Whose experience matters most?

discipline Sep 29, 2018

I was three years old and it changed the way I thought and felt about myself. 

It's a moment that shows the impact of a parent misunderstanding the needs of a child. More specifically my parents misreading my behavior. 

There are some tears, this is a vulnerable share for me. 

The reason for the share is summed up with the question, "What experience is my child having at this moment?"

It's not about the experience you're observing your child have, but the experience your child is having.

When you're in the perspective of the child and communicate from where they are, instead of where you are, you have more influence.  

One last thing- it's not about perfection. You're going to miss the mark sometimes. But when you do, the repair happens when you hear and understand the experience your child is having versus trying to get your child to understand the experience you're having.

Do you have a similar story? A moment when you needed something you...

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Talking with Toddlers #4: The Power of Pantomime

One of the best parts about having a toddler is the joy of seeing the mundane world through the eyes of your child. Everything is so new and exciting to them. A dirty rock or a dead leaf can create hours of joy and exploration. While this fresh way of seeing the world is fun to watch and can be very entertaining, it can also be very frustrating. 

Young children's understanding of the world is limited to the senses; what can be seen, touched, smelled and heard. It can be a bit tricky as an adult to remember what the world looked like from that limited point of view. What appears to make sense to us, can be far out of reach for your toddler to grasp. One of the best ways to bring ideas and concepts to a toddler's level of understanding is pantomime.

Body Language

If our young child is having a hard time following directions, or shows frustration, parents have a tendency to increase their facial expressions and tone of voice. If we say...

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Talking with Toddlers #3: Bye Bye Baby Talk

Baby talk or parentese, as we call it in psychology, is the universal way adults talk to babies. It is know for its higher pitch and rise at the end of the statements. For infants, this kind of talk lights up the brain. Baby talk encourages social interactions and helps with language acquisition. These benefits of parentese are only true for young infants. Once infants have better comprehension, the benefits go away.

As children become verbal they will change their own voices when they talk to infants too. From early on, young children have an understanding that the tone and rhythm of language for babies should be different. Parents who continue to use baby talk with their toddlers will find that their children begin to disengage or even ignore them. Toddlers feel disrespected when you use a type of language meant for babies. It is important to talk with your older infants, and toddlers in a normal tone of voice. The same tone you would use...

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Talking with Toddlers #2: The Purpose of Whining

As toddler become more verbal they start to use a new tone of voice. The Whine. It is that sing-song tone that makes your skin crawl. Most parents hate this voice and don't respond to it. So why does it even happen? Why are toddlers so whinny? The answer may surprise you. The whinny voice is actually a transitional stage.

A Step Up From Crying

From birth infants have two modes of communication, body language and crying. The main vocalization is crying. As a child learns to talk they add a new way to communicate. But the other ways don't just go away. There is still a good amount of body language. They point, hold their hands up, turn away, and shake their heads, and use many other nonverbal gestures to communicate. They also cry when they are tired, frustrated and hurt. With the addition of words and language, children combined the cry with the words. The result is whining.  

Just like crying, whining drives us crazy, and moves us into action....

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Talking with Toddlers #1: Modeling Social Skills

discipline toddlers Mar 13, 2018

The number one way you communicate with your children is through your own actions. Most of us know this, but we limit it's meaning. There is one area of modeling that often gets lost and that is the modeling of social skills. Most parents think a young child needs to be around other children to learn social skills. I often hear parents say they want to put their child into preschool, so they can learn how to interact with others. This seems logical.  If a child is home with adults, how can they learn to interact with children? The problem is, other children don't know how to behave correctly either. It is like the blind leading the blind. The common result is children coming home with a myriad of wrong, and often aggressive, behaviors. 

Social skills are actually learned from watching adults. As adults we model social behaviors in the way we interact with other adults, and how we treat our children. These interacts are the...

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