How to Talk to Kids: 4 Reasons Why Your Child Isn't Listening to You by Roma Khetarpal
Certain words and phrases – even when spoken in a kind voice – trigger a negative emotion. So even though you are thinking positively and are using a positive tone of voice, the word choice creates a negative impression in your child’s mind. Here are some examples of words we commonly use that lead us to disconnection instead of connection:
- “DON’T do this…”: We hear “don’t” and automatically get defensive.
- “You NEED to…”: When we say “you need to do this,” it’s like hearing “you don’t have a choice.”
- “You NEVER…”: This sends the message that something (not listening, for example) is a repeated behavior, and therefore “you are a problem for me” or “you have a problem.”
- “You ALWAYS...”: This sends a similar message to the one above.
Instead of the words above, why not say things like:
- “What if we did it this way?”
- “How about something like this?”
- “Why don’t we find another option?”
- “Let’s think about that.”
The next time you find yourself needing to change a behavior, think about the way you align your words to match your positive intentions and turn a challenging situation into a positive learning experience for your kids.
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