A Therapist’s Essential Communication Rules Useful For Toddlers  November 1, 2019

As a parent, you always have teachable moments with your kids. That’s fine. You don’t have to know everything when it comes to raising children properly. That’s because there is no exact way of doing that. Every day spends with children brings a whole lot of experience, emotions, and struggles. So it is understandable to make way for new ideas and strategies. With that, this article will tell you the essential communication rules useful for toddlers based on a therapist’s approval. 


Don’t Use Kids’ Developmental Stage As An Excuse For Communication Failure 

Most parents are not aware of the violations they often do when talking to their kids. They tend to validate their actions by correlating it to their emotional state. Usually, they say they’re just human beings who feel upset and tired, and so it doesn’t matter when, where, or to whom they should or shouldn’t burst it out. That’s the problem because toddlers become their excuse for the self-assessment of their frustration. Some would even say that kids at that particular age don’t understand anything. With that, the presence of blame, shame, and judgment on children becomes a justification of the negativity these parents currently feel. 

Parents should learn to change the way they speak and communicate with toddlers, especially when they are not in the mood. Elizabeth Wagner, PsyD, LP suggests that parents “learn to express [their] anger by stating the problem and what [they’d] like to see resolved instead of resorting to verbal or physical aggression.”

Because when they keep on acting like kids don’t understand anger and frustration, they begin to steal children’s emotional safety. In the long run, it becomes a reflex or automatic response every time parents’ emotional discomfort is present. It leaves children with a bruised relationship due to the pattern of negativity when parents begin to set unreasonable rules and threats. 


Never Use Fear To Educate Kids Because It Is Not Healthy For Their Development 

Fear can be beneficial when induced with assessment and learning. And if the process only applies in a short period, then that’s fine. What’s not okay is when it is chronic and punitive. It destabilizes the children’s regulatory system which makes them more likely susceptible to emotional distress. Besides the fact that “it does not change behavior very well,” Alan Kazdin, PhD says it “traps the parents into behaving as if it were effective.”

Yes, induced fear can make children follow the rules or whatever it is that their parents ask. However, without the proper orientation of why there are essential directions that need to be monitored, fear is useless. Not only it brings lots of emotional and behavioral challenges in children, but it also damages their cognitive function. 

Instead of inducing fear, parents should provide children with conditions. It is the only way to help them develop their emotional, behavioral, and mental aspects. People must understand that parenting is not about getting kids to do what parents want. Preferably, it is about teaching kids to think, respond, withstand disappointments, and consider others. Allow kids to feel upset particularly on the limits that parents set and not use fear as a consistent option. 


Toddlers Don’t Understand Demands. They Only Focus On Doing What They Want 

Most of the time, parents fail to communicate with children when it comes to discipline. Because of the thought that they are superior to their kids, they think it’s enough to demand children what they should and shouldn’t do. These parents action applies to kids repeated behavior that annoys or irritate them. The lines are usually “I said no” “don’t touch it” “what did I just say” and “how many times do I have to tell you.” These become rule-based thinking that then escalates to the threat of punishment. 

Toddlers’ period of development is sensitive. So if parents become more inflexible and fierce, children become dysregulated as well. Yes, these demands could work in some cases, and it can provide perks at some point. But in the long run, it will steer something out of their mental and emotional understanding. The action will not only ruin the parent-child relationship, but it also will not lead to the long-term learning of the toddlers that parents are after.

According to Laura Markham, PhD, “being too strict can cause depression and loneliness in children, because a child may feel unwanted.”

So before you underestimate toddlers’ capability of understanding what you’re saying, better think about it a couple of times. Not because they are little, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the same capacity of your emotional and mental state. Because whether you believe or not, kids have more emotions that need assessment compared to any adults. 


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Categories: Parent Support