How to improve our kids' self-efficacy | Shaun Banks

Mothers of Misfits00:01

Welcome to the Mothers of Misfits podcast. Join me for conversations about how to advocate for our kids in a one size fits all world. Be sure to subscribe, so you never miss an episode!

Emily Melious00:17

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another awesome episode of Mothers of Misfits. And I say awesome, because it is going to be Shaun and I have already had a blast because we've been talking for like 35 minutes and we were supposed to record. Way before this, but he is such an amazing guy. I can't wait to introduce all of you to him and man, I just love what he's doing and his passion for his work and youth just oozes out of him.

And you're going to see all of that. But first, let me tell you a little bit more about who he is. So Shaun Banks is a Youth Performance Development Professional. And he's the publisher of the, You Can Have It All magazine for kids. It's super cool. I got to see it on the screen. He's the father of two boys who are seven and four years old.

So he's living the parenting life. Shaun, thanks for coming on.

Shaun Bank01:08

Thank you for having me, Emily. I'm so excited.

Emily Melious01:11

Oh me too. Can't you tell, see, we're going to have fun.

Yeah. We're going to have a ball, but I actually want to start on a more serious note because in preparation for this conversation, I asked you what your primary message is in our conversation today. And you responded back with, there is hope for misfits, and that goes straight to my heart.

Um, this is personal for you.

Shaun's Personal Story
Emily Melious01:39

The concept of being a misfit is deeply personal and I think has actually inspired everything that you're doing now.

Shaun Bank01:45


Emily Melious01:46

Can you tell us your personal story?

Shaun Bank01:49

Absolutely. So I grew up in from Seattle Washington originally and growing up was, you know, I grew up during the eighties where, you know, there was a lot of things going on in the inner city. Um, the impacts of, you know, crack in the inner city, the impacts of poverty and working through that.

And I grew up in a single-family home. My mother raised my sister and I, and my mother was determined to make sure that we had, you know, a great life. And so she worked very hard to make sure that that was possible. And part of the challenge for me growing up when I was young was the absence of my dad. And that was one of the things that really would upset me.

I was hurting more than anything that my dad wasn't there and there's all these things going on in the world. You know, you're scared to walk home from school because, there's gangs over here and then there's, you know, drug addicts over here and it's like, wow, this would be different. If my just, my dad was here and that was the inner pain I was dealing with.

And so when I went to school, Then I was very, very smart as a kid, very much so into building things and using my mind, my brain was always firing about how to create something I wanted to play. I didn't want to sit still. I want it to be active. I want it to be going and doing, and, you know, in traditional school, that's not always shined upon, right?

They want you to sit still and kind of be more rigid. And so between the frustrations I had of not having dad at home, dealing with all these issues in life and then having to sit still and not be able to. Get rid of that energy, I would get in trouble. And so I would get into fights at school.

I would get called into the office all the time, uh, because I was just angry and then not able to really use that energy. And so that was the foundation for, my misfit life. And when I was young, coupled with certain situations in our family, where I had an aunt that was a victim of domestic violence.

When I was really young, uh, she was abused really bad by her husband and that affected our family. And then as I got older, I had another aunt that was murdered. Uh, she and my, cousin were murdered in a domestic violence situation, and that one about 17 and it planted a seed in my heart do something about it.

So that's what started whole vision of starting to work with youth.

Emily Melious04:15

Wow. And I have to tell you

Embracing the "unwelcomed, disruptive, disorder"
Emily Melious04:17

so many of the families that come to me for help. It was prompted because their kiddo was having the same experience as you did in school. They had these great talents for, thinking on their feet and brainstorming and talking before they raised their hand and building and inventing and that was perceived as a unwelcomed, disruptive, disorder.

We see kiddos who have that strength to actually be disproportionately diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and, the trauma. Uh, I think that's a fair thing to say, the trauma and the impact that has on a kid, their self-esteem and self-efficacy which you and I talk a lot about.

