For most parents communicating with their children is a hassle. You know something is bothering your child and you want to help. You know that you just might be able to help; if only you knew what is upsetting them? Sounds familiar? Well it is how most of the new age parents feel and you are no exception.
Nevertheless, how would you feel if you knew exactly what you could do at your end to find out? Wouldn’t that reduce the number of out bursts you have with your child and improve your relationship with them along the way as well. Therefore here are some guidelines to bridge the communication gap between parents and children.
- Let the child know that you are interested and involved and that you will help when needed.
- Turn off the television or put the newspaper down when your child wants to converse.
- Avoid taking a telephone call when the child has something important to tell you.
- If and only the presence of other people are specifically required to be around for the conversation continue it but if not, holding the conversation in private would be preferable. Besides the best communication between you and the child will take place when others aren’t around.
- Embarrassing the child or putting him on the spot in front of others will lead only to resentment and hostility, not good communication will occur.
- Try and speak to your child at the level in which s / he will surely understand what you are saying.
- If you are very angry about a behavior or an incident, don’t attempt to communicate with your child until you regain your cool, because you cannot be objective until then. It is better to stop, settle down, and talk to the child later.
- If you are very tired, you will have to make an extra effort to be an active listener. Genuine active listening is hard work and is very difficult when your mind and body are already tired.
- Listen carefully and politely. Don’t interrupt the child when he is trying to tell his story. Be as courteous to your child as you would be to your best friend.
- Don’t try and figure out what your child is trying to tell you before they complete what they have to say. For instance when your child starts to narrate to you about what happened, you as a parent says, “I don’t care what they are doing, but you had better not be involved in anything like that.”
- Don’t ask why, but do ask what happened.
- If you have knowledge of the situation, confront the child with the information that you know or have been told.
- Keep adult talking (“You’ll talk when I’m finished.” “I know what’s best for you.” “Just do what I say and that will solve the problem”), preaching and moralizing to a minimum because they are not helpful in getting communication open and keeping it open.
- Don’t use put-down words or statements: dumb, stupid, lazy: “Stupid, that makes no sense at all” or “What do you know, you’re just a child.”
- Assist the child in planning some specific steps to the solution.
- Show that you accept the child himself, regardless of what he has or has not done.
- Reinforce the child for keeping communication open. Do this by accepting him and praising his efforts to communicate (Child Development).
- Reinforce a positive attitude for your child by giving them positive encouragement. Use words that portray a positive attitude such as well done, good job etc.
By following these simple tips your relationship with your child is bound to improve thus enabling you to have a conversation with them and strengthen the relationship you share with your child nonetheless.