The older my children get, the more I’m aware of how important it is to make sure we communicate with each other.
I want them to know that they can tell me anything, that they’re safe to talk through their feelings and tell me about anything that’s bothering them. There have already been times where Rhys has taken quite a while to let us in and tell us when something has been playing on his mind.
There is a psychological trick that I’m keeping in mind for the next time it seems like he’s not told us everything and it’s something you can try too if you feel that your child isn’t telling you the whole story.
When you feel like there’s more to the story than your child is telling you, simply keep quiet.
Keep looking at them expectantly, but keep quiet.
Chances are they’ll start talking again and reveal more information or tell you more about how they’re feeling.
Something about the almost awkward silence and the eye contact with you will, more often than not, prompt them to fill the silence with more information. If you want to you can add in a little eyebrow raise that subtly lets them know you’re expecting a bit more, and also communicates that you’re interested in what they’re saying.
I’m not sure how well this would work with toddlers and really young children, but with older children it is a useful trick to know if you feel like you’re only getting half the story. And I have a feeling it’ll come in handy when we hit the teenage years too.
You can use this on other people too.
Lets say you have a feeling a work colleague isn’t telling you everything about a recent meeting that you weren’t part of, try this trick of staying quiet and maintaining eye contact and see if they’ll give up a bit more info.
Pretty much any time you feel like you’re not being told the whole story, give this little trick a try and see what other information comes trickling out.
Have you ever tried this with your children? Do you have any other advice or tips for these situations where you feel like your child isn’t telling you everything?