Category Archives: Parent Child Communication

Communication Problems Between Parents and Children

Communication problems between parents and children arise for a variety of reasons that stem from stressful situations, instability, major life changes and a lack of communication from the beginning. Single parents face extreme challenges, especially when a parent becomes single after being in a marital relationship for many years. Some children may shut down and pull away because they feel unstable and don’t approve of changes going on in their life. It’s easier for a child who has always been with one parent from an early age because he has already adapted to life with just Mom or Dad.

Other factors such as how a parent communicates can also result in communication problems between parents and children. Being too critical, labeling or blaming a child can make them feel attacked and alienated making them less likely to open up and talk when they need help. Repeated criticism can also leave emotional scars and a child can develop resentment towards their parent which can continue on through the teenage years.

Single parents can turn things around by making an effort to help their child feel special along with taking what they say seriously. Listening with empathic ears is vital when raising children. Sometimes parents want to do all the talking and they fail to really listen to what their child has to say. When parents take the time to consider their child’s ideas with enthusiasm, the child feels good about communicating and more trust begins to develop. This trust strengthens the lines of communication because it helps children feel comfortable opening up about anything as they grow older.

Developing good communication with your child is a process that takes effort and changes don’t happen overnight. You can start by taking the time to talk to your child every day after school and scheduling special one-on-one time as often as possible. Taking your child to dinner, a movie or just going out for ice cream can also open up the door for communication.

Successful Father Child Communication

One of the biggest challenges for single fathers these days (parents in general) is communicating effectively with their child. We all strive for open and honest communication but become frustrated when it appears their attention is somewhere else and they aren’t listening. Yet we seem to find it perfectly acceptable to discuss things with them while we are reading the paper, doing the laundry, picking up the house, working on the computer, watching TV and then wonder where the line of communication broke.

Children by nature are easily distracted… some parents too, and not always responsive to what is going on around them. It is our responsibility as a father to emphasize positive patterns of communication and ensure the child learns that ignoring or poor communication is not acceptable.

Early prevention, in the form of educating your child about the proper forms of communication, is the key to ensuring that they grow and understand what you expect from them and how they need to be attentive when you are talking to them – parenting by example.

When you communicate with your child, focus on them completely and the conversation at hand. Turn off the TV, walk away from the computer, allow calls to go to voicemail, or go to an area where there aren’t any distractions.

Talk to your child, and explain to them in age appropriate terms how they are communicating and why their method isn’t working. Tell them how you would like them to communicate in a healthy way and show them what that looks like. Show your child how to communicate effectively, even when the questions are hard or they feel like they may get in trouble.

Active listening for parents is critical. Let them voice their opinion or side of the story and ask questions to endure you understand their viewpoint.

Even though none of us are perfect you need to try and be constant in the manner in which you communicate with your child. Your goal is to send the same message each time you and your child interact. If they slip up and start communicating negatively you need to call attention to it and correct it. If you let them get away with it they will continue… “If you give an inch they will take a mile.”

Kids will be kids and they will sometimes get distracted and be non-communicative. You are the expert in knowing your child’s behavior and can best judge what they need or how to improve their communication. The best way to ensure healthy communication is to model positive communication skills yourself.

Communication Tips for Parents

Effective communication between kids and parents is critical, and it isn’t always easy. Adults and children have different communication styles and different methods of reacting in a discussion. When it comes to communicating with anyone timing and atmosphere will play a major role in its success. As a parent you should take time from your day to talk with your children in a quiet, unrushed manner.

Successful Communication Tips

  • Active listening is essential when communicating with your children. Pay attention, don’t interrupt, reserve judgment until your child has finished speaking and has asked for a response, and don’t prepare your responce while your child is still speaking.
  • Watching your child as they talk to you can give additional insight to the situation. Be aware of their facial expressions. Determining how they are feeling is important when responding to them. Also at some point during the discussion, acknowledge what your child is saying, make eye contact with them and show interest by leaning toward them or placing your hand on their shoulder.
  • Responding correctly to your child is important. If they tell you something that you don’t like to hear don’t ignore it. Make certain that you understand what your child is saying and means. Get confirmation by repeating what you heard back to them. Don’t offer counsel in response to every statement they make. It is much better to listen carefully and to understand the feelings behind the words. Lastly, use “I” statements when responding (I understand that is hard…. or I am concerned because…) and examples from your own life that may offer insight. Speaking for oneself sounds thoughtful and less like a lecture.

