Confidence for Kids

I read the other day that failure is children’s greatest fear nowadays, not monsters under the bed or even the bully in the playground. What children fear most is failing, yet in life we know as their parents that life will present many challenges and opportunities to make mistakes so if they fear failure now, how will they learn the resilience that they will need to cope with those challenges they face further down the road in life? We need to teach them confidence because this is like having your own built-in protection or super power.

Confidence for kids2

It may seem strange to talk about teaching confidence, after all, we assume children already have it don’t we? When parents bring children to me (I’m also an NLP Kids Coach) they talk about their child having lost their confidence so one of the things I do with children is to find it again and that’s what you can do, here’s how.

  1. When we start to notice that our child seems shy or quiet in company, starts fidgeting when people speak to them or doesn’t meet their eye contact we think they lack self-esteem and describe them as ‘shy’. When they say they don’t want to do something or they opt out of social situations or opportunities to join in, again this confirms that they seem to lack confidence. We put these different examples together and it starts to build a bigger picture of a child with low self-esteem. Maybe we find ourselves only noticing these patterns because we are slightly worried about it and we no longer notice examples of confident behaviour. This is very typical. When we are worried about something, we find ourselves noticing more and more of it. So what can you do to turn the tide? Instead, become curious. Start looking for signs of confidence everywhere. You will see it. The more you look for it, the more you’ll see it as well. Children notice what you are taking an interest in and subconsciously they will display more of the confident behaviour as well.
  2. Sometimes we justify their lack of confidence by saying that we are quite shy ourselves or we perhaps also avoid opportunities to be centre stage. Our children model us. What they see us do is their pattern for life so if we hold back then they will copy that way of being and value it as the right way to be. They will be critical of others who are more confident and find their friends amongst others like them with whom they feel comfortable. So you need to model how you’d like them to be. Act as if you were confident to show them how to do it.
  3. Children need to find their own way of being confident and you can help by asking them who amongst their friends or their schoolmates is confident in a way that they’d like to be confident or which TV character or book character? Then suggest that when they are going into a situation that could be challenging they should imagine they are that person and ask themselves “what would he/she do now or say now?”

For more ideas on how to build confidence in your child email for your free copy of ‘Confidence for kids’ (EBook or PDF).

How to engage your kids in the Election

There’s lots of excitement today in the Press and on the TV as we all choose which party we would like to lead us from now on. Whatever your politics, women like us, mums like us, fought for us to have a say in how the country was governed. Now we have kids who couldn’t care less. I feel we need to get them involved so that when they grow up and get to vote, they choose to do so rather than just stay at home on the sofa watching TV.

There are loads of reasons why kids today aren’t interested and many of those reasons are perfectly valid. However, Politics is life. The decisions made by the politicians we vote in will be on health, education, benefits, school meals, law and order, all the things we care about and want for our children.


Most of these issues are easy to explain yet politicians use language that is designed to separate them from us as they use political jargon and talk about what it will mean to us in ways we can’t relate to.

This evening when your kids get back from school, ask them to write their own political agenda. What laws would they bring in if they were prime Minister. Ask them what laws would they bring in about

1. School

2. Hospitals

3. Safety

4. Money

5. The Environment

6. Overseas aid to developing countries

7. Defence spending

8. University funding

Which is most important to them?

If all you do is to get them thinking about these issues and opening their minds to a wider world than just their own school and home, you will have pushed politics a little higher up in their mind. Do this more often and by the time they can vote they will be engaged in the process.

Do we really want to be bringing up the ‘selfie’ generation or do we want our kids to care about the world they live in?



How to help your child gain confidence

Even children who seem confident in certain parts of their life can lack confidence in other areas. It is not unusual for a child who is very confident at home can feel overwhelmed at school and a child who is confident amongst friends can become very shy with those they don’t know. The skill as a parent is in teaching them how to access the confident feelings they have in one place or situation and apply this confidence elsewhere.

