How one mum told me that parenting can be so much easier with NLP, by Matt Wingett.
Editor, NLP Life
A mother spoke with me a few days ago, and told me her approach for boosting the confidence of her son.
The mum had been to see me herself with motivation and confidence issues, and we had spent some time boosting her positive feelings about herself, and giving her more choices as to how to react to setbacks.
Now her son was feeling the same. The very "habits of mind" that I had shown her, she now used on him.
His problem was that having been in the school choir for several years, he was suddenly having a crisis of confidence.
Rather than go into exploring "why" he was having a confidence wobble, which she would have done in the past, she said to me:
"I decided that the best thing was to start planting seeds in his mind as to how good he really was," she said. "I did this over time, just bolstering his positive feelings about himself. Then I decided to talk with him about the singing."
She explained to me that he had sung to the Lord Mayor as part of a group the year before, and he had really enjoyed it. She took him back to that memory, getting him to remember all those positive feelings, describing the day, and where the Lord Mayor had been sitting. She reminded him how the audience had clapped, and what a big smile he had on his face. And she also reminded him how he impressed the Lord Mayor had been. And she gave him a big hug when she did it.
Then he came up with a new objection. "But I don't know if I want to carry on with the choir, anyway."
She didn't say it, but suspected that this was part of the same issue - that he wasn't feeling a hundred percent about himself, and so she didn't let him off the hook.
She replied that he had done all the practise, and there was only a month to go before the end of term. So if he wanted to leave the choir, he should wait till next term. Once he had got this one out of the way.
Then he said that he didn't like singing one of the songs with the choir. He thought the Abba one was rubbish.
Well, for mum, it was time for a bit of compromise. "You can mime to that one, if you don't like it. Just for now! But because you've mimed to that one, I know you'll be sure to really go for it with the others. After all, one of the other songs you'll sing is mummy's favourite song, and I am going to love hearing you sing it."
He smiled at that.
"But," he said, "I'm worried about the size of the audience. There will be all these people watching."
"So, you only think about me and Hannah in the audience." (Hannah is his sister.) "You blank the rest of them out. You make them all tiny in your mind, and just see mummy and Hannah, smiling at you. And who's important? Your family, or them?"
And then she gave him anothe big hug, just like the one she gave him when she got him thinking about how much he'd enjoyed himself before.
Finding positive resources, using presuppositions, reducing the sense of fear, getting him to think about the singing as something he could enjoy, building on his sense of excitement, innoculation, anchoring. These are all new skills that his mum has learned to bring in to her relationship with her son, to bring out the best in him.
But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So how did it go?
His mum smiled proudly. "He did it, and was absolutely brilliant. And you can be sure I let him know it, too!"