So we can get into that too. Is just enormous because when you're told that, that thing that comes so naturally is unwelcomed and raw. And maybe even a medical diagnosis. I see so many kids... deeply internalize that. And what are you supposed to do? So, so many of them disengaged from school, and then they become the troublemakers and you know, what, why would I try? Cause I'm not going to succeed either way.

And it sounds like you went through a little bit of that, but your mom was an amazing advocate for you and she helped you your head in the game and know there's still so much that you have to offer.

Shaun Bank05:47

Absolutely. Uh, mom had a very powerful role in my story and, and my dad did too. It was just in a different way. Uh, my mom, what she did, she saw my, my mind and my ability to think and process she saw that. I have what's called what we like to call genius level talent that we feel every child has in them.

It's just different based on what their passion is, what they're interested in. And so for me, it was creating and wanting to do things. So the kinds of things my mom would do for me, she got me into martial arts when I was a really, really, really young, because that gave me the energy to be able to go on and do things.

Plus it gave me the discipline. It gave me structure, right. It gave me that sense of confidence that a lot of times, uh, kids don't have. And then I started getting, I mean, I played drums, I play piano. I, I mean, I can play guitar, all these instruments because she could see that, okay, he's really active. And he likes to learn and he learns very fast and his brain is learning over here and shooting over there and doing all this.

And so what she did is started keeping up with that by getting me involved in activities. Uh, what my dad did for me is, he made sure that I was a proficient reader. Making sure that I could read and knew how to read and understand words in, in a be able to process them and understand my, what was going on in, in current events.

And, you know, there was all these things that kind of started coming because they realized that they had a child that needed to be challenged. And so when you have kids that need to be challenged, the only what you do is you give them challenges, positive challenges, right? When we about challenges, positive challenges.

So that's what my parents did, particularly my mom. And one of the greatest things my mother could have done for me was instilled in me to have a big dream. So my mom used to clean houses for a lot of very, very wealthy people in Seattle. And we will go to these houses Emily, and there would be swimming pools in the basement and there would be all these cool things. And you get a chance to meet the people that own the houses.

And they were some of the nicest and coolest people you'd ever meet. And they would say to me, they say, Hey. You know, I, Sean, you see, you hear me, you like that pool. And I said, man, yeah, I really liked that. Hey, you know, you can have one of those too one day, right. Or, Hey, Sean, you liked the way this looks, you liked this house.

Yeah. I really love it. It's beautiful. It's on the lake. Hey you can do it too. And by being around people that had a sense of not just financial, physical success, but just the idea, the main success mentality,

Emily Melious08:13


Shaun Bank08:13

And being able to be around that at a young age, changed my life.

Emily Melious08:17

Oh, man. I love that. And you got exposed to a lot of different cultures and communities and ways of life and that exposure for our kids is so important. Your mom's a rock star, man. I want to meet her. I think she's awesome.

And yeah. And something else I'm thinking about relating back to the advice that I give to families is talking about the fact that we have... and our kids have... this energy. It's there. So our role is to help them learn positive outlets and positive ways to get out the energy. Because if it's not a positive outlet, it's going to be negative. Right? So mom probably thought I'm going to put S in martial arts so he can whack at, a punching bag or, you know, get all of that amazing energy.

Shaun Bank09:10


Emily Melious09:10

For doing those things out in that positive outlet. So, you know, it doesn't come out at the wrong time in school,

And when we can recognize that strength, but then give it those, outlets is so important. And I would say too, if you're that parent to that kiddo who is more that misfit in school, we have to work that much harder to give them those outlets outside of school.

Shaun Bank09:35


Emily Melious09:35

And that's where that home time, the weekend time can be so restorative for them will actually improve their experience in school, because they feel like they've had that outlet.

Shaun Bank09:48

Absolutely. Absolutely. and We see that in a lot of kids now is that when their parents are getting them involved in activities, the children tend to do better in school because the thing is, is that, you know, school is designed for education, right? So reading, writing, social studies, math, science. But that's just one part of building up a child.

You still need the personal development side. You need the sports, you need chess, you need, um, any type, you know, Lego robotics, all these other activities that stimulate their brain, that's where children really find what they're in love with doing.

