This is a subject I often get asked to talk about; naughty children.
I am not sure I am entirely happy with the term ‘naughty children,’ it rather sounds to me as if something is being done deliberately by the child to cause an adverse reaction in the person/parent or situation, but more often than not, it is more a simple way of getting through an uneasy situation.
NLP looks at behaviours from another angle. We are all a system of behaviours from when we get up in the morning to when we go to bed at night. Each mannerism, word, act, smile and interaction is an intricate sequence of behaviours. If you think of our nervous system as a circuit board not that dissimilar to one in a laptop, then all NLP teaches us to do it home in on the behaviour and change it to a newer, more efficient and updated programme.
Children are more often than not, the people in our society who are more likely to act up every now and again (although I know some adults who are very good at this too!) And there is a specific reason why it is children more than any other demographic in society; a lack of life experiences and well, programming is to blame. And the reason why adults can behave badly in society is the same lack of programming, although this is usually a an unresolved issue in the life stage transition that needs to be rectified.
In NLP, there is no such thing as a bad behaviour. What someone might do is something that their mind sees as a good or positive intention. The mind, as far as I know, is useless at being bad. What happens is that a good intention either consciously or subconsciously has forced the person to do or be something that’s not acceptable. The behaviour has a good intention and as far as the mind of the child is concerned, that’s all that’s important.
Ok, I guess I was there with you right now, I would be able to see you frowning. I shall put it another way; a child might have learned that to get what they want (and this is only ever at least one of the six human needs that Tony R0bbins talks about; certainty, uncertainty, acceptance, connection, worth, contribution) by behaving a certain way. If the behaviour is subconsciously then the subconscious mind cannot determine what is right or wrong. It does what it does for its own reason. It doesn’t know how to accept or reject lessons, especially when it comes to good/bad behaviour. The child reacts with a behaviour system it thinks will get it what it wants. The adult interprets the behaviour as bad as the adult’s conscious mind knows that they is not acceptable behaviour. The adult scolds the child and the child cries. As far as the child is concerned, it hasn’t done anything wrong and therefore doesn’t understand the telling off.
Ok, so what do you do if you’re the parent?
First of all, think back to when this behaviour started or at least back to a time when you recognised this behaviour happening. What is the child asking for? What is the need? Now, bearing in mind, this might not be exactly what you think it is. NLP teaches us to go beyond the behaviour. As many successful NLP practitioners will tell you, their client’s problems are never the problems they think they have. It’s always a cover up for another issue that needs resolving. if the child wants an ice cream and you would prefer it not to, is the child associating the ice cream with comfort? Is there another needs that needs addressing?
As human beings we are very good at covering up stuff. We can layer on thickly all sorts of diversions right from a very young age which deflects what we really want in life. Sadly, it is these layers that stop us from fulfilling our true potential. Dig deep down beyond what you think is the problem and you find the root of the issue.
Bringing your child into the world and nurturing he or she as they grow and develop is all about teaching them positive behaviours, good communication skills and so on. It is a tought enough battle for any parent. Add a learning disability on top of that such as ADHD, Autism and so on, and the challenge becomes greater. With my son, who is now 15 and has autism, programming good behaviours in has been very challenging. With Autism, there is a social element as well as a communication one that needs to be addressed before any developing can really start. Communication is 90% of our lives, either to ourselves or to other people. With children on the ASD spectrum, their sense of identity is very different to the rest of the world. Coping with how they see themselves is very much half the battle, so something like NLP which doesn’t judge, segregate or categorise people in any way shape or form can be the key to unlocking the potential that lies within everyone.
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