Looking for a new parenting tool to deal with conflict, upset and drama? Are you tired of saying the same thing over and over? Here are a few new communication techniques to calm you down, mix-it up, get you thinking and create the change you are hoping for.
FROM: “It’s time to wake up. I’ve told you a 1,000,000 times. Get up, get up, get UP! We are going to be so late . . . again!”
TO: “I am willing to come upstairs once in the morning to make sure you have woken up to your alarm clock. I am unwilling to nag or yell at you anymore.” Consider offering anyone 6 and over $25 to buy an alarm clock of their choosing (not their phone, not their phone, NOT their phone!). Offer it this way, “I’m really sorry, I’ve been treating you disrespectfully – nagging and yelling every morning, it must be really discouraging to start the day with so much negativity?” Kids will certainly be much more interested in what we have to say if we begin with a heartfelt apology, and sincere acknowledgement of our contribution to the problem.
FROM: “Put your dirty clothes in the laundry bin! It’s not that hard.”
TO: “I am unwilling to buy any more clothes until the current clothes in your room are reliably picked up once a week. I am willing to help you tidy every Sunday at 4pm if you’d like my help. I promise to help and not lecture and advise.” Consider training anyone 11 or over to do their own laundry. Be sure the laundry basket is where the kids like to take off their clothes, not necessarily where it looks best to you. Laundry baskets with lids are subliminally asking kids to chuck their clothes on the floor.
FROM: “I need you to put your shoes on.”
TO: “The car is leaving in 10 minutes, what do you need to be ready to go?” (pssst . . . if you live with anyone 5 and over, they KNOW they need their shoes on, do NOT waste your precious life energy on repeating things people know.) Or – with a friendly smile, point to your shod feet. Or reach out to them and walk them to their shoes (nary a word is necessary). AND de-clutter your launching area (front hall, mud room, tiny nook by the most used door) to support shoes on – only 1 to 2 pairs of seasonally and fashion appropriate shoes per person are in that area.
When we have something important to communicate our children will be MORE likely to receive our messages if we: speak quietly, in a normal tone of voice, at their eye level. Communicating effectively takes a lot of practice, skill and patience. Mutually respectful communication is a relationship building tool and worth our while.