Right. Um, who likes to sit and just read a math book all day and do math problems, very few people, except for the ones that want to do math, or be a mathematician.

Children find their passion by doing the extracurricular activities. That's where they say, ah, man, I want to, I want to be a guitar player because I went and took a guitar class. But if the kid never takes a guitar class, they never find what they're interested in. So then they're not interested in anything. And then they become unmotivated.

Emily Melious10:50

Oh, absolutely.

The importance of self-efficacy
Emily Melious10:52

let's talk about this concept of self-efficacy, know that's really important for you.

Shaun Bank10:57


Emily Melious10:58

how about you weave in how your programs and the things that you're doing for kids is working to increase self-efficacy and before we get to that. Talk about the difference between self-esteem, which is what we tend to use more, I think in common conversation and self-efficacy because they are different and then help us understand how you're, how you're improving.

Self-efficacy in youth.

Shaun Bank11:21

They're they're very different. So we know self esteem is just self-belief right. Just believing in yourself

Emily Melious11:27

I am worthy. I have value as a person. I have meaning.

Shaun Bank11:32

Absolutely. Right. I have meaning righteous, basic belief in yourself, but self-efficacy is, it takes a little, a little bit further in the belief that you can do something.

The belief that you can get it done, you can do the thing, whatever that is, you can become what it is that you want to become. A self-efficacy has more to do with action steps, right? Those beliefs of actually making something happen and that a child that I can make something happen as opposed to just so to make it in layman's terms.

Right? If we put it just in layman terms and

Emily Melious12:08

And they actually correspond with different parts of the mind. So we want to get really geeky here.

Shaun Bank12:12

Let's do it.

Emily Melious12:12

So the self-esteem is in the affective part of the brain, um, and much more about values and emotions and beliefs.

And then self-efficacy is in, this might be a new vocab word for some, but the conative part of the brain, that's my area of expertise, but in conation and, and you're so right.

It's about, can I impact something? Can I contribute. Are my actions doing something here and we really want kiddos to have high levels of both. that's what we're working towards.

Shaun Bank12:45

Right. Right.

Emily Melious12:46

So how are you impacting the scale on that?

Shaun Bank12:49

So the way that we're impacting the scale is we have created, you know, you have the, I am Defense Institute that develops a child's self-confidence and their self efficacy. Um, one example of what we do is just, uh, wood breaking right? When a child has to get their first belt test and they have to break a piece of wood.

That is a really big self-efficacy because a child has to believe that they have the ability through practice through effort, right. which builds their self-esteem right. Of who they are. then to actually break that piece of wood builds their self efficacy, because I can do this and then by doing it, then all of a sudden you see this increase right in self-efficacy.

Because it turns from, I can do it... to I did it. And then once that happens, then now they're onto the next step. Uh, we have Camp Warrior King, which is all about exposure to extracurricular activities that kids normally wouldn't experience during the school year. And what that does is by giving them exposure to different activities it starts with.

Hmm. That's interesting. It turns into, I want to do that. Right. And then it's like, I'm doing that. And then I did that. Which is doing the self-efficacy piece and the self-esteem piece at the same time, then we created, you can have it all youth conferences, which is all about building self-esteem. All about kids believing in themselves and who they are.

And then that turned into the Team Hott SAWCE, Success Stacks, and the Magazine, which is just all about bringing those both, both sides together and getting those kids to believe in themselves even more.

Emily Melious14:22

Tell the story about that young man who came to your program and the family shared with you that been other places and he was always isolated and you did a different approach with him

Shaun Bank14:36


Emily Melious14:37

And a really neat outcome. So tell us about.

Shaun Bank14:39

Absolutely. So we had a young man that had been diagnosed with, with autism and the parents had sent him to a different summer camp before. And the challenges that they were experiencing is that the camp had isolated the child, put him in a room by herself.

