10 Best Ways To Develop Open Communication & Trust with Your Child
Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash
From the very beginning, when your child was just a bundle of joy, you would throw them in the air, and they'd erupt in peals of laughter, fully confident that you would always catch them. It's a heartwarming display of the inherent trust children have in their parents. However, as they grow, this unshakable trust can sometimes start to waver.
The question is: what goes wrong along the way?
A close friend of mine recently shared a heartwarming yet eye-opening incident that made her realize the importance of fostering open communication with her child.
Her son was caught in a moment of panic when she unexpectedly entered the room while he was cutting something. His initial reaction of fear puzzled her until she saw the cause of his distress—a remark in his diary from his teacher about forgetting to bring a book to school!
What struck her more than his mistake was the fact that her child felt such intense fear and shame about it. This incident led her on a path of self-reflection, research, and seeking advice on how to create an environment where her child would feel safe and encouraged to share even the smallest concerns.
Here are ten insightful ways she discovered to prevent such situations and promote openness with your child:
1. Cultivate a Judgement-Free Zone:
Encourage your child to express their thoughts without fear of harsh judgment or immediate consequences. Let them know that mistakes are a part of learning, and you are there to guide them, not to condemn them.
2. Practice Active Listening:
When your child speaks, give them your full attention. Put down your devices and make eye contact. This shows that you value what they have to say and are genuinely interested in their thoughts.
3. Share Your Own Experiences:
Opening up about your own childhood mistakes and experiences can create a relatable atmosphere. Your vulnerability makes it easier for your child to confide in you, knowing that you've been through similar situations.
4. Avoid Overreacting:
If your child shares something that surprises or worries you, take a deep breath before responding. Stay calm and composed, so your child feels comfortable discussing even the most challenging topics.
5. Celebrate Honesty:
Praise your child when they share something truthful, even if it's admitting a mistake. This positive reinforcement reinforces their belief that honesty is appreciated and valued.
6. Schedule Quality Time:
Designate regular one-on-one time with your child where they can freely express their thoughts. A cozy bedtime chat or a weekend outing can create opportunities for them to open up.
7.Be Patient and Persistent:
Building trust takes time. If your child is hesitant to share, don't push them. Instead, consistently show that you're available and ready to listen whenever they're ready to talk.
8. Empathize and Validate:
Acknowledge your child's feelings, even if you disagree with their perspective. Let them know that their emotions are valid and understood.
9. Teach Problem-Solving:
Guide your child in finding solutions to their problems. This empowers them to think critically and encourages them to share their challenges with you as they seek guidance.
10. Foster Mutual Respect:
Respect is a two-way street. Show respect for your child's thoughts, boundaries, and privacy, and in return, they will likely reciprocate.
It's important to remember that no parent is perfect, and there will be times when you might unintentionally discourage your child from sharing. However, acknowledging your mistakes and working to improve your communication will reinforce the idea that everyone, parents included, is constantly learning and growing.
My friend's experience was a turning point in her parenting journey. By implementing these ten strategies, she gradually noticed her child becoming more open, trusting, and eager to share both their triumphs and tribulations. Building a strong foundation of trust and open communication is an ongoing effort, but the rewards in terms of a deeper connection with your child are immeasurable.
About The Author:
Dhanya calls herself an impatient inquisitive seeker, content writer and blogger. Dhanya, through her blogs aims to help moms who are raised in nuclear families, aspiring, ambitious, well educated but feel stuck when it comes to parenting!