I’ve been thinking about kindness this week for several reasons. I think it’s one of those qualities that we notice when we see it in extremes in so much as we notice extreme kindness – someone going out of their way to think of you perhaps and we notice extreme unkindness when someone seems to deliberately either undermine you or is rude. We each have our own definition of what we feel is really kind or unkind and I’ve been surprised sometimes when someone has noticed something I did automatically, as being very kind and then on another occasion when I really did make an effort it wasn’t remarked on at all. This tends to suggest that kindness is in the ‘eye of the beholder’ and is judged by how it is perceived by the other person and how much the action or word meant to them personally.
So let me tell you why it’s relevant this week.
I had a client yesterday who after much preamble told me that her 9 year old son wouldn’t kiss or hug her. She felt that this was rather a young age to be funny about showing affection and as her younger son was very huggy, she was concerned that her older son may have a problem with his emotions. We talked about their family and her values and she frequently gave me examples of what I would describe as ‘kindness’ but she tended to use the word ‘helpful’. When we drilled down to what the examples meant to her she said that it was in fact all about being kind. Her older son was very kind in many ways but in not responding to his mum’s affection he was being unkind. Mum blamed herself and wondered if she was being too pushy, controlling and demanding. We established that she did all the household chores and did all she did because it was expected of her, not because she was a kind mum and she didn’t expect any thanks for it or positive feedback. I pointed out that in many ways she was modelling a way of being to her son, of being kind but not expecting reward for it which goes to the heart of kindness, doing it for it’s own worth not for the appreciation. She is going to go home and emphasise kindness so her son knows that this is who he is e.g. ‘that was so kind Tom’ and ‘would you be really kind and …..’ and then ask him to be kind and give her a goodnight kiss. Let’s hope it works!
The other thing that is happening in my life is that I’m part of a writing team writing children’s books for the JaneNotPlain Esteem movement . The book we’re writing at the moment is about kindness and it made me think how important this is in our world of focussing on academic achievement, sports prowess and external appearance. How important is kindness in your family? Do you mark it out, comment on it? Do you know, the more you look for it, the more you’ll find. When you do, say something about it to show you have noticed it and value it as a quality in your child. Think too about how you show kindness because you are their model. What goes around comes around as they say.
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.
Do you know your VAK? Children learn differently so how do they learn?
VAK stands for Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic which are the main three NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) representational systems or ways of processing the inputs we get.
There is a magic number – 7+ or -2 – that is the number of bits of information that people could deal with so from the millions of available bits of information to us at any point in time, we each filter them differently to arrive at about 7 pieces of information and they are unlikely to be the same 7. This makes our own map unique to us and we should be aware that other people’s map is not the same as ours.
Visual children will notice what they see, what you give them to read as hand-outs, what you write on the white board or screen and what you show them.
Auditory children will listen attentively and notice what you say and what is said by others in the class. They will be more musical and enjoy sounds and lessons with question and answer sessions and singing.
Kinaesthetic children learn more by doing. They tend to be fidgety and active, keen on PE and active lessons, sporty and enthusiastic in practical lessons where they can do experiments or interactive computer learning.
Although children will at times use all 3 systems at different times in the school day, they will have a preference for one of them and that will be their ideal learning system.
When you are teaching it is impossible to attend to each child’s needs individually so when presenting teaching material do it using all 3 representational systems. Give them the material visually, talk them through it and be ready to work through an example with the kinaesthetic children.
Most schools have adopted a phonetic spelling method which works well for auditory children but not for visual children who cannot work out why words that sound the same look so different. For them, spelling lists need to be organised and learnt visually so that words that look the same are together even if they sound different.
Be aware of your own preference because if you always present your lessons using visual language such as ‘do you see what I mean?’ ‘let’s look at another example’ and so on, your auditory and kinaesthetic children will have more difficulty following you as they need to translate into their own ‘language’. Ideally use three ways each time; for example, ‘Do you see what I mean?’ Have you been listening?’ Do you follow me?’ Then you’ve covered everyone and there should be no excuses!
Judy Bartkowiak is the author of NLP for Teachers, part of the Engaging NLP series available from the Buy Books page or from Amazon. Maybe you’d be interested to train in NLP and offer it to your school. If so, have a look at my other website www.nlpkids.com and go to Training.
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
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
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.
I don’t know about you but I’m definitely sensing that it’s near the end of term! For those of you in other countries (I’m writing from the UK) you may already be on summer holidays. Here we enjoy the usual UK rainy summer weather as yet more cricket matches are cancelled because of soggy pitches. The ‘Remember to bring sun cream’ notice at the bottom of every match sheet makes us laugh as they so don’t need it! A brolly would be more useful and wet weather gear.
Anyway the teachers are busy writing reports and we are starting to think about the next term which starts in September because my son leaves his Primary School in a few weeks and will be starting his Secondary school. This has happened to coincide with me writing NLP for Tweens which is aimed at children of his age 10-13yrs to help them manage puberty and the transition from Primary to Secondary school. This is often accompanied by a house move so the book is packed full of tips on how your Tween can manage change.
One of the key ways I describe in the book is to think about what will be similar. It’s called ‘matching’. When we look for similarities we feel more at home and able to cope. As your child approaches a change in his life, remind them what the new situation will be similar to and point out another change they made that they adjusted well to. They need a ‘I can cope with change well’ attitude. Find common ground; perhaps the school looks similar, perhaps some of the children going there will be familiar, will they be playing some of the same sports?
You can find out more about how to prepare your child for change in my book ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ .
If you want to give them something to read and get involved in NLP for Tweens is workbook style with fun quizzes and loads for them to fill in and think about.
You can buy all my books in my Bookshop but you can also find them on Amazon UK and Amazon US and the Book Depository where they offer Free shipping.