Letting it All Out: 5 Ways To Foster Open Communication with Your Child
Every parent wants to be able to know what is going on in her child’s life. The short, terse, vague “I am OK” you receive from a child is never quite enough. But it is possible for your child to open up, talk to you about his joys and his concerns. Here is how you can encourage your children to communicate openly with you:
1. Realize That Your Child Has a Say
Admittedly, the relationship between you and your child is not one of equals. Yet, to foster that sense of open communication with him, you must realize that your child too has an opinion, feelings and sentiments of his own. In a house where the parents never ask the child for his opinions, the child will certainly shy away from talking to his parents about anything. So, ask your child what he thinks or feels about something. Understand his point of view without being overly critical; he will certainly be more willing to share his thoughts with you because he trusts that you care about these thoughts.
2. Judge Not
Judging a child or being unnecessarily critical is a sure way of closing all communication lines. Why would he bother to talk to you when he knows that you will judge or criticise him? The key to not judging is listening to what your child is saying with an open mind. Listen to what he saying without interrupting midway with your advice or critics. Just listen. Whether he is talking about his friends, teachers, siblings, a video game, a TV programme, just pay attention without making negative, critical remarks. There is no better feeling than knowing that someone is listening to you.
3. Ask, Listen, Laugh
Sometimes your kids may not always initiate conversations, especially the teens who just want to get home and lock themselves in their rooms. It is indeed essential to respect your child’s space but to foster that communicative relationship, you just might have to ask the questions to initiate a conversation. You could say, “Hey how was your day?” “What were you up to today?” “Anything new happened?” These are great conversation starters but you can use others that suit the situation. It is important to listen and pay attention when your child starts to tell you about his day. And most importantly, laugh if something funny happened. Laughing together with your child can foster a great, open relationship tenfold.
4. Praise The Good Deeds
For your child to be communicative with you, he needs to feel positive and appreciated for the things he does. A home where the parents do not notice the good deeds of their children and do not even praise them is certainly a sullen home. On the contrary, when you notice the great stuff your child is doing and you commend them for that, they will perceive you as an approachable person, a person who gets them, a person they can open up to. Praising or complementing your child often raises his self-esteem and his trust in you. Trust is essential in fostering communicative relationships.
5. Be Kind and Gentle
Let your home be a peaceful haven. In a home where children feel safe and at peace, they are more likely to want to communicate and connect with their parents. On the contrary, a home where mom is always yelling at someone and dad is constantly barking criticisms and insults, every child will want to lock himself in his room. Creating a peaceful haven calls for sanity, objectivity and calm when handling your children. Refrain from yelling, cuddle your children more, show adequate patience, and let them know that you love them. These acts of kindness and gentleness can bring you and your child closer, and closeness is a requisite for communicative relationships.