Wouldn't let them hang out with other kids. Pretty much treated him like his difference was a negative thing. And frustrated, the parents broke the young man's heart, of course, because child, even though he may not be able to, he was nonverbal. So he couldn't really express how he was feeling, but he could feel it.

Of course. Right. And so what we did is we said, Hey, look, you know, bring him here. He had been referred to us because we have other children in our program that were on the spectrum. we did is we just created an environment of love for him. We put him in the classrooms with the kids, the kids were able to socialize with them, have a good time with them.

He played games and we talk the kids in our program that, and I liked the way you said it earlier. That he is uniquely. Right? He uniqueness about him.


Emily Melious15:41


Shaun Bank15:41

to embrace his uniqueness, embrace the fact that he is an individual and he's who he is, and that's what we did. And so the kids started, you know, high five on them.

They would hang out with them, they'd hug on them and that young man had a great time at our camp because we wanted to make sure that we were building his self-esteem right and building and creating a tradition of love, that he needs, that we all need to be able to feel good about themselves.

Emily Melious16:04

I love that. And I'm sure you could tell hundreds if not thousands of success stories just like that. And you know, it makes me think of, I had shared this with you before we hit the record button, but to me, the solution to feeling like a misfit and not that not feeling like a good thing, right? His first experience, the solution is not to treat everyone the same, like a fit in the solution is actually to treat everyone like the beautiful, wonderful misfit that they are because this whole fit in is a total fallacy.

We're all wonderfully different and to embrace that and give each of us that freedom and space be different in our own way and respect that about the others. That story is a lot to do with that young man, of course, but it also has so much to do with his peers and how they grew in that experience and how they were able to connect with someone who was still very different.

And they, they weren't even able to communicate with in a way that they were used to. But know, in that high five, that moment was huge. I just, you're doing such cool stuff. Okay.

Success Stacks Giveaway
Emily Melious17:16

So you are so, so generously offering a giveaway and everyone listening stay tuned because you are not already following us on Instagram, Facebook, and or LinkedIn... make sure to do that, because we are going to share with you how you can get in on this giveaway, because it's going to be awesome.

Shaun has been sharing with me, all the cool things that they offer, but this one thing, as soon as he held that up, I was like, yes, yes, yes, yes. We have to make this available. So it's called the Success Stacks. Tell us what those are and how you use them. And then again, if you're listening, make sure you're paying attention to our social media pages because you could get this as a free gift.

Shaun Bank18:00

Success decks are words and phrases that are used to increase a child's self-efficacy their self-esteem to get them believing that they are something and somebody. And to believe that they can do something that they can make an impact. And so we have over 65 different words and phrases

Emily Melious18:19

On these cards, right? So it's, it's kinda like a deck of cards in a way.

Shaun Bank18:23

So you think about like a deck of cards, like a deck of flashcards, right? So there's words and phrases on these cards that you use with your child. You play games with them, so you take them and you might take a word like achieve, and that child will learn that word. They'll get the definition.

They'll get examples of how to use that word all on the card. And then their job is to go to school both throughout their day and to use that. Use that word their language, their everyday vernacular throughout their day, and then come back home. And then you talk to them about how'd they use that word?

Uh, what things happen when they use that word, how to make their friends feel? How did they feel when they use that word? What did the teacher say when they use that word? And then they prizes for that. And so it becomes a game to make a child, want to learn different words and phrases that are going to build them up.

And what you'll see over time is that your child will gain more confidence. They'll use that word. You'll be sitting at the table having dinner and you'll hear them use that word. They'll go to grandma and grandpa's house. And then they'll, they'll use one of these words and it's all about building their self-esteem and it is working all over the place and, uh, making a big difference just on the card.

Emily Melious19:28

I think that's so amazing. And I can envision when my family the breakfast table pick a card for the day and the fun of that.

Shaun Bank19:34


Emily Melious19:35

And then at the dinner table, Hey, what did you, you do with your card today? You know, report back.

Shaun Bank19:40


Emily Melious19:40

the other thing is in this podcast, we talked so much about the power of labels to be damaging or uplifting and empowering.

