In the month of February 2019, I decided to take up a course called Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching, little did I know, that taking up this course would completely change my life and the way I experience it and handle various situations. To do this course, we had to complete a series of various online courses, after which we had to go for classes that were scheduled.
I knew a little bit about this course before enrolling it, thanks to a few friends of mine. I was a little worried at first as to how intensive it was going to be. I told my nerves to stop scaring me and I went ahead and asked my father to pay for this course.
I got all the study material and started going through it. The first two chapters of the online module were very similar to what I had studied in school and college; I was so relieved! So, I kept reading, watching and noting down what was important for me to remember. As the nerves died – amazement kicked in and filled my whole body, because what I was studying made so much sense to me!
With every sentence I read, I could feel my mind expand. What I was studying helped me in my personal life as well. Those were some difficult times and its almost like this knowledge numbed me completely, but also comforted me – because I knew that this information is seeping into my mind and aimed to change the way I experienced this sadness I was feeling.
I wanted to write this article to explain a couple of things that really transformed the way I was thinking about everything going on in my life.
The chapter we were studying, and understanding were aspects of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. According to NLP, when communicating with someone, if we were to assume certain things to be completely true before starting a conversation, it can reduce the misunderstanding between what the person is trying to communicate and what we understand.
NLP has dictated a list of around 13/14 assumptions that we should keep in mind. I am not going to discuss all of them, I will however, be talking about a few that really made sense to me and how that can help when you are dealing with your child.
The assumptions that I always keep in my mind before dealing with myself and others are as follows (taken from the manual for Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching by ICHARS):
- Every behaviour has a positive intention
- People are always making the best choices they can
- The meaning of communication is the response it elicits
Every behaviour has a positive intention:
When a child behaves the way they are, it is because somewhere in their mind this behaviour has appositive reason behind it. For example: if a child starts crying after hurting themselves, the unconscious mind is trying to get the child to signal that something is not okay, and they are in pain.
- The intention behind the crying is to communicate that there is a problem that needs some attention
Every behaviour we engage in has a positive intention behind it. Here, there is a difference between intention and behaviour. The intention will be positive and something that is there to help the child or you in any given situation, but the behaviour that you or the child engages in may not fulfil that intention in the best way possible.
This is where the next assumption comes in…
People are always making the best choices they have:
In any given situation, when a person reacts the way they do, its because in that moment they are not able to see any other way of reacting – they don’t have other options, so out of the ones they have, they unconsciously choose a behaviour that fulfils the positive intention that they have in their mind.
In simpler words, when we are faced with a situation, we unconsciously choose the best behaviour or the only behaviour we can think of, and then we react. This happens very quickly, and it is not something you have too much control over, unless you consciously decide to do so.
When a child falls off the stairs or does something that could hurt them, its natural to scream r get angry, because it comes out of a place of concern. The intention for shouting is to protect them and tell them not to pull stunts like that again, but the behaviour of shouting is probably not the ideal way to express that concern, love and need to be protective, but in that moment, out of the fear and concern, we end up shouting. The nature of the situation as such elicited that response from you because it was the only appropriate choice you had in that moment.
The meaning of communication is the response it elicits:
I love this assumption because it reminds you that communication is a two-way street. The sender of the message is just as responsible for how the conversation or interaction goes. It is very easy to say that the other person doesn’t understand you, or that you are always misunderstood by the people around you.
If you keep this assumption in mind before conversing with someone, you as the sender of a message will pay more attention to make sure the message is conveyed just as you want it. It gives you a sense of accountability for what you are saying.
If you have to convey something to your child keeping this assumption in mind, you will try various ways to explain a concept to them until they understand what you mean. If your child doesn’t understand, it is partly because you were not able to convey the message as effectively. This is what the crux of this assumption is.
Once you feel responsible for what you are saying, the way you convey a message – the words, tone of voice, pitch etc… will all be factors that influence how well the receiver or listener understands what you are trying to say.
If you keep these assumptions in mind while talking to your child, it gives you a sense of detachment because you know that what they are saying is not really a personal attack. It takes you to a neutral vantage point where you will be able to manage your emotions as well as your child’s in a better way.