How to Improve Communication between Parents and Children

It can often be difficult for kids to understand why their parents might do or say something that they don’t necessarily agree with. After all, children don’t have the insight that parents have when it comes to making big decisions and properly handling difficult childhood milestones. While kids might believe that their parents don’t understand them, parents will generally do what they think is best for their child. This common sense of tension between parents and kids is what generally leads to a breakdown in communication. Here are a few tips for how to improve communication with your kids at some of those more difficult parenting times.

Improve Communication between Parents and Children
"Happy Family" by Theen Moy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Technology Blocks Communication Channels

Changing family values have resulted in stunted communication between parents and children. The practice of dining together and sharing experiences is, at best, limited to the weekend. Even if families make it a point to sit through breakfast or dinner regularly, communication is often limited. As we bring more and more technology to the dining table (phones, tablets, etc.), communication between parents and children suffers another blow and can reach a new all-time low.

We don’t need scientific statistics to identify the importance of affirmative communication. Value your children and their achievements and you are likely to help them develop into healthy individuals with positive attitudes. Criticize without caution and you are likely to push them towards away.

Ways to Communicate Effectively

There is, however, a thin line between communication and suspicion disguised as communication, and despite our best efforts, our children can see through this pretense. For example, befriending them in Facebook and talking to them about it to gain their confidence only to criticize their use of the site is likely to register as negative communication and achieve less than desirable results.

What can you do to improve communication with your kids? Here, we offer you some useful pointers:

  • Be honest about what you like and dislike but try to do that without raising voices or letting your temper get the better of you. Make sure your facial expressions do not betray you.
  • In case you encounter tantrums, let it be known that they will not be tolerated in the future, using a firm but respectful tone.
  • Communication need not only be verbal. The best kind of communication is often a good mix of words and actions. Telling your kids every day that they can bank on you while you violate their need for space time and again will yield no results.
  • Make it a point to allow your kids to vent. Choose a time according to their convenience, preferably before bedtime, and talk. The first times are likely to be awkward. Do not be disheartened. Try not to use words like “Say something. Anything.” Initiate conversation by asking questions. Make sure the questions are neither vague nor can be answered with a simple yes or no.
  • Teach your kids the importance of listening. This can be effectively taught by setting a good example. Listen to the kids like you want them to listen to you. Do not interrupt when they are speaking, let them finish. Maintain eye contact to let them know you are listening and their efforts are not going waste.
  • Lastly, do not assume. Reserve your judgment till they have had the chance to explain themselves.

When you communicate well with your children, you are likely to get them to easily listen to to and what you might be asking of them. Constanly raising voices raises the chance of children adopting a rebellious attitude and making them not feel comfortable talking to you about what is going on in their lives. Open all communication channels for a cooperative environment at home.

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