Importance of language used in communication with children

You Language

Negative behaviors or words of the child can cause parents to experience negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and anger. Their reactions in the face of these feelings; Expressions such as “You are a mean child”, “Why are you doing this?”, “Why are you not paying attention?”, “You are acting like a child”, “You are not a man”, “You are stupid, retarded, stupid”, “You shouldn’t act like that”. they can. Notice that the style of expression used is the “you-message” for the child, the word “you”. For example; If the mother, while reading a book, turns the TV’s volume up to high, expresses to her child, “What a lousy child you are”, “What a troublesome child”, “You are disrespectful”, “Shut up”, the language used by the mother in communication with her child. you are the language.

You language is not effective in changing the negative behavior of the child; because there is no clear definition of unacceptable negative behavior. For this reason, the child does not know which behavior he is angry with or which behavior he needs to correct. In addition, since the effect of the negative behavior on the other person and the resulting emotion as a result of this effect are not specified, the child cannot know how the behavior affects the other person. However, children want to hear a strong reason to change their behavior.

Negative Effects of Speaking in You Language on the Child

one. Expressions of anger such as “You are a mean child”, “You’re in trouble”, “You’re a spoiled person”, “Idiot”, “Stupid”, etc., sent in the language of You, are open attacks against the child’s behavior, not his personality. This shakes the child, upsets, offends, angers. It causes him to resist and respond because his dignity is offended. Because such expressions convey messages such as “I do not accept you”, “I do not care about you”, “You are not good”, “You are worthless”. Over time, the child cuts off communication with his parents and becomes withdrawn. In young people, it can also cause them to move out of the home.

2. Nicknames used in Sen language such as “idiot”, “stupid”, “fool”, “messy”, “dirty”, “fat” can be taken seriously by children. The child thinks that these nicknames are said because they are suitable for him and starts to develop behaviors accordingly. With such words, it is emphasized that the child who is belittled and humiliated is insignificant and worthless. The child begins to think that he is not loved, incompetent, not accepted. This leads to low self-esteem.

3. The child, who receives accusatory and judgmental messages from the parents, starts to defend himself and responds by judging his parents over time, taking them as an example. He starts to send his feelings with you message. For example; It sends messages such as “You make mistakes from time to time”, “Don’t do it either”, “Are you a very good mother?”, “You are very nagging”. Parents become more angry with such messages, causing them to punish or pressure the child more. Punishment and accusations increase the feelings of rebellion and rebellion in children and young people.

4. The fact that parents constantly talk about the child’s negative behavior causes the child to be recognized with these characteristics. The child begins to be perceived that way by his friends and close environment. This prevents the child from trying to change their unacceptable behavior.

I Language

Speaking in the language of I does not mean talking about oneself or praising oneself. I-language is an honest and responsible expression of anger in which unacceptable behavior is described, how the behavior affects the other person, and what kind of feelings it evokes. For example; The father is tired from work, but the child wants to play. In this case, instead of sending a message like “You’re in trouble,” Father; The child will understand the feelings of his father when he sends messages such as “I am very tired”, “I do not want to play”, “I want to rest”. Sen language is insufficient to convey messages and emotions.

The most important difference between the language of me and the language of you; I-language is the parents’ expression of their true feelings at that moment. It is the absence of blame and judgment in the expression of emotions. In the language of you, there is accusation and judgment.

An effective self language should contain three elements. These:
one.Identifying unacceptable or erroneous behavior without judgment or blame.
“When you don’t collect toys after playing with them…..”
“When you interrupt me while I speak…..”
“When you turn the TV volume up too high…..”
“When you play ball in the hall…..”
“When you get dirty while eating…..”

2.Explaining the concrete, real and definite effect of unacceptable or wrong behavior on parents.
“My head hurts.”
“I am getting tired.”
“I don’t understand what I’m reading.”
“I can’t hear the knock on the door.”
“It interferes with my work.”
“I have to wash it again.”

3.Expressing the feelings created by the unacceptable or wrong behavior in the parents.
“I am angry.”
“I am scared.”
“I’m upset.”
“I feel humiliated.”
“I feel worthless.”
“I am angry.”

Sample: While the mother is talking to her friend in the living room, the child constantly disturbs the mother by asking and demanding something.

Child:“Mom, where is my blonde haired baby?”
Mom: “ Who knows where you threw it! Go find it! What a messy boy you are!”
Child:“I can’t find mom.”
Mom: “You don’t mention two. I say go away. Go to your room and find another doll to play with.”
Child:(She goes to her room and comes back after a while.) “Mom, I want juice.”
Mom: “What a mean child you are. You don’t give me any rest.”
Child:“Get my juice ready first and then talk to your friend.”
Mom: “It also gives me advice. Go to your room quickly, don’t let me bring you.”
Child:“You always shout whenever I want something.”

