The dangers of “don’t statements are that they demotivate the positive behavior you want to see and reinforce the behavior you don’t want to see. What an irony! Most kids hear too many “don’ts why because parents use them quite often in an attempt to stop what they don’t want to happen.
Interestingly, the “don’t” habit can be broken if you choose to talk to your child as you talk to your friends. The eight strategies of parent-child communication are really stunning.
You would agree with the fact that, just as it is for adults, effective communication with your child, leads to a strong relationship, greater cooperation, and feelings of high self-esteem. However, your child can become switched off and worthless in feelings when communication with him becomes a struggle.
Good communication is the heart of good homes and the key to a healthy relationship with your child. It provides a foundation your child can thrive and grow from. When you have good communication with your child, that forms the basis of good communication with other people as your child matures into an adult.
Ever seen the TV series ‘The Simpsons’? Two things got a spot on when it comes to communication between you (parents) and your kids. The first is that kids can truly call their parents repeatedly for as long as they desire. That of course is almost like a hubby to them, you know!
And the second obvious lesson is that often, some parents don’t know how to talk to kids. What most parents do frequently is, resort to long lectures in which they completely lose their kids’ attention.
When it comes to giving instructions or providing facts to their kids, most parents are really ‘successful.’ For example, “You must not beg or collect anything from anyone,” “Please get ready for school,” or, “You need to watch for cars when you cross the road,” these and more are the things parents generally have stress on.
You know at times, in trying to get kids to listen, you do struggle to get them to communicate with you. At best what you get from your kids is not more than a one-word answer. Yet you want to know how better to connect with your child so that he can share thoughts, feelings, and experiences with you. That’s desiring, right?
But how can you talk to your kids when they (or you) are wrestling with big feelings? How can you talk so kids will listen? How can you encourage your kids to talk to you? Here are the eight most useful strategies you can deploy to communicate with your child.
1. Use “an opened door” Statements
“Open door” statements give freedom to your child to say more, and to share ideas and feelings. To the kids, it means that you’re really listening to and interested in them, it means her ideas are relevant and that she’s accepted and respected.
Examples of “opened door” statements include:
“Wow!” “I see.” “Oh.” “How about that!” “Really?” “Tell me more.” “That’s interesting.” “Amazing!”
By using these statements and exclamations, your child will get the sense that you’re truly interested in her. Children are more likely to share when they think you’re engaged with what they’re saying. Hence, you must focus on them when they communicate because the words alone won’t count.
2. Avoid Too Many “don’ts” Use More “dos”
As said earlier, the dangers of “don’ts statements are that they demotivate the positive behavior you want to see and reinforce the behavior you don’t want to see. What an irony! Most kids hear too many “don’ts why because parents use them quite often in an attempt to stop what they don’t want to happen. Interestingly, the “don’t” habit can be broken if you choose to talk to your child as you talk to your friends. Of course, you would rarely say “don’t do this, don’t do that” to your friends when they come visiting. Use more open and respectful suggestions for your kids.
For instance, consider switching your “don’ts” for “dos” this way:
“Don’t go outside, it’s cold,” becomes, “stay inside, please. It’s too cold to play outside my dear.”
“Don’t hit your brother,” becomes, “Play gently with your brother.”
“Don’t color on the carpet,” becomes, “Please do your coloring on the table, okay?”
3. Talk with Your Child, Not At Your Child
Parents who increasingly talk “at” a child, pass the message that her thoughts and feelings are less important or interesting and that the parenting relationship is about the child, doing what they want. Don’t you think this could be one-sided? Instead of giving instructions always engage your child in an inter-personal conversation. This way, you’re both talking and listening to what your child has to say.
Though this could be challenging when your child has limited words or interests, but it’s important to practice if you want a healthy relationship now and in the future. It is a necessary habit to get into because, when your child is more skilled verbally, they’ll want to talk with you.
4. Choose the “I” Statements to Communicate
Speaking to your children with “you” statements damages their esteems. For instance, “You’re so messy,” “You’re a pest,” or “You’re silly,” “You’re stubborn.” Using “I” statements can help you more clearly communicate how your child’s behavior is impacting you.
It also gives your child more of an idea of what’s expected of him and puts greater responsibility on him to change. Now see the effect it creates when you switch from “You” statements to “I.”
“You’re a pest” becomes “I don’t feel like playing because I’m tired.”
“Your bedroom is a disgrace” becomes “I need you to pick up your things.”
“You don’t make any sense” becomes “I don’t understand. Can you explain it again?”
Thank you for reading. Build a child, build a nation.