Between a parent and child, communication is everything. From the moment a parent locks eyes with a newborn baby, they are engaged in the most intense communication feedback loop that anyone will ever know. The quality of that communication undergirds the child's sense of self and potential for happiness.
Communication is the big stuff, and it's also little stuff. Communication is the sum of all of the small, day-to-day interactions we have with our children, from "Good morning" to "Let's get your shoes on" to "I love you" to "Please pick that up...are you listening??" A raised eyebrow, a hug, a sigh, a look, a nod -- those all count too. Indeed, it's the cumulative effect of all these utterances and gestures that matters. So although no single impatient moment will do lasting harm, it is nonetheless worth examining the overall quality of our humdrum, daily interactions with our children -- for it is in their repetitiveness that they have so great an impact.
In his very wise book, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, child psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell writes:
Connection, in the form of unconditional love from an adult, is ... the single most important childhood root of adult happiness. Other types of connections -- with friends, school, religion, extended family -- can create an unshakable foundation upon which you can build an entire life.
Connection, in turn, is based on communication, and that's what we are thinking about this week at Being Savvy. How do we talk to our children and how do we listen to them? How do we communicate with their teachers and caregivers? How we can cope with powerful and sometimes negative emotions that inevitably arise, and still find a way to communicate and connect with our kids? How are we communicating through our actions as well as our words?
We hope you'll join the conversation!
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