Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘communication’


Ever been frustrated with your partner because he or she didn’t listen listening skillsto you that one time, and that other time, too? Of course you have – every marriage experiences this. If both partners in a marriage defensively listen to each other, they create distance. However, when both partners listen to each other empathetically instead of defensively, they foster a closer connection. This involves learning how to actively listen. Here are a few principles:

Stop what you are doing. If you try to listen while you are doing something, the probability of you getting distracted is pretty high. Stop, and give all your attention to your partner.
Establish eye contact. Your partner’s big pools of brown eyes may be dreamy, and looking directly at your partner can create a space of active listening.
Don’t interrupt. This is a biggie! Let your partner finish his or her story or thought before you respond. Interrupting is a danger zone fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Repeat what they said in your own words. This ensures that not only did you hear what he or she said, but that you also understand it.
Practice empathy If your partner had a rough day, and you perceive their lack of active listenership or uncharacteristic communication, try to see their point of view. This is very proactive and beneficial. It also establishes the concept of being understood, which is extremely important in active listening.

Not sure where to start? Try asking your spouse how their day went, and put these active listening principles in to action.

How to Actively Listen to Your Spouse


Get your family started on the path to better communication!

Building a stronger family can be challenging, even for the most dedicated parents.

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Parenting is all about communicating with your child, Communicating with Childrenand positive two-way communication is important to achieving a healthy relationship and building your child’s self-esteem. When a child wants to talk, it can be easy for parents to interject and correct when their child uses the wrong word, or disagrees. These “chat killers” are also communication killers, and have negative consequences on their self-esteem and confidence.

It becomes increasingly important as your child grows older to share ideas and listen, instead of insisting on talking or correcting. This way, you ensure that your child understands that you value what he or she is talking about and that you are opening up a communication channel that is a flow of ideas and opinions both ways.

Be mindful of your body language, too. Remember that the way you carry and position yourself can have a significant impact on the quality of communication. Make eye contact with your children when they are talking to show that you are listening. Try not to stand above them, but squat down so you are at the same height. Keep in mind the little body language cues such as toe tapping, finger drumming, eye rolling, or sighing, as these can show dissonance and cause children to back away from the conversation.

Finally, remember that communication means paying attention, and paying attention means listening. The next time your child wants to have a chat with you, resist all temptation to interject disagreements, corrections, or other “chat killers”, and focus on listening and sharing ideas.


It can be a frustrating situation when you ask your child to clean her room.praise your child One day goes by, and the room is still messy. So you ask again. A week goes by, and the room is still messy. What is a distressed parent to do?

It may start with a simple “thank you” for doing a small chore. Positive reinforcement is very effective in mobilizing children to accomplish tasks, from the simple ones to the more complex. This is especially important when your child does something that you would like to see more of. You could say something like “thank you for doing what I asked right away”. This establishes self-confidence, trust, and respect.

Many experts employ a form of positive reinforcement called descriptive praise – making your child feel good inside. Descriptive praise is free of evaluation, focuses on positive behaviours and accomplishments, and reinforces behaviours that should be continued.

Some tips to give your child descriptive praise:

Be honest. Mean what you say, and say what you mean.
Be detailed. Explain why doing what your child did was worthy of praise.
Be specific. Let you child know exactly what they did well.

Keep it balanced, however, as too much praise can cause result in rude or self-centered behaviour. Gently let your child know where they can improve or what behaviours you would like to see in the future. Striking a balance between too much and too little praise is important to raising a responsible, confident child.


Attention! Sound off: paying attention to your child is important! The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child by Ericka Lutz

In her book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Well-Behaved Child, Erica Lutz pens 12 different self-discipline strategies, and the first one is an encouragement to pay attention to your child (via Family Education). This seems like obvious parenting, but its importance is often underscored in our busy world.

Parenting is the art of paying attention; you can learn nearly everything about your child – and parenting in general –by simply paying attention to him or her. Parents are constantly asked to multitask, yet children require close, frequent attention – not every moment of the day, but often. And, as your child grows, the amount of vis-à-vis time together decreases, but that’s when quality time is king.

This isn’t easy to do, however. Paying attention means more than being in the same room together – it’s more than being physically present. It must be about knowing how to communicate with your child. You have to learn how they talk and listen, and how you should respond. Here are some quick tips to maximize your quality time with your child, while maintaining your busy life (which is possible!):

• Use your multitasking skills. If you have to go to the post office anyway, stop by the park on your way home, and spend some time playing.
• Get organized. Your family should be your top priority, so focus on cultivating relationships with your children, rather than trying to get your “to-do” list done.
• Set up a family huddle, once per week “family meeting”.


You might have a mouse, or you might have a chatterbox. communicating with childrenCommunication styles of children are about as diverse as DNA, and as a parent, it is important to tune in to how your child communicates with you and other people. Pay attention to how they talk, listen, and respond. Tuning in to these subtleties can make your job as a parent much easier.

The most proactive thing you can do is to be available to your children. Start the conversation. Ask them about their day, listen, ask questions, and tell them about your day. It shows that you care and are engaged in their lives.

