The key to a healthy relationship between parents and children is listening and talking, explains the American Psychological Association (APA). We all want a strong bond with our children, which is why it’s very important to learn the best ways to communicate and connect with them. Be a better parent by being a better listener and communicator.
Here we present some behaviors you should avoid when talking with your children:
1. You say too much
First of all, small children can only comprehend a specific amount of information at a time. Long sentences, conversations about too many things and long words can go over a child’s head, explains language and speech pathologist, Lauren Lowry.
The first step for effective communication, in which the child is capable of understanding and digesting what you’re telling them, is to pause and find out the best way of communicating with your child. Avoid babbling. Be concise and strategic. You’ll notice a big difference.
2. You shout and use bad words
Keeping your cool is tough, but it’s very important when it comes to disciplining your children. A study involving more than 900 families, published in the journal “Child Development”, discovered that very strong verbal discipline from parents had a significant negative effect on kids.
The “strong verbal discipline” occurs when parents cause emotional and psychological harm in order to correct or control behavior. This includes screaming, loudly reprimanding, and the use of bad words in order to insult or humiliate.
3. You don’t get involved by not listening or talking
Sometimes it can be very easy to ignore what your child says when your mind is preoccupied with work or chores. Also, let’s admit it, kids often interrupt and talk too much. But ignoring your children or silencing them is a lost opportunity to teach them about respect, empathy, and kindness, says Melanie Greenberg.
Use these strategies next time you’re too busy to talk with your child. Instead of ignoring them completely, tell them “it’s hard for me to listen to you right now because I’m busy cooking.” Tell them that you’ll talk with them when you finish.
4. You dismiss their emotions and opinions
You’ll be showing love and care to your child if you recognize and value their feelings and opinions. When your child shows you they’re frustrated or upset, don’t ignore them. A simple phrase such as, “I understand how you feel. I would be upset too”, together with a hug is sometimes what a child needs to feel better.
As for their opinions, don’t be rude and tell them right away that they’re wrong. For example, when your child says, “I don’t want to go to school”, instead of telling them, “you have to go”, why not answer them with a question: “Why don’t you like school?”
5. You don’t have real conversations with your child
Yes, we talk a lot with our children but most of it is telling them to hurry up getting dressed in the morning or reminding them something. Make it a priority to have a real conversation with your child.
“Choose a moment when you know that your child is available to talk,” says Julie Lyncott-Haims in her book, “How to raise an adult”. It may be before bed, while giving them a bath, or on the way home in the car from school. Start the conversation. “Show them that you’re interested in what they’ve been doing and what matters to them,” explains Lyncott-Haims.
If you follow these tips, we’re sure that your relationship with your son or daughter will take an unexpected turn that will benefit both of you.