This week's set of interview responses are from L and P who live in France. P is being brought up bi-lingually, but is perhaps more comfortable in French. So it's even more wonderful that she gives these beautifully honest answers in English. My sincere thanks go to both of them for their time and effort.
THE FIRST RESPONSES ARE FROM L, WHO HAD LIMITED TIME AT THE COMPUTER TO WRITE HER ANSWERS:
• What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned so far with regards to communicating with your children?
Realising how early they understand and how much more I could listen/be attentive/give time.
• When has it all gone horribly wrong for you, and what did you do to fix it?
When I tried to 'do' anything with them without explaining first, not taking time for them to feel active in the family's events. And not listening to them. To fix it, I started again, explained, gave more choice/time, apologised a while after if an upset happened and I lost my temper. Try to watch the tone and volume I use and finding a way to say 'NO' as little as possible within a reasonable framework.
• What is the personal trait you mostly rely upon in your relationships with your children?
Attention to detail, understanding, remembering, keeping promises, self-care.
• What is your greatest fear for future communications with your children?
That all the communication mishaps will cumulate in them 'giving up' on me as an option to talk to resulting in THEM not listening and keeping secrets.
• Do you have strategy for this? If not, what would help?
I talk to them about anything they ask about and don't pretend anything. I say a lot about my own feelings and show my imperfections. I admit when I make a mistake. I always tell them the truth relevant to their age (unless it would cause them too much distress).
• When has it all gone wonderfully right, and why do you think that was?
When I listen. When their basic needs are taken care of. (Sleep, food, basic comfort).
• What question do you think should be on this list?
What do you think your children would say about how you talk to them? How do your children speak to you (if older) and what does it reflect for you?
AND NOW WE HEAR FROM P, AS INTERVIEWED BY L:
• What annoys you about how adults speak to you?
When I’m punished.
-Who does that?
-Do I? (surprised)
When they shout. When they punish me.
-Who punishes you?
-What does he do?
He puts me on my own in my bedroom.
• How do you like a grown-up to be when they speak to you?
Nice. To be nice and not shout.
• What is good and what is bad about being a child?
Good- Don’t know.
Bad - No.
(Prompted) I like to play…to dance.
I like to go to school.
I don’t like when my little sister bites me.
• Do you find it easy or difficult to talk with grown-ups, and why?
Because…..because….sometimes I’m shy.
-Is it easy to talk to Mummy, Papa, Teacher?
-Are there any grown-ups you find it difficult to talk to?
Yes - Mata.
• Is it easy or difficult for you to speak with other children?
They’re not like adults. Adults are a bit difficult.
• Do you think adults understand you? Why / why not?
I don’t know. It’s not all... Mummy does, Papa does, Pearl, Elsie…They understand me because they’re my family.
• What lesson would you like grown-ups to learn about how to talk to children?
To talk nice.
-What would you teach them?
That when they’re cross to only talk to children, nicely.