“How many times do I have to tell you…” | Costel Oglice

The message we send either in writing or orally to both children and loved ones can have a positive or negative effect on the way you say what you say. When the message is verbal, the tone and structure of the sentence has different effects, depending on the density of the voice. It can be prayerful or imperative, and often it is not the words that matter, but what the other person understands. Many problems could be solved in our families if the way of communication was understood. Even when children are small, before they speak, they respond to our voice, according to the message they understand. Children want to be involved in what we as adults do. This will make children understand the requirements of adults. Anger is not the way to control, but it will control you. The way to control the child’s behavior is for every disobedience to have consequences.

For example, instead of saying, “Stop fighting with your brother! If I catch you hitting him again, I’ll send you to the room,” ask: “Why do you hit your brother? Did he hit you first? Even so, I can’t let you hit him back. That’s not how problems are solved. Let’s talk.” Instead of saying, “Put on your seat belt, or I’ll leave you at home!” you could better say: “I know the belt isn’t comfortable, but it’s necessary because it’s dangerous and for your own good.” Instead of saying, “You’re a selfish person, you want to eat all the cookies, you only think about yourself,”  say, “The cookies are so good and I think you want to eat them all, but you have to leave some for your brother, and it is not good to eat them all.” Instead of saying, “Take your medicine so you don’t die,” you can say, “I realize you don’t like medicine, but it will help you get better, and if you drink a glass of juice, you’ll feel much better.” Instead of saying, “Stop torturing the cat (puppy)! How can you be so bad?” say: “Behave nicely with animals (with toys), because it shows that you understand what kindness means ”.

Your calm or anger will be conveyed in the way you speak and hold a conversation. The stress of life, the rush of time make us forget that our words can affect in time and space our relationships with children or loved ones. In general, children like to respond and want to please their parents. When the parents’ request is said in an angry tone, then they understand that they must comply. But if you speak respectfully and in the same tone every time, without giving orders, the child responds with pleasure. 

Not speaking respectfully, both to the children and to the family, will make you suffer in the first place, because you will be answered with the same kind of speech, the problems will not be solved, the tone of voice will still rise more, believing that this is how you will gain control, but in fact anger comes to control you. A pleasant conversation in our families brings a beneficial result for the development of correct communication, which will bring harmony in our relationships. Parental patience brings obedience to children. The patience of the partner makes one listen and appreciate the goodness of the other.

We all want to be listened to and for things to go well, but each is expecting the other to listen to him or to have gentle and sweet words. The initiative must start from each of us, to maintain respect and love in our speech, showing that we have patience with each other, understanding and respect. Then we won’t get to the question, “How many times do I have to tell you the same thing?!” Many times we repeat the same things to our children or to our partner and it seems like you feel invisible, no one hears you, no one sees you and you want to shout: “Sit down and listen to me!” 

No matter how much you fidget and talk for a long time, if you haven’t gained the other person’s trust to listen to you, so you don’t need to repeat too many times, it means that somewhere you have lost touch in communication and in your relationship with your partner, or with children. Many times some want to attract the attention of others, offending them, and sometimes they succeed. But this is not a solution to restore the relationship, but an uncontrolled anger. If you feel every morning, when the children go to school or your husband to work, that you have to repeat the same thing, to leave screaming at each other without kissing, without praying, communication is already interrupted and you have to restore the trust of others to listen to you.

Find the time for the other person to listen to you, open your heart, acknowledge your mistakes, whether you are teasing, insulting, or screaming uncontrollably, apologize and tell your family to help you, to cooperate, that you sincerely want to reconnect and you don’t want to lose a relationship, neither with the children nor with your partner. Talking to a group of leaders, they painfully recounted how more and more people are leaving their families, even after the age of 50. When asked, they say that they have no pleasure in coming home because they are harassed, offended or ignored and, in their despair, look for other relationships or to listen to someone. If you love your children and your partner, you show this by listening to him when he talks to you, you talk to him respectfully, you maintain a harmonious relationship and you want to continue this relationship because you enjoy it.

Knowing when to speak and when to be quiet shows that you have learned the art of communication. The family is not the place to throw our garbage, but the place to share our pains, troubles and senses. The Word of God tells us that “our speech should be seasoned with salt, or we should speak with psalms and hymns of praise.” A heart full of gratitude, trusting in God, looking at what God and others in the family can do, will always have reason to praise and be thankful beyond what is seen. Whenever you think of talking to someone, think about how you would like someone to talk to you. Depending on how you speak, you will be heard or unheard. The wise man will have a God-directed speech, as described in James chapter 3, “peaceful, meek, easy to indulge in, ungodly, full of goodness and good fruit.”

Translated by Didina Vicliuc