Communication problems with your child? Here are the keys to improve in this regard.
Knowing how to listen and speak is the key to any healthy relationship, also between you and your children. But being a parent is hard work and maintaining good communication with your children, especially in adolescence, can be a challenge.
An added difficulty is that parents have to reconcile their work life with family time, which means that most of the time they cannot dedicate as much time as they would like to taking care of the relationship they have with their children. In today’s article we explain a series of tips based on mutual respect that will help make communication between you and your children more fluid and beneficial for both of you.
1. Be accessible to your children
- Find out when your children are most willing to talk – for example, at bedtime, before meals, in the car … – and try to be receptive; They have to know that you want to hear them.
- The conversation starts ; This allows your children to realize that you care about what happens in their life. It is important to start it by sharing your own ideas with them rather than starting with questions, since they can be seen as an interrogation and make them close more.
- Try to find a space each week to do an activity with each child separately, and avoid scheduling other tasks during that time. Spending time with them individually will make them feel special and important to you, and will facilitate communication between you.
- Learn about their interests and tastes – for example, their favorite music group, their hobbies … – and show interest in it. Your children will positively appreciate that you take their preferences into account. Also, if you have a hobby in common, you can share time doing it together.
2. Let your children know that you are listening to them
- When your kids are talking about something important to them, stop whatever you’re doing and just listen to them. If they see you busy or disinterested, they will surely let it go and will not turn to you again in a similar case.
- Express interest in what is being explained to you, avoiding being too intrusive. They must feel that the interest you show is real and not something fake to get information from them.
- Listen to their point of view, even if you find it difficult to understand or do not fully share. Each person has a different way of thinking, also your children, and that does not mean that it is not as valid as yours.
- Let them finish talking before answering. Don’t cut them off in the middle of an explanation, nobody likes to be interrupted while they are speaking.
- Repeat what you just heard to make sure you understood it correctly. Communication is not always clear and simple, and many of the arguments between parents and children are generated by misunderstandings in the conversations.
3. Respond in a way that your children will listen to you
- Soften overreactions ; Your children will stop paying attention to you if you seem angry or defensive. Even though it’s hard to come by at times, try to stay calm and speak to them in a neutral tone. Improving communication with children also implies creating a context conducive to dialogue.
- Avoid arguing over who is right. If each one only thinks that he himself is correct, neither of the two will tend to listen to the reasons of the other and a consensus cannot be reached. Instead say, “I know you don’t agree with me, but that’s what I think.” Express your opinion without belittling your children’s; accept that there is nothing wrong with disagreeing on something.
- Focus on your children’s feelings rather than yourself during the conversation. Sometimes it can be difficult for them to express what they feel and they need you to be empathetic with them, to put yourself in their shoes and understand them.
Final tips to improve communication with children
Finally, some tricks to improve and encourage communication between parents and children :
1. Ask your children what they will want or what they need from you in a conversation : advice, simply that you listen to them, that you help them deal with their feelings or that you help them solve a problem.
2. Children learn by imitation. They will often follow in your footsteps in how you handle anger and anger, how you solve problems, and how you deal with complicated situations and feelings. Try to be the best version of yourself for them, become a role model in the face of difficulties.
3. Just talk to your kids ; do not monologue, criticize, threaten or say hurtful things to them.
4. Children learn from their own decisions. Unless their actions have dangerous consequences, don’t feel like you always have to intervene.
5. Realize that your children can test you by telling you only a small part of what worries them. Listen carefully and encourage them to keep talking so they finish explaining the rest of the story.
6. When giving information, you want it to be in a positive way. It is also important to give consistent messages, avoid contradictions and express yourself clearly when asking for something, to avoid possible confusion that could lead to conflicts.
7. Always try to obey the rule that “everything that is said, is fulfilled”, or what is the same, do not promise in vain; It is important to keep the promises that are made to the children, otherwise it could affect the trust they place in you. For the same reason, we must also avoid lies.
8. Whenever possible, ask your children’s opinion on matters that affect the family. This will make them feel like they are part of the family unit and that their point of view is important to you.