Not long ago, while sitting around with several of our dogs, one of the kids mentioned he didn’t want his dog playing with the St. Bernard because he didn’t want his dog to get all slobbery. As they started arguing I spoke up, “Some people don’t like dog slobber.” What the learner heard was, “I don’t like your dog.” It turned into an argument that led to the kid walking out. I had to reconnect in order to repair the relationship.
We often think of scripts in relation to theater. However, the origin of the word ‘script’ is Late Middle English meaning “in the sense of something written”. Kids have scripts or emotional thoughts written on their brains from conception.
“Shhh! Your brother is sleeping,” when heard from a place of trauma might sound like “I don’t want to listen to you” or “I love your brother more than you.”
That is not what you said or were even what you were thinking. Why do they hear such negative things when we mean the best? So, how do we change the script?
When we know “Shhhh! your brother is sleeping” will cause hurt, we adjust. One approach is lowering the volume of your own voice so your child will follow your example. Another option might be to say, “I love your fun. Let’s love your brother together with shhhhh.”
It’s not easy. Every kid is different. We will mess up. But that is the beauty of reconnection. If we set the example by admitting when we were wrong and choose to reconnect, we have used the most powerful tool. When we chose carefully, what we say can become what they hear.