This week many of you will be taking your child to school for the very first time. As you take that iconic photo of them in their first school uniform and wipe a tear away, how are you going to cope with the myriad of complex feelings you’ll experience in these first days?
Coping with ambivalent or mixed up feelings can be confusing and upsetting. On the one hand we’re feeling really proud of them for coping so well and being so ‘grown up’ and on the other hand we are grieving for those pre-school years when we were so important to them. We want them to grow up and go through these rites of passage such as their first day at school but their gain can feel like our loss. It’s a sign that we too are getting older. We may want to have another child to fill the void and give us a sense of purpose. We may start thinking about going back to work, starting a business, getting fit, losing weight, catching up with friends.
This can be a time of confusing identities. Who are we when we are not being a mum?
There are those who would argue that we are always a mum, even when our children are grown up with children of their own and I can certainly identify with that feeling. Yet, whilst you may wear that hat, you can still operate on the basis of being just you while they are at school. You could carve out a few hours to fulfil some goals you now have time for and you can develop yourself as your child is doing at school by learning new things, making new friends and catching up with old ones.
Show your child that whilst you have been thinking about them during the day, you have nevertheless had a great day yourself and have stories to tell them about your day too. If you have other smaller children you can still do this by using crèche facilities or asking a friend to have your child for a few hours in return for them doing the same for you.
Here’s a great NLP technique for dealing with these mixed up feelings.
Hold your hands out palms up. Imagine that in one hand you are holding those feelings of sadness as you miss your child and grieve the loss of these lovely days together that you’ve had over the last few years.
In the other hand hold the possibilities that you now have to have some time for yourself and pursue some of your own dreams and goals.
As you look at each hand, associate into the feelings. This means that you really think deeply about the feeling in each hand, all aspects of the feeling and give it colour, sound, emotion and so on. Picture yourself doing those things.
Now taking each hand in turn, ask it what it wants for you. In NLP we acknowledge that our feelings, even negative ones, have a positive benefit for us. The feeling is a learning for us and an opportunity. So ask the hand with the sad feelings what it wants for you, what benefit has it got for you to feel like this. What’s good about having this feeling? Be curious because there will be some benefit.
Ask the hand with possibilities of freedom for you what it wants for you.
Now you need to ask each hand to give something to the other hand. The learnings, skills and feelings from one hand have a gift for the other hand such that no longer are they feelings that are in conflict but they are different parts of you that each have something to give you making you the special person that you are.
If you’d like to learn more about NLP techniques you can join the NLP Practitioner course starting this week or read my NLP Workbook or Be a happier parent with NLP available at www.nlpkids.com or Amazon.
Whether your child is changing schools as a result of a move, a change in family circumstances, a natural progression to the next stage or because he or you were unhappy with the school he attended, the result is still an upheaval for your child.
Assuming you know of the change before your child, you have the opportunity to frame it so your child responds in a positive way. To do this you will certainly have to put yourself in his shoes because it is extremely unlikely that his criteria for what makes a great school will be the same as yours. Even if your child wasn’t happy at his old school, it was familiar and even negative familiar faces and situations can give a child a sense of security. If it was you who wasn’t happy with the school, your child could feel resentful about making a change and react negatively either at the new school or at home or both.
Putting yourself in your child’s shoes means knowing what matters to them about their new school whatever that might be.
Researching the new school on the Internet, local papers, amongst friends and neighbours can throw up interesting titbits of information that can endorse your choice and familiarise your child with the new school.
It is easier to deal with natural change as children move from one school to the next mainly because the previous school prepares them, talks about the change and they usually move on with a cohort of buddies. Schools are usually pretty good at preparing children as they move to their next school and talk about what to expect. Maybe your child already knows children who go there and this helps them to settle in. Often they have a day in the new school before they go there so the surroundings aren’t too unfamiliar.
So how can NLP help you and your child adjust to change? Remember you both have the resources already. What other changes have you experienced? Has your child had to face change in other areas of his life? Does he have a younger sibling? Perhaps he had to adjust to that change. Have you moved house or faced the death of a pet? Invite your child to think about other changes and how he coped with that. He needs confidence to embark on this new challenge and he can access this resource through experiences he has successfully navigated already. You can encourage this by reminding them how well they adjusted to these changes.
