As parents we are to assist our children to acquire the necessary skills to communicate. This is done primarily through example. We must give our children the tools for good communication. Good communication skills begin in childhood and are continually developed throughout like. Give them the words they need to express themselves. When you can see they are tired, frustrated, angry or sad talk to them about their feelings and help them to express how they feel in words. For example ’Are you frustrated because you can’t do that by yourself? Would you like me to help you?’ or for a younger child just give him the words to use such as ’Help me please Mummy’. A vital part of learning is through watching and role play. Helping children express themselves with words can prevent physical reactions such as temper tantrums, hitting, bitting, throwing or angry outbursts.
Changing our words
Many of my clients have heard me say there are four words we should try to avoid when talking to children. They are ‘naughty’, ‘bad’, ‘good’ and 'no'. Instead of saying good boy/girl, try using ‘clever’. ‘That’s clever! I like the way you do that.’ Try to turn a negative comment into a positive one. eg. ‘Stop winging!’ replace with ‘Please ask me with your friendly voice’. Children love to please, they respond positively to encouragement and praise.
We should try to speak positively over our children and remember not to talk negatively about your child in their presence. Many parent have discussed the negative behaviour of their child in front of them. This may reinforce or encourage negative behaviour. If you need to discuss their behaviour with another adult then do so out of their hearing. Confess positive behaviour over your child so that they will hear your approval and continue to strive to please you. We know ourselves how positive words bring us confidence and negative words can cripple us with inferiority or inability to achieve our goals. This works the same with children. I can still remember teachers and parents speaking about my poor grades at school (I was dyslexic). This gave me a terrible inferiority complex and low self esteem which I struggled with for years.
Tips: Give your child a head start in life through building their self esteem by speaking positively over them from a very early age.
Remember: Positive words build up negative words destroy. Emotional scars often take a life time to recover from and unfortunately have become an excuse for much of the irresponsible behaviour in adolescents and adults.