Five Ways NLP Can Make You A Better Parent

Simonne Lee

Life Strategist

Creating structure in your family can be done consciously or from absent minded habits that we’ve created from our experiences throughout life. Either way, you are establishing a routine of what your child can expect within family dynamics and throughout life. By utilising some NLP techniques, you are able to shift a negative impacting experience into a manageable and solution focused state, creating adaptability in their behavioural patterns. Isn’t life all about flexibility?


So what is NLP?

Neuro Linguistic Programming was created in the 1970s by American psychologist Richard Bandler and Dr John Grinder. They developed a method dealing with beliefs, social and family conditioning and our own personal perceptions (how we view and experience information then store it in our personal library).

From the moment a baby is conceived, it is experiencing its mother’s emotions from the womb way before it can understand any of these feelings. A baby has already started to create its library of emotions before entering the world. Once the baby is born, simulation of their senses is initiated like light/colours for the eyes, sound/rhythms for the ears and textures/weather/skin to skin contact for touch, thus building and expanding its library of senses and conditioning further along.

Each experience a child has is perceived through its own reference library and layered. This is how we start to form beliefs and behaviours, and react to different situations. So if you have a negative experience and then layer it with other experiences confirming this reaction, you will have developed a pattern in how to react to particular challenges. NLP is about using words and other techniques to disrupt this unconscious pattern in its tracks.

In layman’s terms:

Words we use with our children can impact their reactions positively or negatively. How we teach our children to problem solve any situation in life is creating a structure on how to experience and manage life itself.

How to use NLP to help you to become a better parent:

1. Understand how your child learns and communicates – Sub-modalities

What is their favourite way to learn in relation to their senses, VAK – Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic? Do they learn through looking, listening or feeling? Discover how their teacher communicates and teaches with them. This insight will assist you if your child differs from their teachers VAK. Then speak in their learning sensory. If they’re visual, you may ask them, can they see the answer? Auditory, how does that sound to you? Kinesthetic, let’s work out the answer, what feels right to you?

2. Know how your child likes to operate – Mirror and matching

It’s important to understand how your child likes to structure themselves, for example, do they like to be given a choice? ‘What would you like to wear? A dress or A skirt?’ Some children like more structure and to be given a plan, for example, do their homework, then have dinner, put the dishes away and then they can read a book. Whilst other children like to create their own itinerary, for example, ‘I want to have a bath before dinner so I can wear my pyjamas now’. Knowing this can alleviate a lot of stress in how to get simple activities completed!

3. Replacing BUT & HOWEVER with AND – Linguistics

How we choose our words creates a feeling that we include as a part of the conversation (whether the feeling is from a previous experience or not). Saying the words BUT or HOWEVER in a conversation can totally change how we interpret the message. Any words used before saying BUT and HOWEVER are negated, meaning instantly forgotten. Once we hear these two words, all we register is the negative , for example, ‘Oh I like your story BUT you spelt some words wrong’. Children miss the first part of the sentence and focus straight onto the second part (you may be surprised that adults follow this same too!) Replacing BUT and HOWEVER with a simple and non-judgment word being AND. So let’s re-write our sentence. ‘Oh I like your story and there are only a couple of words misspelt’. It’s softer and the first part of sentence is fully taken.

4. Creating positive outcomes – Future pacing

Never loosing sight of a learning experience! With each challenging situation, how you communicate with your child guiding them through the experience can leave them empowered or disempowered. Talking them through step-by-step on how they felt, what they thought and then directing their focus on what they learnt from the experience, and what they can do next time if it occurs. How do they feel now after talking and working out a positive strategy? This will reinforce a constructive method that leaves their mind looking for solutions instead of how hard it is and feeling deflated.

5. One of the most influential words to use on a child (even adults) is IMAGINE – Linguistics

It’s one of the most effective and simple words to use with anyone and particularly children. A child’s imagination is unlimited and when we use this word with them, they step into a world of achievable. What was once perceived impossible, suddenly changes direction and has the opportunity of becoming possible. Even with adults, ask them to visualise what they want and you may get a perplexed look on their face. Ask them to imagine it and they move into a different part of their brain: exploration.

NLP is a wonderful modality that can support you and your family in all areas of life.

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