Updated: Feb 23
1. What do you want?
How often do we as parents think about what we want to avoid – embarrassing tantrums, arguments, being late, shouting, losing our temper but it’s been proven again and again that when we set up a positive outcome, we are more likely to achieve it.
In every situation with your child, think about what you want the positive outcome to be.
You can use visualising skills to help achieve it by imagining the positive scenario and seeing clearly what you need to do to achieve it.
2. Tell your child what you do want them to do. When we use the word ‘don’t’ it triggers the exact opposite of what you want. One of my clients told me “Every night I tell my daughter ‘don’t come into my room’ and every night she comes in and wakes me up”.
If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got. (one of the Beliefs of Excellence in NLP)
I suggested instead that she tells her what she does want her to do. The next day I had a very happy email saying it had worked. It’s much easier for children to process a positive instruction.
3. What you focus on is what you get. The more you notice your child’s misdemeanours, the more, it seems, they repeat them. Instead, look for signs of good behaviour, kindness, doing what you have asked, and you will find the good behaviour happening more and more.
4. When you ask your child to do something, make sure you have eye contact and that you have their attention before saying anything. Then speak slowly and with a low pitch, just say what you have to say, no more.
Children notice how you speak to them more than the words you use. Speak from a position of strength and presence. You are the parent and what you say is important, so say it with conviction as if you were asking a junior work colleague to do something that needs to be done.
5. You can guide your child very effectively using feedback. If something isn’t going well then point out what you’re not pleased about and ask them how they might do something different. It’s important for children to learn early on to take responsibility for their behaviour. If they need help, tell them what you’d like to see more of or less of and finish on a positive note.
Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP (neuro linguistic programming) Trainer and Parent /Kid Coach. She is the author of 'Understanding children and teens' and 'Empower your kids!' Her first book was ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’.