The bond between parents and children depends on how both communicate with each other. Parents want to know everything. They are concerned about their inability to go through what is going on in their children’s mind. The bond will grow stronger only if there is an effective communication.
Anu, Jessica’s daughter, is studying in 8th standard. One day, Jessica happened to pass by Anu’s room and overheard her conversation with her friend.
While on the phone, Anu was mentioning about spending the Saturday evening with her boyfriend. Her detailed description about the boyfriend shocked Jessica. This was because Anu was lying. She had spent that entire Saturday evening at home with her parents and not with her boyfriend.
The only question that she asked herself was, ‘Have I failed as a parent?’
Confused and shocked Jessica thought a lot about the reason behind Anu’s behavior. After the parenting guidance from our WOW Parenting expert Narendra Goidani, Jessica decided to talk with Anu.
Jessica approached her daughter and calmly said “Sorry, but I heard your conversation with your friend. I happened to listen about you spending the evening with your boyfriend. Is everything okay?”
Anu Explained, “Mumma, all my friends humiliate me. They say I don’t have a boyfriend and I spend all my weekends at home. It humiliates me. To avoid this I created an imaginary boyfriend.” Jessica laughed with this explanation.
Anu added, “Mumma, I am ashamed of lying but please help me. What can be done?”
Jessica suggested two things.
“Why don’t you just break up with your imaginary boyfriend next Saturday. Tell your friend that he wasn’t just good enough. And secondly, just keep a distance from these toxic friends.” Anu did exactly the same.
After that, she said to Jessica, “‘Mom, I feel so relieved. You are so good and unlike any other mom in the world. I can come to you if anything happens to me.”
Now, what was the key point in this entire scenario? It all revolves around the effective communication between a parent and the child.
How did Jessica manage to solve Anu’s Problem in a way that she also gained her trust?
An important question here is that, why do children lie? Can effective communication with children help? How to do it?
All of us play around the truth. We twist it a bit. Lying is about finding how the world responds to it. Kids are hypersensitive to rejection. They think everyone is watching themselves. They need to feel the security and be trustworthy. Jessica did the same. She put herself in Anu’s shoe to solve the issue.
It’s not that Anu liked to lie. But she didn’t know how to handle the humiliation. Jessica very calmly empathized Anu with effective communication.
Now let’s have a look at five different ways to communicate with children effectively.
1) Running Experiments is More Effective than Setting Rules.
For Example- You want to control the mobile usage of your child. First Experiment it hourly. Give them a time duration. Find out how and what works. Then extend the duration slowly. Directly telling them to stop using gadgets will not work. Run the experiments. It will slowly make them habitual to the changes.
2) The rule that is applicable to the entire family works better than rules separately made for children.
If you make a rule, that everyone must go to sleep at 10.30 PM. The entire family should sleep at 10.30 PM. Do not just make this rule for children. It works better when the rule is for the entire family. Such rules have higher chances of success.
3) When children feel understood they are more likely to cooperate than when they feel things are being imposed on them.
Follow the Golden rule of Listen 5 and Talk 1. Listen to your child for 5 minutes and talk for 1 minute. Many parents reverse this calculation. They talk more than listening to the child. It never works. It always backfires.
4) Walk kid through various scenarios.
What did Jessica do with Anu? She asked Anu. What will happen if your friend comes to know that you lied what would happen? What if you drop such friends in life? When people humiliate, what would be another alternative to deal with it? This way she helped Anu to run through various scenarios rather than bombarding her with Do’s and Don’ts. It worked brilliantly well.
5) People’s bizarre behavior makes sense to them.
E.g.- You go back home after a long tiring day. You don’t wish to sit on the dining table and have food. Rather you want to relax and sit on the sofa. Watch your favorite series. But, your family members may think that it is a bizarre behavior. For them, proper behavior is sitting on the dining table as one eats. What makes perfect sense to you, maybe bizarre behavior to other.
Let us take another example, You want children to brush their teeth before sleep. Children may think- Why so? Do animals brush? The animals don’t even have a dentist. It is a bizarre explanation. But it is actually making sense to the children. So to find out a middle way, communicate keeping this thought in mind. As a result, you will find cooperation instead of resistance, enough joyful moments, and the bond will be stronger too.
Implement and see the magic of these five ways for effective communication with your children. After all, communication is the key to solve all the problems.