Parents have a natural and automatic desire to rescue, protect and shield their children from difficult situations. Parents want to show their love by stepping in and helping wherever they can: with homework, bedtime monsters, the dark, new experiences, making friends…
But by rescuing our children, are we helping them to build their self- esteem? By stepping in and fixing things, we communicate that we don’t think they can do it on their own. We make them think they need us. What if there was a better way?
This book will give parents the skills to guide their children to find their own solutions and to create new possibilities. These tried and tested coaching skills, drawn from the author’s vast experience of working with parents and children, will give children choices. It will give them a positive mindset, and an ‘I can’ attitude.
If we can show children how to fix things for themselves, then we set them up for a lifetime of independence, and confidence in their own abilities.
I reviewed Judy’s book Understanding Children and Teens at the end of last year, and I have found it really helpful – I still use quite a few of the techniques with my kids. So I was very pleased when Helen at Literally PR reached out and asked me to join the blog tour for Judy’s latest book. Huge thanks to Helen, Judy and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
One of the reasons that Judy’s work resonates so strongly with me is that as a child, I was a real ‘bottler’ of feelings. I was a highly emotional, highly imaginative child who gradually learned to push everything down and lock it up tight, and I very strongly believe that my struggles with depression later on in life were intimately connected with this repression of my emotions. Don’t worry, I have since let it ALL out (and then some!) but when I became a parent, I promised myself that I would make sure my kids felt able to express and process their emotions openly.
A key technique that Judy introduced me to is describing emotions in terms of colour. This has been so useful with both of my children, but especially with the youngest, who has really latched onto the idea, and can name a whole spectrum of emotions according to his own personal rainbow (with some pretty surprising colour choices – but hey, it’s his thing!) In Empower Your Kids! this is expanded upon, and this week we’ve been describing his feelings using colours, size (comparisons to animals and fruits, as per Judy’s advice!), whether it is moving or still, hard or soft. It is really special to see a four year old thinking about his emotions in such a way – there’s very little hesitation, he gets the concept entirely, and I think it is really useful for him.
The tapping is something I’m still getting to grips with it – I am actually using it for my own anxiety, and once I feel more confident, I’m going to use it with the kids. We do a sort of version of our own at the moment – I have tattoos of the kids’ initials on my wrists, and when my daughter started at her new school, I told her to tap on her wrist in the spot where I have her initial, and now when she comes back she asks me how many taps I felt. It just gives her a little bit of security and connection. Judy describes EFT, or tapping, as acupuncture without the needles, and she explains it in her trademark straightforward, easy to understand style. There is a very good section in Empower Your Kids! about supporting your own wellbeing with tapping – as parents, we really do need to focus on our own mental health if we are to support our kids as we would wish – and the exercises that she leads the reader through are extremely useful.
This is a practical, informative, easy to follow guide that I know I will be referring to again and again. Together with Understanding Children and Teens, I feel I now have a really useful reference set for dealing with my own and my kids’ emotions in the way that I had always hoped to – openly, honestly, without judgement. No parent can be perfect, and I mess up A LOT, but I feel much more confident having these brilliant resources to hand.
About the Author
Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP trainer and coach as well as an EFT trainer and coach who specialises in working with children and teens. Before becoming a therapist, she worked in market research, and then ran a Montessori nursery alongside her therapeutic work. She has written extensively on NLP.