When I work privately with parents, I ask then to repeat back to me as closely as they can, a challenging “conversation” they had with their children. I listen without judgment to the words used and the underlying meaning that contributed to the problem interaction.
Our approach to get kids to do something is often disrespectful. We command, demand and sometimes even humiliate to get what we want. It feels icky yet it can be so hard to stop! The parent feels internal and external pressure. This builds a wall and leads to poor communication, a poor relationship and then poor cooperation.
Check to see how many of these words you may be saying that build walls and that often escalates the conflict.
Why did you do that?
I understand you …….. BUT you really need to …….
If you don’t do …… tnen …. will happen.
I was just trying to help.
There is no need for you to be so upset.
Go to your room and calm down.
If you would only do …… then we wouldn’t have this problem.
How many times do I have to tell you?
Why can’t you get along with your brother/sister?
If only you did this sooner, we wouldn’t be all stressed out now.
First try not saying what can be hurtful. This is a big first step. When you do, applaud yourself. It’s hard to change.
There are many articles on my blog to learn what to say instead to create bridges to understanding. Keep at it. The effort will be well worth it.
©2014 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.