Tuesday, January 5, 2010

day six: use signals to get children to talk

                                              “A penny for your thoughts”

            “Talk to me, show me that you care. Talk to me, listen to the words I say.
         Talk to me, there’s so much we can share. I know you love me when you talk to me.”

The two quotes listed above are popular ditties in our home. The first one, a common saying, is one that we have used literally hundreds of times with our children—and with each other. Likewise, the bottom jingle, words to a children’s song that we have enjoyed with our children, is a number that we have sung over and over. Both of these have had the same purpose in our home: to remind our children that we want to talk with them—and that what they have to say is valuable and important.

Driving down the road with just one parent and one child, silence fills the air—until Mom or Dad says, “Jakie—a penny for your thoughts.” Or the parent reaches out, squeezes the child’s hand and sings, “Talk to me, show me that you care….I know you love me when you talk to me—I know you love me when you talk to me” (emphasizing the last line).

Little signals remind that son or daughter that he or she is in a safe communication place. That Mom and Dad truly care what is in their deepest heart of hearts. That we want to know their dreams, their hurts, their fears--and even the latest sports statistic or quilting idea.

It isn’t always that simple to get our children to talk to us, but if they are “conditioned” from toddlerhood that Mom and Dad are always there. If we stop what we are doing long enough to listen. If we give them a platform repeatedly…we might just get to their very innermost being. And they will know that “we love them when we talk to them.”

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