Monday, November 2, 2015

Bridges of Communication

“Mom, are you listening?”  “Dad, can I please, please, please?”  “No one ever listens to me!”  
Does this sound familiar?  If so, then let’s talk about communication and listening.  Listening  to your children shows respect.  Why is it that we expect them to always listen to us, yet we sometimes tend to ignore the things they are saying.   Granted, I will give you the fact that you are busy, you are possibly trying to listen to many young people all day long.  I get that.  Having said that, sometimes just listening to what your child is saying is enough to stop them from constant pleading or talking.
When communicating with others, we can set up barriers or bridges.  We want the communication in our homes constantly flowing, so building bridges is ideal.  Barriers such as dams in a river, will stop that flow.  Let’s look at some examples:
Threats – “If you don’t stop yelling, I’m sending you to your room!”
Lecturing – “If you don’t finish your homework, you will never get into university, and if you don’t get into university, you will never be able to support your family.  Get that homework done because you need to get those good grades.....”
Questioning – “Why did you...”  “How come you....”
Always giving advice or solutions -  “You should do this...”
Orders – “Take that trash out now!”
Blaming – “YOU ALWAYS make a mess...”
Denying feelings-  “Don’t feel bad...”
Can you see how each of these will stop communication?

Now let’s talk Bridges of Communication:
Stop what you are doing and listen with your whole self.  Look them in the eyes.  This takes time at the moment, but may save you plenty of time when there is not power struggle or whining.
Don’t blame the child,  look at the problem –example... “I see there is a mess on the floor!”  This gives the child a chance to tell themselves how to solve the concern.
Use the correct tone/body language – When we use a good tone with our children when making requests or speaking to them,  we are showing them respect.
Often just a word or two is better than a lecture.  Children will listen better is you just say something in a few words.  “boots off”,  “clean bathroom”,  “keys please”,  “homework”.
Watch your questions.  -  It’s ok to use questions such as “how could you have handled that differently...?”  “how do you see it...?”   If you use questions at all, make them thought provoking and not questioning why they did something.
You don’t always have to have a solution – “guiding them by listening and acknowledging is often the best route to take”
Understand that they are feeling the way they do – Acknowledge they have a certain feeling, even if you don’t think they should.  They will tell you how they feel if you let them.
Remember... after listening your answer may still be “no”.  If this is the case, simply state... “I heard what you said, and my answer is no.”  The acknowledgment that you heard may be enough to stop the whining.  (They may be mad you sad no, but that is ok.  Disappointment is an emotion that children need to learn to handle)

These bridges of communication are goals we all need to strive for in relationships.  Believe me,  you want your children talking to you... not their peers.  If you don’t feel like you have that communication now, use these techniques and I guarantee you, it will get better!

1 comment:

  1. How easily we speak those 'barrier' words without thinking - we can say each one of those without really engaging with the person but those bridge conversations need us to be listening; actively listening.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...