More Effective Communication with Children - part 1
By Robert Najemy
They need the truth with love.
More Effective Communication with Children - Part 1
Robert Elias Najemy
Today we are experiencing an ever-growing communication gap between parents, teachers and the children whom they are responsible for. Only through honest and sincere communication can we help our children to become honest, healthy and happy individuals. Some of the basic concepts of communication expressed in earlier chapters are repeated here with emphasis on communication with children. THE BASIS OF COMMUNICATION The guidelines for effective communication with children are, of course, the same as those for communication between all human beings.
The basis of communication is the golden rule, "do to others as you would like others to do to you". So we simply need to ask, "how we would like others to communicate with us?" Here are some thoughts:
1. We would all like honesty from all who communicate with us. No one likes being told lies. Nor do we like people to make up stories and excuses. We would like to hear the truth about what the other is thinking, feeling or doing. We feel safer, more able to cope with any situation when we know what we are dealing with. The same holds for our children. When we tell them lies, they feel insecure and distrustful of the world around them. They learn to tell lies. There can be no communication in such a case. Although the truth might not always be the easiest response, it is always the "soul- ution"
2. We all want logical reasoning and explanations from the person who is communicating with us. If he or she speaks in an irrational way, or says, "look it will simply be done this way and I have no intention of explaining to you why; do it that way because I said so, because I want it that way, although it seems illogical", we will not feel very happy. We will feel that the other has no interest in our needs or feelings. We will feel that he or she is not respecting us. This is the way our children feel when we give orders or make statements without explaining the reasons behind them.
No child is too young to be spoken to with reason and logic. Even if he or she cannot grasp all the factors involved, he or she will at least feel respected. That is extremely important.
3. Respect is absolutely essential in communication. We need to respect both ourselves and the other. That means that on the one hand, we do not suppress that which we want or feel, and on the other, we do not suppress the other. It also means that we do not shout at, criticize or demean the others with harsh words. We would not like to be talked to in this way. Children are even more sensitive and vulnerable to shouting and harsh words. Their self-image and sense of security are seriously undermined. Respect breeds respect. When we show respect to our children during their early years they will return this behavior in the later years. If we frequently criticize, blame, demean or speak down to them, we will find that during adolescence, this lack of respect will then be returned to us.
4. We all want to be loved. We want to know that the other person cares for us, accepts us. It is not necessary for them to agree with us or accept all that we do or believe. We can accept each other despite our differences. This kind of unconditional acceptance is essential for open, honest communication. If we feel that the other is going to get angry, reject us or nag me for something which we will tell him or her, then we will likely not communicate at all with that person. This is a situation children get into frequently.
When we continuously criticize and advise our children, they gradually stop telling us what they are doing. They stop communicating, because whatever they will say will be criticized. Or they may start criticizing us. They start rejecting whatever we say. They may do this with words or with actions which symbolize rebellion, independence and rejection of our beliefs.
Assurance that there will always be love and acceptance, whatever the one or the other may do, keeps the channel open for honest communication. We are talking about accepting the being and not every action which he or she may perform. This distinction is important. We can express our displeasure or disagreement concerning a particular belief or behavior, while still feeling love and acceptance for the child.
5. Our children look for consistency from their elders. We have discussed this in the previous chapter. When there is no consistency between words and actions, the basis of communication breaks down, because words have no meaning they are empty.
6. Communication is a two way process. We need to learn to speak and to listen. We do not like communicating with someone who talks continuously and does not allow us a chance to express ourselves. On the other hand, neither do we like it when we speak and the other does not respond. A balance is needed. Most of us need to learn to listen more. Children need a sounding board for their thoughts, discoveries and problems. If we are not capable of listening properly our children will close up and / or find someone else to talk with.
If you would like to receive a free email course with 16 messages concerning how we can help our Children, Send in an email to the following address to get one message each week on Life's Lessons for 16 weeks. communicatingchildren@GetResponse.com
* Robert Elias Najemy is the author of over 600 articles, 400 lecture cassettes on Human Harmony and 20 books; sold over 100,000 copies. His book The Psychology of Happiness is available at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0971011605/holisticharmo-20
About The Author
Robert Elias Najemy who is the author of 20 books which have sold over 100,000 copies. He is the founder and has been the director of the Center for Harmonious Living in Athens, Greece for the last 26 years. The center has a membership of 3000 clients and 600 students. He has lectured over 25,000 hours and has worked with around 20,000 persons through personal appointments, classes and seminars. He has produced over 500 cassettes and videocassettes with an abundance of information or human harmony. He is not a psychologist, nor a doctor but rather a chemical engineer who gave up his profession 35 years ago in order to study human nature and all aspects of human health, happiness, harmony and spiritual development. He has a certificate in Counseling from the Counseling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (UK) and certificates as a practitioner of three forms of Energy Psychology; specifically Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Tapas Acupuncture Techniques (TAT) and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Robert has developed a six-year self-knowledge seminar which is taught at his school and has also been recorded on 200 acoustic and videocassettes and is thus available in other cities. He has trained more than 250 life coaches, 50 of whom now work with him in Athens, Greece and other affiliated centers around Greece and Cyprus.