mother talking to son

What Are You Really Saying To Your Child?

Words are very important and what you say to your child does matter, but your body language actually carries more weight.

mother talking to childIn 1971 psychologist Albert Mehrabian published “Silent Messages, which included his pioneering research on nonverbal communication. When it comes to credibility, Mehrabian found that we assign 55% of the weight to body language, 38% to tone, and 7% to actual words (Whisper, Mark Batterson).

Psychology Today echoes that conclusion: What your body says is more accurate than what you say, and it speaks before you do. So always be aware that often we can tell what you are thinking or feeling before you speak.

So here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to what you want to be communicating to your child:


➢ Touch your child’s arm or shoulder to let them know you care about what they are trying to tell you.
➢ Look them in the eye. You are telling them that they have your full attention and that they are important to you.
➢ Lean in slightly when they are speaking. This tells them that you are actively listening and want to hear and understand their thoughts and concerns.
➢ Give plenty of high-fives, fist bumps, pats on the back, and best of all HUGS! (Studies have shown that healthy and positive human touch releases a chemical called oxytocin, which boosts confidence and enhances emotional connections.)


➢ Throw your hands up or kick the dirt. This communicates frustration and disgust.
➢ Pace the sidelines. Unless you want your child to have increased anxiety and be flustered.
➢ Turn your back on the game. You are essentially saying that you reject them because of their performance.
➢ Shaking your head, scowling, or roll your eyes. Not usually visible during competition, but when you do this in  conversations either before or after, it suggests you are agitated and don’t care to hear them express their thoughts and feelings.
➢ Crossed arms. Screams “I am frustrated and disappointed with your performance.”

Decide now what exactly it is that you want to be communicating to your child and remember the words of Ralph
Waldo Emerson:

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

Written by Chuck Miller, Life Changing Services Life Coach, Sports Consultant and Mental Skills Trainer
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