weeks ago, I decided to write to the famous Danish Rockstar and Esoteric Author Lars Muhl’s assistant to ask for an interview. I wanted to know Lars’ take on why so many young people suffer from depression today. Why so many parents find it difficult to raise their kids. Why so many kids are put on anti-depressives and diagnosed with ADHD or Autism. How does he think we can help our younger generation and what is the reason for this massive down-ward spiral in our mental health?

If you are “new” to my blog, I suggest you read Part 1 of this special interview first. You can find it by clicking right here. At the end of this interview you can find links to Lars Muhl’s website. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the interview.

Nina

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L: If I was a kid living in this world I would try to get away from it as fast as I can. I think the screen is part of that. It is a way to get far away.

N: This answer puzzled me a bit, cause I had actually not thought about the screen like that…that it was an escape for kids and teens from the real world, cause it is all too much. My response was: “You mean you think the kids try to escape the reality through the screen cause it is all too overwhelming?

L: Yes, cause they are all just surrogates. They are not getting the real stuff or the real deal. Nobody is telling the truth. Nobody knows anything. I mean, if you are born into a world of Zombies, what would you do? Coming maybe from another place where you were completely clear and sharp. Just imagine for a new soul coming into this world, being so clear and sharp and just thinking: “What the hell am I doing here. Why should I come to a place like this?”

You know, the kids are trying to adjust the best they can. Every time they try to be who they really are they get “closed down” with the message that: “You are sick, so take these pills”. You won’t make it in this world if you don’t ‘come into the fold’ you know.

(Note: Lars talks about that souls arrive from another “pure” place before entering a physical body on our planet).

N: So, don’t fall outside the norm and break the patterns?

L: Exactly, and the norm and the patterns are being more and more restricted and rigid.

N: Although we think we are freer than ever and have access to more knowledge, the opposite is actually occurring? So we are in fact becoming a form of prisoners of our own small worlds.

L: Yes. That is the brilliance of that illusion. The brilliance of those, who created that illusion. Maybe they created it for some reason, I don’t know. But sometimes when you hear people that develop all those theories, you could actually think they may be right in some cases.

N: You mean conspiracy theories?

L: Yeah. I just think it is all about money. Money talks. If you want to write a good book or read a good book, it is a book that has been a Bestseller and has sold in millions of copies. Or if you want a good teacher it is the teacher who has the most followers on the internet. You know, it is all measured by “how much” and not about the quality of what is within. And that is the world.

So everybody is striving to get their 15minutes of fame and hopefully make a lot of money. And it does not matter what it is, it can be a doctor inventing some crazy story about something and all the zombies think “wow isn’t that funny” you know.

N: But do you think that the reason why so many kids and teens want to be rich and famous is that they see it makes you more seen and heard, which maybe many of them feel they are not cause their parents are so stressed out?

L: Exactly.

N: I mean it is not to blame the parents cause we are all just a product of our society. It is the way we started to live. You have parents that are physically there, but mentally they are somewhere else (in their list of to-do’s or worries or whatever?) and the kids feel this immediately.

L: You know when you see parents sitting with their kids, and I see this everyday, it can be on the ferry, on a train on anywhere, this is an opportunity to be together and to do something together. Even the parents are just watching their screens and haven’t got time and they say: “Oh, go and buy a cookie or something” and they are just into their own games and movies and all this shit.

N: Yes, it is somewhat overwhelming for everyone and many people don’t know how to brake out of it. It has become their world and their everyday.

Lars Muhl the way I recall him from my childhood as a big Rockstar.

L: I experience a lot of young parents today, being just the same frustrated children as their own children. And I would say it goes another generation back to their parents as well. And everybody is sitting with those screens you know, playing games. So, argh….

N: So this is the big challenge. If the solution to the problem of kids suffering from depression and anxiety is resulting in them having to be medicated, rather than “Pulling the internet plug” and maybe also creating more “real” connection to the parents, then we have to detox both kids and parents from the internet. How to do that? I guess it starts with the parents being aware of the impact their addiction to the screen has on their kids, well and also the whole lifestyle of us parents.

L: But you know, if it is in politics and everything, then you know, this is just the norm. I mean, everyone does it. How can you live without it? Just imagine the day the whole internet closes down?!

N: I think of that quite often. You know, many people would be paralyzed.

L: Yes. And nobody would know anything cause they cannot Google it.

N: I myself was born in 1980, so I was lucky to grow up before the internet but still have it as a part of my childhood. So I think it is more easy for me to create a online/offline balance, cause I have such great memories from the time before the internet.

I can easily value how it is to be offline. But the kids that are younger than me, they have never tried life without the internet. They don’t know what it is to be offline for longer. For them it is not natural. They have to be taught how it is and that is the role of the parents. Bring the kids to a place where you maybe don’t have your phone or internet, so they can more easily reconnect to their higher self, as you call it, which is who they really are….or just experience peace of mind after a while.

