Welcome to video #4 in this 7 video series called The Fatherhood Formula where we teach you the 7 Principles of Dad Success. We’ve covered 3 principles of the Fatherhood Formula so far. If you have not seen this videos, you can get to them on our Fatherhood Formula playlist.
I mention in the very first video in this series that each of these principles build upon each other. By learning one principle, you are going to be more ready for the next one
Today we are reviewing the 4th principal for dad success: communication. Now let’s just get this out in the open, we are all friends here. It’s important to be honest. Traditionally men aren’t as strong as women when it comes to communication in relationships and parenting. So this is an important principal for us to make sure we understand and practice.
Communicating with children doesn’t come natural for most men. But we need to learn how to talk to kids so that we can have a great relationship with them. Let’s start with some basics of communication.
Did you know that only 7% of communication is verbal? This means the actual words we use are only 7% of the communication. This is crazy. All that time worrying about exactly what you are going to say and it turns out other elements have so much more importance.
Your Tone of voice makes up 38% of communication. So how we say our words. How are voice sounds. Are we yelling? or are we talking calmly. 38% is our Tone of voice. 55% is non-verbal. Can you see the math? More than half of communication has nothing to do with sound. This can be eye contact, facial expressions, distance from the child, putting a hand on their shoulder. These are all non-verbal elements that make up communication.
If you watched the previous video, you can get to it here (point) In the 3rd principal of the Fatherhood Formula, I talked about having a secret hand signal with your child as a way to non-verbally connect with them. Communication is not all about talking. I can tell you that a big part of communicating with your child is listening. Most of what we are talking about in this video is for younger children but it can apply to teens as well.
With teens there are some specific nuances that are different than with young children. Communicating with teens really warrants it’s own video. For example, teens will tell you more when you are not making eye contact with them. For younger kids, you do want the eye contact.
There are a couple a major things to remember: (quote on screen) “If you want to learn how to communicate with your child, you better first learn how to listen.” If you are not good at listening, you are going to have to practice that one.
Also understand that “Communicating with your kids is not a lecture, it’s a two way discussion.” So if you think communicating with your kids means only that they listen to you when you talk, you are not going to get very far. Don’t get me wrong, if you learn to communicate well with them, they will listen more. But so will you.Let’s look at the benefits of what is in it for you as their dad:
- They will listen to you more
- They will trust you more
- You’ll know more of what is going on with them
- They will likely feel more confident and well adjusted
- Overall you will build a stronger relationship with them
Does that sounds like some thing you want for yourself? Let’s go over some tips for improving your communication with your child:
#1 – Don’t start until you have their attention – timing is everything. If they are in the middle of a game, reading, or playing…more than likely you are not going to get their full attention. Think about if you were in the middle of watching a TV show and your wife asks you a question. You probably aren’t as present in the conversation as you could be. Same with kids so if it’s important, you want to make sure you have their attention first.
#2 – Stay calm – remember the tone of voice stuff? 38% You might think your yelling is working, but it really only is working for compliance. It’s not strengthening the relationship. Yelling a short term fix.
#3 – Use fewer words – with younger children this is especially important. “Upstairs, homework, get dressed.” If you are going to bark out commands like that, use fewer words. It’s easier for them to understand.
#4 – Offer choices – Would you like to brush your teeth before you take a shower or afterwards? Either choice is ok with you, but you are giving them options which let’s them feel in control. Kids will then try to be smart and pick a choice C but you can nicely say “That isn’t one of the options.
#5 – Ask questions – Draw out solutions by asking them questions. What could we do in this situation? How do you think this should go? Allow them to come up with solutions. You might be surprised with how good their solutions are.
#6 – Be empathetic – I can’t stress enough how important having empathy is in all aspects of your life. In communicating with kids, it is the #1 most important tool you can use. When communicating with them, be empathetic and you will see huge improvements in how you relate to them.
#7 – Listen – Remember I said you need to learn to listen first if you are going to communicate with your kids. It can be hard. But everyone wants to be heard. They deserve to be heard and we as parents often don’t let them be heard.
Ok so you got it all? You are a master of communication now? Well I’m giving you a homework assignment. Over the next few days, try at least one of these tips and see how it impacts your communication with your child. It may take a couple of tries.
I want to hear from you. Let us know what you experience. Did you see a change in your child? did they react differently? Leave your feedback in the comments section below.