PARENTING – THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB YOU WILL EVER HAVE
Good open communication at a very early age is essential if you are to keep communication open during the adolescent/teenage years.
If your child believes:
When he talks – you will listen
When he has a problem – you will be there to offer advice
When she comes to you with a problem – you will not judge her
When she needs a shoulder to cry on – yours will be available
When she needs privacy – you will give it
The child who grows up knowing you are a good listener, a good person to go to for advice, a person they can trust no matter what – they will grow into the teen who will turn to you when they need help/advice/support.
Teach your child good communication skills from a very early age:
Don’t start talking until you have your child’s attention –
There is no point in shouting across the room while he is in the middle of a game and expect him to do as you say. Put yourself in his shoes, if you were in the middle of your favorite TV programme and your partner shouted at you to leave it at once and do something for them, how would you react?
Go over to where he is. Get his attention, when he looks at you then speak to him. Wait until you have eye contact.
Use fewer words.
Parents tend to use far too many words – thus loosing the child’s attention after the first few words. Stick to the point. Their attention span is short.
Be careful with your tone of voice.
No one wants to listen to someone who is giving orders – this will have the opposite effect. Think about how you feel if someone orders you around. Try to keep your tone of voice low and warm.
If your child is telling you about her day and you continue to text/watch TV/stay on the computer – what are you teaching her? Your child will learn by watching the way you communicate. If you really want your child to listen to you – you need to listen to her.
When parents are emotional, the emotions take from what they are trying to communicate. The message will be lost, as children will zone out when they hear their parents getting more emotional by the minute. Take a deep breath and prioritize what needs to be done. Stay calm and children will respond in a much more positive manner.
Don’t repeat yourself.
If you have asked once and have not got any response, don’t keep repeating yourself. Go back and get your child’s attention and explain what you need them to do.
Praise your child when they do listen and do what you have asked. Children thrive on praise.
If your child comes to you with a problem, something you did not expect; e.g. they got involved in a fight in the schoolyard.
they did not make the football team.
they are not getting on with a friend (a friend they know you want them to get on with).
they told a lie.
they hurt someone’s feelings.
What ever it may be, do not react immediately. If you judge your child immediately it may be the last time they come to you with a problem. Take a few minutes to digest what they have told you. Find out why this happened. Most importantly, stay calm; see things from everyone’s point of view. Do not judge them. Let your child talk for as long as they want to, before you interrupt them, (this can be very hard but will be well worth the effort). Far too often parents jump in and interrupt, this stops the child mid flow and they may never get the full story. Let them finish what they set out to say.
As your children grow, they will become more independent of you– this is a natural part of growing up. However, they will always need to communicate with you. It may not be as often, it may not be about every little thing that happens to them but if they do need to communicate with you – you need to be there. Who else do they have if you knock them back?
Negative emotions, which are not dealt with, can be a very dangerous thing.
Help your child to openly communicate with you from a very early age and it will stand to you tenfold as they go through the teenage years.
“We cannot set aside an hour for discussion with our children and hope that it will be a time of deep encounter. The special moment s of intimacy are more likely to happen while baking a cake together, or playing hide and seek, or just sitting in the waiting room of the orthodontist.”