Today I would like to keep things very simple.
Quieten things down (use less language) - forget about talking your child in, out or down.
I really want to emphasise this point, because it is such a trap almost all of us fall into – even when we have been practicing getting out of it for months or years! I often feel like when things are going really well with Lily – I start talking more. It may feel like the natural thing to do. I do however need to think about what style of communication I am using. I am teaching, lecturing, prompting or am I demonstrating thoughtfulness, thinking, curiosity and wonder. The latter are hallmarks of experience sharing and dynamic styles of communication. The communication our kids need more of.
Asking questions that require right or wrong answers, or questions our kids already know the answers to, places a demand on our kids. It breaches trust between us and them, and it drains them of mental energy they need to be able to have mindful and meaningful engagements with us.
Always telling our kids what to do through prompting, robs them of the opportunity to think, infer and become independent.
Neither of the above communication styles foster relationship and connection.
The purpose of communication is to share of ourselves and our experiences. It is invitational, voluntary and privileged. Our kids should not feel like our attempts at communicating is us ‘wanting’ something from them or ‘getting them’ to do something.
We’re parenting for when our kids are 21…not just to get through the day. What communication choices do you need to make, today, so you can feel better about the person your child will be at 21?
“The purpose of communication is to share of ourselves and our experiences. It is invitational, voluntary and privileged. Our kids should not feel like our attempts at communicating is us ‘wanting’ something from them or ‘getting them’ to do something.”
How much are you talking?
How much are you using non-verbal channels of communication instead of and/or alongside verbal language?
Are you trying to talk your child ‘into’ doing things?
Are you trying to diffuse or manage big emotions through talking, reasoning, negotiating?
How do you need to adjust your communication style so you are less demanding and more inviting?
How can you remind yourself of this – moment-to-moment?
(fail to plan – plan to fail )
In the end, what matters most is connection.
Communicate love, affection, admiration, appreciation today by way of a glance or a touch. Slow down enough for your child to notice. Don’t expect anything in return.