(Yes, I am still actively counseling even if I rarely update my blog)

Like most people, I dislike seeing myself on video or hearing myself talk. I also don’t really want any publicity.

However, I agreed to make this video because I believe it can significantly help people cope with their anxiety in about ten minutes. Also, for people considering visiting me, it can serve as a small example of what a session with me is like, minus the usual back and forth conversation.

If you think it is worthwhile, please pass it on. Thanks.

You can click on the picture or this link to be taken to the video.

Anxiety Response With Corbin Humble

Not long ago, I shared a blog post attempting to give adults a more understanding perspective of the teenager’s burden. Today, I thought I would share an analogy I often tell teenagers to help their perspective.

First, I start by pointing out that, if we are being honest, you probably feel like you are the main character in your story. Don’t be ashamed, I think that is pretty normal for everyone since we see life through our own eyes. And, again not to be offensive, truth be told, at the end of the day, one of the most important factors is that we are ok.

So, right now, how do you know you are ok?

This question is only difficult, because it seems too obvious. The answer is that you can immediately look and see. No ninjas are attacking you currently, I assume. (If so, I suggest dealing with that before finishing this blog.) You can tell you are breathing. If you need to double check, you can take a moment and feel your heart beating. You know you are ok in this moment. You may be anxious about your future, your next meal or some ongoing drama, but on the most basic level, you can tell you are alive.

Now, imagine through some miracle of magic or science, you could take your heart out of your body and put it in a box. And as long as your heart was ok, you were ok. Now, if you are really playing along and letting your imagination run with this, what do you think you would do with that box?

Most people say they would lock it up, hide it or never let it out of their sight.

Now, what if one of your buddies wanted to borrow your heart in a box? You know, just take it along with them and show some of their friends at the mall?

Most people wouldn’t allow that.

Now, what if it was absolutely imperative that your heart in a box underwent some maintenance? Suppose it has to be cleaned or repaired so that you can continue living. And what if, for some reason, you were not allowed to go with it. Suppose a friend was going to take it in for maintenance for you. How would you feel while it was gone?

Anxious, worried, unable to really relax or focus on anything else?

Would you call or text regularly to get updates from your friend that everything was ok?

You probably would not feel ok while your heart was out of your sight.

And what if your friend did not respond to a text? What if they were an hour late without letting you know why?

You would probably be terrified.

And when your friend got back later and said they took a detour to a another friend’s house, how would you feel?

Would you be livid? Would there be some choice words or worse?

If you really tried imagining this strange scenario, I bet you got a brief feeling of that roller coaster of emotions.


Well, when you have a child, it is like putting your heart in a box. For a parent, they are no longer the most important person in their life, their child is. Most parents are willing to die for their children.

And as soon as I make that connection, most teenagers suddenly get a glimmer of why their parents are so annoying. Always setting rules, texting constantly, showing so little trust. Now their anger that you were half an hour late makes sense, when it seemed so trivial before.

Really, given this perspective, it is actually a miracle that parents ever let their children out of their sight. Some don’t. But most parents realize that it has to happen. One of a parent’s main goals is to raise independent children, so at some point they know they have to let go. But this is why it is so hard. Letting go and trusting a child is one of the hardest things for a parent to do, and it is usually a difficult transition for the parents and the child. Just try to be understanding.

And don’t give your parents a heart attack for no good reason, ok?

Allow me to share some of the parenting observations I have accumulated over the past decade. 

Parents are usually concerned primarily with their children’s obedience and respect.

How do I get them to behave?

Why don’t they respect me?

These are two of the most common and central issues I see parents trying to manage. And from this point, a very common relationship dynamic occurs. Parents tend to use their words to manage behavior and their consequences to build respect. Perhaps this cycle seems familiar…

Ask the child to do something. Tell the child to do something. Ask them why they didn’t do it. Yell. Complain. Argue. Nag. Threaten. Beg. Guilt trip. Etc. Then, after there is so many hurt feelings and regrets for hurtful things said, you feel guilty and let them off easy, mend fences with a treat or don’t even follow through with a consequence.

“What can I say or do to get through that thick skull of theirs and make them listen?” “Why do I have to yell at them before they will obey?”

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some magic phrase to get the light bulb to turn on and your child to respond, “Oh! You’re right mom. You’re just trying to do what is best for me. I’m sorry I didn’t get it and you really do love me. I’ll cooperate and everything will be easier from now on.” If only.

