How will you react when your child breaks an expensive toy you bought him? What will you tell him when he performs below your expectations in the academics? Do you want him to be perfect in every aspect of life? Are you prepared to think like him and talk to him on his terms? If the answer is positive to any of the questions, you can expect him to be psychologically healthy as he grows up. Let me share my experience with my son which may help you understand your children better.
Learning to Listen
Most of us won’t listen when our children talk to us. We are preparing to give them a lecture about our childhood. We want them to behave and do just like we expect. If you can repeat exactly what they say, it means you listen without bias. You may or may not accept what they say. You can give them a logical reason for refusing. Once they know you understand what they say, it is easy to convince them to do what you want. They know you have their wellbeing in your mind. As long as you learn to listen, your children will listen to learn from you.
Changing Body Language
Many of the parents try to adopt body postures that are commanding or demanding. The children have to look up and listen, like someone kneeling in front of a tall statue. It can only instil a feeling of fear and intimidation.
Can you kneel or bend while talking your children? Maybe you could put them on a chair and sit equally in front of them. It makes them feel they are important to you. I have never shouted at my son, except at times when he is adamant. Even then my tone will be like a friend rather than a parent. The strategy has been working for me even today, even when my son is 14.
As a kid even I used to break my toys to see what was inside. Then I came to know I can’t play if I break them. You want to break your toys or play with them? Give them the option. They will start playing.
Why are you breaking your toys? Don’t you know they are expensive? How many times should I keep telling you? Say these and observe what they do. You can practically experience the difference.
It is a healthy practice to involve the children when you speak about them with your spouse. It could be a simple task like choosing a pair of shoes for them. If you want to talk anything personal, do it when they are sleeping or away in another room.
Avoid direct confrontations with your spouse when your children are around. If you disagree on something, postpone the talk. It could be difficult, but you can practice.
Practice these “exercises” for the next few weeks and observe the results. I am sure you will want to know more from my next posts.