The way we communicate with our children greatly influences their psychological development. Thus, children who receive positive comments, who are treated with respect and love, and who dialogue in an open and trusting environment will develop skills and a stronger and healthier self-esteem.
That is why it is so important to be aware of how we communicate with children, and to avoid all those practices that disconnect us from them, that do not serve to educate and that also cause them discomfort.
Sermons are one of these communicative practices that we should avoid . We explain why.
What is lecturing and why do we adults do it constantly?
The word preach has two meanings. On the one hand, it refers to preaching a speech with moral content, and on the other hand it would mean admonishing and rebuking.
Perhaps the experience that age gives us, the diversity of lived situations or learning from the mistakes made make us parents tend to lecture our children too often .
When we believe that we are right, we preach with the intention of giving a lesson in morality (to teach them about something, warn them, inform them from a position of superiority…), although other times we resort to the sermon to correct their behavior or reproach them for an attitude .
You may think that the sermon is an effective way to educate your child, especially if it is a well-intentioned sermon. But the truth is that this communication technique is not only ineffective, but also sows distrust and distances us from our children.
Why sermons do not educate and disconnect us from children
If we speak, we do not listen to them
If only adults speak, preaching endlessly about the good and bad, reproaching the child’s behavior or looping moral judgments, we will be neglecting their needs at that moment.
Positive communication with children involves paying full attention to their words, asking them to tell us (that is, showing curiosity about what has happened), looking them in the eye and allowing them to express themselves freely and without obstacles .
On the contrary, not showing interest in what our child has to tell us, not even giving them the opportunity to express themselves, denotes an absolute lack of connection.
Greater risk of falling into disrespect
Although our initial idea is to give a well-intentioned sermon, the truth is that the very reasons that lead us to preach raise the risk that the communication ends up being totally disrespectful.
And it is that, in general, sermons tend to involve a raised tone of voice, non-verbal language that is sometimes intimidating (we raise our hands, wave our arms, alter our facial expression…) and the use of phrases that can damage the child’s self-esteem.
children lose attention
Children, especially the youngest ones, are not able to maintain their attention continuously and for a long time. Therefore, if we want to be sure that the message we are transmitting reaches them , we must be direct, provide clear ideas and use few words.
sermons are boring
Let’s admit it: being in front of a person who monopolizes a conversation and talks nonstop (many times even saying the same thing in a different way) is extremely boring.
In fluid communication, all parties should have the same participatory weight, listen to each other, present their ideas and interests, express emotions… Only in this way is dialogue enriching.
Causes feelings of inferiority
As we saw at the beginning, lecturing is an authoritarian practice that shows our superiority with respect to the child ( “I know more than you, so I’m going to give you a talk that you have to listen to” ).
But we have already spoken on other occasions that when the relationship with children stops being horizontal to become vertical, not only do we move away from them, but their self-esteem and security are also damaged, because we are not allowing them to grow and develop. freely and fully.
On the contrary, a democratic upbringing where the voice of the child is heard and valued will allow him to develop a healthy self-esteem while favoring our bonds.
Sermons “disconnect” us from our children
As children grow and enter adolescence, it is even easier to fall into wrong practices that separate us from them, disconnect us and cause us to lose confidence.
In this sense, falling into sermons can cause negative feelings that get in the way of our communication, such as resentment, helplessness or distrust ( “my parents think they are smarter than me”, “they are already with their usual sermons”, “they bore me when they get like this”, “I pass by my parents, they are always the same” …).
We do not allow the child to develop skills and learn
When the adult takes control of the word and launches a sermon at the child (either as a reprimand or as a moral discourse), he is not allowing him to develop skills as important as self-criticism (the ability to judge and assess my own actions) , reflection (there is already another person who is reflecting for me) and the ability to reach their own conclusions.
In this sense, it is important for children to have the opportunity to analyze what has happened , realize the error for themselves and try to repair it by seeking respectful solutions for all. Adults must accompany them and help them during this important learning process, but in no case monopolize the situation, preventing them from growing and developing as people.
But we must try to talk little and listen more, making sure that our messages are brief and direct , and encouraging the participation of our children through questions of curiosity, active listening and emotional accompaniment.
Cover photo | Yan Krukov on Pexels