L: Uhm.

I am reading this book by Lars Muhl right now and will write my opinion about it here on the blog once I have read it.

N: Of course not everyone reading this interview know about the higher self and what it is, but if they are interested in finding out more, they could maybe start by reading one of your books? Do you have something that would be recommendable for beginners?

L: Yeah yeah. I mean, it doesn’t matter how long you work with this, we are all beginners. Each and every one of us has our own special path to walk. No one can put down something universal and say: “if you do like this then that will happen”. What this is all about is to be reconnected to that Kingdom of heaven within you. And when you are connected that is when you start opening up to your intuition for example.

If you don’t use your intuition, then it won’t use you! Meaning that every time you turn on a GPS or something like that, you turn your back on your intuition. I have seen people talking about “how is the weather today” and instead of looking out of the window, they Google it! They don’t even trust their own eyes!

Or their own feelings or senses!

N: Hahaha…yes, it is true (I laughed quite a bit at this remark cause I do it too when I want to find out how to dress my little son!)

L: This is the maximum distraction of everything, you know. That we start to mistrust our own senses and our own inner voice. So, we have to reconnect and actually religion comes from the old latin phrase religare, which means to re-connect to the higher. To God or to the higher self. So that is actually what religion is all about: to reconnect! Yeah! Because when you come into this world you are disconnected.

When you are young you are naturally going into this “Tivoli” of a world and you have to taste every forbidden fruit there is. Try this drug or this drink and you have to go through the whole sexual thing too. And that is how it is because you are to discover what this world is all about and use your senses.

But there comes a time when you are just full of it and you need to do something else. And if you don’t get out of it and find out that you need to re-connect inwards, then you just slowly become a Zombie who just thinks about getting entertained, eating unhealthy food, you know, and watching the screen and just being yeah….hmmm

N: Yes, or maybe you become ill?

L: Yes! So that is a challenge…to get out of the “Tivoli” of norms and the Zombie circus you know.

N: But maybe it is also cause the world is so overwhelming in many ways, especially when you are young. You have to make so many choices early on and that it is so easy to fall into the “reward” trap before you complete your list of “to-do’s” or what choices to make. Weather it is pleasure through sex, drugs, drinking or partying, even shopping, or just being online.

L: Yes exactly.

N: Somehow it enables you to reach a mild form of this total bliss state you can reach when you meditate.

L: Exactly.

N: But of course through meditation you can stay in that state for much longer and it is not unhealthy.

L: I also think that besides meditation, it starts with finding out what the Law of Light is.

(End of Part 2 – Part 3 will be online tomorrow)

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Want to know more about Lars Muhl, his books and workshops? Then you can visit his websites below: 

Lars Muhl Personal Website – click here.

Lars Muhl and wife Ghita Ben David’s Danish/English website Cosmoporta.net – click here.

A warm hug and a smile from me to you,

Nina

Interview w. Lars Muhl – A Danish Esoteric Author and Rockstar

Interview w. Lars Muhl – A Danish Esoteric Author and Rockstar

Lars Muhl

Around one year ago my sister told me to read a fascinating, inspiring and very transforming book. Transforming in the sense that it made me re-think many things and look at life in a different way. The book was written by the famous Danish Rockstar Lars Muhl, who I until then only thought of as a musician from Denmark, the country where I also grew up.

I remember Lars Muhl’s massive Danish hit “Sjæl I Flammer” from 1987. His fame was huge in Denmark. For years he played the large stages until he suddenly got very ill and had to stay in bed for 3 years. No one could help him. He tried all kinds of treatment and things remained the same. He could barely do his shows and withdrew himself more and more from the public eye.

What was happening? How could he ever get a normal life again? One day he was introduced to “the Seer”, a man called Calle Montsegur, who was said to be able to perform miracles and helped people all over the world.

It took a five-minute phone call followed by some “energy-work” (healing), and Lars fell into a very deep sleep. Two hours later he woke up and got out of bed. He felt normal again, for the first time in years. Since then he visited The Seer and became his “apprentice” over the next several years. This changed the life of Lars Muhl and he began writing more books on the topic.

He wrote the book “The Seer” about his meeting with the Healer and the following journey he embarked upon. This is the book I read and loved. Today Lars Muhl is on the list of the top 100 most influencial Esoteric Writers alive. However, these “titles” do not really seem to mean anything to Lars, who is more into the quality of people’s work, rather than the “brand” they carry or the fame they have.

The book I read and loved called “Seeren” or “The Seer” in English.

