Can you be a perfect parent? No, you cann’t…
Can you do your best? Yes, you can…
Given the interest of people to find out some new ways to raise children, I will write various texts on the subject of the application of NLP in parenting, how to understand our children and have a better parent – child relationship.
I often make jokes in the trainings and ask the training participants whether they were children. I get various answers:
• What kind of question is this? Of course!
• We still are.
• No, we were not.
Usually those who have become parents come up with the same answer: “What kind of question is that?” And those who haven’t t become parents yet say: “Well, we still are.”
What happens to us when we become parents and forget that we were children? We forget to have fun. We forget what we did then and what mattered to us and we turn into our parents and pretend to know what is best for our children. And children? They annoy us, they do things out of malice, they question our limits, and they want to control the system.
The intention of children is not to annoy us, they are just children. Remember when you were a child? Was your goal to annoy your parents?
Parents always want the best for their children, and that’s the truth. Everything they do, they do with the best intent to make their child great.
This is exactly the first question I put to the parents. What do you wish for your child?
And I get the answer: happiness and health.
Now let’s take a look at the behavior of these same parents towards these same children. Our behavior supports children: they take classes of English, they go swimming, they learn to ride roller skates, they do martial sports because it would be great to know how to defend themselves in these difficult times, they take part in competitions from mathematics, physics, geography in order to bring medals. But does this contribute to their happiness and health?
Were you children? Did this contribute to your happiness and health or you just wanted to run down the street or ride a bike? And what do you miss today? You ask your children to do all of this now in order to be happy 15 years from now, so as not to turn out “stupid” in front of the people of tomorrow. And who raises the people of tomorrow?
Have you ever heard the statement: “I really don’t understand? We’re the same parents, we raise our children in the same way, and they are completely different. Our first child is so calm and obedient, and our second child is so naughty and mischievous. How is that possible? We raised them in the same way and we all live in the same house!”?
I find this really amusing because I am the father of two sons, who are completely different. Did we raise them in the same way? Honestly, we didn’t. I admit that they were raised in a completely different way.
I admit that I have completely different opinion about each of them and their potentials. I admit that my older son lived a completely different life during the first two years of his life in contrast to the first two years of my younger son’s life. And is it normal that they are different? Yes, it is. Is it normal that we raised them differently? Of course it is. We need to admit to ourselves that we haven’t been the same parents to our first and our second child, and some of us to the third child. At first, we were afraid, tense, and scared because we did not know what was ahead of us.
We want to do everything to provide our child with the maximum comfort. We treat him/her like a God. And when our second child is born, well, they can sleep anywhere, eat at any time and you know, we do not have time only for them. We also have some other things to do. They can fall asleep alone. The first child cannot go to kindergarten before they turn three, because the children at that age are still not ready. The second child can go to kindergarten when they turn a year and a half. Children are different and that is OK. And you are different from your brothers and sisters. Why do we judge ourselves when we know that we did our best with the knowledge we had and the conditions we were in. If we had known better, we would have certainly done better.
The love we give them is actually the best way to raise them. Let them be naughty sometimes, let them be shy. These are natural stages in life. If we accept them as they are, they will build trust and we will get an ally. Relax. It is human to make mistakes.
How can you know if you can do something or not if you do not try? Or if you like something or not? Or if you love something or not?
Lately I have been hearing our sons say that they do not like their lunch, without even trying it. Then I tell them:
“OK, you do not have to eat it and I will understand if you do not like it. What I want you to do is just try it. If you say that you do not like it after trying it, then you will get something else for lunch. “
And so, this scenario repeated several times, but now they do not even comment on the new meal. They try it out, they say they do not like it and we make them something else for lunch.
I think it’s important to talk to children from an early age, to acknowledge if they do not like something, if they are not hungry and they would like to eat later, and that it is completely fine. I know parents whose children have to eat at the time they determine at any cost. This may be easier – you do not have to make a meal for thousand times during the day, but this is how we can have the impact on the right course of growing up.
To be clear, in our family, we have lunch and dinner together, and this is a ritual that keeps the family around. During lunch and dinner, we talk about all kinds of things and make plans for the future. This type of ritual is important; however deviations are allowed. And every day is important, it does not matter whether you are on vacation or something is not like you imagined. Let children be children.
There is another example. Our older son was at my parent’s and we went to pick him up. He played a game in which the goal was to jump on the sofa from the back. My father told him that he could not do that and that he shouldn’t even try since he is still a small boy. The moment I heard that, I got up and approached my son. I explained to him that there is always a way if we want to do something. Sometimes is the right moment to do it, sometimes it is not. What is important is not to give up before we try. He tried and he didn’t succeed. I didn’t like what I heard: “Dad, grandpa is right, I cannot jump on it. “ I didn’t accept that answer, so I asked him to try a couple more times. And you know what? He managed to jump on the sofa from the fifth time.
Never give up before you try and you know that you gave your maximum.
If you do not try, how can you know if you can or cannot do something? If you like something or not? If you love something or not?
When Ivana was a small girl she wanted to be a ballerina. Her mom used to say that she could not make a living out of it, and her dad used to say that ballerines were not pretty smart and educated. They should be happy with dancing only. During her childhood, Ivana often pretended to be a ballerina and she danced around the house. Her parents used to tell her that she was not very talented, that she couldn’t really dance, that she was clumsy and that she didn’t dance to the rhythm. Once it happened that her friends didn’t want her to be a part of a dance group for a school play and Ivana finally realized she was not born for ballet. She thought: „I am clumsy, I cannot dance to the rhythm and I cannot make a good living in it…“
This is just an example of how messages that we get from our parents and people around us turn into our beliefs.
