Is what you’re saying the same as what you’re conveying?
Its amazing how astute kids are. The other day I was getting the kids ready for bed. I was asking the kids to complete the standard battery of tasks required when my daughter said “Dad you sound really mad.”
The immediate response in my head was “I’m not mad just get moving!”
Thankfully I didn’t say that. Instead I paused, checked in with myself, and considered what she saw and heard.
I was feeling a bit rushed on getting bedtime wrapped up. My tone was very matter of fact. When I checked in with my face my brow was furrowed.
No wonder she thought I was mad! I thanked her for pointing it out the way she did. She didn’t hurl a reaction or judgement at me she just told me what she was experiencing in a matter of fact way “Dad you SOUND. really mad.”
I started to wonder how often I do this. How often am I lost in my own experience focused on what matters to me (dinner, bed time, work) and not paying attention to what I’m saying and how I’m conveying it?
So my question to you is; Is what you’re saying the same as what you’re conveying?
I apologized and then explained to my daughter that I was just so intent on what I was doing that I wasn’t aware of how I was saying it. I also asked her to please feel free to offer me that feedback anytime and thanked her for the way she delivered it. Ive also started to use the same tactic with the kids. When they have big feelings arise Ill say something like: “Hey you seem (insert emotion here).”
Since then Ive tried (with varying degrees of success) to watch my tone and face more closely. Im reminding myself to make eye contact, be polite, kind, and respectful. In short to treat others the way I’d like to be treated, after all…….. isn’t that what I expect our kids to do.
I hope this is helpful.
Happy Dadding everyone.