A child will only begin to understand abstract thinking in the later stages of childhood, like between ages 13 to 18. Most definitely, when you are communicating with 12 and younger, you will go blue in the face believing that your children understand what you are saying to them or asking them to do. Most of the time your children do not and they will not have a clue what you are talking about. It will sound just like the Peanuts cartoon, where you had the teacher in the front of the room mumbling, “Ma wamp pa wawamwam.” The words do not make any sense to them and they do not know enough to say, “Please help, Mom, I don't understand what you are saying.” What you say and what they hear are not the same thing.
Let's say the kids are home alone for just 20 minutes and you return to a messy room. There are things all over the floor and the wall. There is some stuff over there and you don't even know what that is…and they did it all in an amazing 10 minutes! So, what do you actually say? How do you ask your child? How do you communicate with positive parenting skills?
Well, let's say you go in really annoyed and you are yelling at them, “What the hell is going on!?!” Maybe you go in inquisitive. “Um, what are you doing?” Which one of those two is correct? I know that around your friends you would probably answer, “Be inquisitive. Don't lose your temper. Count to ten.” Okay, well, get past that part. You are going to show up as you show up anyways and no one is here to judge you.
So, go in annoyed or go in inquisitive. Either one is how the mom and dad's brains work because they assume so much on the child's side. They assume that the child understands the language. Now, whether you agree with this or not so far, it doesn't matter. You are just humoring me right now. You will be able to agree once you have spent enough time considering it, and once you yourself understand it. I know that we will come to the same conclusion, that the child has no idea why they did it, not a clue, not even an iota of…anything. They did not do it to be vindictive. They did not do it deliberately: “Oh, let's really tick Mom off.” Well, some parents probably deserve it, but that is a completely separate issue; we are looking at the majority of parents here.
Your child thinks and speaks a completely different language. When you learn the correct questions to ask to always get a correct answer from your child or teenager you can still offer positive praise and end up with a positive outcome in any circumstance.
6 Positive Parenting Questions to Ask that Will Guide Your Child
to a Successful Outcome
What should we be doing right now?What should this room look like?Where is the best place for all of this stuff?When would the best time to put everything away?What still needs to be done before supper?Do you earn TV privileges when the room looks like this?
You will set your child up for success by asking questions that they know the answers to. When they offer the correct answer you can guide their behavior by praising their answer: “Oh, look at how smart you are. You always have the right answer. That's what I love best about you, little Timmy. You know what to do.” They will clean the room and everything will be peaceful, happy and successful.