As well as being a parent, author Sue Beever is a trainer, coach and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Sue has developed a toolkit of NLP-based methods to help parents better understand how to get the results they want when bringing up their children.
One important lesson this book reinforces for parents is that the way your children behave has much more to do with you, the parent, than it does with their own state of mind. A child who constantly misbehaves is unlikely to respond to lots of negative statements like “don’t do this” and shouting reprimands. I once visited a school that had a policy of not being negative. As a rule, they wouldn’t tell children off for doing bad things but tried to encourage them to do good things. I mentioned this to my parents who sneered that it was a ridiculous idea because, after all, when children are naughty you have to tell them off.
Positive reinforcement is not about avoiding reprimand, however, it’s about trying not to put negative things into your children’s heads. As Sue Beever says in Happy Kids, Happy You, if you keep saying to your children “Don’t write on the walls”, “Don’t run up the stairs” or “Don’t make a mess in your bedroom”, all they hear is everything you say after don’t. You are programming their brain with the words you use.
This is where NLP comes in. A key part of this book is about trying to concentrate on what you say to your children. The instructions you give are what creates the ideas in their heads, hence instead of saying, “Don’t run on the road,” you could say, “Walk on the pavement.”
The book also spends some time considering useful things like taking a deep breath and counting down from 100 before you react. That way, instead of letting your instinctive response follow your mood, you can plan a response that will elicit the reaction you want from your child.
There are lots of examples in the book from both the author and various contributing parents who have applied Sue’s various techniques.
Do you find your children don’t do what you say, no matter how many times you tell them off or punish them? Do you find yourself getting cross by the way they speak to you or the way they ignore you? Do you feel frustrated that you can’t seem to keep your cool with your children or get them to bed calmly at night? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should give this book a read.