3 Illustrating (Speaking) Skills
“Illustrating” means “communicating” in the sense of speaking. It is done both verbally and non-verbally. Illustrating is the living space of Harmony House (my analogy for any relationship), because this is where you, the parent, live out your values and communicate to your child what’s important to you and what you want from him/her. The parent’s commitment should be: I will not invite what I don’t want. Instead, I will teach what I want by modeling it and by communicating verbally in a respectful manner.
The Three Illustrating Skills/Techniques
The following three techniques for communicating your ideas and values, your expectations and desires, become skills with practice.
1. Model desired behavior. If you are doing something disrespectful, illegal, or immoral, stop it. In other words, do what you want to see your children doing. Be the change you want to see.
2. Use honest, open communication. Children need to be able to trust their parents above everyone else. Parents must earn that trust by always being completely honest with them, and being as open with them as possible. There is no place for lying to children, not even using “little white lies.”
3. Use I-messages.”I-messages” are things I say about myself. “You-messages” are things I say about you, and they can often be disrespectful or insulting. When parents start a sentence with “I,” they communicate what they want or don’t want in a respectful manner. “I don’t like the way you are acting. I’m willing to listen to when you settle down.” The I-message that stops arguing is “I don’t do it.” “I will not argue with you.”
The ideas presented here are discussed in more detail in my book 3 Steps to Parent-Child Harmony. In it I describe in detail the differences between the Old School Parenting model (power, control, and punishments) and the New School Parenting model (dialogue, agreements, and accountability). These ideas represent a shift from parenting harder to parenting smarter. They can transform a stressed parent-child relationship from conflict and arguments to one of cooperation and harmony. Please see these links if you are interested in more information about the book, which is available in downloadable pdf format or in printed soft-cover format.
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