I'm surprised not more parents think about psychology when interacting with their kids. It seems like parents are focusing on how to use psychology in the grown up world, like work place and among friends, but forget how unbelievably effective and important it can be in order to communicate pleasantly with the kids. And teaching them skills which will be used their whole life. Often it's how you explain thing that's important, the message and thought can be spot on but will lose meaning if delivered poorly.
What do I know about this? I'm an expert on using poor psychology when communicating with adults. I basically suck at it. But I've found the way I speak and interact with kids to be incredibly effective. Which tells me I should treat adults like toddlers.
Readers Digests parenting section has a short and nice article about how to say things to your kids. They talk about 7 brief examples of how to say things the "right and wrong" way. It's mostly common sense stuff but I think these things are easy to forget and it doesn't hurt to be reminded every now and then. Does it make a difference changing styles and thinking a little bit about psychology? Definitely. Not in a week or a month but further down the line I'm sure it will be very helpful for child and parent.
It reminds me much about all the time I'm spending with my kids now when they're young. Paternity leave, short work hours, lots of vacations (with the kids), is all done for the kids (and of course myself as well). I see great results of that now but expect to see the biggest payback in 15 years when we'll have a great relationship during the challenging teenage years.
A couple of my favorites from the article:
4. What you say: "Don't worry — it'll be okay."
What they hear: "You're such a drama queen!"
A better way to say it: "I totally understand what you must have gone through. Tell me about it."
When a child comes home upset about being teased by classmates or not winning a medal at the swim meet, it's only natural for parents to downplay his disappointment and offer consolation. Adults know that such setbacks are minor.
I make this mistake all the time. Explaining things more to my kids would really help.
6. What you say: "Make sure you share."
What they hear: "Give away your stuff."
A better way to say it: "Jesse would like to play with your race car for a while, but it's still yours and he will give it back."
I'm a huge believer in sharing and will not let my kids turn into egotistical assholes who won't let others use their toys. But I should be more clear about how I say it, they probably get the wrong idea at times.
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