Six Ways to Master Communicating With Kids

Sometimes, we provide a lot of commentary around our children’s actions.

We interject where we don’t need to, providing solutions when we should just be there as a spotter is for a gymnast - guiding children as they learn a skill or helping them to manage themselves safely. 

How can you allow your children as much freedom as possible while still maintaining a reasonable set of boundaries and supportive limits?

Applying rigid rules and restrictions enforced without flexibility or consideration of the circumstances leads children to question their sense of safety and react with the same rigid inflexibility they experience.

Many times we expect too much, too soon - placing the responsibility on children for caring for their siblings or doing housework before they can handle it or understand what it means to give of themselves

Children gradually can be held more and more responsible for how they contribute to the family unit. 

Acknowledge the developmental steps children go through instead of imposing your will about how it "needs to go."

You want your child's contributions to the family to be authentic and come from a place of willingness. 

Otherwise, you run the risk of imposing a sense of obligation and resentment instead of care and concern for others. 

We can't sustain those negative emotional states without harm to our mood, stress-tolerance, and our relationships.

Don't expect kids to "behave" so you can manage your emotions. Let non-judgment and understanding lead your discipline choices.

Six Ways to Master Communicating with Kids:

  1. Identify the impact your words have by watching your child's nonverbal signals and body language.

  2. Expand your use and practice of empathy by checking out my Conscious Communication Cards.

  3. Make it a habit to self-regulate first and then identify the fear/needs/feelings/lack of skill behind misbehavior and resistance. Focus on stress, support, skills.

  4. Compassionately set limits and create boundaries by remaining non-threatening and without using intimidation. Observe without evaluation and inquire with curiosity.

  5. Heal disconnections. Go back and repair when you've had a conflict which left hurt feelings or unsaid words. This can happen immediately or later.

  6. Make a family doctrine signed by everyone which includes your family's expectations. If your kids are little, a finger-paint signature is fun and collaborative. Commit to speaking and acting in accordance with your family values.

Many people feel uncomfortable talking about their feelings, but we must go through the painful experiences if we are to learn resilience.

Make friends with your child’s discomfort. It's there to send you a message.

To stand calmly with an open heart in the face of a raging child or steely defiance is a skill to be mastered.

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to know what stands in the way of your conscious communication.

Leave a note in the comments and share your thoughts, and please remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect! 
Talk soon,

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