Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mindful Parenting: Communicating with Your Child

6 Tips for Better Communication With Your Child
Many parents don’t know how to communicate effectively with their children, but the fact is that communicating openly with your child is one of the best ways to have a close relationship. Your children should feel comfortable being open with you, and you should feel just as comfortable being open with them. Without this, your relationship may not reach its full potential! Below are some ways you can enhance that communication with your child.

Be Available
Be available to talk to your children whenever they are ready. If you’re always on the go, how can they be open with you? You also need to tell them that you have made time for them. Then, clarify that are available anytime they have something they want to say. Let them know that you can and will stop what you are doing to listen when they come to you. Then, when they do, follow up and be there for them! Don’t put them off or delay, just stop and listen and talk.

Give your children praise when they deserve it, but also offer constructive criticism when it is needed. Kids need to learn how to take criticism in a positive way, but you have to balance that out with positive and encouraging words. If your child didn’t get a 100 on a test but made an 80, don’t make them feel dumb. Praise your child for the good grade. On the other hand, if they failed the test, encourage them to study harder next time. Love is honesty, and they should know this.

When your child is trying to tell you something, don’t constantly interrupt them. Give them the opportunity to speak out about what is on their mind and vent, if needed. If you constantly interrupt them, they tend to clam up, sometimes for good…

Active Listening
When your child is speaking to you, give them all your attention. If you’re doing some work or making a meal, they’ll notice. Devote yourself to their conversation and its meaning and offer advice when appropriate.

Ask Questions
When your child is quiet and you cannot get much out of them, try to ask questions. Teach your children that you’re going to ask questions because you are interested in their feelings and emotions, so they might as well get used to it.

Open Your Home
Walk a mile in your child’s shoes. Take advantage of moments they spend with their friends and listen to what they are doing and saying. Let your home be an open door for your kid’s friends on weekends. Kids enjoy being around parents who don’t mind them being there. Show your kids you want to be a part of their friends’ lives too.

Honest and open communication with your children will enhance your relationship when you follow the tips above. It’s never too late to open the lines of communication with your child. Why not start today?

John Hammel writes about parenting and finance.

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