Shaun Bank19:51


Emily Melious19:51

And this is such a great example Adding these powerful, uplifting, empowering words to our kids repertoire. So it's, it's spurring an action of brave. You know, that's one of your words I think so they

Shaun Bank20:08

that's right.

Emily Melious20:09

does it look like to be brave? And it might be to go with somebody who's sitting alone,

Shaun Bank20:13

That's right.

Emily Melious20:14

be to raise your hand in class. So there's an action associated with it.

But what love, is we can also affirm them then with the positive labels of, wow, you are so brave.

Shaun Bank20:27

That's right. That's right.

Emily Melious20:30

that, that might sound small to us, but it's so very mighty for our kids to hear and how many cards are in the stack again?

Shaun Bank20:39

65, the stack.

Emily Melious20:42

Just imagine if our kids walk around with 65 positive attributes, 65 positive words to describe who they are and what they're capable of.

So powerful.

Shaun Bank20:57

I can give you an example of a couple of words that, that people would like where it's like empower enthusiasm,

where it's like initiative, inspire, words like leader,

words like optimistic, persistence, plan, resourceful, right?

Tenacity, different words that you want your child to be able to use that.

That my four-year-old is learning these words. Right. So my four year old can say, you know, I'm a champion. Right. And he can in, you know, yeah, I did it I'm brave. Right. And those are self-affirmations that their mind is hearing. So when they come up against a challenge throughout the day, which we all do, then somebody might say a negative thing.

Wow, man, you're a scaredy cat... no, I'm brave.

And I may not say it out loud to the person, but they're going to say it to themselves, which is the most important thing. So they start to say and use these words over and over again, you can put these cards on your refrigerator, you can put them, you give them the word, they can put it, use them as bookmarks in their book.

Right? So let's say you have a situation where your child is being afraid of something, where they keep quitting on something, or they need, they're afraid that. I don't have what it takes. Then we have a word like faith, right? Let's say they have a, they're having a hard time in school. Then you can use a word, like focus, right.

And that's putting their book. Right. What, what is focus? Hey, I can focus. One of the in the card is I will focus in school. I will focus on becoming as successful as I can be, you can create any sentence that you want with these words. It's all about, you know, what your child needs and using the words and phrases to help them.

Emily Melious22:28

I love that the words are not prescriptive in that you might interpret brave differently than I interpret brave. And the actions you take for plan might look different from the actions that I take for plan. And that's really important from my perspective and area of expertise is giving people. The same picture of a result, but complete freedom in how they get there.

And that's how we our kiddos to flex those great muscles and strengths and capabilities. Oh, this is awesome. Well remember you can get that for free with our giveaway,

Find Shaun and his awesome products
Emily Melious23:00

but if people are interested in purchasing that or other things, because you've got lots of products that people can check out, where can they go to find that?

Shaun Bank23:11

The fastest way to find me is to go on Instagram. that's @SFDreamsBig is the best way to find me to get any information, or they can go to

Emily Melious23:24

Perfect. Well, we will make sure to include all of that in our Episode Insider's newsletter as well. So everyone listening, I know you hear this from me every time, but just another reminder that if you haven't signed up to receive those, be sure to, because if you're like me, you didn't capture all of that.

When notes is, as Shaun was saying, it's. It's hard to write that fast. And so we'll, we'll do it all for you. Don't worry about it. If you said, what was that again? What's the handle. We've got it for you. We got your back. Just sign up. Um, we really, we only send out emails. Um, most of the time, uh, just that once a week, when, you know, a new episode is dropped and we send you more insights and resources and information.

So it's just really something great. And not something you want to miss out on. So do that in the next 30 seconds. It takes no time at all. Just go to

Shaun you rock!

Thanks for all you are doing, you are making big waves and I am so glad that your mom told you don't change a thing. You just keep on being you

Shaun Bank24:22

That's right

Emily Melious24:22

because the world is better for it.

Shaun Bank24:25

Thank you so much. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Mothers of Misfits24:28

Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Mothers of Misfits podcast. Make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. We also invite you to visit us at

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