It’s just not the stories you tell, not the values you preach, not the morals you teach that effect your child’s personality but the way you are standing while talking to them, the way you listen, the way you empathize with them; it is the unspoken language that effects them even stronger.
The most undermined mode of communication in parent child relationship is body language. Understanding that your body language will effect your child more than you slapping them is the first step towards realizing the power of body language.
Though the subject of body language is as deep as an ocean let us look into it from the parent child relationship viewpoint;
Oculesics: Eyes are the gateway to the soul. Though eye contact is considered rude in few cultures, maintaining eye contact is a must while you are speaking with your child and make it a point that they are looking at you while they speak. This way you are making sure that the child knows that you are paying attention and by making him look at you, you are imbibing confidence in him.
Haptics: Touch is a very sensitive and powerful category of body language. Touch your child’s arm while you want to grab their attention. Appreciate them by tapping on their back. Put your arm on their back lightly when you want to assure them when they are scared. Cuddle your child as much as possible when they are toddlers. It is the best way to make them know that they are loved. Also tell them that there might be people who might not be okay with being touched.
Proxemics: Undertsanding of spatial proxemities is very important because everyone considers the space around them up to a certain perimeter as an extension of themselves. It is essential to teach your kids this early on. If you observe that your child is leaning in too much while talking to a friend, tell your child softly that while speaking to friends you shouldn’t stand too close. Make them understand that they can be physically near to only parents and any uncomfortable proximity from outsiders towards them must be reported to you.
Voice: Parents are the best teachers. It is only fair to say that it is important for the parents to try to be their best while infront of their kids. Try to maintain the tone clear; neither sarcastic nor overtly pleasing. The tone needs to be maintained according to the situation though you are not in the mood for it. If you child is throwing out stuff at a party you cannot use a casual tone to reprimand them. Be strong when the need be.
Facial expressions: It is very adorable when a toddler misspells a word that might sound like a mean word. It will tempt you to laugh but you must maintain a straight face and tell them that it is a bad word and it should not be used. If you laugh out loud, it will send a mixed message to the child. Though you may tell them not to, your laugh might encourage them. Also to show that you are interested in what your child is saying and at the same time to encourage them to share with you, imitate your child’s expressions. If he is sad you too maintain a sad expression to show that you are empathizing with them.
Body posture: Do not bend over and speak to your child. But sit on your knees or a stool so that you are at their eye level. Why do you think you always see the royals sitting on their knees while talking to their children! Do not let them slouch voluntarily because if this becomes a habit they will ruin their body structure along with their confidence. Remind them to stand erect, firm and confident while talking to anyone.
Children learn from their parents.
Not just from what you teach but from what you do.
Make sure that you follow what you preach!