3 steps- Talking to Children
Communicating with tiny humans can be the hardest at times, but with a few steps hopefully we can make it a more enjoyable experience for all involved. All the time I am hearing people say things like: They don’t know what they want! They are just kids- be the boss. It doesn’t matter what they want, I’m the adult. Ahhh and it breaks my heart and makes me infuriated because none of that is true. Are there times that they don’t know what they want and we have to step in and be the adult and lead with guidance- Yes, yes there is! Even as adults we need guidance because we don’t know what the hell we want. We first must understand that just because you are an adult doesn’t mean that you know what your kid wants. We have been told since our 5 year old was born, just let him cry- you are spoiling him. He is Never going to walk if you keep carrying him everywhere… Why do you let him wear what he does? You have to be the parent and teach him what he wants to wear…. Just beat his ass- Oh if that was my kid… I’d just beat his ass, then he would listen.
Well, wheeeeew as for our 5 year old never walking- He’s doing alright. He can even ride a bike without training wheels and has been able to since he was 3… But “you right” At anyrate: The point that I am trying to make is that kids are people and need to be treated with respect- How can you teach a child how to show respect if you aren’t emulating that behavior to them. They just want to be heard like all of us.
I need to be loved and I am an adult! There are plenty of times that I just want my husband to hold me, if that’s the case why are we so hard on our new born babies? Why do we set unrealistic expectations on our toddlers? Why do we hold our school age children to such a high standard based on what we want and not at all what they want?
Number 1: Talk to a child
Seems easy enough, but we all struggle at times in doing this. Majority of people talk “at” a child or “over” a child. People will say things like: “Pick that up, do this, sit down, just do it my way” The funny thing is that most people would not talk to a friend or a coworker or even a complete stranger in that manner, but they will a child. People think that because your talking to a child you can basically bully them into doing what you want. The reality is that you can say things like: “Hey, can you pick that book up off the floor? It would be so helpful if you could help me by ….? Do you know how to do this activity or do you need me to show you? When we learn to show a little respect for our tiny humans that will one day be big humans it will go a long way.
Children want to help, they want to learn, they want to do what you are doing, they genuinely want to be where you are because they love you that much. They are capable of hearing you. They have these perfect little brains that want to absorb knowledge.
WHAT ARE YOU FILLING YOUR CHILD’s JAR WITH? What are you allowing other people to fill your child’s jar with.
Number 2: Come from a place of positive –
What does this look like? A simple change in vocabulary.
“STOP RUNNING” This is what most people say. A child only hears the word Stop, they don’t really hear anything after that. Try saying something like this, “who has walking feet? Can you show me your walking feet? Let’s play a game- Who can put your feet together? Who can take a step to the left? Who can take a step to the right? ect….
Changing the words in this way empowers the child – They now feel like they are being valued because they are showing what they can do instead of being told what they can’t do. Children and people a like respond better when they are told things they can do rather than things they can’t do. Even as adults we respond better if we are given a list or what have you of things that we can and should do rather than a list of things we can’t or shouldn’t do.
Number 3: Physically show a child an example of what you are trying to say.
For example: Two kids the age of 1 are playing and one little tiny tot smacks the other one- Mom yell’s, “BE NICE.” As simple and easy as this sounds, news flash: It’s not! a 1 year old baby doesn’t understand what “be nice” means. They just know that they are getting yelled at and they have no idea why… They are simply expressing themselves. at 1, 2, 3 they are not trying to hurt another child. They are simply trying to express themselves and that’s all they know. They don’t have the words or the cognitive ability to just walk away and gather there thoughts. (CRAZY)
Instead: Walk over to said situation in a patient voice grab your baby’s hand and show what a gentle touch is. Explain: “We do gentle touches with our friends.” You yelling or getting frustrated is teaching the baby / kid / tiny human how to behave and handle there emotions. When you give a child all the tools necessary to make a decision and you have displayed it multiple times like a broken record then they can meet the expectations that you have. Maybe your child calls another child stupid- This would be another time that you could show your child by walking over and kneeling to there level and try saying something like, “let’s use “Nice” words, like you are smart. Then explain that everyone is different and we all do things a little different and we are all unique. Then ask your child why he called the other child “stupid” Once you understand why they did it then you can correct it.
Just walking over and slapping the kid or putting them in timeout doesn’t fix the problem. At the end of the day our tiny humans are little sponges and they want to be filled up. Fill them up with love and understanding. Fear based parenting might work when they are little, but the older they get the less afraid of you they become and the more they will resent you. Remember you were once a tiny human. How did you like to be talked to? I didn’t ask the question how were you talked to… I hear all the time, “well, I got spanked and I turned out just fine… or This is just how things have always been done” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because that is how it was always done doesn’t mean that you can’t change it. We are humans and we were given brains for a reason. It wasn’t to learn until you are 18 and stop. We are able to learn new things, and try new ways of doing things, and change our beliefs.