I like this reminder about being mindful in the way we talk to children: informative talk instead of directives.
This really works! I have noticed that I am much more likely to get compliance if I take the time to think about how I phrase reminders to my children. How Knox is much more happier about being in order.
Sometimes a little support can be useful too:
Recently Knox would go down the stairs ahead of us to open the front door, which leads directly into the street. I’ve reminded him a few times not to do that. I’ve told him that if he opens the door without me present he runs the risk of someone grabbing him. But he still can’t resist opening the door. One time I found him with the door open the width of his head, and he grinningly told me that he will ‘very quickly shut the door if someone should come and grab me.’
I realized that he wants to see outside while waiting for his small sister and very pregnant mother to walk slowly down the stairs. This is his way of whiling away the time in the dark stair case. He is very good at self-amusing, but he needs a means of amusing himself. So I said “How about you wait for us on the 2nd floor? That way you can see out the window to the entire park! And then when we reach you we can go to the first floor together.”
I only said this once to him. And he has been waiting for us on the 2nd floor ever since! This is so amazing for me.
Of course I have to remind myself that Knox has entered the 2nd or 3rd stage of obedience for a while. This is why he is allowed a bit more autonomy than his sister. With Quin I still have to use easier language and keep her more restrained. I have to remind myself not to compare them since they are at different developmental stages, even if her resting face is very mature and knowing, it is not the reality…
The need for a cooperative/respectful way of speaking is true between adults as well. Having the privilege of experiencing different cultures, I find the difference in the accepted standard of talking to others very noticeable. Such as: it is much more common for elders in Taiwan to use patronizing language, under the auspices of “being caring and community oriented”. And then they are frequently surprised by how ungraciously it is received! While it can be tiring to constantly respond to rapid-fire needs of younger children, I have to remind myself that it doesn’t imply they are so beholden to me that they should not exercise their will. Indeed, their will is what they need to thrive as adults! And why not, in the process, evolve my own capacities in communication!