Sharing some personal thoughts this morning.
This morning 8am and it’s Writers’ hour with the London Writers Salon. It’s what I do every weekday morning at this time, then sometimes again at their 1pm and 4pm sessions where I can write in community in a sacred space with other writers worldwide.
It’s the first day back after the Christmas holiday and whilst I have lots to do; catching up with my students taking courses with me to arrange sessions for this week, catching up with my Virtual Assistant, Jane with where we need to be with the diagrams for my latest book and planning the writing of the pre-school parents course for download, research for my novel and a few other admin tasks, I actually feel full of uncertainty.
This is not a usual state for me as I tend to be an enthusiastic worker , always keen to get on with what I have to do but todayI am full of uncertainty. I am very aware of children going back to school or not going back, are they, aren’t they? My son has just jumped in the car and is off to work as a photographer but will he still have a job, will he be furloughed again, what will happen? I have a number of teen clients who have really been suffering over recent months, they want and need to see their friends but will they have to endure another full lockdown with all the uncertainty about relationships and with parents 24/7 with whom they can’t share their fears as they doubt we old folk will understand.
Where before Covid, I was seeing clients weekly and maybe getting an update from parents occasionally, now it’s more of a hand-holding situation with clients on WhatsApp in full-on panic, tears and in need of emergency tapping. I’m introducing them to essential oils and meditation alongside EFT Tapping so they can hold onto some sense of control in all this uncertainty. I’m sending them links to specific relevant meditations and advising on which oils to use during the day for focus, calm, grounding or uplifting.
Sleep and eating problems are emerging and although I’m not a nutritionist, my daughter is and I know the basics of giving your body love through feeding it what it needs rather than stodge and fast foods. Most are struggling to sleep and the oils and meditations help there.
Many don’t have access to nature for walking and don’t want to go out alone, they don’t have friends who live nearby and don’t want to walk with their family so they are cooped up, trapped.
We are all filled with uncertainty and fear perhaps that even the politicians and scientists don’t know for certain about what will happen. What we all want to know is when will this end, when will we get back to ‘normal’ and fear that this is going to be a very long time and may not be any sort of normal we know from a year or so ago.
So how can we support each other? How can we support ourselves.
We can look at what is certain. What do we know for sure?
Focus on these things so that there are more things we know are certain than the list of things we are unsure of.
Remember that you are doing a great job. Be kind and gentle to yourself. These are difficult times but when we focus on the difficult parts, the uncertainty, that’s what we will notice most and it will get us down. Focus instead on all that is certain.
Judy Bartkowiak is a family therapist working online with children, teens and parents. She trains the NLP & EFT Kids Practitioner Course online as well as courses for parents and children in confidence, resilience and managing emotions such as anxiety, depression, anger and low self-esteem. Get in touch.
Understanding children and teens - a practical guide for parents, teachers and coaches
A signed copy of Judy's new book with shipping included.
Understanding Children and Teens shows the reader how to use Neuro Linguistic Programming, Emotional Freedom Technique, and Art Therapy in order to connect with children and teens to help them conquer their problems. With clear explanations, examples, and easy-to-follow exercises, this book will enable those who care for children to gain valuable insight into their world, and to understand what they are thinking and feeling. It will give children the means to believe in themselves with unconditional love and acceptance, empowering them to achieve all they wish for in life.
This practical guide is aimed at parents, teachers, coaches, and everyone who works with children and teens and is informed by the author's experiences of working with this group over the last 30 years.
Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP trainer and coach as well as an EFT trainer and coach who specialises in working with children and teens. Before becoming a therapist, she worked in children's market research. She has written extensively on NLP. This is her first title for Free Association Books.
30 minute Zoom chat
Free short conversation to talk about your issue and for me to suggest how we might clear it together.
I’m getting lots of calls and emails from parents who are experiencing behaviour in their child that is concerning them.
Many parents are also behaving in a way that isn’t normal for them and they feel guilty and ashamed of themselves, upset and remorseful. Children pick this up and it adds to their own anxiety when their parents also don’t seem to be coping very well.
Many parents aren’t getting much time alone together to share their worries or just to comfort and support each other as children are staying up later, struggle to get to sleep, have nightmares and want to sleep with their parents.
