Paul McKenna reveals how to give your kids confidence in just 7 daysOctober 23, 2020
EVERY parent can boost their child’s inner confidence in just seven days, according to Paul McKenna – and today he reveals the secrets of how.
Over two days in The Sun, the hypnotherapist to the stars will show you how to get the most out of this autumn half-term by helping your kids with some simple, scientifically proven techniques that you can use through the coming week.
With the pandemic causing anxiety in all our lives, today he reveals confidence-boosting ideas you can try at home. And on Monday we will print a story penned by Paul as part of the new series of special bedtime tales for children he is currently writing.
The self-help guru believes bedtime stories have an immense power as “psychological software” to shape your child’s character and unlock the tools they need to cope with whatever life throws at them.
Paul says: “It can take as little as five minutes a day over the course of just seven days to give your child more confidence.
“And I will show you how, for those under seven, bedtime stories containing the power of suggestion can positively shape their future.
“You are installing the building blocks for success.
“For older kids, there are also techniques used by some of the world’s greatest sports people which can instil self-belief and set them up for life — and that includes the good things as well as the hurdles they face.
“The messages we give to our children, particularly up until the age of seven, that have emotional intensity or frequency, act like hypnotic suggestions. So if a parent repeatedly says, ‘Shut up, no one wants to hear what you have to say’, then boom! — there’s a shy kid.
“But if a child is encouraged and told, ‘You are really clever and really brilliant’, that equips them with wonderful building blocks.
“And you can support that message using a variety of scientifically proven techniques.
“In addition, there is an epidemic of children reporting increased levels of anxiety, fear and stress as a result of the pandemic — this in turn knocks their confidence.
“There are methods you can use with them or teach them to help them overcome this as well as make a positive impact on their lives.”
Cut negative self-talk
A CRITICAL inner voice is another way that children can put themselves down or make themselves feel anxious.
Here’s how to break the cycle.
- Ask your child to locate their internal voice, the one you think with all day long. Ask them: “Where is your inner voice?” And get them to point to the location where they hear the words – it could be in their head or elsewhere.
- Now tell them: “Imagine how your voice would sound if it is totally confident. Is it louder or softer than usual? Is it clearer and easier to hear? Stronger or weaker?”
However their voice sounds when they are really positive and confident, put that voice in the same location as where their old internal voice was located.
- Get them to think of some of the negative suggestions they have habitually given themselves in the past, things like “I’m not very confident” or “I am terrible at giving presentations”.
- Now get them to replay those suggestions – this time with the negative voice sounding silly, like Mickey Mouse. That takes all the power out of it.
- Now for each negative statement, come up with its positive opposite and ask them to internally state each one – “I’m naturally confident” or “I am strong”.
- Now get them to repeat them again – this time using their new, confident internal voice.
The tapping technique anxiety blaster
SCIENTIFIC studies have shown that it is possible to reduce levels of anxiety, stress or feelings of being down or overwhelmed, by tapping in a particular sequence on different parts of the body.
It sounds like magic but it really works. People may assume it’s “just a distraction” but it’s not – it changes the way the brain processes feelings.
I recommend parents do this technique on younger children, while older ones can be taught to do it to themselves.
Before you do this technique, read through each step so you know what to do.
- Focus on whatever it is you are feeling overwhelmed by.
Now rate the stress from one to ten, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest. Now clear your mind.
- Take two fingers of either hand and tap about ten times, just above one of your eyebrows.
- Now tap under the same eye.
- Tap under your collarbone.
- Tap under your armpit.
- Now tap on the “karate chop” point on the side of your hand.
- Place that hand in front of you and tap on the back of it at the point between the knuckles of your ring finger and your little finger.
Continue tapping that point throughout steps 8-13.
- Close your eyes, then open them.
- Look down to the right, back to the centre and then down to the left.
- Rotate your eyes round 360 degrees clockwise, then 360 degrees anticlockwise.
- Still tapping, hum the first few lines of Happy Birthday out loud.
- Now count out loud from one to five.
- Now once again hum the first few lines of Happy Birthday out loud.
