Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Franklin certainly did not suffer from Glossophobia, a condition parents need to conquer if they’re going to successfully communicate with their children: it’s the fear of speaking or public speaking.
Why be afraid? After all, talking’s been around for a long time … a really long time. Many place the origins of speech as far back as 350,000 years. After that length of time, human speech should be second nature.
So, why do many find it a struggle to successfully communicate with others, including friends and family?
It often feels as if the days of family dinners, writing long letters, and spending time telling stories are a thing of the past as non-verbal text messaging takes center stage. However, questions or comments made in X number of characters can be quite cryptic in meaning and open to grand interpretation.
But, when it comes to drugs and alcohol, there can be no misinterpretation, and it’s not as easy as one might think.
In the end, however, success has many benefits, including improved listening skills.
Yes, listening is an integral part of talking.
Confused? Well, nobody can effectively communicate if there isn’t someone on the receiving end. It’s also important to remember that hearing and listening is not the same thing; hearing simply happens, but listening is a choice.
Talking allows for conversation with immediate feedback, eye contact, and visible body language. How many times has a post on Twitter or Facebook been taken seriously when it was meant to be a joke? Ever made someone feel insulted with a post when it wasn’t the intent?
The same issues rarely occur when speaking face-to-face, which is not surprising considering humans learn to speak long before they read or write.
The act of talking is known to build a bond between parent and child and improves self-esteem. However, it needs to take place at an early age and must happen often. Talking helps prepare children for entering school, improves reading and writing skills, and builds a better vocabulary.
This isn’t about using a smiley or frowny face to express happiness or disgust. It’s about talking.
Although a majority of parents in a 2015 survey admitted to using electronic devices to communicate, over half them had concerns about technology and how it was affecting communication with their children.
Start by putting down these devices, listen, and allow a child to finish talking. Turns out our youth aren’t supposed to be seen and not heard.
In addition, don’t pick and choose. Be willing to listen to the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. After they are done, ask them to expand, or pull the old psychiatrist trick and ask: “how does that make you feel.” Bottom line is to interact and take an honest interest in what kids have to say, but avoid being critical.
Use the three T’s to remember: tune in, take turns, and talk more.
If you didn’t know, now you do.