When one of my boys was a toddler, he would become visibly frustrated when trying to communicate. His brain and lips were not seeing eye to eye. So, he would vent in anger. Being a hip mom, I taught him a few words in sign language that he understood, and could clearly deliver his message to the family. It was wonderful and there were less frustrating moments between us.
Fast forward 8 years and this child’s brain and lips are making up for lost time. He has mastered vocabulary and speech quite well. At times, I feel, and he probably feels the same, we are back to those frustrating moments of trying to communicate. I declare he speaks another language all together and must admit my patience or lack there-of- it, fails us both. Do you feel like you have no idea what your kid is saying to you sometimes? And, can you see the glaze in their eyes, if their eyes are even looking at you when you speak to them?
I began to wonder where we fail in our communication as parents. There had to be more to the answer than the generation gap between us. I have been reading a book written by Dr. Tammy Smith, Soul Connection- Relating beyond the surface that gave me some insight to my question. Dr. Smith explores interpersonal connections between people. With years of professional counseling experience and a mother of two boys she has shared some practical and profound information into understanding others and ourselves. Specifically, I had my “Aha” moment as Dr. Smith began to explain how people process information using the analogy of inny or outy belly buttons. People who processes information on the inside may seem delayed or even reluctant but it takes time for the internal understanding of a message before it can be translated into action (that would be me). Internal processors also have a limit on how much information you can throw at them. This is not diminished capacity but they take the whole message and dig deep. I have often told my husband as he is trying to get me to respond, “Give me a moment to process what you are asking or I need time to think about that.” My son is an external processor. He needs to share his thoughts, feelings, and musings outside of himself to gain understanding. He has more journals completed than I have in my entire lifetime. He draws cartoons and remembers his dreams each and every night and likes to talk about them in detail to gain understanding of why he is dreaming and what it all might mean. An external processor likes to talk and may talk over others, not necessarily to communicate but to gain understanding.
Considering how we processes information and having an understanding of who I am and who my son is, allows for more effective communication and a deeper relationship. I can be more empathetic as he is trying to gain understanding outside of himself. And, share with him, mom can only zero in on a few things at a time. I believe what he has to say is important and I do not want to miss anything he is trying to share.
What kind of processor are you and your children? Perhaps the common frustrations we have stem from the lack of knowledge of how we take in information and how our loved ones process. With this understanding, we are equipped to move into a more positive and healthy relationship with our kids, be it inny or outy.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice