How Well Do You Communicate With Your Kids?

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Parenting Tips to Help Keep The Communication Lines Open Between Both Parent and Child

With young kids it sometimes requires a little extra work to effectively communicate with them, and to understand what they are trying to say. father and sonIn order to be a more effective parent and develop good parenting skills we need to effectively communicate with our children. It is easy, not only at a young age, but to misunderstand what they are trying to say or do and get upset because we think they are not listenting to us. Communication is a two-way street, you and your child or teen need to practice listening and talking to each other. Learning to talk and listen when they are young will let you be prepared, as they get older and harder to communicate with. Talking to your children is not a natural skill it is a learned activity. Here are some ways to keep communication lines open between you and your child for better parenting when they are teens.

Do you listen to your children? Many of us may be busy doing dishes, helping to cook dinner, working on the car, or mowing the lawn, and are so wrapped up in other things that we may not always stop to really listen. This is an important part of communication. Take the time now to listen to your children because we may not have many opportunities when they are older. Stop what you are doing, look your child in the eye and listen. Let them know what they are saying is important to you. Listen with an open-mind and control your emotions while listening to a child unburden themselves.

If they stop there are several ways you can encourage them to keep talking. You can use leading phrases such as, “how did you feel when that happened?” Give them a verbal acknowledgment you are listening to them and paying attention. Try not to interrupt and do not allow your face to show your emotions. Keep the communication lines open by using door openers such as:

“That must be important to you.”
“What a great question.”
“How did you feel?”
“ Do you understand what that means?”
“Tell me what you think about it.”

These leading questions and comments can allow your children to continue their conversation and keep those important communication lines open.

There are some things that will slam the door on discussion with your child. Not giving them eye contact or your full attention may shut the door of a valuable tool for understanding your child. Avoid negative comments that slam the door on conversations. Avoid using the same tired clichés you parent used on you. Didn’t you hate it when they said, “Because I said so?” Don’t tell them they are too young to understand, or that it isn’t any of their business when they want to talk about family problems. Respect their feelings and allow them to ask questions when they are troubled. You should avoid door slammer phrases such as:

“You are too young to understand the situation.”
“That is none of your business.”
“Only boys/girls play with that.”
“I don’t care what the other kids are doing, I’m not their parent.”

These phrases and many more will close down the lines of communication. Practice listening and encouraging your child to talk to you while they are young. If they are comfortable with you as a nonjudgmental listener they will come to you faster and listen closely to your advice. Practice listening and talking to your child, it will pay off in the future.

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