Sometimes, prying information from your young one is like trying to open a can without a can opener. It just can’t be done. Before giving up, you must learn how to get your kids to come to you when they need a listening ear.
As kids grow older, they seem to talk to their parents less and less. Why is it so? Probably, we assume they are busy with school and friends. We think they spend too much time with their devices, playing games and surfing the internet; therefore, they don’t have much time to discuss or share things with us. However, often, as parents, we stop talking or listening to them. It is easy to get caught up in our everyday life, and then we forget about our kids and their needs in this department. Mostly, we start seeing them as an interruption to work when work is interrupting our relationship with our loved ones.
Of course, this doesn’t imply that we are neglecting them. We satisfy all their needs, including food, education, clothing, and shelter. What about communication? No man is an island unto himself, and that includes kids, too. Our young ones need to be heard just like we do.
So how can we get our kids to open up and talk to us? Here are seven tips to help your child open the lines of communication, and the more they get used to it, the more natural it will become.
- Be a good listener
We have to admit the fact that we don’t always give our kids full, undivided attention. With work, phone notifications, calls, TV, and socialization, many parents struggle to be fully present with their children. You have to ensure that when you are having a conversation with your minor, whether it is simple or complex, you are listening to them. Or else, they might feel like their information isn’t valued. It is easy to observe that your diverted attention can make your kid frustrated. Eventually, they will diminish their attempts at opening up the communication lines.
- Greet your kids with positive statements
No doubt, inquiries, and interrogations aren’t always the best way to start a conversation. Sometimes questions can be overwhelming. As parents, we can unintentionally superimpose our fears and emotions onto them. When they feel that questions are filled with doubt, then they probably wouldn’t share information in the future.
However, you must keep your greeting simple. “I am glad to see you!” “Finally, you are at home.” When you use such kind words with a positive tone, you can allow for a more healthy conversation later.
- Avoid judgment
If your kid decides to share something troubling, try to stay calm. When kids feel the fear that you could be harsh or there could be punishment against them, they will be less likely to open up. Kids, especially preteens and teens, tend to lie if they feel perpetually judged or criticized for what they share. As parents, we have to provide them an open environment where we don’t burst into anger or rush to conclusions. We must give them a safe space for confession.
On the other hand, if your kid shares some exciting news, then celebrate away. You must appreciate and celebrate his hard work and determination with your kind words.
- Don’t jump in with solutions and advice
Your kid is sharing information because he needs a chance to vent, and he can’t hear advice until he does. Then he needs a chance to figure out things himself. And this is how he can develop confidence and competence. If you jump in with solutions, you may make him feel incompetent. On the other hand, we can reflect things and help them brainstorm solutions through discussion.
- Talk about yourself
You may find it funny, but kids usually think that parents can’t understand their situation because they can’t relate to what they are going through. Share the stories of your childhood to prove that you understand them.
- Treat each child as a unique person
Each of your children needs individual time, even if for a short time. Being on hand when they return from school is a sure-fire way to hear the highlights of their day. Each kid is unique and special. So you must give each person their due attention.
- Value their opinions
Listen to their thought and consider them. When decisions can be made as a family, you must discuss them as a group. Value their input. You must teach them how to share their opinions respectfully. Kids fear that their suggestions will be rejected, but they have to know that they don’t need to be afraid to talk to you about any subject.