A proven key technique to improvement is for us to reflect on the way we speak to our children and to take responsibility for our roll in the family dynamic.
At the top of most parent’s goals is the desire for our children to listen to us, live in family harmony, for our children to grow up taking responsibility for their actions and to be good members of society.
By spending the majority of our time focusing on trying to get our child to change their behaviour, we fully discount the possibility to accept that the way we actually speak to our child may be a cause of the repetitive defiance, power struggles and negative behaviour.
Now, don’t go start feeling guilty if this sounds familiar. It’s not about feeling guilty.
We all say things like this. What it is about is us becoming aware of how we talk to our children, and the way that we do it that (yes, you guessed it) gets results.
The first step to change is acknowledging how we do things. Let’s look at some common communication styles, and ask ourselves if they sound familiar. In fact, over the next few days keep a note of how many of these you say. It really is eye-opening!
|Compare||‘Why can’t you be more like your sister, she’s younger than you and she can do it herself.’|
|Criticise||‘You are just so lazy, forgetful, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t stuck on.’|
|Label||‘You are so mean, selfish, a liar, stupid, forgetful’|
|Nag||‘Will you just come here now, how many times do I have to tell you?’|
|Plead||‘Please if you just brush your teeth, you can stay up later, pleeeease!’|
|Punish||‘That’s it! You are not going to the party, it’s your fault, maybe you should think about what you just did.’|
|Scold||‘Why can’t you just do as your told?’|
|Shame||‘You know nothing.’ ‘Stop being such a baby.’ ‘No wonder you have no friends if that’s how you act.’|
|Threaten||‘If you don’t cut it out right now, that’s it! No play-date tomorrow.’|
Now imagine you are the child hearing these words, and consider:
- How do you feel?
- How do you feel towards your parent?
- How do you feel about yourself?
- How motivated are you to cooperate?
Being on the receiving end of these words disconnects us from our loved ones. When we feel bad about ourselves we put up a barrier as a defensive mechanism to protect ourselves.
This defensive behaviour shows up in children at an alarmingly young age, as early as 2 or 3 years old. It may manifest itself in a child that becomes overly compliant by believing that what they want or need doesn’t matter, or they can become defiant by holding their ground and refusing to listen.
By criticising our children for their behaviour and only giving them two options of either submitting or rebelling, we all lose out and over time we UNNECESSARILY erode our relationships.
Let’s be honest, why would you want to please someone who made you feel bad about yourself and was pointing out what was wrong with you?
At the end of the day, we all want the same thing for our children, we want to them to learn right from wrong, to willingly cooperate and be happy, successful adults.
Again, at the top of most parent’s goals are the desire for our children to listen to us, live in family harmony, for our children to grow up taking responsibility for their actions and to be good members of society.
This takes effort on our part and it is achievable.
The first step to is to acknowledge that these scenarios sound familiar and that you want to learn tools that will improve your relationships.
When we parent through love and connection we are working with our child, building deeper connections and changing behaviour by equipping ourselves and our children with the tools and strategies to manage behaviour and provide some of the necessary skills for a happy life.
“It ain’t what you do, but the way that you do it – and that’s what gets results.”
Hi! I’m Camilla, a Language of Listening® parent coach, and I support parents just like you to transform family life with the magic of Language of Listening® Download my Empowered Parenting Free mini-course Now – just three simple steps to radically change the way you parent.