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4 Parenting Skills You Can’t Live Without
Simple and effective communication techniques that make a huge difference.
Communicating effectively with kids is the key to successful parenting. How you say and what you say to your children can influence whether you get cooperation or a power struggle.
Learning effective communication techniques can make a huge difference. Many of these techniques require that you just change a couple of words around in a sentence. That simple change can make or break interactions with your children.
Here are four communication techniques that parents shouldn’t live without:
- “I” Statements:
We can use this skill in many different ways but I find it the most helpful when I am frustrated and overwhelmed and need to express anger.
Losing our tempers is not fun, but it does happen. “I” statements help us let off steam without hurting our children. For example, if a child grabs your phone and drops it, instead of saying, “You are so irresponsible!” try saying:
“I get upset when my phone is handled like that.”
When a child is running around, instead of saying, “You are so wild today. You are impossible!” try saying: “I get really frustrated when children run around when they should be sitting.”
- The “statement turned question” technique:
I love this technique because it makes kids think, it engages kids cooperation in a respectful way and it helps parents avoid power struggles.
Instead of saying, “You should share your toys,” try this:
“When do you think you would be able to share your truck?”
Instead of: “Get your coat on!” try this: “The temperature outside is 40 degrees. What coat do you think would work best?”
Instead of: “Do your homework now!” try this, “Where is the best place for you to get your homework done?”
- “We” statements:
“We” statements are a subtle but effective way to build a feeling of family camaraderie and teamwork. It is also helpful in teaching children that they too are responsible for their home.
Instead of: “Clean your room!” try this, “How should we get started on cleaning this room?
Instead of: “You need to peel the carrots for the salad!” try this, “Weneed to get dinner started. How should we split up the jobs?”
Instead of: “You have to come and help me with the errands today!” try this, “We have lots of errands that need to get done. How do you think we should work out the schedule?”
- “You can do this” statements:
In order to have a loving, caring and peaceful home, we need to speak to our children in positive ways and send supportive and encouraging messages that convey, “You are capable, you can figure out solutions and you have the inclination to do the right thing.”
One way to do this is to use “You can do this” or what Miriam Adahan calls “statements of presuppositions”:
I am sure you have plans for a better response when your friend comes over and you have trouble sharing a toy.”
“I know you might be upset at your brother now. When you are ready to make peace, it can help to think of two things that you like about your brother, two good things that he has done for you. ”
“You seem upset about that grade. I am sure you have plans on how to deal with it. If you need any ideas, I am here to help.”
“You can do this” or presupposition statements help kids get in touch with their own inner sources of strength and ability. It shows kids that they are capable of making amends, repairing relationships, listening to their parents and solving the big and little problems of life. It also helps us as parents to talk to our kids with respect and an eye towards building kids self-esteem in positive ways.
About the Author : Adina Soclof
Adina Soclof, MS. CCC-SLP, is the Director of Parent Outreach for A+ Solutions, facilitating “How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk” workshops as well as workshops based on “Siblings Without Rivalry.”