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One way of doing this which works well with children is to ‘make believe’ and suggest they pretend they are confident or act ‘as if’ they are confident. You can try this out at home first. Ask them to imagine they are in the situation where they feel confident and brave. Perhaps this is when they have a friend round to play. They can dress up for this. Perhaps they have favourite clothes that make them feel confident or they feel more confident if they are a character from Star Wars or one of the video games they play. You can pick one of their favourite characters and say ‘how would this character be when they are confident?” Once they have the confident feeling they need, ask them to anchor it. Show them how to anchor the feeling by making a sign or action that will remind them of how they feel when they are this character or wearing those clothes. They can then use this anchor in situations they find more difficult.

One reason why children don’t feel confident is that they compare themselves with other children, usually those who are better at something than them. In our terribly PC schools these days, competition is a dirty word but however much the school may try to rule it out, children naturally compete and will continue to do so as adults, it’s a natural tendency.

Encourage them to compare themselves instead with how they were last month or last term, so they can see how well they have improved in something. This gives a child confidence.

Show your child how to be internally referenced rather than externally referenced as this will give them a useful skill in life. Internally referenced is when you compare yourself with your own values and expectations so if your child usually gets 8 out of 10 for his spelling test and this week gets 9 then he should be justly proud of himself and not compare himself with those who regularly get 10 out of 10.

External referencing is when your child compares himself with others and only sees himself as how others perceive him. An externally referenced child will constantly compare and miss their own improvements.

If children want to improve and gain self confidence from being better at something they can model the person they want to learn from. This external reference is a source from whom they can learn to be better themselves rather than seeing the comparison in a negative light. Following on from the example above of the child who got 9 out of 10 in his spellings and wanted to get 10, if he were to find out what strategy the 10 out 10 child used and copy it, he would soon improve his score.

This was taken from ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ written by Judy Bartkowiak.

Book Cover

Get your signed copy from my NLP website for £10.99 or Amazon 

Join the NLP Skype course and be a happier parent

I thought I’d post the programme details for the Skype course that’s just started. Anyone wanting to join can do so and I will go through Module 1 again for the newcomers to the course before Module 2 takes place on Wednesday 12th.


Hello, welcome to the NLP Kids Practitioner Course.

This course is for students who do not already have an NLP qualification.  We usually enjoy a combination of parents, teachers, social workers etc who have a mixture of other similar qualifications and / or lots of hands on experience of parenting or working with children. This course is not suitable for anyone who has no access to children with whom they can practice the techniques learnt on the course.

I want to make it clear that ANLP do not recognize Distance Learning Courses so you cannot be accredited by them based on this course. Instead the skills and techniques, knowledge and learning you pick up should be used in addition to your other skills.

I am a qualified NLP Trainer and trained with Sue Knight: NLP Trainer, NLP Business Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner. I qualified as an NLP Kids Practitioner with Gemma Bailey of NLP4Kids and with Jeremy Lazarus in NLP Sports Practitioner. So there are elements of these NLP gurus in my delivered course along with other exemplars whom I have studied with over the years. I also add a huge amount of my own experiences as an NLP Coach based on working with children and teenagers regularly and from workshops and talks. I also learn a lot from my students of course.

There are usually about 6-8 students per course, often from around the world so we get an exciting mix of cultures which makes for interesting discussions and experiences. Using the webcam we can see each other and this makes it easier to ask questions, comment and share views. It really feels like an International classroom. I use Skype and send the link each week for you to join the class.

There will be 12 taught Modules as follows:

Module 1 – NLP Presuppositions. The essential ingredients of change. How to use the presuppositions in therapy with children and teenagers. How to apply them in your own life.

Module 2 – Well-formed outcomes/ compelling visions. Transferring skills. Working with confidence. Technique: Circle of Excellence

Module 3 – Logical Levels of Change. Overcoming Limiting Beliefs. Recognising and challenging them in ourselves and in our child clients. Technique: Time Line.

