We want to teach our children how to integrate into society and behave appropriately, as well as become decent, compassionate and giving human beings. We want them to succeed in school, career, and relationships because let’s face it, we want them to enjoy a happy and healthy life. So what happens when we talk to them and why don’t they listen? Because communication is so much more than just words. According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, who conducted several studies on nonverbal communication, 7% of any message is made up of spoken words, 38% of vocal elements like tone and pitch of voice, and 55% are nonverbal elements like facial expressions, gestures, and posture.
Don’t just talk…COMMUNICATE!
Children are more likely to pay attention when you:
- Actively listen. Stop what you’re doing and pay attention to what they have to say.
- Use words and gestures of encouragement, i.e. smile, nod, or high-five.
- Hold conversations in private. Other people cause distractions to both of you.
- Get down to eye level with your child. Towering over them is intimidating.
- Don’t interrupt their story. Be courteous as you would be to a friend or colleague.
- Show acceptance of the child regardless of what has happened. This will keep communication open and they will want to talk to you again.
- Praise your child for communicating with you. This will reinforce their choice of sharing with you.
- Stay away from negative language, i.e. stupid, dumb, or lazy.
- Keep preaching and moralizing to a minimum, i.e. ‘just do as I say’ or ‘I know what’s best’, and ‘You’ll talk when I’m finished”.
- Keep calm and stay objective. If you communicate while angry about an incident or situation, you’ll find it hard to stay objective.
You have the most impact on how your child experiences the world, so please make it a positive one and let’s grow a generation we can all be proud of.
Until next time, I wish you light and love.
Photo Credit: John Hain