7 Ways to Encourage Open and Honest Communication with Your Child
Open communication between you and you child is very important to both parties. In fact, there’s nothing as beautiful as having an effective relationship with your kids.
Mammas, can I get an Amen??
As an adult, you know how important it is to effectively communicate with one another. Don’t you?
You know how it is to feel like you’re being heard and listened to.
You know how sweet it is to know that your feelings are not being invalidated.
We communicate every time and everywhere – at the grocery shop, in a bank, with friends, at the gym, at the school car park etc.
Communication is effective when both parties are willing to listen and receive whatever the other is saying.
It can be either verbal or non-verbal.
But do you feel as though you can’t connect with your kids? ??♀️
Does it seem like you can’t engage in an open conversation with your teens?
Mamma, I know it’s frustrating but fear not!
In this article, you will learn ways to encourage open and honest communication with your kids.
No longer will you be bad at this very vital aspect of child upbringing.
But before we get to the tips of the day we need to tackle one important question…
Why do children and parents find it difficult to communicate with each other?
This is very important because it is the root cause of lack of healthy communication between parents and their kids.
A lot of things contribute to this. Some of them include:
1. Generation Gap:
This may or may not be the biggest problem.
Well, it all depends on the situation.
The difference in generation and expectations from people are different and this may lead to friction.
For example, in this era where 5-month olds use iPhones and where teens hate calls, you realize that you have to keep up.
2. Hostile Environment:
When children don’t feel like they are in a safe space, they will be reluctant to talk.
An unsafe space could be when a convo with a parent always leads to heated arguments.
Or when there’s perceived jealousy (yes, parents get jealous of their children).
Oh!! You don’t know???
3. Lack of Trust:
This is from both sides.
Many parents don’t trust their children and vice versa.
When there’s no trust, there’s automatically no safe space.
And what did we say about safe space again?
There are so many other reasons why it’s difficult to communicate.
But whatever the reason is, there are ways to bridge the gap and encourage good and effective communication with your kids.
What are the ways to encourage open and honest communication with your kids?
1. Listen actively when communicating with your kids:
I believe I’m speaking for everyone when I say that it’s completely annoying when you’re speaking with someone and they’re doing something else.
When your children are talking to you, give them your undivided attention.
Let everything about you show that you’re listening to what they’re saying.
Active listening also means watching out for body movements and facial expressions.
Try to listen to what your child isn’t saying and then follow up with encouragers like “Really!?” “Tell me more about…”
Also, try to understand the feeling behind the words spoken.
Say or ask things like “You feel hurt or disappointed that you didn’t get an ‘A’ in mathematics?”
Don’t be in a hurry to contribute and don’t cut your child off.
Don’t tell your child what he/she is feeling but instead guide them through (by asking appropriate questions) to deal with what they’re feeling.
2. Know your kids beyond being their Mamma:
I know what you’re saying right now – I know my child! What are you talking about?
Please take a cup of water and relax. ?
Many parents actually do not know their children and the truth is that children are humans and so they change too.
Always try to know their likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests at every point.
Do things with them and gradually, they’ll start opening up.
Also, note that some children are more talkative than others.
Just know your child and work at his/her pace.
3) Avoid asking closed ended questions (especially those requiring ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers):
This just means that you should try to avoid questions that can give you one-worded answers.
For instance, you need to avoid questions like:
- “How was your day?” – Good
- “Did you like the eggs?” – No
- “What do you plan on doing today?” – Nothing
One-worded answers make you frustrated and are stumbling blocks that may hinder further communication.
Ask questions that will make them talk and then follow up.
Ask questions like:
- “What did you do today?” or
- “What was the most interesting part of your day?”
- Or “What would you have done to make the eggs more delicious if you were to prepare it?”
Be careful not to bombard your kids with questions that will make them feel like they’re being interrogated.
This may only make them close up more.
4) Stop being Judgy McJudgy ?:
Everyone hates judgments.
And no one will feel the need to talk when he/she feels like there’ll be harsh criticisms at the end of the day.
Whatever your child tells you, don’t reprimand too harshly and always try to be collected even though steam is coming outta your ears.??
Children fare better when there is more encouragement and few reprimands.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t discipline your child.
Just do it with love and respect, in a way that will leave room for more honest communication.
5) Spend time together:
Make family time important.
Spend time together with your family and let everyone chip in on something that happened that day.
This fosters a good relationship between siblings and parents.
Engage in light debate topics and ensure everyone contributes.
Also, spend time with your children individually.
In fact, this is one of the good habits of happy Stay At Home Moms.
Have a specific time and always look forward to it.
This makes your child know that you value the time both of you spend together and will open up more.
4) Trust your kids:
Children know when they’re not trusted.
They need you to be able to trust that they won’t ‘fall your hands.’
And even when they inevitably do something that you’re not particularly proud of, they need you to trust that that error or mistake doesn’t define them.
7) Be Patient with Them:
Children can and will test your patience.
Don’t go off on them. Don’t say harsh things to them.
Even when communicating with them is a chore, still, be patient with them.
Being open with your children won’t start immediately but gradually.
Go through the process and enjoy it.
It’s better to start communicating with them from when they’re babies, but when you reach that stumbling block, don’t expect to immediately bounce back.
And even if you want to start communicating with them in their tween, teen or even adult years don’t lose hope.
It can still happen.
Every child desires to be able to communicate freely with his/her parents. And vice versa.
Be open and truthful to them about your struggles.
Tell them some mistakes you made when you were their age.
Let your children be free with you so that they can come to you with any issue concerning them.
Whether it’s peer pressure, drug use, bullying, depression, etc. let them know that you’re there for them without judgment.
Don’t be too overbearing and don’t guard them like a hawk.
Give them space to grow and make their own mistakes. I know it’s hard, but it fosters a good relationship.
It won’t be easy at first, but it’s totally worth it!
So Mamma, what are you waiting for?
Start working on your communication skills today!
Remember that motherhood is a journey made easy when we have the right people in our corner. ?
That said, click on this link to take you to the amazing world of motherhood http://bit.ly/AMumandMoreFBFamily
Keep being #fabulous ?
Love & Light
Thanks for this