Body Language Speaks Louder than Words

Body language Speaks Louder than WordsWords have only been around for about 200,000 years, which may sound like a long time but on the clock of human evolution they only appeared at about two minutes to twelve.

Before then all we used was body language to communicate so we’re very good at that. So good in fact that we don’t even have to think about it, body language just gets on with communicating those messages by itself with very little input from us.

When the human species was roaming the Savannah we were probably communicating more honestly then than we do now as words are used to conceal as much as to reveal, but bodies never lie.

Children are born with their primitive brains, the part attuned to body language, fully developed and raring to go. The executive brain on the other hand is in development throughout childhood and that’s the part that understands words.

So when our child kicks us and we say ‘Now darling, you know Mummy doesn’t like that, please sweetheart I know you’re angry but…’ in a patient reasonable voice, our child doesn’t hear that. What our child ‘hears’ is the tight lips, the tense facial muscles, the anxious eyes and the furrowed brows. This mixture of niceness, anger and fear confuses him so he kicks us again.

We might just as well be honest and say seriously ‘Ouch! Stop that, it hurts!’ The best thing we can do for our kids is to be straight with them so that our words match what we are really feeling. Rather than trying to be nice when we don’t feel it we can control our rage but still be authentic.

Otherwise how can children learn to put words and body language together for themselves and perhaps more importantly, how can they trust anything we say?

Stephanie Davies-Arai devised Communicating with Kids, a communication skills course for parents. She has four children of her own aged 14 – 22.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
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  1. Wow, I never thought about it like that! We think we’re “hiding” our anger, but we are really just confusing them.

  2. i always try to be honest with my feelings, it seems to work much better.

  3. Lol, I’ll never forget one day my mother-in-law had my daughter all day, then they came back to the house. My daughter was slapping a plastic toy against the wall as me and my mother-in-law spoke. “Would you please stop that? It’s driving me crazy.” I said simply, and she smiled, and stopped. “Is that really all it took??” my mother-in-law asked, astonished.

  4. erica bradmeyer says:

    such a thought provoking post

  5. Nice share :)

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