027: Blog reaction, Part 1: Why interactions between adults and children often fail

In our previous two blogs, we pointed out several reasons why interactions between adults and children can often fail. The first reason we outlined was:

1)  The adult point of view dominates the conversation. The younger mind does not have the understanding to imagine what the adult is talking about. The adult may be using words the child understands, even speaking calmly and patiently; however, the child has not developed the thoughts to fully imagine what is being said. The adult point of view takes for granted too many thoughts that are unknown by the child.

As a parent, it is easy to think that your child understands what you’re saying, especially if you are using a calm voice and are talking slowly and deliberately. You can see your child is looking at you as you’re speaking, and maybe even nodding his head as if he understands. I’ve even specifically asked my daughter, “Do you understand?” and she’ll respond with a “yes ma’am” and then proceed to disobey me or ask me a question about what I just explained. It can get frustrating to have to repeat myself several times, as I’m sure you’re aware if you’ve ever interacted with toddlers.

However, it immediately became less frustrating for me once I realized that my daughter doesn’t have the same grasp of concepts (and even some words or phrases) that I do, no matter how smart I think she is for her age. How could she? She is only three, after all, and has only accumulated three years of experience in life compared to my 29. I can speak as calmly or as slowly as I want or repeat things over and over again, but if I’m talking about something that she hasn’t truly learned about yet, I might as well be talking to a wall.

Just because I know what I mean when I say something like, “Don’t walk into the road, please” doesn’t mean my daughter knows what I mean by that. I don’t want her going into the road for her own safety. But she doesn’t know that getting hit by a car would hurt — she’s never seen anything get hit by a car and seen for herself the damage it could cause.

Just because I know what I mean when I say something like, “Please don’t pull on the dog’s ears like that,” doesn’t mean she understands that it hurts the dog, especially if he’s a patient dog and doesn’t cry out or snap at her.

Just because I know what I mean when I hold my finger to my lips or hold my hand up for quiet when I’m on the phone doesn’t mean she understands that I need her to be quiet for a minute.

As the adult with much more life experience and knowledge, it is up to me to understand what my child does and doesn’t know. It is up to me to Teach her what she doesn’t know, to Encourage her to learn more and try new things, to Listen when she is trying to tell me something about her world, and to Love her through it all.

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026: Some interactions adults have with children fail. Here’s 3 reasons why:

Upset mother scolding her daughter in the bedroom

 

 

I have found the majority of interactions between an adult and child fail to achieve its desired result predominately due to one or more of the following three reasons:

 

1)  The adult point of view dominates the conversation. The younger mind does not have the understanding to imagine what the adult is talking about. The adult may be using words the child understands, even speaking calmly and patiently; however, the child has not developed the thoughts to fully imagine what is being said. The adult point of view takes for granted too many thoughts that are unknown by the child.

2) The adult does not realize the younger mind is being steered more by emotion than by rational ideas. Adults tend to focus on fixing the child’s thinking using rational thoughts. Current research has made it clearer that individuals under the age of 25 are more likely to be thinking with an emotional filter.

3) Adults underreact and then they overreact. Adults may notice a limiting behavior or choice being made by the child and decide to ignore the situation. Later, when it eventually becomes a big enough deal to bring up, the child then thinks, “What’s the big deal? What am I doing differently? What’s different this time?”

Can you relate to any of these reasons? Stay tuned to the next blog posts to see how a young mom relates to these ideas!

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025: The journey continues: Our 25th blog!

Today we are publishing our 25th blog post! THANK YOU for being with us on this journey. We are grateful for the time and constructive feedback each one of you offers in helping the Show & T.E.L.L. blog establish a favorable position in the online community.

25th blog

I created TELL Our Children in July 2014 because of my desire to share how adults can more effectively interact with our younger generations. After nearly 30 years of studying adult-children interactions, I have discovered there are best practices for interacting with our youth. Older generations tell our younger generations many things with good intentions. Yet the majority of adults unknowingly interact with our youth using unclear and inappropriate information.

I founded TELL Our Children to mentor, inspire, and unite caregivers with better information for interacting with our youth. My dream is to share with adults and others what I’ve learned through my years of study.

