Be a happier parent with NLP – a review
I was sent the book, to take part in a blog tour, about using NLP ‘The secret to calm and confident parenting’.
What is NLP? That was my first question. Yes, I did sign up to review a book on a subject that I know nothing about, but I enjoy reading and anything that helps with this parenting lark is good to me!
NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Pages 10 and 11 of the book are a great ‘Only got a minute?’ section which explains the theory in a nutshell, from looking at how we communicate, manage change and deal with conflict etc, the background to NLP (it was developed from Satir’s Family Therapy and continues to develop alongside Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Transactional Analysis.)
Now don’t worry, you don’t need to have even heard about any of the above to understand the book. It explains everything and guides you through gently.
The book goes on to explain that NLP is geared towards Mothers. Daddy’s, don’t despair, you’ve not been left out for any reason other than NLP is ‘particularly effective in changing the negative emotions that women experience more than men, namely, lack of confidence, guilt and fear of conflict.’ Yes this is a generalisation but I think all of us feel one or more of these emotions at times and ‘Mummy guilt’ is a law unto itself.
Chapter 1 explains that NLP is often applied in the world of business to develop rapport building and leadership skills, negotiating and conflict management but aren’t these the skills we need as parents? I often think that if I were to write my Mummy CV, negotiation, dealing with conflict, and managing change would be up at the top!
The ground rules are explained, one of which I really like – ‘Look for the good intention’. It’s something I’ve really latched onto when my little darling is pushing my buttons. Whether he is behaving as I would like or not, he is looking for my attention for a reason. Look for the good intention! It’s not always easy to see but it helps me keep my temper in check!
Modelling is a key part of NLP. Not on the catwalk, but looking at and basing the way you act on the behaviour of someone you admire. For me, it is a friend with a son the same age. Her son is calmer than mine but there are moments when his behaviour has been really challenging. No matter what the noise level or how loud the screaming is, she remains calm when dealing with her little boy. Me? I try but I seem to always find myself shouting. In return, my little man has begun to shout back.
Immediately, I’m using the NLP theory – I’m trying to model my behaviour on my friend, in turn, to show my son an example to follow.
Now the next thing that you will learn is something I am not good at. Unfortunately, joining in with the book and physically practising techniques, is an important if not vital part of the book. I also found that some of the activities to do with your child were possibly more suitable for older children, my son, at 3 could do some of the exercises such as expressing the qualities he admires in a role model, but his role model at this moment was Fireman Sam and he admired the fact he can drive the fire engine ‘really, really fast!!
Chapter 2 is about our Identity and how our parenting beliefs can come from our culture, parents, beliefs and values. This chapter helps us to let go of beliefs that are holding us back. If we perceive that a ‘good’ mother doesn’t work and stays at home, what if you have to work or enjoy working? How can you be a good mother if you hold on to that belief….?
Again, there are more exercises such as writing your own obituary. I am just no good at doing this type of thing! The book says that it is essential that you do these exercises in order to get the most from the theory but I don’t think you should shy away from the book if that isn’t you. You may find that there are some exercises that prompt you to give it a go and if not, you may not get the full experience but you will still learn or reaffirm skills that will help on your parenting journey.
The book explains about setting goals and also helps you to understand what type of learner both you and your children are. This is really useful in all aspects of life and will help you in all sorts of ways, including helping your child with homework. If you find out from this book that your child is a more visual learner, hearing learner or feeling learner (Visual, Auditory and kinesthetic), the book then explains in later chapters, how to tailor your help to their individual learning style.
Chapter 3 then takes this knowledge of style of learning and then uses this with regards to communication, support and dealing with change. Developing rapport and matching is a great section that will be really useful when dealing with a toddler:
*mirror body language
*match volume tone and pace of language (except shouting and swearing!
*reflect their own words back ‘I understand that you are really cross with Mummy because..’
*explain how you feel
*discuss the desired outcome.