We all need new tools for coping with our mental health. We also need to go easy on ourselves. Now is not the time to set ourselves challenging goals nor expect our children to be able to concentrate on their schoolwork when they are wondering when they will see their friends again. Some children will, of course, find attention to schoolwork reassuring, it is what they want to do, but others will find it hard some days.
It is natural to be afraid, fear keeps us safe. It is fear that stops us getting too close to someone walking by us. It is fear that makes us sanitise when picking up some post or put away our food shopping, when we’ve returned from an activity outside our home.
In her book ‘Big Magic’ Elizabeth Gilbert talks about inviting ‘fear’ into the car on a road trip and asking them to sit on the back seat. By fear being on the journey (a metaphor for our life) it will stop us driving too fast, taking the bends too tight, going too near the edge of the road. Fear keeps us safe. It is a good thing to have.
However, Gilbert warns us that we should never let fear drive our car or fiddle with the controls. In fact when I was speaking at an event in London earlier this year, I suggested we imagine reaching back and pulling the screen across between us and our back seat passenger. They can be there and indeed we are grateful that they are but they may not control our driving.
When I explain this to children, they completely get it and understand that they should not be embarrassed or upset with themselves when they are fearful or anxious but instead be grateful and appreciative that they have this passenger to keep them safe. Having thanked fear for being there, they then need to acknowledge that they are ok, they can cope with the situation and have the skills they need to tell ‘fear’ that they can relax, all is well.
Another little explanation I give that they find helpful is to explain that our fear and anxiety is a bit like a smoke alarm going off when all we’ve done is burn the toast. The amygdala in the brain is designed to send out an alarm when danger is near but whilst that was essential in caveman times when there might be a sabre tooth tiger around the corner, being asked a difficult question by your teacher really isn’t a life or death situation and there is no need for the smoke alarm.
Children find these explanations helpful because teachers and parents frequently ask ‘why’ they feel this way. The ‘why’ question sends them to their conscious mind to find a logical answer that makes sense. But they can’t find it. Why? Because of course it isn’t about logical answers, their anxiety stems from core beliefs imprinted at birth or during the early years before their prefrontal cortex was even developed sufficient to process what happened.
Understanding what happens, understanding that it is just their brain’s smoke alarm being a bit over enthusiastic and knowing that it is a good thing that they are aware of their emotions, really comforts them so that when it happens next they can just stop and say, ‘there’s that smoke alarm, no need to panic, it’s just burnt toast’.
So now we understand and can help children understand, what can we do to help them?
Then stretch out both hands in front of you and say:
“Children/Mums/Dads/Teachers all over the world are feeling this right now.”
Then take your hands back to your chest and say:
“And what I need now is……………”
This is a great way for children to realise that they are part of a universe of children all over the world who are feeling just like them. They aren’t alone. It also encourages them to become aware of their needs. Maybe they need a hug, a glass of milk, to say sorry, to have some quiet time.
Judy Bartkowiak is an International NLP and EFT Trainer for parents, teachers and existing Practitioners/Coaches/Therapists. She shares her passion and skills in working with children and teens through training and has written myriad books on the subject. Judy owns and runs NLP & EFT Kids, which is a family coaching practice in Berkshire, England. Clients are typically children aged four to 18 years, their parents and sometimes the whole family.
Understanding Children & Teens: A Practical Guide for Parents, Teachers & Coaches By Judy Bartkowiak
Today in my Facebook group I have a guest speaker talking about her My Mood Stars which are used my parents and teachers to encourage emotional literacy in children from the youngest age. We are used to using emoticons in our messages and social media posts and these small squidgy faces are brilliant for children because without having to use words, they can recognise the emotion and show mummy and daddy what they are feeling. Many takes Sleepy star to bed with them or snuggle up with Sad Star. You can play games with them, hiding them or asking children to name the emotion and Wendy has written lovely books to accompany the Mood Stars.
But how do we get our mood in the first place?
Here's a diagram showing the NLP Communication model.
Let's start with the 'external event' this is something you see , hear or feel, touch, taste or smell.