A few weeks ago, I decided to write to Lars Muhl’s assistant to ask for an interview. I wanted to know Lars’ take on why so many young people suffer from depression today. Why so many parents find it difficult to raise their kids. Why so many kids are put on anti-depressives and diagnosed with ADHD or Autism. How does he think we can help our younger generation and what is the reason for this massive down-ward spiral in our mental health?

I honestly did not think Lars Muhl would agree to do an interview with me, but he did! It was a highly inspirational talk of 30min, which I will present to you over the next few days. I hope you will enjoy the read.

You will find links to Lars Muhl’s website at the end of this post.

With love from me to you

Nina

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Nina (N): Today I am talking to the Danish Musician and writer of esoteric books Lars Muhl. Hello Lars, and welcome to the interview!

Lars (L): Hello (He says in a soft and friendly voice)

N: Thank you for taking the time for this interview

L: Thank you for having me.

N: Yes, of course! I would like you to describe who you are in your own words.

L: Hmmm, long story. Since I was a child, because of certain circumstances, I was opened towards spirituality in a rather harsh way, if I may say so. Anyway, It was the beginning of a lifelong path I have been on and not so many people, who know me from the music scene are aware of that my main business really was to study all the world’s religious traditions and philosophies and so forth. So, what I did for almost a lifetime, or what feels like it, was just to study and not to practice what I was studying.

Then in 1995 when I suddenly became sick and was bound to the bed for three years, I was connected to the man who became my teacher, “The Seer” also know as Calle Montsegur. He got me out of bed after a 5min telephone call.

N: He got you out of bed and this state after just one call?

L: Yeah, we talked for five minutes and afterwards I felt a slight knocking in the back of my neck and I went to sleep. After two hours of deep sleep I woke up to a world that after three years in black and white, was suddenly in Technicolor.

N: Wow, this is amazing. And this man, Calle, who you talk about is the one you wrote the book “The Seer” about?

L: Yes, yes.

N: And you had tried other forms of medical help for three years and nothing had helped?

L: I had been trying to get diagnosed both from ordinary doctors and also healers. But nobody was able to diagnose or heal me in any way.

N: So you just lay in your bed and could not do music or work or anything?

L: No, only sporadically I would have a few days here and there, but otherwise I was just not able to do anything.

N: When you look back at this with the knowledge you have today, do you think that this (illness) happened for a reason, so that you had to contact Calle?

L: Yeah, the reason for me laying there, which I found out later, was that I was not practicing the things I was studying. So after I got out a bed, Calle asked me to come down to Montsegur where he was working and visit him six months later. I became sort of an apprentice to him. It was there that he told me that you cannot study and not practice.

Also I had a very difficult time to change my life from being a rock musician and to leave all this behind, because I was making quite a lot of money and I had an identity as a rockstar and so on. But I knew all along that he was completely right. I just had not had the guts to do it.

So, now I had met this man who was practicing and not reading. So in many ways it was the perfect match. I worked with him for seven years during which I also wrote my Triology “The Seer”, “The Magdalene” and “The Grail”, which are now called The O manuscript.

N: Ahh, they are all three part of “The O Manuscript”.

L: Yes yes, they ARE “The O Manuscript”.

N: So, if you want to read all three books you can just buy “The O Manuscript”. Good to know. I was very fascinated when I read your book “The Seer” cause it is such a powerful story. I mean I have read a lot of esoteric books and I practice meditation, but just like you say, it is so easy to read about all this and forget to practice it in the everyday life. Laziness or just other priorities often come in and take over instead.

L: Exactly.

N: Well, today I would actually like to talk about why you believe that so many young people have huge problems. I mean, I grew up in Denmark, which is a quite a wealthy country and now I live in Germany and I seem to see the same problems. Very young kids are suffering from anxiety, depression, and for the older teenagers also the inability to somehow “take charge of their own life”. What I mean is that it is difficult for many of them to function without someone telling them exactly what to do. Basically it is challenging for many of them to lead a normal life, complete an education, keep a job and most importantly (in my opinion) to be happy.

L: Uhmmm

N: Also many parents are suffering from stress and depression. So, I would like to hear your view on why it is so bad and what you think we can do to aid our selves and our children.

L: To me there is no doubt that the main problem, which is also the reason for all the other problems, is that you divert yourself from all your qualities and from your “higher self”, so to speak. You are just watching and living from the “small self” and the “ego view”, then of course that is what you get! You should imagine that we as humans were born with such strong abilities that we can do everything we want.

But, we need to know that there is a certain law involved if we want to achieve everything that we have always dreamt of and that we are looking in the wrong places. You know, that is because it has something to do with spirituality and a lot of people are afraid of religions, because they have been witnessing how a lot of more or less sick people in the name of a certain religion do this or that. This has frightened a lot of people from really trying to dig deeper and evolve it within themselves. So this is the new challenge for everybody.

