Actions speak louder than words. In fact, they speak 93% louder than words. That’s because, case studies prove that 93% of our messages are communicated through body language, divided between 55% conveyed through the emotional messages of face-to-face interaction and another 38% transmitted through the voice. This means that only 7% of communication is expressed by our words. That’s astounding!
In practical terms, this means that we can be giving the most loving, caring speeches to a child, and yet, if he does not feel the love and care behind these statements, then they are almost worthless. In contrast, we can be giving the most stinging rebuke to a child, but if our body language continues to convey respect and love, then the very sharp criticism is transformed into a cherished moment symbolizing love and concern for the child.
People believe non-verbal communication more readily than verbal communication. That’s because, while one can pay lip-service to giving fine platitudes without really meaning them, one can rarely put on a convincing act of body language. For example, when we say no to a child, yet we sound unsure and doubtful, the message that there is room for negotiations speaks louder than the word no.
In addition, non-verbal communication happens continually, all day long, as opposed to verbal communication, which happens only when we engage in conversation. At times, we might think that we aren’t being expressive, while in reality we are sending messages all the time through other means, for example a look of annoyance or a grumpy face.
We must make sure that our non-verbal communication matches our verbal messages. Otherwise, our children become confused and insecure.
For so many reasons, we must work from inside-out and start tuning in to the silent signals we give our children.
Start by analyzing your facial expression. When your child arrives home from school, do you look happy? Uptight? Worried? Concerned? Excited? Remember: A face is public property, always open for public viewing. Make it pleasant and warm.
Think about eye contact. When you look your child in the eye, you convey your love and concern for him. You show him you truly care about him.
Brainstorm for different positive gestures, which can help you express your unconditional love for your child. A pat on the back, a stroke on the cheek, a small handwritten note, a thumbs-up; these speak so much more than long-winded messages.
Examine your tone of voice. Listen out for its intensity and loudness. Messages conveyed softly and are easier to intercept and accept. In addition, our tone can sound firm and confident or uncertain and meek/trusting or critical/proud or disappointed/excited or sad.
When a parent-child relationship is positive, the child is eager to hear from and please the parent. However, when the relationship is strained, it is important to examine our forms of communication. Think of non-verbal ways to express genuinely positive messages to the child-and you will see how far these silent messages can reach.