Listening to your kids is as important as getting them to listen to you. Here’s a mother’s advice on how to do that without patronising them.
As parents we want our words to work like swirling a magic wand. We wave it and things should be done. However, kids think otherwise. I believe they are built to defy everything said to them in the first go.
We all like being requested, rather than being commanded at and it works similarly with kids. There are times when the requests go unanswered as well, and this is where your tact as an adult comes in.
There is this amazing book, “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.” I haven’t quite gotten around to read the book completely but have been recommended by many.
So I am almost going to pick a copy of this book written by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The book has sold over more than 5 million copies worldwide. You can buy the book or read it here
I often tell people that parenting is as good as attending school since I am learning every day. The only difference is that this school has very few days off for the parents. And the most important factor of parenting is how you make each other feel.
You need to always always keep both yours and your child’s feeling in mind. We often pick cues from friends and family or online portals on how to speak to kids. And we work on our behavior and the activities to do with them, for them. We often fail to realise that before we utter a word to our kids, our body language speaks to them too. Mind you, kids are great at picking up signs.
Now imagine, you are on a phone call or reading a book and your child rushes in to tell you about something. If you just casually answer them or immediately show signs that you were disturbed by them, it wouldn’t be long if they decided not to share things. As someone who is parenting a six-year-old and has taught other kids, I have some experiences to share.
We often provide lots of verbal approval while our body language speaks differently. What we need to understand is that our body language comprises more than half of any conversation. So, look at your kids in the eye and encourage them.
Do not bend over kids when speaking to them, instead bend down to their level and then try and communicate with them.This makes them feel less intimidated. As parents we take utmost care about touching kids when talking. However when you are appreciating them, always show some form of appreciation through touch. Either tap their head, ruffle their hair or pat them on the back.
You can even give them a high-five too. When conversing with kids, its better to form your statements as questions. As the child tries to answer it, pretend that you aren’t aware of the answers. This will help the child answer it on their own. Appreciate the child when they give solutions and even say something like, they taught you something new.
Always smile and talk your kids. They will learn to do the same. Various groups on social media propagate the benefits of positive parenting. Positive parenting doesn’t mean that you do not say no. It simply means having to say so in a different manner. You may have to use longer sentences or give reasons when doing so but you will raise a well informed child.
Never interrupt your child while they are talking or asking questions. In fact, encourage them to ask questions because they will learn that asking questions that will fetch them answers.
You should avoid confining their imagination to boundaries. When teaching them about places people or communities, let them come up with their answers. This helps instil faith in them and they will learn to look at the good in the world.
As adults, we would love to ensure that our kids remain little. It is when they are little is when their imagination needs to be channelized. That their communication skills need to be appreciated and built.
One of our biggest duties as parents is to raise honest, confident humans. And it is through our little efforts that we can turn them into confident adults.
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Pexels
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