An effective me-language message from the mother would have been:
“I get angry (emotion) when you constantly ask something (behavior) while talking to my friend. Because I forget what to say (concrete effect).”

Benefits of Speaking with Me Language

Benefits for Parents

one. Since feelings and thoughts are conveyed instantly in I language, it relaxes the parents. It prevents the accumulation of emotions such as anger and resentment.
2. Parents who think about the tangible effect of negative behavior on them realize that sometimes there is no obvious effect. They think that anger is not caused by the child’s behavior. Thus, they understand that anger can be caused by problems at work, fatigue, or situations they encounter in their private lives, such as anger towards another person. This, in turn, increases the acceptance of the child’s behavior by the parents.

Benefits for the Child

one.Defining the unacceptable behavior allows the child to understand which behavior is causing problems for his parents.
2. Expressing the concrete effect of the unacceptable behavior and the emotion experienced; It enables the child to understand that his/her parents also have certain rights, expectations and feelings. Thus, the child becomes more willing to change this behavior by noticing the effect of his problematic behavior on his parents.
3.I language messages help the child get rid of selfishness by thinking about others.
4.I language messages do not damage the child’s self-esteem and personality, nor do they shake his sense of self-confidence.
5.The child does not take a defensive attitude because there is no accusation and judgment in his messages of I language.
6. I-language messages convey the feelings of their parents to the child. However, it leaves the child free to change his/her behavior, the responsibility belongs to the child. This helps the child to grow up and learn to take responsibility for his behavior.
7.I-language messages enable the child to express himself/herself with I-language messages in the future.
8.Communication with I-language messages brings parents and children closer to each other.

Points to Consider When Using I-Language

one. The child cannot understand why the behavior is not accepted and the emotion it creates. I-language messages should be conveyed to the child in full.
2. Parents should express to their children the primary emotion they feel at that moment in their I-language messages. eg. The primary emotion of a mother who loses her child in a crowded store is anxiety. But when she finds her child, the secondary emotion, anger, emerges. Therefore, the mother’s I-language message should contain fear, such as “I was scared when I couldn’t see you”.
3.Emotions in I language messages should be clear and unambiguous in a way that the child can understand.
4. I language messages should reflect the true feelings of the parents. Emotions should not be expressed incompletely or exaggeratedly. eg. If the child does not make the bed when he wakes up in the morning, it makes the mother angry, the mother should say “I’m angry”, not “I am very angry” so that she does not repeat the same behavior again.
5. In some cases, even the most well-crafted self-talk messages can respond to a child’s self-defense, and especially teenagers such as “I want to do it like this”, “I don’t care if you’re angry”, “The sound of the music isn’t that irritating”. In such cases, one should return to participatory listening.
6.I-language messages should be used not only to express negative emotions, but also to express positive emotions.


CÜCELOĞLU, Dogan. Human to Human Again. 18th Edition. Istanbul: Remzi Bookstore. 1998.
CAGDAS, Aysel. Parent Child Communication. 1st Edition. Ankara: Nobel Publishing House. 2002.
CAGLAR, Dogan. Mismatched Children and Their Education Ankara: A.U. EBF Spring. No: 103 1981.
DÖKMEN, Superior. Communication Conflicts and Empathy in Art and Daily Life. 2nd Edition. Istanbul: Sistem Yayıncılık.1995.
GANDER, MJ; GARDINER, HW Child and Adolescent Development (Trans.: Bekir Onur). Ankara: Image Bookstore. 1993.
GUL, Gulbahar. Development and Learning, 2000
GORDON, Thomas. Effective Parent Education Family Communication Language. 8th Edition. (Trans.Emel Aksay) Istanbul: Sistem Yayıncılık.1999.
Applications in Effective Parent Education 2nd Edition. (Trans.Emel Aksay) Istanbul: Sistem Yayıncılık.1997.
Kırıkkale RAM Publications Mismatched Children and Their EducationKirikkale: 1998.
KORKMAZLAR, Umran. Parent School, Istanbul: Remzi Bookstore, 1995.
SARGIN, N. Mental Health in Children. Ankara: Nobel Publishing House. 2001.
YAVUZER, Haluk. Child Psychology Istanbul: Remzi Bookstore. 2002.
Child Psychology from Prenatal to End of Adolescence,Istanbul: Remzi Bookstore, 1987.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.