Ever see a parent in a store admonish their child for not doing what they were told? “STOP IT!” are the words most commonly called out. Stop what? Is what most children think. And then most often they do the opposite in response. Then, perhaps the parent’s words get harsher, or the stance more threatening. “Why can’t you just… behave?” “What’s wrong with you?!”
These words carry a lot of weight. Weight that turns into lifelong baggage.
The word STOP is magical when used a bit differently. Consider stopping the next time you or your child acts out. STOP, LOOK, LISTEN. What’s going on? What is asking to be acknowledged? How can you help your child to shift out of the negative into the positive? Answer: by doing that yourself, first.
“Wow,” I heard a mom say to her three rambunctious boys going down the cereal lane in the grocery store. “It’s going to be hard to stay focused here! Look at all this cool stuff. Who can help me find what I’m looking for? Can you guys help mom out?”
In an instant she turned a trip down disaster lane in a treasure hunt. How? She acknowledged the truth. It is hard to stay focused. And, she needed help. The moment had integrity, not because what was happening was sound, but rather because she was acknowledging that what was happening was challenging. The fact is life with, and without, children is often challenging.
How much of what people say do they mean?
If we all tuned in to ourselves first before opening our mouths to communicate, we might not talk as much, or as critically or judgmentally as we often do. Self–reflecting is a useful communication tool that takes some practice to learn how to use effectively.
Scientific research studies indicate that children receive approximately 400 hundred negative messages a day and approximately 30 positive messages. Conscious communication offers a positive way to connect with your child and others and to build meaningful, supportive, healthy relationships.
If your child, or others, consistently tune you out, chances are you may have become too negative or critical. Are you taking time to praise the positive efforts your child or others are making? Are you communicating or are you lecturing? Are you taking your child’s or another’s perception of the situation into consideration?
Perception is the process of using the 5 senses to acquire information about the surrounding environment or situation. Our perceptions create attitudes or an understanding based on what is observed or thought.
But here’s the thing: Perceptions are not always true.
Example: a person may say ‘See’ and our ears may perceive the ocean.
A shallow lake at dusk appears to run deep.
A large rock in the right light may look like a lion.
A man with poor hearing may appear to be aloof.
A shy child may appear inattentive.
Always question your perception. Always question what is true.
One consultation can improve your family’s life.
Karin Yapalater MFA, CHHC, AADP
Board Certified Individual & Family Health & Nutrition Counselor
Park Avenue Family Wellness • Hamptons Family Wellness
715 Park Avenue • New York, NY 10021