Do you know the way to really communicate with your child? Many parents don’t and often complain that they can’t get their child to talk to them. When this happens, parents become so frustrated that they try to force a conversation by putting their child on the hot-seat and cross-examining.
When kids feel this pressure, they usually shut down because nobody enjoys being interrogated like that.
Try these tips that will help you in communicating with your child.
1. Be able to identify thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
We can’t communicate effectively if we don’t know what is going on inside of us. Being able to identify our thoughts, feelings and beliefs is the first step on the road to effective communication. For example, “I’ve got to go to the store before I can pick her up” or I’m feeling sad that you yelled at me.”
2. Genuinely listen.
Effective communication is so much more than talking. Listen not only with your ears but your eyes. You can’t see a sad face with your ears. This also requires putting down your electronics.
3. Be available.
When your children have something to tell you, be available. Stop what you’re doing and give them your undivided attention. If you absolutely can’t be interrupted at that moment, acknowledge them by saying “I want to hear what you have to say. Give me 5 minutes to finish this and then I’ll be available.”
4. Be mindful of your responses and attitude.
Be aware of what you say and how you say it with both your words and tone. Children are reluctant to let us in their world if we get angry, blame, lecture, nag and interrupt when they are sharing with us.
5. Be totally present.
Think about the people in your life you want to share your thoughts and feelings with. I’ll bet they value what you say, are non-judgmental and know how to truly listen. They look you in the eye and probably say things like “tell me more”, “wow, that must have hurt” or “my goodness, you know a lot about that”.