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Parent-Child Communication: React or relate?

Photo by Hank Williams Thomas

You know that moment right after your child says or does something that pushes your buttons?

That oh-so-brief moment right before you say or do something in response?

That is the moment you have a choice... react or relate, command or communicate, belittle or be an adult.

That moment is a gift of time that can make a lifetime of difference. Use it wisely.

~ L.R.Knost - Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources

Dearest parents, please consider aiming for parent-child communication that prioritizes connection over:

  • being right
  • teaching a lesson
  • being on time
  • being in charge
  • having the last word
  • meeting some external standard

I invite you to actually pause right now and reflect on this. Imagine, in the heat of the moment, you're upset and aiming to respond in the best way possible to your child, and you pause and think "What will help me connect with my child right now?"

Empathy for yourself and for your child would likely be a great start.

If this piques your interest:

  • Check out L.R. Knost's Facebook page which will lead you to her books
  • Read Connection Parenting: Parenting through Connection instead of Coersion, through Love instead of Fear by Pam Leo
  • Investigate Marshall Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication. Read his book by that title, join a practice group if possible, and/or focus on NVC for parents - for example, try this article by Inbal Kashtan.
  • Take one of my courses 🙂

Regardless of whether you manage to study up on this....

Let us turn our thoughts again to that moment, that heated moment between you and your child.  As L.R.Knost reminds us, we have the choice.  We always have a moment of choice.  And we can always pause - PAUSE - if we need time to make a choice that will meet our desire to prioritize connection and communication over command and control.

Pause, breathe, and connect, dear parents. 

You will be repaid many times over for the time and effort.

Mother's Helper by Diego Rivera

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Parents! Words matter!

Dearest Parents:

Words matter. They do.

Your words form your child's inner hologram of the world and who they are within that world. 

Your words can break a child's heart or her spirit.

Words linger.  What you tell her now will be what she tells herself as an adult.

Your words can remind a child that she is awesome, sovereign, holy, whole and a gift to this world.

Please choose words that affirm and guide rather than label and control

This powerful image brought tears to my eyes.  

What words and phrases from your childhood haunt you?

Which do you remember with joy?

How do these words affect you now?

Please leave a comment.

This poem rectifies the lie of the old adage...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words can never hurt me”
and this I knew was surely true
and Truth could not Desert me

But now I know it is not so
I've changed the latter part;
For Sticks and stones may break the Bones
But words can break the Heart

Sticks and Stones may break the Bones
and leave the Spirit whole
But Simple Words can break the heart
Or Silence crush the soul.

~ H. J. Warren

Art by Jenna Bromser

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