That experience has to be filtered otherwise we'd be in 'overdrive' all the time trying to figure out how we feel about it. So we 'generalise' by comparing it to other similar events we've experienced, maybe deciding that whatever it is doesn't matter because 'mummy always says that'. We 'delete', pay more attention to certain parts of the event (the parts that matter to us) and we 'distort' which means that we make a belief or a decision based on the event that may or may not be a fair representation such as 'mummy loves my sister more than me' or 'my brother is mean'.
Other filters are called metaprogrammes and these are ways we prefer to process the information; maybe we like to have choices but we aren't given one so that makes us cross. Maybe we like to know the detail about the homework assignment but we've just been given an essay title so we are confused and don't know what to do. You can read all about these in my book 'Understanding children and teens' see the link below.
After all this filtering, each child will create their own internal representation of what that even means to them. This will be unique to them based on their filtering and also their previous experiences and memories of similar events.
From there they express a physiology and that is where the mood stars come in, this will be a facial expression and a body stance.
This then morphs into a behaviour and this becomes the next external event. And so it goes on.
I have a new book coming out very very soon, November 9th in fact.
A bit like having a baby (I had four!) I'm nervous and excited at the same time. It was enjoyable writing the book but I'm not a huge fan of social media and marketing which you have to be nowadays I'm afraid to say.
I'm going to have some books you can buy from my website which I will sign for you. It's great if you can support your local bookshops of course, especially in these uncertain times.
So let me tell you about the book.
When I started to write this book, pre Covid-19 in January 2020, it was my intention to share with you all my experience and learnings so that you would have a wide range of tools and modalities at your fingertips as professionals working with children, teens, parents and families. It had not been my intention to write for parents as I had done with Be a happier parent with NLP.
Then Covid-19 turned our lives upside down. We all had to face almost wartime restrictions on our liberty, our finances and our ability to work. Schools closed and children were home-schooled while parents tried to continue working with nobody able to draw on extended families and friends for support. Many of us lost our jobs, homes and livelihood. Thousands lost loved ones. It would be fair to say that we all struggled, along with other families, all over the world.
As I was writing the book, parents were telling me how they and their families were suffering, how they were experiencing mental and emotional problems they hadn’t had before and they didn’t know what to do. I realised that what I was writing for professionals was also relevant for parents, many of whom would, in any case, be working in a professional capacity with children. I also recognised that teachers were also facing extreme challenges and would continue to do so for many months or even years. So, parents and teachers, this book is very much written with you in mind.
Whether you use these exercises for your own children or for those you work with, they are all fun to do and yield great insight. They enable healing through showing children and teens that they have other possibilities. They are no longer stuck and can change their patterns.
My guiding principles when working with children are:
- Observe the body language
- Listen and notice the language patterns
- Listen specifically for the limiting beliefs
- Be curious about where they might have the skills to overcome them
- Find their models of excellence
- Help them ‘join up the dots’
- Make the learning and skills ‘portable’ so they don’t need me
Joining up the dots may be through:
- Reflecting back using ‘clean language’
- Feedback of a pattern you’ve noticed
- Guiding them in an exercise which enables them to disassociate and see the pattern for themselves
- Addressing a limiting belief through a technique from NLP or EFT
The analogy I use is this:
Imagine your client is stuck in the mud. They can’t get out on their own, and by holding out your hand to them, they can make their first few steps until they are back on the dry ground where they can run and play again.
You will have your own metaphor or analogy of how you work with your child clients or with your own child, and I think it’s helpful to have one, because there can be a tendency when you love children to ‘rescue’ them rather than coach them. As parents, we do still need to have access to that inner coach as children move towards independence. This is a time when you can’t be ‘fixing' or ‘rescuing them’ and they need to be forming their own coping strategies.
Finally, it is my intention that this book contains all the skills and expertise I have acquired over the last 20 years or so while working with children. We continue to learn all the time, and I share what I know with my students. You can book training courses with me via my website www.nlpfamily.com and I have listed resources at the back for modalities that I mention but in which I am not an expert.
Please support me and use this book to support your children.
The kids have gone back to school and you're so proud of the way they've handled it. So you want to tell them so. Maybe you say "I'm so proud of you" or "You've done so well" but wait! What do they take from this?
