As an NLP4Kids Practitioner, one of the most rewarding aspects of my work is helping a child to overcome what is often perceived as “shyness”, and in the process enabling them to discover and connect with the confidence and happiness within themselves.
In reality I have found that shyness in a child is actually another way of saying that they lack confidence in themselves (whether it be socially or in terms of their abilities). A shy child – or one who is lacking in confidence – is naturally going to find it hard to excel or be their best, for the main reason that they are also likely to be battling with self-doubt or negative belief-patterns.
It can be helpful to know that within all of us, children and adults alike, there is an infinite capacity for happiness, confidence, self-belief and motivation – which we often don’t realise is there. When we find ourselves “lacking” in these positive qualities it is likely to be because, unwittingly, we are simply blocking our own connection to them – with negative thoughts and beliefs.
And whether we realise it or not, when we allow ourselves to entertain negative thoughts and beliefs, the effect can be compared to us administering a toxic substance to ourselves daily, which undermines and obstructs us in all that we want to do.
So one of the first things I do is to chat informally to the child to put them at ease, and find out a little about them and what makes them tick. I am also looking to see what kind of things might make them anxious, why and when. More often than not, it is about helping the child to feel better about themselves, because on some level, I find that most shy children have an underlying perception about themselves that they are not as good as others.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with having a negative (unhelpful) belief is that, because of the way the mind works, it can often produce a vicious circle of negative “self-fulfilling prophecy” in reality. For instance, if a child forms the belief that they are not as good as others, or that others will always be better than them, the resulting effect for most children is that they will simply not even bother to put in the effort or try to do their best, holding themselves back and “protecting” themselves from the disappointment that they feel is likely to be inevitable. This can often manifest itself as a lack of motivation or even negative behaviours, and is entirely self-defeating. Hence, unwittingly, they are contributing to making the negative belief that they hold to become a reality.
So helping a shy child to feel better about themselves can often involve identifying and changing any unhelpful beliefs, and helping them to “re-frame” the way they see themselves and others.
Amongst many wonderful things, NLP4Kids provides the means of helping children to understand themselves, as well being able to identify and change negative thought or belief-patterns that are creating a problem. Helping a “shy” child to be able to choose and create more helpful and healthier beliefs means the world has already just changed for that child in immeasurably positive and helpful ways.
In my view, using NLP with children is a master-stroke because it provides fun and exciting techniques that enables the child to feel almost as if they are playing, and yet as a result they find they are feeling better, and are more confident and in control of themselves going forward.
One of the most exciting things for any child to learn is that they have more control over themselves and the way they feel than they previously realised. Helping a shy child learn how to connect with their inner confidence in just a few moments is quite often life-changing there and then!
In fact, it was in one of these instances that I helped a shy child, held back up until then by his diagnosis of “dyslexia”, to be able to read aloud from an official press release (it was all we had in the clinic room!) in it’s entirety and at normal speed. His mother’s expression (and mine) will stay with me for a long time to come. When a child connects with their inner confidence, infinite possibilities really can open up for them, which they are helped to recognise and experience for themselves.
Once a child can recognise how their thoughts affect their feelings (and vice versa) it opens the way for them to be able to feel in control, and to be able to create more on-going happiness and confidence for themselves.
When a child recognises that there is more than just one way for them to be, this in itself is liberating in the extreme. Helping them realise that they also have a choice in how they think, feel and react in any moment is empowering and is a priceless resource that will continue to serve them well in the future.