Knowing how to talk to your kids isn’t easy. You may have heard it said that females speak approximately 20,000 per day while males use 7,000. Is that a crazy significant variance or what?! That’s essentially a 3:1 ratio where women talk three times more than men…every…single…day. Louann Brizendine, the author of The Female Brain, reports that women also have many more “communication events” per day than men. She says this includes all that is communicated, beyond mere words. I know you know exactly what I’m talking about because you experience this with all the women in your life, right?
Whether you’re interacting with your wife, girlfriend, daughters, female co-workers, etc., you’re often left completely lost and confused because of the way we as women pick up on everything, whether spoken or unspoken. I write mostly for dads and daughters, but this post will reveal how to be a positive voice for your kids. Whether you have a son or a daughter, you should still strive to be the positive voice for your kids. This will take knowing how to talk to your kids.
How to Talk to Your Kids
Dr. Brizendine continues by citing that women tend to activate nonverbal communication cues through body language, eyebrow-raising, and gestures. And not only do women use more words per day compared to men (I know this is a big shock to all of you men!), but women remember more words than men. This is how our brains are wired. In short, words have great value to females, whether they are communicated orally or in writing.
In relation to your daughter, these factors underscore the importance of speaking vitalizing words into her life because she holds on to words. The words were spoken to her play over and over and over in her head, both positive and negative.
As her dad, your words can either suck life out of her or they can breathe life into her. It’s your choice. I’ve often said that a little Dr. Phil (McGraw) goes a long way. Yet this quote bears repeating. I once heard him say something that has stuck with me: “No relationship is neutral: You are either contributing to or contaminating the relationship.”
Be the Positive Voice in Your Kid’s Head
Dad, your kid needs you, so he or she can replay your words as a counterpoint to any negative self-talk or negativity from others.
In light of this, allow yourself to consider whether your communication is characterized most by:
- Not speaking (which is neutral—a.k.a. not positive) and therefore falls under the contamination category)
- Speaking negatively or criticizing (as a pattern)
- Regularly communicating words of life (this includes loving correction as well as affirmation)
If you haven’t fully realized the value and impact of the words you speak to your kid, start today by choosing daily to speak words of life.
Why not stop what you’re doing right now and text your child, email, call, FaceTime, or write a note just to say that love him or her, and are thankful that you get to be his or her dad?
Trust me, your kids need to hear it. And, your kid will remember it forever. Your words have the power to build up or tear down, to heal, or destroy. Be the positive, life-breathing voice in your kid’s head…today.
A version of this post for dads and daughters originally appeared on Dr. Michelle Watson-Canfield’s blog.