Communication Tips for Parents | How to talk to your child?
Be there for your children
Notice the times when your children are more willing to talk (for example, bedtime, before dinner, in the car) and available.
Start the conversation; do your children know that you care about what happens in their lives.
Set aside time every week to do activities alone with each of their children and avoid scheduling other activities during that time.
Learn about your child’s interests (eg, favorite music and activities) and show interest in them.
Initiate conversations by sharing what they are thinking instead of starting the conversation with a question.
Lets listen to your children
When your children talk about their concerns, stop what you are doing and listen.
Express interest in what they say without invading your privacy.
Let them complete their point before you respond.
Repeat what you heard them to make sure I understood correctly.
Respond in a way your children will hear
Soften strong reactions; the kids will tune you out if you appear angry or defensive.
Express your opinion without putting down theirs; recognize that it’s okay to disagree.
Avoid arguing about who is right. Instead, say, “I know you’re not agreeing with me, but this is my opinion.”
Focus on the feelings of your children instead of your own during the conversation.
Ask your children what they may want or need from you in a conversation, such as advice, simply listening, help in dealing with feelings or solve a problem.
Children learn by imitation. Most of the time, follow suit when faced with anger, solve problems and to deal with difficult feelings.
Talk to your children, not lecture, criticize, threaten, or say hurtful things.
Children learn to make their own decisions. Do not feel that you must intervene, unless the consequences are dangerous.
Note that your children may test you by telling a small part of what is bothering them. Listen carefully to what they say, encourage them to talk so that they can share with you the rest of the story.
Being a parent is hard work
Listening and talking is the key to a healthy connection between you and your children. But parenting is not an easy job and maintain good contact with teens can be a challenge, especially because parents face many other pressures. If you have problems for a long period of time consider have an appointment with a mental health professional to find out how you can help.
Special thanks to:
Molly Brunk, PhD, Center for Public Policy (Center for Public Policy), Virginia Commonwealth University
Jana Martin, PhD, Psychology Regional Network (Regional Psychology), Los Angeles, California
Nancy Molitor, PhD, Northwestern Health Care, Evanston, Illinois
Janis Sanchez-Hucles, PhD, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
Communication Tips for Parents | How to talk to your child?, Connecting With Your Kids, Ways to Talk So Children Will Listen