Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Communication with Your Elementary School Child

Communication with Your Elementary Age Child
by Denis Waitley

In communicating with children of all ages, eye contact and physical contact are important. These should be part of our everyday dealings. A child whose parents use eye and physical contact will likely be more comfortable with himself and others, be a better communicator and have better self-esteem.

Eye contact, especially, is a little gesture whose presence or absence can covey big meaning. There’s surprisingly little eye contact in many households, and when it does exist, it’s usually negative, such as when the teen is being reprimanded. The more you can make eye contact in a loving way, the more your child will feel nourished.

You send several hundred verbal and nonverbal messages to your children each day. You don’t have to say a word to send a message to your child. You can turn off verbal communications, but not the nonverbal ones. Ninety-three percent of all communication is nonverbal. Parents under stress often withdraw from one another and from their children, and when they do communicate, it tends to be bossy and irritable.

First you listen, and then you talk. Decide that for you the conversation is going to be about listening. Devote your attention to what your son or daughter is saying, because kids are very good at detecting insincerity. Make it clear that you are listening and trying to understand your child’s point of view. When your child describes an event, repeat what you think your child has just said. You might say, “It sounds like you’re saying….” Don’t be too quick with advice. Pat answers imply that the child’s problem is too simple and maybe not significant. Listen while the child explores all aspects of the situation. Often, your child will talk himself or herself into the same solution you were eager to offer.

Stress to your child the importance of using positive, affirming language. Teach your child that his/her language is a reflection of his/her thoughts and attitudes. Also, that others will form attitudes about us, based in part on what they hear us say.

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