Reading between the lines – Communicating with children
Children are not always the best communicators but they still need us to understand their emotion, intention and feeling. They communicate is many other ways than words and as parents, it is important to be perceptive in order to effectively fulfill their needs, respond to their feelings and understand their emotions.
Here are some quick tips that will help you tapping into the intention of your child when they are unable to communicate effectively.
- Listen Intently, use your body language to show attention
Children need to feel acknowledged with adults. It allows them to open up with you. Face towards them, bend slightly in their direction, put your cellphone aside. This will make them feel important and comfortable in explaining their matter to you.
- Pick up on the emotion
Look for the emotion behind words and reiterate to them. ‘I can see why this is making you feel anger’. But this is a tricky step. Misunderstanding the emotion not only confuses the child but can also offend them and end the whole thing in a tantrum or the child backing up. Talk about the emotion with great sensitivity and make sure you are tapping into the right emotion rather than leading them on or offending them.
- Gather Information rather than correcting them
Ask questions regarding the circumstance. At ANY COST avoid giving feedback or turning it into a lecture. The child is not there to here how something should have been. They want you to know what happened and are looking for support. Provide it to them. You are laying foundation for a lifetime. Even if you feel your child is wrong, ask questions, gather as much information as possible. Children are more likely to cooperate when they see you as a part of their team.
- Encourage your child to reflect about their behavior think about solutions
In case it’s a problem, try asking your children what they feel needs to be done. Let them know that you value their opinions as well. This encourages independent thinking patterns.
In case the situation is unfavorable encourage your children to reflect upon their behavior with out holding them accountable. Let the solution or remorse come from them. You need to act as a guiding pathway towards correcting mistakes.
- Never take your child lightly
We tend to brush of what children are saying sometimes. But we need to be aware of the fact that children are very serious about their thoughts. Always make them feel heard, acknowledged and valued.