I believe if we communicate with the intent to understand and not only to get our point across, we will have fewer disagreements, less crime, and fewer wars. It’s well established that the home environment we provide is critical to the future of our children. Positive communication with ourselves and within the home will ripple out to benefit our communities as a whole.
I have been focused on finding positive ways to communicate with my kids because I wanted more peace in my home. Through my exploration, I realize it is my perceptions, my stories, my assumptions, and my wanting them to do a certain thing or achieve a certain goal that gets in the way of our communication and connection.
Last year, my son had a math class with loads of homework. About once a week, he would work till midnight and then set the alarm for 5:30am so that he could get up and finish the rest of his homework. I was very unhappy about this because he was not getting enough sleep. Getting plenty of sleep is very important at any age; especially when you are 13 and growing! I got pretty mad at him for not organizing his time “better” because I was so focused on the sleep he was not getting.
A few weeks of this pattern went on and it wasn’t until the morning after one of these late nights that this realization suddenly dawned on me: “Hey, he finished his homework! He stuck at it, he took responsibility, AND he wasn’t going to give up until the job was done. WOW, did I miss all this?” These are all characteristics that are going to serve him really well now and later on in life.
When I picked him up from school the next day, I said, “Hey, there is one very important thing I forgot to tell you last night. … You stuck with your homework and you didn’t give up until you finished it all!”
While nodding his head and walking straight to our car, my son said “Uh Huh.”
We get all wound up when we focus on what isn’t working. When we talk with our kids in this state, the disapproval shows through our communication even if we are not expressing disapproval. If we choose to focus on what is working, it opens our eyes to some precious moments we may have missed. These moments fill us up with gratitude and joy. When we can speak from this place, we have a much better chance of connecting with our kids and building trust, which is the foundation of a solid relationship.