Tips to improve communication between parents and children
Knowing how to listen and speak is the key to any healthy relationship, also between your children and you. But being a father is hard work and maintaining good communication with your children, especially in adolescence, can be a challenge.
An added difficulty is that parents have to reconcile their working life with family time, which means that most times they can not devote as much time as they would like to take care of the relationship they have with their children. In today's article we explain a series of tips based on mutual respect that will help to make the communication between your children and you more fluid and beneficial for both .
1. Be accessible to your children
- Find out when your children are more willing to talk -For example, at bedtime, before eating, in the car ... - and try to be receptive; They must know that you want to listen to them.
- The conversation starts ; This allows your children to realize that you are interested in what happens to them in their life. It is important to start by sharing your own ideas with them better than to start with questions, as they can be seen as an interrogation and make them close more.
- Try to find a space each week to do an activity with each child separately , and avoid scheduling other tasks during that time. Sharing time with them individually will make them feel special and important to you, and will facilitate communication among you.
- Learn about your interests and tastes -For example, your favorite music group, your hobbies... - and shows interest in it. Your children will value positively that you have their preferences in mind. Also, if you have any hobby in common you can share time doing it together.
2. Let your children know that you are listening to them
- When your children are talking about something important to them, leave everything you are doing and just listen to them . If they see you busy or disinterested they will surely let you run and do not resort to you again in a similar case.
- Express interest in what they are explaining to you, avoiding being too intrusive . They must feel that the interest you are showing is real and not something pretended to get them information.
- Listen to their point of view, even if you find it hard to understand or you do not get to share it at all . Each person has a different way of thinking, also your children, and that does not mean that it is not as valid as yours.
- Let them finish speaking before answering . Do not cut them in the middle of an explanation, nobody likes to be interrupted while they are talking.
- Repeat what you just heard to make sure you have understood correctly . Communication is not always clear and simple, and many of the discussions between parents and children are generated by misunderstandings in conversations.
3. Respond so that your children will listen to you
- Softens exaggerated reactions ; your children will stop paying attention if you seem angry or defensive. Although it is sometimes difficult to achieve, try to stay calm and talk to them in a neutral tone. Improving communication with children also implies creating an appropriate context for dialogue.
- Avoid discussing who is right . If everyone only thinks that he is right, neither of them will tend to listen to the other's reasons and consensus can not be reached. Instead, say, "I know you do not agree with me, but that's what I think." Express your opinion without belittling your children's; accept that there is nothing wrong in not agreeing on something.
- Focus on your children's feelings instead of yourself during the conversation . Sometimes it can be difficult for them to express what they feel and they need you to empathize with them, to put yourself on their skin and understand them.
Final tips to improve communication with children
Finally, some tricks to improve and encourage communication between parents and children :
1. Ask your children what they will want or what they need from you in a conversation : advice, just listen to them, help them deal with their feelings or help them solve a problem.
2. Children learn by imitation . Often they will follow your steps in how you manage anger and anger, how you solve problems and how you deal with complicated situations and feelings. Try to be the best version of yourself for them, become a role model in the face of difficulties.
3. Just talk to your children ; do not let them loose a monologue, do not criticize them, threaten them or tell them hurtful things.
4. Children learn from their own decisions . Unless your actions may involve dangerous consequences, do not feel that you have to intervene always.
5. Keep in mind that your children can test you by telling you only a small part of what they care about . Listen carefully and encourage them to keep talking so that they finish explaining the rest of the story.
6. When giving information, look for it in a positive way . It is also important to give consistent messages, avoid contradictions and express themselves clearly when asking for something, to avoid possible confusion that may end in conflicts.
7. Always try to obey the rule that "everything that is said, is fulfilled" , or what is the same, do not promise in vain; It is important to keep the promises that are made to the children, otherwise it could affect the trust they place in you. For the same reason, you must also avoid lies.
8. Whenever possible, ask for your children's opinion on issues that affect the family . This will make them feel that they are part of the family unit and that their point of view is important to you.