How to Communicate with your Children

Communication is the key to a great relationship with your children no matter what age they might be. A lack of communication between parent and child can lead to negative feelings and misunderstandings. But communicating with your children can be difficult if they are particularly resistant. There are ways to communicate effectively with your children and build a stronger relationship.

Always try to be calm, even when they have done something wrong, if you are shouting, they are less likely to focus on what you are actually saying, they will just be thinking about the fact that you are shouting. Speak calmly and clearly in order to avoid becoming frustrated and get your point across.

Use eye contact, this will help create a connection between the two of you, make sure they are looking into your eyes when you speak. Touching your child whilst you are talking to them will also help establish a physical connection.

Use their name when you are talking to them, this will help them focus on what you are saying, use their first name only, using their first and last name will feel like the start of a reprimand.

Know your audience, talking to a five-year old the same way you talk to a teenager will not work. The child will not understand what you are saying. Keep your sentences short and simple and avoid using long words. When talking to a teenager your sentences can be more complex, but avoid using words that they do not understand as this could make them feel like you are patronising them.

Try to avoid using accusatory tones and words, accusing a child of something will make them defensive and they are much less likely to listen to what you are saying if they are defensive. Avoid saying things like “why did you do that?” and opt for phrases such as “let’s talk about why you did that”

Being available when a child or teenager needs to talk is essential, if they feel as though you are never around to talk to or you are always busy, then they will not want to communicate with you. Try to be as available as you can to your child.

Lead by example, if you want your child to communicate with you, then you need to show that you can communicate well. Use well thought out words and always be polite and courteous in front of your child.

When you are communicating with your child, get them to repeat what you have said. It does not need to be word for word, just make sure that they have understood your main points and taken them on board.

Communicating effectively will not only help your child in the future, but it will also help you both in the present and hopefully leave you with a stronger, more open and understanding relationship