Let your kids know that you are listening. If you child is concerned about something, stop what you are doing and give your full attention to listen. Even if your child has difficulty expressing him or herself, try to understand what they are saying. A good tip is to repeat what they say to ensure that you are receiving the proper message.

Watch your reactions with your child. Be careful to soften strong reactions – angry or over excited emotions can scare or trigger dissonance. Your child will watch what you do, and how you react to what they say influences their behaviour.

It’s unnecessary to say, but being a parent is a hard job. Establishing guidelines around communication can make parenting much easier, and it will open up new areas and possibilities for a deeper relationship with your child –and that’s worth it.


You have probably heard phrases like “you better”, “you should”, or “you must”,Me in a Tree and you have probably inadvertently used these phrases with your children. Even though these statements demonstrate a sense of authority and urgency, they do not, however, communicate how you really feel or what you really want in a situation.

To avoid building any communication barriers, use statements that start with “I”. There are three main components of I-statements:

• “I feel”: say how you feel about the situation
• “when”: refer to the actual situation
• “because”: explain your thoughts on the situation

These components are quite specific to romantic relationships; however, the principles can work in a similar way when communicating with your children. For instance, say “I would appreciate it if you cleaned your room today”. This not only communicates your feelings and needs in the situation, but it also improves your child’s response to what you need them to do. Instead of the authoritative voice of you-statements, this type of communication has a softer tone, and it exhibits understanding and empathy.

These statements eliminate the immediate fight-or-flight, defensive response from the receiver of the message, whether that is your partner, friend, family member, or child. Instead, these statements become a conversation opener, and can be used as an avenue to resolving the conflict.

It is hard to fight the basic response of “you did that” or “you never do this”, but shifting your approach can be more effective and efficient in reaching a resolution.

Check out an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.


It can be hard to admit that you are wrong, especially to your children. Me in a TreeIt is, however, necessary. Children are life’s great imitators, and they soak up and transpose the behaviours of their parents, friends, and other people. Parents are responsible for the growth and development of their children, while at the same time growing personally themselves.

Apologizing takes a great deal of humility and courage, regardless of who you are apologizing to. It has been said that apologizing to your child when you are clearly in the wrong weakens or cheapens your authority. Instead, however, an apology shows children that as a parent, you recognize your mistakes and humbly admit them. The lesson here is that your children will learn the virtue of humility, respect, and the importance forgiveness.

Showing that you have respect for your children when you intentionally apologize teaches them that respect, communication, and forgiveness are essential to maintaining a balanced and healthy relationship.

The take-away: Apologizing to your children models positive behaviour, and shows respect for you, your children, and your relationship. It provides them with a structure or framework for them when they find themselves in similar situation. Finally, apologizing allows you and your child to move on from the situation, and continue to make great memories. Demonstrating this type of respect and humility in front of your child will strengthen your relationship and open communication.

Check out an online, interactive resource that gives parents and kids tools, activities and games to build a stronger family.


Your children will fight despite your most valiant efforts to keep peace between them.Me in a Tree Instead of constantly trying to keep that peace, it may be more effective to ignore the little squabbles, and let your children solve some squabbles for themselves.

For instance, if your son is playing with a toy and your daughter comes by and takes it from him, a problem will most likely arise. Instead of trying to solve the problem yourself, encourage your son and daughter to talk about why each wants the toy and find a solution. Leave five minutes to allow your children to work it out themselves, and then walk in with your expectations of what they need to do, and encourage them that they can solve the problem. Be alert to only ignore the issues where no physical harm has been inflicted. If squabbles become physical, you should intervene.

By allowing this space, you teach your children important skills including problem-solving, reasoning, self-expression, humility, empathy, and others.

You might also want to reward your children when they get along on their own accord. Praise works wonderfully is shaping positive behaviours. Try and be a positive role model in resolving your own small squabbles, as children imitate the behaviours they see.

Dealing With Sibling Squabbles


Love Upfront

Research often shows that children who grow up in strong marriages Me in a Treeare more likely to have a strong marriages and relationships. To keep your marriage strong and teach your children some life-long lessons is be intentional about being thoughtful every day and thanking each other for selfless thoughtfulness.

Simple ways of loving upfront can include leaving thank you notes in the lunchbox or the car, and verbally saying thank you to your spouse in front of your kids.

This public display of open communication and verbal appreciation will teach your children that these behaviours are important, and they will imitate this intentional gratitude in their own relationships.

It can be hard to keep the romance alive in your marriage, but something as simple as thanking your partner for their everyday thoughtfulness has such an impact on your children.

Being verbally intentional in front of your children can extend to offering forgiveness to your spouse, admitting when you’re wrong, clear any resentment, and other open communications. These practices will teach your children, who are great imitators, to exhibit these behaviours in their own social relationships with peers and family members.

Saying a simple thank you to your spouse in front of your children is easy and can reap tremendous benefits.

Tiny Buddha: How to Release and Prevent Resentment in Your Relationships