Less is More!

When communicating with children of any age bracket, less is more. Strive for simplicity in your instructions and teachings.

Kids do not have the acquired ability to “cut to the chase” of an idea; they have not yet gained the maturity to sort the facts from the fluff.

We are referring to situations where you as a parent want to get a certain point or explicit directions across to your child, not to chats and conversations.

“I told you to put it away three times already! What else do I have to do to get you to understand that you need to put away the things you take out?! Games do not belong on the table during dinnertime! This is really driving me crazy!” is a prime example of ‘more’ that should be ‘less’.

The child is hearing several messages. He is hearing about the amount of times that he was told to put an object away. He was rhetorically questioned about what other motivations his mother should utilize in getting him to put the thing away, and he has heard her express her annoyance about this incident.

Wow! That’s a lot of messages for a kid!

What has he learned? He has learned how to get his mom to feel frustrated, which can give him a sense of control when he feels powerless to control his own frustrations.

Is that what Mom intended to get across in her tirade? Didn’t she just want the thing to be put away?

What would happen when Mom speaks firmly and evenly, saying the following; “Johnny, put it away. Now.”

If Johnny is more familiar with rants and raves than firm orders, he may ignore his mother the first few times she determinedly repeats her commands. It will take several days of repetition for the new method of instruction to become internalized and effective.

There is nothing to be gained by resorting to raised voices and shouting matches. There will be far more compliance when Mom is able to swallow the frustration and anger, and say gently but firmly, “Johnny, I would like you to put the game away now”.

Statements like, “I’m getting very upset with you,” and “You are not listening to me,” and “How many times do I have to tell you…” are all superfluous to an environment of good conduct.

It can be hard to avoid expressing your anger towards your child’s noncompliance; however, in the long run you want a compliant child, not a venting board.

It all boils down to simplicity of communication: Less is more!