Children model the behavior of parents. How you express and handle yourself will usually determine how your children will as well. Speaking honestly and clearly, responding calmly, and listening carefully will occur only if children are provided with models and opportunities to practice. Kids need to learn to share more than just their belongings. They need to feel comfortable sharing their feelings, thoughts, and ideas.

Since a fortnight ago, we started the series on opening the lines of communication with your children, getting them to listen and to tell you more. We shall continue on that journey.

Rule #3: Avoid untrue statements and things said out of anger and frustration

Your children will learn to listen and believe when you speak to them truthfully and calmly. Trust and respect come from honesty and sincerity. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. For example, you want to go to the office and your child is all bent on going with you- when obviously you cannot take him? What do you do?

Don’t trick the child to go bring or do something and then zoom off before he returns! It truly hurts and teaches your child something- not to trust and believe you!

Rather, calmly explain in simple truths- that you have to go, you will not take him, but you will be back later in the day. Yes, your child will be upset and throw a few tantrums but guess what? After a few days of seeing you go and come, he begins to naturally brace himself for your exits and glad to welcome you. Yes, children see patterns and love routines… use this to your advantage!

Rule #4: Be a source of encouragement

When your children confide in you, they should feel relieved, inspired, and recharged, rather than guilty or that they are a source of disappointment to you. When they come to you with a problem or situation, offer your ear as well as words of encouragement like: I know you can handle it, Every problem has a solution, even this, Think it over; you will figure this out, I am here to help you, I went through this at your age, like when… (Paint a practical or past scenario).

Responding in this manner boosts children’s thinking and decision making skills and will definitely make them be more opened with you. With this, you will gradually be winning your rightful position as there first adviser and confidant.

Rule #5: Show Empathy

Try to step away from being the parent when listening, and put yourself in your child’s shoes. Think about how difficult the conversation may be for your child, and think before you react. Thinking before reacting means you do not act on impulse, rather, you carefully think through to choose your words and actions.

Rule #6: Avoid the drill routine.

Angry adults can yell, scream, belittle and nag- they can also physically endanger their kids! If children share something with you and feel like they are being scolded or like they are disappointing you, they probably will not let it happen again!

As a parent, there will be times when you must address an issue your child discusses with you; be sure you address the behavior or action and not the child. Know that too much talking and explaining makes kids less likely to corporate- think about it- if you didn’t get something right and your boss went on and on about it. What effect does it have on your future relationship and performance? You are likely to be irritated and less likely to cooperate! Same feelings apply with kids.

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