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How will NLP and EFT help us as parents?

As parents we are the greatest influence on how our children will develop and who they will become as adults. It is our job to guide them by example, which in NLP we call ‘modelling’.

Our children watch us and learn from us. They take on our values and beliefs in the early years and then gradually, as they have their own experiences, they form their own values and beliefs.

What we say and how we say it during these crucial childhood years are the outward expressions of our values and beliefs. It is important to understand that we have choices and that what we say and do, makes a difference.

Language Patterns

a) Don’t

One example is to take a positive approach. Many parents I have coached have noticed a significant difference when they tell their child what they do want rather than what they don’t want.


A mum came to me saying she couldn’t get her small daughter to stay in her own room at night. She would put her to bed and tell her “Now don’t come into my room tonight.”

Every night her daughter came in and the mum kept taking her back to her room, telling her again “Do NOT come into my room!”

Yet, eventually she was just too tired to take her back so the little girl stayed in their bed and snuggled up to mum. Every morning her mum woke up tired and grumpy because of the disturbed night.

This mum was so tired that she just didn’t realise that her daughter was hearing ‘come into my room’ and this was being reinforced by the cuddles.

I asked her ‘what do you want?’ and she rather crossly told me ‘I don’t want her to come into my room’. I tried again and got the same answer. Then I said, ‘but what DO you want?’ She paused and thought, as if for the first time, and said ‘I want her to stay in her room.’

The next morning, I received an email from her saying that she had a great night’s sleep!

This may seem obvious but when we are tired, we don’t always think clearly and find ourselves repeating the same words even though they didn’t work.

What do you find yourself repeating?

Have a go at changing the words and focus on what you DO want and experience the difference!

You may need to try several different ways to find the way that works best

b) If

This word suggests there is an element of choice…..if this ……..then that….or what?

So, your child doesn’t have to do that thing. Why give your child the idea they have a choice when they don’t? Use the word ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ and you will be more effective.


“If you do your homework you can watch TV”

= “When you have done your homework, you can watch TV”

“If you go to bed nicely, I’ll read you a story.”

= “When you have gone to bed nicely, I’ll read you a story.”

“If you get downstairs dressed and ready for school, I’ll make you your favourite breakfast.”

= “When you get downstairs dressed and ready for school, I will make your favourite breakfast.”

Note that they assume compliance. We are indicating by using the word ‘when’ that we believe they will do this thing. Then by placing the action in the future they are promised the reward after they have done the thing you’ve asked. You and I may know that we are actually unsure, but the trick is to show we have belief in them. Then they start to believe it themselves.

c) But

Have you ever been chatting to someone and said something you hold to be true and they have started to respond “but……”? You know, don’t you, that they are disagreeing in some way. The word ‘but’ jars and it breaks rapport. It almost doesn’t matter what they say, you are expecting some disagreement. Whereas, had they said “and……..” you are expecting them to be adding to what you’ve just said. So, this way, even if they are actually disagreeing you still see it as being friendly and supportive.

Basically, whatever you say before the ‘but’ word may just as well not have been said at all. Children will only notice what you say after the word ‘but’.


A mum came to me worried that her son had no self-esteem. Despite the fact that he was getting great marks at school, he only focused on what he got wrong or the lower grades. She couldn’t understand it. She said, “I always praise him.” I asked what she said, exactly. She replied that she praised him when he got good marks and went on to say “I also encourage him by saying. That was really good, but you need to make your writing neater, or something like that.”

I explained that by adding a ‘but’ after the praise she was not only deleting the praise but emphasizing what her son was not so good at.

She became a bit tearful and said that this was exactly what her own parents had done and she has always felt she wasn’t good enough. She was repeating a learnt pattern from her childhood even though she knew that it hadn’t been a good pattern for her.

Children pay a lot of attention to what you say. It is so important to them that you think they are great. Make sure that you use the word ‘and’ when you feel tempted to say ‘but’. It sounds completely different.


“That homework looks great and I am thinking that your writing could be even neater.”

“You ran really well in the race and I think you could beat your best time soon.”

You have choices about the words you use and when you stop and think about your options you will realise that trying out different words may make a difference.

d) Try

When we only ‘try’ to do a thing we do not always succeed. How often do we say to ourselves “I’ll try and fit in a trip to the gym this week”? What are the chances?! Whereas when we say instead “I’m going to go to the gym on Thursday after work”, this is more likely to happen.

It is the same with kids. When they say they can’t do their homework and you suggest they “try” and do it, you are confirming that they probably won’t succeed. Instead tell them to “just do it”.

Just imagine, if I pointed to a box on the floor and asked you to “try and pick it up” wouldn’t you think it must be quite heavy then if I’ve asked you to “try”? It is the same with children. By using the word “try” you are confirming their expectation that it may be difficult.

Words make a difference. What we say, how we say it and our underlying belief, all influence the outcome. We need to be curious about which words work best for our child and be aware that what works for one child may not work with another.

‘Being the change’ means that instead of expecting to get a different result when you do the same thing, you will get a different result when you do something different. So YOU are the change.

What you do and say makes a difference to the results you get so Neuro Linguistic Programming is a way of life, a new and different, positive approach to the way we communicate and how we interpret the way others communicate with us both verbally and non-verbally.

The only way to make effective changes in our life is to engage with this new way and incorporate it daily into everything we do.

At home, at work or at play, whether we are a child, a teenager or an adult, we can make new choices about how we live our life so that we achieve all we wish for in our friendships, relationships and our own state of well-being and happiness.

Engage with NLP and see, hear and feel the difference immediately. You will improve your self-esteem, how you get on with people and your effectiveness both as a parent and in all the other areas of your life.

As you incorporate NLP into your parenting, your children will pick it up too and learn how to get the positive learning and more effective communication for themselves.

Learn how to teach them NLP so they can reframe negative experiences, so they learn from them and set compelling outcomes for school, home and socially.

Positive Parenting is about focusing on what is working, what is going well and extracting the structure so we can get more of it.

As parents we often feel we have failed because we focus on what’s not working. When we change our focus, we can get a different and better result.

NLP is a completely different way of viewing your world. Once you have been introduced to the NLP way of thinking and communicating it will seem like you have come home. It is respectful of others and more importantly of yourself and it is positive.

Happier Parent NLP extract
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