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Words Matter

On April 26, Dr. Adria O’Donnell returned to The Rhoades School for the final Parent Education event of the 2018/2019 school year. Dr. O’Donnell held presentations for both parents and students in grades 4-8 on managing stress and anxiety, and provided tools on how parents can communicate more effectively with their children.  Her key message “words matter, so be intentional” was presented with her gift of combining her years of professional training and experience, with her warm humor.

Children love to push your buttons. You need to avoid being pulled into their anger or going down the “rabbit hole” when talking to them.  A favorite take-away was the use of “I think you meant to say…” Here is the example she gave. You serve a beautiful salmon for dinner. Your child’s immediate response is “Oh no, not salmon…again” (insert whiny tone for accuracy). Instead of reacting and raising your voice or getting frustrated, you simply say “I think what you meant to say is ‘thank you Mom for the wonderful dinner’… a little humor goes a long way.  Not necessarily an easy thing to do, but very effective!  A few other great take-aways:

  • As a parent, try to respond and not react to your kids.
  • Children need to be listened to before they can listen, so let them “get it all out,” then respond.
  • Our long-term goal for our kids is to get them to earn their happy. Therefore, we need to tolerate their discomfort.
  • Our goal as parents should be to prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.
  • Kids only learn/grow when they are uncomfortable; they must struggle with something challenging. Kids need adversity, and we need to tolerate it. Their resistance is often anxiety.
  • Pick better/the best timing, and tap out with your spouse when needed.
  • Overall, your words matter.

To read her full presentation, please click here.

All guest speakers are generously funded through The Rhoades Foundation.

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