If your child is feeling overwhelmed and thinking ‘big chunk’ about the whole aspect of the new school, you can ‘chunk down’ to the detail and talk about the individual aspects of the new school so he can think about them in ‘bite size chunks’ which are easier to cope with. If he is feeling bogged down in all the detail; the uniform, new teachers, different buildings, bus to school, new class and so on, ‘chunk up’ to how exciting the change will be and what going to a new school will mean in terms of new opportunities in general.
If your child likes choices then look at all the options with them, after school clubs, subjects, routes to school, uniform options. If your child prefers process and doesn’t like choices you can make a plan or lists with them of what they need to get for the new school.
If your child is towards thinking, talk about what they have to look forward to and if they are ‘away from thinking’ talk about what they won’t have anymore, maybe a teacher at their old school whom they didn’t much like or the journey to school, there’s bound to be something!
You can use metaphors to put a child at ease about change. Think about the change in their terms and find a suitable metaphor or better still ask them to find a metaphor themselves. Ask them, “what is changing schools like for you?” Some children can express it best by drawing, ask them to draw a picture of themselves in their new school. Some can express it as an animal. What animal are they in their old school and what animal are they in their new school. How do they get to change into that new animal?
If they need help with a metaphor you could suggest one and they will respond in a way that tells you what their metaphor is. They will say “No mum, it’s not like that, it’s like this……..”
Another type of metaphor is the story. Can you tell your child a story about how you adjusted to the change of schools when you were young? Do you have a friend who has told you about their child changing schools and how they overcame their worries? Children love stories especially about people they know. Here’s an example of how this can work.
This sort of story can trigger a response from your child about what could be worrying them and you can then address it. It’s the not knowing, isn’t it, which can be so difficult to work with?
Remember to tune in to whether your child is visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. If they are visual then they will want to look and focus on the uniform, the look of the buildings and see pictures of the school and the teachers. If they are auditory then hearing about it will work best and if they are kinaesthetic, visiting the school and being there for an open day will be important.
Going to a new school is an adventure and some children are braver than others, have more self confidence. You can build their confidence by reminding them of all the things they can do well, the resources they have and the skills they have. Avoid giving them limiting beliefs about themselves. Focus on what they can do and what they will be able to do, get them to think about their desirable outcome. What do they want to achieve at this new school and what are the steps along the way on that journey.
This is an excerpt from Be a happier parent with NLP published by Hodder Education in the Teach Yourself series. You can buy your signed copy from me at my bookshopfor £8.50 reduced from RRP of £10.99
Confidence, or rather, lack of it, is probably the single most common problem that children are brought to me with nowadays. That’s why I wrote my latest Ebook ‘ Confidence for Kids’.
Isn’t it strange how much emphasis we place today on ensuring that our children do well at school, go on to University and get a good job? Only yesterday I was reading that there has been a huge increase in private tutoring to support children at GCSE and A’ Level stage over and above what they do in school. Yet, when we first meet someone we decide in seconds whether we want to be friends, indeed whether we even want to talk to them in the first place. The way our children present themselves will affect them in life. It will determine how quickly they will get their first job, who they make friends with, and how adults respond to them. How people respond and interact with them affects how they in turn see themselves and it determines their self-worth because like it or not, we are influenced by how others see us. We don’t live in a bubble, we live with other people who will take an instant like or dislike to us. Their attitude to us may change over time but in some situations we simply don’t get the time to put ourselves across again. There are jobs out there but employers are complaining that interviewees are not turning up on time for their interview, they aren’t dressed appropriately and can’t hold a conversation. In a nutshell, they don’t know how to present themselves in order to get the result they want.
What can we do about this as parents? Whether you are confident or not will affect how confident your children will be. This book will help you to build your own confidence and it will give you plenty of tips to boost your child’s confidence in different situations. They are appropriate for any age child or teenager.
The book is based on many years’ work coaching children and teenagers in my practice NLP Kids, running focus groups as a children’s Market Researcher and teaching. It will show you how to model confidence to your kids. After all, how will they learn how to be confident unless you show them what it looks, sounds like and how to act in a confident manner.
You will learn lots of ways to notice when your children are confident and how to comment on it so they learn from your feedback. You will learn how to use a confident way of speaking and confident words. How you look will affect how others perceive you before you open your mouth to speak so how can you create the impression you want and how can you encourage your children to do the same?
I have written a number of parenting and self-help books for families which you might like to read if you find this one helpful. I would particularly recommend ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ and the Engaging NLP series of workbooks including NLP for Children, NLP for Tweens, NLP for Teens, NLP for Parents, NLP for Teachers.
