What I've learnt about working with children and teens

I've been working with children and teens for nearly 40 years, yes really! I know, I don't look old enough! Perhaps spending so much time with young people keeps you young? It certainly keeps you on your toes!


I started my career in qualitative market research, which means focus groups and individual interviews. My clients were toy manufacturers, TV production companies and children's licensing. I was trained to get children talking about how they felt and devising ways to make what we needed to find out, interesting, engaging and most of all fun for them. You're not going to get kids telling you what they think of your TV show, product, advertising or brand unless they see it as a fun way to spend an hour or so with an adult. 

Drawing, drama, storytelling, using their imagination, getting them to imagine the brand as a person, quizzes, creating their own advert, and getting them to try and sell a product or packaging design to the rest of the group were all ways that engaged them. As well as watching them watch the ad or play with the toy. 

This often meant rejigging the rather stuffy questions the client had given me and interpreting the brief with the heart and soul of the children they were marketing to. 

I gradually morphed into a therapist around the year 2000 by training in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to help myself as a mother of four kids from toddler to teen. At the time I was still doing my 'day job' as a market researcher as it obviously takes time to build a new business. Many training programmes later and the publication of my first book 'Be a Happier Parent with NLP', largely based on how I had applied NLP to my own parenting, I finalised the transition and NLP Kids was well and truly established. 

Applying a blend of the fun creative techniques I'd used in my past life with the wonderful techniques and philosophy of NLP was proving very effective in helping children explore for themselves how to make changes in their patterns. And also discover the fun and pleasure of understanding how their minds worked. 

I was introduced to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping or EFT) through the NLP practice group I ran and quickly trained in matrix reimprinting. This allows us to work with our client to reimprint new more resourceful beliefs about past traumatic childhood events. It amazed me how what was seemingly an innocuous comment from a parent or teacher could imprint a limiting belief that could be triggered almost daily throughout their life.

Beliefs such as 'I don't matter', 'I get things wrong', 'I'm dumb', and 'I'm not good enough' can be detrimental to a child's mental health. Children can quite easily access these memories and although they won't remember exactly what happened or what was said, using their imagination, drawing and guesswork, they can work on their younger selves and restore them to a more positive mindset, creating a new belief that will be more empowering. 

Children have the most amazing natural positivity, imagination and ability to create for themselves the outcome they want. This may not be what the parent has asked me to work on but like my market research clients, I meet the brief but not necessarily in quite the way I'm asked.

Children will always work harder and be calmer when they're happy and feel loved and valued. This starts with them loving and valuing themselves. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Written by Judy Bartkowiak, Energy Healer - low self esteem, anger, anxiety in families.
Slough SL1 & Hove BN3

Judy Bartkowiak is an NLP & EFT Trainer and Therapist working with children, teens and young people on whatever they are struggling with.

Contact Judy for training as an NLP & EFT Kids Practitioner.

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