I’ve always encouraged my kids to voice their opinions, thoughts, and feelings. It’s important for kids to learn how to express themselves in appropriate ways. Nobody wants to play with the bratty kid that cries when they don’t get their way or worse, physically kicks or hits when they get frustrated.
We start teaching them how to communicate even before they can speak words. I wasn’t one of those moms that was ever able to use much sign language with my kids. I think we mastered “more” but unless throwing a handful of food in your mother’s face is a recognized sign then I think it’s safe to say we did not get very far with Baby Signs. We did ok with pointing and grunting though.
When kids get to the point where they are able to start forming words we all jump on the “use your words” bandwagon. When they start to gain more fine motor skills and coordination we teach them to color and draw how they are feeling. For some kids the drawing comes easier than the “using words” and visa versa. Regardless, we all hope and pray that by the time we send them off to pre-school they’ll be able to get through the day without giving anyone a black eye, trashing the bookshelves, or throwing themselves on the floor in a massive tantrum.
I think John and I have done pretty well with our three kids. Each of them have embraced their own unique communication style. Our 13 year old son is pretty quiet and doesn’t really talk much about his feelings but if something is really bothering him he’ll usually come find one of us during a quiet moment and will talk about what is going on with him. My Henry, our 10 year old son, is extremely expressive and has accumulated an impressive vocabulary to share exactly what he thinks in great detail about pretty much everything. Our 8 year old daughter,Kat, is definitely the most open (and loud) with her feelings and I’m certain most of our neighborhood knows exactly how she’s been feeling throughout most of the day lately. We have been working with her on finding more appropriate and more constructive ways to express herself.
I found this piece of paper under the table the other day. I think we are making progress. What do you think?