Below are some observations I have made about how adults talk to children. We can all do better. We need to work to improve it. Some people will be thinking , "I already do these things." That may well be true but even as I work to apply these concepts daily I discover little things that I do are not helpful. Be careful and be aware is a good motto.
Talk to children as you would talk to adults. They are a person the same as you. When you talk to an adult as an equal they see that you are treating them with respect and as a result they learn to trust you. They gain confidence from the interaction and experience growth. Does this mean you stop being the adult? No. Children will still need the guidance and support but when treated as equals they don’t have to long to be older. They already are.
When a situation arises with a child that bothers you stop and think: How would I deal with this if it was an adult? Choose your words carefully. Anger is often misused in these situations. Instead we need to look at the situation and assess the damage. The child most likely feels guilty about it. Talk to them respectfully will restore their confidence and help them to see that what they did was wrong but they are capable of fixing it. If objects are broken, they can be replaced. Breaking a child is far more damaging than anything you own.
Communicate acceptance of the child and their ideas. Children like to ask questions. Through these questions they gain an understanding of the world. This is the perfect place to open communication and build your relationship. Develop and refine their questions and then have them find an answer. Discuss the answer. You will build their confidence at the same time as you build your relationship.
Talk with children not at them. As adults we have a tendency to talk down to them. We have a tendency to talk from an authority position, not as an equal. When we talk with them we are building self esteem and creating great learning moments for them. When we talk at them they tend to not listen and shut dot down. This leads to further disconnect.
Poor communication skills are the greatest disservice we do to children. When we do not take the time to communicate with them effectively they instinctively turn off what we have to say because it isn’t of value to them. This leads to the constant conflict and bickering that often permeates the world around teenagers. They become uncomfortable and wary because they are unsure of their world, how to react and demonstrate appropriate behaviour. If we are working to build communication in a positive way they respond more favourably.
We need to demonstrate a positive world to our kids. It is the first step towards building a better world. All kids need to be in this better place.