When you tell your child “Don’t run” what happens? Do they stop? When we organise “Stop Bullying” campaigns do they work? When your child says “I won't be naughty”, do you know what their unconscious mind is focusing on?
In all three statements the speaker is talking about what they are not going to do. This will rarely work the way they want it to.
Think back to a time when you have said I am not going to… (fill in the blank), or, “I wont… (again fill in the blank). How did that work out for you? Did you achieve what you set out not to do? More than likely you did not achieve what you intended to do.
There is so much focus and attention on “no more bullying” and I think we are getting it all wrong.
Consider the following points
The unconscious mind doesn’t hear ‘don’t
The unconscious mind doesn’t take notice of the words ‘don’t’, ‘won't’, ‘not’, ‘stop’ or any other word describing what you wont do. It does hear and act on the rest of the sentence. Lets look at what the unconscious hears when we take those words out of the above examples;
Get the message?
This concept is well known in the schools and many have changed the language when speaking to children. They no longer say “Don’t Run” and have ‘Walk Zones” instead. Instead of “Don’t Litter” they now use pictures of someone putting rubbish in the bin or “Clean Ups”.
As parents we are told it is better to say “speak to me in your happy voice” rather then “stop whiiiinnnnging” (boy, and I have two of them, that one is easy to forget sometimes).
Back to bullying. There is so much attention on this topic and I agree it needs to be dealt with. I just wonder why we are not heeding the proven research. I see “Stop Bullying” or “Anti Bullying” everywhere. I feel frustrated and sad for the children in our schools. All the while we use these phrases we will not achieve anything other than having children pay more attention to bullying and notice it more. This leads children to appear to not be resilient and can encourage some children to become bullies.
Your thoughts create your experience
In my school program ‘Be Unreal’ we talk about what would happen if we focussed on something else. What if we focused on talking about what we do want. We could start talking about something else. Use sentences such as:
I have lists of topics like these. Discussing these topics will lead to less bullying and more resilience, as all of us, adults and children, focus on techniques, attitudes and actions that empower. Before you know it this empowerment will grow and spread.
If a bullying situation arises, these empowered kids will know how to handle it or have plenty of empowered peers to help.
Our attention is on the wrong topic. Lets STOP talking about ‘stopping bullying’ and START talking about empowering kids.
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