Module 4 -VAK and the Meta Programmes. How to put these into practice to build rapport and achieve great communication with the children we care about. Technique: Matching

Module 5 – Modelling. How to acquire someone else’s skill for oneself and show your kids how to do it. Technique: Modelling

Module 6 – The power of effective feedback.  Reframing. TOTE. Technique:  Perceptual positioning.

Module 7 – The Drama Triangle. Recognising the victim, rescuer and persecutor positions and how they interact. Stepping out of the Drama Triangle and taking responsibility for our actions.

Module 8 – Metaphors. Clean Language. Indirect questioning. Technique: Disassociating

Module 9 – State Management.  Mind and Body connections and how to use physiological change to lead mental change and vice versa. Technique: Anchoring

Module 10 – Self –esteem. Acknowledging skills and qualities and teaching others to recognise theirs. Focus on what’s working and learn the structure so you can apply it again.

Module 11 – Fears and Phobias. Learning Difficulties. Technique: SWISH, Submodalities

Module 12 – Launching your business, workshop programmes, website, blogs, marketing

Each Module will start with general feedback on the last week’s homework. Then I deliver the content of the Module and we discuss it and I answer your questions. Then I will tell you what this week’s homework is. You do the homework, ideally that week and send it to me for feedback. I give you individual feedback by email. Some homework will be posted in the student group so you can see your fellow students’ work and benefit from giving and receiving feedback.

The sessions are recorded so I can send you the recording as well as the written notes after the session to help you with homework. I will incorporate into the course input from other leading NLP practitioners who have specialist knowledge on learning difficulties, bedwetting, behavioural difficulties etc

Homework will not be arduous! I’m looking for engagement with the content, thoughtfulness as to how you will apply it and something added by you at a personal level based on your own knowledge and work with children. If you miss the session you will still get the notes but if homework isn’t done and sessions are missed don’t expect to get the certificate. If there is a problem, illness or whatever then I may agree to let you move onto the next course without paying again.

You can SKYPE me at any time (judy.bartkowiak) to discuss the course content or any problems you are having with your assignment.

Final Presentations. These will be individual 30 minute presentations on one element of NLP with Kids. You can choose what age group you want to focus on for the exercise and/or what issue. You need to be rock solid on the techniques and skills and show that you can pass these on to us as a model.

The course fee is £650 if you pay by installments and £550 if you pay upfront. Please pay direct into my bank account. There are no guarantees that you will pass. It is up to you to do the work.

When you pay the deposit of £150 (or the full amount of £550) I will send you a copy of

Be a happier parent with NLP

NLP Workbook

NLP for Children

NLP for Tweens

NLP for Teens

and invite you to join the student group on Facebook where you can start to network with existing and past students and have access to their final presentations and other material I post for the course. I expect to see you giving and receiving feedback during the course.

If you’d like to sign up for the course please pay the initial £150 or full £550 by BACS (email me for details)

The remaining £500 if you are paying by installments is due in two payments – £250 before Module 4 and £250 before Module 11.

The next course starts on Wednesday November 5th 11am UK time.and I will run another session in the afternoon if there is enough interest.

If you already have an NLP qualification, email me for the details of the other course I run which takes place on a Thursday 10am starting January.

NLP Kids

+ 44 1628 660618

If you are interesting in the course but can’t afford the time at the moment or can’t join either of the sessions because they aren’t convenient let me know and I can set up another time that works for you if I have enough students. Or you could buy the books and read through the material yourself.

August 2013 091


Top 10 tips for raising a confident child

How do you raise a confident child from the author of ‘Teach Yourself: Be a happier parent with NLP’.

Be a happier parent cover

By far the most common problem parents call me about is lack of confidence in their child. From as young a 7 through to teenagers I see children in my clinic who have low self esteem. It soon emerges through our initial conversation that they or their partner, often both, are also shy. Children do tend to reflect our own strengths and weaknesses as well as inheriting our family characteristics in their genes. So how can we overcome this if we ourselves are quite shy? Here are some tips for raising a confident child.