Chapter 4 was a really important chapter for me. Time management. The key points being ‘how to value yourself and your time’, ‘how to find me time in the hurly burly of family life’, ‘when and how to say no’ and ‘prioritising and delegating’.
Part 2 of the book begins with Chapter 5, Lack of confidence.
You may feel that you are confident and that this chapter will not be useful, however, it will help us learn how to pass this on to our children. How to face criticism, embarrassment, how to support homework with excellent tips and examples of how to help your child based on their style of learning that you identified in chapter 2.
Chapter 6 focusses on Guilt.
‘Why we feel it, how to banish guilt from your personal life and how to banish it from your parenting’.
This chapter includes some of the most common worries that we have as parents:
Not enough time with our children
Our children not eating well
Coping with fear and anxiety.
Chapter 7 is entitled ‘Coping with change’
Going back or not going to work after having a child
Becoming a stay at home Dad
Having a second child
Divorce / separation / illness and death
Death of a pet
This chapter is a really useful hands on chapter. It is good to read it whether you are facing any of these changes or not but also, if you find that you are facing one of these situations, the book gives you hands on tips of how to help your child at a time when we don’t always have the answers or personal experience to draw upon.
Chapter 8 is ‘Coping with conflict’. It aims to help us cope with our own internal conflict, how to understand anger and jealousy, how to get your child to do what they’re told (Woohoo!!!) strategies for dealing with bullying and sibling rivalry and finally, how to pass these skills on to our children.
I have to admit that I skim read straight to Disobedience or how to get your child to do what they are told! It didn’t really teach me anything new. Not because I’m a know it all but because I have studied child development, been a nanny for 15 years and taught childcare and development. However. Even though I know the right way to speak and behave to get the desired outcome for my son, it doesn’t mean that I always do the right thing. I found this section really useful and I have re-read and re-read it and am remembering to put these skills into action.
The final chapter, 9, is Teenagers. This is something I worry about. The chapter thankfully covers modern challenges such as being safe online and with a mobile phone, being streetwise, sex and communication.
So I’ve explained the book in as best a way as I can. What do I actually think of it?
At first, I thought it was great. Then, I noticed all the exercises to do that involve physical movement, visualisation and reflection. I don’t know if it’s inhibition but I struggle to commit to things like this. I have tried CBT in the past and was encouraged to repeat a motivational phrase or compliment to myself in the mirror. I couldn’t do it! I felt not only silly but it did nothing for me. I need to take my time to get my head around things and I end saying words with no commitment and therefore I don’t hear them.
This is my issue though. Because of this, I thought the book was going to be hard work for me and that I’d feel uncomfortable and not get anything from it.
Thankfully, I was wrong. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book and to enjoy it but I found the advice and techniques useful and will reference it often. I found that it offered insight to situations that I find myself in with my son and where I can make positive change.
This book will be close to hand at all times. I feel as though I have learnt and affirmed some great skills and feel more confident as my little man approaches school, stronger social relationships, homework and growing up.
I would recommend this book to anyone that has an open mind and would like to become a happier and calmer parent. This book not only gives us help as parents but gives us tools for al aspects of life.
About the author:
Judy Bartkowiak is the author of ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ a guide to using life coaching skills to enhance your parenting. Judy and her husband Edward have four children – Lucy, Alex, Jess and Paul and live in rural Berkshire with their dogs Roxy and Holly and nine hens.
Judy comes from a business background where she worked with Toy companies and TV production companies helping them to understand children and their relationship with brands such as LEGO, Baby Born, Bratz, Thomas the Tank Engine, Pocoyo, Fireman Sam and many other well-known names. She runs Kids Brands Europe alongside her NLP training and coaching www.kidsresearch.co.uk and has a Facebook Kids Panel for Market Research which is done online or from her home.
She has an NLP training and coaching practice NLP Kids www.nlpfamily.com, specialising in child and parenting issues and runs Kids Brands Europe (www.kidsresearch.co.uk) as well as writing for children as JudyBee.
*Disclosure. I was sent this book for the purpose of a review. As ever, all thoughts and opinions are truthful and my own.