Communication with your children can be easier if you know how to effectively engage in open and honest conversation.
Children have their personality and way of communication. As parents, you may find yourself at constant loggerheads with your child. Whether it’s your two-year-old, 9-year-old or 15-year-old.
The level of communication changes at every stage of child development. You as a parent will also need to adapt to those developmental stage’s your child goes through and communicate accordingly.
The way you relate to your child is very important. Those formative years are especially crucial. Communication is key in any relationship, including the relationship with your children.
Here are ways to effectively encourage communication with your children. All the factors below are linked and intertwined.
You must want to talk with your children. This may be difficult if you’re more closed off as a person. Communication must come from a sincere and genuine place. You must want to know what’s going in your children’s lives and be willing to share some parts of your life.
Effective communication takes practice. You need to know your child beyond their favourite food and toy. You need to be more intentional with your style of communication. This is where you find out what works for you and what doesn’t
You love your kids, that’s a given. But your love must show through the way you communicate. It’s important to communicate in a loving and caring manner. You can be strict and stern but loving at the same time.
Be tender and gentle when you speak. Listen attentively and respond accordingly. Nurture your kids through conversation.
Understand their conversation style
Communication is not just about talking and getting your points across. It’s about actively listening to what your child is saying. It’s also more than just words. You need to understand non-verbal communication. Take time to learn your child’s communication style.
Sometimes your child may not want to talk when you want to. Be understanding of their feelings and respect their space. Know when it’s best to have serious conversations and when to keep it light. Understand what certain body language means to them and be there for them.Trust and communication go hand in hand Click To Tweet
Come down to their level
You may have heard that ‘you are your child’s parent, not their friend’. So how do you come down to their level? You guessed it! By being their friend. There is nothing wrong with being your child’s frined. And it certainly does not make you less than a parent.
It might have been many years back, but you were once your child’s age. Try to think back to how your parents talked to you and how it made you feel. Be relatable and let them know you once were at their developmental stage.
Talk to and with your children not at them. Give them respect and it will be easier for them to reciprocate. Try sitting down and maintain level eye contact. Towering over them makes them feel inferior.
You are not boss over them but their guide and confidant.
Don’t overly share too much information that they won’t be able to process. Be appropriate for your children. When you talk with your kids share enough for them to understand and also be able to ask questions.
Answer their questions with their age in mind. When kids ask questions, answer them honestly. Take into consideration their developmental stage as well as what they may be learning from school or peers.
Sometimes we think our kids aren’t ready to talk about subjects like sex, but if they’re already asking about it, it’s time to talk about it. Yes, they learn about it in school, but you need to know what they think about it too. The bees and the bird’s style doesn’t cut it anymore.
Death and divorce are also subjects we shy away from. But find ways to talk about things so that they understand and can know the reality of the matter.
Open communication with your children is important. Be frank with your kids and let them in on what’s going on. Ask them what’s going in their lives. Encourage them to be open with you. Create a safe and inviting environment for them to want to share their thoughts and feelings.
Hiding things that will affect the kids is mostly to protect our feelings and not what’s best for them. Sometimes being open may be hard and painful but it will deepen your relationship with your kids. They often already have an idea of what’s going on anyway.
Trust your kids
Trust and communication go hand in hand. Believe that your children are able to handle the truth. Don’t break their trust when they open up to you and share sensitive or private information. As long as it does not endanger them or others. Let them know if you are obliged to report details about what they told you if it must be.
Also, ask for their permission to share what they may have told you in private if it will be a good lesson for others, but reassure them that you will maintain their privacy and anonymity if they so wish.
Some conversations should not make it to the catch-up lunch with your girls.
Be a haven for your kids to talk to and listen to. Let them know that you trust them and that they can trust you. Trust is gained, earned and maintained. Do that and you will have confidants for life.
My mom is my best friend. She is the first person I talk to about things I can’t share with my girlfriends or cousins or sister. I know she has my back no matter what.
Lead by example
Action speaks louder than words. Communication goes beyond words. Watch how you act with and around your kids.
Sometimes you may wonder why they don’t listen to you. Maybe their watching you and doing what you do. Kids are very impressionable, especially in their infant and toddler years. Set the right foundation. Lead by example.
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Don’t be judgemental or all-knowing. There is a lot you can learn from your kids. Every situation is unique. You might have experienced similar things but in different ways. The way we process and handle things is also different from how our children will.
Don’t impose your thoughts or ideas on your kids. They are not YOU. This will cause them to withdraw as they will feel like they have no voice.
Engage and be present. Communication a two-way street.
Open up the channels of communication with your children. Listen, talk and act.
Please share how you maintain communication with your kids below.
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