How do we keep channels of communication open with our children?
From the day they are born, parents will do anything to help their children and would like to think that they would be the first person they came to in a troubled time. But, in a generation where so much of our daily lives are spent on online, a recent survey said that more than a quarter of young people (13-20) would turn to the internet first if they were upset or had a problem.
There are many ways you can help develop those channels of communication early so that you are always the first person they come to in their time of need:
• Pay attention to what your child is saying whenever you can – stop what you’re doing and listen. It might seem like a trivial conversation to you but to them, it could be the most important conversation they’ve had all day
• Life can get in the way – there is always some washing to do or dishes to wash, but make sure to allocate some time every day to simply sit and listen to your child if you have a busy schedule
• Encourage your child’s ideas and opinions. This is going to be an important life skill and can be nurtured by positive communication
• If they have come to you for a chat you must resist the urge to correct their grammatical errors or finish their sentences – concentrate instead on what they are trying to say as they might not come to you next time if they expect they will be criticised
• Allow important or difficult issues to be discussed without the fear of over-reaction, criticism or blame
• If they do have trouble communicating, ask them to write it down and offer to read it later when they’re not around – they may feel less embarrassed and you might react differently once you’ve had time to think about it