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Why Talking to Your Child Matters
February 11, 2022 by Matthew Du
Parents think a lot about how their children speak to them and how they behave. Correcting them when they need discipline and rewarding them when they deserve it, the sole purpose of the parent for many years of the child’s formative experience is to ensure that the child in question capitalizes on good manners and steers away from rude behavior.
Unfortunately, while our intentions may be pure, we may not always pay attention to what we say and how we say it, resulting in the child misinterpreting the message behind our words. Today, we’ll be attempting to decode this miscommunication, finding out the root cause behind miscommunication, and working our way around it.
Today, we’ll be discussing the importance of communication, how you should be talking to your child, what you can talk about, and how to engage them in conversation. This, quite honestly, is one of the hardest topics to learn as a parent and a single article will most likely fail to capture all the possible courses of action for the viewers.
Importance of Communication
Effective communication builds understanding and trust. When you, parents, and carers understand and trust each other, you’ll all be better able to work together to support children’s wellbeing and development.
More than anything, effective communication is the key to establishing and maintaining positive partnerships with other carers, guardians, and the children involved. For parents, a positive relationship means sharing knowledge and experience to understand their child’s situation, and more often than not, it can lead to developing plans together to support the child.
It’s important that all this communication follows a protocol of respect - the foundation of effective communication with your child and other partnered guardians. Respect will help you understand the people you work with and the children that listen to you. This especially holds true with the cultural, linguistic, social, and economic diversity that might affect your communication with other members of the family.
One key benefit of being able to command respect is the ability to listen well.
When you listen well, you get more information from your children and you also get the full benefit of being able to generate insights specific to your child. More than anything, you show your child that their opinions matter as well, allowing them to generate confidence and respect, both for you and themselves.
More than anything, talking with your child builds a conducive and safe environment at home environment. Crown Asia has dedicated itself to providing the best at-home experience for families, young and old alike, make sure to check out our communities if you wish to build a positive and loving relationship with your child and other family members. From lots for sale and full-on houses for rent, take the time to check out our home offerings and you just might your next dream home. Talk to any of our agents and check out our home listings online, available all over the Philippines.
Assessing How You Talk to Your Child
It’s often difficult for us to view our own actions from an objective standpoint. As you consider the question of how you would describe the way that you interact with our child on a day-to-day basis, imagine yourself recording interactions and playing back the images and sounds in your mind’s eye. How would it sound to others? How does it sound to you? Would your voice sound patient and loving? Would you be proud of how you talk to them? Do you seem engaged and interested in what your child is saying?
The question that we’re trying to answer here is that if you recorded yourself and played it back, would it seem as though you think you were at your best?
If the answer is no, then think about what you can do to change the way you communicate with your child. It’s extremely important to assess your voice and make sure that it’s not harsh, impatient, or angry when you’re speaking to your child about something he or she did wrong? Did you come off as cross with your child even if she didn’t do anything wrong because you’re tired?
How to Talk to Your Child
After an assessment, if you believe you need to work on your ability to listen and talk to your child, here are some things that you should be looking at doing.
Using a Positive Tone
Using a positive tone and positive words will make the listening experience for your child that much more rewarding. This is simply basic logic - who would you prefer to listen to more - someone who is constantly screaming at you talking to you in a harsh and critical tone or someone who is calm and reasonable when speaking to you?
Even if it’s something you strongly disagree on and you believe that your child needs to correct their actions, you’re still more likely to get more of your child’s attention and have listened to what you say if you listen to what they are saying.
Case in point: when you yell or speak aggressively to your child, you’re less likely to get good results and may ultimately harm your relationship. Worse still, it’s important to remember that kids learn from our behavior and if you constantly criticize yourself when speaking to your child, it’ll be safe to assume that they’re more likely to do the same later down the line.
Using Positive Language
It’s been found that kids are more likely to welcome well-adjust results if you don’t say no or don’t all the time. If you were to say, for example, “ Don’t drop that glass” or “No running inside”, you’re child will subconsciously embed in their minds that more often than not, they will drop the glass.
A positive style of communication may require much more thought and practice but it is well worth the effort so your children grow up to be much more confident in themselves and their actions. On that note, it would be best to eliminate words and notes that may be ridiculing, name-calling, or just shaming in general.