In order for feedback to be effective, it needs to be labelled. By this I mean, imagine your child's mind is like a filing cabinet. There are a number of folders in there. Each one is labelled with one of the values you want your child to espouse; family values. These might be: perseverance, being brave, kindness, honest, sharing, generous, sensible and so on. In order for children to understand what these are and live by these values, they need examples. So when you give feedback to them you need to tell them which folder it belongs in. With folders full of examples, it's easier for them to repeat that behaviour you want to see more of. So you'd say "You were brave today when you ....(give precise example such as, when you walked in and waved me goodbye). " or "I noticed that even though you looked a bit nervous you persevered." "That was kind of you to show Max where to go.".
We've all heard of the feedback sandwich and this is the way we help children by cushioning the feedback between two positive statements so they receive both the good response from us as parents but gently contained within it is our feedback as to what they could do more of or less of next time. Although this can be delivered as a question, "how do you think you can make this even better next time?".
Here is a list of tips for delivering feedback.
Feedback to children needs to be
1)Immediate – there’s no point in spending days thinking about it and then expecting them to remember what they did. Children have very short memories and will have forgotten what they did, what they did it and wonder why you’re talking about it days later.
2)Specific – you need to draw their attention to the specific thing they did or said and what exactly they need to do more of or less of because they won’t be able to read your mind. They need to know what you want from them.
3)Sincere – the feedback needs to reflect what you think and what you believe and be something they can see is of value to you. Use ‘I’ to show that it is what you think and don’t bring other people into it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Keep this between you and your child.
4)Short – avoid long sentences and lengthy explanations about why you feel like this it isn’t helpful. Use the KISS principle – keep it simple stupid.
5)What you do want – avoid the word ‘don’t’ tell them instead what you want them to do; either more of something or less of something.
6)Avoiding the word ‘but’ because your positive start will be forgotten once you use the word ‘but’. Replace it with the word ‘and’.
7)Accepting because you are not a mind reader so don’t presume to know what their intentions were. Instead give them the benefit of the doubt and look for their positive intention. For the most part, children want to please you but their map of the world is different to yours with other more pressing priorities such as playing!
8)Focused on the behaviour rather than being a personal attack on their identity.
I had all sorts of ideas about what I wanted to write about today and then I got distracted by a whole load of things I knew I needed to do, my 'to do' list. I love what I do and pride myself on being able to do something active most days in addition to my dog walk. I also make time to read and do yoga but the down-side of all these things is that the work stuff gets squished and then I get stressed because I haven't really allowed enough time for it. Obviously clients get their time, as do my students but it's the other stuff we have to do to keep the business vibrant and visible, social media posts, articles and of course, in my case, writing books. But today, i'm going rogue and writing just about how I'm feeling right now, which is overwhelmed.
So what does a coach, whose business it is to help clients with their overwhelm, do to ease her own?
1. My 'go to' is journalling. Many call it 'morning pages' although in truth I tend to write my journal at the end of the day as a 'wind down' from work and 'ease into' the evening or family time. I just sit with a cup of tea or a G&T and I write. I offload all the busy thoughts and once they are on the page, they are gone!
2. On a really bad day of overwhelm I might have a bubble bath, close my eyes and just 'be'. Then I might take myself to bed for a nap. I 'ok' that on the basis that I am an early bird and am often working at 7am so an afternoon nap seems perfectly acceptable and a good way to get some rest before whatever I'm doing that evening.
3. I tap. EFT tapping clears the energy pathways, leaving me feeling freed up and in flow again. I start tapping on the karate chop point, saying whatever I'm feeling. I might say "Even though I feel overwhelmed right now, i love and accept myself anyway." I say this three times and focus on where I'm feeling it in the body and the colour. Then I gently tap around the tapping points.
As I tap on each point, I say a reminder phrase such as "so much to do" , "feel out of control", "tired", "overwhelmed", and so on, depending on what has triggered the feeling.
I soon begin to feel relaxed and more able to function at my best.
4. I love music, I find if I put on my favourite radio station 'Magic FM' there's always some great music to dance to, so assuming no-one is around, I sing and dance in my kitchen and this also helps me feel happy and able to cope.
