3 Unique Ways Your Kids Communicate (And How To Understand Them)

Photo: WeHeartIt

Technology is everywhere, including your family's communication style.

The human brain is an amazing thing. It's stored everything you've ever experienced, seen, heard, smelled or felt; and, each of these “files” is stored in a different area of your brain.

But we all process this information differently, and that can lead to communication problems — particularly when it comes to our kids, whose thinking processes are practically intertwined with technology. Sometimes this can make you feel like you and your kids speak different languages altogether. If you think of your brain as a piece of technology, "Googling" our individual databases of information when we need to access it, it's easy to understand the kinds of thinkers there are in the world. And once we understand our differences, it's easier to communicate with each other as a family.

People fall into one of three main categories. Which type are you? Which types are your children?

1. They communicate thoughts through pictures.

These types of thinkers are called see-ers. They use words describing size, shape, color, clarity, brightness, perspective, etc. When see-ers talk, they use a lot of hand gestures along with the visually descriptive words so you can see the picture in your head exactly like it is in theirs.

They will usually look upward when thinking. They demand eye contact when speaking with you and say things like, “Do you see what I’m saying?” If you're a see-er, you’ll go to your brain’s YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to access the videos or pictures in your brain.

2. They describe things in terms of the way things sound.

Hear-ers communicate using words that are related to the ear and/or sounds. They use phrases like “sounds good to me” or “her face rings a bell.” They speak in a rhythmic fashion and use their voice like an instrument. They use tools like volume, pace, timbre and tone to make their speech more vibrant and want the same in return.

They often make noises like snapping their fingers or clapping their hands to accentuate points. Hear-ers use a lot of pauses when they speak because they're repeating to you what they're hearing in their head. Hear-ers visit the iTunes, Spotify, Pandora or Audiobooks parts of their mind.

3. Their communication stems from their emotions.

Feel-ers use words about feelings or actions like “I’m not comfortable moving forward” or “I need to get a handle on this.” They're the touchy-feely people. Everything to a feel-er is about comfort, feelings, emotions and actions. Feel-ers generally look down when thinking and shy away from prolonged eye contact.

They typically dress more for comfort than style. Feel-ers tend to give very short and specific answers to the questions and are often fidgety. Feel-ers prefer social media sites/apps like Facebook where they can express their feelings with a "like" and will gravitate to smartphone games that require them to move the phone to control the action such as steering or jumping. They also love the vibrating controls of PS4, Xbox or Wii gaming systems.

Now that you understand how different types of files are accessed differently from separate areas when Googling our brains, this helps with Search Engine Optimization, or in this case, thinking and recall. Your brain recognizes these tendencies and starts to predict the user (YOU) will want to continue to come back often. Through the physical connections in the brain, it will do the equivalent of bookmarking those areas for quick and easy access. 

So, how does all this help you as a parent? If you were able to figure out how you and your kids think and communicate, perhaps you can start to adapt to their style and start “speaking the same language.” 

Mark Papadas is a nationally recognized children’s empowerment expert. He is the author of the acclaimed book “10 Secrets to Empower Kids and Awaken the Child in You” as well as President of The I AM 4 Kids Foundation. Connect with Mark through his FREE Parenting & Coaching Newsletter.