“How” we communicate vs. “What” we communicate

May 1, 2023

By: Dr. Jennifer Shaer, Peconic Pediatrics (Riverhead & Southold, NY)

We learn at a young age that it’s not just what you say that matters but how you say it. Think about the amusement we see in children when they realize that when they say “You’re such a stupid dog” in a happy, playful voice, their dog responds with enthusiasm and joy.

Maya Angelou is quoted saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

That “feeling” comes from HOW we communicate and not WHAT we communicate.

Somewhere along the line, we seem to lose this understanding. We focus on being right with our words but are often wrong with our tone. We frequently fall into this trap with our children.

Typically, when we are short with someone, rude, or dismissive, it is because we are feeling our own stress. So, take a pause and check your inner state before you react. Often, we think we are able to hide our feelings and speak with our words, but most of the time, our negativity is felt regardless. With our children, we often feel that our yelling is justified because our message is so important. We just have to get them to listen. But most of the time, the louder we yell, the less we are heard.

When calm and grounded, it is possible to make your child feel loved and respected and still give them a firm and kind “no.” This type of respectful and honest communication will positively impact your child’s behavior, your emotions, and even your relationship.

It may not be easy, and it’s probably not how we were raised, but it’s worth the effort.

Allied Physicians Group is a partnership of more than 150 dedicated, caring physicians and 350 highly trained support staff. Allied serves over 180,000 patients with offices throughout Greater New York CityLong Island, the Hudson Valley, and beyond. Founded in 2006, Allied Physicians Group is a recognized leader in increasing healthcare efficiencies and patient satisfaction, emphasizing support, innovation, and collaboration. If you are looking for a Pediatrician near you click here, or for more information, please visit https://alliedphysiciansgroup.com/.