Dr Rima Lajbou gathered very interesting data about children activities when they are 2 to 6 years old. During this period, children’s neurons start making connections and they begin to understand the world around them. These conceptions of the world come through the perception and experience of their parents, grandparents, guardians, and basically all other people they are in contact with.
Children are the mirrors of their parents. Everything parents say or do is accepted as an absolute truth since parents are all they have. And parents are unaware of the fact that their comments are “absorbed” and stored in the unconscious minds of their children, even though all those comments are often only minor objections and jokes, and not “the truth”. Those facts that are “absorbed” remain in their minds for the rest of their lives unless we recognize them and start changing them.
Messages we send to our children can be different.
* Clear message – this message is crystal clear and people understand exactly what it means. When you speak, you are in perfect harmony with yourself. Your verbal communication corresponds to your non-verbal communication.
* Confusing message – this message is not clear and people have difficulty understanding its meaning. In this case, non-verbal communication does not correspond to verbal communication. You send a confusing messge when you are angry and you express criticism, but you have the facial expression that indicates that you are about to burst into laughter at the same time. This happens when children make a mess while they play, and you find it sweet, but at the same time you know that you should be angry. Most often this type of behavior creates critical problems of growing up, as children are not sure if what they have done is a right or wrong thing. There are parents who call their children names like “daddy’s asshole”, or “monkey” (look how sweet he/she is) while smiling. Grandmothers and mothers usually call their children “ugly” in order not to jinx them. Just imagine what kind of effect this has when a child’s unconscious mind, which has no parameters what is right or wrong, receives the information that he/she is a monkey, asshole or ugly from his/her person of authority.
* Contradictory message – this message is the opposite. Someone sends a contradictory message when they tell us one thing and do something completely opposite, so we are unsure about the meaning of the message. For example, you tell your child that you will never buy them anything, because all the toys are broken and they do not collect them before going to bed. After a few days you buy them new toys and you are so happy because you have made your child happy.
Be careful about what you promise to your children, beware of what you talk about in their presence because they “absorb” everything and one day it will just come out of them completely unconsciously. Perhaps some crucial decisions in their lives will be made according to these principles.
This is the new part of the story of parenting, and each time I find a lot of examples from everyday life that I can include in the text. It’s interesting that when we become aware of all of these little things we do, they become funny. It is important to analyse our actions and question the reasons why we do some things.
Some parents tell me that their children do not hear them until they start shouting. Interesting. If we ask ourselves what communication is and how all people communicate, it will be much clearer to us why this happens. Again, everything comes down to sending messages and the way we send those messages. Ask yourself if you are serious only when you shout.
Children memorize our behaviour very well and behave accordingly. There are parents who do not care much and do not react until children exaggerate, and then they shout. This behaviour sends a message that “as long as my parent does not shout, it is not terrible, and I can still do what I do”.
On the other hand, there is a trick. The human brain does not register words like “NO” or “DO NOT” when they are followed by a verb. For example: do not think about how this text will end, or do not read what I write, but think about your stove or iron at home and if you turned them off.
It’s the same with children. If you tell them “do not run”, “do not put your finger in the socket”, “do not climb or roll”, children will do that just because they hear the key words. What is the solution? Change the frame. For example, you can tell them “stop running”, “slow down”, “stop for a moment”. Children hear clear messages and they will do everything you want them to do. The key is to say the exact things that you would like to happen, and not those that you would not like to happen.
Knowing that non-verbal communication has a greater effect than verbal communication, it’s sometimes just enough to pretend that you are about to yell, without actually doing it. You will have exactly the same effect.
Children are a reflection of their parents and very often they express the emotions that their parents cannot.
They are primarily connected to their mothers and feel all their vibrations. If a mother is nervous, or is filled with anger that she suppresses because she finds it inappropriate to show it, the child will certainly show it. They will show it out in the strangest places and in the weirdest ways.
And then people say that it is the child who is furious or rude or noisy. And nobody knows what is happening. And mothers, well, they are under stress. What if a child starts to cry and shout in the middle of a street or supermarket? The child feels something is wrong and makes a scene. A mother who is furious and angry and who would like to spank him in the middle of a shop or street, is trying to be calm, not knowing that whatever she says or does will not make sense, because the child feels her vibration and reacts to the state she is in, not to her words.
What do parents do? Every time they feel a child’s scene is about to follow, they respond to every request their child makes just to keep them calm. Eventually, a child understands that they have benefits from this behavior and begin to make use of this. You can notice that a child behaves reasonably in the presence of one parent, and that the same child shows anger and various types of frustration when they are with the other parent. Is it up to a child or a parent?
Instead of identifying the cause of stress, we hide it by removing the symptom (in this case, the child’s behavior) by bying them a gift, chocolate, ice cream, toys. The point is not to conceal the cause, but to identify what is happening inside of us and to work on it. When we remove something that bothers us, the children will calm down.
Work on yourself, balance your state, learn how to express your emotions. It’s not easy at first, but later when you learn how to do it, it will all be easier for everyone, and above all for you.