The Neuro-Linguistic Program or NLP is a language and communication methodology geared towards change and the solution of situations. Created in the seventies by Grinder and Bandler, it proposes simple and effective techniques to achieve changes in personal dynamics, as well as concepts that improve the quality of our relationships. It can be applied in the interpersonal and intrapersonal fields and, therefore, in the relationships between parents and children for the improvement of family communication.
Mental map concept
There is no single reality, it depends on the representation of the things we have each of us. This idea, the center of constructivist theories, is also one of the theoretical foundations of the brief strategic therapy. Through our cognitive ability, our internal language -which we say to ourselves- and our vital experiences, we have been building a mental map of how reality is. Therefore, as illustrated by Oscar Wilde, "there is no real reality, but as many realities as can be invented." In other words, In a family, despite the fact that we live the same events, the point of view of each member is different. Therefore, from the point of view of each one, none are wrong and we are all right. The active listening, as opposed to the iron intention of convinced the other, is a very positive resource to understand the points of view. Understand the mental map of our child, although we can not agree, open up the relationship and promote communication. In the face of discrepancies with an interlocutor, declaring to understand it, but not agreeing, is an exercise in empathy, affirmation and positive management of conflicts. As parents, we should not expect that everything (and in everything I include children) be organized in relation to our way of seeing the world. They also have their own, and they are as legitimate as ours. Our experience of the world must be transferred as life teaching through accompaniment rather than conflict.
Technique of dissociation
Another interesting exercise is dissociation. Imagine that today is a rainy afternoon, and we decide to go to the movies. We sit in a comfortable armchair and the movie begins. The film that is projected is the last conflict we have had with our son, we are both the protagonists, even if it is probable that secondary actors (the brother, the aunt who was visiting) is also involved. Analyze everything from the position of viewer. What dynamics are created, what does it experience, what response does it give and what our child thinks about everything? It will allow us to visualize the experience alien to our mental map, gaining in objectivity and empathy, seeing the mental map of our child without feeling it as a critic, a challenge, improving active listening without imposing our ideas. This really makes us be very aware that relationships are the result of the dance that is established between the interlocutors, and that, the adult in the interaction with his son, is responsible for the fluidity of the movements.
Any conduct, no matter how negative it may be, has a useful function for the person who performs it. From PNL we start from the idea that each one of us works in the best way we can in relation to the resources we have. So, In front of a situation or a problem, children, adolescents and adults put all their resources to achieve a positive balance for themselves. The positive intention allows to see the behavior that is generating the conflict, with a positive purpose although it can become very harmful. Parents and children are often stuck in an unsatisfactory relational communication and, although they want to change it, they do not know how. Finding the positive intention of our children's behaviors, focusing on "what's useful for him" instead of thinking "why he does it" is the first step towards resolution.
Imagine that our son does not do homework. Parents start up beliefs "it is lazy" and look for a "why" of willingness and challenge "does not give him the hunger," which triggers negative parental reactions that stop us and do not let us forward. We think of our son again, who does not want to do homework, but ask "why he does it", what is the positive intention of avoiding them. We will probably get ideas like "take the whole day to school and need to rest" "have learning difficulties and do not want to face it to protect yourself" "know that when we do the tasks together we end up fighting for it and do not want it We discuss "know that you will not get it and prefer not to do it to affirm it". Very different information that can lead to a much deeper analysis, and that causes us emotions and behaviors other than the previous ones, which unlock the system. As parents, we have to become part of the problem to be part of the solution. Recognizing the positive intention of our children is the basis for resolving conflict situations, harmonize the family environment and strengthen the bond that is, in itself, the basis of adult emotional balance.
Helena Alvarado is a piscologist and director of Creix