We all have heard this saying before. We all have experiences when actions have spoken louder than words. We all can benefit from remembering that it is our actions that dictate behavior of those around us.
As big beings (adults) it is our role to provide a good model of behavior. It is our job to show what listening looks like and what respect looks like and what patience looks like. It is our role to be examples to the small beings (kids) in our life of how to manage our emotions...how to behave appropriately when angry or sad or happy.
Small beings respond to clear actions.
When one is upset, taking in what another is saying can be a challenge. I have a feeling that for small beings, when they are upset, the words that are spoken to them feel like the teacher from Charlie Brown...just jumbled sounds. In these moments, your actions can still be clearly understood. The next time you are in a situation with a small being who is upset, use less word and use more specific actions. See what happens!
If your small being has language processing challenges or difficult understanding social cues, your actions may be easier and faster for them to digest. Demonstrate what needs to be done. The visual model will be processed on a different level than verbal language.
So what exactly does this look like? Generally it looks like talking less and doing more. Be thoughtful and specific about what the doing is!
Let me provide an example to help make it clearer. You are a parent and each time you leave the house your small being cries and fusses. You know you there are other loving and caring adults in the home who your little one loves. Provide a 5 minute warning that you are going to leave and then get your things together. When it is time to go, give a hug and kiss and then walk out the door. Do not let the behavior of your small being (crying/fussing) change the course of your actions, even when it is breaking your heart. This will teach your little one to follow your actions. It will teach this small being that crying to get you to stay does not work and it will reduce his/her crying. When it looks like you are going to leave, you do leave. That is so important to have that reliability in your actions. Consistency in your actions leads to trust.