If you’re a parent — especially of young kids — you’ve probably found yourself doing any or all of these at one point or another:
•Rolling your eyes when your child asks you a question for the nth time;
•Placing your arms on your hips when you’re trying to get your point across;
•Straightening your body in anger — complete with raised voice — when your child disobeys you;
and so many other ‘actions’ with your body. The thing is, most of the time what we do and not what we say is what our children remember most — so the way we ‘talk’ to our kids without using words, i.e. non-verbal communication, is very important.
What communication really is about
According to Ben Ampil, motivational speaker and US-certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, children have a limited “range in choosing more resourceful or beneficial ways of interpreting (in NLP jargon, ‘coding’) their experiences because of their youthfulness.” Their ability to choose how they language themselves and others is also limited. Thus, Ampil says, “It would be up to the parent, who is the adult, to guide the child into better ways of engaging in conversations and in reacting to life experiences.”
Ampil shows just how important body language is when we communicate with others: “Research used in NLP has shown that the entire communication experience consists of Words accounting for 7%, Tonality 38%, and Body Language 55%. “Hence, communication is actually 93% non-verbal,” he emphasizes.
Ampil states that “congruence” is vital to communication.“Congruence is the situation when all of a person’s beliefs and behaviors are in full agreement and oriented toward securing his desired outcome. Consequently, his words, tonality, and body language would give the same message,” he explains.
Ampil cites this example of an incongruent communication message: When you say the words “I love you” in a rather harsh tone, and with a scowling facial expression. “I do Executive and Life Coaching and some of my clients, very well-known and established individuals in the corporate world, still grapple with unresolved memories from their past,” he shares. “Many of these painful memories have something to do with incongruent communicational experiences they had in their childhood days.”