Successful Two-Way Communication with Your Child
One of the most frustrating challenges we face as parents is communicating effectively with our children. Though we strive to open an honest two-way line of communication, we become frustrated when it appears that their attention isn’t solely on us or the conversation at hand. Yet we seem to find it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss things with them while reading the paper, folding clothes, or working on the computer, and then are often left wondering when the lines of communication broke.
Children are by nature easily distracted and not always responsive to their environment. It is the responsibility of the parent to emphasize positive patterns of communication and ensure the child learns that ignoring communication is not acceptable. Early prevention, in the form of educating your child about the proper forms of communication, is the key to ensuring that the non-verbal agreement does not take hold. Teach your child by example. Remain completely and totally focused on them and the conversation at hand. Turn off the television; allow calls to go to the voicemail, or go in a room where there are no distractions.
Talk to your child and explain to them in age-appropriate terms how they are communicating and why their method doesn’t work. Show your child how to communicate effectively, even when the questions are hard Make yourself an active listener. Let them voice their opinion or side of the story and ask questions to ensure you understand their viewpoint.
Be constant in the manner in which you communicate with you child. Send the same message with each and every interaction. Allow your child to see that you will call their attention to those times that the unwanted behavior rears its ugly head.
Kids will be kids and they will sometimes be distractive and non-communicative. You are the expert in knowing your child’s behavior and can best judge the improvement in their communications. The best way to ensure healthy communication patterns is to model positive communication skills.
5 Ways to Improve Family Communication
Healthy communication skills amongst family members can be some of the most difficult and trying to develop and maintain. They may be directly related to you and have seen you in every possible situation, but that doesn’t mean finding ways to communicate comes easily. Family members sometimes tend to be tougher on each other and more open about any and all feelings they may be having.
While this can sometimes be favorable, it can also lead to conflict, strained relationships, and undue tension. But since there are no more important ties than the ones you have with your family members, it is important to work on improving the lines of communication amongst each other. Below are five ways to improve family communication.
- Start with a clean slate – In order to start improving communication, it is important to start with a clean slate and clear minds. This may take a bit of work up front, starting with some tough conversations. Starting the process by having some open, raw conversations and getting everything on the table can be a therapeutic way to start repairing relationships.
- Set goals – Goals help keep you focused on the task at hand and can be used as a benchmark to work towards. The goals can be as simple as having a text conversation with every family member once a week or as in-depth as setting family retreats once a month – it is completely up to the family as to what they’re looking to accomplish.
- Participate in team building exercises – When you feel in sync with your family members, you’re more likely to be open with them about your thoughts and feelings. Team building exercises can be a great way to build up the trust and confidence in each other that may have been lost over the years and start working towards a better place. These exercises don’t have to be put on by some formal establishment or third party; even simple tasks such as doing trust falls amongst each other can be a great starting point.
- See a therapist – There is no shame in seeking outside help when it comes to familial situations, and communication issues are no different. Having an impartial person outside of the immediate family group take a look at the situation can help bring new light and insight into the various situations and really work to clear up issues.
Have each member pick a group activity – Even though you’re related, your family members may be drastically different from you, especially in terms of hobbies and
Building Your Child’s Self Esteem
It’s often been said that children learn what they live. So if you’re looking for a place to start helping your child build positive self esteem and self value, then you should show them your positive sense of self and strong self esteem. Be positive when you speak about yourself and highlight your strengths. This will teach your child that it’s okay to be proud of their talents, skills and abilities.
Your child also benefits greatly from honest and positive praise. Find something about them to praise each day. You could even give your child a task you know they can complete and then praise them for a job well done after they’re finished. Show your child that positive acts merit positive praise.
When your child’s feeling sad, angry or depressed, communicate openly, honestly and patiently with them. Listen to them without judging or criticizing. They may not fully understand why they feel the way they do, so the opportunity to communicate with you about it may be what’s needed to help them sort through a difficult situation. Suggest positive behaviors and options as solutions, and make sure to leave that door of communication open so they know the next time they feel badly, they can come to you for help and know that you won’t judge or punish them for how they’re feeling.
Teach your child the importance of setting goals and developing a plan to meet that goal and complete that task. Small projects are the best to start off with in the beginning. Ensure that it’s an appropriate task for your child, and not too complex. Don’t only give praise at the end of the project, but praise their accomplishments during the project as well.
Most importantly, tell your child “I love you” each and every day – many times throughout the day, in fact. When they’ve behaved badly, remind yourself that it’s not them you don’t like, only their behavior. Tuck short, sweet notes in their lunchboxes or coat pockets, or even send them a card in the mail. Soon, they’ll learn to say “I love you” just as easily and honestly in return.