Chris Thompson sits across from me, his coffee growing cold and his green eyes focused intently on me. His enthusiasm is infectious. He is excitedly explaining the premise for his new book and corresponding audio book, Talking To Toddlers, in which he marries his long-time love for hypnosis and speech language patterns with communication and applies them to talking to children.
It was during Frosh week when Chris first saw a performance by noted hypnotist, Mike Mandel. He was amazed by the authenticity and immediately curious not only how it was possible but why? Thompson never missed a performance of Mandel’s when he was in town, throughout his university days, where he completed an engineering degree.
He later worked as a financial analyst, researcher and writer but when time allowed Chris pursued his hobby of hypnosis and language patterns and became a Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner.
Thompson always knew he wanted to be a father. He grew up in a loving home with both parents who assumed traditional roles. He describes his father as the breadwinner and his mother, who alternated between working outside the home and being a homemaker as the one quicker to discipline him and his two siblings.
He considers himself lucky to have had both of his parents involved in his day-to-day from an early age. This strong familial foundation was the basis of his desire to have children of his own. After university, Chris wed his long-time girlfriend and after they had settled into married life, his two daughters were born just a few years apart.
Becoming a father was a natural shift for Chris. His love and adoration for his girls is evident when he flashes his mega-watt smile after I ask him to tell me about them. The women in his life mean everything to him. So much so, that after reading Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Work Week, he decided to make a life-change that would allow him to be even more physically and emotionally present in their lives.
It was after reading this book that Thompson re-evaluated his life and assessed what it was that gave him joy. He applied the 80/20 principle (he wanted to spend 80% of his time doing things that fed his soul) to his reflective analysis and concluded that making a career that combine communication, family and NLP was the ticket to such happiness.
In a bold leap of faith, with the unwavering support of his wife, Chris left his comfortable job in financial services and has jumped feet first into making his book and audio-version downloads a success. If early reviews mean anything, Australians seems to have taken a liking to Talking To Toddlers.
Talking To Toddlers is broken down into short segments with accompanying homework assignments. The modules walk parents through a variety of techniques used to anticipate and diffuse tantrums as well as foster independence and responsibility. Consistency and Commitment is a chapter dedicated to engaging children and taking time to make them an integral part of the family team. If this philosophy sounds akin to something from an Alyson Shafer book, that is no coincidence. Thompson sites Shafer as a parenting expert he greatly admires.
The chapters that most resonate with me, Saying No and Think Outside The Box, challenged my thinking and made me take pause. Saying No encourages parents to count the number of times that they say “no” in a day and evaluate how many of those times the “no” was for a life and death situation. I am almost embarrassed to say that Thompson was bang-on when he called me out as being “lazy”. Since then, I have made a conscious effort to not say “no” all of the time. I reframe my sentences, I take time to explain or I offer an alternative. Finding creative alternatives is the premises of Think Outside The Box, and Thompson offers many (amusing) examples that are both fun for the child but controlled.
While no parenting manual ever offers a complete how-to that is in congruence with my individual ideology, Talking To Toddlers does provide short, easy to digest segments that invite conversation between parents and offers practical ways to improve communication with your children. Not every scenario plays out as effortlessly as Thompson sets-up but he is honest in his approach and clearly outlines that parents and parenting are not always perfect.
“Remember, this is not rocket science. All behaviour is driven my emotion not logic. The same goes for kids and their parents.”
To obtain a copy of Talking To Toddlers or for more information on Chris Thompson, visit:
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