Ever wished you had a magic wand that you could wave and that would make your kids suddenly do as they’re told? Most of us have. But now, Alicia Eaton, a leading Harley Street hypnotherapist, has written a book that tells you how to hypnotise your kids with your words…
Honey, I hypnotised the kids….
There’s nothing more exhausting than chasing after children and constantly repeating yourself, is there? Too many parents and teachers, for that matter, struggle to get their requests heard, understood and taken seriously – kids just don’t seem to be able to do as they’re told nowadays.
If this is you, stop for a moment and just imagine a life where you could have much more control over:
- Embarrassing supermarket tantrums
- Sibling fights that drive you mad
- Arguments about mobile phones and screen time
- Fussy eating and bedtime chaos
In other words, here’s how to slip a little ‘hypnotic influence’ into day-to-day conversations. Politicians, TV advertisers and sales people know exactly how to do this – in fact, they’re the kind of people that are ‘persuading’ us to do things all the time, only more often than not, we simply don’t realise it. Here are my top ten hints on how to end the nagging and yelling that wears you out, but gets you nowhere – and dispense with those annoying reward systems and star charts that require effort, cost you money and quickly lose their appeal.
- Say what you do want, not what you don’t want
If you want a child to do something, you need to couch your sentences in positive terms, staying away from any negative words.
Let’s leave the room nice and tidy will produce a different result to saying: Don’t leave your room in a mess!
Do remember to take your PE bag in the morning is better than Don’t forget…(You’ll be magnetically drawn to forgetting).
- Avoid words that create obstacles
Have you noticed that people who say ‘I must’, or ‘I really should’, often don’t?
If you say to yourself: ‘I must sort out the cupboards’, it will not only give you a heavy, negative feeling, but will also be creating a picture in your mind that suggests an uphill struggle. Perhaps you’ll even get a picture of messy cupboards in your mind. Whereas, if you put it differently, saying something like: ‘I’m going to sort out the cupboards on Tuesday’, it puts a completely different complexion on the matter. Those words are more likely to produce a picture of clean and tidy cupboards in your mind.
The same goes without children. Telling your child that they ‘must’ do their homework will only foster bad feeling. It’s far better to say ‘how about doing your spelling homework at 6.30 so that we have plenty of time for bath and bubbles at 7 o’clock?’
- Switch ‘always’ and ‘never’ for ‘sometimes’
It’s interesting how easy it is to get locked into the idea of failure. Once an idea is firmly established in the mind (eg, my child is a fussy eater), we unconsciously seek out evidence to support this idea. In other words, it becomes so automatic to remember all the times that food was refused, that we cancel out remembering any moments of success.
- Mealtimes are always a struggle
- My children never eat vegetables
Yet, change those ‘always’ and ‘never’ words into ‘sometimes’ and notice how it changes your feelings.
- Mealtimes are sometimes a struggle
- My children sometimes eat vegetables, etc
- Move from ‘can’t’ to ‘possibility’
The word can’t is used far too often in our conversations and doing so shuts out the possibility of achievement. To get out of this habit, highlight that things can and do change.
When your child says: ‘I can’t do maths!’
Turn it around into: ‘Ah, you just haven’t yet found a way to…’
Switch focus to talk about what your child CAN do rather than what they CAN’T. This will shift your child’s attitude.
- ‘And’ is better than ‘but’
Picture the scene. You’ve got a great idea, but you’ve barely got the sentence out when someone pipes up with a ‘but I don’t like….’’The instant rejection wrapped up in that small, three-letter word is so demoralising. Our children feel that same sense of dejection, so it’s best to avoid using the word wherever possible and replacing it with ‘and’. So, rather than:
Child: ‘I don’t like carrots!’
You: ‘I know you don’t like them BUT they’re good for you.’
You: ‘I know you’re not keen on eating boiled carrots AND that’s why we’re having raw, grated carrots today. Would you like to help me? I can show you how to hold the grater.’
- ‘Think about it’
Front loading a sentence with this phrase sends a powerful suggestion that your child will indeed ‘think about it’.
‘Think about it. How good will it feel once you’ve finished your homework?’
‘Think about it. Won’t it be great to go to school knowing you’re up to date with work?’
- Create the illusion of choice
Another great use of presuppositions is to create the illusion of choice. Your child will see you offering one alternative and another, but won’t realise you have cleverly slipped in the fact that you presuppose they will do something.
Examples would include:
‘Do you want to work on your school project today or tomorrow?’ or ‘Would you like to organise your school bag before or after supper?’
- Give a reason
Children are far more likely to do as they’re told if they are given some understanding of why it is being asked of them. The reason doesn’t need to be detailed and complex, in fact it can be fairly simply. The important thing is not to leave a request just hanging there with an empty space after it: your child will fill it and it may not always be the response you were hoping for.
‘Can you help me carry the shopping from the car…BECAUSE…there are just too many bags for me to do them in one trip?’
‘Can you put your shows away in the cupboard please…BECAUSE …they’re getting scuffed each time someone walks past?’
- Cause and effect
In a similar vein to giving a reason, you’re more likely to get compliance if you highlight the effect of doing something:
‘Laying out your school clothes the night before WILL HELP you to be ready more quickly in the morning.’
‘Being organised and packing your school bag the night before WILL HELP you to feel more relaxed at the end of the day.’
- Like you
The ‘like you’ pattern is useful for slipping into conversations and can boost your child’s self esteem and establish rapport.
I, like you…is received as I like you…
‘I, like you, understand how important it is to have some time out with your friends.’
‘I, like you, completely get how nice it is to eat sweet, sugary foods…and that’s why we’ll be baking a lovely big chocolate cake on Sunday.’