Mom, Dad, talk to us!

Mom, Dad, talk to us!

Divorce, death, sex – parents must communicate with their kids.

Parents often fail to communicate effectively with their children. Some parents were brought up believing children should be seen and not heard and others fear conflict. The consequence of not communicating can be disastrous for a parent-child relationship. Children can end up feeling isolated, which may cause them to withdraw, become anxious and unable to cope with difficulties. By talking about things you grow a relationship and everyone is happier and more relaxed. A good start to effective communication is to ensure children of all ages feel comfortable talking to their parents about any topic.


Reading a newspaper or watching TV while your child is talking to you, isn’t listening. If you really can’t take a few minutes to stop and answer a question a teen asks about sex or to hear the story of how mean a friend was to your younger child, say something like, ‘I can see this is really important for you. Can we discuss it later?’ Give a specific time so your children know you aren’t fobbing them off.

Schedule serious talks

If an issue such as moving house, divorce, curfews or chores must be discussed hold a formal family meeting where each member of the household is given an opportunity to speak. Meetings can be held ad hoc or once a week or month when everyone can chat about matters affecting the family.

Understand their silence

If children don’t want to talk about a topic at a certain time, which is common with teenagers, acknowledge this and let them know you will be available to talk when they are ready.

Watch your body language

Folded arms and an angry or impatient look wont make kids comfortable about opening up. If they’re sitting on the floor, get down next to them so that you are on their level and make as much eye contact as possible to show you’re listening.


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Use questions

You might not always know what to speak to your children about and when, so take the opportunity to discuss a topic when they ask questions. In return ask them open-ended questions that require responses to keep the conversation going.

Choose the right time

Don’t discuss an important matter with your child as soon as they get home from school or when you’ve just got back from a bad day at the office. It’s important to be in a good state of mind in order to get your message across calmly and clearly.

Good and bad communication

Proper communication is important to help your children air their views, listen to yours and resolve issues.
Don't judge or label. If children communicate something and a parent says “Don’t be silly, that’s ridiculous” they might feel their opinions aren’t valid and won’t open up further.
Attack the problem not the person. Say to your child “I get annoyed when you don’t feed the dog” instead of “You’re lazy”. Don’t tell teenagers they’re irresponsible because they smoke. Ask them why and how they began smoking. Earn their trust so they find it easy to tell you things and then start working on a solution together.
Nagging and lecturing can cause kids to stop listening or become defensive or resentful.
Don't interrupt. Give your children an opportunity to finish what they’re saying before you speak. Children who feel they’re not being given a fair amount of time to air their views might stop communicating altogether.
Don't put children down. This includes shouting, name-calling, ridiculing and blaming.
Don't lie. It might be uncomfortable to talk about sex to your teen but being open and honest will encourage them to be honest with you.
Don't deny feelings. If a child is sad about not winning a race, for instance, don’t tell them to get over it or they’ll struggle to express their feelings in the future. Say something such as “I know you really wanted to win. It’s hard to lose sometimes”.


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This is so true! I had the same issues with my first born who is only 8 years old and I only want him to tell me everything. We promised each other that we should have no secrets and he must tell me if anything bothers him. I always find time to talk to him about school and friends, so that he knows that Mama is also his BESTFRIEND! :)

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