“What’s it like being a parent?”
Whenever I start a discussion with parents with this, I have not; not once, received a reply which shows the joyous enthusiasm of being a parent yet… It’s not that these parents don’t appreciate or love their kids but lets face it, Between satisfying EVERY aspect of raising children and maintaining that delicate relationship with them, it isn’t easy to always ensure they understand you and that you also understand them. But you’re a parent and you want to do your best to raise your child as well as you can.
Well, you may be relieved to know that the reason your child isn’t listening isn’t necessarily always THEIR problem. It’s possibly, and often likely, yours. Which is GREAT news! Because there’s something you can do to influence the results and pick up powerful skills in the process!!
Now if you think about it, parenting is something everyone does without any formal education – Absolutely no qualifications what so ever…None. Yet opening a nursery requires that all staff at least have a diploma or experience. Even teachers must have a degree in education, right?
Now think of the opposite idea for a moment. Imagine if everyone who intends of being a parent must go through the obstacle course of academics and government regulations and parenting bodies to structure courses, trainers, and materials for ‘how to parent’!! It seems ridiculous because it presumes a number of things:
Could you even imagine the sheer number of academic journals studying every moment of every child, let alone read them? It would be funny to see how people would try to box, structure, and teach something as chaotically uncertain as another quantifying human personality and behaviour like a mathematical matrix. And yes, I say this despite being Asian and growing up in Asia.
“To equip your child of 5 years and 11 months with the understanding that vegetables are good for them, press and hold the Control and Shift buttons while tapping the JU-467 button 7 times as shown in the diagram on page 334,878 of Volume 237N5, while using the B433 hand motion as shown on page 9639 of Volume 22. Remember to keep the angle perpendicular to the Z-axis in relation to the child. Be alert to execute auditory harmonics pattern Alpha J-28B-ii, if the child does not complete the necessary eye contact of 3.2866 seconds.”
Aahhh…If only it were THAT easy…
Nothing; No one course or academic qualification you’ve ever earned in life has, or ever will adequately prepare you for guaranteeing the best outcome of another human being’s life. Yet, there are a number of observable patterns that humanity would be foolish to take advantage of. The most obvious of the patterns being communication.
While communication skills are not the only answer, it does play a very large contribution to the success of most parenting methods. It’s also safe to say, no institution every taught you how to communicate effectively. And by communicate, I mean speaking AND listening. You might wonder why that has to be mentioned.
We learn language and communication through experience and then putting words to those experiences. That means we really just form our own meanings around our experiences and stick whatever words we choose to label it. In time, everyone accumulates their own unique set of experiences and meaning. In NLP, we refer to this as our individual ‘map of the world’. For example, it’s why despite knowing about colour theory, photoshop and image compression, you’ll still find people arguing whether the famous dress meme is blue or white. It may seem clear to us but what we think we perceive may not be 100% exactly what others perceive. Understanding that means our communication skills and effort to be understood doesn’t end at simply asking, “Do you understand?”
NLP works by bringing the patterns of communication back into our conscious mind so that we can identify how our ‘maps’ may differ. Moreover, knowing the difference and similarities may help us enrich each other’s maps. In this case, your child’s map.
Now, if you are a parent who is in any way concerned about keeping a good relationship or getting through to your child, then you need to be aware exactly how and what you’re communicating. That means listening, to not just the words they speak but the ones you’re using, including the tonality, and vocal quality. It goes even to the way you behave and reinforce any communication.
So if you’re disappointed that successful parenting methods aren’t just genetically ‘triggered’ by the birth of your child, or that communication skills takes effort than you thought it would, then allow me to shatter your fantasy once more – Running away and living as a hermit doesn’t work either!
Parenting, like communication skills are a worthy adventure to go on; With its own unique set of challenges and rewards. However, encountering difficulty is part of that adventure. And once you realize how much more flexibility you have as a parent once you have the communication skills, you’ll gain deeper insight into the choices you make in raising your children. In doing so, you affectively change the way you communicate and increase the chances of your child communicating with you! After all, which one do you think helps you become a better parent – Talking WITH your children or talking TO them? Remember, parenting isn’t a dichotomy that only has one exclusive answer, but I’ll leave that up to you.
For other useful tips and other life changing ideas, please read our other blogs and learn the #AuthenticNLP™ with NaviGo NLP Center.