There is a family where there has been a complete breakdown in communication between a teenager boy and his parents. Due to his “petty crimes”, the parents no longer trust him and he is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the house — from misplaced items to chipped phones to the younger child’s tears. Parents repeat every instruction multiple times and he feels disrespected. While on the one hand, he has developed an “I don’t care” attitude as anything he does is misunderstood. On the other hand, the parents find their child off the grid. In such a case, both the child and parents need to take curative measures else the situation will worsen, impacting the personal growth of the child and the wellbeing of the entire family.
Good communication between you and your child is important for developing a positive relationship. As your child gets older, good communication will make it easier for you to talk to him about personal issues. Good communication with your child should start early such that your child doesn’t feel you’re bumping into her life from nowhere. Constructive and positive communication is one of the best ways to sort out the conflicts that can come with raising children. Communication can start simple and easy in that your child talks about everyday things – like what you’re doing and how you’re both feeling – is one of the main ways that parents and children connect. This means it’s important to talk together in positive ways. What you say and how you say it, including your body language, influence how your child understands and responds to you. Remember this, your children may test you by telling you a small part of what is bothering them. Listen carefully to what they say, encourage them to talk and they may share the rest of the story.
Usually, parents communicate all of the time with their children. Often, these interactions are healthy and help to build the children’s self-esteem and promote responsibility. Your conversations can enhance the quality of your relationship with your children and the degree to which your children grow up with a sense of safety and security. With some parents, the words and messages sent are harmful and destructive. However, even when you are angry or need to discipline your children, you can communicate respectfully. By consciously choosing words that do not blame or shame, you can help your children see themselves as competent and capable members of your family.
Through the efficient use of words, parents can create a aura of love, acceptance, hope and support that can inspire children to reach their unrealized ability and can sustain them during times of distress.
Usually, these messages are communicated in a verbal manner through words, as well as non verbally through your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. So remember, how you say things to your children is as important, or more so, than what you say.
Language in communication
Language is a body of words, and set of methods of combining them, understood by the set of people in communication. It can also mean the expression of thought (the communication of meaning) in a specified way. Not only is language one of the primary ways that people communicate their feelings and attitudes, but it actually can shape how parents think about and view their children. This elaborately mean good language is important in a healthy communication. Being aware of the language you use allows you to determine what “mirrors” you hold up to their children about how lovable and how capable your children are. These simple but very powerful tools positively influence how parents view their children and how your children think about themselves. Using efficient language can encourage an attitude of resilience and optimism in children. The more children know they are good about themselves, the more likely they are to be motivated to learn and incorporate necessary changes into their life.
To test how healthy and efficient your communication is with your children, ask yourself these test questions:
- “Do I feel good about myself when I commune with my children?”
- “Do my children feel encouraged when we commune?”
- “Is our relationship and communication conservatory?”
If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” then you understand the power of your words and you’re putting it into good use.
Languages that solely motivates your children must have the following features. They include;
- Positivity: This involves finding and believing the positive in a child’s difficult trait, behavior or situation. Positivity is being fully assured in opinion about your child especially when the desired traits haven’t come into manifestation such that your child is characterized by the existence or presence of distinguishing qualities or features, rather than by their absence. You must always have a positive outlook when it comes to your children in that you expect the best in all possible ways.
- Flexibility: A flexible parent language is willing or ready to yield to the influence of others; it is not invincibly rigid or obstinate. Such language is tractable; ductile; easy and compliant; wavering. Such language doesn’t include berating a child in error. Parents with flexible language do not behave irrationally at the sight of mistakes. They allow mistakes and they correct them in love, offering differing opinions and possibilities to terminate the error.
- Specificity: Language that motivates a child must be explicit or definite. It must be special, distinctive or unique such that each child has his own language. The language has to be specific to the situation. For example, your child shouldn’t be talking to you about puberty and you’re insinuating it is spiritual problem.
- Undiscriminating: Efficient language is one that has a discerning judgment or taste. Judgements are especially not based on personal ethics or opinions but rather full of objective information. For example, your teen didn’t come home for the night(didn’t inform you) and you’ve done nothing but lament all through your conversation when he finally comes home in the morning. Communicating lamentations to the child does not help the child out of such behavior. An objective approach is needed and it is one that is not influenced by the emotions or prejudices.
Before you communicate behavioural change to your child, you must have checked your attitudes toward problem. If you still have emotional irregularities, you can read up my post on emotions(Blinded 1&2). Clarify the situation before talking. It is important that the situation is understood before communicating anything. Determine whether the situation/behavior is the result of a challenging, but normal developmental stage. Decide if it is your problem – not your child.
Be sure the behavior is unacceptable to you. In my next post, I’ll be discussing healthful communication techniques in parenting.