Because I Said So

Children are very inquisitive by nature, especially when they are younger. Their main resource of course is their parents. I remember Madalyn when she was 4 and the drive home from daycare used to make me crazy. She would ask a question, I would answer, and then she would answer with a “why”. I would answer the why and she would ask it again and again. Eventually I ran out of answers and at times patience. I was taught that “because is not an answer”, however there were times that it seemed to be the easy way out.

As parents we need to remember that our children want to better understand the things around us, why we think something, and why they should feel the same way. Regardless of their age, it is important that they feel safe in communicating with us and on that same note it is also important that they understand where the boundaries are. What I am referring to is the house rules. There are plenty of situations where questioning is acceptable but when it comes to the house rules they should understand that there is no room for questioning.

Younger children typically don’t comprehend a long drawn out explanation of why it’s important to follow the rules. We love our children and they love us, they strive to make us proud and happy. So when young children ask “Why?” they can’t do a particular thing we should at least explain to them that it is the rules. If we simply say, “because I said so” it could only add to their frustration and confusion.

Older children, on the other hand, will require more from your explanation. I remember asking my mom why I had to be home by 11pm on Friday night. She would say, “nothing good happens after 11pm.” Now that I am older and wiser I think that she was right. It seemed I was always getting into trouble. Plus there are curfews that are set by law as well. When dealing with the “whys” your children should know the consequences for disobeying, you should be firm, consistent, and clear.

It is inevitable that our children will challenge the rules from time to time. As they get older it may happen more often, this is a reflection of their growth as an individual. We need to try and understand where they are coming from and the stage of life they are in. We were all there once, however for some it was a long time ago.

Active Listening for Parents

Healthy communication with our children, at any age, can be difficult at times. They feel like we aren’t listening to them and we feel they aren’t listening to us. Active listening and communication skills are critical when it comes to good parenting. Your child’s opinions and views are important not to mention their feelings. As a parent you need to take the time to sit down and actively listen to what your kids have to say and openly and honestly discuss their problem or situation with them.

What is Active Listening?

For starters, what is active listening? Active listening is intent to “listen for meaning.” As a parent you need to listen to your children in order to understand, interpret, and evaluate what is being said. Active listening is a structured manner of listening and responding to others, in this case our kids.

Stop Reacting and Listen

In our busy lives it seems that the natural tendency to communicating with our children is to react rather than respond. We end up passing judgment based on our own feeling and beliefs. However, responding to our children requires us to be receptive to what our child’s feelings and emotions are. We need to allow them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us. By reacting to what is being said we send a clear message to our children that their opinions and feelings are invalid.

Listen and Respond

When we listen and respond to what our kids are saying by engaging them and asking questions we can learn why they are feeling the way they are. It opens up a dialog that allows them to discuss their feeling further while giving you the opportunity to better understand where they are coming from. Responding opens the door to provide feedback or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own. They will appreciate the fact that you understand their feelings and they will be comfortable sharing their feelings with you.

How to Actively Listen

Here is where the rubber meets the road. When you actively listen to your children it requires your full undivided attention. That means turn off the television, walk away from the computer, put down the magazine, stop what you are doing and give your attention to your child. Make eye contact with them and listen to what they have to say. Watch their body language for additional cues to what they may be feeling. Restate what you heard in your own words so they know you understand what they said then engage them by asking questions, stay calm, be inquisitive, and when they are done offer them encouragement or potential solutions to their problem.

Throughout all stages of life whether you are a child or adult you will have feelings and experience difficult times. By actively listening and participating with your children as they discuss these issues with you it demonstrates that you do care and that you sincerely want to help. You will even be able to share your own stories with your children about similar events that they can learn from. Not only are you practicing good communication skills but you are teaching your children a key skill by actively listening to them.