015: The difference between telling a child and T.E.L.L.ing a child

When you T.E.L.L., your words share your point of view AND more importantly, your words allow you to connect with the child’s thoughts and feelings.

There is a difference in telling your child and T.E.L.L.ing your child. When you tell, you are merely sharing your current thoughts and feelings with the child. You hope what comes out of your mouth is said in such a way the child hears and understands your words. In summary, when you tell a child, you are communicating a one-way message. It is to the child from you. These conversations may, or may not, benefit a child.

On the other hand, when you T.E.L.L. a child, your intent is to try and make it a two-way interaction. Your point of view and the child’s point of view are taken into consideration. You pause and think about what the child might be feeling and thinking in the moment. If possible, you might even ask questions to be sure you are clear about what he or she is thinking and feeling in that moment. When you T.E.L.L., your words share your point of view AND more importantly, your words allow you to connect with the child’s thoughts and feelings.

We have shared a few T.E.L.L.ing stories in previous blogs. For example, one where a mom is trying to get her three-year-old daughter to clean up (click here to read this); or a mom who put her young son in time out (click here to read this story); there is also a story of a father and teenage son talking about lying (click here to read this story).

Do you have a story about interacting with your child? If you are willing to share it, please email us at (contact@tellourchildren).

You may also send an email if you have a question or comment. This is one way we can begin having more two-way conversations with our readers! We want to do whatever we can to T.E.L.L. you about interacting with children. We hope to hear from you soon.

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