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4 Reasons Communication Is Crucial in Parenting

How we communicate can determine the outcome in nearly every situation that we have with our kids. Mighty Mommy shares four reasons that communication is crucial to parenting and how you can begin to make significant changes that will benefit your entire family.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #509
image of parent talking to child

Even before I was finally blessed with the gift of motherhood, I kept a long list tucked away in the back of my mind of the many behaviors and lessons I wanted to model for my children. Not knowing that my journey of infertility would lead to a beautiful adoption and then seven more children to call my own, I envisioned such peaceful, quintessential parenting moments where I would instill solid characteristics such as honesty, gratitude, perseverance, kindness, respect, responsibility, and above all, a love of self. I looked forward to guiding each of them to choose a path that fueled their individual passions, all while making the world a better place in their own, unique way.

That may seem like some lofty parenting goals, but once I jumped on the motherhood train after waiting five very long years to become a mom, despite the exhaustion and completely unrealistic vision of what parenting would really be like, I still clung to those ideals. If I was going to be parenting a small troop of eight kids, I was going to give it my all—and then some!

I’ve learned a lot (mostly from on-the-job training) in my 25 years of parenting, and aside from the fact that it is indeed the toughest job you’ll ever love, the most important tool I’ve relied on during every stage of motherhood is communication. It is absolutely critical when raising a family.

The word communication is an umbrella term for many interactions with loved ones. It’s not just about verbally talking with another person, it’s about focusing and listening. It's about how we engage with our kids when they enter a room, how we react when they’ve done something wrong (or right!), how we participate in public settings with them, and simple things like how we read their body language or how they might interpret ours.

How we communicate can determine the outcome in nearly every situation that we have with our kids. Sure there are hundreds of mundane, everyday interactions such as getting them up and ready for school or driving them back and forth to their various events, but guess what—those interactions with your kids can lay a pivotal foundation for the more serious or contentious situations where your communication and guidance can make all the difference, a most positive difference, to your kids and family.

If you haven’t been on the top of your communicating game, you can start fresh today. Mighty Mommy shares four reasons that communication is crucial to parenting and how you can begin to make significant changes that will benefit your entire family.

4 Reasons Communication Is Crucial to Parenting

  1. Non-Verbal Cues Are Extremely Important
  2. Ordinary Interactions Set the Stage
  3. You Can Be the Voice of Reason
  4. You’re Teaching a Critical Life Skill

Let’s take a closer look at each.

1. Non-Verbal Cues Are Extremely Important

I consider myself a true people person. I honestly enjoy interactions with the human race! Whether I’m in line at the grocery store, or waiting in a doctor’s reception room, or out walking the dog, if I have the opportunity to connect and say hello to someone—I’m going to do it. (Ask my kids—they beg me not to shop in our own town for fear I’ll talk to everyone and never make it home in time for dinner!)

Just as important as saying a quick (or in my case, a little longer!) hello throughout the course of my day, I’m also very in tune with how I say my hellos. I’ve got a reputation as being perky by nature, so when I say interact I like to make eye contact and smile. That’s my personality, and I’m totally comfortable doing so, but I understand it’s not in everyone’s comfort zone to be so bubbly, and that’s just fine.

Nonverbal communication and the emotion it conveys account for more than 90 percent of what your child "hears" you say.

What’s not fine is sending non-verbal messages that you want absolutely no part of interacting with someone. For instance, last week my son and I were the last customers in line at the deli before the store closed. I had a small order of sliced turkey and American cheese but the person who waited on us was completely disgusted that we were there. How did I know this? His eyebrows were scrunched up, he sighed several times, and then he mumbled something under his breath: “Don’t these people have a life?” before he sliced my turkey (which, by the way, was way too thick). I have to be honest, it made me feel badly to be treated like that, and my 16-year-old son felt embarrassed.

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