The internet, television, and smartphones expose today’s kids to a world of trouble on an unprecedented scale. There are well over a billion websites, many of which are not kid-friendly.
How do you talk to your kids? How do you get them to open up to you about things that bother or upset them?
Parent-child communication is more important than ever. If you’re struggling with communicating with your child, read on for ways to be open and supportive of your kid.
The first thing is observation. Many parents forge ahead, pressing their own hopes, dreams, and ideas onto their children.
Try observing your child instead. Pay attention to her behavior. For instance, when picking your child up from daycare or school, look at your child’s face.
Does your child look down? Instead of saying, “You look down,” try something different. Ask about the unusual face your child had when you picked her up from daycare.
If she confides in you about a negative experience, don’t overreact. Instead, show empathy. Tell her that would make you feel bad too.
Children don’t want to give adults bad news. If you make a big deal, your child might stop sharing so he doesn’t upset you next time.
Do you feel like your kids interrupt a lot? Turn that attitude around and you’ll deal with two issues at once.
When a child interrupts, be available as much as possible. Stop what you’re doing and focus on your child. Ask her what she needs.
The more you establish this bond when the child is small, the more your child trusts you as she grows. As she trusts you’re there for her, she won’t interrupt you as much. When she’s a teen, she’ll trust that if she needs you at midnight because she’s gotten into trouble, you’ll have her back.
Take some time each day for connection. Read a book together or snuggle on the couch, but make it a daily ritual.
Kids have all sorts of questions, some of which may make you uncomfortable, especially in the teen years. Always be receptive and kind. Read more about one such question in this post.
Use the In-Between Spaces
As your children grow, you’ll often feel like a chauffeur, taking your kids from one activity to the next. The car is a great in-between space for some insight into your kids.
When you’re sitting side-by-side or they’re behind you, there’s less pressure because there’s no eye contact. It’s a great time to ask nonjudgmental questions that need more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
The Key to Parent-Child Communication
Parent-child communication is crucial as your children grow into adults. The key to such communication is trust. When a child sees how much you love and respect him, he’ll trust you to have his back.
Always be observant and available. Take the time to connect each day and listen to your child’s concerns. Take advantage of the in-between spaces for extra communication opportunities.
Guiding your child into adulthood is an important and difficult task. Love, kindness, and open communication help you both reach that goal with fewer obstacles.
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