5. I call my mum! My mum is 93yrs of age and is disabled but she manages well on her own. When I speak to her, I realise that what is overwhelming me is really quite trivial compared to what she has to cope with especially in recent months with lockdown. Even putting on her shoes and getting dressed in the morning takes her ages and she needs to rest afterwards. She is delighted by simple things like the sun shining, someone putting their head round the door to see if she's ok, a new flower out in the garden or an interesting radio programme. She's always happy to speak to me and I, her. Talking about nature, being in nature and thinking of simple pleasures like the kindness of neighbours gets me grounded again to what's really important.
I'd love to say that yoga and mindfulness help me and indeed they do but when I'm really in full overwhelm, I need the above five things. Once I'm no longer feeling overwhelmed I am happy to spend time doing yoga or pilates, tennis, cycling and all the other lovely exercise activities but I am not an expert in yoga so it isn't relaxing. Perhaps it will be one day! I do mindful meditations and use essential oils before I go to bed and find that a great way to end my day.
I'd love to hear what you do.
Very shortly, children will be putting on their school uniform again, new shoes perhaps and they will be heading off to school. Teachers, throughly briefed and prepared will be excitedly waiting for them to bring those empty classrooms to life again with their laughter and chatter. But whilst on the face of it, things will be as close as possible to 'normal', undoubtedly each child and teacher will bring their own niggles, concerns, wobbles. Children inevitably pick up on parents' anxiety and however excited they may seem about their children going back to school, knowing they need to be there for everyone's mental health, there may be some natural loving concerns about how those first days will go.
Even without Covid, first days back at school can be quite challenging. Who will they be sitting next to? Will their new teacher be kind? Will they make friends? Will the work be hard?
There will be times during the day, arrival, playground, registration, moving between classrooms, subject changes, break time, lunch time, changing rooms for PE and end of the day, when there is potential for anxious wobbly feeling, butterflies in the tummy, sick feelings, headaches.
EFT Tapping derives from ancient Chinese medicine which focuses on the body's meridians running throughout the body sending energy through all the organs. When we tap on points on these meridians we clear any blockages which are believed to be caused by negative thoughts and feelings which disrupt the energy flow. It works a bit like acupuncture (only without the needles!) or reflexology. In standard EFT we say aloud what we are feeling as we tap but this would be very noisy in a classroom so we tap silently whilst we focus our minds on those feelings.
I suggest this is led by the teacher initially but as children get used to how good it feels to get that sense of calm and be in a great learning state, children will start tapping as soon as they sit down at their desks. Children can even initiate it when they sense that their class needs to settle.
I'm running a series of free training events for teachers, the first of which is Wednesday 2nd September at 7pm. You can sign up on Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/silent-tapping-technique-for-a-calm-classroom-and-children-ready-to-learn-tickets-118120155565
This process is described in detail in the book, 'Do the Nattylala' by Phil Reed and Annie Moodliar. It is a great book which goes into the background of EFT and tapping, how it works and how Annie used it in her classroom with great success.
I've been training parents, teachers and existing practitioners for over 10 years; sharing my knowledge and experience, things I've learnt on courses and workshops. The focus has always been on children and teens and their parents. My training combines all the elements of what I feel makes for a healer or therapist who can intuitively select from their repertoire and experience, whatever they feel their client will need in that moment. It could be nothing. It could be silence, it could be just listening without judgement. Or it could be an exercise; a Time Line, a Perceptual Positioning, some tapping, drawing, it could be a meditation.
First I'll tell you about my existing course.
NLP Kids Practitioner Training course
The training course comprises 12 one hour modules, delivered individually to suit your time constraints and commitments. Some like to do it intensively over a few days, others do it over months. You can pay as you go or pay up front. I don't want anyone to miss out on their opportunity to learn how to help children because they don't have the money all at once.
You will learn lots of tools and techniques that will help children to:
Module 1 – Introduction to the course , what is NLP and how it works with children and parents. How you want to use it and create training schedule.
Module 2 – Beliefs of excellence / NLP Pre-suppositions.
Module 3 – VAK and the Metaprogrammes, Deletions, Distortions and Generalisations
Module 4 – Compelling Outcomes, Anchoring, visualisation, vision boards, Logical Levels
Module 5 – EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Module 6 – PTT (Picture Tapping Technique)
Module 7 - Time Line and inner child work
Module 8 – Overcoming limiting beliefs : Perceptual Positioning, Parts Integration, Logical Levels of Change and Time Line
Module 9 – Art Therapy - Using art, sand, Lego, Clean Language and Metaphors
Module 10 – The Karpman Drama Triangle
Module 11 – Working with families
Module 12 –Working with schools
The whole course costs £995 paid upfront or you can make 12 payments of £100.
