Words and actions can hurt...
The way we talk to and act with children influences how they feel about themselves.
Our behaviour often speaks louder than words. What are you saying to your child?
The things we say to children act like a mirror, reflecting back to children ideas about who they are and what they will become.
Hurtful words can last a lifetime. As a parent you may sometimes do or say things to your child that goes against your better judgement. Generally children are strong enough that occasional hurtful or negative comments have no lasting impact. However, the more often we communicate negative messages to children through our words and actions, the more they will come to believe them.
Listening to Children
Listening to children tells children they are important.
Spend time with children listening to their point of view.
Sometimes children do not speak because they are not given the opportunity. Try to make sure there is space in your family for everyone to be heard.
Listening means not only hearing the words but working out the feelings behind the words.
Listen to the things that are not said. For many, behaviour speaks louder than words. What is your child trying to tell you?
Be a patient listener. Allow your child time to tell his or her story. Don't jump in before the story is finished. Don't finish children's sentences.
Be an enthusiastic listener. Share in your child's excitement.
Help children to express their thoughts and feelings by helping them to find the words or other ways to communicate with you.
Children are listening
Things to avoid:
Negative labels to describe the child or name calling. For example, "Stupid" or " You're a bad boy".
Blaming a child unfairly. For example, "You must have done it - your sister would never do something like that" or "You are the reason mum and dad fight all the time".
Withdrawing your love from a child. For example, "I wish you were never born".
Frowning or sighing when they want to talk to you.
Comparing one child with another.
Talking about children negatively in front of others - they can hear.