Getting through to Kids
By Rev. Dr. Kim Miller
It frustrates many parents that our kids communicate more through Facebook than through 'face-time'. From school to skate park, kids will sit along a fence and text each other rather than talk. These kids are bi-lingual, one language uses the voice, and other uses the fingers.
The languages of texting and social media are exercises in minimalism. They communicate, but they carry little meaning because of their inherent limitations. Getting kids to lay aside the language of the fingers can be a problem. So here are a few things to think about.
But be warned! I have just finished a book of disgusting poems for ten year old boys. It's called 'Who's Who - Poo in the Zoo'. Of course, ten year old boys don't think it's disgusting, they think it's funny. The book is filled with words that might get their mum annoyed, words like 'fart' and 'snot' and 'spew'. My son's boys, ten and twelve, love it. Content warning over, let's get going.
- Be Different
The world surrounding our kids is hyper-stimulated. It is difficult to compete in the battle to get their attention. The best way to start up a conversation is with something unusual or unexpected, even a little outrageous. Let's face it, 'How was school today?' is pretty lame. What about, 'Did the teacher get through the afternoon without farting too much?' That is a start-up guaranteed to get attention. It's inspired by a poem in my new book, but you guessed that, right?
- Be Visual
The world of our children has a very visual emphasis. Asking children, 'What did that look like to you?' gets their visual imagination up and running. Many schools teach the three basic communication styles, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Emphasising the visual style recognises the heavy visual stimulus that is already hitting our kids' eyes. Visual imagery is strong stuff, which is why I use it in the new book. The situations in the poems are presented in a highly visual manner to guarantee an, 'Oh, yuk!'
- Be Dynamic
Today's social issues have a very strong influence on young people, much stronger than in the childhood days of their parents. Conversations with today's young people cover topics that a generation ago would have been 'adults only'. But exposure to heavy issues does not mean that children have the wisdom or maturity to deal with them. My new book is filled with words once regarded as rude, like 'fart' and 'snot' and 'spew'. Keeping a sense of open humour about these words makes it easier to keep a sense of engagement when your children are struggling with how to relate to a heavy issue that the world has presented to them. Be dynamic with your kids, don't shut them down.
I wrote this book with kids in mind, but older friends say, 'I'm always looking for this sort of thing for my grandkids.' Grandparents read these silly poems and roar laughing. It seems there is a ten year old boy inside all of us. This is good news, because that's the part of us that can communicate with the young people in our own family.
The book is being sold as an eBook. Links to sellers are through my website, www.kimmiller.id.au
Rev. Dr. Kim Miller
P: 02 5962 4774