It all starts with setting them up for success.
I’ll show you how by using our 3-step coaching model.
If you’re new to Language of Listening® coaching, it takes you out of the role of managing your child’s behaviour and puts you on their side as their life coach. Letting them solve their own problems within your boundaries and helping them see their hidden strengths so they can really manage their own behaviour.
One of the premises from the Language of Listening® framework, teaches us that “Children act according to who they believe they are.”
So, when we try and teach our child: “That wasn’t kind”, as a parent we’re trying to convey to them that their behaviour wasn’t kind, but a child takes it to mean that they themselves aren’t kind.
Likewise, when we say:
“You’re so mean, aggressive, a bully…” those words are taken by our child as truth of who they are.
That’s why judging your child’s behaviour is such a problem. Judging their behaviour, whether through your words or in your reactions, makes it about who your child IS… and they believe you.
When you gain the Language of Listening® coaching skills, you will help your child find his STRENGTHs, learn how to play well with others and bring out his self-control.
For your child to see their STRENGTHs, you MUST see it first. So, the quickest way to change a behaviour you don’t like is to look for your child’s strengths and to quickly nurture it.
So, the way that you use our coaching model is very simple. You always start with one thing. Say What You See® this is the connection step. Once your child feels connected, they are primed to listen to you for guidance.
If we see something we don’t like. We offer an alternative within our boundary. What we call a CAN DO. Literally, what your child CAN DO that’s still within your boundary.
And if we see something we DO LIKE we state it as a STRENGTH. Think of it as praise in a new way. One that actually works to help our child to see their inner greatness. The child knows who they are and can see that strength in themselves. And this is how our child starts to be able to control their own behaviour and actions. (isn’t that SO much easier than trying to “control” their behaviour?)
Since children act according to who they believe they are, when you prove to your child, they have that strength they naturally change their own behaviour to reflect it.
Unlike managing your child’s behaviour with rewards, consequences or punishments, you don’t need to always be there to enforce it. Strengths are permanent, it becomes who they are.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of how you can put the 3-steps together to guide your child to the behaviour you want.
When you start with Saying What You See® without judgment, your child is primed to listen and look to you for guidance.
Say What You See®“She threw your car and you didn’t like that. You hit her, and she didn’t like that!
Boundary/CAN DO “Hitting is not okay with me. Must be something else you CAN DO to let her know you don’t want your toys thrown around!”
POSSIBLE CAN DOs:
- You could have a do-over and let her know with words instead of hitting how much you didn’t like that.
- You could suggest that keeping their toys in their room will keep them safe.
- You can help her find something else to throw instead (if she’s is a younger sibling).
And when you finish with pointing out a STRENGTH, that’s the real word proof to your child of their inner greatness.
“You found a way to play and let your sister know that you don’t like her throwing your toys, that shows you know…
- How to communicate what you don’t like
- How to look after your toys
- How to look out for other people
Let’s look at another example.
Remember that it goes in this order: Say what You See® then you add a CAN DO and finish by pointing out a STRENGTH.
“You are hitting me. That’s not okay with me. There must be something you CAN DO to make your point without hitting me.”
POSSIBLE CAN Dos:
- You can hit the couch then come back and tell me how angry you are.
- You can let me know with words or hugs that you need my attention.
- You can show me how strong you are by using your muscles for me!
- Before you feel like hitting, you can tell me if you need some snuggles.
- You can tell me what you want so I can help you and a CAN DO that works for us both.
- You can draw me a picture of how you feel.
“That shows you are:
- Know how to calm yourself
- Know how to get the mad out
- Know how to help yourself feel better
- Know how to show joy
- Know how you feel
Your child’s behaviour is guided by their STRENGTHs, just like the ones you pointed out to her. This is what has a profound and positive influence on their future behaviour. So when he sees himself in this way, he will go and show you all the other ways he has and can use that STRENGTH.
When you learn how to point out STRENGTHs, you’re setting your child up for success. They get to have the inner voice of “Oh! Yes! I did find a solution, I’m a problem-solver, I do have patience, I can wait my turn, I can share and I can get frustrated and calm down.”
Keep pointing out those STRENGTHs and gathering proof for your child of their greatness and it won’t be long till they starting pointing it out to you and all the ways it shows up in their actions.