We think that our kids don’t listen to us but they really do. It seems as if we expend so much energy getting them to do the simplest of task, brush their teeth, get dressed, do their homework and get into bed. The fact that they don’t seem to listen to you during these times does not take away from the times they actually do listen to you. In fact, what and how we say things to our kids has an impact on their sense of self. They are listening to our overt and covert messages. No pressure…but we have the ability to make or break our kids.
That is why it is so important to make sure that we are sending positive messages to our kids. To truly encourage our kids to cooperate we can use statements of presuppositions that send the subtle yet important message:
“You are capable, you can figure out solutions and you have the inclination to do what needs to be done.”
How can we do that?
To let a child know you have faith that they can figure out solutions to their problems, you can say:
“The printer is broken and you need to print out your report. What can we do to solve this problem?”
Even if they don’t have an answer you are sending a powerful message. You are inviting him to join you in figuring out solutions because you know that he is capable of it.
To let a child know that we have faith that he can correct his own poor behavior and he can make amends, we can gently say:
“What can you do to make sure that this does not happen again? I am sure you have plans for a better response when your friend comes over and you have trouble sharing a toy.”
We can even use this technique to encourage our kids to talk to us about their problems. We presuppose that they would like to talk to us:
“I am sure you need a few minutes to yourself before you are ready to talk about what happened. I will be here when you are ready to talk.”
This technique can also work to help us promote good feelings between siblings. We can show them that we have faith in their feelings of familial love and that they have it within themselves to get along with others.
“I know you might be upset at your brother now. When you are ready to make peace, it can help to think of 2 things that you like about your brother, 2 good things that he has done for you.”
Presupposition statements help kids get in touch with their own inner sources of strength and ability. It shows kids that they are capable of making amends, repairing relationships, listening to their parents and solving the big and little problems of life. It also helps us as parents talk to our kids with respect and an eye towards building kids self-esteem in positive ways.
Adahan, M.(1999)Raising Children To Care.Feldheim Publishing.NY