  1. Use a ‘feedback sandwich’. Instead of criticising your child or telling them off use the same technique that is taught in management training. First tell them what you like about what they are doing. Then tell them what would be ‘even better’. Finish on a good note. What you are pleased about overall.

“It’s great that you are helping me with the shopping. What would be even better would be if you could find some of the things on the shopping list. Overall, that’s really kind of you to help me today.”

  1. Focus on what you’d like to see more of rather than what you don’t want. What you focus on is what you get. Notice what’s good and comment on it and avoid mentioning the negative. Children like to be noticed when they do something well so encourage that behaviour.

If your child has been whining during your shopping trip, say nothing and then when they stop or say something without whining smile and say how good it is to have their company shopping today.

  1. When your child says they ‘can’t do’ something instead of questioning that or contradicting them, suggest instead ‘what if you could?’ and find an example in your memory of a time when they did do that thing or something similar to it.

“I can’t do my homework”

“What if you could? You did your homework yesterday and you were really proud of yourself weren’t you?”

  1. Children need to learn how to say ‘no’ and mean it because in the future when they get older they will have to say ‘no’ to drugs, drink and sex when they are tempted by their peers. They learn this from you when they are young. If they only hear you saying ‘yes’ or they can get their own way and get a ‘yes’ from you if they keep nagging, this does not teach them the meaning of ‘no’ or how to say it.

“No, that’s not possible today I’m sorry.”

  1. The word ‘don’t’ is a toxic word and tends to result in your child doing what you’ve just asked him not to do because you’ve inadvertently put the idea into their head. You’ve heard the expression ‘ Don’t think of pink elephants’ haven’t you?

pink elephant

“Now don’t go asking me for sweets”

  1. The map is not the territory. Shopping trips are very boring for children and they might be boring for you as well but at least you have some control over what is bought. Give your child some choices too. Pick an area of the shopping list where they can choose such as yoghurts, cereals, fruit or biscuits. This encourages confidence and makes the trip more involving for them.
  2. Notice when your child shows confidence and point it out to them. Sometimes children decide they are not confident because in one area of their life they lack confidence but this won’t be true of all areas.
  3. The word ‘but’ takes away whatever you said before and can lead to poor self esteem. Use ‘and’ instead.

“You did your homework today really well without being reminded but I wish you’d put your books away afterwards”

“You did your homework today really well without being reminded and I wish you’d put your books away afterwards”

  1. Give your child eye contact when you speak to them. This is respectful and what we want them to do with others. Children gain confidence through being treated respectfully by their parents and teachers.
  2. Encourage them to check in with their own values rather than accepting what others say. Ask ‘and what do you think?’ to encourage them to have confidence in their own opinions.

Judy Bartkowiak is a Family Coach practising in the Home Counties and can be contacted on 01628 660618. She has written a number of NLP books for parents, children and teens. You can buy them from her website



How to handle change

This is the summary of a chapter from ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ published by Hodder Education in the Teach Yourself series. The chapter is called ‘Coping with Change’. You will find explanations of all the techniques in the chapter of course; Logical Levels, anchoring, Meta Programmes , Time Lines and reframing but I think this summary gives you some great tips on how to handle change and how to help your children handle change. 


  • We make a huge change in our environment (Logical Levels) when we even first begin thinking of starting a family. We focus on and pay attention to different things, our priorities and values are revisited and our confidence often takes a nose dive.


  • Some changes are ones we make for ourselves and others are made for us by others and we can feel overwhelmed and out of control and out of our comfort zone. A good strategy for keeping calm is to anchor an ‘in control’ state and use it when you need it.


  • Imagine how children feel though when every change in their very small and intense environment is made without reference to them. You can help them using ‘towards thinking’ and focussing on their desirable outcome, anchoring positive steps through the changes.


  • Present changes to children in their preferred language and meta programme giving them the information that they can easily process and reassurances they need.


  • Deal with questions posed in the ‘adult mode’ from children by responding in ‘adult’.


  • We use ‘time lines’ a lot when working through change because it enables us to travel through time in our imagination and associate into each point on the line to adjust to change on a personal level and regain some control.


