As parents we communicate with our child all the time and hopefully these interactions are positive and healthy for all. The way that parents communicate with their child determines the relationship parents will have with their child. We may have heard the saying “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” and it holds true in parent-child communications. What parents say to their children can either build up their children or tear them down. As parents, are we creating a climate that encourages and supports our children or one that is destructive and discouraging? Let’s look at some positive ways that parents can improve communication with their child (in no specific order).
Listening is a key part of any communication and should be practiced by the parent and child. When your child is talking with you, listen to hear what they are saying to you and for what is going on with them. When we listen, we give our child an opportunity to share their experiences, feelings, and thoughts while we acknowledge their feelings. Sometimes children just need their parents to listen to them, hear them, and acknowledge their feelings.
Parents keep in mind that your time and attention given to your child is very important. Making time consistently for your child helps establish a relationship of trust and security. Let your child know that they can come to you at any time about anything. As parents, we work to provide food, shelter, clothing, and medical but we must not forget the importance of giving our children our time and attention.
Parents we are our child’s first teacher so let’s commit to use a respectful approach when communicating with our children. We must also take into account the age and maturity level of the child. You will not communicate with a teenager in the same manner as you would a kindergartener. We still need to ensure that in communicating with the child we are nonjudgmental and flexible.