Bringing Words to Life

Bringing Words to Life

I am someone who talks a lot, and someone who talks about every incident in details. Simply put, I just like talking, and that’s something I inherited from my father, who is always the one talking among a group of people. It’s not that others don’t want to talk, but his energetic and talkative nature never gives anyone a chance! (I love you daddy!)

On the other hand, my Talia is the total opposite. She would never just come and tell me about her day at school. We ride in the car and excitedly I ask her, “what did you do today?” “How was school? “What did you learn” and all she says is “We played and ate”

Seriously?!?! That’s it? Okay!!! What else?

So I ask her, “Played what?” and she says, “Played…” and then I give up asking to avoid sounding too pushy.

I want to make sure I respect her and her personality, but I can’t help but look at it from a different angle. I worry and think to myself, if she doesn’t open up to me about her life at this age, what will she do in her teenage years? Will she share her stories with me? Her secrets? Am I going to be her best friend? Okay, let’s not be pushy again. Am I going to at least be her friend? This has been a concern of mine ever since she was younger, and I used to always try and introduce the idea to her that she is my best friend, so she is aware of the kind of relationship we have from this age, in hopes that it would only grow deeper with time.

Then I learned something beautiful from my course on Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing, by Yale University that is both interesting and remarkably effective.

It is the concept of modeling, which by definition means teaching by example.

The context of modeling that I am referring to is almost like reverse psychology, where you end up doing to your child what you are hoping he/she will slowly but surely start doing. So if you want your child to open to you about their day or their issues, you initiate by turning to them to share your words.

Talk to him/her about YOUR life, about the mundane stuff—what you did, an incident that happened to you, etc. Eventually, this will reverse at one point in the child’s life. It worked amazingly with me, and has built stronger ties and the reason my Talia was happy I shared with her is that it made her feel valuable, her opinion mattered and she was someone I deemed worthy of sharing my personal adult stories with.

One of the most beautiful moments for me as a mom is when I am talking to my child as an adult friends. I show her that I treat her as a grown up, even with my tone, and the result has been stunning.

She expressed surprise, yet happiness, that I am telling her what happened to me at work. She wanted to hear more and started asking me questions, and when I was done she said “well for me…” and began telling me what SHE did

It might not be immediate.

Your child might just listen the first time, but eventually,  the more you do it, the more he/she will want to do the same.

I am always a believer that whatever you do, with consistency as well, from a young age, will somehow someday blossom at a point in their lives.

اللهم إجعلهم لنا مطيعين علينا مقبلين، غير عاصين ولا عاقين ولا خاطئين، وأعنّا على تربيتهم تربية صالحة وأعنّا على تأديبهم وبرهّم. وإجعلهم لنا قرة عين في الدنيا والآخرة

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