End of the day: Empowering communication
If you think you have an ever-complicated time trying to understand your own child’s text messages, this might be the blog for you.
For years, parents have believed that talking to their children about the science of communication are the keys to managing communication in their homes. Talking to your child about why this or that or that might hurt or cause a problem can help avoid those situations, in the long run.
I’m as guilty as the next parent of thinking that talking to my children is important. I found out during my first professional study in communication studies, the gold standard in teaching parents to talk to their children, that such things as knowing what to say when another parent says something to hurt a child can really change a child’s mood.
T.D. Weiss, a co-author of The Best Practice Guide for Talking to Your Children About Personal Issues, has found that parents can pick up on words that other parents use to try to deliver the talk they want. A particular common form of hurtful language was seen as two very common words – “I feel” and “I am bad.”
Sifting through data from the Stock of Worry database, this revealed that many parents spoke about their children’s well-being as if it were a very urgent concern. “Angry”, “crying”, “angry and sad”, “angry and sad when you are not feeling good”, “angry and sad when you are happy”, “angry and sad when you are annoyed at them”, “angry and sad when you are annoyed at them”, “angry and sad when you have to do your homework”, “angry and sad when you have to help your mother”, and “angry and sad when you have to clean the kitchen” were the other words mentioned in the study.
It was clear that parents felt a need to strike a balance. Most of the children in the study believed that parents felt that they must be angry and sad when they are disappointed in them when they were not doing good things. So parents tried to strike a better balance of letting their children know of their feelings by being honest with them.
Talking about how you feel can be very important, especially in relationship to children. It is one of the most promising messages about talking to children.
I also saw that when children started to understand the way parents behaved around them and how they knew they were in trouble or needed help, they became more anxious and that increased with the level of honesty.
When children understand when their parents have confidence in them, they can support each other. Rather than parents trying to talk to children about life problems, especially difficult problems, this perspective leads to growth.
Talk to your children and let them see you are confident in them, having confidence in themselves.
Good communication can lead to empathy. Children who feel they can talk to their parents without parental permission are more likely to feel comfortable with these situations.
Not using language that hurts children or other people is important. Kids become more self-centered when you do not express your own feelings. You also are more likely to worry about how others feel when you do not take responsibility for them. Often, kids do not feel supported by their friends. When you speak to them about how you feel, you also contribute to healthy social interaction for them.
The picture I have become in my own life has been that of a parent who uses communication in a way that is empowering and empathic and leads to creative, resilient kids.