  • Another useful NLP technique is reframing which allows us to literally look at a change in a different light, a positive one where you and your children can appreciate that every change offers something positive.

If you’d like a signed copy of ‘Be a happier parent’ please use this link .

If you’d like to find out more about training in NLP as a parent or teacher, please complete this form and I’ll send you the information sheet with what we cover, cost and timing.

First day of school

Confidence for kids2

Do you have a child starting school for the first time this week? How are you feeling about it? Do you have a mixture of nerves and excitement? Then that’s probably how your child feels too? Or are you anxious and worried, then again that’s how your child will be. Why? Because they mirror us at this age. If you are worried about how they’ll be then they will pick that up.

I ran a Montessori Nursery School from my home for 7 years and we had capacity for 24 children at any time so as some children did half days and others 3 days we actually had many more than 24 on the register at any one time. Therefore I regularly experienced this ‘first day’ situation and at a younger age of course than those of you whose children are starting Primary School although the age has been reduced of course down to four years old. At the time I ran the Nursery School they started at 5.

So what top tips can I give you?

  1. BE POSITIVE – If you feel positive then so will they. This day without them for the first time is an opportunity for you as well. You can do something you don’t normally have time to do perhaps and this is going to be exciting for you too. I’ve heard lots of Mums joke that they don’t know what to do with themselves and that they will worry all day but this puts a huge pressure on your child if they think this will happen. They need to know that you can enjoy the day without them as you want them to enjoy it without you.
  2. IT WILL BE FUN – Put yourself into their shoes. Think about the school, the facilities, the staff you’ve met, children you know who are going there, what do you think your child will enjoy? Perhaps there is a home corner, great collection of Lego, computers, art and craft. Focus on the things they will like and how you will look forward to hearing all about it.
  3. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – Prepare them in advance for potential awkward moments like asking to go to the toilet. Get them to practice at a friend’s house or local café. They may be worried about using the handle or lock on the door so help them by showing them how to do it themselves. They can also practice doing up their shoes and coat, taking them off and doing up buttons on trousers and skirts.
  4. VISUALISE – Your child will feel overwhelmed and anxious at some point on their first day and their teacher will expect this and have planned fun activities to distract them from and introduce them to the other children in their class. You can also help them by teaching them to visualise. Show them how by looking up and to the right they can imagine seeing you at the end of the day and telling you all about what they’ve done, show you their picture or where they sit, who they’ve played with. You can do the same to visualise how happy you will be to see your child at the end of the day and tell them what you’ve done.
  5. MAKING FRIENDS – Your child will make friends, of that there is no doubt. Their friends will change every day as well! Be prepared for new best friends and learn their names so you can invite them home to play, possibly not the first week as they will be quite tired but gradually start some play dates to enable them to build friendships. You can help them make friends by making new friends yourself. The other mums at the school gates will be around for many years so show your child how to make new friends by saying hello to a different one every day and building up your own network. You already have lots in common.

Judy Bartkowiak is the author of ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ and a number of other NLP titles. She is an NLP Trainer and Parent and Child coach in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Her Ebook ‘Confidence for Kids‘ talks you through how you can use NLP techniques to boosts your child’s confidence.

Details at

Parents use ‘clean language’ please!

‘Clean Language’ in NLP (neuro linguistic programming) is when we don’t add our own ‘stuff’ , make assumptions about what they mean and allow them to explore their thinking for themselves rather than us making ‘helpful suggestions’ about what they mean or what they should do next,or think even. We love them and we think we know them so we believe we are in a position to understand what they are trying to say. However, they are changing and growing every day and sometimes we lose track of the fact that the ideas they had yesterday have changed slightly.

