Yesterday, I found the perfect scenario of how I could've approached a conversation with D in a better way. Remember I had posted previously about this "battle of the wills"? I often hear myself speaking to D and really wish I had not used the words I used.
Lucky for me, one of my really good friends was over yesterday and I had a chance to get her advice on how I could approach my conversation a bit better to better support my relationship with my daughter.
Scenario: D had a few friends over. She asks me to help her put on a dress up dress. I notice she is the only one wearing a dress up dress so I say, "Well, did you offer your friends any dress up clothes?"
She says, "No."
I say, "Well, you should. It's not nice to be the only one dressing up. You could get out your dress up box and offer your friends some dresses."
Now, it would seem that the above conversation was fine. But it wasn't. My delivery made it seem like she should've known better. I cringed afterwards. In my mind, I thought, "you know, I could've really delivered that better. Not so dictatorial." I always think back to the way, L, my girlfriend speaks to her daughters and it is never dictatorial and always so respectful. Just a suggestion and always delivered in the mildest manner. So, I pull L aside and recount the scenario back to her. I say, "I really could've said it differently. More of a kind suggestion - Shall we pull out your dress up bin and see if your friends would like to dress up?" That is such a kinder way to put things and it makes everyone happy.
L understood where I was coming from. She said it took her MONTHS to work at shifting her sentences. She said she had a book (couldn't remember the name) that she thinks had samples of better phrasing. She would review them every night and remember them the next day and work and work at rephrasing. Now it comes easier to her.
"Why don't we..." and "How about..." are a good start. I feel like if I can master this way of speaking, it can really help my connection with my daughter. We are already very strongly connected but that is only by way of the mother-daughter bond. By speaking in a more respectful way to my daughter, I can strengthen this bond and hopefully, as she grows older, this bond will keep her close to me as opposed to wanting to rebel...
It is really helpful to me to know that L struggled with learning this new way of speaking! So often I can brush things off to "oh that's just the way she is. She has patience. She loves being with children..I'm not that way..." But now I know. I can change. I can be better.