BUY CONFIDENCE FOR KIDS HERE
Here in the UK teenagers are preparing for exams that will seriously affect their job prospects and they know it. They are constantly reminded at school and at home parents urge them to revise, prepare, learn. Every day in the Press we are reminded just how difficult it is for young people to get jobs and it is increasingly the case that teenagers studying hard for exams in the next few months will in fact end up doing a menial boring job such as shelf-stacking in a supermarket. Many of course will go on to University, in some cases to defer the trauma of trying to find a job and in other cases because they want to enjoy the somewhat surreal student life. There is no pretense though. Studying will not automatically get you a job. And ultimately that’s what every teenager wants because it is their pathway to adult status, money in their pocket and a lifestyle. Nobody wants to live on benefits. So what can we , as parents, do to support them when they feel dejected and stressed?
NLP (neuro linguistic programming) is the study of the structure of excellence. What this means is
- Notice when things are going well. What are the signs? You can give your child some positive feedback by showing you’ve noticed. Be specific mentioning exactly what you’ve noticed eg “I see you’re working hard today” and avoid adding any sarcasm or any of your own angst. We help best when we simply comment on what we observe.
- Avoid the use of ‘if’ e.g ‘if you study hard you’ll do well’ because this isn’t necessarily so and also it suggests there is an option which there isn’t.
- Even teenagers want attention from their parents. Giving them attention for not revising is the same thing as giving a toddler attention when they are having a tantrum. Be calm and ignore the behaviour you don’t want such as ‘not revising’ and pay attention to the good behaviour (revising).
- Some children feel overwhelmed by the amount they have to do. They are essentially what we call ‘small chunk’ so discuss with them how they can break down the revision into small bite size chunks with short breaks in between.
- Breaks are really helpful because sitting in one position studying one subject is very intense. Encourage them to structure short active breaks with some fresh air doing something they enjoy that isn’t visual. Give their eyes a break and instead go for a run or play some sport.
- Some children find choices overwhelming. Which subject should they revise first? It’s easier when these children simply have a plan to follow, a ‘to do list’ that they can cross off as they go.
- Auditory children actually work better with music on or the TV as this blocks out the distracting noises or they may prefer silence but occasional uncontrolled noise can distract them. They will also find it easier to read their work out loud or listen to revision tapes.
- Kinaesthetic children will work best copying out notes and actively participating in their revision using interactive revision guides online or testing each other.
- Visual children will learn best by reading their notes, looking at textbooks and revision guides and sample questions.
- When things are going well, encourage them to notice what the factors were. This is the structure of their excellence. They can code it by noting what worked well and repeating the code the next time they want good results.
Judy Bartkowiak is the author of NLP for Teens
She offers Skype Consultations which your teen may find helpful.
What would it be like to have a skill, a qualification that you could not only incorporate into your daily life as a parent or teacher but also earn you a living helping other children and teenagers? Become an NLP Kids Practitioner and work for yourself offering one to one therapy for children and teens, workshops, work in schools and make a difference.
Neuro Linguistic Programming is a way of life, a new way of thinking that at first may be a bit ‘clunky’ but as you develop the skills and use them daily you will soon do it without realising. The changes will become automatic and subconscious as you make the transition from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence.
There are many NLP Practitioner courses and many offer you the world, they promise to make you wealthy or slim, successful, powerful and so on. My courses don’t promise this. My ambition is to train you as an NLP Practitioner so that you will be a calmer happier parent, be a good role model for your kids and have the skills to share them with others.
Neuro is how we think. This is based on our experiences of life, our upbringing, culture, age and those we’ve grown up with. Many people think that this can’t be changed but let me assure you that it can be. Not only that. It will be. As you start to question some of the beliefs you hold and challenge them you will find yourself replacing them with a new and grown up way of thinking that will give you permission to do some of those things you thought you couldn’t do before. You’ll still be YOU so don’t worry that you’ll lose the best bits. It’s those limiting beliefs that we’ll work on; the beliefs that hold you back from being the parent you want to be.
Linguistic is how we talk. It’s the words and phrases we use to communicate. It’s also that irritating little inner voice that tells us where’s getting it all wrong. The words we use matter. They mean something. They reflect the thinking behind them so we need to ensure that we communicate what we want to communicate and nothing else.
Programming is the results. These are the habits and patterns we’ve formed and the things we keep doing even when we know they don’t work. When you learn about NLP you will start to recognise those patterns and find out how to change them so they are more resourceful and get you the results you want.
