Being a parent is quite tricky, especially when it comes to getting children open up about the good and not-so-good things that go on in their lives. Children have other sources to rely on for guidance. They have their peers, the internet, and other places. This hurdle makes it a challenge for parents to establish their authority on all things about growing up.
Knowing the details about your child’s fears and worries provides you with a useful context of how their child behaves.
Wait for them to let their guard down.
No child likes feeling attacked or confronted about their fears and worries. Consider a relaxed and safe environment. To create this kind of environment, activities such as walking, cooking together, or doing chores can be used as examples. Talking during the in-betweens of these activities won’t impose as much pressure as when you start the conversation with, “We need to talk.”
Be as human and as transparent as possible.
Listen attentively to your child. Respond with real and genuine emotion. Acknowledge their feelings and validate them whether they are feeling angry, scared, or confused. Empathize with them, and always make it a point to know where they’re coming from.
Ask questions and encourage them to tell the whole story.
Help your kids communicate better by focusing not only on academic literacy, but also on emotional literacy. Helping them solve their problems becomes an easier task when kids are able to articulate their problems with the end goal of finding a solution. When they articulate their issues completely, be sure to give them your undivided attention. This will encourage them to tell you the whole story every time.
Pay attention even to the smallest of things. As they say, “the devil is in the details.” Children as curious and attentive beings, usually have lots of them. Their stories are laced with clues, and if you’re not careful, you might miss them. A solution to a problem might be in one of the superficial details. Make it a point to listen closely!
It may not be immediately apparent, but even the most stubborn kids seek guidance from an adult. The key is to offer advice patiently, not aggressively. Try not to lecture, and recognize your limits as a parent. There is wisdom in children too. You should trust them to make their own decisions based on the values you were able to instill in them.
Being a parent is hard work, but being able to communicate well with your children will make it a whole lot easier. While we greatly encourage you to follow these tips, keep in mind that you should also watch out for what works and what doesn’t. As a parent, you know your child best.