Admit it, you have lied to your parents before – one way or another. Now, you're looking for a way to break the chain, to let your child know that you're here not to scold but to understand. It's not easy to communicate effectively to a toddler, teenager, or adolescent.
What can you do about it? Why is it hard for a child to tell their parents everything? Well, ask yourself that question. Why couldn't you tell your parents about your frustrations at school, getting drunk at a party until 3 in the morning, and the list goes on.
Is it because you believe they wouldn't understand your situation? Or maybe, there's no foundation of trust and openness? Well, you'll know more in just a few minutes.
Importance of Communication
Communication is the ability to send and receive information. People can't live without communication because it's a way for an individual to feel a part of a group. In this case, the most important group is the family unit. Why?
Family is the first group a child's exposed to. A unit that debriefs an individual on the right and wrong ways of behavior while identifying ones' wants and needs. You can also say, a family is comparable to a soccer team where the parents' the coach while the children are the players.
“Mom, I have to go to the basketball event on Friday”, Samantha said while she clasps her hands together and gulps nervously.
In the scenario, you can identify two types of communication – Verbal and Non-verbal.
Verbal focuses on what you say. Samantha told her mom about an event on a Friday night, and that's what she wants her mom to understand.
Non-verbal is the action you show. When Samantha was asking her mom's approval, she showed nervousness through her gestures. What does this mean? You may interpret it as, she's nervous because her mom might not give approval or she must be hiding something.
Between these two, what do you think is the best and effective? Studies have shown that non-verbal communication can show the real side of an individual. Verbal can be manipulated but non-verbal is like a hint of what a person really feels.
How to communicate effectively?
Effective communication shouldn't be strained, it's better to be free flowing with no rules and limitations. There are 5 steps on communicating effectively with your children.
- Make it a habit
Just like norms, it's important to teach your child the behaviors you want them to bring when they're old enough. Before you take action, think if it'll be good for the long term.
Making a habit of sitting down and conversing with your child is a great practice to effective communication. How can you create this simple activity? You and your family can eat dinner while telling about your day. Or maybe, go on weekly night outs with your child.
- Be Interested
One reason why children don't tell is because they think it will bore you. Show interest by putting your phone away and looking at them with exciting curious eyes.
Perfect example is when as soon as they get home, you can ask how their day went. Or maybe, if they tell you something make sure you pay attention and remember it.
- Stop shaming
Comparing your child with other children isn't the best choice. Not only are you making your child feel he/she isn't “good enough” for you, but it always creates a boundary for the child to open up.
Instead of saying, “Kate can fold and fix her bed all the time, why can't you?”. You should say, “Amanda, once you become an adult you'd need to fix your own bed. What better way to practice then now!”.
- Avoid threats
Are you the type of parent who says, “You better not be out drinking and partying just because your curfew is at 12 midnight! If I find out, you'll be grounded.” Well, it's normal to warn your child but this isn't the best way to do it.
An alternative is by letting your child be aware on the dangers of going out unsupervised with children their age.
- Assist and guide
Being a parent doesn't mean your only responsibility is to pay your child's education and needs. You also need to look on ways of guiding your child at the right path.
Studies have found that it is in human nature to build a wall when a person feels threatened. This is especially the care when you scold your child.
What you can do is suggest ways to solve a problem. This way, your child will not only feel that his/her parents care but is willing to offer a helping hand. Even in, as little as homework or chores.
The Nature of Children
A child expresses in words and shows in action, but is often conflicting. They cover up what they really want to say. Why? Parents tend to assume the worst on their children. “No! It's too dangerous. What if… “, that's why children choose to be wary on what to tell their parents.
So, why do children hide their feelings and thoughts instead of telling their parents? If you have went through this yourself, thought of why you did the same to your parents, then you must know the answer!
The child may:
Be frightened you won't be able to understand.
Children may think once they tell you about their worries and feelings, what they'll receive is a loud laugh or scolding from you. This is a sign of avoiding embarrassment.
Believe you know how it feels.
Some kids realize that you may have been through the same dilemma. Once they tell you, you may know too much about how it feels and all they want to avoid is making you worried.
Want to handle it alone.
There are kids who wants to be independent, believes they don't need an adult for help. Also, to prove they're capable of choosing an “adult-like” decision.
There are four types of children:
Go with the flow
A child who doesn't make a decision when a problem isn't present. It's the same as studying for an hour before an exam.
Competition is what makes the child motivated, they love the feeling of debating or winning. These children opt to join contests or simply obtaining a high score in a test.
Ones who can't follow the developmental stages of an individual. It may take time for them to adjust, but once they do it'll be easier for them. Never pressure children to learn something they still aren't capable of.
A child can be a mixed of everything. Sometimes, a child can be good in math but hates science.
How to create a strong bond
Creating a strong bond isn't done overnight. Most parents resort to dominant parenting which makes children feel uncomfortable. A strong bond is present when both parent and child cares to understand/consider each other's feelings.
Five principles to a strong parent-child relationship:
“It's alright, you can start all over again. But this time, I'll help you learn the topic that way you won't fail on the next test!”, Andi's mom exclaimed.
Accept this fact, your child is unique comparing them to another isn't applicable. Each child is capable of learning, it's just how fast or slow it is. Some parents tell their children, “When I was your age, I could do… ” stop saying those remarks.
“Something's bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?”
It's crucial to spend time with your child. Having a strong bond means being able to be with your child. Even if you're working all day, give a few minutes of your time. A strong bond won't bloom if you don't talk to each other.
Doubting your child means you won't give them much freedom. If you believe you're doing the right act, think again. Trust is vital in any type of relationship, without it you'll be restless and paranoid.
Your child is aware when you doubt them. What they'll do is to assure you and not tell everything.
“Fear won't get you anywhere, it's better to try and fail than not try at all.”
A parent needs to be there in times when their child doesn't believe in themselves. Play the part of a cheerleader, keep motivating and reasoning out the positive factors of failing.
An infant needs their mother's warmth to survive. Every child needs an assurance on their parents, a simple pat or hug is enough to make your child feel safe.
Studies have found that those children who had more physical contact to their parents are more likely to have high self-esteem and pride than those who don't.