"Talking Points": communicating with kids (part 3)
Here is the last post in our series from veteran educator and interview coach Charlie Margolis. Charlie has been providing tips for teachers and parents about communicating with children. Here are links to
PART 1 and PART 2 ... now onto PART 3!
Say Something Nice
My poetry mentor used to find something nice to say about every poem I wrote. I valued her feedback because it was sincere and always in my best interest. Words really do matter. Children believe what you say. All of us have said things, in the heat of the moment, which we regret. For the parent, it pays to be mindful that the “carrot gets more than the stick.” We have a choice; our words can build-up or tear-down. Acknowledge a job well done. Extraordinary effort deserves recognition and occasionally it’s nice to be valued just because you are you.
A Word about Bullying
Bullying is a fact of life. It occurs, at school, the playground and just about everywhere children congregate. Cyber bullying has become a serious threat. From the relative “safety” of the computer, children will communicate things that they would never say face-to-face. Many parents monitor their children’s computer and cell phone usage. This doesn’t indicate a lack of trust; it is pragmatic. Children are subjected to a lot of influences, not the least of which is peer pressure. They don’t always exercise the best judgment. A prudent parent listens to how children speak to each other.
The woman I was preparing for an interview was struggling. Her responses were predictable, and impersonal. As we practiced, I had an “eureka” moment. I told her to remember, it’s all about you. Immediately, everything changed. She spoke fluently about the subject she knew best…herself. It was a teachable moment. In education, we call those unplanned, unexpected events that present an opportunity to point-out something new or insightful, teachable moments. Parents have innumerable chances to interact with children in a positive way. Use those teachable moments to talk to your children about their choices and the consequences of their action.
Charlie’s Helpful Hints:
Children are very clever. They will argue and protest a parent’s decision until the parents capitulate from sheer exhaustion. When I was a teacher, I learned this little trick. If a student ignored my directions, I would calmly repeat my instructions - as many times as necessary - until the child heard the message. It usually didn’t take long. This is a painless way to reinforce a necessary decision.
Top photo credit: 2011 Dennis Brunelle
Charlie is Executive Director of Interview Image Associates, LLC. The firm specializes in preparing political candidates, pageant contestants, job aspirants and college applicants for interviews, speeches and presentations.