Amanda Gachot

Clever language patterns to use when in the company of your kids

written by Amanda Gachot

  1. #parenting
  2. #positive parenting
  3. #family
  4. #family life

Do you ever pay attention to the language you are using when speaking to your kids? Do you just blurt out what you want to say, without focusing on the outcome that you would like to achieve. There is a huge opportunity here to help get your point across just by focusing on the words and tone that you use. Here are just a few pointers to consider.

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Tell your kids what you want them to do and not what you don't want them to do

Be aware how often you are using negative commands, such as "stop fighting", "stop moaning", "don’t spill your drink", "stop jumping on the bed". We are always telling our children what we don’t want them to do. Our subconscious mind works in a strange way and does not recognize the negative ‘Don’t’ part of the comment, but can only visualize the ‘fighting’, ‘spilling drink’, ‘jumping on bed’ part.

If I told you – "Don't think of a blue elephant", you would have to visualize the blue elephant part, to make sense of the command, this is where your attention goes. So with children, they will visualise a drink being spilled and quite often this is what they will then experience. So from now on, tell them exactly what you would like them to do instead by using positive language. "Sit quietly", "Be careful with your drink", "Be kind", "Remember to share".

Sharing is caring

Avoiding conflict to create harmony

We can achieve this by using clever language patterns. A double bind is the term given, when somebody believes they have a choice, though this is only an illusion. Great to use with kids, giving them the illusion that they have a choice.

For example:

“Shall we go swimming before or after you have tidied your room”?

“Would you like to take your bath now, or after your favourite program?

The child believes they have a choice, and will choose one of the options, though there is a presupposition in this statement that the room will be tidied, and that the bath will be taken, this is not up for discussion.

“Would you like peas or beans with your chicken?”

The presupposition is, that they will eat vegetables, they believe they have a choice, and typically will choose one. If you ask them if they would like vegetables with their chicken, or if you just serve them vegetables, they believe they have had no choice and are more likely to deny the action.

Making veg the answer

You can also start to embed commands with presuppositions,

"Have you noticed NOW what good friends you have become?” can be used when your children have been getting on well without fighting. There is a presupposition here that your children are now friends, this part of the comment will slip easily into their subconscious, the only question you are asking is whether they have noticed.

The Yes Set Rules

Often used by politicians and leading persuasive figures, this is a nifty way to encourage children to be more agreeable to what you are saying.

It has been found that the more people are in agreement with you, and are happily nodding away to your comments during a conversation, they will keep on in this fashion all the way through, making it easier to slip something else in along the way for them to agree on.

What a lovely sunny day today? Yes Wasn’t that a great birthday party yesterday? Yes I know you are looking forward to school finishing next week? Yes (Now slip in here something that you would like them to do readily eg: Now put your coat and shoes on and let’s get going.Yes

I remember reading an experiment once where a group was split into 2, and they had to listen to a debate with headphones on. Group A were told whilst listening to this debate that they had to try and dislodge the headphones by nodding their head up and down (like saying yes to somebody) and Group B just sat with their heads motionless. At the end of the debate there was a far higher percentage of listeners in agreement with what was being said in Group A, than the motionless head nodders in Group B.

Whenever using any language patterns like this, it is important to remember to always be coming from a loving place, with good intentions to the other person.

These ideas are to create a loving harmonious family life.

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