All the interactions parents have with their children are part of communication. Communication is not just about the words a parent says but also about the tone they use, their body language and physical contact. How parents communicate with children is important for their emotional development and plays a role in how they communicate and form relationships in the future.
Practise Active Listening
Active listening is listening intending to understand what the other person is saying. It helps children feel heard and understood. Using gestures, eye contact, and smiles helps a child know that you are engaging with them and actively listening to what they are saying. Getting down to their level can also make you feel less threatening, and they will see that you are trying to reach their level of understanding.
Active listening also entails asking relevant questions at a reasonable time during a conversation. These questions help you explore further, deepen communications, and can be instrumental in helping a child develop their communication skills.
Allow Them to Explore Complex Emotions
Children, especially teens, have lots of complex emotions. They might feel sad, fearful, or even confused sometimes. Start by exploring a single part of their emotions and go from there. Avoid assigning blame or trying to unravel their emotions; use communication to help them explore and navigate these emotions.
It is also important that parents avoid giving a solution or conclusion. Your child is already smart enough to come up with a solution or conclusion on their own. That said, do step in if you feel the solution or conclusion they have ended up with is wrong or will have a negative effect.
Allowing children to explore and work through complex emotions like this is especially important for foster carers since foster children are usually working through complex emotions. Since this is a delicate space to navigate, foster carers fostering in Glasgow can get some assistance from their fostering agency on how to navigate it.
Speak Clearly and Kindly
Use clear language that is appropriate for a child’s age when talking to them. Importantly, avoid using derogatory terms because you will do a lot of harm if you do so. Also, use kind words so they learn to do the same when speaking with others. Such kind language sets a positive example for your children.
Avoid Anger in Your Voice
Parents can get frustrated and angry due to several reasons. Perhaps they are having a bad day, or something isn’t going as expected. As a parent, removing this anger from your voice is important when communicating with a child. They will detect it and may decide that the anger is directed towards them.
Some children also want to seem angrier than their parent, usually as a way of stopping what they perceive as blame and anger directed towards them. If a parent stops being angry and showing it in their voice, a child will likely de-escalate their anger.
How you communicate with a child is very important as it helps form bonds between you and can influence them in the future. Lead with kindness and love, learn to listen and ask the right questions, and help them work through complex emotions on their own but with your help for the best outcomes.