7 Tips for Talking to Children So They Actually Listen
Unintentionally, these phrases become a part of our life. We become so used to them that we don’t realize how ruinous an effect it can leave on our little one’s mind. Communication crisis is what we are facing these days with our children. Have you ever wondered why kids feel free to talk to some people and not with others? Or why they share everything with their friends and not with parents? It’s a feeling of mutual respect that each human being has. Communication which is based on mutual respect is the key to a healthy relationship with children. Nagging or criticizing is very disheartening for a child. Many parents these days are so busy that they leave very little time for real communication with their loved ones. Building strong communication with children is very essential for their growth, mental health, and career. When these two most important aspects are very well taken care of, communication between parents and child becomes fruitful.
The most difficult skill a parent has to acquire is the ability to listen. We generally have the habit of talking with them rather than listening which takes a good deal of effort.
- Don’t Break The Communication - We usually share our joy and concerns with the people who are good listeners. They listen to us without any judgment. Many times, even if they don’t agree with us then too, they listen and understand how we feel. Children are more sensitive than us. All they want is someone who listens and understands them without being judgmental. Imagine a day when your child had a bad day at school and a difficult time he was having with his teacher. And all of a sudden you start explaining to him about the importance of trying to get along with the teacher. The child may feel disappointed as what he was looking for was understanding rather than advice. A piece of unsolicited advice blocks communication. Therefore, knowing when to talk and when to keep quiet is an essential part of listening skills.
- Body Language – Our actions speak louder than words. Working on the laptop, using your phone, or watching television and just nodding your head doesn’t mean you are listening to your child. They can very well understand this through your body language. Remember to make eye contact, pass a smile, sit close to them, and most important keep your devices aside.
- Sharing Personal Experiences And Giving Feedback – Whenever a child shares any problem you can tell them about your personal experience. Reassuring them that they are not the only ones who are facing this you too have been through similar experiences. It can be anything like fear of exams, nervousness on stage, conflicts with friends, etc. The child feels better that their parents shared and understood their apprehension.
- Accepting Their Views And Opinion – Each individual has his or her opinion and each one wants to be accepted. Whether it be a 4-year kid or a 40-year-old adult each one has the right to express. But some parents feel uncomfortable when children develop opposing views. It does not always mean that the child is influenced by others neither that child is becoming self-centred. It is a sign of independence. The lines of communication should be open when children are treading the minefield of adolescence. This begins in a child’s early years.
“Mumma thinks I am worthwhile because she talks with me about my feelings”, “My Dad is my best friend as we share everything”. Such statements reveal healthy communication between parent and child. Children love to talk with adults. If we constantly talk down to children, they will spend the rest of their lives looking up to people.
- Encourage Them To Talk – It is very important to talk to children of all ages openly and honestly. Always encourage them to share ideas, views, and opinions. Give them a chance to discuss all sorts of matters with you. Share with them reasons if you are not accepting their views. This is the basis of a respectful conversation. Rather than just saying NO explain all possible consequences.
- Understand Their Needs – Nagging, criticizing, and lecturing constantly is a big reason behind children avoiding verbal contact with their parents. After a certain time, the period child will start ignoring parental advice. This can be infuriating to parents. Few things should be left on children to learn from their own experience. The talk should be saved for discussions and encouragement rather than using in the ways that turn children off.
- Giving An Open Response – An open response invites further dialogues while a closed one promptly finishes the conversation. For example, if your child shares “Someone stole my pen today”, and you instantly respond “You might have left it somewhere”. This is going to block the conversation as the child will think you are not interested in helping him. On the other hand, if you simply say “Oh no! What do you think might have happened?” These two statements depict a clear difference between authority and concern.
Some Regular Do’s And Don’ts
- From the early years encourage them to share about their school, friends, activities, and all the happenings. Share yours too with them.
- Family meals are a great time to talk and listen.
- Try developing their feeling vocabulary by sharing your experiences about joy, fear, nervousness, etc.
- Use the phrases “Tell me more……” Is it….”, “Really…..” to have a prolonged conversation.
- Be a role model. Communicating with your spouse sends a direct message to your child about how to communicate.
- Don’t rush into problem-solving; give them a good amount of time to put their part.
- Make sure to develop the listening skill in your child also.
- Shouting and talking are different things. Remember shouting produces loud children.
Effective communication should be initiated as early as possible. It is an essential element of building a strong bond and a happy and healthy relationship.
Sonam is a Doctorate in Management Studies. She has altogether working experience of 5 years with IIM Indore and SFRI Jabalpur. She has also worked with two academic publication houses from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. In December 2019 she embraced motherhood. To relish her motherhood and use her Research Skills; now by profession she is a Freelance Content Creator and Blogger.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.