Anyone who has kids knows that talking to them is a daily challenge. Most of the time, we have other things to do, so we keep it light and move on as fast as we can. Although we can understand this, there are times when it’s key to tune in on what your children have to say. They might be in trouble, and it’s up to you to help them out.
Kids are just like adults. They won’t always make their feelings clear, and you need to be nosy during conversations to understand them better. Of course, being nosy doesn’t mean reading their texts or following them around. It means complete concentration when talking to them.
So, without further ado: building a healthy relationship with your children — let us explain how.
Take More Time to Listen
The first and most important tip on having open communication with kids is to take more time to listen to them. To make them feel loved, you need to be present in their lives. It’s easy to compensate for that with money, gifts, and smartphones. However, none of that will take them on the right path.
No matter how busy you are with work, you need to find time every day to talk to them. The same goes even if you do not live together anymore. Video call them each day or simply send a message, letting them know that you think about them. And by being a constant presence in their life, they’ll confide in you any time they have a problem.
Be Aware of Your Body Movements
There’s nothing worse than a parent who doesn’t listen to their kids. It’s sad to witness it from afar, but it’s even worse to be that kid. You should give them your full attention whenever you sense that they need a conversation. But what does that mean, you might ask? Well, it’s simple.
Although they might seem basic, making direct eye contact, kneeling, and tilting your head are all moves that speak more than words. No matter if you have a younger or older child, it’s key to look them in the eyes when talking. By doing so, they will understand your intentions better and eventually loosen up.
Give Your Child a Chance to Choose
When talking to your child, it’s easy to position yourself as the all-knowing one. After all, you’re older and have experience. What is there to doubt? Well, a positive parent-child relationship doesn’t work like that. You should allow your kid to have a choice between your advice. Being authoritative can only backfire and make matters worse.
Of course, allowing them choice doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t state how you feel about different issues. It’s just about not forcing them to think the same as you. Like any other, a relationship with your child shouldn’t be a one-way street. It should go both ways, and you might learn a thing or two from them too.
Be Firm With Every ‘Yes’ and ‘No’
Good communication isn’t just about having quality time with them, multiple choices, and perfect body language. It’s also about being honest with your answers. Once you say yes to something, you should stick by it. The same goes for negative responses. Such firmness in your responses will allow your children to learn all about integrity.
There’s nothing worse than an adult with no integrity. You can agree or disagree about something with someone, but if they’re fully behind their ideas, you should respect that. Yet, it seems like these people are a dying breed these days. However, if we all lead by example in front of our children, we should expect that they carry on like that in the future.
Avoid Gaslighting Your Kids
Gaslighting is a term we hear about more and more these days. Unfortunately, it’s something negative. In fact, it’s when you manipulate someone (children in this context). But how does one influence their child without even knowing it? Well, if you tell them they’re okay when they fall and scrape their knees, you’re manipulating them so that they don’t cry. Simple.
But don’t all parents do that? They do, but it’s not something good. It makes your children believe that it’s okay to feel pain and keep going. Such behavior is destructive, and it’s true for both boys and girls. The first ones will develop what is called today toxic masculinity, and the latter will think it’s okay to be on the receiving end of violence.
Encourage Proactiveness in Their Decisions
Another tip that allows you to form a strong relationship with your children is to reward their achievements. In turn, they’ll understand how important it is to be proactive and look at any challenge positively. This will also encourage your child and make it a habit to be successful later on in life. But how do you reward their achievements?
Well, the easiest way to do so is to motivate them materially. When they’re young, you can buy them toys, games, and gadgets. However, when they get older, the only solution seems to be giving them money. But is that really how you want to function with your kid? We don’t think so. Find their niche interest and invest in it. It’s a much better idea.
Let Kids Show Their Emotions
To finish off this parenting guide about communicating with kids, we need to mention emotions. Isn’t it strange how some parents don’t show any in front of their kids? They somehow imagine that smiling, crying, or doing anything else might soften their children for what’s to come in later life. That’s a big mistake, and you shouldn’t follow in their footsteps.
A child develops by observing the world around them. What they see will decide how they’ll view life and act in the future. So, if all they know is coldness, how can you expect them to become the kind people that everyone wants them to be? You can’t. Therefore, it’s key to show emotions in front of them, especially when discussing their problems.
Lastly, we need to mention how there’s no textbook on raising children. Your parents didn’t have it when you were born, nor did their parents. We all learn along the way. However, positive relationships come about when you take time with your child and pay attention to them and their development. Hence, all of the above will come useful to some extent.