Within the family there are communication break downs from time to time! Ok, more frequently then we think considering interrupting, and whining to be communication break downs, I would say we experience it daily, even hourly.
I have been listening to a few pod casts, reading a few blogs, and seeking wisdom when it comes to communication within the family, and here are some bullet point ideas I have gathered:
Interrupting – After listening to a pod cast the speaker, September McCarthy, said one thing she observed with her kids was she was using the phase, “Stop interrupting,” and was getting no results from her kids. She believed this was because she wasn’t teaching her kids the WHY. Why interrupting is harmful and impolite. So she began to explain to her kids,
“When you choose to interrupt, you are putting your needs above others.”
I liked this explanation, because sometimes interrupting can be important, like if someone is BLEEDING! But, other times when we interrupt we are telling the people talking that, “my needs are more important.” We have been working on the verse, (Golden Rule) Do unto others as you would have them do to you. This totally applies when it comes to interrupting.
Since my kiddos are younger we have been also working on the elbow or leg system I heard about from a friend. This system is where if a child needs you they can come and place their hand in a designated spot and the parent would place their hand on top of the child to tell them I see you and I will speak with you when I am finished. I really enjoy this system but I felt like it was missing something due to the consistent “Excuse me, Excuse me, Excuse me” we hear in the car when they cannot physically touch mom or dad. So I like the combination of both of this ideas.
Communication (for adults, teens, and children) – During this same pod cast mentioned above, the speaker talked about her 4 Rules for Communication.
- Honesty – When we respond in a conversation we need to always respond with POLITE honesty. So when the hubby asks me, “How are you doing?” The response of, “Fiiiine” is not using honesty, I need to communicate to him how I am feeling, (because unfortunately he is not a mind reader, no matter how many years we have been together he will never become a mind reader either). The part about POLITE is a real important aspect to me, here is an example: “How does this dress look on me?” “I think you look like a fat cow, just being honest.” This expression of “Just being honest,” so you can say something impolite is not the christ-like honesty we need to be using. I can also hear in my head whenever I hear the expression, “Just being honest” my dad saying the phrase, “Sooo does that mean the other things you say are not honest because you didn’t say ‘just being honest?'” I think the idea of honesty in all we say is great to start young with the kids too because I can see the growth in communication that can come from learning this skill.
- Keep it current – I am totally guilty of this, we need to keep to the current topic of disagreement, not bringing up what happened last year. It reminds me to forgive like Jesus does, where our sins are casted as far as the east is from the west. There is a lot of what if’s that come in this section and I get that, but as a general rule, it is good for us to keep it current in our communication.
- Attack the Problem NOT the person – such a good reminder because I know if I feel attacked in a conversation I will never get to finding a solution because I will be too busy protecting myself from the attack. Our words are powerful and can help or hurt.
- Act Don’t React – this to me represents attacking the problem head on, and being purposeful in our pursuit of communication. I am still really working on this in my form of communication to my kids. When I feel worn down from the day or have given a million reminders I can tend to react or personalize behaviors that are not personal. (Your children don’t wake up thinking, “At 9:05 am I am going to make sure I have disobeyed 10 times so that I can really upset my mom, they don’t do that, their behavior is usually NOT personal, they are just learning.) The visual I get with this rule is when a toddler falls and doesn’t cry right away, but looks to your face to figure out what his reaction should be. If we scream, cry, gasp, and run to the toddler, what does the toddler do? THE SAME THING! But, if we stop evaluate how the toddler is physically and calmly check in, 9 times out of 10, what I have experienced (with a harmless fall) is they will get up and keep playing. We are teaching the reaction even from a young age, so it is great to be aware.
Whining – Boy oh boy I am in the trenches with this topic! Save me from this whiny stage please! Assure me there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Sounds like I have given up hop, but NO I haven’t given up, I just haven’t found what works best yet.
Here are some of the expressions we have tried:
- “I can’t understand what you are saying when you speak like that.”
- “When need to have a happy heart, and a happy voice.”
- “Please use clear words”
- “You will need to try that again without a whiny voice”
Some times they work but I am holding on to the hope that there is something that will connect better. PLEASE HELP A MOMMA OUT, do you guys have any expressions you have heard or used???? I love learning from others, so please share your wisdom!