Updated: May 28
Practical Communication Tips for Parents
By Laxmi Parmeswar
Listening and talking is the key to a healthy connection between you and your children. But parenting is hard work and maintaining a good connection with children can be challenging, especially since parents are dealing with many other pressures.
Here are some tips to consider…
Notice times when your children are most likely to talk (at bed time or when you are taking them somewhere, at dinner time, etc.) and then start a conversation.
You cannot have an important conversation with your child when the TV is on. Turn the TV and cell phone off.
Initiate conversations by sharing what you have been thinking about rather than beginning a conversation with a question.
Listen to your children’s point of view even if it is difficult to hear. You don’t need to agree but you must listen and try to understand them.
Don’t create a recurring pattern of being too critical of your children. They will tune you out and stop listening to you.
Let your child know that you care about what’s happening in their lives. Pay attention to your child’s interests- their favorite music, TV shows, books, their activities, etc.
Soften strong reactions; kids will tune you out if you appear angry or defensive.
Express your opinion without putting down theirs; acknowledge that it’s okay to disagree.
Resist arguing about who is right. Instead say, “I know you disagree with me, but this is what I think.”
Focus on your child’s feelings rather than your own during your conversation.
Talk to your children–don’t lecture, criticize, threaten, or say hurtful things
Kids learn from their own choices. As long as the consequences are not dangerous, don’t feel you have to always step in.
Realize your children may test you by telling you a small part of what is bothering them. Listen carefully to what they say, encourage them to talk, and they may share the rest of the story.
Ask your children what they may want or need from you in a conversation, such as advice, simply listening, help in dealing with feelings, or help solving a problem.
Kids learn by imitating. Most often, they will follow your lead in how they deal with anger, solve problems, and work through difficult feelings.