How Was Your Day: Conversations Kids See
Some children and their parents talk frequently and effortlessly. However, this is not true for all families. At times, we make or hear comments that suggest there is something wrong with us as parents, or our children, if this process is hard for our family. However, how often do we stop to think about what conversations kids see; what examples do we set? When I say we, I am talking about us as a society, not just the parents.
Conversations Kids See
What is your reply when you are in the store and the cashier says, “How’s your day?” When you get home and your child asks you, “How was your day?” When you answer the phone at work and hear, “How are you?” or pick up your personal cell and hear, “How’s it going?” If we are being honest, most of us tend to have a first response that is 1-3 words. For example, we may respond, “fine,” “fine, thanks,” “good.” “it’s going,” or “hanging in there.” At times, our longer responses do not always give more of a response, but rather request one from the other person: “Fine, thanks. How are you?”
Now, this is not to say that we do not have longer conversations with people or have poor social skills. It is simply to point out, that in our culture these are all seen as appropriate responses. We do not generally see a problem with having this exchange with people. We may even identify many of these individuals as polite or the conversation as respectful.
The Double Standard
Now think about our children responding to us in the same way; telling us their day was “fine.” We may feel a bit frustrated, upset, or rejected. Interesting, right? They are responding the same way we respond to others. The same way other people, that we call polite, respond to us. Hmmm…..the saying “do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind.
Talking with Kids Is Important
It is important and beneficial to have conversations with children. Talking with our children can improve their problem identification skills, problem-solving abilities, vocabulary, and ability to express themselves. It can also strengthen these skills in us. Plus, these areas support keeping anxiety and depression symptoms at manageable levels. If that is not enough, engaging conversations can be fun and stimulating. They help us strengthen our relationships; building trust and confidence.
Try Something Different
What I am trying to point out, is that we may want to consider a different approach. If the above situation applies, we can see that our children are modeling our behavior. Perhaps if we ask questions that require more information to appropriately respond, we can use our modeling powers to get responses that lead to longer conversations.
Easier said than done, right? Need some ideas on how to get the conversation going? Or keep it going? We will post some ideas…Stay tuned!