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Talking with Your Child - Case 2
© Mar 1999 Alan S.L. Wong

Talking with Your Child: Case 2

It is a Sunday. You are at your in-law’s place for dinner. It’s 9:00 p.m. You are tired. You have been there since 11:00 a.m. You want to go home. Your 4-year old child has been enjoying himself – playing with his cousins.

My Response
  1. Get the child's attention before speaking

    Here we are dealing with noises in the child. Young children can only concentrate on one thing at a time and right now he is preoccupied with his cousins. Look directly at the child and call his name.

    Example: "Samuel." Wait until he stops playing with his cousins and looks at you.

  2. Encode your idea with the child in mind

    If we simply say, "Time to go" … this may be decoded as "I can’t play and have fun anymore." This is a case where the message decoded is NOT the message received. We need to see the message through the child’s eyes or hear the message through the child’s understanding.

    Each kid is "a unique, one-of-a-kind individual who wants fun and needs love" (as defined by Karl Bastian). Kids are full of life and they want to play and have fun.

    Instead, say: "Samuel, are you having fun? Would you like to stay a little longer?"

    What other words (or actions) will achieve your aim effectively with this specific child? Is there a need for heart preparation?

    Example: "Samuel, look at the clock … when the long hand reaches the number 3, we will be going home."