Disclaimer: I do not have any kids.
“Hypnosis is the engagement of a person’s beliefs and imagination in creating for them an altered subjective reality” ~ James Tripp.
This definition of hypnosis works even better for a child, since they seem to be captivated inside their own imagination and curiosity. If you as a parent become adventurous enough, you could use these tips to enhance your child’s experience and reality. At par, you would be making your life a lot easier.
The hypnotic loop model allows us to understand how our reality is shaped, and the points in which we could enter a person’s reality and change their experience. The loop works as follows:
The loop basically indicates that your beliefs shape your syntax/thoughts, and those in turn modify your emotions. Emotions influence your physiology, which in turn structures your experience. Anyone of the 6 points inside the loop is able to affect all other ones, giving it the proper time. That is why this loop is so powerful. Let’s study it a bit closer.
Your Imagination is primordial, subjective and independent of the world. The fabulous thing about the mind is that it doesn’t know what is real and what is not, unless verified. A simple experiment can illustrate the last point. Imagine holding a lemon in your hand; looking at it, scratching its skin and smelling it. Imagine cutting this lemon and allow the juices to drip all over your hand. Now imagine squeezing an entire half a lemon in to your mouth and tasting its juice and pulp. You may suddenly find your mouth full of saliva, even though there never was an actual lemon. Your body simply responded to your imagination as if it was real.
As a parent, one of the easiest ways to engage the imagination is via the use of stories, fables, parables, metaphors, and anecdotes. Embed your favorite stories with positive commands, suggestions and allusions. After telling a story, ask your child what he learned from it, and fit the moral of the story to teach the specific lesson that you would like your child to learn.
The only time I would recommend a parent to restrict a child’s imagination is when they observe or notice their kid either worrying (anxiety of the future) or regretting (anxiety about the past) an event. This is a bad habit that you would like your kid to avoid having for the obvious reasons.
Parents, this part of the loop is 80% your responsibility. According to various theories of Personality Development (Piaget’s, Erikson’s, Brigg’s, etc.) most a child’s beliefs, their self-confidence, values and self-identity are formed between 0 and 8 years old. Other factors that contribute are family (siblings and extended family), teachers, TV/Movies, Music, and other external influences. Yet, the responsibility lies squarely on you as a parent. Beliefs are just like learning how to do an activity; once the conscious mind has learned them, they become automatic programs within our subconscious. You no longer have to think what steps to take in order to walk, tie your shoes, drive, etc.; in this manner your beliefs are activated. If a person believes that she is (X), she will be (X), or her subconscious will do anything within its power to make it so (that is why so many people sabotage their own success, and as a hypnotist it is the most important thing I must tackle in order to create the alter subjective reality that they want).
The important point here is: WATCH YOUR MOUTH. Contain yourself from saying things such as: “money is evil”, “(X) [as in a group of people] are (y)”, etc. At par, please do not confuse the action with the individual. If your kid breaks a plate, or spills the milk, please do not tell your child, “you are so clumsy”. The action was clumsy, but not your child. If you ever catch your child saying something like, “I am so stupid” or anything along those lines, stop him immediately and correct him.
Good luck on this one…
This area has to do mostly with the subjective quality of the language, images and the internal voice that the individual uses. As a parent you can contribute by watching your tone of voice, your language, the way you describe an experience and by being constantly aware of your own experience. Kids model everything from their parents, thus parents must set an almost perfect example. Here are some tips:
a. Use positive affirmations whilst your kids sleep. Repeat them about 21 times (it should not take more than a minute), or more if you desire. DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO FALL ASLEEP WITH THE TV ON, EVER!
b. Avoid the word “try”, unless you want them to fail at it. The word “try” implies failure.
c. Add the following words to your vocabulary, and use them a lot: “can,” “allow,” “because,” (extremely powerful word, so powerful that most of the times it just bypasses the conscious factor. For more information read on Ellen Langer’s 1989 Mindfulness Experiment, otherwise known as the Because Experiment) “as if,” (it engages the imagination) “in a moment…,” (it creates expectancy) “now,” and the word “imagine” and/or any of its synonyms (another extremely powerful word, since it engages immediately the imagination).
d. State what you want, not what you do not want. Do not tell your child, “do not spill the milk”, otherwise you are contributing for the milk to be spilled (there is some controversy over the mind not being able to make sense of the word “not”-do not spill the milk becomes do spill the milk to the mind. People aligned to this belief usually quote the “don’t think of a pink elephant pedaling a bike across the sky” conundrum. To them, in order for the mind to make sense of it, it must first think of a pink elephant pedaling a bike across the sky). Assert what you would like to take place, in this case, “be careful with the milk.”