New Group Training Courses
You may prefer a deep dive into one or more of the modules. Each one starts with an individual one hour pre-course chat to check that the course will meet your expectations and give you some background theory so we can focus on the practical elements in the group sessions.
They are all 2 x 3 hour sessions with swaps and breakouts and they each cost £350 (Discounts available for NLP Kids past students and for Karl Dawson's EFT students) .
They are a much more intense training with a high practical element.
EFT - Learn how to tap for yourself, with your own children and those you work with, to ease and clear intense emotions
PTT (only as an add on to EFT or for existing EFT Practitioners) Learn how to use picture tapping, a combination of drawing and tapping for your own children and those you work with
Time Line and inner child work Learn how to find the source of negative beliefs so you can help your child or client move on
Art Therapy Learn how to use sand, drawing, writing, LEGO, vision boards and other playful activities to gain deeper insight
Please send me an email and we'll arrange to have a chat about your own specific needs and if you're local or want to work face to face, I can do that. I expect to be running this on Zoom given the current and likely circumstances. I'm also fairly available on Skype if you want to message me there judy.bartkowiak
If you are a teacher and want me to deliver training on any of these modules to a group of your teachers, I can do this at a reduced rate of £250 or indeed if you can gather mums, colleagues, friends etc into your own group.
I anticipate a group being less than 10 people. I will need 4 in order to run the group so everyone gets a change of who to work with otherwise we could run out of issues to work on! I will join you into our private students Facebook group where you can chat with my existing and past students and share your knowledge and experience.
There will be a certificate of attendance and competence issued at the end.
I am an NLP Trainer (Sue Knight) and an EFT Trainer (Karl Dawson, Sharon King and Caroline Dawson). I am also the author of a number of NLP books, published by Hodder and workbooks published by MX Publishing.
What do my students say about my training?"Judy I can’t thank you enough for my one to one training. There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think of you with my coaching and everything you showed me that works so well for children. You are seriously inspirational and I thank you for sharing your wisdom so I am now able to help children. I was extremely lucky to have met you. Thank you, Claire Jones x"
"Judy, when I first started on my NLP road and I attended one of your parenting chats I found you inspiring, informative, friendly and keen to help me by sharing all your knowledge. From a parenting chat you became my mentor and trainer . I am loving my new career and all the clients, friends, biz girls I have met and it is all thanks to you. You are a truly inspiring lady with a passion for helping others. Thank you" 🙏🏻
I highly recommend this course, for a beginner or like me as a practitioner looking to specialise in young people. Thanks to Judy Bartkowiak and her course, I have had some tremendous breakthroughs with my clients and my own children. My sessions are fun, meaningful and really tailored to young people which makes this course very unique. Thanks Judy, I can't thank you enough !
“After a good research on the internet I found myself signing up for the master children’s NLP course with Judy. I know why I ended up with Judy: Judy is an inspiring, motivating but most of all a down-to-earth kind of person. And that suits me. She gave me energy to keep on coaching, she gave me a track which to follow. The weeks passed by in a blink of an eye. I actually enjoyed the Skype way. It is comfy in your own house with a good cup of coffee. And yes, we did laugh a lot! And yes, I do keep in touch with some of my global Skype-class-mates ;-)). Judy uses clear languages, in a nice pace. I have enjoyed every minute!”
“Judy’s NLP for Kids training is relevant and informative. Judy inputs really like scenarios into the training to help explain ideas and to this really helps the training to cone alive.
She is a great communicator and a massive support to all her trainees. If there is anything that you need help with she is easily contactable and willing to chat through ideas. Throughout the course you even end up picking up some great tips to deal build your own confidence too.
She is an inspiration as an NLP Practitioner and I would recommend Judy’s training. It's like having an experienced friend guiding you through.”
Here are some very basic first NLP tools to work through with your child to introduce him to the idea of NLP and how what you are thinking can affect behaviour.
