The Power of Language in Raising Your Children

By April Kinney

Are you a parent struggling to communicate with your children in positive and empowering ways?

As a mother of two beautiful children, I understand the challenges of parenthood firsthand. I know how overwhelming it can be to meet their needs and connect with them at their level. That is why I have embraced the power of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in guiding my parenting approach. NLP has become my compass for effective communication, fostering growth, and nurturing a deep connection with my children.

NLP, often referred to as the “language of the mind,” explores how our language shapes our emotional states, behaviours, and habits. By understanding and applying the fundamental presuppositions of NLP, you gain valuable insights into your child’s world, fostering positive behaviours and creating meaningful connections.

In this article, I share my personal journey and offer five tips on how to incorporate the principles of NLP into your own parenting journey.

1. Seeing the World Through Their Eyes

Every person perceives the world differently, and this holds true for our children as well. One of the presuppositions of NLP is that “the map is not the territory.” In other words, the words we use are not the event itself but rather a representation of it. By actively listening and asking open-ended questions, you can truly understand your children’s thoughts, emotions, and needs. For instance, when your child says, “Sally doesn’t like me,” you can respond with curiosity, asking, “How do you know Sally doesn’t like you?” Or “What made you think that Sally doesn’t like you?”. By exploring the “how,” “who,” or “what” behind their statements, you can uncover their deeper thoughts and concerns.

2. Everyone is Doing Their Best

Sometimes this is a tough one to accept, especially when your children are acting in a way that doesn’t seem like their best. The presupposition is that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available. This means your children make choices based on the information and resources they have at the time. They can do more and be more, but they may need help. Simply by recognising this, you can meet your children and yourself with compassion and understanding.

3. Provide Constructive Feedback

We all make mistakes and there is always room for improvement. Another NLP presupposition that is close to my heart is that there is no failure, only feedback. When our children make mistakes or need guidance, it is important to provide constructive feedback rather than criticism. A simple “sandwich” can help you provide feedback in a positive and empowering way. Start by acknowledging their efforts, provide feedback for improvement, and conclude on a positive note by highlighting what they did well. This feedback “sandwich” not only encourages growth but also maintains a sense of encouragement and support.

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