3 Ways To Improve Communication With Your Kids Now
By Caron C. Andrews
We know the importance of having good communication with our children—it helps them develop their sense of healthy sexuality and self-worth, and it helps us to know them as people. Good communication skills don’t always come easily, but there are specific actions you can take to improve them. Here are just a few.
- Be a Better Listener
How many times have you wanted to simply be heard and understood, not just compare notes or be given a quick fix? Your kids want this too. Take the time to really listen to what they are telling you. If they see that you’re formulating your response rather than hearing them, it frustrates the communication process. Listen to them and think about what they’re saying before you make any response. Then think about your answer before giving it. Don’t interrupt; hear them out and let them say what they need to say. No one likes to be interrupted—it communicates the message that what they’re saying is not that important.
- Ask Questions
Asking your kids what they think, feel, and believe about various situations leads to more meaningful conversation. Dare to go beyond the surface! Be truly interested in what your kids have to say. If your child feels that he is being heard, he will be more likely to communicate on a deeper and more important level with you. He will feel your interest in him, his thoughts and ideas, and be more willing to open up.
- Be Respectful and Non-Judgmental
One of the quickest ways to shut down a dialogue is to react with criticism and anger. Your goal is to have your child come to you with trust and willingness to talk about any situation or problem. As you treat her concerns and fears with respect and without judgment, she will come to know that she can trust you to be calm and levelheaded, helping her with any difficulty or question she may have.
Even if you and your child have a history of poor communication, it’s not too late to improve it. If you show your concern and love for your child in these ways, he will feel it and respond to it. You can have the kind of open and trusting relationship needed to help him develop his healthy sexuality and self-worth.
Our books have many great conversation starters, and they can help you improve communication between you and your children. Check them out! 30 Days of Sex Talks; How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, which is also available in Spanish; and 30 Days to a Stronger Child.
Grohol, J. M. (2009). 9 steps to better communication today. Psychcentral.com. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/14/9-steps-to-better-communication-today/
Shei, N. (2014, January). 18 ways to communicate better in your relationship. Positivemed.com. Retrieved from http://positivemed.com/2014/01/10/18-steps-to-effective-communications-in-your-relationships/