The NLP Practitioner course that I run is on Skype and you can find all the details on the NLP Training Page. It will tell you more about me and about NLP. If you decide to join the course then the cost is £550 or its equivalent in your currency and you can pay in installments if you want. The sessions are weekly and there will be homework. The homework is not so much a written test but it is instead an opportunity for you to explain how you have incorporated that bit of learning into your life and your parenting. I shall be available on Skype to help with any questions or issues you have.
There are two courses. One for those who are already qualified in NLP and one for those who are not or who qualified some time ago and want to cover the theory again. For both course you need to connect with me on Skype. My Skype name is judy.bartkowiak
If the results you get in your parenting, at work, in your sport and in your relationship are what you want then NLP may not be of interest to you. But if, like me, you’d like to perform better at work, have a closer relationship and parent your child more effectively then NLP is a great subject to explore. It encourages us to look at what we do well and ask ourselves “what is the structure of this”, “How do we do it when we get the results we want?”
Grinder and Bandler discovered that when they studied really successful people they could find patterns in their thinking and language that when coded and the structure copied other people could apply it and get the same results. They also found that everyone has elements of that structure of success already and once we realise that we do have it we can transfer the skill to where it’s needed at that moment.
The idea of studying excellence and copying it is not new and sportsmen and athletes do it all the time as do business leaders but what they focus on is what their models of excellence say and do. However, the difference that makes the difference can only be achieved when you also copy the underlying belief. After all, unless you belief you can do a thing and that it has value for you to do it, simply copying the motions will not bring about success.
I am an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer and I work with parents and children, teenagers and teachers. I’ve written a number of NLP books and workbooks which you can see here. I also deliver NLP workshops in the workplace, in schools and sports clubs. I see clients individually at my home in Burnham, Bucks or you can book a telephone or Skype consultation.
I run regular NLP Training courses throughout the year on Skype in small classes of 6-8. Here are the next dates. All the courses are 12 weeks and cost £550 including books.
January 7th 3-4pm UK time NLP Practitioner for those who are new to NLP but who work with kids or have kids
February 13th 10-11am UK time NLP Kids Practitioner for existing NLP Practitioners who want to work with children
Join the Facebook Group NLP Kids and follow me @judybart
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I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sign up for the course here and pay your deposit.
When I say the word ‘exam’ what comes to mind? Do you get a picture in your head? Do you hear something? Or do you feel something? Being aware of whether you are visual, auditory or kinaesthetic can help you manage your reactions. Is it the word exam itself or is it what the word exam is associated with such as success or failure, the fear of the implications or the hard word that is required before-hand?
One thing is probably true, most people don’t respond positively to the idea of sitting an exam yet we all have to take them and the results will affect our future so wouldn’t it be so much better if we could reframe our reactions such that they are positive and empowering?
So let’s first face up to how we currently think of exams. Close your eyes and think about exams. Be aware of whether you’re getting images, sounds, feelings in your body.
If you’re getting images, where are you looking for them? If you’re looking up and to the left then you are remembering what happened last time you had an exam. If this was a bad experience or a bad result, think about whether this image is helping you prepare for the next exam. It isn’t. So instead, look up the the right and think about how you’d prefer the image to look. Picture a positive scenario, maybe you confidently answering the questions or you seeing the results up on the noticeboard and YEH you’ve done really well!
If you’re getting sounds, are they coming from your right or your left because again the same thing applies. If they’re sounds from the past (from your left) they may be your parents being annoyed with you or your teacher telling you that you will have to re-sit. Turn your attention to your right and focus on what you want to hear. Maybe you want to hear your mates telling you how well you’ve done.
If you experience feelings in your body, maybe butterflies in your stomach, a sick feeling, headaches or goose bumps then you’re probably looking down and to your right. Look up instead. This tends to subconsciously raise your spirits. Now think about something much more positive, something physical such as stroking your pet, hugging your girl/boyfriend, scoring a goal, running your personal best. As you think of that positive thing, anchor it by squeezing your earlobe. Do this a few times and you’ll be able to squeeze your earlobe when you think about exams and instead get a good feeling.
We can reframe negative things like exams by thinking about all the benefits of them. After all, they are the door to your future career or job, they will enable you to do what you desire in life and when you work hard you’ll never have to take this exam again, will you? They are an opportunity to show what you can do, an opportunity to show off your skills. Are you really going to let your negative thought processes get in the way of success? It is YOUR choice how you decide to feel about exams, no-one else’s. You are in control so make choices that will inspire you and motivate you to become the person you want to be in life.