-Improving Communication with Our Kids –
The task of effective communication between parents and children is a world of its own that requires openness, continuous mutual learning and improving ourselves for the better. As a parent, your work is to direct, guide, instruct and serve your children. Let them see in you a model of humility, forthrightness and service.
When speaking to kids, you can direct, instruct and guide them, but cut out the part of criticism, judgment and condemning words. It is words of encouragement, kindness and appreciation that build their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Some Reasons Why Our Kids Shut Down from Us
- We tend to be harsh and aggressive towards our kids. This sends them packing away from us emotionally because they are hurt and can hardly believe that you love them.
- When they open up and you only judge and criticize them harshly, then they would likely retreat.
- When you are not handling your own emotional issues properly, the child will think that you are best left alone because they do not want to disturb you.
- Being too busy to spend them with the kids. This may make them feel and believe that they do not matter to you, hence they will stay away from you.
- Taking sides. Be attentive not to always take sides with one kid over the other all the time. It will shut that other kid from communicating with you.
Practical Tips to improve your communication with your children
- Question time. You can have a “Ask Mom/Dad Anything” session with your kids. You will be amazed all the questions they may have kept and wished they could ask you. This greatly increases your communication bond.
- Take your eyes off your device. When your child comes to you to ask for something, if you are on the laptop or staring onto your phone, take just a moment to move your eyes away from the device and look at that child and respond. See if it is something you can attend to right away or request the child that you deal with it at another specific time. Ensure you keep your promise.
- Play with them. Kids/children enjoy you when you are playful. Take time out to play with them, make a face, tickle them, talk in an unusual voice that will send them laughing; just relax and play with them. This will afterwards improve their openness and communication with you.
- Let your child feel heard. When your child is talking, truly listen and relay back what you are hearing so that they see that they are heard. This gives her a voice and helps her to know that her voice is important and that her opinion counts.
- Learn to trust that your kids have Divine Intelligence in them. Beliefs guide expectations. If you believe that your kids have an internal guiding system in them, you will teach them to believe in themselves, you will listen more to their opinions and you would allow them to sometimes learn on their own.
- Practice the Principle of Non-interference. When your kid comes complaining about another kid, console but don’t run out to play rescue. Allow them to learn to deal with themselves because they can.
- Avoid excessive control. Let go of your desire to excessively control your children all the time. According to Dr Wayne Dyer, a self-help author and motivational speaker, we tend to hover over our children like helicopter, controlling and shouting instructions at them. When we do this we treat them like they are dumb creatures. Our excessive control does not build their self-confidence.
- Nurture joy in them. Kids are naturally joyful, happy, forgiving, loving, excited and playful. In their minds, they live in a beautiful world. Irrespective of the economic status of the family, if we nurture and encourage these qualities which they already have, they grow up to be people who can better communicate their issues. But when we kill this spirit through our aggression and harshness, we bring out the worst in that child and the child becomes aggressive, vengeful, disobedient and rude.
- Attend to their basic needs; don’t ignore it. Some dads leave it to the mothers and everyone else to respond to the basic needs of their little kids. You are a steward to your kids. For example, if your child is thirsty, are you able to stand up and go give the child a cup of water? This should not only be left to mum or the house girl. You too can teach your kids the beauty of humble service. Attend to their basic needs and they will see you caring enough to talk to.
- Be a joyful and peaceful person and your children will always want to communicate with you.
Linda Asimole Ellah
Linda is the Coordinator of The Living Woman, a platform for Women focused
on their Personal Growth and Fulfilment of their
Purpose. The Living Woman, which is based in Calabar, helps women and young ladies grow,become the best version of themselves and hence find and live their life’s purpose.
For Enquiries and Membership:
(+234) 814 6779 226; 0812 606 1888
Facebook: The Living Woman