Interviews with F and her son L aged 7
Here are mum F and son L's responses. It's interesting to see how L is strongly effected by events around him on both a global and more personal scale. Once again, my thanks to both for their contributions.
• What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned so far with regards to communicating with your children?
Patience, patience, patience. Clear words and not too many at once.
• When has it all gone horribly wrong for you, and what did you do to fix it?
Frustration, take a breath and think what do we all need right now, a cuddle? Just sitting? Time out? A wee? A cup of tea? (For me!)
• What is the personal trait you mostly rely upon in your relationships with your children?
Empathy, is that the right word? Trying to see it from his point of view. I think.
• What is your greatest fear for future communications with your children?
Lies/ not talking and not feeling like he can talk to me about anything as we move slowly closer to teens.
• Do you have strategy for this? If not, what would help?
Not yet. I just tell him when it comes up in conversation about secrets, that he can tell me absolutely anything. I'm on his side we're mummy and daddy and are on his side.
• When has it all gone wonderfully right, and why do you think that was?
When we've all just had a really lovely day where everyone has co-operated and all has gone well and we've all had a laugh. Maybe when we’re calmer/ relaxed not occupied by jobs better slept etc?
• What question do you think should be on this list?
I'm still thinking.
• What really winds you up about how adults speak to you?
I think maybe about when I can't answer them back and it makes me want to go ‘aaaagh!’ and give them a piece of my mind. And I get the trouble and he doesn’t.
• What do you really like when being addressed by an adult?
Happy, just like normal not grumpy.
• Is there anything you would change about how young people are treated in society, if so what?
Yes I would like to change in Syria where they use children as shields but in this country like aggressive or angry.
• Do you find it easy or difficult to communicate with grown-ups, and why?
Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t - they might say stuff I don't know.
• What about other children - of the same age, and other ages?
Yeah, cool, we can do back chat together and we can have fun with our Pokemon cards and they can't tell me what to do and I can tell their mums and dads and it's sorted. I like sitting on the trampoline and me and K we talk about everything and then you come down and say will you let S on the trampoline and watch him while you make dinner and then we have to play with S and he's do so boring but he can be cute when we talk I don't know his wwwwmmmmsss stuff he says but I know what he's saying.
• Do you think adults understand you? Why / why not?
Yes adults understand me. Why? Well because you mummy will know that what the word will be. Sometimes I'm not allowed to say what happened and they believe them instead and I get into trouble.
And how does that make you feel? Ah you know they think I'm ok I've been in trouble so I can handle it. (At this point I had to give him a cuddle)
Mum can I have some chocolate? Not until after dinner. Eurgh! It's always after dinner, mummy when I'm an adult I'm going to eat chocolate while you’re cooking dinner and when I'm 18 I'm going to watch 19 films. Fab I say I'll look forward to that.
• What lesson would you like grown-ups to learn about how to communicate with children?
What I want them to learn is to let the children … let all the anger in …learn that children just have to be able to let all the angers out. I want the teacher or the dinner ladies or the bank manager or you know … to listen to my side of what is that happened.
Has something happened today L? No mummy not today. Mummy can I give M a treat? You gave her the last one last night. Oh mummy poor M's got no treats. Oh I'm sure she'll cope darling. Mummy if M could talk I'd back chat with M.
• What question do you think should be on this list? How would you answer it?
Mum can I have some chocolate I don't want to do any more.