Ideally, it should be as simple as telling them something and them obeying. In a well running relationship, that is how most things work. But when it doesn’t work that way, we think we need to step it up and figure out the magic words to get cooperation. And when you try harder and harder to use your words to get obedience, you tend to do more and more damage in the process. It is like trying to get a seed to grow by digging it up and squeezing it. Sure, you might get a reaction, but that is not going to thrive.

And then, when you try to repair the relationship or make sure the child still likes you, you decide to give them things, not to punish them or to cut that 2 week grounding back to 2 days. “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I don’t want us to fight. Let’s go to the mall and look at that new Iphone you wanted.” I see a lot of parents that really struggle to apply consequences when they feel guilty.

So, that is the common dynamic. Use words to try to manage behavior and consequences to manage relationship/respect. But consider what that would look like if you had boss that did that…

Imagine a bad boss who comes in and just complains about all the things that aren’t done right. “Why is this so sloppy?” “You need an attitude adjustment.” “You guys need to work harder.” “What’s your problem?”

People tend to protect their ego from criticism by discrediting the source of the criticism.

That means, if someone is yelling at you, there is a part of you trying to knock them down a few pegs so their criticism doesn’t hurt as much. You may be thinking about that nagging boss, “Well, you’re never here. You don’t know how hard we work. I’ve seen all the stuff you do wrong. How dare you criticize me.” So, when people use their words excessively to control behavior, it tends to breed disrespect and hurts relationships.

Now, if that same bad boss never actually punishes anyone or enforces rules, but rather tries to enact casual Fridays and bring treats to make the employees like them, does that actually work? No. You just learn the boss won’t really do anything and you simply take advantage of their gifts without developing any respect.

Now, let’s flip the script. Imagine a good boss who uses their words to build relationships and consequences to deal with behavior.

This boss comes in and encourages you and points out what you do right. “Hey, I noticed how you put up with that angry customer with grace and tact.” “I know I can always count on you.” “You have such a great attitude, we’re lucky to have you.” If a boss was sincerely encouraging and really appreciated you, would you be more willing to go the extra mile when they said, “Hey, can you come in on Saturday? I know it’s no fun, but I need someone I can trust to do this for me.”

And if that same boss had to address a problem and said, “I do need to mention the issue of getting to work late. That’s your responsibility and if you are signed up to open, we will have to start docking your pay for being late.” If you were late again and got your pay docked, would you really be that mad at the boss? No, they told you what would happen and they followed through. Now that you know they are serious, maybe you’ll try harder next time. 

Which boss would would you respect more? Which boss would you cooperate with more?

Let me tell you that after visiting with easily over 100 kids in my experience, they almost never complain about punishments. Usually they know what they did. What kids say over and over again is, “Why do they have to yell at me?” Truth is, any open mindedness to change usually shuts off when the volume starts to go up. The yelling, the lectures, the nagging and the criticism usually do not convey any new information to the child, but it does affect them. They hate it. Sometimes they try to act like it doesn’t bother them, but it does. And if we’re being honest, this is why parents use it…because it gets a reaction. Punishments often seem ineffective, but you can find a hot button topic to get a reaction. And this feels like an accomplishment. But it is not accomplishing what you want. Sure, they might obey just to shut you up, but that wins the battle and loses the war.

Do you want to get them to pick up the socks off the floor today even if it means they don’t tell you about their depression tomorrow?

What did you win if they turned down the music only to stew on how you don’t care that they had a horrible day and needed something to cope?

And if your make them so miserable that they make good decisions while you are around, will they still do those things when they are on their own?


I used the seed analogy earlier. Using words to control behavior is like squeezing a seed. It gets an immediate reaction that does not thrive. Consequences on the other hand are like pouring the water on a seed that is buried. Just because it doesn’t seem to make a difference now does not mean that it is not working. Create an environment that encourages growth. Create consequences that make good decisions the better option and give your child time to figure that out. 

How many times have you made the same bad decision over and over and dealt with the consequences before you finally decided it was not worth it and made a change? I think most people who consider that question honestly will realize that sometimes it takes many times before we learn our lesson, but when we do, it is real change. That has to be the attitude with consequences. Don’t expect immediate results, just create situations that make good decisions worthwhile and give the child time to accept that change. You don’t have to win today.

So, which kind of parent do you want to be?