Yesterday I talked about 2 way communication and how making conversation a priority in your house will lead to greater connections. 2 way communication is a give-and-take method where the participants take turns speaking then listening.
Today I would like to discuss 1 way communication. When I originally thought of doing a series of blogs about communication styles, I was going to leave this out. 1 way communication is usually thought of as a military style of interaction, where one person is yelling or scolding the other person. I admit that upon first glance, this appears to be the case. However, further thought and analysis show there is a place for this type of communication.
1 way communication is the idea that there is no verbal response from the other person. One person talks or gives a command. The other person is not expected, and sometimes not allowed, to verbally respond. There are numerous ways you may use this type of communication effectively. I would like to show you some examples and offer some advice on how to effectively use 1 way communication.
When in Danger
Shouting at your child when there is a dangerous situation is the purest form of a 1 way conversation. Yelling words like, “stop,” “don’t,” and “ouch,” get attention fast without the necessity for verbal confirmation.
When in Praise
The opposite of a dangerous situation is the time when you want to praise someone and you do not need them to respond. Shouting to your child in praise at a soccer game or while playing with other kids is an example of 1 way communication. They hear you but do not respond. I love to see parents sending words of encouragement to their kids. I often tell clients to take advantage of telling their child when they are doing something positive. A quick, “great job sharing/taking your turn/using your words,” is easy and highly effective feedback for your child. The phrase “kill them with kindness” is exactly this type of interaction. Catch them in the act of making the right decision or doing a good deed and tell them! “I really like it when…,” or my favorite, “thanks/good job helper/eater/painter!” If a child gets feedback in a positive way, they will know how to act in a positive way.
Commanding is the middle ground between danger and praise. It may consist of using a command to get a child to perform a requested action. One of the first things I tell frustrated parents is to calmly use commands to keep control in tough situations. The less opportunity your child has to talk their way out of doing what you ask, the more control you have over this and future situations. A situational example: a friend of mine asked her toddler to wash his hands after going to the bathroom. After she asked, he responded with, “I don’t want to,” or simply, “No.” While trying to keep her cool, and still wanting her son to wash his hands, she should start the train of commands. In this situation, use a calm but serious voice, look at the child, and say every few seconds, “wash your hands,” or simply, “wash hands.” It may take one minute or 10 minutes. Do not respond to any plea or opposition. Keep repeating the command until he knows he cannot win. This reinforces your position as the boss and the one in charge. If you establish your role as “the boss” early on, later struggles will not be as dramatic or drawn-out. Do not allow your child to have control in a discipline situation.
More communication styles and strategies to come! I am going to dive into sign language and my feelings about teaching young children this form of communication.
How have you used 1 or 2 way communication in your family? Have you used the command style in a discipline situation? I would love to hear from you and tips you would share with other families.