- Repeat steps 2 to 6. Tap above the eyebrow, under the eye, under your collarbone, under your armpit and on the karate chop point.
OK, let’s stop and check.
On a scale of one to ten, what number is the feeling at now?
If the feeling of being overwhelmed hasn’t gone, then go back through the entire sequence again.
It may take two or even three goes, but most people report getting the feeling down to a manageable level on their first or second try.
The ‘so what’ technique
IF your child thinks they have failed at something, ask them: “Did you really fail?”
Remember, not winning is not the same as failure.
Neither is things not turning out exactly the way you wanted, or getting turned down by someone you wanted to get something from.
The question you need to ask them is this: “So what?”
So you didn’t win. So it didn’t turn out exactly like you wanted. So you got turned down.
So what? You are still alive – and you’ve got another chance to make something even more wonderful happen. Not only that, but you have learned lessons that will help you succeed in the future.
High achievers see what other people call failure as no more than a setback and get excited about finding new ways to overcome the challenge and get back on track for success.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling got turned down initially by every publisher.
James Dyson made countless prototypes along the way.
The Beatles were at first rejected by every record company – and look how it turned out for them.
The 5-minute daily confidence workout
JUST five minutes a day is all you need to make a difference to your child’s confidence.
Some simple visualisation techniques that children can either do by themselves, or can do assisted by an adult, will help them to reduce fear and anxiety and become more resilient.
Athletes do a thing called “mental rehearsal” – they imagine winning the race, or scoring the goal or throwing the javelin and winning over and over again. The same principle works with confidence.
I recommend doing it first thing in the morning to set your child up for the day.
MINUTE ONE: SUCCESS HIGHLIGHT FILMS
- Sit your child down and get them to close their eyes. Get them to imagine watching a movie about a future, confident them.
Get them to visualise the expression on their face, the way they hold their body and how they feel. Imagine what the future them is going to achieve.
- Then ask your child to imagine floating out of themselves and into that more successful, confident them. Get them to see through their eyes, hear what they hear and experience how good it feels. As they do that, get them to make the colours brighter and the feelings stronger.
- Ask them to notice where that feeling of success is strongest in their body and give it a colour.
Get them to move that colour up to the top of their head and down to the tip of their toes, doubling the brightness, then doubling it again.
- Get them to float back into their present-moment self – but to keep as much of the feeling of natural confidence and success with them as it feels wonderful.
MINUTE TWO: THE MIRROR
- Ask your child to stand in front of a mirror and close their eyes.
- Get them to think about someone who loves them and imagine viewing themselves through that person’s eyes.
- When they are ready, ask them to open their eyes and look into the mirror. Explain they are seeing themselves through the eyes of someone who totally loves them.
MINUTE THREE: COMPLIMENT YOURSELF
- Still looking in the mirror, get your child to use their confident, internal voice (as explained above) to compliment themselves over and over again for a full minute.
- Keep going, even if it’s hard. It changes their energy so that they will attract more of what they want into their life.
MINUTE FOUR: PUSH THE CONFIDENCE SWITCH
- Ask your child to remember a time when they felt really, really confident.
Get them to fully return to it now – see what they saw, hear what they heard and feel how good they felt. If they can’t remember a time, get them to imagine how much better their life would be if they were totally confident – if they had all the power, strength and self-belief they could ever need.
- As they keep going through this memory, get them to imagine the colours brighter and richer, the sounds louder and the feelings stronger.
- As they feel these good feelings, get them to squeeze their thumb and middle finger of either hand together.
- Still holding their thumb and finger together, get them to think about a situation coming up in the next 24 hours during which they want to feel more confident. Imagine things going perfectly – exactly the way they want them to go.
Get them to see what they will see, hear what they will hear and feel how good it feels.
MINUTE FIVE: CONFIDENCE IN ACTION
- Get your child to take one minute to write down some confident things that they could do as they go through this workout.
- Get them to choose at least one of them to do that feels like a little bit of a risk, or outside their comfort zone, in the next 24 hours.
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