Recently took the Personality Strength Survey with four personality types Lion, Otter, Beaver and Golden Retriever and realized that my primary personality strength is that of an Otter’s. Yep, where a lion mom wants to be direct and confrontational with the type of music their kids listen to, my otter self wins and goes full gear with approaching it with story-telling and motivational type of conversations.
Attended Ardy Abello’s Communications workshop and I find it interesting that I was actually applying my learnings on how I parent. On hindsight, I feel like I have missed out on effectively parenting my kids, just because I missed to discover what my personality strengths are and missed to see how my personality, communication and decision styles affect my kids. So read on, thought of listing some of my learnings. Let us go bust some parenting myths.
Myth#1 – the best and only form of communication is talk
Learned the 87-13 principle. That 87% of the information we receive comes from the eyes and only 13% of the information we receive comes from the ears. This is where critical life modeling comes from. That our kids tend to use the same words we use, respond as how we usually do, relate to dads as how mom does, relate to moms as how dad does. So basically, kids are on default imitation mode on whatever behavior you model as a parent. John Maxwell was quoted saying “I do not practice what I preach, but I preach what I practice.” Now that is communication, one that does not require you to open your lips. This goes to say that your life may be the only Bible that your neighbors will get to hear.
Myth#2 – communicating means having the ability to speak/tell
Communicating is not exclusive to speaking, active listening is the most important yet the least practiced part of effective communication. If you find yourself doing something else while listening, most likely you do not have full attention to the act of listening. Say you are on the dinner table and that is the only place where you and the kids get to talk (in between eating, munching and serving). No TV on dinner? With or without the TV on, you are actually competing with the long list of things happening on the dinner table. Moms, you may want to plan for a deliberate family meeting session where you have everyone’s full attention to listen. Night prayer time with kids, I would say, creates a very good avenue to communicate with them. You would be surprised how kids openly talk about their fears, their dreams, their views about everything under the sun, before prayer time.
Myth#3 – this is my communication style. Period.
My love language (there are five: words, touch, time, gifts and service) is Words. My husband’s is service. My eldest kid Kyle’s is time. My only girl Sofia’s is touch. Inevitably, what feeds my love tank is words, my love expression is also words. But then no matter how much “I love you’s” I give my husband, his love tank may not be filled until I show it through service. I can talk to my husband all day (words) but if I do not cook for him (service), he will miss to spot that I have just expressed love. In the same way, even if my husband gets up and joins me for breakfast and drives me to the office (service) daily, but if he does not tell me “I love you” before I get off the car, my love tank is not as full as it should be. Imagine our confusion back when we did not know how love language works. Now that we do, we just have to remind ourselves about it and make the effort to meet it for everyone.
There is no rocket science formula to communicating and parenting. Moms can never go wrong with having a genuine concern over what will work for husband and kids, and not just taking home your communication style required of you from the office. If you run business reviews in the office and taking the lead in the boardroom is what‘s needed in the office, it is definitely not the same requirement you have at home. Leave your “working mom self” at the door, you can always pick it up again on your way back to the office.