Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NLP Training For Parents - How to Communicate Effectively to Ward Off Toddler Tantrums

I recently read this article from Charlie Stratton on how to communicate effectively to ward off toddler tantrums and thought you may find it valuable.

If you're the parent of a toddler, you've faced the challenges: getting the kids to do what YOU want, on YOUR schedule can be..."challenging" to put it lightly. First, a few words about what NLP is. NLP is the abbreviation for "Nuero-Linguistic Programming," invented by Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder and first widely promoted in the 1970's. Though the naming is a bit unfortunate - it sounds a bit like brain programming or manipulation, against the subject's will - in fact it is useful to consider NLP as "New Language Practices," which will allow you to communicate better with anyone: your spouse, your students, your colleagues, or in this case, your own children.

When faced with a toddler tantrum, most of us, including me, have "bought in" to our child's emotional play, and as voices and tensions get louder and higher, sometimes it's hard to know whether the child or the parent is having the bigger tantrum. Here's a simple example of how Nuero-Linguistic Programming (or New Language Practice, as I call it) can shift the communication between a parent and toddler:

Just Don't say "No."

A UCLA survey from a few years ago reported that the average one-year-old child hears the word, "No!", more than 400 times a day! "NO!" is not necessarily a "bad" word, and it can be used in emergencies or to avoid dangerous situations. "NO!" will stop a toddler jamming a fork in the electric outlet...the first time.

The problem is that our brains, even our kids' brains, get too accustomed to the word "no," and we tend to just filter it out. You say, "NO playing with food!" and your child's mind hears, "Playing with Food!" I say "DON'T think of a pink elephant," and your brain has to picture a pink pachyderm before it knows what "NOT" to do.

The NLP (New Language Practice) way around the "NO" problem is simply one of phrasing. Instead of telling your toddler the behaviour you DON'T want, phrase your directions so that you use language that tells the behaviour you want to see. "Don't play with your food," becomes, "Let's see how nicely we can use our fork and knife." "Don't fight with your sister," becomes, "Please play together nicely." See how two seconds of forethought to change the language can change your child's response? Give it a try for a week. I'm sure you'll be surprised by the results.

After you see how well this one "technique" works with your toddler, you're bound to want more. offers over 3 hours of simple, direct techniques to use with your toddler to help make sure both of you are "speaking the same language."

Charlie Stratton is a counselor for truant children in Niigata, Japan, where he also directs an alternative school for young people. After work, Charlie enjoys the challenges of raising his own two toddlers, ages 3 and 5, with his wife Emiko.

NLP Life Coaching Australia

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