Effective communication is the single most important component in achieving the lovely life you desire. Cooperation, dialogue, mutuality, understanding, compassion, and empathy are all promises of connection. This is how we can communicate.
Talking with your child is something you do on a regular basis. But, let’s face it, we’re all busy as parents, and it’s simpler to keep the discussion with our kids light so we can go on to the next item on our “to-do” list. In everyday life, casual talk has its place, but there are moments when your child requires you to tune in and listen more intently.
Your child will not tell you this, but he or she requires you to periodically dig into their inner lives to learn what they are thinking and feeling. This will not only help them and you understand their feelings better, but it will also deepen your bond with them.
We, adults, do a lot of things that we shouldn’t. Sometimes we just do these things because they are habitual. We don’t know another way to be. There are many times when we yell from the other room and speak without checking that the other person is listening. This is bad because it causes more problems in our relationships, especially with our kids.
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Steps To Effective Communication With Children
We can create a generation of young adults who are connected to themselves, their loved ones, and their own wants and feelings. And it all starts with the tiniest of details:
You’d like your child to accomplish something? Close the distance between you and her, tell her you love her, look into her eyes, smile, and make your request. Everything becomes easier once the connection is formed.
Give your child the respect she deserves – if you just connect before making a request, she will catch on and quit complying in no time (just the way she should). This is what I refer to as “free attachment”: create a connection whenever you can. Tell her how much you love whatever she is doing as you pass her in the living room. During mealtime, kiss her. Use every chance to thank her for her existence – she’s amazing, after all – so it’s not that difficult, is it?
Don’t connect and wait – this isn’t a genuine relationship; it’s a ruse. True connection is wonderful in and of itself; it does not need to be accompanied by a result or consequence – this will happen spontaneously.
When you desire something, you must first offer it. If you require assistance, you should provide assistance when requested. If you want to be hugged, you should hug when you are hugged. You must connect if you wish to make a connection.
Change Your Words
Using an “I feel” statement rather than a “when you” statement might benefit in a variety of ways. For starters, it teaches your child how to communicate effectively and how to recognize and name emotions. Second, it helps them to be more receptive to what you’re saying because you’re not coming across as accusatory; instead, you’re coming across as willing to collaborate. This small shift in vocabulary may transform your relationship with your child.
Instead of: You never listen to me!
Try: I feel like you are not listening to me when you do not look at me as I talk. Could you please give me your attention next time I talk to you?
Instead of: You are such a liar!
Try: I feel hurt when you are not truthful with me. Could you please be honest next time?
If your kid suffers with a particular behavior or a set of circumstances in which the behavior is more likely to occur, explain clearly what you anticipate of him or her BEFORE the behavior occurs. This can help you avoid adopting in-the-moment responses to behavior like bribery or screaming by letting the child know what to anticipate.
Use A Calm Voice
First and foremost, I want to realize how difficult this could be at times. It’s not always simple to maintain your composure, but it’s critical. It is our responsibility as parents to provide a safe haven for our children, especially during times of emotional turmoil. Yelling, in particular, has been shown to be a poor mode of communication for a variety of reasons. When a kid is screamed at, they hear the tone of voice and experience their parents’ displeasure, but they are unable to report the reason why they got into trouble after the shouting episode.
They may feel afraid of the parent and stop acting out for a short time, but they may not understand why their behavior was inappropriate or what the parent expects of them, which could lead to the behavior continuing in the future.
Furthermore, if the behavior is a method of receiving attention from the parent, the screaming could be rewarding it. Rather of shouting quietly, carry out the punishments (operant conditioning)you’ve already laid forth.
Use Active Listening
If we wish to improve communication with our children, we must let them know that we value what they have to say! We may demonstrate that we are paying attention to children by making eye contact, angling our bodies towards them, nodding, and making appropriate facial expressions in response to what they are saying. When we show children that we are paying attention, they are more likely to continue talking!
Another approach to demonstrate that we are paying attention to our children is to repeat back to them what they are saying. Here are some wonderful words to use to demonstrate that you are paying attention to your child:
- It’s really hard when Daddy leaves for work, you feel sad.
- I want to make sure I am hearing you correctly, did you say _____?
- Am I correct in saying that you are feeling ____?
- You feel frustrated right now, you don’t want to share.
- I hear you saying _________.
- It makes sense that you would feel_______.
- You are frustrated right now, you don’t want to brush your teeth.
- It sounds like you are telling me _______.
Model The Behaviour You Want To See
What children learn from their parents is what they watch them do. If you interact with your spouse, friends, and family by shouting, swearing, or withdrawing, your child will rapidly learn to do the same. Make sure your child sees you communicating with others in a healthy manner, and they will quickly follow suit.
Talk About Things Your children Enjoy
Finding subjects of discussion that excite and inspire your kid to converse is one approach to develop strong communication skills. Demonstrate that you are paying attention to them and encourage them to speak with you! This will show them that you are interested in what they are interested in and that you want to chat to them about it.
Take Their Opinion
One of the most important aspects of effective communication is the ability to listen to opposing viewpoints without being confrontational, condescending, or interrupting. Allow your child to finish their thought before offering your own viewpoint. This shows them that you appreciate their viewpoint and point of view even if you disagree with them. If they believe you will listen to them, they will be much more inclined to come to you in the future.
Work On Your Own Communication Habits
Healthy communication will easily become a part of your connection with your kid if you make it a habit in other parts of your life. Whether your child is a newborn or an adult, it is never too late to begin developing good communication skills. A child of any age will benefit from being intentional about listening and respecting each other’s opinions.
What You Should Do Next:
1. Register For A Must Listen To FREE 60-Minute Class:
2. Enjoy These Gentle Parenting Podcasts
- Unruffled by Janet Lansbury
- Raising Good Humans With Dr. Aliza
- Parenting Beyond Discipline
- Mindful Parenting in a Messy World
3. Dive Into These Gentle Parenting Websites
- Janet Lansbury “Respectful Parenting Basics”
- Sara Rockwell-Smith “Gentle Parenting Book”
- No Reward, No Punishment
- How is Gentle different than mainstream?
- Gentle Parenting Myth
- 5 secrets to Gentle Parenting
4. Enjoy These Gentle Parenting Books
- How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
- How To Talk So Kids Will ListenPeaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
- The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way
- The New Dare To Discipline
- Silence Is A Scary Sound
- Parenting With Love And Logic
- More books here.
5. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting Course (If You’re Ready To Be A Positive Parent And Need Some Step By Step Help)
Enroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
6. Read Some Of My Favorite Blog Posts From Other Gentle Parenting Professionals
- How to get others on board with GP (grandparents, family, providers)
- MANAGING TODDLER TANTRUMS
- PREVENTING A GROWN UP MELTDOWN
- Why do we call it a TANTRUM? IT’S A FEELING
- TIME-IN (NOT TIME OUT)
- What to do: biting, hitting, pushing, throwing
- Punishment Vs. Natural Consequence
- REWARDS: WHY THEY DON’T WORK.
- ITS OKAY NOT TO SHARE
- HOW TO STOP YELLING AT KIDS
- GP for Newborns & young babies
- Parenting Differences among peers/providers
- Does your spouse parent differently?
- Prefrontal Cortex – YOUR CHILD’S BRAIN IS NOT DEVELOPED ENOUGH
“GENTLE PARENTING IS A LIFESTYLE THAT EMBRACES BOTH YOUR PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BEHAVIOR, NOT ONLY TOWARDS YOUR CHILDREN, BUT TO YOURSELF TOO“— SARA HOCKWELL-SMITH