1) State change
You know how your mood can really affect your day. How you think about the day not only affects what you do but what happens and it affects other people’s day as well. So how can you change state? How when your child is in a state that is unhelpful, can you help him change it?
Think of a good state. Think of a happy time for you, maybe a holiday or an outing with your partner, a funny programme on TV or a night out with a girlfriend. Relive the moment you’ve chosen and remember how you felt, what you saw, what you heard and what a good feeling it was. When the memory is at its height and you’re smiling or chuckling away as you recall it, squeeze your earlobe or tap the steering wheel, do something to anchor it for you. When you feel yourself getting stressed again, maybe someone’s just pulled out in front of you, anchor the good state and relax.
You can teach this to your child. Ask them to think about a fun time, something they really enjoyed, a party or maybe a movie. Show them how to anchor it and make sure they do it a few times to reinforce it. Children do get themselves into a state and having the ability to change state is a very useful tool.
Rapport is how we get on with people, make connections and form friendships. Some people are great examples of this. Ask your child who they think are the popular children in their class. What makes them popular? Watch them and learn how they do it. Here is a basic exercise in establishing rapport.
Step 1. Matching and mirroring.
Ask your child to copy exactly what you do and then switch over and you do what they do. It’s a fun exercise and needs you to watch each other carefully. You achieve excellent rapport doing this and can after several ‘goes’ move on to mirroring. In this exercise you do the mirror action so if your child lifts his right hand you lift your left and so on.
Once you’ve done this exercise a few times, copy what he says and then he, you. Make sure you copy the pace, volume, pitch, rhythm and words as well. Notice the language pattern. Does he use visual words (V), sound words (auditory) (A) or is he more action orientated (kinaesthetic) (K)?
A child with a visual preference would use words like ’look’ ‘see’ and would maintain good eye contact and be very observant. An auditory child would listen well, respond more to what is said to him and want you to copy sounds and word patterns, songs and music. A kinaesthetic child would be quite physical, make a lot of actions and moves for you to copy.
Listen for the thinking patterns as well, such as
a) towards/ away from – are they talking about what they want or what they don’t want
b) big chunk / small chunk – big picture or detail
c) choices / process- options or just get on with it
Step 2. Leading
Having taken turns at matching and then mirroring move on to take the lead by making your turn longer and switch the focus on to something you want them to do, maybe eating their meal, doing their homework, tidying their toys away.
When your child is really happy and pleased with life or proud of an achievement ask them to squeeze their ear lobe and capture the moment. Tell them that if they do that every time when they are feeling really pleased with themselves and on top of the world then when they are feeling sad , if they do that action it will remind them of how happy they were at that moment and they will feel good about themselves again.
4) Self esteem
Children very easily spot someone who can do something they can’t do whether that be a handstand or scoring goals, looking pretty or getting top marks. They don’t so easily notice what they do well and although modern parents are quick to praise their child, unless your child believes in their own abilities, the praise is quite empty and meaningless.
Be specific when you notice what they do well so that they recognise it as a skill that they can apply in other situations.
Metaphors work really well to get children talking about themselves. Ask your son or daughter how they are like a pizza or how they are like their favourite singer, football player or TV character. These comparisons focus on the positive and help them identify their strengths.
For older children, ask them who inspires them and then how are they like that person. ‘If you can spot it, you’ve got’ it is an NLP saying. It means that we can easily recognise qualities in others if we have them ourselves. Makes sense doesn’t it? Point this out to your child and help them by pointing out where you have observed this quality in them.
Where there is a gap between how they want to be and how they think they are, talk about how this person they admire does what he or she does. Watch videos of them and observe what they do and how they seem to do it. Find out about them, do they hold a certain belief about themselves that enables them to perform in a certain way?
If their hero is closer to home, a relative or friend maybe, then it is even easier to copy the behaviour and find out what has inspired it, the thought processes and beliefs.
This is in a sense an extension of the matching exercise but at a distance probably, unless the model can be encouraged to help in a direct way.
Children are very receptive to these games and enjoy them. It requires you to interact with them in a very direct way which shows love and support. Observe when they use a new pattern of communication and try some out yourself as well.
This was taken from my book 'Be a happier parent with NLP' which you can order from my website or from Amazon.