What this says is that if the result you are getting such as your children’s behaviour is not what you want, then you must change your own behaviour in order to get a different result.
We tend to think as parents that it is their behaviour that must be changed and we carry on telling them off, shouting at them and getting cross.
So here is a new way of thinking.
Do something different.
If you do something different you will get a different result.
The first way to do this is to decide what result you want. There could be any number of results such as children doing what they are told, not throwing things, shouting and so on. Think of a situation that occurs frequently in your family that you’d like to change and write it down.
Now think instead about what you would like to happen. What is your desirable outcome? Write that down now.
Look back at what you’ve written.
When you decide on what result you want, you need to be quite specific and get to the detail. What exactly do you want, from whom, when and in what way? If you aren’t precise how will you know when you have achieved it? Write down exactly what you want now.
The more specific you can be about what you want to happen, the easier it will be to decide how to change what you are currently doing in order to achieve it. You will also be able to recognise it when it happens.
Note that I said ‘when it happens’ not ‘if it happens’. The word ‘if’ is a toxic word because it implies that there is a choice and that you doubt it will happen. Instead believe that it will happen by saying ‘when’. This applies to all instructions to children e.g. “When you have eaten your veg”, “When you have gone to bed nicely”, “When you have done your homework.”
Your current behaviour pattern is dictated by your beliefs. Do you believe that your children will do what you ask them? ‘If’ suggests you don’t. The reason you are shouting or using the words you are using is because you believe this works. Does it?
If it doesn’t then you need to think again. Does this belief stem from your own childhood and how you were brought up, what you consider to be of value and important about how to bring up children. This may also have come from the mores of the culture you are from, the area or region and who you spend time with in your environment.
When what you are doing is not working then look at the underlying belief for this behaviour. Are you sure your underlying belief is sound? Could you be carrying forward into the present a belief that belongs in the past? Look back at the situation you have written about and list all the beliefs that underpin your thinking.
- What do you hold in your head about what should happen in that situation?
- Where have those beliefs come from?
- Are they valid for you today?
- Are they serving you well or making life more difficult?
- Could you re-think a belief so that you could make other choices of behaviour?
Whenever you find yourself thinking ‘I should do….’ - change it to, ‘I could do…’ so that you give yourself permission to do something different. How often do we mums run about doing all the things we believe we ‘should’ do and leave no time for us to do what we want to do? We end up feeling resentful and tired. Whose fault is this? Whose responsibility is it to change the underlying belief? Yes – YOURS!
Do your beliefs limit your choices of behaviour?
Increase your options and change your behaviour to get the result you want.
This is of course an excellent challenge for children. How often do they repeat the same behaviour, get the same result and wish they’d got another one? They have the same choices as you.
Ask them what they want to happen in the situation and ask them to describe it in detail, even act it out if that helps. If you have a very young child, ask them to draw what they’d like to happen. Then ask them what they could do differently to make this result happen for them.
Discuss with them their different options and how likely each one would bring about the outcome they desire.This process requires that they step into the shoes of the other people involved in the situation rather than just look at it from their point of view. This is an enormously powerful tool that they can learn as a toddler and apply throughout their life.
Extract from Positive Parenting with NLP available on Amazon.