This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about using positive language with others. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of unplugging.
It is a well known fact that if you change your language from negative to a positive it has more impact than if you say it negatively. Negative language can cause defensiveness in the person you are speaking to and this communication can be halted quite quickly because of it.
This week's focus was on positive language, I recognize that my communication with my teenager can be quite difficult because his negative manner of speaking affects me and my responses which causes defensiveness in him and we get into a place where neither of us are listening to each other. I find our relationship building opportunities are quite limited because he, much like his mother was at his age, spends alot of time with his friends rather than being at home. When he is at home, he can often be heard saying, "its so boring here" or, "there's nothing to do in this house" and the like. Usually these comments make me say things like, "Life is what you make it!" or "You wouldn't have liked where I grew up!". This week I tried really hard to have positive conversations with my teen that did not turn into bickering back and forth. David is my first child and as you know it was just he and I for alot of years before Clayton and then Hunter came into our lives. I always say that David and I grew up together, I am only 18 years older than him, some people's siblings are only 18 years older or younger than them and we often get mistaken for brother and sister (it doesn't help he is way taller than me). We are alike in many ways and I love him more than he will ever know but there are many times that I don't like what he says or how he says things and this causes me to say things that he doesn't like... so who needs to change their language? Me of course! I am the parent.
Teenage brains are weird, as I have talked about in an earlier post; adolescent brains are immature in the decision making and logic department which cause many decisions to be made based on impulse and emotions. I continuously have to remind myself this when interacting with him and not freak out when he is telling me about something he has done that is less than appropriate. Let's not forget he is also a boy... boys tend to not think about consequences at all before they act. So, I try my hardest not to get angry with him, instead appreciating the fact that he is honest, open and shares everything with me when either he wants to because he thinks its funny or I ask him what he's been up to. One area of contension is when he fails to check in with me when he is out. Usually if it has been a while, I immediately get upset and send him a "where the heck are you?" or "if your not going to check in, get your ass home now!" message to which he always responds with "Sorry, I am with so and so". I feel sorry is tossed around too much, you aren't really sorry if you do it over and over again, so I will carry on to say "Don't tell me you are sorry, show me you are sorry by not doing it again!" This week, I tried something different... when he failed to check in, I sent him a text and said, "How are you doing?" and when he answered I told him it was great to hear from him and I get scared and upset when he hasn't checked in for a while because I worry that he is hurt or lost. I tried to have him understand why I get angry, instead of just getting angry. Guess what, he has been checking in more regularly these days. Just one easy positive step can make changes for the better! When Mama bear is not angry, David bear is not angry and everyone gets along.
I feel that I could definitely benefit from watching my language, especially around my teen, but also with my entire family. I will continue to work on changing the way to communicate with my family.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Tips for making the Positive Comments outweigh the negative in your child’s day -Sarah from Prenatal to Parentingshares a startling stat and asks for your help in changing the numbers.
How to talk to your kids – Amy from The Connection We Sharediscovers the power of using positive language with your kids.
Watch Your Words- Amber from Strocel.comfeels better about her parenting when she’s using more positive language.
The Power of Words - Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 7 - Katrina from Kalem Photography is trying to figure out positive phrasing for some things she’d like her 2 year old to stop doing.Week 7 - Watch Your Language!– Amanda from Sticky Handssuggests we start saying out loud things you love and things you want to happen.
Language and Distractions- Peaceful Parenting Challenge: Week 7 -Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat is a bit distracted.