Communication in any relationship is important, and sometimes easily overlooked.
Because our children learn from us, the way we communicate to and around them is especially important.
Practicing good communication creates a deeper bond within the parent-child relationship, grows your child’s self-esteem, and models healthy communication practices to your child.
Making an effort to practice healthy, open communication with your child validates or corrects their ideas and reinforces their self-worth. Being highly communicative with your child is a way to show them you love them and really deepen your relationship with each other.
Do you want to improve the way you communicate with your child?
Here are the best practices of highly communicative parents:
- Sincerely listen. Highly communicative parents sincerely listen. Sometimes it’s easy for our minds to wander or to want to tell our children how to think. But if you want to maintain a healthy, open line of communication with your child, listen with sincerity and empathy.
– Show interest in what your child says! Give your child a space to share their thoughts without fears of being judged, shamed, or brushed aside.
– Listen without judgment. Instead of insisting your child adopt your own ways of thinking, listen to your child with empathy and openness.
– Be present and maintain eye contact. Commit to being fully present for your child instead of turning your attention towards your mobile device or the television.
- Ask open-ended questions. Encourage your child to think critically and process their ideas by asking open-ended questions. By asking open questions, you show your child that you’re curious about the way they think and encourage them to share more!
– “Can you tell me more about that?”
– “How does that make you feel?”
– “What do you think about that topic?”
- Honestly share your own feelings and ideas. Even with your child, the relationship is not one-sided! As they develop, share your own honest feelings and ideas with them.
- Make time for regular, informal family check-ins. Work never ends, and especially when raising a family, our lives can feel so busy. It’s important to create the time to talk and check-in with your child so you can make a space for them to feel open.
– Start simple, such as scheduling a check-in over a family meal or before bedtime.
– Commit to following through with check-ins even on challenging days!
- Handle conflict gently and carefully. Open communication is the foundation of healthy conflict management. Children learn from the way we model conflict management. As their parent, it’s important to do your best to set a positive example for handling conflicts.
– Start the conversation. When your child is angry or bothered, they may not have the tools to openly talk about how they feel. If you notice they’re holding something back, start the conversation. This prevents them from feeling guilty for starting a difficult discussion.
– Maintain a respectful tone. When your child is angry, they may say something hurtful or offensive. Alternatively, you might feel impatient with the way they deal with their anger. It’s important to maintain a respectful tone so they feel comfortable handling conflict in the future.
– Solve the problem together. Empower your child to help you solve the problem. Show them how they are in control of their actions and the problem doesn’t have to happen in the same way in the future.
It’s not an easy task, but the work you do to create a space to communicate openly with your child will help their social and emotional development. At the end of the day, going through the challenging task of communicating even when it’s hard shows how much you love your child.
Giving your child a space to share their feelings gives them a space to process their emotions. You can teach them how to share their emotions in a healthy way at the same time as building a tighter bond with them!