So, what typically happens is the parent listens and listens to the child, stays with discussing the emotions, tries to give reasons and logic to change their child’s point of view and get buy in from their child. They end up losing their patience and dishing out a threat as that’s the only thing that works in the moment.
On the surface, Language of Listening® might seem the same as other parenting models. And yet it is so different.
Yes, we have the Say What You See® step of connection. But your role isn’t to make your child like your boundary or convince them of why you have a boundary in the first place, or to try and get them to see things your way.
The Language of Listening® framework equips you with coaching tools to maintain your emotional connection with your child and STILL be the one in charge.
Using our coaching skills, you’re always on your child side, helping them figure out what they CAN DO within your boundary, or helping them handle their feelings of disappointment with using Say What You See®.
When your boundary is “just how it is,” not something to defend, explain or negotiate, offering a CAN DO helps you gain the willing cooperation you’re after and helps your child gain problem-solving skills and self-control. You build upon your child’s existing skills, get on their side and find alternatives that work for everyone.
Let’s look at an example in action.
Here’s what getting on your child side with our coaching looks like. CAN DOs help you guide your child often with little or no resistance.
My 12-year-old daughter wanted to go to the big town an hour drive away on the weekend. My husband and I agreed that we both just wanted a chilled weekend. We definitely weren’t going.
She started trying to convince us to go. I acknowledged how much she loves going and that’s it her favourite thing to do.
She started whining and fussing. I didn’t get into a debate and defend my decision or talk about her emotions and I side stepped judgment.
I’m still on her side as I’m not trying to change her mind or tell her she’s wrong for wanting to go.
This is when we often try to give reasons like: “You go all the time; I just took you a few weeks ago.” We mean well, we’re trying to make them feel better and remind them that they do often go. However we are implying that they’re wrong to want to go now, or that they’re greedy somehow.
Or we go into fixing the situation. “I’ll take you next weekend, you’ll get to go I promise, just not today, let’s go and do something else fun…” Again we mean well, but often we end up feeling guilty that our child is upset and we feel an urge to make it better for them.
Or we go into defending our decision. “I’m tired and I don’t want to spend the money and I don’t want to sit in traffic…” They then come back with all the counter reasons, Well I’ll give you a massage, and you can sit in a café, and you don’t have to spend any money, I just want to look at the shops and we can go by train…” and on and on the arguments go.
I offered her a CAN DO.
“There must be something you CAN DO to have fun this weekend.”
No needing to convince her or debate or fix things for her. In fact, I’m supporting her to bring out her self-control and problem-solving skills. She found a way to have fun that was still within my boundary. – She went for a walk with a friend.
Later that day we went to the supermarket together.
She huffed in the car. “Humfff we didn’t get to go into town today!”
And I got a chance to point out a STRENGTH. “And you found a way to have fun!”
Clearly, this whole situation could have taken a lot longer to navigate, I’m not going to kid you that it always runs so smoothly, My daughter used to have the most epic tantrums and calming down wasn’t her forte. She had to practice coming up against my boundaries and find CAN Dos that worked for us both. But look at her now! That whole interaction took no more than 10 minutes.
In the Language of Listening® framework we have another amazing tool called Success Training. we built upon success and prove to our child that they CAN calm down, they DO have self-control, they can find ways to meet their needs within our boundaries and we see the best in them. When we teach our children by pointing out their STRENGTHs, we teach them through success not failure.
No more repeating over and over how your child feels and expecting things to change. Language of Listening gives you the coaching tools you need to create true win-wins where you and your child come away feeling good about yourselves.