*THIS IS A GUEST POST. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.
Kids are creative, passionate, and quite impressive. They are explorers and live life to the fullest. They pick on every small detail and ask many ‘why’ questions. They’re curious and loving. They might be naïve sometimes, but their souls are pure. However, sometimes parents act unhealthily and set too many boundaries. They don’t realize that kids need to be encouraged to develop and be free.
Sometimes, parents can turn into kids – if that happens, communication between parties is broken, and children might grow up to be irresponsible, damaged adults. You should not let that happen as a parent. If you’re not sure how to build an effective communication bridge between you and your child, you came to the right place. This is what we will explore in today’s article.
How Can I Encourage My Kids to Talk?
Talking to your kids might be scary at first – especially if you’ve never tried it before. Here are some tips on how to do it and why.
- Set aside time for talking each day
You’ve got a busy life and so do your kids, especially if they’re involved in many activities. This is why you’ve got to make a plan and schedule specific times to talk. If you only have it in the back of your mind, you might never take action. Take time to write down a schedule that works for both of you. Find at least 10 minutes per day for talking.
- Talk about your feelings, take turns
Practice what you preach, right? Or in this case, let them know you’re also vulnerable. Your kid might be closing off because you’re not opening up, so they’re literally mimicking your behavior. To help them talk, open up first and talk about your feelings. Tell them how you feel. Help them do the same.
- Use simplistic language
Don’t overwhelm your kids with heavy emotional information. Open up about how you feel but don’t use them as a means of discharging your emotional baggage. Use simple language and offer as many details as you see fit. Your kid is not your therapist, so use simplistic language and stick to the point.
- Listen to understand not to reply
When it’s their turn to talk, truly listen. Show interest in what they’re saying and try to understand the meaning behind their words. If you’re not sure what they mean, ask them questions. You might be a parent but you’re not omniscient, so don’t be ashamed to ask.
- Avoid criticism
This is one of the most important pillars of effective communication – avoiding criticism. When you criticize, you blame them. And when you do that, your kid closes off. That’s because you’re not providing a safe space for them to be in. You are making them feel undervalued and… wrong. This is a huge mistake that many parents make. Instead of criticizing, give them your honest opinion. Start with, “were I in your place, I would…” instead of saying “You should not….”.
- Understand your child’s needs
Listening to understand implies that you’re aware of your child’s needs. As I mentioned before, ask as many questions as possible. What do they need? How do they feel? What makes them angry? How could you improve your behavior to help them open up more? Don’t be afraid to be honest.
- Work out any conflicts you might have
If you want to build an effective communication bridge between you two, you must work out your conflicts first. So, if there are any, make sure you address them. Don’t wait for them to come to you – you are the adult, so it’s your responsibility to go to them and figure things out.
- Encourage honesty and openness
The more honest you are, the better the parent-child relationship. Teach them to be open and honest from an early age. Use the positive reward system – when they’re honest, congratulate them. Help them feel supported. Next time, they will do the same because they’ll want encouraging feedback.
Talking to your kids is an essential part of being a parent, so do it as soon as possible. Starting at an early age is highly recommended. Set aside time for talking each day, talk openly about your feelings, and listen to understand. Avoid making them feel bad for opening up and encourage honesty. Give them space to be themselves. Be there for them and watch how your relationship improves.
Thomas Jackson a professional writer and a member of several writing clubs in New York. He has been working for the best essay writing service for 4 years now. Thomas has been writing his own songs since he was a child. Young author gets inspiration from live concerts in front of his loved ones.