Parenting Three Year Olds: They Really Understand
Many people ask me when they should start teaching their children self government skills. It is never too early to start talking in a deliberate, describing way or to teach the word "okay." Even the words "disagree appropriately" can be understood by most youngsters.
My little almost 3 year old just asked if she could "disagree appropriately." She has not yet been asked to do this, she is just listening and learning from her big brothers. All of the sudden I realized what big words those are for such a little person.
Of course my heart just melted. (at least someone is listening :-)
When they see that their appropriate communication gets their parent's attention and praise, and that they fell happy and comfortable with the new language and skills they will never think about going back to the irrational way of communicating. (Well, unless some other child teaches them that manipulation and power stuggles work during a play time or at school. Then you will have to teach cause and effect with effective communication again.)
I started my children when they were babies with the self-government lanugage, and so it is just part of how we communicate. Teaching the foster youth who came to my home took a bit more patience and practice because they had to un-learn a few communcation skills before they could learn the new ones.
Be patient with your children. They will and can learn to control their emotions and use effective communication. Just make sure you never forget that what you do, they will also do. Set the self-government example and then your children will automatically follow and be inspired.