Odds are good you didn’t wake up this morning and say to yourself, “You know, I should communicate with my kids better…or more…” No, that has never happened – EVER. Something must change in how we view communication. We understand the importance of communication, but we need something to help us remember that how we do it daily is of utmost importance.
I say we stop calling “communication” by its name. Let’s call it “racing.” Yes, as a NASCAR fan, I’m saying let’s reframe our ideas about what communication is and change the very term “communication” to “racing.” There are three rules the best racecar drivers follow, and they apply very well to communicating with your children. And if you don’t know much about racing – that’s okay. You will now!
1) Know your racetrack.
Dads, we must become track experts in relating to the stage of our children, so learning to speak effectively and correctly to your child is important on a daily basis. For instance, the younger the child, the shorter and simpler the sentence should be. Instead of asking your three year old, “Why did you do that?” which wouldn’t even be easy if you were 35 years old; try saying, “Let’s talk about what you did.” Consider saying to your child, “Pick up your shoes, please.” Instead of, “will you please pick up your shoes?” The difference from question to directive is the difference from clear to unclear communication… er, uh, racing.
Also, as children get older, try asking them to repeat whatever your wanting them to do back to you. For instance, you may be angry your teen isn’t doing what you want, but it may simply be that your message or ask is unclear. In general, if your child can’t repeat your directive back to you, change the way you present the directive to meet them on their “track.”
2) Practice, practice, practice. And then practice more.