Does Your Child Know How To Have Meaningful Conversations?
No one is born with conversation skills. We acquire them over time through practice and through lessons from older people. However, not everybody learns at the same pace. Some of us actually grow with the fear of getting engaged in meaningful conversations.
A hundred years ago, when time was slower and there were fewer distractions such as smartphones and the internet, the quality of conversations that people had was significantly better. They didn’t just ask “how are you” and stopped there. It was normal to dig deeper.
Communicating In The Digital World
Nowadays, the younger generation are deprived of conversation skills because of how the world has changed. Talking is now known as “chatting” or “private messaging” and shallow conversation has become the norm. When you begin asking more questions to keep the dialogue going, the response would surely be suspicion.
As our children grow in this type of environment, it is our duty as parents to teach them the value of fulfilling conversations and the life skills they need to communicate with others in a more meaningful manner. We really can’t afford not to because it will affect how they form relationships in the future.
Additionally, when our conversations contribute value to our personal development or to that of other people, it brings on a sense of fulfillment ー that we’ve made a positive impact through the words we speak.
Teaching Children The Art of Meaningful Conversation
Why teach kids to have “deep, adult conversations” at ages four to 10?
It seems too early but keep in mind that developing conversation skills takes plenty of time and practice. The more opportunities they have to communicate with others, the bigger their chances are of learning life skills that would give them stronger relationships and more fulfillment.
They also won’t be as teachable when they’re older. Teenagers are resistant to instruction especially from their parents but younger kids are open and eager to learn. This means, if we start them young, meaningful conversations will become a part of their nature.
Two Criteria Of Meaningful Conversations
Below are the two main criteria that will guide you in determining what makes a meaningful conversation. Also included are scripts to help kids understand the value of deep, serious talks, as well as scripts they can use when talking to others.
1) It contributes value.
When we give, we receive. It might not be from the same person but the good that we do will eventually come back to us. For instance, we become better simply by being generous. Our words bring value to others when we give away: compliments, appreciation, and encouraging statements.
2) It challenges them to grow.
Deep conversations open our children to learning something new, especially from those who have valuable experiences to share. Teach them to not be afraid of asking questions. If they never ask, they’ll never know and grow.
Sample Scripts To Use When Talking To Your Child
“Honey, do you know that contributing value to your friends is like giving someone a very special gift? When you do it, you are giving them not a material gift but a spiritual gift which is even better because it makes them feel worthy and important. Compliment them. Acknowledge their hard work. Take time to listen and ask questions to let them know you’re interested. Encourage them with positive words.”
Sample Scripts To Use In Meaningful Conversations
“You’re really good at ________ (pick a sport/work).”
“I noticed that you ________(something they achieved).”
“Thank you for _________ (something good they did for you).”
Listening & Asking Questions To Show Interest
“Tell me more about that _________ (let them elaborate).”
“What was it like going to _________ (let them elaborate)?”
“I believe in you. You can do it.”
Growth is the main ingredient to happiness. When we teach our children to have meaningful conversations that challenge those involved, we are helping them in many ways.
Growing is not comfortable all the time, that is why we have the term “growing pains.” It is painful because it’s new and because we often gravitate to what’s comfortable. By giving them these practical scripts, they will be ready if ever the opportunity rises.