Google+ Authentic Parenting: Authentic Communication (rerun)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Authentic Communication (rerun)

Written by Lisa Meuser

I have been known to say that Kathrynn (7) is not the "best" of communicators..... What that means for me, is that she does not communicate the way *I* always want her to: with "clarity" and words. :)

When Kathrynn is particularly emotional, or feeling something strongly, her ability and/or willingness to communicate using words, can sometimes be almost non-existent. This is not to say that she is not communicating, because she clearly is. Sometimes she is communicating via her hands or feet. Sometimes she is communicating using her tears. Sometimes she yells. And sometimes she goes into her room, and wants no one to be near her.

The other day she had a very intense response to some information, that was so disappointing for her. She was so filled with anger! She was not interested in talking about it, or being comforted by me. She went into her room and slammed the door, sobbing. I wanted to connect with her, so i opened her door, to let her know I loved her, and to get me if she needed anything. This was met with "GET OUT OF MY ROOM" at top volume. Although at one time I would have become offended by this, or taken it personally, I knew it had nothing to do with me. A few minutes later she came out of her room looking for a picture of our family. Then back into her room she went. I heard her playing her favorite lullaby, and saw her through a crack in the door holding onto the picture of our family, as well as an herbal pillow.

Eventually she came out of her room, and she was done being angry and sad, and ready to play. Later I asked her if she wanted to talk about what had happened. She told me that she was so disappointed in X , and that she tried to make herself feel better by listening to the music and holding the picture and pillow. She told me that she wasn't sure if those things made her feel better or not, just that after awhile she did feel better.

I share this experience because her way of processing her emotions might make many people uncomfortable. Her "non traditional" methods might not even be acceptable in some households. In our household, we are learning to respect each person's journey, and how each person processes emotions differently. I absolutely love Kathrynn's process. Sure it might have made me feel uncomfortable at various times- but those are my issues to deal with. Kathrynn is not responsible for my issues.

Something else that occurred to me this morning:

Words/communication can be a tool that can lead to clarity, to authentic relationship, to connection. And words/ communication are also good for Control. I can use words to control on a variety of levels. I can try to demand the use of words, in a way to control too.

This is a very interesting concept for me to realize. Kathrynn has a friend who is quite verbal, and at times this friend gets so upset when Kathrynn is not willing to "use her words." In some ways, yes, this girl is wanting to connect via words. And in other ways, yes, this girl is trying to gather a sense control with words. I think this is a normal thing in our society- to gain a sense of control about ourselves, or our world, using words.

Ultimately, what a wonderful mirror for me!

I think at some level I have realized my part in using words as a form of communication sometimes, and control other times, which is why I no longer expect Kathrynn to communicate in a certain way, and why I have changed the way I communicate with her. And I also see that there are times when I continue to use words, and perhaps want her to "use her words", as a way to gather a sense of control about what is going on. Ultimately, that is about *my* needs, not hers.

Food for thought..... what is this communication stuff all about? Connection and control for *my* sake? Lots of yummy stuff there..... :)

I'm the mama of a wonderful 7 year old and wife to an awesome husband of 11 years!
We are life learners, and you can read more about our adventures of living a life filled with Joy in its different guises at

Image: D Sharon Pruitt



  1. Lisa -

    What a gift you give your daughter and yourself - and all your daughter's future relationships and difficulties and triumphs - by parenting in such a gentle, awesome, present and loving way. You are right that such behaviors are deemed "unacceptable" in many families and sometimes our larger culture (here in the US at least) - and the social, physical, emotional, and mental penalties are leveled heavily at female children.

    Have you read Rachel Simmons book, The Curse of the Good Girl?

    Thanks for the post, and what a wonderful read it was.

  2. I think its wonderful that you allow your daughter to communicate in a way that works for her. My daughter is almost 17 months now and what we have learned from the word get go is that the best laid plans will go to waste in the wake of a new human being. The biggest lesson ever for us as parents has been to go with the flow and let her guide her way. This is also true of communication.

    And it is not just applicable to the children of our life, but also to the grown ups. People differ, accept and work with it.

    Heading over to perpetual joy now (BTW great name).

  3. Being able to be adult enough to realize your child is different from you, yet still needs to be respected is fantastic! I'm sure we'd all appreciate living in a home where we weren't judged by our feelings.

  4. I love this story! I admire that you give your daughter space to work through her emotions in her own way. It seems very effective and is clearly very respectful and loving.

    Excellent point about control and using words to communicate. I sometimes get frustrated when my toddler regresses to whining and grunting instead of "using his words". Next time, I will reflect deeply on what you've said here. Maybe the problem is MY annoyance, not his communication style during those moments. You're right, lots of yummy stuff to contemplate there...

  5. Great post! Thanks for the reminder... I will be more aware next time about my toddler and her way of communication!


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