Kids often will cut off communication with the people who use these words and begin to develop a poor self-concept of themselves. Positive and kind words will give your child more confidence, resulting in more happiness and positive behavior, while also encouraging them to try hard and achieve success. Kids learn to imitate you and deliver the same respect and praise to others.
Connect With Your Child
Another thing that you should focus on doing is connecting with your child through eye contact. You may need to get down to their level or sit at the table with them. When you’re talking with your kids, it’s generally a good idea to give them the respect that you want them to give to you either. Long story short: not only does it demonstrate good manners, but it also helps you to listen to each other. When you’re talking to your child, say your child’s name until you get their eye contact, especially before giving them a direction. It is important that they give you their attention and that you’re able to draw their attention too - they should be able to model the same behavior for them.
To better connect to your child, remember to keep it simple as young kids have trouble following too many directions given at once as well as keep away from nagging - it might be better to just list down the stuff needed to be done, how to do x, and what reward your child might get if they follow your directions. Think about it this way: do you get annoyed when you’re child asks you to do something while you’re curled up reading a good book? No? The same logic applies when you’re child is playing in their room and you knock on their door asking for them to clean up their room.
Suggest Options and Alternatives.
When you want your kids to cooperate with you, it is far easier if they can understand why they need them to do something and how it is to their advantage do to so. They need to see the importance of following your directions. Take the following statements for example:
- After you get dressed, you may go outside with Daddy
- Which jumper would you like to put on, the red one or the blue one?
Using words like “when” and “which” makes the children feel as though they have choices, even if there is technically no room for negotiation. This is important when you want to give your child autocracy and independence. This allows you to connect with your child while also developing within them a sense of responsibility and autocracy.
What You Should Talk About
Like in real-life conversations, figuring out what you can talk about with your kids is probably more difficult than figuring out how to talk to them. As a parent, you’re likely to feel like you know your children like the back of your hand, let us be the first to tell you that most likely this isn’t the case. Even if you know the foods they refuse to eat and those they gobble up, there’s still a lot of stuff that changes about them. People are constantly changing and developing new preferences, fears, thoughts, and emotions. Therefore, to continue to know your children well, you’ll need to keep asking questions to start conversations.
Here are some conversation starters to learn more about your child.
How Was Your Day?
Simply asking your child about their day allows them to understand that they can open up to you about the problems within their life. Many children are more than willing to talk about their day and as a parent, you’ll eventually find out how you can impact how your children can learn from their experiences throughout the day and what they learn as well. When children struggle to do something, this can feel frustrating, which may lead to them trying harder or simply giving up. Parents can help children turn challenging moments into learning opportunities by highlighting their effort and sharing the message that learning something new takes time, problem-solving, perseverance, and patience.
All this simply comes from asking your child about the day, what they learned, and asking about the problems that they might face.
Tell Them They’re Loved
Letting the children in your life know that they are loved for who they are now and who they will become helps create a trusting relationship with your child, also called a secure attachment. Build a long-lasting relationship with your child by doing something they choose, paying attention to their likes and interests. During these moments, put aside other distractions, including household chores and electronic devices to best connect with your children.
It can be tempting and sometimes even necessary to multitask, but it is also important to show your child that you are focused on them. When your children know and are reassured that you love them, children who have secure attachments tend to have higher self-esteem and better self-control, stronger critical thinking skills, and better academic performance than children who don’t.
Their Feelings For The Day
Although you might prefer it when your child is in a good mood, children have unpleasant feelings like sadness, disappointment, frustration, anger, and fear, too. These feelings can often come through in different forms - from crying, temper tantrums, and challenging behaviors. Our feelings serve a purpose and let us know when a child needs something - it’s important to pay attention to a child’s feelings and show them that how they feel matters to us and that they can count on their parents to address all their needs.
Make sure that your child knows that they can express their feelings and that you are a trusted and safe space. Teaching children how to express themselves in new ways make time and a lot of effort but of course, it’s all in the name of helping them become well-functioning adults.
Related Blog: Parenting 101: Handling your Children’s Tantrums