If you have found the messages up to this point helpful, please share the Show & T.E.L.L. Blog with others and invite your friends to ‘Like’ us on Facebook and Twitter.

The TELL Our Children VISION is to create a world where all children have at least one adult in life who will T.E.L.L. – Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love – them, unconditionally!

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024: Nonverbal cues matter when you T.E.L.L., too!

My daughter is the first born of my three children, and together we lived through her first few months with colic. For those parents who have experienced this, you know what I mean. Colic is when a baby will cry and be fussy for hours at a time. Some experts define a child as colicky if the child cries for more than three hours per day, more than three days per week, for at least three weeks. For my daughter, it started when she was three weeks old, and it stopped pretty much the day she turned three months old.

As a new parent, I felt almost helpless because all I knew to do was hold her until her pain subsided and the crying stopped. I would wrap my little baby up in a blanket and just hold her close to me; often wanting to cry with her because I assumed that was all I could do. Eventually she would fall asleep.

During one of these moments, my mother was visiting and she took the baby from me with a comment, “I’d be scared and crying too if you were looking at me like that.” She placed my daughter on her lap, and started speaking softly and gently to her: “I wish I knew what you are saying, are you singing? You are definitely using those young lungs of yours, and they are getting stronger and stronger. Let’s sing a song together.” And she continued talking softly and singing to my daughter. In time, my daughter was laughing and smiling with my mother.

I watched my mother have a completely different experience with my infant daughter because of the assumptions or thoughts she used to address the situation. We talked about it afterwards. She made me realize I had a look of fear in my face because I was assuming pain, problems, and helplessness. My assumptions, or mis-assumptions, were not going to make the situation any better for my daughter. The colicky moments would be much better for both of us if my daughter could see and hear a calm and patient mother holding her, not a frantic one. As I approached this situation with new assumptions, her colicky moments become less stressful for both of us.

This was a T.E.L.L.ing moment for me as a new mom. My nonverbal cues mattered, they also T.E.L.L. my child. What nonverbal cues do you use to T.E.L.L. your child? For example, facial expressions, body language, hand movements, etc. Share them with us using the link below, and we will generate an upcoming blog with your ideas!

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023: Think about creating T.E.L.L.ing moments

I am responsible for my words and actions, no one else.

In any interaction, it is easy to rationalize what we say and do. We can always prove we are right saying what we did during a conversation.

Yet the more I learn to Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love, the more I realize how it provides a standard for me to gauge my interactions. These questions often come to mind when interacting with people:

1) How can I T.E.L.L. in this interaction?

2) What am I learning from this interaction? How can my words and actions focus on learning new ideas?

3) Do I feel encouraged or discouraged? How can my words and actions be encouraging?

NOTE: When I am not sure how to encourage or if I feel discouraged, I remain silent until I have a T.E.L.L.ing thought to share.

4) How are we listening? Do I feel heard? How can my words and actions show I am curious to hear the other person’s point of view? NOTE: When my point of view is not of interest, that is, the other person just wants to tell me what he or she thinks, I remain silent until I have a T.E.L.L.ing thought to share.

I cannot control what others say and do in an interaction, I can only do my part to T.E.L.L. I must keep my thoughts and actions focused on T.E.L.L.ing thoughts. I am responsible for my words and actions, no one else.

The more you reflect on T.E.L.L.ing interactions, the easier it becomes to apply and practice these principles. Try the next time you are having an interesting conversation to pause and ask  “How are they T.E.L.L.ing me? How am I T.E.L.L.ing them?” Think of one or two ideas that either made the interaction T.E.L.L.ing for both of you, or one or two ideas that you could do better next time.

It’s a process, one T.E.L.L.ing moment at a time.

 

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022: Simply T.E.L.L. someone today!

Today, just T.E.L.L. someone!

Be cheerful; greet others with a welcome and smile, a word of encouragement, an enthusiasm for the task at hand, and/or a positive outlook on the future. As Gandhi says  — ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’

Today, simply be and T.E.L.L. someone, even if that someone is yourself! (See previous blog post.) If that someone is a child, better yet!

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