Clear Instructions comes in very early on in the SFSC Parenting Manual and for good reason because at times as parents we aren’t clear with the instructions we give to our children and at times we fail to follow through. In NLP clear instructions is referred to as Clean Language which allows us to formulate a clear picture of what we want or actually asking for.
A good example of instructions to a child and it’s not clear would bring me back to my childhood. I love my mother dearly but when I was younger I struggled with some of her instructions. “Ruth go and get me the blue thing”. My mum would do this a lot. I’d go upstairs because I’m assuming with the command to go, that the blue thing isn’t where we are. I’d go in my mum’s room, look at the dressing table and see several blue items such as the blue Nivea cream, a blue comb, a blue napkin and a blue broach. It’s possible to back then I was slow off the mark but I’d bring one blue item and be told: “no not that, go back and bring me the blue thing”. Confused I go upstairs and pick up another item and get it wrong again. After going up and down about 3/4 times I finally bring down the last item and get “thank you, now go and sit down”
Now I know the bright ones would have picked up all the blue items brought them down for your mum to select what she wanted. What my mum wanted is a COMB. Even as a child without being to lippy “why didn’t you ask for the comb”. It’s like I said at times we are not clear about the instructions we give. I was guilty of that and inherited that form of communication but NLP not only helps to clear up my language but has helped to improve my life.
So how could this have been improved? Reflecting what I would have found more useful is this “Ruth can you go upstairs into my bedroom, on the dressing table in the left corner you will find the blue comb, can you bring that for me please” after all that the response would be “yes mummy”. I would have run up the stairs got the item in one trip with me not being lippy at the end of the process.
SFSC 8 Step Process to Clear Instructions
Step 1 – Give step by step instructions appropriate to the child’s age.
Step 2- Describe exactly what you want to see and hear.
Step 3 – Give your child a reason.
Step 4 – Check that your child understands.
Step 5 – Show role-play or practice with your child.
Step 6 – Tell your child what he or she did correctly.
Step 7 – Repeat all the steps above for your child did incorrectly.
Step 8 – Remind your child of the steps
Many times arguments or misunderstandings occur because the information shared wasn’t clear. As parents, we can shout at our children because they misunderstood what we said. Although we go through a variety of different experiences in life, one aspect that I’m working on is to be clear and transparent in my communication with my children and other around me. This week lets consider how clear we are with our instructions and make a conscious effort to improve communication with our household.
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Ruth Carter The Liberty Coach.