Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Communication with Children!

Do you know people who always have a complaint, but never anything nice to say?  Do you like hearing the good qualities about yourself rather than the bad? 

Your answer to both of these questions is probably YES!  We all like to hear what we have done right over what we have done wrong.  This same idea also pertains to our children and is likely to be more important in the developmental years.  Sure, children need to be disciplined appropriately, but they also need to hear what they have done right!  “Catching your child doing something right” and providing praise that is descriptive of the action is pertinent to reinforcing good behavior that you want to see more of and building self esteem. 
Here are some tips:
-Make sure your non-verbal behaviors such as tone of voice, body language, and eye contact is reflective of what you are saying….in other words BE GENUINE!
-Offer physical affection if appropriate, such as a hug, back rub, or pat on the shoulder when communicating.
-Plan some alone time with your child….this says, you are special and I am going to make time for only you!
-Make descriptive positive comments, such as, “I really liked how you turned off the T.V. and came to dinner without me having to ask”.  Catching your child doing something right and describing the specific actions that they took is so important in getting your point across to let them know what they did that was good. 
-Reframe the word “No”.  For example, if you are at the store and your child wants a candy bar, an alternative to saying “No”, could be….”Today we are at the store for other things, rather than a candy bar, how about a banana?”.  Of course, saying “No” is much easier, but reframing the word will be helpful in the long run.
-Include these words in your vocabulary regularly:
“I was wrong” 
“Please forgive me”
“I love you”
“Tell me more”
“I appreciate”
“Thank you”
“I’m sorry”
With these words, you will be modeling appropriate behavior that your child can utilize in social settings, as well as teaching them empathy.

Remember, we want our children to talk to us, as well as others respectfully and appropriately, so we must do the same!

Resources:  Positive Parenting Program & Parenting Quick Tips-Practical Parent Education

Written By:
Naomi Berger-Perez, MA, LPC, LMFT