Do you ever feel like you don’t communicate well with your kids? That maybe you are not speaking the same language?
That’s because you aren’t.
We parents speak in a code that kids don’t understand. We try to direct them to do the things we want them to do. We use words like “need” instead of “have to” and let them think they made the decision.
And kids – they translate parent language into new and exciting meanings that fit their lifestyle.
I’ve managed to decode some of the more frequent interactions between my kids and myself:I say: I expect you to be on your best behavior in church. I mean: Please don’t put me through an hour-long torture session. They hear: We are about to have a torture session in which we have to sit still and be quiet for an hour. Let’s act like we need an exorcism to release the demons from within us. I say: Are you playing nice? I mean: I saw you hit that kid over the head with a block. They hear: Go over to that other kid and see if hitting him with a block elicits the same reaction. I say: I don’t think the dog likes that. I mean: If you don’t stop pulling his tail he is going to bite you. They hear: Pulling his tail is bad, but it’s ok to pull his ears and jump on his back. I say: I am going in the other room for a few minutes. I mean: I am going to attempt to go to the bathroom without you knowing. They hear: Mom is going to the bathroom! Let’s knock on the door repeatedly, get in an epic fight, have a bathroom emergency in which we can only use the bathroom she is in, scream that we are starving and try to build a swimming pool in the basement. I say: Maybe you should choose a different pair of pants. I mean: Honey, if you go to school like that I am not responsible for what the other kids will say. They hear: Let me pick out another equally or worse choice. I say: Did you brush your teeth and put on deodorant? I mean: I can’t believe I have to say this to a 12-year-old every day. They hear: Nag, nag, nag I say: Your screen time is over. I mean: I have to tell you to stop playing on the computer even though it has been the most peaceful time of the day.
They hear: (Nothing. They can’t hear a parent when they are staring zombie-like at the screen.)I say: We need to get in the car now. I mean: We have to get in the car now. They hear: It’s time to poop.