How to give your children (and husband) feedback using NLP

Do you plan how to give feedback to your kids, or anyone else in your life? Often we don’t, and it might not be received – well. It’s true when we are frustrated, or irritated by something we tend to just say something, and it all comes out wrong. In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) we study the impact our language has on other people, how the brain actually processes language and this gives us some helpful pointers as to how to give feedback in a way that makes everyone feel better and increases the chance that your family will actually act on it, whilst feeling respected by you.


Sound too good to be true – try out some of these:

Discuss the behaviour, don’t label the person

When we use personal labels to give feedback, the chances are they will take it personally – and then defend themselves, feel bad or dismiss you. This is unlikely though to help them to change what they are doing. So rather than giving children labels like ‘bossy’ ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ describe the behaviour. ‘The way you told Adele to give up that toy was a bit loud’ or ‘I’ve noticed you are still on your tablet when your homework needs doing’ or ‘By doing X without Y, you might not get the best result’ you are both clear about what you are commenting on and they are more likely to receive it well.

Say what you’d like them to do instead

toddlers children Tantrums NLP parenting

Instead of telling kids what to stop, instead tell them what you’d like them to so instead. Our brains process instructions literally, particularly as children so saying ‘Don’t do that again’ is a bit like saying ‘Do that again’ to their subconscious because it doesn’t process ‘not’ very well. Instead describe what you would like them to do ‘I like you to put away your toys before turning on the TV in future’. And when you see they do it, compliment them for doing so.

Explain how your suggestion will help them in future

Often when we give feedback we explain how it will help us. It is much more powerful to explain how it will help them in future, this gives them motivation and maybe a new perspective on the task. ‘By tidying up your bedroom, it reduces the chance of your favourite toys getting broken’ or ‘If you don’t retaliate when she says that, over time she will stop doing it because she is just trying to bait you into an argument’.

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