You’ll read a lot of posts and articles about children and divorce. In fact, you can read several of them right here in this blog. You’ll also read a lot of articles about children and their emotions. This post is meant to be real with you about kids and how they communicate to you.
Let me start by saying that you know your kids better than anyone. If you’ve ever worked with me, you’ve heard me say that you can look at your children and know in a heartbeat whether or not they’re getting sick, whether or not they’re hurting, or whether or not they’re happy. They can look at you and know the same thing in a heartbeat. This is important because as you become even more in tune with your children and how they communicate, you’ll be able to look at them and know if they’re being fully open with you and when they’re not.
Getting into figuring out how your kids really feel, it’s up to you to create an environment where they can communicate openly to you without judgement or worry.
Kids have a way of communicating that’s simple and innocent. They simply don’t want to hurt you or their other parent. In fact, your children may not tell you how they’re feeling simply because they think it will hurt you. They will keep it in rather than hurt you. Kids are innocent and unconditionally loving in that way. Couldn’t we all learn this from our kids?
Knowing that your kids are communicating simply to you and trying to shield you from hurt can help you in the way you communicate to them. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to hurt your kids so they know that they can say things that may hurt you. What I’m proposing is that you talk to your kids about the fact that you love them just as unconditionally as they love you. You can talk to your kids about the fact that they could tell you anything and, even if it’s hard for you to hear, your love for them never changes.
When your kids feel like they can open up to you, they’ll test you. They’ll test you with information that’s smaller: failed test, swearing, or a simple ‘no’. Your reaction shows your kids whether they can open up to you or not. As you show them that you love them regardless, they’ll open up more.
Kids won’t feel like they can open to you on the big things until they feel that you can handle the insignificant things. This means that they’ll be talking to you about their day-to-day lives and your willingness to listen can either open them up or shut them down. It doesn’t matter if it’s a story that’s hard to keep up with, something they think is funny, but you don’t, or a story you’ve heard 10 times before; your children are watching to see if you’re listening or not. The more they feel you listen, the more they’ll open up.
Those are just some of the tips I have to keep communication open so you can find out what your children are really feeling. Comment below with your tips!
It's not just about what they say, it's about what they don't say yet are trying to tell you - are you still with me? Your kids non-verbal communication is just as important as their verbal communication. Learn more in this video and worksheet.