Reduce Child Dramas With Your language.
Sometimes it is not appropriate to sit down with your young person and do a formal intervention. Maybe you’re not in the right time or the right place to make that happen, or maybe the subject doesn’t warrant that level of severity yet. So, it’s a very useful skill for you to be able to develop the art of change using only your conversation.
But what am I talking about?
In the past, I have had parents bring their children to see me in my private NLP4Kids clinic in Aylesbury for many different challenges, and sometimes what happens is the family get caught in a loop of speaking very dramatically about a problem that the child is experiencing. The reason why this happens is that everyone involved is very emotionally invested in the situation and quite frightened about the struggles that are going on. And all this fear and pain comes out in their language. The downside of this is that sometimes what starts out as a small problem begins to escalate and grow because of the vocabulary that is used around it. It can start to enhance and enlarge the issue at hand.
This happens frequently in day to day life – let me give you an example.
A while ago I posted online about a film that I had just seen and really enjoyed, and most of the feedback was that most people also enjoyed this film. One comment, however, stated that the film was ‘sickening’. This was, in my opinion, quite a strong language to use in reference to a musical about the circus! I would use the word sickening to describe a murder, perhaps, and to me, a film about the circus isn’t quite as bad as that! Sometimes people use their vocabulary to really emphasise how they’re experiencing the world, but, it can have the detrimental effect of making things seem more severe than perhaps they really are.
I once had a parent bring their child to see me because they had choked on some food and had started to become a bit phobic-like about eating after that point – he was insisting that he should only be given soft foods that he would be able to eat without fear of choking again. This was a one-off event and it wasn’t particularly serious (he had a few slaps on the back and the food came up) and did not necessarily have to become a trauma. However, for this young chap, it did. And I believe that part of the reason why it did become traumatic for him was because of some of the language his family were using when they were talking about the problem.
For example, his father said that he ‘started choking and gagging’ and as a result of that choking and gagging ‘he stopped breathing’. Most people do stop breathing when they’re choking, or they can inhale but not get the air back out again – that’s just the basic physiology of the matter. Upon discovering this I was quite alarmed and asked Dad how long his son had stopped breathing for, which turned out to be a couple of seconds. Everything about this event was pretty in line with what happens in most mild choking events and didn’t jump out as overly traumatic to me. But the event being repeated in front of the child was embedding the severity of the situation.
The work that I do with families through NLP at my Hypnotherapy clinic in Aylesbury helps families and the child to be fit to overcome the situation or event but it is also important to provide parents with guidance on how the language they use might also be affecting the child and how best to alter the language.

By Gemma Bailey
(adapted by Ian Davies NLP Practitioner)