Communication is Key
It’s a new year and a new beginning for you and your children. This year, make a commitment to talk to your children more. Communication is key with children. Try the tips below for a healthier relationship with your children:
- Be available. Start conversations by sharing instead of asking a question. Find time each week for a one-on-one activity with each child. Learn about your children’s interests.
- Let the kids know you are listening. When your children are talking about concerns, stop and listen. Listen to their point of view, even if it’s difficult to hear. Repeat what you heard them say to make sure you got it right.
- Respond in a way they will hear. Express your opinion without discounting theirs, and let them know it’s OK to disagree. Don’t argue, just say, “I know you disagree. This is what I think.” Focus on your children’s feelings rather than your own.
Ask your children what they want or need from you, such as advice, simply listening, help in dealing with feelings or solving a problem. Kids learn from their own choices. If the consequences are not dangerous, don’t feel that you have to step in. Children may test you by telling you a small part of what is bothering them. Listen carefully to what they say and encourage them to talk, and they may tell you the rest of the story. If there are problems over a prolonged period of time, consider talking with a mental health expert.
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