Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Imperative vs. Experience Sharing Communication

I just wanted to note this article that highlights the difference between imperative and experience sharing communication.  Basically, imperative communication is a direction or question.  Experience sharing communication is commenting in an inviting way, but it does not demand a response.  While the article is from an Autism source, I think balancing these forms of communication is a challenge most parents face when speaking with children.  I certainly remember that it took conscious effort for me to modify my communication.

I was wondering why it is so easy to fall into this directive communication pattern with kids and I think it is because we are used to deciding their actions at first.  While we can use experience sharing communication with infants, they are not going to respond in kind.  You can say, "I heard the tire pop and I was so surprised.  Then, I felt sad because I knew we would miss the party."  It's wonderful to get into the habit of experience sharing communication, but the infant will just shriek with surprise and the young toddler will probably just cry about missing the party.  It's much easier to tell an infant what you're doing and to direct your toddler with what you want.  But, children are always learning and experience sharing communication offers kids the chance to learn (and model) this more rich and respectful communication.

I've found experience sharing communication to be a powerful tool in helping me enjoy parenting my son more.  It's so much more pleasant to weight our conversations on this more interactive side and to literally share our life experiences with each other.

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