If you're a hypnotist or a hypnotherapist who helps children then I'm sure this has happened to you.
You get a call or an email from a well-meaning parent who wants you to work with their kid to resolve some kind of problem in the family, or in the child's life.
Parents can Unknowingly Screw Things Up
How should you proceed with helping kids
Before I answer that let me tell you about an audio book I'm currently enjoying. It's called "How to Raise an Adult", by Julie Lythcott-Haims. It's a parenting book.
At the time of this writing I have two daughters ages 12 and 14. Obviously I love my kids and want them to succeed as adults.
Nothing unusual so far, right? All parents love their kids.
Lythcott-Haims is a former dean of the prestigious Stanford University in California, so she's seen all kinds of loving, caring parents who go above and beyond to "help" their kids.
Why "help" in quotes? Because sometimes the parenting effort is actually holding the kid back and making it harder for that kid to become an adult.
She tells a story about a military school dean who got a call from a student's father. The student hadn't achieved high enough grades to qualify for one of the projects he wanted to be put onto. He complained to his father, and the father called the dean.
"Please explain why you are disadvantaging my son", the father demanded to know.
Notice the problem?
The father approached this situation by blaming the school for his son's grades. That is not how life works. That is not how successful people develop.
In our hypnosis classes and in our online personal development training, Mike and I constantly teach people to bet at cause, not at effect.
Be at cause. Not at effect.
To be "at cause" means you accept that you are responsible for outcomes that you directly influence. You're not responsible for a plane crashing in your back yard and wrecking your swimming pool ... but you are responsible for showing up to work on time, getting your laundry done and maintaining good relationships with people who matter to you.
To be "at effect" means to blame your environment for what's happening to you. It means to take on a world view where life is just happening to you, and you're not in control of anything.
That's a crappy way to live, and NO way to achieve success.
The father who called to ask why the school was "disadvantaging" his son was modelling (for his son) exactly the wrong attitude.
What's all this got to do with hypnotherapy for children?
If a parent approaches you to help their child, obviously you want to help. So think about being at cause versus being at effect.
Is the child actually the one asking for help? He or she should be. Unless you decide that this question doesn't apply to the specific situation, make sure you interact with the child during the pre-session discussion. If the child is a young adult, you might even insist that the child directly call you instead of the parents.
When little Johnny shows up for his session, does his mom or dad do all the talking for him? If so, politely shut the parent up. You need to get information straight from the horse's mouth, not mommy.
Whenever I work with kids I prefer to have the parent involved in the session, but I do not let the parent control the child's communication.
Having the parent in the room allows me to covertly work with that parent, too. Quite often the parents need to understand the importance of giving kids autonomy. We covered this topic in our article about Instant Influence.
Finally, remember to ask the magic question "What do you want?"
Some kids spend so much time being hassled by parents and teachers about their problem rather than discussing the desired (target) state. Always find out what the child wants. This will probably take some prodding because most kids have never been asked!
I hope you enjoyed reading this and take away something that helps you, either as a parent or as a hypnotist.
If you haven't already done so it might be a good idea to download a copy of our most popular free resource, the Brain Software ebook.
Free Brain Software E-Book
Mike Mandel's "Brain Software" e-book shares the same communication strategies that he teaches in live keynote presentations. This is our most popular free resource and we want you to have it.