We talk too much to our children. What if we sometimes tested… silence?

We talk too much to our children.  What if we sometimes tested… silence?

By commenting too much on each action of our children, we would ultimately create a distance that prevents them from living in the present moment, according to a British psychologist specializing in parenting. What if we kept our remarks to ourselves from time to time?

“How do you feel?”, “How did you do?”, “Do you like this activity?”… Today’s parenting, driven in particular by positive parenting, invites us to interact with the child and to put all his emotions into words, constantly. However, this attitude also has its limits, as Anita Schmalor, doctor of psychology and parenting coach, discusses in the Psychology Today media. By filling every moment of silence, we would distance our children from their own feelings.

We constantly tell the children’s experience

According to her, we have often lost the value of silence in our Western cultures. On the contrary, we spend our time asking our child questions, congratulating him for his drawing, asking him to verbalize what he feels and why. A behavior that is not always necessary. “These types of questions and remarks divert the child’s attention from the fully lived experience of the moment with their senses and emotions towards the mental analysis of the experience. recalls the expert.

Too many words prevent the child from fully connecting with what he or she is doing

So instead of being entirely absorbed in an activity for its own sake, perhaps without a clear goal, they now evaluate their performance, understanding that they expect to do well. Instead of letting an emotion pass through them and experiencing it fully, they begin to intellectualize their frustration.

But despite ourselves, we help our children to stop living the present moment in their bodies, we teach them to disconnect.”the opposite of what we, as adults, try to learn through meditation, mindfulness and other practices aimed at reconnecting us with our bodies.”

And at the same time, we also create distance from our children. “By forcing our child to evaluate the present moment (or by doing it ourselves), we miss the opportunity to experience the moment alongside them. Therefore, we too do not embody our authentic selves.”

Take inspiration from other cultures that simply live together

There are of course several reasons why we break the silence so often. On the one hand, we are generally not comfortable with it in our societies, and we have not learned to value it. On the other hand, we start from the principle that we must describe to children everything they experience to give meaning to the world and their emotions.

But this is not the case everywhere. As the expert mentions, in indigenous cultures, there are much fewer verbal instructions. Children are integrated into the community and participate (in a playful way) in daily tasks receiving minimal verbal feedback. Meanwhile, the adults around them are deeply attentive and present, ready to offer a caring space when needed. Speech is not prohibited, but it intervenes at necessary moments.

According to the psychologist, and studies on the subject, this affects the well-being of these children. “They tend to be much happier, kinder, confident and competent than children in our culture today. They learn to be comfortable with whatever emotions come up and they are able to be more in the present moment instead of constantly evaluating what is happening.”

What if you tried silence?

So why not try this method, which is also much less exhausting for the parent than incessant questioning? The expert suggests a simple exercise:

  • Be quiet with your child for about half an hour;
  • Put your phone aside and just be present in the moment;
  • Avoid commenting, instructing, asking questions, praising, or otherwise telling or directing your child’s behavior;
  • Just be present, and observe their play, their joy… What they feel.

This perhaps offers a way to communicate differently with your child and leave him free to fully experience his play.