Young children, even babies, can respond to much deeper communication than people generally realize.
I have startling experiences in deep communication with young children.
Not just with my kid, but with others, many others!!
They hear, feel and understand so much.
Beyond the traditional “tone of voice” thing that most people think.
Give Me That!
Once my niece, when she was less than 1 yr old, had a plastic bag that she was playing with.
Her mom and dad were trying to get it away from her.
They pulled, they distracted, they talked firmly, tried explaining that it was dangerous.
She would just SCREAM anytime anyone touched that bag.
She loved it, was attached to it and was NOT going to let go of it.
So after some drama ensued I asked my brother-in-law and his wife if I could give it a go using my crazy methods? They love me and trust me, even if they don’t quite understand me, so they said yes!
I sat next to my niece and said:
First, Connect and Validate
“Hey kiddo, I know you love to play with that plastic bag. It’s so much fun, I love to play with them too. Look at how shiny it is, feel how smooth it is, listen to the crinkly sounds it makes. Anyone would LOVE to play with it and I think you’re so wonderful for wanting to play with it!!
I just have to tell you that it’s a bit of a dangerous thing to play with. You see, in our relationship we both have jobs. Your job as a young person is to play, learn and have as much fun as possible.
Guide and Reason
My job is to make sure you can play and have as much fun as possible.
Part of that job is to keep you safe and healthy so you can be as happy as can be.
That means sometimes you have to trust me when I ask you for things because the ONLY reason I ever do is so you can have even more fun in your life.
This bag can really hurt you if you put it near your face or if it goes in your mouth and then you won’t have fun and I love you so much that’s all I want for you.
Ask, Don’t Demand
So would you please help me love you and give me the bag?”
I didn’t take it from her
I just projected my love to her and held out my hand
All the adults were watching, expecting the pattern to repeat itself
But the wise and wonderful child just reached out and handed me the bag.
I thanked her for her wisdom and her understanding and hugged her.
She heard me and understood.
I have always remembered this experience and I have many many more like it.
It’s a hard thing to believe that young people can understand such concepts and depth, but I encourage people to believe this and live it.
I have always done so with my daughter.
Literally from the day she was born I recognized her wisdom and comprehension.
And I treated her accordingly.
I talked to her and explained things to her.
I always believed she understood what I was saying.
An Uncommon Perspective
I know this is not the common view of how babies are perceived.
I’m gently encouraging a perspective of children that is greater, deeper and wiser than the norm.
I have had way way too many experiences of this sort
with so many little ones to doubt the reality of this.
Communication and Respect
The main point is that babies are not too young to be treated with deep respect.
Communication, collaboration, cooperation and reasoning are equally applicable to a 1 month old as to a 10 year old.
Granted it will look different, but the essence is the same.