Parenting has been going on since the beginning of humanity, but many parents still feel they must reinvent the wheel over and over again and count on some mysterious instincts they are supposed to have. Parenting is at first a physical challenge, then slowly; it morphs into a mental challenge. However it is highly desirable that parents do use child-centred, non-directive play, as a part of their parenting activities. This requires special Parenting Skills.
For many people, parenting their kids is one of the most fulfilling feelings in their life. Parenting skill is all about knowing your parenting personality. This is important as it helps you discover how your personality motivates the way you behave as a parent and how your child’s personality interacts with your own. As times have changed – parenting has become more refined and several parenting skills and techniques are available to make the process simpler and less stressful. Below is one of the most effective and contemporary parenting skill; that can give you complete parenting satisfaction.
Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP was begun by Dr John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the mid 1970’s and Neuro-Linguistic Parenting (NL Parenting) is a parenting skill that takes the essence of NLP and applies it to parenting circumstances. First let us understand what is NPL? NLP is the study of how people know what they think they know and how they do what they do (as opposed to ‘why’ they do what they do). NLP processes can be used to explore beliefs. NLP explores the relationships between the way we think (Neuro), the way we communicate (Linguistic) and our patterns of behaviour (Programming). Our minds, bodies, emotions, beliefs, knowledge and memories are all present and active simultaneously. NEURO is our “Nervous System” through which experience is received and processed via the five senses. LINGUISTIC is our language and nonverbal communication systems through which neural representations are coded, ordered, and given meaning. PROGRAMMING is the pattern of manifestation of our neural codes and communication.
NL Parenting is the parenting skill with a main goal of dissemination of the necessary processes and information to assist parents in achieving personal congruence. It is all about generating options from which we can choose, so it is the finest system we have for learning how to relate to children in creative and congruent ways. NLP in Parenting helps foster better communication between parent and child.
NL Parenting works quicker with children and adolescents simply because their nervous system is still in the process of integrating those inner messages so they can be helped to delete and replace them quicker. From an NL Parenting perspective the roles of a parent are; to manipulate contexts so that children can learn or play in relative safety and to model or demonstrate exceptional behaviour and congruence. NL Parenting is the parenting skill which provides parents with a framework that helps their children to get along with others and in the process make parenting an enjoyable experience.
We are often taken aback with the way our kids change their behaviour when moving from one stage of their life to another or even within their individual life stages. Our 11 year old child who was dependent on us for all decisions suddenly becomes independent by the time they cross 13. Our infant who was howling a few minutes ago is smiling and giggling away now. Children are experts at changing states. The first step to developing NL Parenting Skill is to understand the state of our child. It is like putting yourself in the shoes of your child and understanding how they think, their needs, what is driving their behaviour (good or bad) and what are their frustrations.
This parenting skill can be achieved by anchoring – which means associating their current state with their beliefs and surrounding. So if your 3 year old knows that by creating a tantrum they will get what they want, you need to understand that creating a tantrum to have their way is the belief that your child has developed. If you put yourself in their shoes, you will be able to point to various instances where they have got a better of you just because you gave into their tantrum. These instances were the key to development and reinforcement of their beliefs. It is very important to remember that even though you feel that creating a tantrum in this instance is bad behaviour – your child definitely sees it as giving them benefits. Hence there is an incongruence of your beliefs versus your child’s.
Knowing their belief and understanding the physical stimulus for the same is the second step to acquiring NL Parenting skill. However, anchoring is not the end of the process. By anchoring you will now be able to identify the beliefs and the physical stimulus that you want to change. So the goal of the first two steps is not to leave the state unchanged, but to find a way to change it that preserves some elements of its benefits. So if your child has created a tantrum to have a chocolate, you can try and negotiate with them to complete their dinner first and then allow them to have a chocolate – such that you get some benefits out of the situation.
The final step of NL Parenting skill is the process of achieving permanent transformation in your child. Here coaching skills play a very vital role. Coaching comes in when a situation arises that displays a gap between, what the environment is asking and what skills the child may lack. Coaching skills give parents the tools to build on their relationship with their child and to create opportunities for courageous conversations. Acquiring the right coaching skills is important as it helps parents to identify their governing values and standards, which establishes the basis of their parenting decisions. It helps to transform your awareness about your child’s behaviour, it energizes your child’s successes, that promote desired behaviour and it identifies & creates qualities that would not have otherwise existed. So in the above example, through coaching parents can create a complete different external stimulus for the child – like say need for healthy teeth – and steer them away from demanding chocolates and creating tantrum for them all the time.
Finally NL Parenting skill doesn’t prescribe any single parenting ideology, but identifies models of parenting excellence and skills and tactics that progress us to more gentle and respectful parenting. It helps you to recognise your parenting strengths, weaknesses and beliefs and allows you to become a true guide and mentor to your child.