e. Assume the action. Tell your child, “I am grateful that you chose to do (x)”.
f. Use embedded commands. I will write another blog on this specific point, but in the meanwhile sprinkle a lot of “feel good now,” “sleep well,” and “that is right,” if they are doing the right thing.
g. Watch their language and make sure they use it properly. Be careful of unnecessary words like “hate,”, “need,” etc. Make sure those loaded words, are used in its proper context.
a. Be curious about your child the same way your child is curious about the world. Ask them what they think, why they think that, etc.
b. Get your children a lot of left-right thinking games, from board games, puzzles, math problems, riddles, and even current events. Tell your child a certain important story on the news and have them give you their thoughts on it and/or how to solve it. Encourage your child to be creative, push them to learn a language (if you and/or your spouse speak a native tongue, and English is your second language, I encourage you to use the native tongue inside the household at all times), to learn how to play an instrument, or to draw, sculpt, dance, etc. Give your child a balanced education, by that I mean, make sure that they receive ample creative instruction, as much as their logical schooling.
Finally teach your kids to ask the following question:
– Is what I am thinking now helping me at becoming a better person or not?
It is paramount for them to take responsibility of this skill at an early age.
Where should I start here? This is another specific spot in the loop in which parenthood (or lack of it) counts for 80% of the responsibility. As a parent you must become aware of two things when dealing with emotions: 1) emotions are subjective, and 2) emotions are subconscious. Many studies have shown that decisions are made in the subconscious mind before it reaches the conscious mind. Therefore, even if it may be tedious, keep asking your child how she feels. Help them classify, name, become aware and how to deal with their emotions (most tantrums have to do with the child being overwhelmed and not being able filter the incoming input/information or not knowing how to deal with their emotions). This is a very heavy loaded topic, thus I will stay clear of all the common sense tips. Here are some pointers:
When you question someone, “how do you feel about (x)?” or simply, “how do you feel?” it creates in the individual a Transderivational Search (TDS). Wikipedia indicates that a TDS basically “is an automatic and unconscious state of internal focus and processing (i.e. a type of everyday trance state), and often a state of internal lack of certainty, or openness to finding an answer, it can be utilized or interrupted, in order to create, or deepen a state of trance.” Utilize this natural state and take advantage when the child enters it. You could do so with the use of embedded commands, metaphors, inclusion into stories, etc. When you do so, ask them to name it and understand that they are not their emotions –do not allow them to identify themselves with the emotion. An example of this would be if they respond: I am mad. Correct the child and let them know that they are “feeling” mad, but they are not “mad”, that they are (X) [use their name for (X)].
Teach your child the importance of being happy, rather than being right. It is vital that they understand that it is their birthright to be happy, do not let them waste it away. At par, impart on your kid to continuously ask himself: where is my energy going? Emotions are just a form of energy, and if that energy is being wasted instead of it being invested, correct the matter.
This is the easiest entry into the hypnosis loop. At this point all you have to do is to control their body language and their breathing. If a child controls their body language and breathing, eventually they will be able to control their syntax, thoughts and emotions. If you notice that your child has improper posture fix it. Ask them to smile often. If your kid is breathing anxiously, ask them to sigh. If you notice that your child has a closed body language ask them to open it. You can make of this a fun activity of “acting as if they were (x).” Kids love to act as if, so if you make it a purpose to utilize this to your advantage (you could ask them to act as their favorite superhero). By controlling your child’s body language and physiology, you will make great strides in contributing to your kid’s self-confidence and well-being.
I recommend parents to make an entertaining game with entry into this hypnotic loop by having their child become aware of her reality. Aware of his senses, himself and his environment (this will create a TDS). Ask your child to describe what they sense, smell, taste, see and hear. Invite them to describe their environment. Request for them to tell you about their dreams and to tell you what they believe they mean. As they respond to you, hijack their entry into the loop and utilize it to instill on them positive states, constructive suggestions, optimistic commands, etc.
In this stage ask them to experience gratitude, compassion and goodwill. Impart on them to be appreciative even for those things that they do not have. If you see your child struggling, ask them if they are being compassionate with themselves. It is in this phase where you must request of the child to “go first.” That in order to receive love she must be loving towards others. That in order to receive he must give. That in order for her to obtain more goods, she must be entrepreneurial about her current assets. It is in this juncture that you must install the belief system that one must be what they aspire to become (even if they must act as if).
Finally, if you are a religious family you can extend this platform into creating a dynamic and highly educative religious experience.
I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Please share this blog, comment about your experiences below and if you have any questions please let me know. Have a wonderful day.