Positive, clear and undistorted communication is the key to a healthy relationship between individuals. Exciting and easy flowing conversation is the bedrock of building intimacy and establishing connection between people. Communicating effectively with children is the secret of transmitting positive values and developing good character in children. When communication breaks down between parents and their children, the impact parents have on their children is significantly diminished.
In the light of the above facts, it is important that parents devise effective strategies for proper communication with their children. In order for parents to establish the necessary connection with their children and communicate with them effectively, it is essential that they become involved in the welfare and care of their children from the time of birth. Caution must be taken by parents to ensure they do not stand aloof from their children, including all the little, childish things that interest them. Play their games with them. Show them you are equally interested in what interest them and that you are happy when they have fun.
From cuddling, tickling, smiling and laughing along with them, striking everyday mundane conversation, being friendly with them while at the same time maintaining necessary discipline, gradually you will be building an enduring intimate relationship with your children; the type that makes them become free with you and able to disclose intimate things about themselves you may never have known about.
Children want to have a warm and loving connection with each of their parents, and the key to this is effective communication. The following strategies are considered essential in effectively communication with children:
- Give Free and Unrestricted Access: They must be given free access to you and your personal space as much as possible. When children know that you desire their company and that they can always approach you to express themselves without judgment or that they can spend some quiet moments with you, it encourages them to loosen up and be free to converse and confide in you.
- Be an Active Listener: Whenever your children are talking to you, listening attentively to what they have to say is very critical to their sense of self-worth. This demands that as much as you can afford, lay aside anything you might be doing at the moment when your children approach you for a discussion. Such attitude as starring at your phone, computer or continuing to read a book while your children are trying to get your attention makes children feel whatever they have to say is not important and valued. When you listen attentively to your child, you make your child feel loved and valued.
- Create a Non-judgmental Atmosphere for Communication: Children are less likely to talk if they feel they will be harshly reprimanded or punished for what they say or what they disclose to you. Parents must restrain from being too judgmental of their children or burst into anger or rush to conclusions regarding anything their children tell them.
- Spend Quality time with your children: Many parents believe they are too busy to spend enough time with their children. It must be realized that intimacy develops between people as they spend quality time together. If by your attitude you do not show you enjoy the company of your children, then they are likely to withdraw from you as time goes on, and by the time they become adult they may be estranged from you. Make it a point of duty to spend frequent, uninterrupted one-on-one time with each of your children. Family gatherings where everyone is present to interact with one another, share jokes and experiences can also be very valuable in building intimacy and establishing connection. The efforts you put into these frequent interactions will be limitless in its rewards for both you and your children.
- Be a Good Role Model: As parents we need to model healthy communication in front of our children. The way they see you interact with them and with other people is likely to be the way they will learn to interact with other people. Children learn more from what they see their parents do than what the parents tell them. It is therefore important that you use words and the tone of voice in your interaction with other people and with them, you would want your children to use in their interaction with other people.
- Let your Interactions be Appropriate: Some of the unhelpful ways of communicating with children is to use ridiculing, shaming and name-calling. This will likely lead to disconnection and serious problems in the parent-child relationship. Parents should make efforts to use kind words in their interaction with their children. Children who are spoken to with appreciation and respect have a better self-worth, which allows them to thrive.
The above strategies are important is if you are to get your children to communicate with you other than in one word answers. Your children will henceforth feel comfortable to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences with you, thereby leading to strong relationships, greater cooperation and feelings of worth. By these strategies communicating with your children will stop being a struggle.