I’ve never had impressive communication skills. I’ve always considered myself to be the biggest introvert of all introverts. I never really communicated with my friends, and I never shared my true feelings with any friends. Small talk? Are you kidding me?
When I found out I was pregnant, I made a promise to be the best parent I could possibly be. I promised that I would support my child through everything. But as every other parent, I failed. My introverted nature prevented effective parent child communication. We talked, but we didn’t have those deep conversations that I so wanted to have.
There was a turning point that forced me to shift things around.
One day, the teacher called to tell me that my teenage daughter was bullied at school. A few girls were kicking and slapping her in the classroom. The teacher saw them, and my daughter explained that this was going on for an entire year. I didn’t know. She never told me, and I failed to notice the signs.
What Does Good Parent-Child Communication Look Like?
Researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health clearly showed that there was a disconnection between the real experience of bullying victims and the signs that adults see. Teachers and parents often don’t know how to respond to these signs even when they recognize them.
In most cases, the lack of good interpersonal communication extends the process of bullying and leaves the victims to handle the situation themselves.
But what is good communication, exactly? Are there any rules for a parent to follow? Does this mean you should talk about everything with your kid and leave them with no privacy at all? As it turns out, communication is more complicated than we thought.
I came across a leaflet from the Center for Effective Parenting. It’s pretty useful. To my humble understanding, the communication process with your children is effective when you take it to three levels:
- Creating an environment of trust
- Spending more time with your kid
Listening as the Foundation of Proper Communication
Communication is not about talking. It’s mostly about listening and sensing your kid’s thoughts and feelings. Parents often say that they have crazy intuition when it comes to their children. They simply know when something is not right.
Let me tell you something: you’re wrong.
Yes; you may be an intuitive person and sense things to some extent. I thought that about myself, too. However, I could never assume what my daughter was going through as soon as she went out of my sight. She never said and I never sensed anything.
If you want to build the foundations of good communication, you start by listening:
- “How do you feel?” Do you know why therapists ask that question all the time? It’s the most complex questions of all, but it also opens the doors to honest communication. How often do you ask that question in your home? Of course we care about the way our sons and daughters feel, but how many of us ask and really listen?
- Give your full attention to your kid when they want to talk to you. If they want to share something really personal, it’s not easy for them. Don’t let the TV, phone, or another person distract you.
- Don’t judge. If you only want to hear great things, how do you expect your kid to communicate with you? You want them to tell you about their fears and their not-so-good deeds. Be ready to hear anything. Then, you’ll offer your piece of advice. Which brings us to the next point.
Prove that Your Child Can Trust You
Let’s say that your kid did something wrong and they told you about it. Let’s say they didn’t write an important research paper that’s going to determine the final grade. If they don’t complete it on time, they will fail.
Most parents would be triggered in that situation. We expect too much from our children. When they get distracted from the goals, we feel disappointed and we show them that.
Let’s not label our kids as failures just because they showed a weakness. Why don’t we support them?
- “Don’t worry. I’ll help you complete it. Do you want to do the research together? I know you can do this; you just have to try!”
- “It’s okay. Edubirdie can write your essay online; we just need to tell the writer what your assignment is about. We’ll get the paper now, but promise me you’ll write the next one, okay? Let’s learn from this experience.”
- “Oh well… I guess you’ll have to try a bit harder and start working on your next project earlier. I’ll remind you about it.”
Don’t get me wrong; you should never support your child in bad behavior. You shouldn’t make excuses in front of their teacher. You should focus on helping them to overcome this situation. Instead of showing disappointment, show that you believe they can get better. No matter what problem you’re facing, there’s always a lot of room for improvement.
The Importance of Spending Time Together
We’re not talking about being in the same room – you with your Kindle and your kid with their activities. We’re talking about spending quality time together, as a family. You can go shopping, walk the dog, or spend the weekend camping. Those are the situations that help you bond with your child and encourage them to open up.
You don’t have to plan these “quality time” events, though. You can be together with your child during lunch or throughout the day. Use every moment together for a positive experience. Make eye contact, tell jokes, hug them, and laugh together. When you’re reading a book, tell your child about it. Ask them what their book is about.
There are so many opportunities to create memories. Compare your memories, try to create contrast in your life. Let’s not miss out on them! By the way, topicsmill.com will help you to keep contrast in your essay’s topics.
I’m sure you’ve heard this tip many times before, but here it comes again: just be in the moment!
You don’t have to force communication with your child. Just be together with them and do spontaneous things. The parent-child relation is the most spontaneous one you’ll find in society. Your baby was dependent on you from the moment they were born. They know how to spend time with you. You know how to do it, too. The building blocks of communication already exist; you just have to keep them strong.
Why Is Communication So Important?
Children love their parents and parents love their kids. It’s the way things are in most situations. Love is a great foundation for communication, but it’s not enough.
When your child needs support through different situations in life, you want to be there for them. No matter how simple or serious their problems are, you want them to feel comfortable enough to talk to you. Don’t keep them at distance. Don’t let them get cold.
Your child’s interests will change as they grow up. Your communication must evolve accordingly. When your child becomes a teenager, you can’t expect to talk about the same things that were fun before. Proper communication will help your child grow up into a responsible and happy human being. Isn’t that a parent’s most important goal in life?
Guest Author Bio
Elizabeth Skinner is a blogger and editor. She focuses on psychology topics for her research. Elizabeth is very interested in helping college students communicate better with their parents. Her blog posts contribute towards that goal.