The only answer to all the questions you might have is that we start on that path, which is self-development and spirituality in order to get through all the noise that we have surrounded ourselves with. Right into the center of our own being.

You know, there is another completely confused thing and that is that everybody is looking for happiness outside of them selves. So they look here, there and everywhere and are running from one place to another, but they won’t find what they are looking for. Instead they should be sitting down to look within.

That is exactly what Jesus said that we are born into, if you want to stay in the Christian religion. He said: “Don’t forget that kingdom of heaven is within you”. He actually says that in the New Testament. But nobody is talking about it in the church.

N: No, cause then you would not have to go to the church. Then you could just “stay at home” and go within.

L: No, no, no. Exactly! Well, you could go to church, but you don’t have to go for the reason you are going now, because you think it is there (Note by Nina: to get in touch with your own higher self / the divine within us all).

N: Yes, you can connect to this energy wherever you are. You don’t have to go and sit in a physical church to do that. But for some people it is just easier to go to a church to connect to this through something more physical.

L: The next thing is, that if you decide to do this and you think: “This is the answer to all my questions”, well then you need to start to practice. When we start to practice we find out that we have to leave our comfort zone. But people today, I mean…don’t take me wrong…but we are lazy and kind of like Zombies.

And somebody somewhere had this brilliant idea that in order to just “close everybody down” we were given a screen so we can sit like dumb fools and Zombies looking into our screens. And everybody is looking into their screen on the phones. Everything has to go through that screen, so we forget to look within ourselves. It is a distraction and it is a very very….almost criminal act towards humanity.

N: You mean the internet and constant access to being bombarded with not just useful, but most of the time “un-useful” knowledge?

L: Exactly. It is nonsense. And more and more fake news is popping up and more and more…just crazy stuff. Now it has more or less become a place where people can get rid of their frustration and anger about not getting what they wanted. They think that: “I am not satisfied, so I must buy a bigger screen or newer telephone” and so they are more distracted.

I mean there is nothing wrong with the telephone, as there was nothing wrong with the typewriter, but the dangerous thing about this is that it makes us Zombies. We become technocrats. We think we can solve all problems with technology. There is one thing I can tell you and that is: That is not possible!

If we turn our backs to our selves and our inner abilities, then we will never ever find any solutions to any problem that we are creating all the time. More and more problems are being created and we are not solving any of them. We think we are able to, but we won’t solve anything. We will just create more noise and more distraction.

N: Yes, and this is also what you see with so many kids today. They sit with their screens and interact through the screen.

L: If I was a kid living in this world I would try to get away from it as fast as I can. I think the screen is part of that. It is a way to get far away.

(End of Part 1 – Part 2 will be online tomorrow)

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Want to know more about Lars Muhl, his books and workshops? Then you can visit his websites below: 

Lars Muhl Personal Website – click here.

Lars Muhl and wife Ghita Ben David’s Danish/English website Cosmoporta.net – click here.

A warm hug from me to you,

Nina

Do you know The Danish Rockstar / Author Lars Muhl?

Do you know The Danish Rockstar / Author Lars Muhl?

Lars Muhl, Danish Rockstar and Esoteric Author.

I am so excited. I have recently interviewed Lars Muhl, the Danish Rockstar, who was big in the 1980s and ’90s and now is more famous for his esoteric books (some would call them spiritual books). I have read one of them “The Seer” about Lars’ own spiritual journey and it is highly recommendable. I could not put it down.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about what I could do to aid all the young kids out there, as well as frustrated / stressed parents who suffer from anxiety, performance pressure, comparison pressure, addiction, depression….you name it. That is why I decided to ask Lars Muhl about his take on all this. So two months ago I wrote his assistant an email and asked if he would be up for an interview. I honestly did not think I was gonna get a reply, but what could I loose by asking, right? What I wanted to ask him was: Why does he think it has gotten “this far out” with our mental health in a time where we have more than many of us need (materialistically) and where we have so much knowledge from the past to learn from. Why are we not doing better mentally and physically? And, how does he think we can solve this major challenge.

I was extremely surprised and happy when I received an email back from Lars Muhl himself, stating that he would do the interview and dear reader. I have now done it and soon you will be able to read it!

My little family <3

It became a very interesting, controversial and for me even more mind-opening interview, which I cannot wait to share with you when I am back from H O L I D A Y in Bulgaria in a week from today (Yes, we leave today). I will be residing for a week in the countryside surrounded by wonderful nature, fresh veggies and fruits from the huge garden of my Mum in Law, Iskra and I can’t wait. As you may have read, I live in amazing Berlin, which I truly love, but I do miss nature and I really wish for our son Jordan who is soon 2 1/2 years-old, that he can experience longer periods of time in nature where “the real” life unfolds and where we are more offline than online <3

A very big smile from me to you,

Nina