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Communication and your Family

As a parent and instructor, I have observed, tried, failed and succeeded in communicating with my children and students.

One thing that I've learned over the years is you have to adjust how you communicate depending on the age of the child and situation. This may seem obvious but I have witnessed (and done it myself) this not to be the case. Granted I am not a psychologist, nor do I claim to be, but I have been fortunate enough to work with hundreds (if not thousands) of children, teaching them as they grow, sometimes for over 15 years.

One common situation is over-explaining to a child. I understand you want your child to be a free thinker, expand their vocabulary, etc., but you also have to understand that children's brains have not yet developed completely. This means critical thinking, good judgment, reasoning, etc are not fully developed. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean that your child can't make decisions, but as the parent, you have to know when you will have to make some decisions for them.

I see this a lot with the younger children (under 6). Yes, their brains are developing fast and they can learn a lot at this stage. But at the same time, they are emotionally immature. I see bright kids that may know how to read or are good with numbers but have no or little control of their emotions. This shows up as tantrums, getting overwhelmed easily or shutting down. This frustrates the child and the parent and either the parent gets angry or soothes/placates them but never addressing the issue, so the child never learns how to handle/cope with that situation.

Remember, we are all parents for the first time and there is no handbook. So ask friends or family that you respect their family unit. Notice how they talk to their kids and each other. As we teach in class and all of our programs, you must show respect to get respect.

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