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Using EFT with kids

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

Kim Eisen shares her thoughts on how to handle the various children related EFT issues.

Hugs, Gary

By Kim Eisen

In my opinion EFT is the #1 resource for reducing children's traumas whether it's after the fact or in the moment.  What adults may think is a small issue can be huge to a child, and we should treat it accordingly.  If we take the seconds or minutes needed to neutralize what's bothering them, they may not have to grow up with tons of issues (barring extreme trauma, but even that may be neutralized).

Hopefully this will help you gain a little understanding of how to work with children using EFT at different ages.  Kids get EFT fast, although our wording needs to be changed slightly according to their understanding and verbiage, i.e. The Magic Buttons vs. the tapping points. 

Often, when kids learn EFT, they want to teach it to their parents and peers because they think it's cool.  They usually don't do a whole bunch of issues, just what is bothering them, and go off to play because it has fallen from their 'now' as a problem.  Younger children don't seem to carry too much into the moment, unless they have had severe trauma.

I have noticed that children who are more emotional or empathetic may tend to carry the unspoken or energetic emotions of the parent.  For instance if a parent thought they, themselves were dumb in school … or didn't fit in … and have strong feelings about it, the child (usually 5-7 years) may pick this up for what appears to be no reason and start saying things like 'I'm stupid' or 'I'm dumb' without having had direct experience of that. 

This can also apply to certain fears and anxieties.  So, if this seems to be exhibited in the child, the parents may wish to go back and tap on themselves for their own fears and anxieties, before working with the child.

In the 7 to 11 year old stage of development, children are quite self-centered and self-conscious (a natural stage).  They are learning peer behavior techniques and going back and forth between independence and co- or inter-dependence.  They are perfect candidates for EFT if it is approached correctly, as it gives them the freedom to do something for themselves with satisfying results.  And, they may be likely to use it in the moment, which could be significant to their overall emotional growth. 

Rather than give them homework with tapping as we do for adults, I let them know that they can use this at anytime they feel hurt, sad or angry.  And, sometimes as a gentle reminder that they know how to do it, we do a quick run through.  I would caution, though, that if they have a 'big' issue (i.e. rape, incest, murder, etc.) that they work with a professional.  But for everyday hurts or issues, this would greatly improve their future adult life, as they wouldn't carry the hurts with them.

One note is that in divorce situations it is important to do EFT to address that the divorce is not the children’s fault and address any reasons that they might think it's their fault.  And, as a note to parents who are divorcing, do not argue in front of the children (they don't need to know everything) or put down the other parent because the 'other' is their parent and they inherently love them.  Don't take that away from them (barring abuse).

With EFT and 7 to 11 year old children, once they learn the technique, they will usually do EFT in the moment or shortly after an issue arises when they re-remember it - such as bed time or alone time.  They should be instructed that they can use this anytime they feel like it and that it is best to say what they think happened and how it honestly made them feel (not what they think they should have felt).  For example:

Even though my best friend didn't talk to me today and I don't know why and it hurt my feelings, I'm still a great (good) kid

Even though my mom and dad fight and it scares me, it's not about me and I'm still a great kid. 

Sometimes they are sad and they don't know why or may not wish to discuss it with you.  In those cases, teach them to tap generally:

Even though I'm sad and don't know why, I'm still a great kid - usually something will show up. 

Even though I'm sad about something (they don't have to say what it is to you), I'm still a fabulous kid.  They may discuss it with you later, or not, but the important thing is to get them feeling better.

Children who are 3 to 6 years old are mostly self centered and self-conscious and more into finding their boundaries by showing shadows of independence.  They just know what they want and when they want it (most thinking the world revolves around them - again, a natural stage of growth - hence, everything is caused by them.  i.e. divorce, abuse, upsets, etc.). 

This important stage of self development makes it more appropriate for a professional or a parent to work with them as they are mostly co- or inter-dependent (although some parents would argue this point as the new children are very independent in their thoughts), but nonetheless, they rely on their parents or guardians for many things.

When working with EFT and the 3 to 6 year old, you'll probably have a good handle on most things that bother your children and they are pretty good at letting you know.  You'll usually be working with them in the moment - whether they are sad, hurt, angry, or having a tantrum.  In introducing EFT to them, I usually ask if they want to play a game, or try something really neat that could help them feel better.  (Except for tantrums or anger directed at you, in which you'll probably have to surrogate tap on yourself for them). 

If they agree, I show them their 'Magic Buttons' (or call them whatever you wish) and I instruct them to say what I say, and to do what I do.  Use words that you know that they will understand.  It is magic, after one or two rounds, they've forgotten (neutralized) the emotion and go off and play.  You'll know they are done, because they talk about something else and may even be bored because they're done and there is no reason to continue the game.  Eventually, these children will start using it on their own and should be encouraged to do so. 

Although this may be a delicate subject to some, if their upset is caused by someone else, it is extremely important for the child to realize, and for you to impart to the child that 'other' people have their own way of doing things, good or bad, and although it may be different, unfair or not nice, it has nothing to do with 'them' ("It's not about you").  Furthermore, there are many good people who are like us, and, different from us, and that's what makes the world such a wonderful place.

The 12-16 year old stage involves peer acceptance, self identity (more independence) and the feeling or fear of lost-ness in leaving who they thought they were … to becoming someone else … but they're just not quite sure what that is.  It's a little scary and even though they don't want to be inter-dependent, they don't want to be alone (and many think they are completely alone in someway). 

They think they're grown-up, and don't want to go to their parents or other adults, but don't know what to do, nor do they have the capability to handle things on their own or with an equal.  The freedom of EFT in assisting them to adulthood can launch them beyond their expectations of what they can do.

Working with EFT and the 12-16 year old - I left this one for last as it can be a dichotomy, because if they 'get it' with EFT and use it, it'll do wonders and have had great success.  I would just introduce it as indicated in the 7-11 year old section, just changing the wording to be more expressive.  You will have to speak their language such as 'like' 'uhhh' 'really cool', etc. (you get the point). 

Again, if they think it's cool, they'll teach everyone they know.  If they think 'they know it all' you'll have a more difficult time to even get them to the table to introduce it.  This is probably where you'll want a professional (outsider, not mom or dad) to work with them or teach them EFT.

All in all, children are not that much different from adults with the range of emotions that they might experience.  They just have the benefit of not carrying around baggage or issues for as long.  Learning EFT now can save them tons of heartache and hurt in the future or at the very least the amount of time they carry it.  What a gift you can give them!

Kim Eisen


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.