One of the best things about being around small beings (aka-kids) is their clarity and directness. If they like you, you know it. If they don't like you, you know it. When they have feelings, they often express them and when they have desires they often ask for them to be met.
It is equally important for kids to mean what they say and say what they mean, as it is for adults! As adults we need to cultivate that skill, as I talked about in my last blog. For small beings, we need to teach them how to do this. It may not be something they naturally start doing, especially if they have behaviors that work to get their needs met. Modeling this clear and direct use of language is a fabulous first step. And it is not enough.
The main way to teach any being the power of their words is to listen to their words! If a child ask for something, honor that request with an answer. That does not mean you have to give them what they asked for, simply that you need to respond directly and clearly. It does mean, don't second guess if that is really what they meant. Treat the words as important and true, after all, someone did take the time to say them. Then, if that child then asks for something else, especially something that negates the first request, remind them of the first request and stick to the original words.
For example, if a small being asks you to build with them, decide and then answer. Lets play out the situation where you say yes. As you go to the shelf, this small being then says, actually I want to play dress up. I suggest that you remind the small being that you just decided to build and after you build then you can play dress up. Regardless of the response the small being gives this statement, you walk over the shelf, take down some blocks and build with blocks. This will teach the small being that when they ask for something with their words, they can get it. It will teach them to be careful and mindful with what they ask for and learn the power of their words.
Now, you may be wondering, "can't we all change our minds? Isn't that what is happening in the example above?" Maybe and what I am talking about is different then changing your mind. Changing ones mind is something that should happen occasionally. What I am referring to is when there is a constant dialogue around wanting something else. If each time a small being in your life asks for something there are multiple varieties of what is requested, then I suggest this small being needs to learn the power of words. If this small being asks for something different then originally requested only once a week, then we are talking truly about changing of minds and give space for it. Once the rule is understood (words have power and consequences), then it can be broken. But you can't break the rules until you understand how they work. So teach the small beings that words are followed and honored and then you can teach them about changing their minds....One step at a time!