Words can cut like daggers, I want my kids to understand that. They are at an age where they are learning to work things out through conversation. As parents, we have to teach them how to do this. We have a rule in our house that we don’t use blamatory language when having an argument. We are teaching our kids this and it has made a huge difference in how they communicate.
When you start a sentence with “You always…” or “You never…” it sets the conversation up for an argument to ensue. Whether you are an adult or a child, you immediately want to argue your case when you hear someone say that you always do something or you never do something because it is impossible to always or never do the same exact thing. Then the fight just escalates. No one is open to hearing other people’s perspective; they are just interested in defending themselves.
In our house, we have taken these phrases out of our vocabulary and we have replaced them with “I feel…” and “I want/need/…” We have seen a huge difference in how our kids communicate and how they are able to resolve their differences on their own. During these conversations, I have seen my kids express how situations make them feel, so that they like/dislike and they have started to see each other’s perspectives. It has cut down on them wanting me or their dad to intervene in disagreements and it has given them a set of skills they will need as they get older.
As parents, I feel like it is important to show our kids how to have meaningful conversation and discussions without an adult having to mediate. Now my older kids are leading by example for the younger kids. I feel like this is a good first step in learning to be an effective communicator in life.