“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” is a pretty popular quote by Peggy O’Mara, and from a parenting stand point it can not be overlooked.
As a person who believes in freedom and personal choice it is hard not to judge other parents as you walk through department stores, or retailers in general. Snatching up kids, yelling at them to do what they want without an explanation. I try to put myself in the kids shoes, and I ask myself, would I listen to that person?
Heck no I wouldn’t!
You Catch More Flies With Honey
When we procreate, at first you feel this huge love and responsibility. A few years later sometimes that isn’t always at the forefront of the decision making in day to day activities.
Life gets a hold of you and you get short tempered and snappy. You have this other person that you a responsible for and expect them to listen to your every word. You demand it most times.
That’s not honey. It’s not sweet at all.
Our children need an explanation from us for the things we demand of them. The I told you too isn’t good enough. Is it good enough for you?
If a person comes up to you barking orders, not presenting a reason (either before or after barking), are you going to be receptive of it? Of course you wouldn’t. But a lot of the time that is what we do to our children.
They don’t owe us anything. We made them, and we are responsible for them. We owe it to THEM to explain why. That is the honey a lot of parents are missing. It also helps us understand why we are asking something of them to begin with.
Don’t Be Selfish With Your Demands
There is a good chance if you can’t offer the honey of an explanation to your child, it is because you were being selfish. Maybe they are being loud when playing, or taking too long to do something that you asked.
When you lay out the because I told you so, you are directly admitting to selfishness and a disregard for their coaching. You want something and you don’t have to say why.
Now, sometimes an immediate response is necessary. Maybe you are crossing the road, and on coming traffic is approaching. You need them to stop when you ask. If you have been using honey up to this point there is a good change they will. They know an explanation of the command is coming. If the inverse is true, they probably wont listen because they know it is a challenge. Some kids will cower to challenges, and some kids won’t. You already know which child you have. Maybe both.
Your Children’s Inner Voice
The coaching and training we offer a child in their first years will stick with them forever to a degree. It helps mold their personality, and how they fight battles. Do they give up, or rise to the occasion? A lot of these traits are directly related to the voice they have inside their own head as they grow and change.
We had a huge impact on that voice, and a lot of time its tone. Take a moment before speaking to them to make sure you are using honey and not saying things you regret or being selfish. Some of the parenting style you inflict on them, will also be how they raise their children. Did you set a good example, or are we being the, “what not to do’s?”
They will look back on all that is happening right now and measure it as tools to use themselves.
Your children are always going to make mistakes, just like we do, but we can work to coach that inner voice to be one that they can use to be good people and good adults, instead of constantly fighting internal battles we set into motion long before they knew it.
They need encouragement and trust, that is the basis of any healthy relationship. Don’t judge them for their actions, take each as it’s own entity. It is. Every decision they make is based on previous ones in a build up. Take the opportunity to correct bad behavior with explanation instead of demand, and you will see them resist much less on instruction. It is a great way to invest in the relationship bank account we talked about in a previous post.
They will also judge themselves less harsh, because they disappointment that is presented in demands and yelling will be absent. It can be replaced with learning and coaching that will help them grow into better decision makers.
Each opportunity we have to coach them is an opportunity to leave them with a lesson they can use. Nobody can use, “because I said so!” So the lesson can be one of encouragement, even when a negative action took place. Or it can be an exacerbation of negative behavior, creating a cycle.
Take the time to show them love. You are a mentor, whether you want to be or not, if you have children. Take that on like a mentor would, instead of a boss who hates his job barking orders from an office. Get dirty with them and full explain everything you ask. It will be worth the extra time and effort you put in to help them understand.
It will help mold their inner voice to respect you from a position of gratitude instead of fear. They will also be much more receptive of your instructions when they come.