Parenting is all about communicating with your child. Positive two-way communication is essential to building your child’s self-esteem. It is important to set up clear and open communication patterns early on. Make time each day to listen to your child without distractions.

Pay attention when your child speaks, respect their feelings and watch your tone of voice. Positive relationships between parents and children are an important part of building a child’s positive self-concept. A child who feels constantly blamed, judged and criticised may grow up to become an adult with negative self-concept.

Listen to your Child

If you want your child to be a good listener, make sure you are a good role model. Take the time to listen to them. Busy, distracted parents tend to tune out a chattering child, which is understandable from time to time. But if you constantly ignore your child, you send the message that listening isn’t important and that what your child has to say isn’t important to you. Keep in mind that when your child becomes a teen, he/she may alter his/her speech to suit the circumstances. They may speak more formally in front of a teacher than they do with family and friends. Always allow your child to have differences of opinion and respect their point of view.

Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

  • Pay attention to what your child is saying whenever you can.
  • Make sure to allocate some time every day to simply sit and listen to your child if you have a busy schedule.
  • Encourage your child’s ideas and opinions. Positive communication is a two-way street in which both parties take turns listening and talking.
  • Resist the urge to correct their grammatical errors or finish their sentences – concentrate instead on what they are trying to say.
  • Allow important or difficult issues to be discussed without the fear of over-reaction, criticism or blame.

Encourage Your Child

Positive, encouraging words help children feel confident and happy. Praise them for good behaviour and thank them for helping out around the house. You should always make them aware that you have faith in their abilities. Sometimes parents put too much pressure on their kids to win or come out on top but you need to be able to praise their efforts and not just the results. Also, keep in mind that learning from trial and error is part of every child’s life and so, try to avoid always correcting your child’s mistakes.

Another thing that is important is the use of the correct body language because actions speak louder than words. Remember that older children and adolescents are not comfortable with eye contact during conversations and so chatting while you are walking along or driving in the car can be quite effective. Use a gentle tone of voice, especially if tempers are starting to fray. Yelling only encourages more anger. Also, avoid impatient body language like eye rolling, foot tapping or sighing. This can discourage a child from talking.

Better family ties can only emerge from proper communication between you and your child, and this is exactly why you must make a point to get to know your child better. Spend quality time together and have friendly relationships because this will not only help you bond better but will also encourage your child to come to you for help and guidance.

Things to Remember

  • Positive communication with children means paying attention, respecting the child’s feelings and watching your tone of voice.
  • If you have a busy schedule, make sure to allocate some time every day to simply sit and listen to your child.
  • Children thrive with words of encouragement and praise.
    Courtesy – http://m.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
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