|Photography: Loren Stow|
The words we choose to use when communicating with our loved ones have a profound impact on them and the atmosphere in your home. But sometimes it is difficult to know the ‘best’ way to phrase something, or how to give constructive criticism without hurting those we love.
When it comes to our children, so much of our communication is in the form of giving instructions or direction, and this can be tricky, because we want to build our little ones up, instead of having them feel as though their efforts are not good enough.
We also want to teach our children how to communicate in a caring and respectful way – and they are going to learn this from the way in which we talk to them day in and day out.
With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to remember the following tips to encourage loving communication.
1. Validate your child’s emotions – “I understand you are frustrated. but we don’t hit other children,” rather than “Why did you hit Johnny?” or “I know that your head must hurt after falling,” rather than “You’re a big boy, and big boys don’t cry.”
2. Avoid making negative statements – “Can I help you get that?”, rather than “You’re too small to reach that”. It is unnecessary to mention anything to your child that is not encouraging.
1. Make statements instead of giving instructions – “We eat with our spoons”, rather than “I want you to use your spoon” or “we don’t hit others”, rather than “don’t hit others”. This kind of instruction is a neutral statement of the ‘how things are done in the world’ and not a judgement or demand.
3. Explain what to do instead of what not to do – “Lets tidy your toys,” rather than “Stop making a mess” or “Let’s touch the cat softly (demonstrate),” rather than “Stop hitting the cat.”
1. Be specific and share the details – “Finish all your food please,” rather than “I want you to eat dinner nicely” or “I love the colours you used in your picture,” rather than “Pretty picture.”
2. Demonstrate what you’re trying to say – “We hold our cup with both hands (demonstrate) so that we don’t spill”, rather than “Hold your cup nicely.”
When we communicate in a way that doesn’t judge or make demands, we are teaching our children a more loving and more peaceful way to be in the world. All the tips may seem too much to remember, so try applying one a week and slowly work your way through all of them – pretty soon it will become second nature!
These tips, if applied, can make a real difference to the atmosphere and energy in your home and family – building your child’s spirit along the way.
when we know better… we do better
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