Let me tell you a story about how I used clean language with my daughter many years ago now. She was between Year 6 and Year 7, so heading off to Secondary School at the end of the summer holidays. I knew she loved the school she had chosen but no-one else from her year was going to be there. Every face would be new. The school was also not in our local area so she wouldn’t even be likely to know any local children either. She was a little quiet that summer and I wondered how she was feeling about the move. Now had I asked her the direct question, “How do you feel about going to St Bernard’s?” here are some of the answers I could reasonably have predicted:



“Why do you want to know?”

“What do you mean?”


Children don’t tend to respond well to these ‘how do you feel’ questions and in my experience nor do men! These are strictly questions for we women because in general we enjoy talking about our feelings. However, it’s safe to say that children don’t, which makes my job as a Kids Coach very interesting. So instead I asked her

“When you think about going to your new school what sort of animal are you?”

Children relate really well to animal metaphors and by projecting their feelings onto something else they can distance themselves and become more aware of them.

“A tiger.” she said.


Well that’s good I immediately thought. She’s obviously feeling very confident about the move so it must be something else that’s on her mind. But clean questions means that we don’t work with our images and associations we work with theirs. So I needed to know more. I asked

“And what kind of a tiger is that?”

“A baby tiger.” she said

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Ah , so maybe not so big and strong….

“And what is there about the baby tiger?” I asked.

“She’s at the edge of the great big jungle and she’s feeling a bit scared. She knows it is very exciting in there and she knows it will be a big adventure but she’s just a bit scared to take the first step.”

So now I knew much more about how she was feeling.

“Tell me more about the baby tiger.” I ventured.

“She needs a hug from mummy Tiger.” She said and we did.

I use metaphors a lot with child clients. In fact the other day one of my Skype clients, a boy age 12yrs was lacking confidence. He said he felt like a tortoise. I thought that sounded quite promising, thinking ‘hard shell, could be useful in the school playground’. But in fact he went on to tell me that other children walked all over him, treading on his shell. But he could tuck his head inside and escape into himself. I asked him what animal he would like to be at school.

A Brontosaurus , he replied.



“And what kind of a brontosaurus is that?”

“He is tall and can see around. Everyone respects him and wouldn’t want to mess with him but he’s harmless, he only looks big and strong. He eats plants and he’s quite gentle really. ”

When a child has a metaphor like this for his desired state we can anchor it using a gesture such as squeezing your ear lobe and associating into the visualization so that when he needs to feel strong like a Brontosaurus at school he can just squeeze his earlobe to get that confident state.

If you have a child making a major change in their life or with something important coming up that they are worried about, use this technique. Here are the main question structures

1. Just reflect the last word back to them with a questioning tone e.g. “a tiger?”

2. “And what kind of a ………… that?”

3. “And that …………that’s like what?”

4. “And that ……….where is that?”

5. “And what is there about the ………….?”

6. “In what way is …………………..?”

7. “How do you do that?”

8. “Tell me more about the ………………?”

If you’d like to know more then my book ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ would be a good read. If you think they’d enjoy going through an NLP workbook for themselves this summer holiday then NLP for Children is for children aged 5-10yrs, NLP for Tweens is for 10-14yrs and NLP for Teens is for 15-21yrs. You can buy all my books or book an NLP consultation in person or on Skype here  or of course on Amazon and my website  will give you a lot more information about NLP Kids.

Back to work with confidence

Are you thinking of going back to work once your child goes back to school in September? Maybe you’re thinking of starting your own business? Or are you due to return to your old job after Maternity Leave? Whatever the situation, you’ll need to think through not only the practicalities of this change but also the emotional aspects. How will you prepare yourself emotionally? How do you know whether your choice will be the right one?

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I’m not sure we would identify with the image above but if you’re thinking about returning to work or setting up your own business and you have a child at home, you will feel happier about it if you’re doing something you enjoy.

I can coach you through the stages ahead via my ‘nlp4mums back to work’ coaching programme which is done via Skype at a time to suit you. It starts with a one day workshop which will be held on September 13th from 10am – 4pm in my home in Burnham, Bucks and the day will be organised like this.

Morning Session – Goal Setting

– What is your compelling vision – what drives you?

– Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

Lunchtime session delivered by HR professional

Afternoon Session – Confidence tips and tricks

– Confidence tips

– Interview/networking skills

– Giving and receiving feedback

Then we will meet every week on Skype to discuss progress and tweak what needs rethinking.

You can sign up for the September Workshop for £100 for the day and then decide whether you want weekly or monthly ongoing coaching or just individual sessions whenever you need them or you can opt for email coaching. The ongoing sessions/emails will be costed individually depending on your needs.

I have a background in agency and corporate and have set up several businesses myself as well as being an experienced NLP Business Practitioner and Master Practitioner, Trainer and Coach. I am the author of NLP for Back to Work and the Self-Esteem Workbook. Both are great workbooks with plenty of practical exercises you can work through yourself.

Self Esteem cover high resBack to work web


If you’d like to have a chat about this course, please contact me via this form


How to give effective feedback

As parents or teachers, carers of children, you have a very important role to play in giving them feedback. Feedback is a gift of love that shows you care about them and have an investment in their personal development. Can there be anything worse than being ignored? Children need to know that you’re paying attention to them and they want to know where they need to make changes because that’s your job as a parent, to guide them so they can achieve all they can in life.

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The giving and receiving of feedback is how we learn. At its simplest level a stand-up comedian will adapt his programme constantly to suit his audience with more of what they are clapping and cheering and less of what gets no reaction. We need to be a bit like the stand-up comedian and notice where we get a connection with our children when they do what we asked and being resourceful. When they are not we need to use feedback to get them back on track. We need to constantly be open and curious to what is working and getting a result, the result we want anyway! We are getting feedback from them and giving them feedback, it is a constant flow of energy and learning.

Many people feel that they learn more from their mistakes than from successes. In fact, apparently pupils who struggled with maths at school become excellent maths teachers because they understand how to get it wrong. As parents we can be inclined to jump in and do things for our children, take responsibility for organising them and their free time, even decide when and where homework should be done. Allowing children to take responsibility from an early age means that they will make mistakes and our job is to allow them to do that and let them get the learning so that the next time they do it, they do it better. Encourage them to be curious because that is how children learn, by wanting to know more and to understand rather than being told.

Feedback is how they learn whether that is feedback in terms of a bad mark at school or school report, losing a tennis match or football game, losing a friend, missing the miss, getting a detention for homework not completed correctly; these are all feedback from which they will learn how to improve and get a better result. When these sort of things happen to children let them get the feedback rather than believing that unless you tell them they won’t know.

When we aren’t introduced to feedback as learning we can find ourselves taking it as criticism and becoming defensive or we feel a failure and lose self-esteem. You can show your children how to respond to feedback by how you demonstrate it yourself. The best way to show them how to respond is to pause, be curious about the learning and thank the giver of the feedback.

Encourage children to give themselves feedback. We all, even children, have a nagging little inner voice that gets cross and tells us off but it needs to learn how to give feedback in a way that we can learn from it, not feel permanently stupid and lose confidence.

Here’s how to do it:

a)      What specifically went well today? (3 things)

b)      What could have been better? (1 thing)

c)       How could I do that better next time?

d)      Overall, what lessons have I learnt?

You can teach this to pre-school children upwards. Encourage them to ‘read’ feedback non verbally so ask them how they know something went well. What were the signs? Were they noticing what people said or how they looked or what they did?

We have a tendency to have a preference whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic so if your child generally tends to notice people’s visual response to them, encourage them to also listen to what is said and what I done so that you can open their minds up to all three types of feedback.

Can you give yourself feedback?

Give feedback to your children with love and focus on how they can learn from it and become the excellent human being you want them to be. Show them how to respond to feedback by demonstrating it and by being flexible about your choices of how to give and receive it because sometimes feedback not given in a resourceful way can be demeaning and hurtful.

Abridged from ‘Secrets of the NLP Masters’ to be published August 2014 and available on pre-order through Amazon. If you have a parenting issue I can help you with, get in touch. 

Happier calmer parenting


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