Talking To Your Kids – And Listening Too!

Communicating with kids | Courtesy: Ajay Kamble & Family

Communicating with kids… Is it an urban phenomenon or the new reality of our times? To begin with, let’s ask a simple question. Why do we communicate? To be able to express… To be able to understand… And to create a platform where ideas are shared and shared ideals are shaped. That is the beauty of communication.

Well, in the present times of rapid fast communication and even ever faster processing speed, it is all the more important to keep the human touch alive. If that is not reason enough, look around you. The world seems so bereft of its very breath – almost as if it is labouring over its very existence, labouring over each footstep that it has to take towards still more advancement. Violence, terrorism and crass politics are all we seem to read about; are these the things that are going to shape our children? Do we need to live in fear?

As the mother of a three year old child, I can give you the answer to that in a heartbeat. The answer is No! The solution is to have a proper communication with our children, through which we can open their minds and give wings to hope. We need to pass on the values that have brought us thus far. It is time to switch off the TV and really listen, because communication is not just about talking; it is as much about listening.
And listen we must…

To the heartbeat of the new born, looking expectantly at the world outside…

  • To the flapping wings of birds in flight, fearless and graceful…
  • To the song of the crickets, chattering away at night blissfully…
  • To the sound of your children growing up…
  • To the sound of the old embracing the new.

For children, the essence of listening lies in being able to imbibe ground realities and the values to tackle the same. For parents and teachers, listening necessarily means being able to alter to the child’s senses, latent energies and wants.

Children's Day
Communicating with kids | Courtesy: Ajay Kamble & Family

The instinct of a parent comes into play during communication. This is also paramount in setting boundaries even as you teach your child to trust you completely. It is not just a matter of speaking and conveying things effectively; it is a matter of creating a basis for moderation in behaviour and giving the child more options. When I say options, I mean options in terms of what a child may perceive as right and wrong. It is important to understand here that this must necessarily come from the child’s instinct and by our prompting. Gone are those times when we were told what is right and what is wrong. The child must decide now, and the best we can do is to lay out a well-thought-out plan for communication, so that they can develop the values as well as the instincts to be able to judge or come to us when they are not able to do so themselves. The role of communication here comes into play in terms of values, career paths, marriage, and even day-to-day decisions.

According to conventional wisdom, a child needs your attention and patience the most when he or she is busy trying your patience. When you listen to a child, you are not encouraging laziness or bad behaviour; you are actually engaging the child and teaching vital communication skills in the process. Today, to be able to express your feeling, and get your ideas down is not just a matter of releasing pent-up stress; it also helps you home onto the talent you may have and the ideas that can generate a future Sachin Tendulkar or Kiran Bedi. With the help of right communication at the right time, we will be able to effectively do the following:

  • Introduce the child to various kinds of activities, hobbies and groups of people
  • Find out which activity the child takes to best
  • Help the child develop this particular aspect (like painting, cycling, etc.)

A hands-on parent will be able to instantly pick up on signals like sensitivity, particular character traits as well as signs of abuse (God forbid!). It is more necessary now than ever to be well tuned into such signals given the reality of a nuclear family structure where we don’t have much support. In such a structure, it is extremely rare to find any support where a sibling, cousin, aunt or grandparent may be able to pick up on something that you might have missed out on.

So this Children’s Day, let’s take up the challenge to keep talking, keep listening and keep emoting. The human touch is most vital element for all us now and we need to take care so that this chain does not break.

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