Language and communication are fundamental to everything we do, and most importantly
they are how we engage with others, find meaning in our world, and feel a sense of
belonging amongst our families and friends. This isn’t a new idea, but how we use language
and communicate with our children has changed, and continues to change, and this is
where we need to take pause and re-evaluate our priorities.
I recently took my children out for dinner to one of my favourite restaurants, and as we
chatted and waited for our food, I was struck by a young mom and her daughter at a table
nearby. The mom was texting and scrolling on her phone, and her daughter, who must have
been around ten years old sat opposite her. The mom engaged with her daughter once
during the entire time we were there, and only to take a selfie with her child, presumably to
post on social media about their evening out together. This young girl sat quietly and ate
her pizza in absolute silence. That little girl haunts me, and I can’t get her out of my mind.
It’s possible the mom had pressing business to attend to, or something urgent was
happening, but by the complacent way the little girl accepted her evening out with her mom
in absolute silence told a different story. It truly was a tragic picture.
We need to take the time to put away all distractions to talk to our kids. We need to actively
listen to them, apart from the benefits to their emotional development in showing our love,
care and support of them, they need to learn the social skills of conversation. That doesn’t
happen in a vacuum. It comes from talking, listening, waiting for your turn and learning to
respond appropriately. We need to look at our kids when we talk to them, language is about
so much more than words.
The life of kids is tougher than it was in the past. Their lives are always on show on social
media and that comes with a lot of pressure. We need to create a safe space where they
feel loved and special enough for us to put our devices down and focus on them. Life is busy
and hectic, but for most of us working parents, we work to create a better life for our kids.
Let’s not miss it!