Perhaps one of the biggest and most vital parts of a relationship is communication. How we choose to interact with those in our lives determines how satisfying, long-lasting, and successful those relationships will be. The same goes for the relationship between parent and child.
Though we may not always realize it, children are constantly trying to communicate with us through their actions and words. Matt Teeple emphasizes that as parents, it is our job to try to understand what they are trying to say and respond in a way that meets their needs.
Effective Communication with Children – Explained By Matt Teeple
One of the best ways to do this is to practice active listening. This means really paying attention to what your child is saying, both verbally and non-verbally, and responding in a way that shows you understand. Here are some tips on how to be an active listener:
· Make eye contact: This lets your child know that you are paying attention to them
· Don’t interrupt: Let your child finish what they are saying before you respond.
· Repeat back what you heard: This shows that you were listening and helps to clarify any misunderstood points.
· Ask questions: Show interest in what your child is saying by asking questions about it.
· Validate their feelings: Tell your child that it is okay to feel the way they do, even if you don’t agree with their actions.
· Avoid lectures: Instead of lecturing, provide guidance and encouragement.
Practicing active listening will not only help you to better understand your child, but it will also foster a stronger relationship built on trust and communication.
Active Verbal Communication
In addition to active listening, Matt Teeple believes that there are other ways you can encourage communication with your child.
· Set aside time each day to talk: Let your child know that there is always time for them to come and talk to you about whatever is on their mind.
· Be a good role model: Show your child how important communication is by being an active listener yourself.
· Use “I” statements: When talking to your child, use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to me!” try, “I feel like you aren’t hearing me out.”
· Avoid making assumptions: Don’t assume you know what your child is thinking or feeling. Ask them directly and listen to their response.
· Respect their privacy: Just as you would want your privacy respected, respect your child’s as well. Don’t pry into areas they don’t want to talk about.
Matt Teeple points out that communication is a two-way street, so it is important to remember that in order for your child to feel comfortable communicating with you, you must also be willing to communicate with them. Share your own thoughts and feelings with your child, and encourage them to do the same with you. By creating an open and honest communication environment, you will foster a stronger relationship with your child that will last